Monday, June 9, 2008

John Boyle's Diary and the NEHGR

For the last few weeks, I have been toying with the idea of working with the John Boyle diary in some serious way. It's not the most compelling project I can think of, but it is an important source, and I think that annotating and publishing it would be a great help to many researchers.

This morning, I went to Widener and copied the transcription that appeared in the 1930-1931 volumes of the New England Historical and Genealogical Register (NEHGR). The transcription is preceded by a short introduction, which contains a brief biography and genealogy of John Boyle, as well as the following note:
In this article, the REGISTER presents a verbatim copy of John Boyle's "Journal," only a few passages — chiefly verses of no historical or genealogical importance or certain entries hardly suitable for publication — being omitted.
As you might imagine, the entries that discuss rape and genital mutilation that I presented here are deemed "hardly suitable for publication." I have found 12 entries that have been wholly or partially redacted, including a tantalizing entry discussing a Sons of Liberty dinner that ends enigmatically:
After an elegant Repast a Number of Patriotic Toasts were drank . . .
I'll be in the archives this afternoon and will report back on the unspeakable debauchery.

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