The diary is a small bound volume. Entries are brief and date from January 1, 1888 to September 17, 1888. The writer tracks local weather, events, visitors and routine activities such as sewing, cleaning and cooking. She seems to be away from her family as she notes when she corresponds with her parents and grandmother. The head of the household is named John and he travels frequently to Loudon [Tennessee] and once to Knoxville; there is a child named Eugene, possibly Eugene Hyden. Since the 1900 census shows a John Hyden living with his wife Ada and son Eugene in Loudon, it is possible that the diarist is Ada Mitchell Hyden.
The writer turned 27 on January 23, 1888. On that day she writes "Cloudy gloomy weather. Sewed on my quilt. John P. Griffitts came to spend the night. Oh, that I could have lived like I wanted to. Lord help me to be contented."
Other visitors include Hattie Dickey, Will and Hattie Harris, and Rosa Wilcox. The first pages of the volume are given over to copied poems and a temperance speech by Schuyler Colfax. The final pages are given over to recipes, mostly for baked goods, but there is one for soap, one "for Neuralgia," and one for apple sweet pickles. There are also a few recipes and clippings that were found in the volume.