As well as the many records relating to genetics and academia, the Pontecorvo collection also contains records relating to Ponte’s personal life. These include a series of detailed household account books and diaries kept by Ponte’s wife Leni from 1941- 1986.
For over 40 years Leni kept a daily log of everything the family purchased, how much it cost and who paid for it. Every penny spent was accounted for (including Ponte’s daily newspapers) and a weekly balance showing income and expenditure was logged. The list was also split into necessities and ‘extras’; with necessities including food, tram tickets and other household items, while haircuts and bottles of ribena were recorded as extras.
As well as providing an insight into the less than frivolous lifestyle of the Pontecorvo’s, the account books are also a valuable source of information for social historians. The account books hold information relating to diet and food availability, the change to decimal currency in 1971, and rising costs in all areas of life.
The account books also loosely document changes in technology, as TV and radio purchases are recorded and the family switch from purchasing the Radio Times to both the Radio Times and TV Times as technology advances. Although the accounts only describe the life of one family, they provide an interesting read for historians and researchers of the mid- late twentieth century.
In addition to these account books Leni also kept a weekly diary detailing events that she and Ponte were attending, as well as family get-togethers, parties, household chores and even the weather! Leni was meticulous in recording every aspect of her family life and we are very pleased that these records have survived as they show what life was like for a professor and his family in Glasgow from the 1940s onwards.
Categories: Archive Services (GUAS)