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The following subject guide should assist you in finding diaries in the Penn Library collections, published and unpublished personal writings at other libraries and archives, and books about diaries and personal writings as a genre.
Transcriptions of narratives collected under the direction of the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1939, and initially published under the title Slave Narratives: a folk history of slavery in the United States from interviews with former slaves.
Resource from the University of North Carolina. Collections include "First-Person Narratives of the American South," "North American Slave Narratives," and "True and Candid Compositions: The Lives and Writings of Antebellum Students at the University of North Carolina." The included narratives cover the late eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth centuries. Run a search for 'diary' in the search interface to see a list of the hundreds of diaries and related materials that are available or browse through specific sections.
"In the First Person is a free, high quality, professionally published, in-depth index of close to 4,000 collections of personal narratives in English from around the world. It lets you keyword search more than 700,000 pages of full-text by more than 18,000 individuals from all walks of life. It also contains pointers to some 4,300 audio and video files and 30,000 bibliographic records. The index contains approximately 20,500 months of diary entries, 63,000 letter entries, and 17,000 oral history entries." To limit your results to diaries available in full-text through this resource, click on the box next to "full text" in the search form.
"The Valley Project details life in two American communities, one Northern and one Southern, from the time of John Brown's Raid through the era of Reconstruction. In this digital archive, you may explore thousands of original letters and diaries, newspapers and speeches, census and church records, left by men and women in Augusta County, Virginia, and Franklin County, Pennsylvania." To search just diaries, click on "Letters & Diaries" in the appropriate time period and then "Search the Letters & Diaries." You will then see an option to search only diaries.
Continuation of Readex's Early American Imprints: Series I (Evans). Provides full-text access to the 36,000 American books, pamphlets and broadsides published in the first nineteen years of the nineteenth century.
Full-text page images of approximately 100,000 titles from the Short-Title Catalogue of English works 1475-1640, Wing's continuation for 1641-1700, and their revisions. Information is presented in the form of online images as well as downloadable PDF copies. Includes English language works not published in England but focuses on works published in the United Kingdom.
A digital library of over 10,000 primary sources in American social history from the antebellum period through reconstruction. The collection is particularly strong in the subject areas of education, psychology, American history, sociology, religion, and science and technology.
An effort to index every book ever published. It includes publication, author, and date information, as well as links to full text versions provided by Google Books and the Internet Archive. However, it does not allow for full text searching and does not provide links to books in the Million Book Project or other full-text digitization projects.