The Spiker Family Gathering Place

Geneaology and History Portal

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Description - The Book:

     Gay Spiker's diary is a leather-bound book titled "Warner's Calendar of Medical History for the use of the Medical Profession, 1937".  Copyright 1936, by William R. Warner & Co., Inc., 113 West 18th Street, New York City.  The book measures  8" x 4 3/4" and contains 448 illustrated pages.  "Warner's Calendar of Medical History" is stamped onto the cover and the year "1937" onto the spine.  Presumably both were in gilt which faded over time.

     An internet search of this calendar on other genealogy sites reveals that it was a common choice for journaling. Interestingly, it is believed that Ernest Hemingway used this same publication for his own notes.  (With the obvious exceptions) this image of Hemingway's book (year 1938) is nearly identical to the cover and first pages of Gay's diary.

     The bottom right of each page depicts a three-month-view-calendar for the current year.  The bottom left of each page is illustrated with a science quote or a notation of medical history.  Ample space is available for the entry of personal notes.  The book also contains full-page advertisements for various pharmaceuticals and several pages of medical information (with titles including "Incubation Periods", "Intelligence Tests", a listing of "Mineral Salts", etc.)


Description - The Contents

     One would presume that Gay began journaling in her calendar soon after the book's publication in 1936.  However, it must be noted that several entries are marked with dates prior to that year.  Therefore, we must also presume that Mrs. Spiker had previously stored these items (including cards, letters and notations) elsewhere -- perhaps in a box, drawer or another journal of which we are unaware -- and later transferred them to this book.

     The earliest entry was dated 1921.  The latest entry was dated 1950.  The entries are not in chronological order. 

     The diary holds a few cards and letters.  There are several newspaper clippings -- some pasted beneath a hand-scrawled note, others merely tucked randomly between the pages. 

     Her hand-written notations are, of course, the most interesting and the most revealing.  Many times they are her personal thoughts about her family, her health, her hobbies, etc.  Some are the retelling of stories she learned at school or at church, or that she had read in one of many books.  Others are memories of a quote or a poem that she wanted to record.   However, it is often difficult to discern between inscriptions that are in her own words, and those that she is simply repeating, since she rarely cited the source of a quote.

     In an attempt to identify copied quotes, this transcriber performed internet searches of key phrases in Gay's writings.  When a match was made, a link to that external site was attached in the "Transcriber's Notes" (see Legend).  Seldom was the wording of the original text and the "found" text identical.  Perhaps this is because Gay was recalling the script from memory and she missed something in the translation.  Perhaps she was reciting only those key parts that she enjoyed most.  Perhaps she wanted to personalize the script.  Or perhaps the external site's wording is incorrect. 

     It is also possible that the difference in phrasing is due to language errors which appear in Gay's hand-written entries as well as in the newspaper articles.  Great pains have been taken to ensure the transcription of Mrs. Spiker's diary is true to the original; all grammar, spelling, punctuation and capitalization errors presented are intentional.   

     Two final notes --  a request for assistance and a word of caution:

     1.  REQUEST -- Our goal in publishing Gay Spiker's diary is to introduce you to the more private side of this wonderful wife, mother and friend.  But to better understand the woman behind these writings, we must also consider what the world was like at that time she put her pen to paper.  With this in mind, we welcome and encourage our readers' participation in providing additional sources of documentation that we may add in our notes. 

     Such information may include personal opinion on, insight into, or recorded documentation of a topic mentioned in Gay's hand-written or clipped entries.  As examples, send me a copy your child's term paper on "Tojo", identify the relationship between the Spikers and the person mentioned in an obituary, provide an internet link to an historical site that describes the economic climate during WWII. 

     We are aware that numerous people visit the Spiker Family Gathering Place looking for a link to their own family trees.  To these visitors we extend the same invitation to join in our continued quest for additional information.  All entries are welcome and may be submitted by e-mail to Bobbi Spiker-Conley.

     2.  CAUTION -- External website links are provided throughout the diary pages for the reasons noted immediately above.  While we find them useful and interesting, you must be aware that we neither have control over nor responsibility for any external website.  We also do not verify the accuracy of the sites' contents. Although we are not aware of any computer safety issues with any of these sites, we are aware that viruses may be found throughout the internet.  Readers are advised to use caution when exiting our website