George Hyland diary, page 329 with entries for 29 April to 8 May 1919
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[ This description is from the project: Staff Favorites ]
In October 1913, 59-year-old George Hyland of Hingham, Mass., was given a hardbound standard diary. Rather than using the book as intended—filling one page per day for the year—Hyland began recording his life story in dense script, beginning with his childhood memories of the Civil War. Once his recollection caught up with his present, Hyland continued to fill the diary until 1922.
“He is the opposite of isolated: He is embedded in family…”
MHS Reference Librarian Anna Clutterbuck-Cook on George Hyland's diary
George Hyland’s diary resides in a collection of local history materials from Hingham, Massachusetts. It came to my attention when I was looking for diaries in the MHS collections that covered the year 1919, and Hyland’s diary leapt out at me. Many of the diaries in MHS collections were kept by upper-middle class writers; Hyland’s diary captures the routines of a day laborer in southern Massachusetts. Hyland uses his diary to record the weather, his work, and the payments he receives for his labor. He also shares evidence of a vibrant social life in his community: shared meals with extended family and friends, musical evenings, trips into Boston on business. Historians of queer and family life can use sources such as this diary to think about how unmarried and nonparenting people such as Hyland, participated in community life. While Hyland does not fit the normative white, middle class picture of a life where marriage and parenting shape adult life, he is the opposite of isolated: He is embedded in family, economic, and regional life.