Anne Lister journal transcripts

Livia Labate, Steph GallawayPublished on 1 January, 2020 · Last updated 21 November, 2023

Journal or diary?

Either word conveys the meaning of a written log used to capture personal impressions of events and experiences, however Anne Lister herself uses the term journal in her own journals, so we employ the same throughout this website for cohesion.

Transcriptions of Anne Lister's Journals

Anne Lister wrote over five million words over her lifetime (1791-1840) in the form of personal journals (an estimated sixth of which was in coded language to keep secret the details of her intimate life and reflections), gifting us with insight about a rich and adventurous life. The journals are kept by the West Yorkshire Archive Service

There are 25 journals plus one volume collecting 3 sets of loose sheet diary notes from Anne's early years, known as volume 26. Altogether, the journals span 8568 pages (excluding covers) with occasional blank pages. As well, there are 14 travel journals spanning 679 pages (excluding covers). Between journals and travel journals, the total number of pages across all volumes is 9247.

There is no complete, fully available version of all transcribed journals today. 

However, hundreds of volunteers—known as Anne Lister Code Breakers—are currently completing this transcription work and generously donating their transcriptions back to the archives so that they will eventually be available to all. In the meantime, the facsimile image for each journal page can be accessed fully and freely online from the WYAS online catalogue

While this work continues, transcriptions for each page are being gradually added to the Description field on the item level in the archive catalogue, and full volumes are being made available for download in PDF format. You can find all the available volumes below.

Journal volumes

Note:
Volume 26 collects 3 sets of diary entries spanning 1806-1817, which precedes Anne Lister starting to keep a more regular uniform diary.

Volume 26-1

1806 - 1814

SH:7/ML/E/26/1

1 bundle of loose pages

Volume 26-2

14 August 1816 - 5 November 1816

SH:7/ML/E/26/2

1 volume

Volume 26-3

5 November 1816 - 21 March 1817

SH:7/ML/E/26/3

1 volume

Volume 1

21 March 1817-25 January 1818

SH:7/ML/E/1

1 volume

Volume 2

26 January 1818-10 April 1819

SH:7/ML/E/2

1 volume

Volume 3

11 April 1819-22 November 1819

SH:7/ML/E/3

1 volume

Volume 4

23 November 1819-10 February 1821

SH:7/ML/E/4

1 volume

Volume 5

11 February 1821-8 May 1822

SH:7/ML/E/5

1 volume

Volume 6

9 May 1822-25 April 1823

SH:7/ML/E/6

1 volume

Volume 7

26 April 1823-19 June 1824

SH:7/ML/E/7

1 volume

Volume 8

20 June 1824-31 July 1825

SH:7/ML/E/8

1 volume

Volume 9

1 August 1825-23 October 1826

SH:7/ML/E/9

1 volume

Volume 10

25 October 1826-29 May 1828

SH:7/ML/E/10

1 volume

Volume 11

30 May 1828-15 April 1829

SH:7/ML/E/11

1 volume

Volume 12

16 April 1829-28 February 1830

SH:7/ML/E/12

1 volume

Volume 13

1 Mar 1830-31 Dec 1830

SH:7/ML/E/13

1 volume

Volume 14

1 Jan 1831-31 Dec 1831

SH:7/ML/E/14

1 volume

Volume 15

1 Jan 1832-12 Jan 1833

SH:7/ML/E/15

1 volume

Volume 16

13 Jan 1833-9 Mar 1834

SH:7/ML/E/16

1 volume

Other journal entries

Private Day Book 23

30 November 1833-25 February 1834

SH:7/ML/AC/23

12 pages

Private Day Book 24

25 February-14 June 1834

SH:7/ML/AC/24

7 pages

Private Day Book 25

13 July-4 December 1835

SH:7/ML/AC/25

11 pages

All images courtesy of West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale (SH:7/ML/AC/23/017, SH:7/ML/AC/24/022, SH:7/ML/AC/25/022).

Useful Tools

To search by the date of Anne's journal entry, or using select keywords, try using the AL Index or Eliza Left Us finding aids. These provide links to both the WYAS Catalogue pages with the source journal images as well as published codebreaker blogs. 

AL Index

This open-source project uses a calendar to make locating fully transcribed entries that are publicly available more easily accessible for those searching for information in the journal by date or keywords.

Eliza Left Us 

An evolving project to make searching the WYAS archive index more easily searchable that includes locating journal pages by date, a weather report tool, and an index keyword finding aid.

Listeria Transcription Tools

Includes a crypt-hand encoder/decoder, and an MS Word "add-in" that spell-checks abbrev[iate]d w[o]rds and transcript formatting to assist contributors of the WYAS diary transcription project.


Anne Lister Encoder/Decoder

A text generator to encode or decode passages using Anne Lister's crypt-hand. 


Lister Crypt Font

A free font based on Anne Lister's own handwriting. Includes automated ligatures, and translates type to her crypt-hand.


Codebreaker Blogs

The following is a list of blogs by codebreakers who publicly shared entries from various periods in Anne Lister's life while working on their official transcriptions for the WYAS project. If you know of any others, please let us know

by Jane Kendall (@janekendalljane)

Journal transcriptions from 1829 Jul. 11-29; 1830 Nov. 10-Dec. 1; 1831 Jul. 7-Aug. 1 and Dec. 5-25; 1832 Mar. 1-21 and  Sep. 28-Oct. 15; 1833 Feb. 6-Mar. 4 and Sept. 18-Nov. 9; 1835 Jan. 2-28, Sept. 8-Oct. 18, and Dec. 15-31; 1836 Jan. 1-21

by Steph Gallaway (@skgway)

Transcriptions of entries from Anne Lister’s stay with the Norcliffe family at Langton Hall in 1818, 1820, with the Belcombes at Petergate in 1821, Isabella's Norcliffe's stay with the Listers at Shibden Hall in 1824, Anne's journey to Paris (and introduction to Maria Barlow) in 1824, writing to Sibella MacLean and Maria Barlow from Shibden Hall in 1825, visit to Lawton Hall in 1828 with Mariana and Charles, the 'Mr. Ainsworth' business with Ann Walker in 1832, and more.

by Karen Trillo

Transcription of Anne Lister's Journal - 22/3/1835 - 29/2/1836

by Alison Kirchgasser

Assorted transcriptions from 1818 to 1831

by Marlene Oliveira (@moliveiradev)

Journal transcriptions from different years, mostly from 1836 onwards.

by David Hughes (@ParkieBath)

Entries from Anne Lister's journal

by Jan Webster(@JanWebs17461835)

Journal transcriptions, mostly from 1828.

by Jessica Payne (@jessicampayne)

Journal transcriptions, mostly from 1826.

by JY Jiang

Journal transcriptions, mostly from 1839.

by Yvonne Haugen (@yvonnehaugen)

Transcripts of the full Norway travel journal with illustrations, maps markings and comments. 

by Ylva Nilson (@shewolfse)

Anne Lister Code Breaker in learning. Journal transcripts from 1839.

by Kerstin H (@A_While_Since)

Journal transcriptions from various years.

by Erin Resso (@deejayres)

Journal transcriptions, mostly from 1825.

by Chloe Nacci (@chloenacho)

Journal transcriptions, mostly from 1825-1830.

by Amanda Pryce (@AmandaDS)

Journal transcriptions from different years, mostly from 1824, 1828 & 1831

by Lily Mo (@woollymitts)

Picking up from where the first season of Gentleman Jack TV show ended, journal entries from March 31, 1834 onwards.

by Kate Igoe (@nakajimab5n)

Journal transcriptions from different years, mostly from 1831

by Janneke van der Weijden (@JannekevanderW)

Journal transcriptions focused on Anne's travels, mostly from 1831.

by Janneke van der Weijden (@JannekevanderW)

Miscellaneous journal entries.

by @PascM76

Days in the life of Miss Anne Lister through the transcriptions of her personal journal entries

Author unknown 

Entries from the coded sections of Anne Lister's diaries from 20 October, 1832 through 11 August, 1840.

⚠️ Previous URL (no longer accessible): annelistersdiary.com

by Ripley (@who_the_lass)

Assorted entries from June, September and October 1819.

by Dorjana Širola (@d_sirola)

annotated transcriptions of Anne Lister's diary and travel notes

by Jessica Btik 

Set of journal transcriptions spanning periods across the years 1836, 1837 and 1838. 

by Jenna Beyer (@BeyerJenna5)

In progress transcription of the period of May-July 1822, which will include Anne Lister's trip to Wales, where she visits the Ladies of Llangollen.

by Frankie (@Frankie31834)

Anne Lister Italia (https://www.annelister.it/). Researcher and codebreaker. Tutte le trascrizioni condivise sono state realizzate da me 

by Sophie C.

Journal transcriptions focusing on Anne Lister's courtship of Ann Walker starting with their reacquaintance on 6 July, 1832.

by Soph (@Rundle_Walker)

In progress transcription of journal entries starting in late 1817.

(Previously known as The Real Anne Lister)

by Leigh Mitchinson 

An assortment of “Uncut Diary Transcriptions” across various years, including a series following the travels of Anne Lister and Sibella MacLean through Scotland. 

⚠️ Previous URL (no longer accessible): https://iknowmyownheart.co.uk

by Kat Williams (@KaeD_Wills)

Assorted journal entries.

⚠️ Blog no longer accessible

by Helena Whitbread (@helenawhitbread)

Select journal entries (some partial only) from the period of 1817-1824 from Helena Whitbread's extensive transcription work done for her books "I Know My Own Heart" and "No Priest But Love". 

by Kirsty McHugh, edited by Elizabeth Edwards

Transcription of journal entries from Anne's tour of North Wales 11-27 July, 1822.

by Marlene Oliveira (@moliveiradev)

Fully transcribed journal entries between 22 and 27 December, 1834. 

Acknowledgements

Special thank you to Steph Gallaway for collecting initial references.