Sarah Soule Wilbour’s Diary (PDF)

Sarah Soule Wilbour (1804-1891) was an avid diarist in the last 10 years of her life. These 10 years represented rapid change in Little Compton, including massive Azorean immigration. In the previous decades she fought for the abolition of slavery. She came of age as the last slave in Little Compton was freed (1816) and fought more broadly for the abolition of slavery in the decades before these diaries began. Like many other female abolitionists, she went on to advocate for women’s suffrage.

A huge thank you to Sheila Mackintosh who transcribed and typed the diary years ago. Her transcription is 564 pages plus a 35 page index.

An important note: daily diaries were just coming into vogue when Sarah began her diary. They were used more for a daily accounting of activities than as a tool for releasing one’s emotions during that period. While Sarah certainly addresses her thoughts and opinions on topics in the course of the diary, the brief entries common among 19th century diarists don’t lend themselves to deep exploration of a topic. Letters generally contained more detail and reflection in the 19th century.

You can download the diaries below in smaller chunks by year, or as a large file of her full diaries. When you open the diaries, you can use the search function to look for certain words, but since the spelling has not been corrected or modernized, some instances may be excluded. For example, if she had written “Lucy” in one place but “Lucey” in another, you would have to search by each to capture all her references.

You will need Adobe Acrobat to view these files. If you do not have Acrobat, go to the Adobe web site at to download the program before accessing the file.

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