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- Digitised archival diaries
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- About the project
Kirsten Mulrennan and Rachel Murphy, 'Opening a window to the past: Researching archival diaries', University of Limerick Special Collections and Archives Department website (https://specialcollections.ul.ie/research-diaries/) (Date accessed).
Click on each highlighted area to read more about this diary's unique formatting features, written by Henry William Massy (1839–1842).
See P32 Massy diary pp 130 and 131 to read these pages in a higher resolution.
P32: Page removed
Why was the page removed? Who removed it? Was this done during the writing process, or afterwards?
In this case, it appears to have been torn out after the writing process, as the sentence on the top of the right-hand page does not follow on from the previous page.
P32: Spelling mistakes
Instead of crossing out misspelled words, some authors write the correct spelling 'over' the word beneath, making the handwriting harder to decipher.
The word highlighted here is 'unextended'.
P32: Running low on ink
As you can see from the second letter in this new sentence, the author's pen was running low on ink, which he replenished after the first letter. The first letter is quite faded, and this may make the text harder to read.
Here, the sentence starts with 'In fact'...
P32: Formatting for emphasis
When analysing any record, it is important to consider the author's own emphasis on their text. Here, the author chose to highlight his 'golden maxim':
"Every one, who spends more than his income, is a fool –
Diary-writers often use abbreviations in their haste. Common abbreviations include this one, tho' (though). There are a number more throughout these pages – see if you can spot them:
- viz = meaning
- pd: = paid
- wd: = would
- sd: = should
- amt: = amount
- yr: = year
For more on abbreviations in diary-writing, see the lesson on Transcription.
P32: Unusual formatting
Watch out for different formatting while analysing or transcribing archival diaries – here, the author is adding up his expenses for the previous year, in pounds (£), shillings (s), and pence (d), though he does not use symbols for the lower denominations of currency.
For more on transcribing difficult formats, see the lesson on Transcription.