Guide to the Microfilm Edition
Sponsored by the Massachusetts Council on the Arts and Humanities.
This microfilm edition consists of colonial diaries, logbooks, and orderly books compiled from manuscript collections at the Massachusetts Historical Society.
This microfilm edition of pre-Revolutionary era diaries consists of 276 diaries written by 112 individuals from 1635 to 1790 and provides a rich and authentic portrait of incidents, manners, customs, and details of life in pre-Revolutionary America. The collection contains the diaries of a broad range of individuals, from farmers and businessmen to clergymen, soldiers, students, and physicians.
The diaries are arranged alphabetically, by author, on reels 1-11, followed by a reel of logbooks (reel 12) and a reel of orderly books (reel 13), also arranged alphabetically. Dates given for individual diaries, logbooks, etc., are terminal dates of entire volumes from earliest to latest entry. No effort has been made to identify omissions within these dates or to distinguish between such terms as "diary" or "journal"; regular or sporadic notations of personal, professional, or job-related entries are included. Many of the diaries were bound into interleaved almanacs.
Omitted from this microfilm edition, although a part of the MHS collections, are diaries and journals readily available in published format, for example the diaries of Cotton Mather, Samuel Sewall, and John Winthrop.
The items in this collection were acquired through a combination of gifts and purchases.
Detailed Description of the Collection
I. Diaries, 1635-1790
Note: This diary is identified as anonymous, 1718, but was kept by Benjamin Webb from 1718-1719. The rest of Webb's diaries appear on reel 11.
Note: This diary is identified as anonymous, but was kept by Andrew Eliot. This volume and the rest of Eliot's diaries appear on reel 3.
Note: This volume is the same as volume 1.9 on reel 1.
Gideon Hawley, journal, 1757-1769: see reel 8, vol. 8.1.
Note: This diary was formerly incorrectly identified as Samuel Phillips Savage.
Benjamin Webb, diary in almanac, 1718-1719: see reel 1, vol. 1.6.
II. Logbooks, 1709-1774
III. Orderly books, 1745-1773
17th Century Diaries
18th Century Diaries
Craftsman or Artisan
Farmer and Husbandman
Sailing and Shipping
Pre-Revolutionary diaries microfilm, Massachusetts Historical Society.
This collection is indexed under the following headings in ABIGAIL, the online catalog of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Researchers desiring materials about related persons, organizations, or subjects should search the catalog using these headings.