Reading list

This is an amalgamated suggested reading list relating to archives, history, research and historic diaries.

The list provides a selection of sources and resources relating to five key topics: archival research; archival theory and the history of the archive; historical research; historic diaries; and transcription and palaeography.


Archival research

  • Watch the video introduction (20 mins) to the Special Collections and Archives Department at UL
  • Watch archivist Dr Kirsten Mulrennan outline the work of an archivist and the department in her UL Talks video (5 mins)
  • See our list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) in relation to archives and archival research.
  • For a list of useful resources relating to archives and archival research, please see our A–Z of online resources. This list is continuously updated.


Archival theory and the history of the archive


Historical research


Archival diaries

In this section you will find a selection of readings relating to diaries. Section one includes readings on diaries as sources for historical research. Section two includes examples of academic articles and book chapters that are based on diaries. Section three provides information on published diaries or extracts of diaries.

Diaries as sources for the historian

  • Dekker, R., Egodocuments and history : autobiographical writing in its social context since the Middle Ages (Hilversum, 2002).
  • Hämmerle, Christa, ‘Diaries’ in Miriam Dobson and Benjamin Zieman, Reading Primary Sources: The Interpretation of Texts from Nineteenth and Twentieth Century History (2nd edn., Abingdon, 2020).
  • Lejeune, Philippe, On Diary (Hawai’i, 2009).
  • Vivian, Frances (ed.), Letts keep a diary – A history of diary keeping in Great Britain from 16th–20th century (London, 1987).

Academic articles and chapters based on diaries

  • Breathnach, Ciara, ‘Professional patienthood and mortality: Seán Ó Ríordáin’s diaries 1974–1977’ in Medical Humanities, 42:2 (2016) pp 1–5 (doi:10.1136/medhum-2015-010828).
  • Breathnach, Ciara, ‘Heavier the interval than the consummation:’ bronchial disease in Seán Ó Ríordáin’s diaries’ in Medical Humanities 40:1 (2014), pp 11–16 (doi:10.1136/medhum-2013-010386).
  • Carter, Kathryn, ‘The Cultural Work of Diaries in Mid-Century Victorian Britain’, Victorian Review 23, 2 (1997), pp. 251–267.
  • Eckerle, Julie A. and Naomi MAreavey, Women’s Life Writing and Early Modern Ireland (Nebraska, 2019).
  • Murphy, Rachel, ‘Lady Charlotte Stopford: A lady of leisure?’ in Leeann Lane and William Murphy, Leisure and the Irish in the Nineteenth Century (Liverpool, 2016), pp 226–244.
  • Pelger, Erin Kennedy, ‘Lives through the looking glass: The diaries of three nineteenth-century American women’ (1999). Graduate Student Theses, Dissertations, & Professional Papers, University of Montana.
  • Sanderson, M. G., ‘Daily weather in Dublin 1716–1734: the diary of Isaac Butler in Weather 2018–06, Vol.73 (6), pp 179–182.

Published diaries / extracts from diaries

  • Bhaldraithe, Tomás, The Diary of an Irish Countryman 1827-1835 (Cork, 1979)
  • Cullen, Clara, The World Upturning –  Elsie Henry’s Irish Wartime Diaries, 1913–1919 (Dublin, 2012).
  • Lenox-Conyngham, Melosina (ed.), Diaries of Ireland, An Anthology 15901987 (Dublin, 2009).
  • LeFanu, William, Betsy Sheridan’s Journal – Letters from Sheridan’s Sister (Oxford, 1986).
  • Legg, Marie-Louise (ed.), The Diary of Nicholas Peacock, 174051 (Dublin, 2005).
  • Léoutre, Marie, Jane McKee, Jean-Paul Pittion and Amy Prendergast, The diary (16891719) and accounts (17041717) of Élie Bouhéreau (Dublin, 2019).
  • MacDermott, Brian (ed.), The Irish Catholic petition of 1805: the diary of Denys Scully (Dublin, 1992).
  • Thomson, David with Moyra McGusty (eds)., The Irish Journals of Elizabeth Smith, 1840–1850 (Oxford, 1980).
  • O’Malley, Cormac K.H. and Róisín Kennedy, ‘Nobody’s Business’: The Arran Diaries of Ernie O’Malley (Dublin, 2017).
  • Phil, Lis (ed.), Signe Toksvig’s Irish Diaries 1926–1937 (Dublin, 1994).
  • The Gladstone Diaries 1825–1896, is available in thirteen volumes plus and index edited by M.R.D. Foot (Vols I and II) and H.C.G. Matthew (Vols III–XIV).

Online diaries


Transcription and palaeography

Kirsten Mulrennan and Rachel Murphy, 'Opening a window to the past: Researching archival diaries', University of Limerick Special Collections and Archives Department website ( (Date accessed).