Sarah Elizabeth Jackson An Occasional Diary (1906-1918)

Jackson Diary cover

with an introduction by Barbara Wall

FREE | 2018 | Ebook (PDF) | 978-1-925261-85-1


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Elizabeth Jackson was not yet sixteen when she wrote, ‘This isn’t the first diary I’ve started’. She was writing in a new exercise book, a large, thick book with a red cover, with the Methodist Ladies’ College crest at the top, the words ‘Methodist Ladies’ College’ printed across the centre, and 'Name' and 'Form' spaces near the bottom. She was to write in it, off and on, for the next twelve years. Elizabeth called it a ‘diary’, but it is not a diary in the sense that the word is usually used. It is far from a day-to-day record of the happenings in her life.

Right from the beginning of the diary, her personality emerges — her honesty, her forthrightness, her sense of humour and her ability to look at life without too much distress. On the first page we find:

    Rain! rain! rain! A steady downpour. Good for the farmers, but if you happen
    to be a minister’s daughter, & it rains on Saturday night, you naturally fear for the morrows congregation —
    & collection. Not that I am mercenary, but even a minister’s family must live — at least its more pleasant than
    starving, & that Mother would rather do than go into debt ever so little.

That thoughtful, questioning, accepting voice remains with us to the end. When the last page of the diary had been written — and it has very much a ‘last words’ feel about it — Elizabeth was twenty-eight and far from well. If she ever began to write another volume, it has not survived.

You might also be interested in our title The Letters of Sarah Elizabeth Jackson (1910-1922).