Monday, January 1, 2007

Press and Links

I'm not exactly sure how to get trackbacks working on Blogger, so I've just assembled this list of links about Papa's Diary Project. Thanks to everyone who's shown an interest.

- Family Tree Magazine interviewed me for a piece in their May 2008 issue about preserving old diaries. Here's a PDF, posted with permission.

- Here's a link from a blog called "".

- The New York Times City Section published an interview with me about Papa's Diary Project entitled "1924, Through an Ancestor’s Eyes" on October 14, 2007

-, a site dedicated to the digital preservation of family history, gave us this shout-out on August 31, 2007.

- Here's a nice little mention in a post called Blogs worth knowing about from Digitization 101.

Loho10002, a Lower East Side information site, mentioned us in their "Linkage" recommendations on August 23rd, 2007.

- Here's a link from a Dodgers fan and history site called "The Trolley Dodger."

- My friends Yishane and Ray gave me a little shout-out in late May on their personal blog,

- Here's a piece I wrote for the Spring 2007 issue of a Jewish students' magazine called "New Voices." The headline editor made a teensy mistake (Papa's diary was written in the 20's, not the 30's) but otherwise I'm happy with it.

- The May 4, 2007 issue of the Jewish Daily Forward featured an article about Papa's Diary Project called "Dear Diary: Back in Time"

- April 18th, 2007: A Russian Web site called Booknik wrote a long post about Papa's Diary Project. I had no idea what it said at first, but my heroic, Russian-speaking friend Alla recently translated the comments. Here's what she had to say:

Matt, she called the article The story of one blog from 1924.

Her name is Anna Shkolnik, and she writes absolutely beautifully. She perfectly translated the diary. She used very intelligent language and tone similar to Osip Mandelshtum's memoirs. I don't have too much time to translate her comments perfectly, but I'll do my best to quickly translate it word by word. It's even better, since you'll imagine some stranger-woman with heavy Russian accent, who really got into your story:

After she quoted some phrases from the diary, she wrote:

Harry was not just a worker, trade union activist and a member of ..."Sons of ...". now Bnai Brith. He was very lonely and sensitive man, who tried to save as much as possible to weekly send some help to his family that had to stay in Europe and suffered a lot of hardships. There is a special place in his diary where he shares his dreams about one very special girl, whom he's willing to wait all his life. There is also some observations in his diary about the lifestyle of his American relatives. This takes the majority of pretty old yellowish pages, wrapped by linen mahagony color book cover.

Then, she perfectly translates your comments in the diary after Jan. 1st, 1924 post:

Matt comments practically every event, mentioned in his grandfather's memoirs, which changes the diary's genre itself and transforms it into the ''encyclopedia of every day things"

The references and photos, as well as quotes from the newspapers of that time,. gently add to the town's view, sounds, penetrating to the new yorkers' ears, smells and other things of that time reality, forever lost for the future generations. For example, on April 17th, grandpa didn't leave any diary posts, and Matt is worried (what could happen?). Perhaps, he was listening to his favored radio and and decided not to write that day. By the way, among the the headlines that caught his eye at the moment, there was one about Russian. This is New York TImes.

Just like any other man who is in love, Matt talks about his granddad using such touching tone that it becomes very contagious and the reader of the diary is picking it up. It looks like Matt's blog has more visitors than you could imagine. If publish this book and base it on the diary, he could include the comments to add many new details and information about New York during the 20th, in the best traditions of literature network, as well as the comments that simply inspire and motivate Matt to continue what he's started.

And then she writes:

Booker (in Russian means person who can't stop reading) is the website's name. There is a comment on the bottom of the page:
We barely forced to leave the Diary alone and get away from it, to tell you, folks, about this wonderful man (you!). Here is some terms and names of the things that Matt is trying to find - here are the list of the terms and names, that Matt coule not define or find anywhere on the web. Do you find here in the list anything familiar - names, people?

- The brilliantly-named referred to Papa's Diary Project back in March after I wrote to ask them a question about matzoh production.

- Here's a reference from January 2007 on a journal-oriented blog called Duc N. Ly

- Thanks to a referral from my cousin Joy, a notebook-oriented site called notebookism wrote a post about Papa's Diary Project almost as soon as I started it.


  1. Hi Matt,
    Thanks for the back track link!

  2. Hi Matt,

    I came via Notebookism and I was immediately hooked on reading your Papa's Diary.

    Thank you for sharing his life's journey with the rest of the world.

  3. ...........Greetings from CapeTown.

    Do you have further details regarding the “Mrs. Surdut” referred to in your diary?


    Ben-Zion Surdut

  4. hi matt.. i stumbled across this when trying to find info about my family.. the girl your grandfather mentions who fell onto the third rail onthe night of august 4 1928 was my fathers sister gertrude. how did he know her.. or did he actually know her? i just found her grave today. karen kessler kadoo61@gmail.comeiivz

  5. Hi from another Surdut- Do you know any first names of Mr or Mrs Surdut? I just found your Papa's Diary accidentally while googling myself.
    June Surdut