From the Archive… Dear Diary

Our company archivist, Vicky Britton, gives a brief history of the Smythson diary…

2012 is set to be a big year with the Diamond Jubilee, the Olympics and Smythson celebrating our 125th anniversary. 125 years of innovative design and quality craftsmanship, and our diaries have formed a major part of that heritage since Frank Smythson first opened his store in 1887.

A visit to the museum at our flagship store on New Bond Street brings the history behind the Smythson diary to life, where our current ‘Dear Diary’ exhibition showcases our rich heritage and offers a chance to see some of our very early beautiful diaries, including the whimsical ‘A Mere Man’s Calendar’, first printed in 1912.

Here is a closer look at 3 founding members of the Smythson diary family…

The Royal Court Diary is the longest running diary in the range. This classic, hardbound book was one of the first Smythson diaries to be published and featured on the company’s first advertisement card.

Smythson Archive Product - 1901 Royal Court Title Page

Printed on white wove paper, its day-per-page layout offers ample room for jotting down important daily commitments. The Royal Court Diary has remained largely unchanged throughout its 125 years of production.

The quietly sophisticated Panama Diary is without doubt one of Smythson’s most iconic products. It was created in 1908 by Frank Smythson who made the world’s first truly portable diary.

Smythson Archive Product - 1908 Featherweight Diary

Originally called the Featherweight Diary, its creation was a bold move and revolutionised the way in which people used their diaries. Using a navy blue, supple leather binding and a lightweight, pale blue paper – half the thickness and weight as normally used – this new pocket-sized diary was specifically designed to fit into the inside pocket of a gentleman’s jacket.

The elegant Wafer Diary was first designed in 1924. It was (and still is) identical in content and layout to the Featherweight Diary but designed as a much smaller version for ladies – small enough to fit inside the handbag. With added details such as a miniature pencil and tuck fastening, this little diary was the height of fashionable sophistication.

From the Smythson Archive - 1924 Wafer Diary in Leather Wallet

The Smythson diary family is now bigger than ever, with a size, layout and colour to suit every customer. From traditional, understated and essential pocket diaries to seasonal Fashion and Soho diaries with beautiful jewel closures, the Smythson diary has evolved from utilitarian necessity to must-have fashion accessory, while striking a perfect balance between form and function.

What do you love about your Smythson diary?

Our ‘Dear Diary’ exhibition will be on at our New Bond Street store until January, 2012.


One Response to “From the Archive… Dear Diary”

  1. Betsy S. Says:

    My Smythson diary for 2012 is the purple memoranda!
    It was just delivered to my doorstep only days ago and I am already writing in my important dates!
    I’ll save the “NOTES” pages to document the lovely surprises that the days of the new year will surely bring!


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