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Interpreting the Evidence

Diary of Fannie Jane Roberts, 1902

  • Documents in this Activity:
  • Historical Eras:

    Turn of the Century and WWI (1890 - 1930)

  • Thinking Skill:

    Historical Analysis & Interpretation

  • Grade Level:

    Upper Elementary
    Middle School
    High School
    College University

  • Topics:


  • Primary Source Types:

    Written Document

  • Regions:

    Southern Tier
    New York State

  • Creator:

    NYS Archives Partnership Trust Education Team

  1. Load Diary of Fannie Jane Roberts, 1902 in Main Image Viewer
  2. Load Diary of Fannie Jane Roberts, 1902 in Main Image Viewer

Suggested Teaching Instructions

Document Description
Diary of Fannie Jane Roberts, November 26 - December 1, 1902
Historical Context
This 1902 excerpt from Fannie Roberts’ diary (1886-1967) provides a glimpse of rural life in Bloomville, Delaware County, from the perspective of a 16-year-old girl. Diaries provide valuable insight into the day to day life of individuals. Diaries are often found in historical societies, libraries, with municipal historians and in personal or family historical record collections. This excerpt from Fannie Roberts’ diary is courtesy of Elva G. Meyer and the Delaware County Historical Association, Delhi, New York.
Essential Question
How does this diary entry depict rural life in Bloomville in 1902?
Check for Understanding
Students will begin writing a comparison paragraph response about how everyday life and farming and agricultural methods changed from early 20th century to modern 21st century methods.
Historical Challenges
The following activity could be completed in order to extend students’ thinking and encourage them to make connections:
  • Instruct students to begin writing their own diaries for the next five days. Have them include information about their daily lives much like Fannie did. If someone found their diary 100 years from now, what would they want to tell people of the future about a student’s life today? Share, collect, and keep in a school time capsule.
  • How will the permanence of Facebook, blogs, etc. leave a lasting memorial to life in the 21st century? People of the future will have easy access to our ideas and concerns. How is this similar or different than finding a diary from 1902? Write some ideas, then share your thoughts during a class discussion.