My thanks to the librarians and staff of the David Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University, Durham, NC, especially Elizabeth Dunn, Research Services Librarian, who first retrieved the diary of Dorothy Smith for me on a visit to the library in 2002 and who worked with me on several occasions thereafter during my visits to Duke. The diary was previously seen by Whittington B. Johnson, and made a brief appearance in his book, Black Savannah 1788–1864 (Fayetteville, AR, 1996), pp. 18, 20. The publication of the diary, with permission of the Library, has long been delayed but finally can now be viewed freely and conveniently through this website.
I am especially grateful for the assistance I received from the staff at the Historical Society of Old Newbury, Cushing House Museum, Newburyport, Massachusetts, where I was able to explore numerous books of local history, tax records, church records, rare photographs and drawings of homes, and, most importantly, the Josiah Smith Papers, 1785–1817. Special thanks also to the excellent librarians and staff at the Georgia Historical Society in Savannah, where I spent many hours poring over the early Savannah newspapers and other books of local history in the library's beautiful setting along Forsyth Park. The same can be said for the staff and facilities at the Charleston Library Society (founded 1748); the South Carolina Historical Society (also located in Charleston); the South Caroliniana Library, Columbia, SC; and the special collections of the Thomas Cooper Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC. My thanks as well to the Interlibrary Loan staff at Georgia Southern for their help in gaining access for me to a variety of city directories from the late eighteenth century.
Dorothy Smith's diary consists of about 6700 words composed on 48 pages (each page measures 10s16 cm) in a small stitched notebook with a soft paper covering. Some of the leaves have now come undone from their original stitching, but the diary remains complete and in remarkably good condition. For this edition, all original spelling and punctuation, as well as ampersands and dashes, have all been retained as they appear in the manuscript, along with interpolations (noted by ^ ^) and deletions, when decipherable. Superscripts have not been retained; for the few diary entries that did not have any closing punctuation, periods have been silently inserted at the end of the entry. Missing letters and words have been inserted within square brackets. Any substantive changes are explained in the footnotes; the footnote numbers appear in the text inside square brackets and in full at the foot of the page, with each section restarting the numbering of the notes at 1.