Evidence from the Archives of Societies: Personal Documentary Sources

  • Christian Pfister
  • Sam White


A wide variety of personal documentary sources, including chronicles, (weather) diaries, and account books, may serve as evidence of historical climate and weather. These sources are highly diverse, often fragmentary, and inherently limited by the lifetime of the author. Some provide more or less objective weather narratives while others offer phenological observations suitable as climate proxies. Grasping their full meaning demands familiarity with their context and the nuances of their language. Knowing the personal background of the observers and their motivations aids in understanding which climatic elements they would have highlighted or disregarded and therefore how particular sources may be used for historical climatology.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christian Pfister
    • 1
  • Sam White
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of History, Oeschger Centre for Climate ChangeBernSwitzerland
  2. 2.Department of HistoryOhio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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