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Diaries of Janet Beaton

Identifier: Coll-2049

Content Description

This collection consists of the diaries written by Janet Beaton between 1934 and 1949, and from 1962 until her death in 2018. The early diaries relate to her experience of wartime (for example, her 1939 diary includes her eye-witness account of a "Humbie Heinkel" over East Lothian. This was the first German aircraft to be brought down over mainland Britain during the Second World War.), and to her days at the University of Edinburgh. Subsequent diaries relate to her family, her many travels with her husband, and her writings (her 1968 diary includes her signing the contract for her first romantic novel).


  • Creation: 1934-2018


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Diaries that contain information on individuals who may still be alive will need to be screened by archivists before consultation. Please contact the repository in advance.

Biographical / Historical

Janet Beaton (née Purves) was born in 1922 near Haddington and attended the Knox Academy there. In 1944 she graduated with Honours in English from the University of Edinburgh, where she studied under Dover Wilson. After qualifying from Moray House she taught for a time at Gillespie's and other Edinburgh Schools. She went on to publish 16 romantic novels between 1969 and 1992 and dozens of short stories, mainly in Woman and Home and Woman's Weekly.

During her wartime student years Janet kept a diary, and after her marriage in 1950 and the arrival of three children she resumed it, writing approximately a page every day over a period of sixty years until the eve of her death. With the exception of a few years in the 1970s, when her husband was working in Manchester, and many travels recorded in her diaries, she lived continuously in East Lothian or Edinburgh until 2014.

Janet Beaton died in 2018.


109 Volumes (8 boxes)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated in October 2021. Accession no. SC-Acc-2021-0077.

Processing Information

Catalogued by Aline Brodin in August 2022, using information supplied by the donor.

Diaries of Janet Beaton, 1934-2018
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
University of Edinburgh Main Library
George Square
Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
+44(0)131 650 8379