Transcript of the Diary
The manuscript was the starting point for a rewarding project for the Friends of Daniel A. Reed Library. In October 1995, after hearing a dramatic reading from the book, the Friends suggested an ambitious project: that we publish our own edition of Van Buren Life, in facsimile, with an essay about Anna's life and times, and with a transcription of the text so that readers don't have to decipher Anna's difficult handwriting.
Following an idea session where the group generated ideas on how to achieve the goal, interested individuals gathered with others who were interested in looking for examples of Anna's art, editing the original manuscript for publication, working on layout and production aspect, or researching the life and times of Anna Clift Smith. The group soon discovered Anna's reputation, during the Years of the Prohibition, as one who helped protect the shoreline against rum-runners from Canada.
The groups then worked independently, sharing information through an effective informal network. Individuals making a discovery of more information wrote brief notes to the Director of the Library, and the Secretary duplicated and distributed the information to the Research Team, as the group of dedicated volunteers called themselves. Although there was no "Coordinating Committee" or other authority charged with checking up on how the work was progressing, in less than one year the project was complete!
For more information, see the Reed Library Archives & Special Collections website.