In the mid-1950's, historian Jacob Presser introduced a new word: egodocument, meant as a term to indicate autobiographies, memoirs, diaries, personal letters and other texts in which the author writes explicitly about his or her own affairs and feelings. The word was quickly adopted in the Dutch language, but otherwise the timing was bad. Presser's colleagues were more than ever reluctant to use such texts. Since the 1980's, the new cultural history has returned to egodocuments. Among the reading public egodocuments have always remained popular, which explains the paradox of the diary of Anne Frank, widely read, but until recently little studied.

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Amsterdams Sociologisch Tijdschrift
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication (ESHCC)

Dekker, R. (2002). De Erfenis van Jacques Presser: waardering en gebruik van egodocumenten in de gescheidswetenschap. Amsterdams Sociologisch Tijdschrift, 29(1), 19–37. Retrieved from