So, you’ve decided to keep a Coronavirus diary- now what?

April 16-18, 1863, page of James Overholser's Civil War diary (MS-5)
April 16-18, 1863, page of James Overholser’s Civil War diary (MS-5). Click to enlarge image, or view entire diary on CORE Scholar.

Have you decided to document your experience of the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic crisis? This could include a written diary or blog, audio or video, scrapbook, images or photos, sketchbook, etc. Any of these formats (and others) can be a diary.

Whether or not you are planning to donate your personal record to us here at Special Collections & Archives, it’s awesome that you’ve decided to keep a diary! Not only are diaries invaluable windows to the past for those who may read them in the future, but they can also be extremely useful, therapeutic tools for the diary author as well.

But sometimes, it can be difficult to get started on that diary, or to think of what you might include in that diary. So, below are some things to think about, with regards to current events, to help you get started:

  • What did you do today (or this week)? How was that different than what you would do on a “normal” day/week?
  • What changes have you personally experienced (physically, mentally, and/or emotionally) since this crisis began?
  • What changes have you observed in your family, your friends, or your local community?
  • Are you a student or a teacher? Where and how do you normally attend school? Has this changed? How’s that going? Or is there a student or teacher in your family? How is the crisis affecting their schooling situation?
  • Do you typically work outside the home? What is your job normally like? What is it like right now? Are you still working, whether on-site or remotely? Why or why not? How’s that going?
  • Are you practicing social distancing? Why or why not? What are you doing? How is this affecting your relationships? How do you stay in touch with family and friends?
  • Has this crisis changed (whether voluntarily or involuntarily) any of your plans for day-to-day errands, travel, visiting, leisure activities, celebrations, religious activities, etc.?
  • What do you think about the actions of government leaders in response to this crisis?
  • What has been the most difficult thing for you personally about this crisis? Do you think there’s anything positive that may come from what’s happening?

If these questions don’t speak to you, don’t help you, then don’t use them.

Perhaps the best suggestion is also the simplest: just record your current life experiences during this time frame, whatever those are, however you want to document them.

The main thing is, just get started. The rest will come to you.

Posted in SC&A | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Coronavirus/COVID-19 Pandemic Crisis: Document Your Story

Milton Wright diary entry, March 30, 1913
Milton Wright diary entry during the Great Flood, March 30, 1913

A call for volunteers: The COVID-19 Pandemic has affected all of us in many different ways and we are all eyewitnesses to the events that have been unfolding the last few weeks. This is a time for us to record our daily experiences, thoughts, and feelings in diary form, either in writing or video. SC&A envisions collecting and preserving the stories of the Wright State University community (students, faculty, and staff) and Miami Valley residents. The goal is to preserve the stories of our daily lives during the crisis and to provide future historians, researchers, and students with information and data on life in the Miami Valley during the Pandemic.

Please take the time each day to record your activities, thoughts, and/or feelings in diary form. The entries can be handwritten, typed, or in video format, and be as long or short as you want. Don’t worry about handwriting, spelling, or punctuation. Photos welcome! The goal is to capture your personal experiences. And remember, these diaries will be available to researchers, so please keep that in mind.

For questions about the project or to submit a diary, please email the SC&A staff at

Posted in SC&A | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Special Collections & Archives Reading Room Temporary Closure

Dunbar Library and the SC&A reading room are closed temporarily for the safety of staff and patrons. The University Libraries blog has information on available services and will be updated frequently. While the reading room might be closed, archivists are monitoring email Monday-Friday from 8:30am-5pm and chat Monday-Friday from 1-5pm. Contact information can be found on our Ask an Archivist page. Please use email or chat as we will not be able to respond by telephone.

Our web site and CORE Scholar are both available anytime for research. CORE Scholar has numerous photographs and documents from a variety of our collections covering a variety of topics including aviation, the Civil War, oral history collections, Women’s Suffrage, the Wright Brothers, University Archives, and much more. For teachers, the Wright Brothers and Paul Laurence Dunbar pages contain educational material that can be use for classes and projects.

Please check our social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) and blog for updates on our status.

Posted in SC&A | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment