Diary of Mary Hardy, 1773-1809

mary hardy
Publisher / date: Burnham Press, 2013
pages: xxiv + 581
genre: diary

I’ve waited many months, since first seeing notice of this series of diaries covering the years 1773-1809 (there are four diary volumes; a fifth volume of entries not included in the foursome has also been published). Mary Hardy was an “average” Georgian-era woman, living in Norfolk, and writing about her daily life. The books were just released at the end of April, 2013. I took the chance and ordered the set of four from Amazon.uk (Amazon in the US thinks the books “out of print” — which is typically the case when books are released in the US or Canada…).

Editor Margaret Bird has researched the diaries for 25 years, and the level of her accomplishment comes out in these beautiful books. Each of the four is a hefty 500-plus pages, but the books are easy to handle — and lovely to read. Notes line the outer side of each page, making reference that much easier. They are copiously illustrated – with contemporary drawings, maps, portraits, and current photographs.

Two websites have been set up for the series:

the other volumes are,

  • 1781-1793: Beer Supply, Water Power and a Death (vol. 2)
  • 1793-1797: Farms, Maltings and Brewery (vol. 3)
  • 1797-1809: Shipwreck and Meeting House (vol. 4)
  • The Remaining Diary of Mary Hardy: entries 1781-1809 (168 pages)

hardy diariesI’ve posted a short (little over a minute) preview where you get to see volume one of The Diary of Mary Hardy on YouTube.

* * *

My other YouTube videos are based on my research into the lives of Emma Austen Leigh (aka Emma Smith, 1801-1876) and Lady Smith (aka Mary Gosling, 1800-1842). I hope to add to my “readings” of letters and diary entries, so do check out my Smith & Gosling YouTube channel. Although Mary Hardy does not mention the family (although brief mention IS made of the de Greys of Norfolk, the family of Mary Gosling’s stepmother, Charlotte de Grey), Charles Smith (of Suttons) gained his fortune mainly through a distillery business, so reading about the Hardy brewery business is of great interest.

Upcoming on my channel will be other video-peeks at books you’ll see here on Regency Reads.

* * *

UPDATE: See TWO TEENS IN THE TIME OF AUSTEN for my “conversation” with Mary Hardy’s editor, Margaret Bird.

March 2019 UPDATE: a new website has launched for the Mary Hardy project – Margaret Bird says, “The new website is compatible with all devices, including smartphones….It should now be much easier to navigate through the 42 pages and 58 news items.”

7 comments on “Diary of Mary Hardy, 1773-1809

  1. Janeite Deb says:

    This is fabulous Kelly! – Didn’t know about these books OR your videos – can I post about them on JAinVermont?

    • Hi, Deb —


      I found the diaries listed among the “to be published” several months ago and WAITED (impatiently) for their release. Was pricey to order all four (and from England…), but I just knew they’d be of interest. There’s SO FEW women’s diaries. (So many vicars seem to have left memoirs!)


  2. Kingston upon Thames, England, 10 June 2013
    Dear Kelly, I am Margaret Bird, and I wish to thank you so much for your really wonderful reaction to The Diary of Mary Hardy. It is just what I hoped my readers would do: not only take to the content, but respond to the look and feel of the pages and to the illustrations.
    May I please, with your permission, create a link from the Burnham Press website to your YouTube feature, so that readers can join you in peeking inside? I should like to say in which state you live, if you would be happy for me to so do.
    With my warmest thanks, Margaret

    • Hi Margaret — how wonderful to hear from you. Of course, please do include a link; how strange, I was looking over the websites again just last night, and checking out your “news and events”. Wish I could be there. I live in Vermont, and would love to hear more about your project – if you’re willing. Will be in touch.


  3. […] YouTube is a GREAT way to showcase books of architecture or costume — anything, really, with a wealth of illustration. This video review follows on the heels of my introductory video on volume 1 for the diary series of Norfolk-native Mary Hardy. […]

  4. […] I recognize a few names – for Uglow uses personal accounts to paint a full picture. There’s the Heber family (I adore the book Dear Miss Heber…); Lady Lyttleton (née Sarah Spencer); Jane Austen’s “sailor brothers”, Frank (Sir Francis Austen later in life) and Charles Austen; Betsey Fremantle (I’m still waiting from more from her current biographer, Elaine Chalus; though I have the complete set of three volumes published in the 1940s); Mary Hardy, the Norfolk diaristabout whom I have blogged before, at RegencyReads. […]

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