Skip to main content

Gardia Reta Peaker Bailey Diary, 1936-1940

 Collection — Box: MISC-03, Folder: MSS-0059
Identifier: MSS-0059

Content Description

The five year diary of Gardia Reta (Peaker) Bailey documents life in the western United States during the Great Depression. The family lives in a trailer and stays at auto parks, such as the Wallow Saw Auto Camp, on the West Coast including in the state of Washington. Included in the diary are various pieces of ephemera including news clippings and photographs as well as notations about family members and birthdays. The diary mentions the family traveling to sell Reta's handmade baskets, illnesses such as mumps and small pox, boat rides on the Columbia River, traveling through Washington, Idaho, and Oregon, trips to Portland, fishing trips, dances, trips to the ocean, having a float in a parade, and giving birth to a stillborn baby.

A partial transcription of the journal entries provided by the seller:

"May 13th, -18th, Left Stevenson Washington. Went to Goldendale. Had a nice place to camp. Veona and Jerry have mumps….Sold baskets. Had good luck. Kids feel better. Faces sure swelled….Goldendale Wash. Sold baskets. Another good day. Nathan is sick. Maybe he has the mumps….Left and went to Toppenish Wash. Met Jim and Etta again. We all went to Sunnyside Wash….Sold baskets today. Pretty good. All still in Sunnyside Wash….Left Sunnyside. Went to Pasco Wash. Camped by river. Sure is hot weather." (By the end of May they are in Idaho, still selling baskets. On June 14th they arrive in Ontario Oregon. Stay with friends, have a big "rabbit feed.")
"July 1st – 3rd, So cold we put the stove in the tent. Fire feels good. Sold baskets in Emmitt. Good. Left a noon. Went to Huntington Oregon. Camped on hill…..Sold in Huntington. No good. Left for Elgin Oregon. Austin went to town, fell on torpedo. Ha! Ha!....Stove in tent again tonight. Kinda chilly. Sold today. Good here. Kids all fixed for fourth. I miss Nora today. Last year in Scott's Bluff. Wonder if she misses me." (Back into Washington state. Travel over toll road to Walla Walla Washington. They arrive back in Kelso on August 1st)
"March 19th – 21st, I'm starting to move into trailer today. Won't be long now till it's done…Finished moving into trailer today. Slept here last night…..Oh Yeah? Moved trailer down to Star Auto Camp today. So quiet here. I'm so tired tonight."
"July 4th, We sure did celebrate. Drank beer with gypsies. Had lots of fun and beer. Took pictures."
"November 1st – 2nd, I'm not so good this A.M. Dr. Freeman was here. They took me to hospital. I was so sick…..Our little girl was born dead last night at 10:15. Dr. Henderson took care of me. Dr. Freeman was ill."
"September 26th, I washed and baked bread. Sure hot. We heard Hitler's speech from Germany."


  • 1936-1940


Conditions Governing Access

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.

Conditions Governing Use

The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of copyright. Whenever possible, Archives & Special Collections will provide information about copyright owners and related information. Securing permission to publish or use material is the responsibility of the researcher. Note that unless specifically transferred to the University of Nebraska at Omaha, any applicable copyrights may be held by another individual or entity. Further information about copyright policy is available at


0.01 Cubic Feet (1 folder)

Language of Materials



Collection has not yet been arranged and described.

Custodial History

Ebay purchase from seller diaries on 2/2/16.

Gardia Reta Peaker Bailey Diary, 1936-1940
Amy Schindler; Angela Kroeger
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