Sarah’s Diary Episode Two

Jenny Parton found the book on the Malcomb family to be fascinating. Hiram and Mable Malcomb had raised a very accomplished family. What really interested Jenny was that no one would have predicted that this one family would be such innovators. While all of the children had gone to college, a rarity in itself in the late 19th century, the family was certainly not gifted financially. The children’s childhood education through high school was very basic. There were none of the trappings that you would normally associate with the beginnings of an innovator.

In fact, the success of the Malcomb family made Jenny rethink her thoughts about innovation itself. Universities across the country champion their innovation role, but in reality the Malcombs were more innovative than Jenny saw in her own university and others she had studied.

While Hiram’s memoir was a very good chronicle of the family, it still left Jenny wondering about what made this family so innovative. She mentioned her continuing quest for understanding to her librarian friend.

“I’m glad you enjoyed the book. Since we last talked, I asked around to see if we have anything more on the Malcomb family. We do have something you may be interested in.”

Jenny was excited and couldn’t wait to hear what it was.

“As you know from the book, Sarah was the youngest of the three girls in the family. What we have is her diary from 1889. She was 15 years old for most of the time the diary was written. I think this may give you some insight into the family.”

Jenny couldn’t believe what she just heard.

“In fact, our special collection has some other objects gifted to us upon the death of the last Malcomb child,” the librarian explained. “You should see the artwork of Hiram. It is a fine illustration of rural America at the time. Mable was a naturalist who wrote about the flora and fauna in her area of the country. Frankly, we had never uncrated these until you became interested in the Malcomb family. I’m hoping we can do an exhibit of the family once you have finished your study of their family as innovators.”

For Jenny, this was one of the most exciting moments in her academic career. She was excited to read Sarah’s diary.

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“Writing in a diary is a really strange experience for someone like me. Not only because I’ve never written anything before, but also because it seems to me that later on neither I nor anyone else will be interested in the musings of a thirteen-year-old schoolgirl.” – Anne Frank

This is the Malcomb place as it looks from their front porch

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