Skip to main content

Lillian North diary

 Collection — Volume: 1
Call Number: MS B173


Lillian B. North wrote of her life as a busy homemaker, activist, and wife. She and her husband, Frank, resided in the rural town of Batavia, New York. Lillian's diary tells of daily activities including her involvement in the women's suffrage movement. It also details her chores, errands, and meetings of the many organizations to which she belonged.


  • January 1, 1915 - May 14, 1917


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biography of Lillian North (1881-1963)

Lillian B. Radley was born on August 17, 1881 in Stafford, New York to parents George and Mary Thomas Radley. She married Frank North (1879-1963) on September 26, 1906. They lived on a farm outside of Batavia, New York. Her husband Frank also worked at the New York C.R.R. freight station after March 1917. In her diary entries, Lillian details her work as a homemaker and the day-to-day efforts of herself and Frank to run the farm and household. She also taught school in the Stafford School District for a time, not at the time of the diary.

Throughout 1915-1917, Lillian North's diary entries record frequent visits with her mother, Mary, and her father and mother-in-law, James and Eunice Gould North. Her diary entries also mention time spent with her sisters, Lizze or Elizabeth Miner, Estella Happ, and Ethel Radley, as well as her many friends.

North was an involved community member and frequently attended meetings and other gatherings for various organizations including the local churches (Presbyterian, Baptist, Episcopal, and Messiah Lutheran), the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (W.C.T.U.), the Grange, and the women’s suffrage movement. Lillian North died on December 17, 1963 in Batavia, New York, less than 3 months after her husband, Frank.


1 volume : Bound in black leather ; Volume measures 16 cm tall.

Scope and Contents

The diary includes daily activities of Lillian North, noting chores around the house, farm life, meals prepared for family members, weather, and travel. Lillian also documented the organizations with which she was involved, notably the women's suffrage movement. She was an active participant in the Presbyterian and Episcopal church, attended concerts and plays, and took lessons in painting, cooking, and music.

North also remarked on events such as the rallies she attended and mentioned several speakers, including Elsie Benedict, Mrs. Philip Snow, and Sarah Rorer. She recorded being present at the official establishment of Batavia as a city, seeing the Liberty Bell come through town, experiencing the local flooding of 1916, hearing Governor Whitman speak, and reading the announcement of World War I declared by President Wilson.

There are several acronyms used by North throughout the diary. Spencer Library staff believe these acronyms stand for

B. B. of L. A. S. – Brooklyn Branch of the Ladies Aid Society (she spells this out early on); typically only "L. A. S." appears as the diary goes on; L. T. L. – Loyal Temperance Legion; Children’s branch of the W. C. T. U. [uncertain identification]; M. E. – Methodist Episcopal (often proceeds the word "church"); S. S. – Sunday School--the original seller’s description indicates she was in a ladies' sewing society so could be that potentially, but S. S. occasionally proceeded by M. E. (see above) and always appears on a Sunday, so "Sunday School" seems more likely; W. C. T. U. – Women's Christian Temperance Union; and Grange - The National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry; Frank North's obituary indicated he was a member of the Elba Grange.

Physical Location

MS B173

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchase, M. Benjamin Katz, Fine Books/Rare Manuscripts, 2010.

Guide to the Lillian B.R. North Collection
Lillian North diary
Finding aid prepared by cmh, 2010. Finding aid encoded by cmh, 2010. Finding aid revised by eab, mwh, 2021.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Lillian North diary, MS B173, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States