At a Glance

History Matters

Source and approach letters and diaries with historical thinking.

Making Sense of Letters and Diaries

In an attic or an online archive, coming across personal correspondence and diaries can open a tantalizing window into past lives. This guide offers an overview of letters and diaries as historical sources and how historians use them; tips on what questions to ask when reading these personal texts; an annotated bibliography; and a guide to finding and using letters and diaries online.