This work has evolved over a period of nearly thirty years and it is necessary to explain some features of the layout and the text. The following remarks pertain, principally to the main bibliography of diaries, but apply in part to the bibliography of bibliographies and other sections.
With a very few exceptions, usually occasioned by doubt, diarists are listed alphabetically in the year in which their first diary entries are made; anonymous entries appear first as a matter of convenience. Regrettably, there remain many inconsistencies, particularly with positioning of names prefixed de, de la, van and von and in the case of Japanese and a few other oriental names. Because of different usages and conventions from time to time, language to language and country to country, it has not been so simple as was hoped to reduce the problem to order. The absence of a conventional index, which would be superfluous, mitigates the problem but it is advisable to frame searches with care in order to detect alternative forms of names which at first seem to be absent. The date relating to each group appears in bold type, underlined, and includes the subscript suffix AD; this feature is important to the search capability as it enables a computer to distinguish between these signal dates and others which appear in the text.
The numerals ’01’, ’02’ and ‘03’ which appear in the left hand of the first line of many entries indicate that there has been a significant change or addition since the first edition and will not be of much interest to the majority of users. The number ’01’ refers to such events in the second edition, which was available only on cd-rom, and the number ’02’ indicates those which appear for the first time in the printed third edition and ‘03’ to those that appear here for the first time. The number ’04’ will refer to additions and amendments made on-line from 2021 onward.
The first part of each entry gives the surname of the diarist in capital letters, but where the name is accented it normally appears again immediately in unaccented form in brackets, this again is to facilitate computerised searching; alternate spellings, aliases, married and maiden names are also occasionally given, as will usually be clear from the context. Ranks and titles are (with the exception of those which do not require unnatural displacement) usually shown in square brackets after the names, then follow, in brackets, the dates of birth and death of the diarist where known. A supplementary note of occupation, place of birth or other incidental information is then given in many cases.
At the end of the personal information in each entry there often occurs a series of letters, numbers and symbols which are, with the exception of letter ‘E’, cross references to entries in other bibliographies1 of which the meaning is as follows:
A – Matthews’ American Diaries2 and the page reference.
B – Matthews’ British Diaries3 and the page reference.
C – Matthews’ Canadian Diaries and Autobiographies4 and item number.
D – Matthews’ British Autobiographies5 and the page reference.
E – Indicates that the source for part, or occasionally all of the entry is a book review, library or bookseller’s catalogue or other publication.
F – Is reserved to denote fictional diaries and is rarely used.
G – Goodfriend’s Diaries and Letters of American Women6 and the page reference.
H – Havlice7 and the item number.
K – Carter8 and the page reference.
M – Arksey, Pries and Reed9 and the item number.
An asterisk preceding any of the reference letters indicates that there is additional information in the publication referred to which is not contained in the entry in this work and usually implies that some or all of the diarist’s work has not yet been examined for this bibliography; this is particularly the case for American diaries, especially those written after 1861 and before 1981 where many entries here consist only of the diarist’s name, and Arksey, Pries & Reed is the essential reference for Americans writing in this period. In the case of Matthews’ bibliographies an asterisk will normally refer only to information about manuscripts rather than to the published works. Where there are no references given the diary has been examined and is not mentioned in other bibliographies, with the exception that Goodfriend is cited only where an unexamined diarist has been mentioned exclusively by her. All the works referred to by Matthews have either been examined and re-annotated or his annotations are quoted verbatim, where this is the case it is acknowledged in every instance.
In the simple case the dates covered by the diary are then given, sometimes with an indication of the degree of its continuity. There are some anomalies where these dates do not correspond, usually only by a year or two, with the entry’s position within the bibliography: it is intended to explain or correct these anomalies in the next edition. The diary’s dates are followed by a description of the contents, which has been the subject of some discussion in the introductions. The appearances of the diary in print are then given, roughly in order of publication, with title, date and place of publication, editor and sometimes pagination, this particularly in the case of serial publications. It should be borne in mind that the full publishing history is not necessarily given, although modern reprints of older titles have been noted when found. In some instances where many separate diaries by the same author have been published the ordering of annotation and listing has become complex but will, it is hoped be generally intelligible. Titles of publications, and of articles within them, are underlined. The last line of each entry contains a note of any significant references in any of the anthologies, collections or studies which appear in the appropriate section of this work, where, correspondingly, the date of the main entry is shown opposite the diarist’s name. Occasionally a further note will be appended to an entry discussing or drawing attention to matters not easily dealt with otherwise.
The bibliography has no inbuilt search facility but browser searches are now very efficient and should prove adequate. There are some further notes about search techniques here.
1. The brief citations which appear in the notes below are amplified in the Bibliography of Bibliographies section which follows this guide.
2. American Diaries: An Annotated Bibliography of American Diaries Written Prior to the Year 1861 Berkeley, University of California Press, 1945.
3. British Diaries: An Annotated Bibliography of British Diaries Written between 1442 and 1942 Berkeley, University of California Press, 1950.
4. Canadian Diaries and Autobiographies Berkeley, University of California Press, 1950.
British Autobiographies: An Annotated Bibliography of British Autobiographies Published or Written before 1951 Berkeley, University of California Press, 1950.
5. The Published Diaries and Letters of American Women: An Annotated Bibliography Boston, G.K.Hall & Co., 1987.
6. And So to Bed: A Bibliography of Diaries Published in English Metuchen, New Jersey, The Scarecrow Press, 1987.
7. Diaries in English by Women in Canada, 1753-1995: An Annotated Bibliography Ottawa, Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women, 1997.
8. The Published Diaries and Letters of American Women: An Annotated Bibliography Boston, G.K.Hall & Co., 1987.
9. American Diaries: An Annotated Bibliography of Published American Diaries and Journals Volume 1: Diaries Written from 1492 to 1844 Detroit, Gale Research Company, 1983 and Volume 2: Diaries Written from 1845 to 1980 Detroit, Gale Research Company, 1987.