History is bunk . . . because it's written by the victors, or at least the survivors. Irving Finkel MultBlobPrev, the eccentric face of the British Museum, acquired a boxful of old diaries many years ago because it was too distressing to see them committed to a dumpster. Journal-keeping was not part of his culture growing up and perhaps his fascination with The Other - he speaks fluent Assyrian cuneiform - made him start reading. Finkel is a bit of a card with an understated sense of humor; reads supposed diary:
Mon: Got up, went to work, der dee der
Tue: Couldn't be bothered to cook anything; had a cold sandwich
Wed: Went out in the garden
Thu: Saw God . . .
Finkel and fellow diary-geek Polly North established a permanent collection of discarded diaries in London in 2009 called The Great Diary Project. They will last a lot longer than the record of my daily life recorded as e-mails through the 1990s: indeed that archive has already gone forever. And the GDP is still actively soliciting new/old material: they'll take anything diary-like because they have sufficient humility to refuse the task of gate-keeping: Who knows what will seem important to researchers in 200 years time?
Here's a youtube comment to one of the above-cited videos: I am thrilled to have discovered the Great Diary Project as a home for a very special diary. This covers the period 1810 to 1839 mostly in Somers Town, London, but also a trip to France and later to Yorkshire. I now live in Oregon, USA, and have mailed the diary to where it will be appreciated.