And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

23 April

George Washington,

‘The display of boats which attended and joined us on this occasion, some with vocal and some with instrumental music on board; the decorations of the ships, the roar of cannon, and the loud acclamations of the people which rent the skies, as I passed along the wharves, filled my mind with sensations as painful (considering the reverse of this scene, which may be the case after all my labors to do good) as they are pleasing.’

Washington’s domestic felicity


Edmund Franklin Ely,

‘Two Indians, who arrived from their hunt last night - made it [the traverse] this P. M. in a very Small Canoe. These men brought in 3 or $400 worth of furs, the result of the Spring Hunt.’

Not counting hedge hogs


Henry Cockburn,

‘We reached Aberdeen on the 18th, through clouds of snow and bitter blasts. There were three wreaths between Huntly and Pitmachie, which really alarmed me.

I know no part of Scotland so much, and so visibly, improved within thirty years as Aberdeenshire. At the beginning of that time, the country between Keith and Stonehaven was little else than a hopeless region of stones and moss. There were places of many miles where literally there was nothing but large white stones of from half a ton to ten tons weight, to be seen. A stranger to the character of the people would have supposed that despair would have held back their hands from even at- tempting to remove them. However, they began, and year after year have been going on making dikes and drains, and filling up holes with these materials, till at last they have created a country which, when the rain happens to cease, and the sun to shine, is really very endurable.

Moncreiff joined me at Aberdeen, and we were three days in Court there, from morning till past midnight. There was nothing curious in any of the cases. The weather was so bad that we had no public procession, but went to Court privately and respectably. The dignity of justice would be increased if it always rained. Yet there are some of us who like the procession, though it can never be anything but mean and ludicrous, and who fancy that a line of soldiers, or the more civic array of paltry police-officers, or of doited special constables, protecting a couple of judges who flounder in awkward gowns and wigs, through the ill-paved streets, followed by a few sneering advocates, and preceded by two or three sheriffs, or their substitutes, with white swords, which trip them, and a provost and some bailie-bodies trying to look grand, the whole defended by a poor iron mace, and advancing each with a different step, to the sound of two cracked trumpets, ill-blown by a couple of drunken royal trumpeters, the spectators all laughing, who fancy that all this ludicrous pretence of greatness and reality of littleness, contributes to the dignity of justice. Judges should never expose themselves unnecessarily - their dignity is on the bench.

We have had some good specimens of the condition of jails. One man was tried at Inverness for jail-breaking, and his defence was that he was ill-fed, and that the prison was so weak that he had sent a message to the jailor that if he did not get more meat he would not stay in another hour, and he was as good as his word. The Sheriff of Elgin was proceeding to hold a court to try some people, when he was saved the trouble by being told that they had all walked out. Some of them being caught, a second court was held, since I was at Inverness, to dispose of them; when the proceedings were again stopped from the very opposite cause. The jailor had gone to the country taking the key of the prison with him, and the prisoners not being willing to come forth voluntarily, could not be got out. Lord Moncreiff (who joined me at Aberdeen) tells me that when he was Sheriff of Kinross-shire, there was an Alloa culprit who was thought to be too powerful for the jail of that place. So they hired a chaise and sent officers with him to the jail of Kinross, where he was lodged. But before the horses were fed for their return, he broke out, and wishing to be with his friends a little before finally decamping, he waited till the officers set off, and then returned to Alloa, without their knowing it, on the back of the chaise that had brought him to Kinross, with them in it.

Aberdeen is improving in its buildings and harbour. The old town is striking and interesting, with its venerable college, its detached position, its extensive links, and glorious beach. But the new and larger city is cold, hard, and treeless. The grey granite does well for public works where durability is obviously the principal object, but for common dwelling-houses it is not, to my taste, nearly so attractive as the purity of the white freestone, or the richness of the cream-coloured. Polishing and fine jointing improve it much, but this is dear, and hence the ugly lines of mortar between the seams of the stones.’

Of murder and raptus


Emmala Reed,

‘A cold, clear day - but too windy for frost we hope. I didn’t feel well, half frozen all day as we could get no fires. Went late to S.S. Heard children & sung, but was thinking sadly of our momentous conditions now & of Robere - his fate. Mr. Murray gave us a very good sermon on “Search the Scriptures.”

Reading &c all evg - Lula Broyles came up here from Belton where she has been sick - a tall, fair, amiable, smart, lovely girl - I am much attracted to her. We were all so excited about the news - reported that Abe Lincoln was killed & Seward wounded by assassins in Washington & Andy Johnson to be inaugurated Pres, of U.S. and a general cessation of hostilities & terms of peace &c. How much is true & how it will all end, who can tell! But these are momentous - stirring times & we have reached a crisis. God deliver & help us!

But I heard that Robert was missing for several days before the surrender & might be killed or wounded &c. I felt so shocked - as I dwelt upon the idea of my only & faithful love meeting such a fate & never returning to me - whilst others will come back to their loved ones. I couldn’t endure the thought. Prayed & wept & hope all may yet be well with us, for I can’t believe all this. Read over his last dear letters - both unsatisfied, yet so much to explain - surely this is not all - ‘though it may be best! I have ever feared that some such fate would be his - yet still hope for the best!

Hear that Dr. Jimmie Brown & Bob __ were captured at Richmond. What will become of the last? Many other rumours. Negro choir singing here tonight. I had no heart to sing. Long for R. Eleanor seemed to be made happy by a letter & gift from Ben & hopes soon to see him - ‘though flirting now with Dick Tupper - a nice little red headed youth. Andrew Moreland back here - sent out my letters, but will they ever be rec’d. George & Milton Brown have come back - didn’t get on to the army nor letters to P & R I guess, but may I hear from them soon.’

Prayed & wept & hope


Henry J. Heinz,

‘Fire in Sharpsburg at 12:15 this early morning. The town fire bell rang. We saw quite a fire, we supposed in Etna. We retired and this morning found eleven houses, the entire block from Main to Clay Street and from Church Alley and Tenth. We hope this will stimulate the old bogies to vote for a water works, which they have opposed.’

Caught in the mustard mill


Clifford Crease,

‘Weather fine picked up one hundred and twenty eight bodies one hundred and twenty seven men and one woman. Stopped Allan Liner Sardinian for canvas etc to wrap up bodies. Did not bury any to day.’

Recovering Titanic bodies


Aubrey Herbert,

‘I have just seen the most wonderful procession of ships I shall ever see. In the afternoon we left for the outer harbour. The wind was blowing; there was foam upon the sea and the air of the island was sparkling. With the band playing and flags flying, we steamed past the rest of the fleet. Cheers went from one end of the harbour to the other. Spring and summer met. Everybody felt it more than anything that had gone before.

After we had passed the fleet, the pageant of the fleet passed us. First the Queen Elizabeth, immense, beautiful lines, long, like a snake, straight as an arrow. This time there was silence. It was grim and very beautiful. We would rather have had the music and the cheers . . . This morning instructions were given to the officers and landing arrangements made. We leave at 1.30 to-night. The Australians are to land first. This they should do to-night. Then we land. . . Naval guns will have to cover our advance, and the men are to warned that the naval fire is very accurate. They will need some reassuring if the fire is just over their heads. The 29th land at Helles, the French in Asia near Troy. This is curious, as they can't support us or we them. the Naval Division goes north and makes a demonstration . . . The general opinion is that very many boats must be sunk from the shore. Having got ashore, we go on to a rendezvous. We have no native guides. . . The politicians are very unpopular.’

Herbert goes to war


Olave Baden-Powell,
volunteer and philanthropist

‘St. George's Day., Attended Scout and Guide celebrations of freedom in Paris. Toured through Normandy with General Lafont, Chief Scout of France. Continued through Alsace and Lorraine, and on VE Day crossed into Switzerland, Italy, Luxembourg, Belgium, England, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Switzerland.’

World Chief Guide


Alastair Campbell
, journalist and political aide

‘I had a perfectly nice chat with Cherie, in which we both lamented how much of our time we spent having to talk to TB in his underwear.’

Call me Cherie


David Lodge,

‘This week I have agreed to stay away from rehearsals, as the actors will be mainly concerned with trying to learn their lines. I called the Rep this morning to arrange for a taxi to collect the rewrites that I’d done over the weekend, and Wiff told me that Timothy West has agreed to do the voice of Henry. That’s good news.’

Lodge’s diary playback


Marya Maria Colvin,

‘Terrifying walk in night down slope from camp, log over a stream. Dine hands me butt of his rifle as I almost slip in. Walk through compound of stone homes. Deserted. Roofs crashed in by mortars. Lights of Djackovica about 1 km away. Can’t tell what’s happening there. Camp in a gully. Camouflage sheets up over branches. Stack of sleeping bags but they are damp with rain all day. Guards go out with heavy sniper rifles. Sleep is cold - pile wet sleeping bags on top but sleeping in a flak jacket is like being an upended turtle with a detached shell - have to sleep on back and keep sliding down. Bursts of automatic fire and shots during night, one sustained about 2am impossible tell where coming from.’

Like being an upended turtle


Pikle - The Diary Review - The Diary Junction - Contact

And so made significant . . .
and its companion websites -
The Diary Review
and The Diary Junction - are maintained privately without any funding or advertising. Please consider supporting their author/editor by purchasing one or more of his books: the memoir, Why Ever Did I Want to Write, and the Not a Brave New World trilogy.
Thank you.

Why Ever Did I Want to Write is a patchwork of themed stories about one man’s early life, embracing highs and lows but driven by a desire to make the most of being alive, to experience, to feel, and above all to understand. Reminiscent of Karl Knausgaard’s A Death in the Family and Theodore Zeldin’s An Intimate History of Humanity, this memoir, often based on diaries, sees Lyons reflecting on a repressed childhood, exploring the world through years of travelling, and searching for meaning and excitement in the arts and love affairs – an archetype of the counterculture in the 1970s and 1980s.

Not a Brave New World is an extraordinary fictional memoir, a trilogy in three wives, spanning the whole of the 21st century: one man’s - Kip Fenn’s - frank account, sometimes acutely painful and sometimes surprisingly joyful, of his three partners, and his career in international diplomacy working to tackle the rich-poor divide.

GILLIAN - Book 1 - Amazon (US/UK)
Kip Fenn’s first love is in a coma. His father suddenly isn’t his father. After formative trips to Brussels and Brazil, Kip wins a civil service job. Unfortunately, a media baron discovers his sexual weakness and is blackmailing him for government secrets. If only Kip could find solace in his wife’s arms or joy in his children.

DIANA - Book 2 - Amazon (US/UK)
Kip Fenn is a success: his career has taken off within a major UN agency trying to spread wealth from the rich to the poor. But all is not well with the world - the golden age of oil and chips is now over, and unsustainable development is leading to social turmoil, and to world war. Kip has found love and a new family, but he can find no way to stop his older children self-destruct; nor does he realise his partner’s deceit.

LIZETTE - Book 3 - Amazon (US/UK)
Third time lucky - Kip Fenn finds true love. His UN career though is ending with a whimper. Another terrible war is cut short by the devastating Grey Years, and while nations rebuild many individuals turn Notek. In restless retirement, Kip’s lifelong passion for vintage photos sees him launching a new arts institution. But who is the mysterious visitor by his bedside, and how will she affect his planned deathday?


And so made significant . . .
is the world’s greatest online anthology of diary extracts. It is presented in the same way as popular books like The Assassin’s Cloak and The Faber Book of Diaries, i.e. by calendar day, but contains more, and many longer, extracts than is possible in published books. Moreover, for each quoted extract there’s a link to a Diary Review article with some or all of the following: further extracts, biographical information, contexts, a portrait, and links to online sources/etexts. Furthermore, new extracts are added on a regular basis.

in diary days



Notes and Cautions
In general, these diary extracts are quoted as given in the published (book or online) source referred to in the reference articles. Each extract may be all, a large part of, or a small part of the complete entry for that day. I have tried to indicate where text has been removed from within a quote by the use of trailing dots in square bracket.

For any other use of these diary extracts other than browsing please refer to the original sources.

Any author, publisher or other copyright holder who takes the view that I am unacceptably breaching their copyright please let me know. I have tried to remain sensitive to copyright rules (using far fewer quotes, for example, when a book, by an author still alive, remains in print and popular), but it is not practical for me to seek authorisation for every quote and article, since I maintain these websites without any funding or advertis-ing. I take the view that publicity for the source books is a quid pro quo for my use of the extracts, but I am more than happy to remove the extracts if asked.

SITE DEVISED by Paul K Lyons

The Diary Junction is one of those wonderful privately maintained public resources for which the Internet is justly celebrated: a database of information about celebrated and obscure diaries[over 500] from all historical periods, with referrals to the dates the diaries cover, where the originals are held and bibliographic information on published versions.’ Laura Miller, Salon

The Diary Review, hosted by Blogger, publishes magazine-style articles on diaries and diarists, several times a week. Now over ten years old, The Diary Review is the secondary source for the extracts in this online anthology.