Scope and Contents
Virginia Drysdale Keeney's journal extends from January 1, 1914, to Decemeber 31, 1918, encapsulating her daily activites and emotions in short paragraphs. It primarly concerns her work as a teacher at a girl's school, familial activities (such as preserving berries, cleaning sheep, and gardening), and local social events (such as attending weddings, visiting various members of the community, and going on car rides). At various points within the journal, Virginia interrupts commentary on her daily life to comment on World War I. On August 2, 1914, she disucsses the mobilization of German, Russian, and French troops, lamenting that Europe seems on the verge of warfare over something that "began with Austria and Serbia." On April 7, 1917, Virginia, upon learning of the entrance of the United States into World War I, exclaims "war is declared; it's terrible." That same day, she and her sister, Sue, volunteer at the Red Cross sewing pillow cases. From this point on, the war becomes a more central part of Virginia's life. She volunteers at the Red Cross several times a week in addition to her previous activities and expresses her patriotism, even as a Quaker, by cheering for passing soldiers with her sister. When the war ends, school closes and Virginia, along with the community, celebrate the declaration of peace. The last few pages include geneological research conducted by Virginia on Ellau Barker (her grandmother's grandfather) and John Jones (her grandfather's father).
Virginia Drysdale was born to William R. Keeney and Mary Anna Jones in 1890. She graduated from Swarthmore College with a degree in English in 1910. Following graduation, Keeney taught in First-Day School from the Old Testament. She also traveled extensively in the Caribbean, South America, Spain, and the Mediterranean to photograph and produce travelogues. In 1951, Keeney published "Centuries ago: From Genesis to the time of Christ." Keeney was a member of Valley Meeting in Pennsylvania and passed away in 1976, at the age of 86.