|Alfred A. Benitz||Page last modified:
Alfred's Diaries & Day-Books
Alfred began keeping a diary as a teenager in Oakland (California), a habit he continued until the day he died. However, there are curious gaps in the diaries, there are traces of pages torn out, and his biography includes quotes from diaries which are now missing. These gaps strongly suggest the diaries were edited, most likely by Alfred and/or Olga. For many years Alfred recorded his activities in estancia day-books and may not have kept a personal diary; but the day-books do not cover all the missing years nor do they hold a record of his travels. Why do we have detailed journals of most trips but not of his first trip to Europe & US in 1893, nor of his costliest, longest, and most adventurous trip of all: his safari in Africa in 1910?
Regardless of the gaps, Alfred’s diaries and day-books provide us an impressive record of his doings and that of the family. He recorded the family’s arduous journey to Argentina, many of his trips hunting and travelling about the world, and his more mundane daily activities. His estancia day-books from Laguna Yacaré & Los Palmares are at first glance a boring daily record of who worked, rain (or lack of), indian troubles, and cattle movements — but as you read an image emerges of life as it was then, lived at the speed of a horse.
We have transcribed the diaries as written (verbatim), without correcting any errors in grammar and spelling. To aid the reader with Spanglish terminology, unfamiliar names (people & places), and old measures (weights, distances, currencies, etc.) we have provided a set of: Reference Pages. We recommend you have them available — they will open in a separate window or tab.
Special thanks are due to Stuart Pryor for providing us Uncle Alfred's diaries, Susan Horner for lending us Auntie Olga's photo album, and lastly, those who transcribed the diaries — for the long tedious task of deciphering Uncle Alfred's scrawl: Jane Baggott, Michael Mohr-Bell, and René Benitz.
© Peter Benitz (Benitz Family)