Diaries - Old & New

July 17th, 2006 by Larry Smith

If you don’t live in or near NYC, you probably don’t get the excellent City Section of the NYT (it’s online, of course, but for some reason I myself much prefer to read it in print). My friends and I have taken to calling “the City the new Style Section” as Style tends to be tedious and lame and City tends to be fresh and soulful. Sunday’s City led with a long piece about a found diary, the property of a Ms. Florence Wolfson, a gift for her 14th birthday on Aug. 11, 1929. It was in this diary that she wrote about her life, every day, for five years. “Inside the worn leather cover,” writes the Times’ Lily Koppel, “in brief, breathless dispatches written on gold-edged pages, the journal recorded five years of the life and times of a smart and headstrong New York teenager, a girl who loved Balzac, Central Park and male and female lovers with equal abandon.”

What follows in this piece is a remarkable story of personal history—about a young woman and about the city of New York.

We love the intimacy of the diary form here at SMITH—and we love how the Web offers an immediacy with which those who choose to can share their private lives. As a part of our “My Diary” project, we’re showcasing four online journals of four people going through moments of personal transition. If you’re just joining us:

Brad is moving from the city to the suburbs.
Jason is finishing up his first year a high school teacher in Oakland, CA.
Cree has returned to New Orleans after the flood.
Frida is looking for love in Chicago.

Take a peek and let us know if you’re a Diary writer waiting to happen.

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