And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

30 April

1862
John Evelyn Denison,
politician

‘I have been named by the Queen as one of the Commissioners to represent Her Majesty on the occasion of opening the International Exhibition. I wrote to Lord Eversley to ask him how I should go dressed on such an occasion. He answered, in plain black gown and wig. I forwarded this opinion to the Lord Chancellor, who repelled the idea in a very amusing letter, and said he had settled to go in his gold gown; he saw no necessary connection between the gold gown and the gold coach. I have decided against the lumbering gold coach for many reasons: 1) I should probably stick fast in the new granite; 2) I should have to go at a foot’s pace while in company with others who could and would trot; 3) I could not bear to drag all the officers of the House and my servants on foot such a long distance. I am not going to Court to pay my respects to the Queen; I am not going with the House of Commons as a body, and at their head.’

A dignified Speaker

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1841
Karl Varnhagen von Ense,
diplomat and soldier

‘Humboldt has a great many enemies, as well amongst the savans as at court, who are constantly seeking an opportunity to malign him, but the moment he is praised all vituperation ceases for it is all vituperation. It is seldom that anybody is able to maintain it. Some time ago a gentleman said to me, that he did not know what to think of Humboldt, and that he could not come to a conclusion concerning him. I answered: ‘Think always the best of him, believe him always capable of the best action, and you always will be nearest the truth.’ Another said, same day, sneeringly: ‘Humboldt was a great man before he came to Berlin, where he became an ordinary one.’

Humboldt’s genius

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1915
Edith Cavell,
nurse

‘Friday glorious and warm. E: wind. 2 guides left this morning. Charles Vanderlinden with 3 Fx and 2 Be. (1F Cw!). Last two paying 60 frs each. Charles says he will take them if it becomes easier.’

The brave Edith Cavell

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1937
Benjamin Britten,
composer

‘I have a rehearsal with Boult of H. F. at BBCC at 11:30 - it goes quite well, tho’ he doesn’t really grasp the work - tho’ he is marvellously painstaking. Sophie of course sings well. Lunch after with her & Arnold jun., & John &; Millicent Francis. Then I meet Poppy Vulliamy & have long talks with her. She goes off to Spain very soon to look after the evacuated children from Madrid & Malaga. I have agreed to adopt one & pay for him for a year. Back here in the aft. & then out to dinner with Peter Piers & Basil Douglas - very nice, but sad as we have to discuss what is best about Peter Burra’s things. BBC. Contemporary concert after cond. by Boult - BBC orch They do my Hunting Fathers very creditably - I am awfully pleased with it too, I’m afraid. Some things don’t satisfy me at the moment - but its my op. 1 alright.’

Benjamin Britten’s centenary

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1991
Joe DiMaggio,
sportsman

‘. . . was asked for another autograph - just one interruption after another - people must think I have skin like an armored plate. Will get a checkup and find out how I’m holding up.’ [At Kennedy Airport]

DiMaggio’s diary - $33 a word

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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.