In the Stacks: Women’s Travel Diaries at Duke University
The folks at the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture at Duke University have a new digital collection on view. Women’s Travels Diaries features over 100 diaries written by British and American women who documented their travels to places around the globe, including India, the West Indies, countries in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, as well as around the United States.
The collection is comprised mostly of the diaries of Mary McCornack Thompson, a Presbyterian missionary and teacher with the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions in South Africa and Mary McMillan, a United Methodist missionary and teacher at Jo Gakuin College in Hiroshima.
Thompson’s diaries document all five of her missionary trips to Africa between 1887 and 1933.
In the diaries, Thompson wrote of her daily activities as a missionary, including building and expanding the mission, encounters with locals, learning Zulu, wildlife, meeting other missionaries, teaching and praying. These detailed entries offer a glimpse into the social conditions, race relations, and native cultures of various South African regions. Thompson also recounts her many travels throughout Africa, Europe, Asia, the United States, and Canada.
Mary McMillan’s journals span more than 40 years, and document her work as a United Methodist missionary and teacher at Jo Gakuin College in Hiroshima. McMillan’s early journals provide accounts of her adaptation to life in pre-World War II Japan. They also provide “almost daily accounts of McMillan’s work at Hiroshima Jo Gakuin College, her involvement with the Ushita Christian Church, and her encounters with friends and other people. Also included are her personal thoughts about world events, particularly those related to peace and nuclear disarmament.”
Fascinating material and clearly if one has any interest in any of the topics covered this collection provides an easy place to get lost in.
This is the latest installment of In the Stacks. A series dedicated to exploring the digital archives of the leading libraries, institutions and organizations of the known universe.
Previously on In the Stacks:
Charles Darwin’s Library
The National Archives