The Hattie Diaries

Harriet E. WhitcherThe Hattie Diaries are my ongoing transcription of the Great Plains diaries of my great-aunt Hattie, who wrote daily (yes, literally, every single day) from 1920-1957.

Flash Narratives    •    Found Poetry   •    Videos

What was life like nearly one hundred years ago for a bright, creative woman starting her married life on the Great Plains of Nebraska and South Dakota?

Flash Narratives

These Flash Narratives—very short, self-contained pieces of creative non-fiction—are based on Hattie’s words and life. Most of the flash narratives here are no longer than 500 words:

Found Poetry

The following posts use Hattie’s diaries as found poetry (poetry taken and adapted from existing writing):


June 7, 1942: A Surprise on William

The Glorious Fourth of July

For more background information on the Hattie Diaries, see these posts and sites. For your interest, feedback, and encouragement, Hattie and I thank you.

14 thoughts on “The Hattie Diaries

  1. Hi Lisa, I’ve been looking at your “Hatties Diarie” and find it quite interesting. I notice the date is 2011…are you still sending it out? I’m very interested as William J Whitcher was my grandmothers cousin! Was wondering if you had any photos of him and his family among all the diaries? I hope to hear from you via email sometime. Great work!!

  2. My Uncle, Jack Elshire, was born in Hidden Timber. He was excited to hear about the Elshire name mentioned in your aunt’s diary. I look forward to searching the diaries for him and my mom, Nora Elshire. Thanks for taking the time to publish this collection.

    • Laura, I’m sorry that I didn’t see this comment until now (I was on jury duty last week and the days got away from me). The Elshires (especially Curt, if I remember correctly) are mentioned quite often by Hattie in her diaries. I may even have a photo of one of his homes (?). I’ll check and let you know.

  3. Hi Lisa, I just found your Hatties Diaries, I am the Grand-daughter of Ora Daywitt, I would be so interested if you come across the Daywitt name in anything that you may come across. Thank you , Ionia

  4. Lisa, I just found Hattie’s Diaries when I googled a family member and enjoyed what I have read so far. I remember going to the Rosebud to visit my aunt and uncle, Bert & Doll Roundy when I was little. Uncle Bert died when I was young but we visited Aunt Doll until I was about 12. It is interesting to hear someone else talk about my family.

    • Martha, thanks very much for taking the time to say hello! One of the unexpected pleasures of working on Hattie’s diaries is seeing the various connections of people who enjoy them.

  5. Lisa,
    I found my way to your blog when I was running searches looking for past info on a dear friend (and more importantly, my teacher and Hunka) who passed away April 3, 2013 ( His name is Seth Edward (“Super”) Whiting. As it is, he too is a descendant of your Great Aunt Hattie.

    Super was a great man that touched many, many peoples lives in a powerful way – including my own.

    I see, unmistakably, you have the same eyes as your cousin – gentle and kind. That brought me comfort and made me smile today, replacing the sadness I’ve been feeling from his absence. Thank you for that!

    God Bless!

    • Brenda, thank you very much for taking the time to write about Seth. I am sorry for the loss of your friend and teacher. One of the gifts of sharing Hattie’s diaries has been to learn about so many relatives who live and have lived fascinating lives. Warmest wishes to you.

  6. I just revisited Hattie’s diary this morning and it warms my heart to read some of her daily entries. My father, Darrell Herbst, would have been Hattie’s grandson if she had not given my grandpa up for adoption.. He recently had his ancestry done and the English, Scotch/Irish came up. I forwarded my dad the obituary of Edward Whiting so he could see where it came from.
    Hattie gave my grandfather the gift of life and though he never knew her, it is so incredible that we can feel like we know her. Thank you for this project and for giving her a voice.

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