This LibGuide provides an overview of some of the diaries held by the University of Exeter Special Collections. Each box below describes a different collection containing diaries and includes links to the archives catalogue, through which you can explore the diaries further.
The resources highlighted in this guide have been identified using our catalogues, but are not exhaustive. You can search our archives catalogue and library catalogue with key word searches to identify further items of interest. More information on searching the catalogues can be found on the Search our Catalogues LibGuide. If you come across any other sources within our collections that you think should be included in this guide, we would be very pleased to hear about them.
Archives and rare books held by Special Collections are available to everyone. More information about accessing the collections can be found in our Visiting Heritage Collections LibGuide. Please note that there may be some restrictions on accessing and copying (including photography) material in the archives and books held by Special Collections in line with current data protection and copyright legislation. Always make sure to check the access conditions on the archive catalogue and email Special Collections before your visit for more information about specific restrictions.
Journals and appointment diaries of Patricia Beer, poet and writer (EUL MS 335/PERS)
The personal papers of Patricia Beer include appointment diaries, dating from 1980 to 1999; three volumes of personal journals, dating from c 1969 to 1993 and containing observations and ideas for poems; and two travel journals, dating from 1976 to 1981.
Diaries of Charles Causley, poet, teacher and broadcaster (EUL MS 50a/PERS/2)
Charles Causley's papers include diaries from 1938 to 1943 relating to his time as a coder in the Navy during the war, and appointment books covering the years 1985 to 2000.
Diaries of Jack Clemo, poet (EUL MS 68/PERS/2)
The literary and personal papers of Jack Clemo contain an almost complete run (except 1939 and 1940) of Jack Clemo's personal diaries from 1935 until his death in 1994. The diaries record various observations and comments on issues such as health problems, literary output, personal relationships, faith, mood changes, and world events. The diaries are available to search at item level on the archives catalogue.
Digitised extracts from two of Jack Clemo's diaries are available thorugh the Open Research Portal:
The Charles Dalrymple-Belgrave collection consists of copies of the personal diaries of Belgrave, from his arrival as advisor in Bahrain to the time of his departure during the Suez crisis. They date from 1926 to 1957 (with a gap for 1937).
Diaries of Ronald Duncan (EUL MS 397/15/1)
Writer, poet and librettist Ronald Duncan's pocket, desk and engagements diaries from 1951-1982. The diaries show appointments, travel arrangements, visits with friends, performances and launches of Duncan's work, deadlines and other events. Some contain drafts of poems or other additional notations
Diaries of Rose Marie Duncan (EUL MS 397/18/1)
Diaries kept by Ronald Duncan's wife Rose Marie Duncan from 1940-1989 describing family life. Detailed entries surrounding farming, the community farm initiative at Gooseham and the impact of the war in Devon. The diaries frequently record responses to historic events of the day along with mentions of performances and publications of Ronald Duncan's work.
Diaries of Bianca Duncan (EUL MS 397/15/1/32)
Three diaries from 1939-1943 written by Ronald Duncan's sister Bianca (Bunny). The diaries primarily contain descriptions of family life, work on 'Townsman', farming, and passing mentions of world events.
The archive of Cecil Harmsworth includes 45 manuscript diaries, which he kept between 1900 and his death in 1948. It also includes typescript and carbon copy transcripts that were made during his lifetime, as well as notes and correspondence concerning his diaries.
Cecil Harmsworths diaries represent a historical record of the social and political culture in Britain in the early 20th century. Harmsworth was a keen angler and his diary began as a record of his fishing trips. Following his election as an MP in the House of Commons in 1906, his diaries became increasingly political. Harmsworths diaries are full of observations and notes on domestic and foreign policy, parliamentary colleagues, and his political duties as an MP. In addition, Harmsworth lived through several key historical events, including the Easter Rising in Ireland and the First and Second World War. Other notable features of his diaries are descriptions of family life, travel around the world, involvement in the Garden Cities movement, and the restoration of Dr Samuel Johnsons House in London.
The diaries are available to search at item level on the online archives catalogue.
Pocket diaries of Lady Dorothy Harmsworth (EUL MS 435/6/5/1)
The papers of Captain Hillman include six diaries, dating between 1920 and 1926. The diaries are principally composed of details of the leisure activities of Hillman and his wife Minnie, plus daily weather reports. Some significant events are noted in detail such as the arrival of the French, American and British around the world flight crews in 1924, and the violence of the Shanghai 'Crisis of 1924-25'.
Desk diaries dating from 1953 to 1956, 1961 to 1966, and 1970 to 1971. The contents are confined to brief details of appointments, travel dates and meetings, both personal and political.
Find out more about the archives of Sir William Luce in the blog post The Archives of Sir William Luce: Reframing the Personal and the Political
Diaries of Ernest Martin, writer and social historian (EUL MS 309/3/1)
One typescript diary dated 1961, and two pre-printed diaries, dated 1988 and 1990. Entries mainly relate to the weather, Martin's daily business and current events.
There are several parts to Rowse's famous 'diary', and they are formed of numbered volumes, dating from the 1920s to 1990s.The papers of A.L. Rowse also include engagement diaries and dream diaries.
Diaries of Syon Abbey, a community of Bridgettine nuns (EUL MS 389/ADM/5)
The Syon Abbey archive contains 100 diaries that were kept by the religious community between 1890 and 2004. They record daily life at Syon Abbey and include entries relating to the sisters, worship, the estate, special events, current affairs, visitors to the Abbey, and the weather. The diaries are available to search at item level on the archives catalogue.
'The Annals of the English Bridgettines' (EUL MS 389/HIST/1/1)
It includes a history of the community from 1415 to 1880; annal entries for the years 1878 to 1886; diary entries for the years 1887 to 1895; and lists of benefactors, priests, and religious (sisters and brothers) of Syon between 1428 and 1909.
Personal diaries of individual sisters:
'Annals of St Agnes' Noviciate in Chudleigh & Brent 1922-1927' (EUL MS 262/add1/93)
Diary of Sister Mary Ignatius Budd (EUL MS 389/PERS/BUDD)
Diary of Sister Mary Francis [Margaret Teresa] Ellis (EUL MS 389/PERS/ELLIS)
Diaries of Sister Mary Teresa [Agnes] Jocelyn (EUL MS 389/PERS/JOCELYN)
Diary of Sister Mary Magdalen [Clara] Heys (EUL MS 389/PERS/HEYS)
Diary of Sister Mary Dominic [Helen] Redpath, entitled 'Diary of Pilgrimage - Lent + Easter 1922, Lucerne, Rome, Monte Cassino, Rome, Assisi, Siena, Florence, Bologna, Milan, Paris, March 6th-May 5th' (EUL MS 389/PERS/REDPATH)
Six volumes of manuscript diaries of naval officer George H.P. White, providing an account of his voyages between 1819 and 1838.
Find out more about the diaries in our blog post The Odysseys of Captain George Henry Parlby White (1802-82) – Naval Diaries, EUL MS 418.
Searching for diaries in our rare book collections:
Rare book collections can be found by searching the University of Exeter Library catalogue
You can find more search tips in our 'Searching our Catalogues' LibGuide