Wednesday, 12 March 2014

British teen's 1914 diary from Paris brought to life on Twitter

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British teen's 1914 diary from Paris brought to life on Twitter

Hello All!  Well, another busy start to the month has seen ten days fly by but now here I am again with a new post.  I say "new" but the subject was first reported on as far back as January-February.

The 100-year old diary of Olive Higgins, a teenage girl from Kent studying in Paris, has recently come to light after over ten years in the possession of a London journalist & writer, who spent that time researching the girl's tragically short life following the discovery that they both happened to come from the same area. 

Margate girl Olive Higgins' diary put online at 100th anniversary of death

To celebrate the centenary of Olive's writings the journalist, Rob McGibbon, came up with the splendid idea of publishing the daily entries on Twitter (@OlivesDiary1914) - as well as creating a website with every day reproduced in full as well as further information about Olive Higgins, her family and how Mr McGibbon came to be interested.

The diary and the project it inspired have a poignant ending, however.  Barely two months in to her Paris adventure Olive Higgins was struck down by double influenza and sadly died on the 25th February.  Consequently her diary entries stop halfway through that month, as she struggled to recover.

Nevertheless her record of those first few weeks in Paris make for fascinating reading - a real insight into the thoughts of a 16-year-old student one hundred years ago, yet revealing teenage feelings and insecurities still familiar a century on.  Mr McGibbon's project has certainly been a worthwhile one not only from his personal point of view but also as a valuable piece of social history and a fitting & timely tribute to Olive Higgins' life.

6 comments:

  1. If I had Twitter I would follow this, such a great idea... But I don't have it.
    And I think it's very nice that you also put things like this on you're blog!

    xoxo Emma
    http://littlemissbamboo.blogspot.be/

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Emma - glad you like it!

      As MelanHelen says, you can read all the diary entries (and more) at the website www.olivesdiary1914.com.

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  2. Emma, I don't follow Twitter either, but I read the whole thing on the website linked above. As mentioned, it's quite poignant.

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  3. This is just so poignant, I love a true story, preferably without the tragic ending, but I enjoy the sad ones just as much. Anything that makes you feel grateful for the time and place you find yourself in. I'm reading about some young women in WWII at the moment, was nearly in tears on the commute to work earlier. Thanks for sharing the link, I will be reading the web version. x

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    Replies
    1. I agree Miss P; I rarely feature anything with a sad ending on here but I thought this was such a sweet and novel way of remembering Olive - and as you say it's important to remember the young people of those times, to be reminded of the immediacy of life and be thankful for it.

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