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Keeping Diaries, Making History: Call for Volunteers

We find ourselves living in a historic crisis. Historians of the future will want to know how we spent our days. What was the local, lived experience of a global pandemic from day to day and week to week?

In the spirit of documenting this moment, the Saint Martin’s O’Grady Library invites you to keep a diary of living during the COVID-19 epidemic. Diarists may type or write by hand, transcribe news, draw, compose poems, gather stories and so forth. No stress needs to be placed on “good grammar”, spelling or style. The emphasis is on self-expression, candor and a willingness to be a social commentator.

The project looks to add important resources to the field of social history, which seeks to record the everyday lived experiences of people and to place those experiences at the center of human history. By adding our stories, we can do our own part to make sure that the lives of ordinary people are not written out of history. 

We are inspired by a similar project at Indiana University, which drew its own inspiration from the history of Mass Observation, on which more details can be found here:

Events are changing by the day. They are specific to you, and to your families and friends and communities. Please start writing now! The O'Grady Library will welcome your diary’s deposit in either analog or digital form. To participate, please fill out this Google form to help us gather your information and we’ll send you more information about submission procedures in the coming few weeks. For questions, please email


Aaron Goings (Department of History, Political Science, and Gender & Identity Studies),

Amy Stewart-Mailhiot (Dean of Library & Learning Resources, O'Grady Library),

Kael Moffat (Information Literacy Librarian, O'Grady Library)


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