Back to Top

02.02.04 Byrd, William, II, The Secret Diary of William Byrd of Westover (1709-1712), published in 1941 and Another Secret Diary . . . (1739-1741), published in 1942.

Notes Concerning the Author

William Byrd II (1674-1744), was born in Henrico County, Virginia, and educated at Felsted School, England, for the law.  He was a member of the King’s Counsel for 37 years.  He returned to the Colony following his schooling in England, lived and lived on his farm, Westover Plantation.  There he gathered the most valuable library in Virginia Colony, numbering some 4,000 books.  He was the founder of Richmond, Virginia and provided the land where the city was laid out in 1737.  His father, Colonel William Byrd, I, had come from England to settle in Virginia.

William Byrd II was a fellow of the Royal Society of Great Britain.  He was the author of the Westover Manuscripts, published in 1841 under three titles and The History of the Dividing Line.  Perhaps today he is most famous for his personal diary, published in two volumes in 1941 and 1942, centuries after being written.  The diaries are considered remarkable for their style, wit, keen observation, and intrinsic interest to all.”


The two diaries were published separately.  The first covers 1709 to 1712.  The second covers 1739 to 1741.  The titles as first published are as follows:

The Secret Diary of William Byrd of Westover (1709-1712), published in 1941 (664 pages).

Another Secret Diary of William Byrd of Westover, 1739-1741: with Letters and Literary Exercises, 1696-1726, published in 1942.

The diaries are excellent windows into the day to day life of a gentleman farmer and important political and social leader of colonial Virginia, whose home and farm, near Richmond, gave him important access to noteworthy activities in the most important colony in British North America.

Availability of this Book

You may get digital copies of this book and used books from the 1941 and 1942 printing as well as paper reprints.  We suggest Amazon.