Personal Papers document the lives, accomplishments and activities of individuals and families. Personal papers are usually composed of diaries, letters, and other materials. They can be important to researchers whether or not the individual or family was famous, if they provide insight into how people lived their lives, what decisions they made, and how they felt about the events they lived through.
- Diaries give an intimate and detailed look at the daily
lives and thoughts of their writers. The diaries most useful to historians
not only record details of what the writer did, saw and heard but also
the writer's motives, emotions and reactions.
- Letters between friends, family or colleagues can be
highly expressive or merely perfunctory. "Personal" correspondence
may include important information about families, social life, business
deals, and political machinations. Increased use of the telephone has
meant the virtual disappearance of extensive personal correspondence since
- Among other materials preserved in the manuscripts collections are speeches, sermons, personal account books, photos, home movies and videos, family histories, certificates, and commendations.