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Wanda E. Kathcart Diary

 Collection — Box: MISC-10, Folder: MSS-0043
Identifier: MSS-0043

Content Description

Diary of Wanda E. Kathcart, an approximately 20 year old woman from Galesburg, Illinois from May-December 1914. The following description and partial transcription of diary entries and an enclosed letter were provided by the seller:

"Wanda is about 20 years old and a young working girl although I'm not sure just where she is working. One entry she says she's been making 'auto veils.' She seems to be staying at a boarding house because during the fair she has to sleep on the floor and I'm assuming it's because they have other people staying there. I also found a photo postcard between the pages of the diary and the woman in it is holding a cat on her lap. There are no identification marks on this photo so I don't know if it is Wanda or not.

"The charming thing about her diary is that at the end of each of her entries (at least most of them) she writes "Goodnight Wanda." She's also dating a man by the name of Walter and he's not only dating her but another girl by the name of Grace, which makes her a bit emotional at times. However, Walter and Wanda do stay together because with this diary comes a letter written (or I should say typed) in 1917 by Walter to Wanda."


"August 24th & 25th, Arose about 7 o'clock. Felt rather good. Went to work at 8 o'clock and spent the morning in dusting. At 11:30 A.M. went to dentist and had one tooth filled. Paid two dollars on my bill. Had my dinner in the tea room. Went back to work. Wasn't very busy in the P.M. Everybody went to the races. Came home from work at 6 P.M. Ate supper and was first going to the show when Walter phoned me. Chatted with him and then he came down for a few minutes. His Chicago girl left last night. Neither of us had much to say but I treated him nice and acted as if nothing happened. Went to bed at 10:30 P.M. on the floor…..This being Fair Week we all had to sleep on the floor. Worked hard all day. Came home in the evening. Ate supper and then went to the fair with some girls. Had a fine time. Rode on the ferris wheel, watched them dance and home about 11:15. Then went to bed. Walter called up after I had left the house. Good Night."
"August 30th, Arose about seven o'clock feeling blue. Sis and I went to Sunday School and sang in the choir at church. Brother Reynolds of Camp Point preached. Come home and ate dinner. Spent the P.M. at home. Took a nap. Didn't have company in the evening so sis and I went to the East Main Church. Walter and I have split up for good. Hope he and Grace Trieter always live happily together. Well it's time to go to bed so pleasant dreams and good night, Wanda."
"September 17th, got up this A.M. about 6 o'clock. Have worked hard all day and feel rather punk this eve. Bada and Fred went to Burlington to day. Hope they have a nice time. Hear Arvall Vincent called up tonight. It makes me tired. George has quite calling up. Thank goodness. It seems strange but I am always getting somebody I don't like. Wish Walter and I were going together again. He sent me a crazy card today. But nothing doing in that line. Had a crying spell over something papa told me. A lot of times wish I was dead then maybe be happy. Such is life. Good night Wanda."
"September 26th, Went to work early and got off early. Got a crazy letter from Walter. Guess he thinks I'm easy and he can stuff me….."
"October 10th, Well here it is Saturday. Worked late tonight. Took supper with Bada in the tea room then we went over and had our pictures took, six for a quarter. Some joke, weren't any good so have to go Sunday A.M. Craft Jackson brought me from work. Went to the Empress after work. Didn't like him one bit. He acted like somebody dazed. Didn't leave till 11:30. Good night Wanda."
"October 14th, worked till 12 o'clock noon then had my hair dressed. Then came home and Joe ready for the wedding. Went with Walter. Could hardly keep the tears back when I saw Fred and Bada married. They both looked so nice. Then I helped to serve. Then we went to the train to see them off. Had lots of fun. Walter came down and Ellen Turngren and Al about 8. Then we all went to the show, Gaiety, The Spoilers. Didn't have a very good time because Fred and Bada weren't with us. Went to bed about 12 o'clock. Good night Wanda."
"November 24th, Tuesday again and the same old story. Worked hard then Walter came over for change out we went to the Princess to see "The Unwelcome Mrs. Hatch" and it was fine. Got ice cream, white grapes and mints. Then came home and ate them. Had a personal chat with Walter. Talked like he didn't care for Grace anymore. Oh I just wonder if he can be trusted for it. He's like the rest of the men. Time will tell. Went to bed 11:30, the usual time. Good night Wanda."
"December 13th, Stayed home all day. Yulah Heinznean of Bushnell spent Sunday with us. Had more fun. In the evening a bunch of young folks came over and spent the evening. Served fruit salad, cake and coffee. Played games and sang. All went home about 11:30. The guests were, Ruth and Elof, Bada and Fred, Carl and Bernice, Ulah and Body Sears, Wanda and Walter. Walter and I sneaked up town and bought candy for the bunch. Wore Bada's hat and furs. Some doll. Good night Wanda."


"Galesburg August 8th, 1917
"Dearest Sweetheart, 9:30 and alls well. Will write you now and proceed homeward….Yes dearie I didn't get out to see Mrs. martin until after 9 P.M. last night but found her there. The house lit up and she was looking at herself through a looking glass. The Mr. Martin had already retired so we sat out in that dandy porch swing and talked few minutes. Told her about not being able to get in until after our trip in the west…..(there's a lot more on Mrs. Martin as it sounds like they are renting a house from her)….Got your sweet letter ok. Read it before I ate dinner then the dinner tasted so much better. Honest I'm sorry to hear Nell is going. Wish she would come to Galesburg and locate somewhere….Well dearest of all to me. Don't work hard and get plenty of rest and don't let ANYTHING worry you for when I get you there won't be nothing to worry about….Will close for this time with all my love to you. Kisses too greet them all. When was it you were going with Nell and Bernice to visit that Society woman???? Nite nite dear girl. Love me always as I do you. Always your Walter."

"As with many diaries, there are many names mentioned some of which are: Kate Cassidy, Marmie Coleman, DaLine, Grace Stueter, Florence Fostrum, Ruth and Ester Peterson, Grace Neice, Dolf Alter, Bada Anderson, Ellen Turngren, Bushnell, Dunsworth and more."


  • 1914


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The collection is open for research use. 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, the Nebraska Public Records Statutes (Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 84-712 through 84-712.09), and other relevant regulations. Confidential material may include, but is not limited to, educational, medical, and personnel records. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of Nebraska Omaha assumes no responsibility.

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0.05 Cubic Feet (1 folder) : Diary, Photograph, Letter

Language of Materials



Collection has not yet been arranged and described.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased via auction from seller "diaries," Sally Ivey.

Condition Description

The following description was provided by the seller:

"The diary is in fair to good condition as the cover is rather worn and has a glue mark on the front. The binding and pages look good and it measures about 4" x 6 3/4"."

Wanda E. Kathcart Diary
Angela Kroeger; Amy Schindler
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the University of Nebraska at Omaha Archives & Special Collections Repository

Archives & Special Collections
Dr. C.C. and Mabel L. Criss Library
6001 Dodge St.
Omaha Nebraska 68182-0237 United States