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A Day in the Life of a Johnian

Mon, 23/01/2017 - Fri, 21/04/2017

This new exhibition looks into the private lives of Johnians - at College, at home, and abroad - as revealed by their diaries.

“I intend this journal not for the frivolous uninteresting, everyday events of life; such as when I rose and when I retired, what I eat and what I drank, who came and who went with such needless dry particulars as are unworthy of time, pens, ink and papers, but for a faithful register of such events as may tend to improve me by being remembered.”  So wrote John Rogers on 23 October 1820, the day of his 21st birthday, and the day that he commenced his diary.

Rogers’ diary is just one of many private journals kept by Johnians which are now in the Library’s special collections. Not all diarists adopted his principles by any means. Glyn Daniel, archaeologist and gourmand, delighted in recording what he ate and drank, pasting menus and wine labels into his diaries. Terrot Reavely Glover kept a meticulous record of the everyday events of College life from his arrival as an undergraduate in the 1880s, through his long years as a Fellow up to his death in 1943. He punctuated accounts of his academic work with photos of his children, and noted the weather conditions every day. The pursuit of knowledge took Johnians far beyond Cambridge: their diaries provide fascinating insights into topics as diverse as the perils and pleasures of the European Grand Tour, the recording of inscriptions in Sinai, the work of a medic during the Boer War, conditions in Burma and Afghanistan, and academic collaborations in Fiji and Papua New Guinea.

The exhibition runs in the Library Exhibition Area from 23 January to 21 April 2017,  and is open to the public Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm (closed Good Friday and Easter Monday).