The maintenance of diaries has been a familiar feature of American culture, high and low, since the colonial period. The Power of my Pen to Describe showcases a selection of unpublished American manuscript diaries dating from the 18th and 19th centuries. Some of the texts describe singular episodes in their authors’ lives, like travel on the Oregon Trail or service in the Civil War. Others are diaries of the everyday, treating the customary experiences of, for example, a Massachusetts textile worker or a Washington socialite. All items in the exhibit derive from the North American manuscript holdings in the Hesburgh Libraries’ Rare Books and Special Collections.