Memory Archive is an online project that is gathering memoirs from everyday people. The site allows you to search for memoirs indexed for particular words (either in the title or in the text), or you can brows various collections through category pages (here is an examples of the category page for “places“). Another good way of browsing through the site is with the “Random” bottom at the far left of the page.
Some of the writings I saw were fairly short, being made up of no more than a paragraph or two, while others went on for much longer. Some comment on life changing events like the San Francisco earthquake, while others reminisce on some of life’s simples pleasures, such as getting a new kitten.
Currently there are close to 1,300 memoirs, and growing. The site allows you to contribute from their main page, and warn people that entries are edited for format issues, and will index as needed. Once an entry is up, it will not be modified again unless the creator specifically requests a change. Under the page giving teachers ideas of how to use this site in the classroom there is also a cautionary note reminding users to be careful about including personal information in their narrative.
While looking around the site I was very pleased to see that there is talk of expanding the project to into languages other than English. Currently there are proposals to gather memories in French, Polish, and Russian.