The Great Diary Project


The Great Diary Project (GDP) was launched in 2007 by two diary devotees, Dr Irving Finkel and Dr Polly North. The project rescues, archives and makes publicly available a growing collection of over 9,000 unpublished diaries. Revealing the extraordinary and the everyday in individual lives, diaries help researchers explore important issues for the individual and society. But diaries are at risk. Even lifelong diarists frequently make no provision for the preservation of their writings. The GDP wants to help. The diaries that are donated to them are freely available to researchers and interested readers at Bishopsgate Institute’s reading room.

Diaries are among our most precious items of heritage. People in all walks of life have confided and often still confide their thoughts and experiences to the written page, and the result is a unique record of what happens to an individual over months, or even years, as seen through their eyes. No other kind of document offers such a wealth of information about daily life and the ups and downs of human existence. The Project’s idea is to collect as many diaries as possible from now on for long-term preservation. In the future these diaries will be a precious indication of what life, in our own time, was really like.

To understand the value which the Great Diary Project can provide, please see the following interview by Dr Irving Finkel where he defines his work as being Diary Rescuers that connect past memories to today’s lives.


Address: Stefan Dickers, 230 Bishopsgate, London, EC2M 4QH

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