Monday, December 11, 2006
A few years ago, historians were fearing that much of the flavor of future histories would be lost because of a dearth of diarists. Through history, many people, the famous and the unknown, have kept daily journals -- they've often provided valuable insights into the events and way of life of their times. For example the war time diary of Mary Chestnut gives us a very tangible look at life on the Confederate homefront during the Civil War.
The 20th century saw a decline in this exercise, with diairies and journals becoming the stereotyped as the province of teenage girls and feminists pursuing literature degrees. But the rise of the blog is creating a new generation of personal journalists who write about nearly everything -- from the profound to the mundane.
It may be that these are a great source of raw material for future historians. Then again, since they're rarely put into "hard copy," they may disappear in a few years. Time will tell.