About the Diaries

The Svoboda Diaries Project began in 2006 as a project under the umbrella of the Ottoman Texts Archive Project (OTAP), started in 1993 at the University of Washington. In 2013, SDP became one of the founding partners in the Newbook Digital Texts (NDT) collaborative digital publications initiative founded by Professors Walter Andrews, Mary Childs, and Sarah Ketchley.

The Joseph Mathia Svoboda Diaries

A page from Joseph’s diary (Diary 39).

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. Of the 49 JMS diaries that we have in our collection, 3 have been published on the website with more in progress. Unfortunately, not all of the Joseph’s diaries have survived, and some of the ones in our possession are in poor quality.

To download the transcriptions or summaries of the diaries to analyze using text mining tools or to study on your own, click here.

To explore these diaries visually or compare the transcriptions with the original images, click here.

The Alexander Svoboda Travel Journal

An original page image from Alexander’s Travel Journal

Written by Joseph’s son, Alexander Richard Svoboda, the Travel Journal details Alexander’s journey from Baghdad across the Middle East to Cairo and thence to Paris. It consists of 65 pages and was first published on-line in 2011, with a transcription and translation. In 2013, the travel journal became available as a dual language print-on-demand hard copy book entitled From Baghdad to Paris: 1897.

To view the travel journal online, click here.

The Return Journal

The English-language journal of Alexander’s return to Baghdad with his French wife was abandoned after a few days and 14 pages. Entitled “Journey to Baghdad from Europe Via Der-el-Zor and Mosul Oct. 1900”, it is not available.

The Travel Journal print-on-demand book cover