And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

24 April

1749
Pehr Kalm,
explorer and botanist

‘To-day the Cherry-trees began to fhew their bloffoms; they had already pretty large leaves. The Apple-trees likewife began to bloffom; however the Cherry-trees were more forward: They likewife got a greenifh hue from their leaves. The Mulberry-trees were yet quite naked and I was forry to find that this tree is one of the lateft in getting leaves, and one of the firft which gets fruit.’

Toast, joints, mulberry trees

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1776
John Home,
poet and playwright

‘[David Hume, Scottish philosopher] still maintains, that the national debt must be the ruin of Britain; and laments that the two most civilised nations, the English and French, should be on the decline; and the barbarians, the Goths and Vandals of Germany and Russia, should be rising in power and renown.’

Home and Hume

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1802
Benjamin Banneker,
farmer

‘I dreamed I had a fawn or young deer; whose hair was white and like unto lamb’s wool , and all parts about it beautiful to behold. Then I said to myself I will set this little captive at liberty, but I will first clip the tips of his ear that I may know him if I should see him again. Then taking a pair of shears and cutting off the tip of one ear, and he cried like unto a child hath the pain which grieved him very much altho then I did not attempt to cut the other but was very sorry for that I had done I got him at liberty and he ran a considerable distance then he stopped and he looked back at me I advanced toward him, and he came and met me and I took a lock of wool from my garment and wiped the blood of wound which I had made on him (which sorely affected me) I took him in my arms and brought him home and hold him on my knees, he asked the Woman if she had any trust and she answered him in the affirmative and gave him Some, which he began to eat and then asked for milk in a cup She said the dog had got the cup with milk in it under the house but there is milk in the cupboard.

My dream left me. B. Banneker.’

Looking for a snowbow

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1908
August Strindberg,
playwright

‘A glorious morning; H-t was with me all forenoon, gentle, loving, like flowers in my mouth! Now I believe that she is free, and that we are united! But no, she disappeared in the evening, when Axel came; and although I received a summons to go to bed at 10 o’clock, she was not there to meet me. Slept, and experienced faithlessness; had bad dreams but was left in peace until morning when she sought me with passion, but without love. I responded x x x.’

H-t was with me

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1942
Etty Hillesum,
young woman

‘And this, too: how can I explain that, whenever I have had physical contact with S. in the evening, I spend the night with Han? Feelings of guilt? In the past, perhaps, but no longer. Has S. unleashed things deep down inside of me that can’t yet come out but carry on their subterranean existence with Han? I can hardly believe that. Or is it perversity? A matter of convenience? To pass from the arms of one into those of the other? What sort of life am I leading?

Last night when I cycled home from S., I poured out all my tenderness, all the tenderness one cannot express for a man even when one loves him very, very much, I poured it all out into the great, all-embracing spring night; I melted into the landscape and offered all my tenderness up to the sky and the stars and the water and to the little bridge. And that was the best moment of the day.’

Let us go gracefully

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1943
George Adamson,
conservationist

‘I do love Joy, in fact I am frantically in love with her. This has been the most wonderful experience of my life. Joy means everything in the world to me and I now long for the time when we are married.’

A life of Joy and lions

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1951
Andrew Russel (Drew) Pearson,
journalist

‘This afternoon McCarthy sounded off with another speech on the Senate floor claiming that the Justice Department had now finished its investigation and had a complete espionage case against me. He also pontificated that I had received State Department documents from the State Department via Dave Karr, whom he described as a top member of the Communist party. McCarthy also claimed that the column today, which dealt with developments in the atomic bomb field, paraphrased a secret report and was a violation of security.’

Salty and petulant

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1989
Michael Spicer,
politician

‘Lunch at Downing Street with PM. Rather a relaxed atmosphere. At one point she exclaims, “Much to my horror I learnt from my hairdresser that all her sprays were foreign. I said I didn’t want anything but an English spray on my hair.” She is in one of her most protectionist moods.’

The spiceless diaries

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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.

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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, usually several every week. The blog has been publishing for over five years, and is the secondary source for the diary extracts in this online anthology.