Last Updated: 26 September, 2020
Diaries and journals can be very personal documents so it can be hard to think about who to trust with them. I’ve seen several comments from people saying their diaries are boring or too personal so they have either destroyed or plan to destroy them because they don’t want anyone to read them, (you can see some comments on my post 15 ideas for old diaries and journals).
This really bothers me because I think of all the social history that will be lost, for example by reading my diaries from 25 years ago I’m noticing the significant difference between my school days and what my children are experiencing. And just think about how much we know of everyday life in the 1600s because of Samuel Pepys’ diary*. Some people have said hard copy records don’t matter now in the digital age because there is so much material on the internet, but I know I write differently on and offline, and I suspect at some level everyone does. And there is also the concern about obsolescent, will people be able to access all those internet records in the future?
So if I was to tempt you to pass your diaries, journals or notebooks on to someone, who would you trust?
- Family member – but will they value them, and could they change their view of you
- Organisation – donate them to a library or archive
- Lawyer – leave them with instructions so they can be read a certain number of years in the future
- No one – keep them hidden
- Yourself – edit your diaries and prepare them for publications
One of the biggest unknowns I have is what would I like to happen to my diaries in the future. Would I like them published? Would I like to be involved in the editing process? Would I like them published during the potential lifetime of people who are mentioned? If I could answer those I think I would be happier trusting someone else with my diaries because I’d be able to give them guidance so I would not be relying on them to make decisions in my place.
For now, all my diaries will be left to my husband as I trust him and he has said he’d like to have them; although I don’t know what he would do with them apart from showing them to our children.
So who will you trust with your journals? Do you have a plan for your diaries and journals? Do you intend to trust someone with them or destroy them?