The Beehive: the official blog of the Massachusetts Historical Society

Barbara Hillard Smith’s Diary, January 1918

A new year means a new serialized diary here at The Beehive, where for the past three years we have showcased a diary from the collections written one hundred years ago (you can read the 2015, 2016, and 2017 series in our archives!). This year’s diary was transcribed by intern Lindsay Bina.


The diary for 2018 is a tiny line-a-day diary kept by teenager Barbara Hillard Smith. Smith was born on 16 July 1903 and was fourteen in January of 1918 when she began keeping her diary. Before she began to record her daily activities, Barbara carefully completed the “Identification” page in the front of the diary, noting that her weight was 126, her height 5 feet, 6 ½ inches, her shoe size a 7, her hosiery 10 ½, and her gloves 6 ¼. Her telephone number was Newton West 193-M and her physician was an H.W. Godfrey. She was a student at Newton High School.

Image from The Newtonian (1920) yearbook. Barbara was captain of her basketball team senior year and is depicted in the center holding a basketball.


Without further ado, we bring you January 1918 through the eyes of a Newton teenager.

* * *

TUES. 1                      JAN., 1918 NEW YEAR’S DAY

Muriel’s. Skating at Bulloughs. Women Club Play


WED. 2

Went over to Aunt Mabels.


THUR. 3      

Mother went to New York. Aunt Mabels.


FRI. 4

Aunt Mabels


SAT. 5

Aunt Mabels


SUN. 6

Came home


MON. 7

School. Took care of the baby.



School. Basket Ball.


WED. 9

Sick with cold. Peg hurt her back


THUR. 10

Sick with cold. Had Dr. Godfrey.


FRI. 11

Cold Better. Mother came home


SAT. 12

In the house. Down street.


SUN. 13

Church. Sunday School. Service flag unfurled. Skating in back yard. Sick


MON. 14

School. Stayed for algebra. Pegs skating


TUES. 15

School. Stayed for geometry. Pegs.


WED. 16

School. Stayed for French. Skating in front yard.


THUR. 17

School. Skating at Pegs. Concert at the Seminary


FRI. 18

School. Down to Rosa’s. Watched swimming class.


SAT. 19

Shampoo at Miss Mitchells. Sewed on my dress. Down town


SUN. 20

Sunday School. Hung around


MON. 21

School. Took care of the baby.


TUES. 22

School. Basketball. up to Mrs. Reed’s


WED. 23

School. Took care of baby.


THUR. 24

School. Basketball


FRI. 25

School. Camp Fire. Swimming.


SAT. 26

Skating with Mrs. Moody. Pegs. Mother Carey’s Chickens.


SUN. 27

Church. S.S. Skating at Pegs. [Havene] here. Fell down and hurt my back


MON. 28

Home with my back. Felt kind of weak


TUES. 29

Home with my back. Took care of sonny. Father died.


WED. 30

School. Took care of sonny.


THUR. 31

School. Basket Ball. Symphony and Mischa Elman.


* * *

If you are interested in viewing the diary in person in our library or have other questions about the collection, please visit the library or contact a member of the library staff for further assistance.


 *Please note that the diary transcription is a rough-and-ready version, not an authoritative transcript. Researchers wishing to use the diary in the course of their own work should verify the version found here with the manuscript original. The catalog record for the Barbara Hillard Smith collection may be found here.



permalink | Published: Wednesday, 31 January, 2018, 12:00 AM