17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Saturday, June 8, 1912: The high lady here wanted to make a certain kind of cake, and so I walked to the neighbors to get an ingredient. I truly am the n_____ around here. I am getting that color as I and the sun’s rays often meet and collide.
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
Most days I look forward to writing a post—today is not one of those days. I’ve known that this entry was coming up for several weeks and I’ve dreaded it.
I need help. How should I write about this diary entry?
Grandma probably used language and expressed sentiments that were typical of those in her community. I don’t think any less of Grandma because of what she wrote—yet I’m troubled by this entry.
As family historians, how should controversial text in family documents be handled? . . . use it verbatim? . . . edit it? . . don’t include it in family histories? . . . .include additional historic contextual information? . . .
Is it important to accurately report what the original document said? . . .or do readers of family histories want to feel good about their ancestors and not read upsetting things? . . .