A Collection in
Collection Number Ms2008-034
Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityContact Information:
P.O. Box 90001
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Blacksburg, Virginia 24062-9001
Phone: (540) 231-6308
Fax: (540) 231-3694
Processed by: Emily K. Bibby, Special Collections Staff
2008 By Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. All rights reserved.
Collection is open to research.
Permission to publish material from the Sue R. Preston Diary must be obtained from Special Collections, Virginia Tech.
Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: Sue R. Preston Diary, Ms2008-034 - Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Va.
The Sue R. Preston Diary was purchased by Special Collections in 1994.
Sue R. Preston was a middle-class woman born around 1885. She spent much of her youth in Detroit, Michigan, where she lived with her parents and sister, Mary. In late 1907, she enrolled as a nurse-in-training at Sarah Leigh Hospital in Norfolk, Virginia, the forerunner to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. Following her graduation from nursing school, she continued to to work at Sarah Leigh Hospital and was employed there as late as 1930.
The diary of Sue R. Preston, kept between January 7 and October 13, 1907, primarily documents the day-to-day activities of a young, middle-class woman, her family, and friends, living in Detroit, Michigan. Preston describes shopping, reading, household activities, and going to church and to the theater. She names many of the popular stage personalities, melodramas, music, and novels of the day. Descriptions include personal sightings of actresses such as Gertrude Coghlan and Julia Sanderson as they enter and exit the Temple Theater. She also repeatedly mentions the Thaw Murder Trial, the "Trial of the Century," and at one point echoes public sentiment when she writes that she hopes Harry K. Thaw will be judged innocent. Enclosed are numerous newspaper clippings of the trial, including several photographs and drawings of Evelyn Nesbit. Also featured are gossip columns reporting marriages between actresses and society millionaires and picturing a variety of famous stage personalities such as Ethel Barrymore, Bessie Wynn, and Valerie Bergere.
Beginning in October 1907, Preston's diary entries document her first few days as a nurse-in-training at Sarah Leigh Hospital in Norfolk, Virginia, the forerunner to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.