Manuscript journals of Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862), 1837–61
One of our favorite museums The Morgan Library & Museum has a great new exhibit called The Diary: Three Centuries of Private Lives that is running until May 22. Unfortunately we can't make it out to New York at the moment, but thankfully they have it as an online exhibit that--while not a real substitute for being there in person--gives a glimpse of what the exhibit is all about.
The largest part of the online exhibit is several featured diaries with audio guides that give more detail into the lives of the diarists. I especially liked the audio about Charlotte Brontë and how tiny her handwriting was (she had almost 2000 words on both sides of a 5"x7" piece of paper!). Sophia & Nathaniel Hawthorne's shared diary is also interesting since they both contributed to it as a couple. The one below is just Sophia's though (she's one of the Peabody sisters!).
Diary of Sophia Peabody Hawthorne (1809–1871), 1862
These are the kind of exhibits that when I step out of them (or into the gift shop) I immediately want to do my own journal in the same way that any good art exhibit makes you want to paint. Thanks to The Morgan for making these amazing objects available and documenting the creative process.
The Diary: Three Centuries of Private Lives
January 21 through May 22, 2011
The Morgan Library & Museum
225 Madison Avenue at 36th Street
New York, NY 10016