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Naperville Woman’s Diaries

Hannah Ditzler was born in Naperville in 1848, the daughter of a carpenter from Pennsylvania she wasn’t born into wealth, however her hobby left us a wealth of knowledge.

“From a very early age she wrote diaries and journals and things and started creating these scrapbooks. What she left for us is a legacy of preservation and its through these dozens of scrapbooks diaries and journals that we know so much about early Naperville history,” said Bryan Ogg, Museum Curator at Naper Settlement.

Her multiple journals and scrapbooks give us an inside look at life in the mid 1800’s in Naperville.

They feature everything from swatches of her dresses, newspaper articles and even wallpaper from the Naper Academy where she spent most of her life.

“When it was built in 1851 it was a subscription school so for her and her brothers and sisters to go there, they had to do work. They had to do odd jobs to pay their tuition. And then later on, she was such a good student that they asked her to come and teach so she did teach at the Academy then when it transitioned to the Naperville Public School system she taught there for many years – her house was literally across the street,” said Ogg.

Before her passing in 1938, Ditzler was one of the first librarians at Nichols Library, inspiring others to keep record of their lives in town.

“She wanted to share this history and I think it was her influence at the library that inspired many other women in town. I think she’s just one link in a chain of strong women who really helped preserve our Naperville history,” said Ogg.

Naperville News 17’s Natalie Vitale Reports.


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