About Claire Wight

Wonder what life was like for a middle-class teenage girl from Kalamazoo in the early part of the 20th century?  Follow along as we reveal excerpts from the diaries [beginning in 1909] of Claire Wight, daughter of a Baptist minister.  She was born in South Dakota in 1894 and moved to Kalamazoo with her parents where her father was one of the ministers at First Baptist Church and later Bethel Baptist Church.  The family lived on Ingleside Terrace, next to Mountain Home Cemetery.

Watch Claire develop from an active but relatively low-key 15-year-old attending Kalamazoo Central High School, to a fiesty and introspective student at Kalamazoo College. Along the way we discover her hopes, her dreams, and her many talents – artist, mandolin player, and tennis champion.

Claire may write of things that make the modern reader uncomfortable, but keep in mind her time and place. Take her writings as a history lesson to gain understanding of life and attitudes of a maturing girl over one hundred years ago.

The entries from her diary are presented using Claire’s abbreviations, misspellings, and loose punctuation.  Italicized text in brackets [ ] are entries made by the Museum’s curatorial staff to provide clarification. The use of [sic] will follow words that were misspelled by Miss Wight.

Any use of these excerpts must be credited to the Kalamazoo Valley Museum.

2 Responses to About Claire Wight

  1. Imagine my surprise when, while looking for some information about my ancestors in Kalamazoo, I ran across your transcriptions of this diary. And mention of one of my relatives….Roscoe Harter! His mother, Katherine Harter was a teacher at Vine Street School.
    Keep up the great work!

    • Paula says:

      Hi Wendy — I just saw your comment about the diaries. Glad you enjoy them. It was nice visiting with you and your family last week. All the best. Paula