1941 Diary-Calendar

Tonight’s object is a small diary-calendar from 1941. This little book is just 1”x 1.5” in size and features a photograph and quote from Antony Eden on the front about Dunkirk:imageThe back cover reveals that it was sold to raise money for a charity, the St John’s Guild for the Blind:imageThis charity had been formed in 1919 to help blind people in a Christian context and like most charities would have found itself being called upon to help more and more during wartime. Charities always struggled for cash, however in wartime with resources tighter and demands higher, this problem would have become more acute. Various fund raising schemes were popular in the 1940s including selling small tokens such as badges, flags or in this case a little diary. The cover is filled with a suitably stirring quote for the period and the flags of the services and the price of 2d made it easy for people of all walks of life to afford to purchase one.

The front page of the book indicates its purpose as a Diary Calendar for 1941:imageEach month has a double page spread, with a line for each day:imageThe centre of the book has excerpts from speeches from the King, Prime Minister:imageAnd other politicians of the day such as Hore-Belisha:imageThe back page includes a handy reminder of the holidays and saints’ days for the year ahead:imageThe small size of the book would have allowed it to be easily slipped into a wallet or purse, and with a small pencil stub gave the owner access to somewhere to jot down appointments whilst out and about without taking up much room. These little items of ephemera are not worth much today, but are actually quite scarce as most would have been thrown away after the year was up. This little book is a nice survivor and has been in my collection for many years now, I cannot recall where I got it or how much I paid but I suspect it won’t have cost me more than 50p.

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