Explore the Diary Viewer

From the Diary Viewer page, you can choose to engage with a collection of Joseph Svoboda’s diaries. All together, these diaries record Joseph’s actions in Iraq between 1897 and 1899. Within each diary, you will be able to view scans of the original handwritten manuscripts and our easy-to-read digitized transcriptions.

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Explore the Timeline

The Events Timeline describes the major happenings of Joseph Svoboda’s 47th handwritten diary which spans from February 1897 to June of the following year. The events of the diary are categorized according to their subject, including family events, international affairs, and pandemics.

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The Svoboda Family

The Svoboda family’s life in Ottoman Iraq began with Joseph’s parents, Anton Svoboda and Euphemie Muradjian. Joseph and his wife Eliza continue the heritage of this Austro-Hungarian Christian family living in Baghdad. Joseph’s son Alexander also participates with the family’s business of river trade. Visit “History of the Svoboda Family” to learn more.

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Joseph and Friends

A Svoboda Scavenger Hunt | April 19 – May 14, 2021

The Joseph Mathia Svoboda diaries capture over 40 years of trade on the Tigris, life, politics, and the landscape of Ottoman Iraq through the perspective of a British steamship purser with a rich family history and local connections. Each year, project interns engage in diverse tasks relating to the preservation, accessibility, and analysis of the diaries, including digital transcription of the handwritten diaries, analysis of the text of the diaries, developing interactive ways to explore the text online, and other activities.


We are excited to announce a four week online contest, starting on April 19! Each week we will post a new theme related to the diaries. By completing the corresponding tasks and questions, you can enter a lottery to win a $25 gift card! To learn more about the contest, click here.

Recent Updates

Instagram launched | January 19, 2021

We have launched our Instagram account! Follow us @svobodadiaries for more information on the diaries and other project updates!

Revised Timeline | April 4, 2021

Our timeline feature enables you to interactively explore and link to events in Joseph’s diary. We have revised the timeline to improve its usability. Take a look here.

Diary Viewer Overview | April 4, 2021

Our newly revised Diary Viewer overview page is up! We have added short descriptions of each diary to enable you to choose the diary that you are most interested in! Take a look here.