Farmer's Weekly

In the days before WW2, a rather remarkable woman journalist, called Mary Day, was 'headhunted' by Farmer's Weekly to be the editor of their new home section. This new area was devised to expand the female readership of the magazine. Still published today, the FW was not without competition back then. The Farmer and Stockbreeder was also read by members of the agricultural community. Mary had previously been one of the leading female journalists in Fleet Street and proved quite an asset to the FW organisation.

As late as 1985, a book of regional country recipes sent in by readers was published by FW. In the same vein, in the FW magazines of Jeanne's day, we found recipes she herself had sent in and attributed to an old Herefordshire lady. So the Diary was not Jeanne's first contribution and we know from surviving letters from Mary that there was some continuing communication between the two women. The 'Journal of Anne Hughes' ran over a considerable number of weeks and proved a great success.

In response to readers' queries, Mary tells us that Jeanne was given the diary, when a child, by 'a nurse in her mother's family' who used to read it to her and her sister when they were little. As to where the diary was written, she says that Jeanne has told her that the 'old lady and her sister' are long gone and can only say she thinks it was on the 'Herefordshire borders'.

During the early part of the war, Mary Day spent time in America on lecture tours telling about conditions in wartime Britain. She was essentially contributing to the garnering of American support for this country at a perilous time in our history. Sadly, she died shortly after the war and thus neither of the Diary's proponents were alive when the book was eventually published. This fell to Mary's successor, Barbara Hargreaves.

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