Frank William Boreham 1871-1959

Frank William Boreham 1871-1959
A photo F W Boreham took of himself in 1911

Friday, November 03, 2006

Boreham on Keeping a Journal

Diligent Diarists
F W Boreham carefully noted the diligence of people like Henry Livingstone and Captain Robert Falcon Scott who kept their diaries to the end of their days, especially under trying conditions, and remarked, “Few things are more touching or more significant than the concern that dying men display, under certain conditions, to keep their journals intact to the last”.[1] Beyond the value of a diary recording important times and events, Boreham affirmed the personal benefit of ‘reliving’ events in which “the keeping of a diary is a species of self-communing; the self of Today talking to the same self of Tomorrow”.[2]

Like Bees in Amber
F W Boreham recognized that diaries might bring benefits not only to the diarist but to the diary’s readers: “Like bees in amber, the thoughts, feelings and impressions of Today are made available to the eyes of Tomorrow”. In this way people may continue their contact with the world they left behind but their diaries enabled them to “say their say to the Ages”.[3]

Long Term Investment
Frank Boreham loved Emerson’s image of a diary being like a bank in which valuable experiences could be saved and drawn upon for future guidance.[4] Implicit was the thought that a diary can accrue value to life’s experiences as the maturity of age and the wisdom of hindsight enabled readers to reap further dividends from the events of the past. Boreham viewed diaries as a personal savings bank for the diarist and recognized the riches they could offer to others, when he observed: “Among all her priceless archives, the Church has no documents comparable in value with personal outpourings of this intimate kind. She treasures as above all price the Confessions of St Augustine, the Breviary of St Teresa, Bunyan’s Grace Abounding, Newton’s Autobiography and the self-revealing journals of men like David Brainerd and John Woolman”.[5]

Boreham the Diarist
Some of the earliest attempts by Boreham at journaling included his travelogues entitled, From England to Mosgiel, N.Z. by Frank William Boreham[6] (published in five installments in the British Courier newspaper) and Loose leaves: From the journal of my voyage round the world (published by the Taieri advocate and H H Driver). These represented a selection of experiences that Boreham culled from the personal diaries that he meticulously kept. While he extolled the virtues of keeping a diary, only eight of his annual diaries are extant and these record only the final years of his life.[7]

Geoff Pound

Image: 'Like bees in amber..' (this is a bee in a beautiful amber bracelet. You'd get a real buzz out of wearing this).

[1] F W Boreham, The last milestone (London: The Epworth Press, 1961), 43.
[2] Boreham, The last milestone, 43.
[3] Boreham, The last milestone, 43.
[4] Boreham, Mercury, 7 January 1928.
[5] Boreham, The last milestone, 43.
[6] F W Boreham, ‘From England to Mosgiel, N.Z., Five letters to the editor of the Courier’, Courier, 6 and 21 March, 1895.
[7] The diaries relate to the years 1946, 1947, 1948, 1950, 1951, 1956, 1958 and 1959. When Boreham died, many of his books (including these diaries) were gathered up by the Rev Sir Irving Benson. Boreham’s diaries and two letters were deposited with Benson’s papers in the State Library of Victoria (Ref. No. MS 11508 Boreham, Rev Dr F).