Anne Lister – Reading Anne’s Diaries

This page provides guidance on accessing Anne Lister’s diaries and her ‘crypt hand’ code. It also provides a list of the key publications where transcribed extracts of Anne’s diaries can be found.

Anne Lister and the Shibden Hall Collection

Anne Lister’s diaries are part of the extensive collection of Lister Family of Shibden Hall records, covering 13th century to 1933, held by the West Yorkshire Archive Service (WYAS). The collection is fully listed on the WYAS online catalogue as Lister Family of Shibden Hall family and estate records (collection reference SH).

In 2011 Anne’s diaries were inscribed in the UNESCO UK Memory of the World Register in recognition of their substantial cultural significance to the UK.

unesco_logo_anne_lister

The Lister Family of Shibden Hall collection is held at the West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale. If you would like to find our more about the diaries or the Shibden Hall collection please contact our Calderdale Office. Full contact details can be found here.

Using Anne’s Diaries

Since April 2019 high quality digital images of every page of Anne’s diaries (SH:7/ML/E) have been available to view on the online catalogue of the West Yorkshire Archive Service, following a joint project between WYAS and Calderdale Museums Service, with the generous support of Sally Wainwright from the Wellcome Trust Screenwriters Fellowship.

The diaries can be accessed in a number of ways. The main methods are;

  • Every page of Anne’s diaries can be found by carrying out an Advanced Search for the covering diary reference SH:7/ML/E in the ‘Catalogue Finding Number’ field.
  • If you are looking for a specific date you can carry out an Advanced Search for SH:7/ML/E in the ‘Catalogue Finding Number’ field and the year in the ‘Date’ field. The results can be sorted into date order (month/year) to find a specific date or entry.
  • All pages within a specific diary can be found by identifying the appropriate diary reference from the table below and carrying out an Advanced Search for the diary reference in the ‘Catalogue Finding Number’ field. The results can be sorted into date order (month/year) to find a specific date or entry.

The diaries (in chronological order) are listed in the table below;

  • Full transcriptions are available for the diaries as indicated below. A full pdf version for these volumes can be found on the volume level entry in our online catalogue (which you can find by clicking on the Finding Number in the table below). Keyword searchable versions of the transcripts are included in each page entry within our online catalogue. You can read more about the transcription project on the Diary Transcription Project page of our exhibition.
Finding Number Title Date
SH:7/ML/E/26/1 Loose diary pages 1806-1814 Full transcription available
SH:7/ML/E/26/2 Diary Aug-Nov 1816 Full transcription available
SH:7/ML/E/26/3 Diary Nov 1816-Mar 1817 Full transcription available
SH:7/ML/E/1 Diary 21 Mar 1817-25 Jan 1818 Full transcription available
SH:7/ML/E/2 Diary 26 Jan 1818-10 Apr 1819
SH:7/ML/E/3 Diary 11 Apr 1819-22 Nov 1819
SH:7/ML/E/4 Diary 23 Nov 1819-10 Feb 1821
SH:7/ML/E/5 Diary 11 Feb 1821-8 May 1822
SH:7/ML/E/6 Diary 9 May 1822-25 Apr 1823
SH:7/ML/E/7 Diary 26 Apr 1823-19 Jun 1824
SH:7/ML/E/8 Diary 20 Jun 1824-31 Jul 1825
SH:7/ML/E/9 Diary 1 Aug 1825-23 Oct 1826
SH:7/ML/E/10 Diary 25 Oct 1826-29 May 1828
SH:7/ML/E/11 Diary 30 May 1828-15 Apr 1829
SH:7/ML/E/12 Diary 16 Apr 1829-28 Feb 1830
SH:7/ML/E/13 Diary 1 Mar 1830-31 Dec 1830
SH:7/ML/E/14 Diary 1 Jan 1831-31 Dec 1831
SH:7/ML/E/15 Diary 1 Jan 1832-12 Jan 1833
SH:7/ML/E/16 Diary 13 Jan 1833-9 Mar 1834
SH:7/ML/E/17 Diary 10 Mar 1834-21 Mar 1835
SH:7/ML/E/18 Diary 22 Mar 1835-29 Feb 1836
SH:7/ML/E/19 Diary 1 Mar 1836-8 Jan 1837
SH:7/ML/E/20 Diary 1 Jan 1837-30 Nov 1837
SH:7/ML/E/21 Diary 1 Dec 1837-26 Aug 1838
SH:7/ML/E/22 Diary 27 Aug 1838-20 Mar 1839
SH:7/ML/E/23 Diary 21 Mar 1839-4 Feb 1840
SH:7/ML/E/24 Diary 5 Feb 1840-11 Aug 1840

 

Anne’s Travel Journals

Digital images of every page of the Anne’s travel journals are also available;

Finding Number Title Date
SH:7/ML/TR/1 Travel notes: France, Italy and Switzerland 15 Jun-12 Aug 1827
SH:7/ML/TR/2 Travel notes: Italy, Switzerland and itinerary of whole tour 13 Aug-24 Oct 1827
SH:7/ML/TR/3 Travel notes: Belgium 14 Aug-5 Sep 1829
SH:7/ML/TR/4 Travel notes: Netherlands 13 Oct-12 Nov 1829
SH:7/ML/TR/5 Travel notes: France 20 Jul-12 Aug 1830
SH:7/ML/TR/6 Travel notes: France 17 Aug-21 Sep 1830
SH:7/ML/TR/7 Travel notes: Basses Pyrenees and Spain 23 Sep-7 Oct 1830
SH:7/ML/TR/8 Travel notes: South of France 7 Oct-31 Oct 1830
SH:7/ML/TR/9 Travel notes: South of France 31 Oct-13 Nov 1830
SH:7/ML/TR/10 Travel notes: Holland 4 Aug-25 Aug 1831
SH:7/ML/TR/11 Travel notes: Manchester, Liverpool, London and southern England 12 Sep-10 Oct 1831
SH:7/ML/TR/12 Travel notes: Sweden 20 Jul-20 Aug 1839
SH:7/ML/TR/13 Travel notes: Sweden 20 Aug-14 Sep 1839
SH:7/ML/TR/14 Travel notes: Sweden, Finland and Russia 14 Sep-6 Oct 1839

 

Anne’s ‘Crypt hand’ – the code

A copy of the code used by Anne in her diaries (a combination of Greek and algebraic terms) can be seen below. This code is also available on our online catalogue at SH:7/ML/E.

Some of the key marginal notes used by Anne can be found in Marginal Notes in the Diaries of Anne Lister.

Anne Lister code, calderdale.jpg

 

Glossary of Names in Anne’s Diaries

A glossary of names recorded in Anne’s diaries can be found in Glossary of Names.

 

Publications and Transcriptions

Some key publications on Anne Lister are;

Angela Clare, Anne Lister of Shibden Hall. Calderdale Museums, 2018 Introduction to Anne Lister and Shibden Hall
Jill Liddington, Presenting the Past: Anne Lister of Halifax 1791-1840. Pennine Pens, 1994 Introduction to Anne’s diaries and research
Helena Whitbread, The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister (An updated version of 1988, I Know My Own Heart). Virago, 2010 Including transcribed diary extracts 1816-1824
Helena Whitbread (ed.), No Priest But Love: The Journals of Anne Lister from 1824-1826. Smith Settle, 1992 Including transcribed diary extracts 1824-1826
Jill Liddington, Nature’s Domain: Anne Lister and the Landscape of Desire. Pennine Pens, 2003 Including transcribed diary extracts 1832
Jill Liddington, Female Fortune: Land, Gender and Authority. Rivers Oram 1998 Including transcribed diary extracts 1833-1836
Muriel Green, Miss Lister of Shibden Hall: Selected Letters (1800 -1840)The Book Guild, 1992 Including extracts from Anne’s letters 1800-1840

Further publications and articles have also been widely published.

The Lister Family of Shibden Hall collection is held at the West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale. If you would like to find our more about the diaries or the Shibden Hall collection please contact our Calderdale Office. Full contact details can be found here.

 

 

Other Exhibition Pages

Anne Lister – An Introduction

Anne Lister – Early Years

Anne Lister – The Journals

Anne Lister – Love Life

Anne Lister – Shibden Hall

Anne Lister – A Window into History

Anne Lister – The Traveller

Anne Lister – Diary Transcription Project