Lytle Shaw at Cabinet Magazine:
From December 31, 1957 until December 31, 1967, the artist and writer Henry Darger (1892–1973) kept a series of six ring-binder notebooks with almost daily entries on the weather in his native Chicago. On the outside cover of the first book, Darger describes the project, with encyclopedic enthusiasm, as a “book of weather reports on temperatures, fair cloudy to clear skies, snow, rain, or summer storms, and winter snows and big blizzards—also the low temperatures of severe cold waves and hot spells of summer.”
Though generally short, the entries abound in peculiarities. Darger is concerned, for instance, as much with periods of continuous temperature as with shifts—“3 to 7 am 57” (10/21/1958). Often up at 3am taking readings, Darger’s descriptive vocabulary also tends toward the moral and anthropomorphic: terms like “unsettled” and “threatening” are as common as “cool” or “hot.” Moreover, as the above epigraph suggests, the weatherman becomes a special figure. Darger’s notebooks can, in fact, frequently be read as an excruciatingly detailed moral account book of how well the weatherman was doing his job.