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Teen coronavirus diaries collection

Call Number

MS 3200


2020 March-June, inclusive


New-York Historical Society. Education Department (Role: Collector)


484 Megabytes (379 files)

Language of Materials

The documents in the collection are in English.


The Teen Coronavirus Diaries Collection consists of diary entries, images, videos, and slideshow presentations submitted by 162 teenagers in March 2020 through June 2020. In these submissions, teenagers share their experiences, thoughts, and feelings regarding the coronavirus, which includes topics such as remote learning, quarantine, and other current events.

Biographical / Historical

In late March of 2020, New York City, as well as several other places in the United States, went into lockdown due to the spread of the novel coronavirus -- also referred to as COVID-19. This lockdown included the shut down of schools and nonessential businesses, as well as a stay at home order. With this, people with nonessential jobs worked from home, students transitioned to online learning, and everyone was urged to take precautions such as quarantining, social distancing, and mask wearing.

Soon after the beginning of the lockdown, the New-York Historical Society Education Department began an initiative to document teenagers' experiences during the coronavirus pandemic. Through reaching out to their students, and later posting a call on the New-York Historical Society's website, the Education Division asked teenagers to share their experiences during the initial months of the pandemic through either a Google form or email. As a result, from March 2020 through June 2020, the 162 teenagers represented in this collection shared their thoughts, feelings, and experiences as the pandemic developed.

This initiative was a part of the History Responds program, which collects history as it unfolds in order to preserve historically significant moments for future generations. History Responds began in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks and since then has continued to capture major historical events such as protests, celebrations, natural disasters, and the COVID-19 pandemic.


This collection is arranged at the collection level. All diary entries have been compiled into one spreadsheet. Uploaded files (images, videos, slideshows, etc.) are located in a separate folder, but referred to by file name in the spreadsheet.

Scope and Contents

This collection includes diary entries from 162 different students between the ages of 9 and 18 years old who chronicled a day, or several days, of lockdown. Topics include remote learning, quarantine, having parents as essential workers, activities to pass the time, missing friends and family, current events, fatigue, and fear.

Many of the teenagers also chose to upload images to show what they were doing and how they were feeling during this time. These include images of themselves, their homes, original artwork, memes, and stock images. Rather than images, three students submitted short videos. One of them shows their computer screen during remote learning, another shows their pet rabbit, and the third shows a pond near their home.

Three of the teenagers chose to record their diary entries in the form of slide show presentations. These presentations cover the beginning of March 2020 through the end of May 2020 and include descriptions of what these students experienced during the lockdown, as well as connections to current events, such as the presidential election, anti-maskers, and the Black Lives Matter Movement.

All of these entries have been compiled into a single spreadsheet.

Access Restrictions

Open to qualified researchers.

Use Restrictions

Taking images of documents from the library collections for reference purposes by using hand-held cameras and in accordance with the library's photography guidelines is encouraged. As an alternative, patrons may request up to 20 images per day from staff. Application to use images from this collection for publication should be made in writing to: Department of Rights and Reproductions, The New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024-5194, Phone: (212) 873-3400 ext. 282.

Copyrights and other proprietary rights may subsist in individuals and entities other than the New-York Historical Society, in which case the patron is responsible for securing permission from those parties. For fuller information about rights and reproductions from N-YHS visit:

Preferred Citation

The collection should be cited as: Teen coronavirus diaries collection, MS 3200, New-York Historical Society.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection consists of individual donations by each teenager, with parent or guardian permission, beginning in March 2020 and ending in June 2020. They were submitted via either Google form or email.

Collection processed by

Nicole Font

About this Guide

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2023-09-05 11:06:32 -0400.
Using Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language: Finding aid written in English

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Nicole Font in 2021.Files were downloaded and digitally preserved by Margo Padilla.

In total 557 responses were submitted, but only submissions with signed permission forms were retained. The total extent of this collection includes permission slips that are restricted.


New-York Historical Society

View Inventory

Student submissions

Digital-File: MS3200 (Material Type: Mixed Materials)

Language of Materials

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024