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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 1087

Diary of Effie McGrew, 1917


Diary of Effie McGrew describing rural life and her sons enrolling in the Navy.


  • Creation: 1917

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Effie McGrew as well as copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


.21 linear feet (1 half file box)

Collection contains Effie McGrew's diary from May to August 1917, written on the reverse pages of one of her husband's wallpaper sample books. Pasted on the first page is a letter from her son Ogel, at the United States Naval Training Station in Great Lakes, Illinois. Throughout the diary she tracks letters from her sons, as well as records their needs and visits home. McGrew also writes about daily life parenting, running a farm, and working other jobs. Farm tasks include caring for chickens, sometimes in her kitchen, planting crops and vegetables, tending to cows, and harvesting. She frequently comments on her health and suffering from headaches and neuralgia. McGrew also records her dreams, the weather, exploits of townspeople, and her family's health concerns. Many entries detail accidents at local mines and injuries to miners. The collection also contains a transcript and index to the diary.


Effie A. Trimble McGrew was born in 1868. She married Alfred N. McGrew (1863-1951) in 1891 in Sullivan, Indiana. They had five children: Gladys (1892-1932), Hellen (1894-1982), Nathan Trimble (1896-1986), Ogel David (1898-1982), and Margaret (1904-2004). By 1910 the McGrew family were living in Lewis Township in Clay County, Indiana, where Alfred was manager of the telephone office and Effie, Gladys, and Hellen worked as operators.

In 1917, Nathan and Ogel McGrew enlisted in the United States Navy. The rest of the family continued to live in Lewis Township, where they ran a small family farm as well as held other jobs. Effie and Gladys worked as telephone operators, store clerks, and supported the daily needs of farm animals, vegetables, and crops. Alfred was also working as a wallpaper salesman and paperhanger. By 1920 Alfred was working as a coal miner, but later reverted to primarily taking care of the farm. Effie McGrew died in 1932.

Physical Location

Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 2020-M46

The diary of Effie McGrew was given to the Schlesinger Library by David H. Wallace in July 2020.

Processing Information

Processed: August 2020

By: Jenny Gotwals

The Schlesinger Library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.  Finding aids may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
Processing of this collection was made possible by the Alice Jeanette Ward Fund.

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

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