Sunday, March 1, 2009

Some background on this project

Parts of this post originally appeared at Incertus.

Helen Webster is, I believe, a great grandmother of mine, who was a teenager in the 1890s. Beyond that, I know nothing. My grandmother's sister (great-aunt? I can never keep these things straight) found this diary probably ten years ago and photocopied it for everyone in the family who wanted a copy. My sister passed it along to me, as a curiosity of sorts, and it's been sitting in a portable file cabinet ever since. I'd long planned to transcribe it, but frankly, the job seemed overwhelming, especially since the handwriting is small and has gone through the photocopier a few times.

But then I saw this story and was inspired. I post a new diary entry every day, and I find myself approaching this not as a task, but as a joy. I've had to force myself to not transcribe more than a day at a time, and in fact, I find myself deliberately delaying the transcription so as to increase the pleasure I'm getting from it so far.

I've been a bit overwhelmed by the reception thus far, and I'm quite appreciative. I'll keep it up as long as I have entries to work with, and when I'm finished, I plan to leave it up indefinitely, as an archive of this person at this point in time.

1 comment:

  1. I spoke with grandma last night about Helen Webste and this is what I found out.
    She was a teacher ath the American School for the deaf in Hartford CT. in 1895. Those are the children that she speaks of in her writings. Like most special needs schools at the time, the children and teachers lived at the school. George was married to Helen's best friend, but she died. After some time, she and George married. They eventually moved to the Dakota territory. Helen was not a young woman when she wrote this diary. She was likely in her 40's. After she married George, she had Grandma's (Wilma)mother. Sadly, she died in 1902 when her daughter was only 7.
    I do know that there are other volumes and grandma has said that she will try to get them copied and sent to me. Hope this helps fill in some of the blanks