As promised, a requested follow up to the Mass Observation 1937-1955 post with further details about the actual archives of the orginal documents (which would be fascinating to go and see).
History of everyday life during World War II is both interesting and engrossing, as these stories and diaries, bring to life, what the wartime period was really like for the people at home.
A quick recap of Mass Observation for anyone who hasn’t read my previous post – Mass Observation was a government led project that aimed to record everyday life in Britain using around 500 volunteer ‘observers’ who either kept diaries or replied to open-ended questionnaires. The project kicked off in August 1939 when Mass Observation invited members of the public to record and send them a day to day account of their lives in the form of a diary.
Probably the most well known MO diaries from Nella Last
You can access information about the Archives at the MO website.
The original materials are now archived in the care of the University of Sussex and is housed in the Library in Special Collections for anyone who lives close enough or is around that way, however, you can access the diaries and other materials online in the Adam Matthews collection (see below for links).
- Call for papers: Mass Observation Anniversaries Conference, 4-6 July 2012
- Find out about the Mass Observation Anniversaries Conference
- Collaborate on a Directive
- Find out more about how to commission a Directive
- Follow on Twitter and keep up-to-date with latest news.
I think its well worth following MO on twitter – the human stories from this period are so captivating, and absorbing. They engender humanity!
London Library during the Blitz