The past meets the present, learns Twitter

Published 9:18 am Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The saga of the first female to graduate from Ohio University is getting a new life, courtesy of Twitter.

Ohio University library is tweeting excerpts from Margaret Boyd’s diary, which allows followers to get a glimpse into her experiences at Athens before the modern day lifestyles.

In June of 1873, Boyd became the first female to graduate from Ohio University. During her final year at the university, Boyd kept a diary of her daily life.

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The Twitter handle, created by the library, is @MaggieBoyd1873. Library student employees Karah Finan and Matt Wesley manage the Twitter feed.

“Maggie Boyd is an inspirational person,” Finan, a journalism major, said. “I can’t imagine what it would be like to be the first and only woman at a college. It’s so much more than you could ever find in a history book.”

The tiny palm-sized notebook held emotions and thoughts on everything from classwork and crushes, which was unusual for the time period.

“Reading through Maggie’s diary entries is interesting because her diary alludes to her own personal feelings on a variety of topics,” Wesley, a history major, said. “For reference, this was not a common practice, as many diary writers and journal keepers of the era kept more objectively styled journals.”

While her life at Ohio University was different than the experiences of today’s students and community members, many of Boyd’s concerns are familiar.

Her journal entry on Jan. 17, 1873, sounds similar to the words of many modern college seniors.

“I cannot help feeling sad to think this is my last year at college. Many a pleasant hour have I spent within its walls. Still, I will be so glad to be able to make something. I have always had to be so careful of every cent.”

Boyd’s diary is now a part of the Boyd Family Collection located in the library’s Mahn Center for Activates and Special Collections. The diary was originally scanned and transcribed to be a part of the State of Ohio Bicentennial Celebration.

It is available at

For more information and updates, visit the library’s blog at