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Nancy Edelen Diaries

Identifier: MS 00164

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Scope and Contents

The diaries were kept in three separate appointment books. Each book had the year displayed on its cover, and the pages inside were set up to show the day’s appointments. Nancy made her entries in the 1951 appointment book and in the following two years, she made her entries in the books for 1952 and 1953. Because the space assigned for the days’ appointments in each book was fixed, she generally limited her daily entries to the space available, but she frequently wrote in the margin to note the time she finished her day (i.e., went to bed). She usually began each day’s entry with the time she got up.

Nancy made almost no mention of current events from the early 1950s. Instead, she wrote about her immediate concerns: having trouble with school work (even confiding that she had gotten caught at cheating); worrying about upcoming tests; receiving test results and report cards; being with her friends; going to “the show” (that is, a movie) frequently, even during the week; noting her comments about those movies; shopping for new clothes; listening to the radio; and, with the advent of television, just “watching tv.”

As she moved through her high school years, she wrote about her weight (e.g., “I wish I was thin. I don’t think it is fair to have other people thin and me so thick.”), her long-running desire to have a boyfriend (e.g., “I wish I had a boyfriend and weighed about 20 lbs. less that would be swell.”) and the many crushes she had along the way. She also revealed her self-doubts (e.g., “I haven’t got a chance but I will never give up hope[.] I wish I had what it takes but I don’t.”).


  • Creation: 1951-1953

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access:

Collection is open to all researchers. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, such as the Virginia Public Records Act (Code of Virginia. § 42.1-76-91); and the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (Code of Virginia § 2.2-3705.5). Confidential material may include, but is not limited to, educational, medical, and personnel records. If sensitive material is found in this collection, please contact a staff member immediately. The disclosure of personally identifiable information pertaining to a living individual may have legal consequences for which the College of William and Mary assumes no responsibility.

Conditions Governing Use:

Before reproducing or quoting from any materials, in whole or in part, permission must be obtained from the Special Collections Research Center, and the holder of the copyright, if not Swem Library.

Biographical Information:

Nancy Edelen’s diary covers three years, 1951, 1952, and 1953, when she was a high school student in Parkersburg, West Virginia. She was the daughter of Oscar Edelen and Rosalind Edelen.


0.25 Linear Feet

Processing Information:

Accessioned and minimally processed by Benjamin Bromley in April 2012. Description enhanced by Robert Browne in July 2019.

Guide to the Nancy Edelen Diaries
Benjamin Bromley, Public Services Archives Specialist.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
The collection description/finding aid is written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository