“I am starting my 30th year of keeping a diary,” wrote Lucetta Thompson on January 1, 1962. “Can tell what happened every day ... I enjoy reading them. They bring back memories some sad but more happy I believe.” Thompson was one of many northern Utah residents—including early settlers, businessmen, missionaries, homemakers, polygamists, farmers, and teachers—who documented their experiences in northern Utah and southern Idaho through diaries and memoirs. The writings address a wide variety of topics, from Charles Ramsden Bailey’s handwritten “Byography,” which describes early Mormon settlement in Wellsville during the late 1850s, to Thompson’s diaries, which provide a unique glimpse into the day-to-day life of a twentieth-century homemaker in Garland, Utah.
The Historical Diaries digital collection brings a sampling of these firsthand accounts from the Merrill-Cazier Library’s Special Collections and Archives to your computer screen. More than just lists of daily reflections by Utah residents, these volumes also contain biographies and correspondence related to the individuals who wrote them. Some are typescript copies while others are the original narratives handwritten by the author. Each contributes to understanding 150+ years of Utah experience.
Like Lucetta Thompson thumbing through her own past journals, you can “recall” some of Utah’s great memories—both happy and sad—by exploring our Historical Diaries digital collection.
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