To continue the saga of the competing and confusing editions of Laura Towne's diary . . . . . . Some good suggestions have come through, although they have not all appeared here. I have enough mini-assignments to keep me busy all weekend, just tracking down the last bits of genealogy and cross-checking references.
Here are some of the better suggestions:
1. Track down the people who responsible for making the copies and try to figure out their motivation. Were private agendas involved? How much did family members influence the details that were added or subtracted from the original?
2. If the original diary is truly missing, who had it last? When did it disappear? Does the disappearance seem accidental or deliberate?
3. Who managed the archives where all these copies seem to have been kept? What kind of professional training did the archivists have? In other words, did they know what they were doing, or were they just doing "housekeeping" with a bunch of dusty records?
4. Check the notes and bibliographies of those who have written about the Penn Center and the Port Royal Experiment. What sources did they use? Is there any evidence that they ignored certain sources or failed to find confirming evidence for their facts?
5. What does your gut tell you? When you read the various versions, which one rings "true" and which ones leave you puzzled or unsettled?
Sot that's what I'll be doing for a few days. I'm also scheduling a conference call with the one other person who has been working on the same material. We're approaching the events from two entirely different directions, so I will value her different perspective.
Lions-related business needs to be taken care of this weekend, too:
1. A club in our district will be celebrating their 90th year of service with a recognition banquet. I'll be there to cheer the Lions of Paris, TN on to 90 more years. (Those of you who have read Beyond All Price
will understand why Paris is one of my favorite small towns.)
2. My Lion-aholic husband has agreed to run the 2014 State Convention, which means that his humble side-kick will once again be handling lots of little nitty-gritty details while he basks in the over-all impact of the event. First up, Monday visits to three potential sites to talk about hotel rooms, meeting rooms, and meal-planning. All of that calls for magical guessing about how many people will show up three years from now and what food and gas prices will do to members' pocketbooks by then.
3. I must find time, too, to do some planing of my own. Just realized that I've taken on two heavy tasks for the year that starts in July. I'll be president of the local Germantown Lions Club in the year of our 40th anniversary, which means throwing a party. (I'll be taking notes in Paris!) At the same time, I'll be 1st vice President of Mid-south Lions Sight and Hearing Service during our CEO's 20th anniversary in that position, which means throwing a party. Sigh!
So that's what I'll be doing amid the on-going diary crisis. Have a good weekend, everyone. I should be back by Tuesday.