Well, that's what happened to me while assisting my friend Robert Grandchamp with writing a book about the men [Amazon] who served with my second great grandfather, James Albert Barber from Rhode Island. [This is a photo of us taken at different times at Corp. Barber's gravesite.]
One set of diaries is housed at the Hay Library at Brown University. They were placed there, probably by my family, and I am pleased that they are available to history scholars like Robert so that accurate accounts of the war can be written about. As an educator, I am glad that they are NOT in my possession but available for others to see.
Robert took this photo of the outside of the one diary that is held in the Special Collections of the Providence Public Library in Providence, RI. With permission, Robert photocopied each page and made copies of those pages for me, which I have scanned into a single PDF so that they will be easily read by future generation of my family.[James A. Barber obit]
The week that I moved to my new home, I received an email from Mr. Grandchamp, with an attachment of the TRANSCRIPTION of the diary that is pictured here. Mr. Robert J. Ring, who was then the Special Collections librarian at the Providence Public Library in Providence, RI read and transcribed the diary in its entirety. I immediately emailed him to thank him. He has a new job at Trinity College in Hartford, CT as the head librarian for Special Collections.
After sitting down and reading the entries, I have decided that I can create one blog post per month with the transcriptions of the diaries. The diary runs from Jan 1, 1862 to Dec 14, 1862.