In Her Words brings forward the voices and experiences of unseen women,
written by them in their own words, found in diaries and letters held by the
Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI).
This exhibition provides an intimate insight into the lives of these women, allowing them
to speak for themselves and tell their own story. They are not women you are likely to have
heard of before, they are everyday women, living their lives in the midst of history.
Their words give us a glimpse into the reality of life for women, across a century.
WHY DIARIES AND LETTERS?
Women, and their experiences, are not present in many historical documents. Letters,
and diaries in particular, were the personal way that women were able to document
their life experiences, their opinions, their interests, their hopes and their aspirations.
The letters and diaries in this exhibition are a representation of what is held in
PRONI’s archives, and the information that can be found within. However, they are
not even close to a full representation of women’s experiences in this part of the world
over the last 150 years.
The barriers to women’s opportunities to leave their story are many and varied.
Women were caring for their families and many often worked extremely long hours,
leaving them with minimal leisure time. Lack of access to education and literacy issues
meant that many ‘everyday’ women were not able, or did not have the time, to keep
diaries or write lengthy letters to friends and family.
We may never be able to recover all the stories of these women – but will bring
forward some of the voices we have found. Their time has come.
LISTEN TO THEIR WORDS
Participants taking part in community engagement programmes organised by PRONI and the Linen Hall Library
have voiced and recorded words of the women you will meet in the exhibition. On all of the panels you will find
specially created icons.