And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

8 April

Vasco da Gama,

‘On Palm Sunday the King of Mombaça sent the captain-major a sheep and large quantities of oranges, lemons and sugar-cane, together with a ring, as a pledge of safety, letting him know that in case of his entering the port he would be supplied with all he stood in need of. This present was conveyed to us by two men, almost white, who said they were Christians, which appeared to be the fact. The captain-major sent the king a string of coral-beads as a return present, and let him know that he purposed entering the port on the following day. On the same day the captain-major’s vessel was visited by four Moors of distinction.

Two men were sent by the captain-major to the king, still further to confirm these peaceful assurances. When these landed they were followed by a crowd as far as the gates of the palace. Before reaching the king they passed through four doors, each guarded by a doorkeeper with a drawn cutlass. The king received them hospitably, and ordered that they should be shown over the city. They stopped on their way at the house of two Christian merchants, who showed them a paper (carta), an object of their adoration, on which was a sketch of the Holy Ghost. When they had seen all, the king sent them back with samples of cloves, pepper and corn, with which articles he would allow us to load our ships.’

Cloves, cumin, ginger


Joseph Martin Kraus,

‘The eighth was the same academy [as the sixth]. All of my earlier comments also apply here. Instead of the previous musical interlude (i.e., the HarmoniemusikJ, I heard Herr (Ludwig) Gehring on the flute. The tuning of his instrument was a half-step sharp, and I didn’t think that the year he was gone from Gottingen had done him as much good as it could have. The piece by [Friedrich] Graf was wonderful, as usual (p. 6r-7r].’

Fire in the music


David Elisha Davy,

‘Went from Wrentham by the Mail Coach to Kirkley, where I took full church notes, not forgetting to examine the church chest, which I found the key of. Did not meet with the Registers, & had not time to enquire after them.

Went again into Pakefield Church to compleat rubbing off the brass of J. Bowff, which I had before left incompleat: So that I shall not have occasion to visit this church again.

Walked back to Wrentham. 7 Miles.’

Many little matters


Thomas Babington Macaulay,
politician and historian

‘Lichfield. Easter Sunday. After the service was ended we went over the Cathedral. When I stood before the famous children by Chantrey, I could think only of one thing; that, when last I was there, in 1832, my dear sister Margaret was with me and that she was greatly affected. I could not command my tears and was forced to leave our party, and walk about by myself.’

Such an idle man


Polly Lavinia Crandall Coon,

‘All are well & in excellent spirits. We traveled yesterday 16 miles and camped on a vast prairie in Lafayette Co where nothing but land & sky were to be seen save one little log house. But to make up the absence of other interesting matter we found a wedding party assembled in the aforesaid “log house”. The “old Man” came up and gave us all an invite to attend the dance in the evening. We all went down but none of us joined in the exercises but Ray & Stallman. They reported to have had a very fine time and staid till morning the others returned at 9 o’clock. We have tonight a beautiful camping ground near the line between G[r]ant and Lafayette pleasant weather but still wet under foot.’

We hope for better times


Lewis Carroll,

‘University Boat Race (it always is on the day before Palm Sunday, according to the Evening Herald), which Oxford won by 10 lengths. I did not go to it, but gave the day to Macmillan, Tenniel (who is doing the 30th picture), Holman Hunt, whom I found working at a very large picture (life size or nearly so) of Mrs. Fairbairn and children. Thence I went to the MacDonalds, and had a game of croquet with them.’

Dodgson in wonderland


Isabella Augusta Persse Gregory,

‘The Jack Yeatses arrived yesterday - He is too good an artist to leave to Devonshire, I want to keep him to Irish things.’

Yeats very charming


Iurii Vladimirovich Got’e,

‘They have taken Odessa, probably because no one wanted to defend it. All the same, the policy of the Allies seems to me completely incomprehensible; now they start something, now they give it up. In regard to the Russian south, however, I do not see things as hopeless. Yesterday I had to undertake a journey to Iaroslavl’ station and to Mashkov Pereulok, whence I brought home twenty-three pounds of bread, four and one-half pounds of salt, and eighteen and one-half pounds of rye; I had an Alpine sack on my back, and two other sacks in my hands; thus the professor strolls around Moscow. The university question is progressively turning into a big mush. The bolsheviks, that is, Pokrovski! and co., have eliminated both of our history departments and replaced them with some kind of fantastic ones; some kind of further meeting is being proposed, but it all comes down to the fact that whatever straightforward appointment they may think up is better than the fiction of cooperation that was offered earlier. Something completely unimaginable is occurring on the streets of Moscow - one great puddle, which is traversed only by those who absolutely must go out.’

Irreversibly into the abyss


George Kennan,

‘I have always thought of literature as a type of history: the portrayal of a given class at a given time, with all its problems, its suffering and its hopes, etc. For that reason, the diplomatic corps has always defied literary approach. From that point of view, it is too insignificant, too accidental, to warrant description.

Perhaps that is all wrong. Perhaps they should be described simply as human beings, not as diplomats (so-called) of the twentieth century. If Chekhov could describe Russian small town folk with an appeal so universal that even the American reader gasps and says: “How perfectly true,” why cannot the Moscow diplomatic folk be written up the same way.’

George Kennan’s diaries


Thomas Dooley,

‘Bataan fell!’ [Dooley added this entry in the top margin after recording the event.]

‘A new day which I hope proves to be no worse than yesterday. The II Corps pulled back during the night to a line approximately thru Lumao. All Filipino troops have disintegrated except about one regiment. The I Corps will have to pull back to conform. They (the Nips) continue their bombing of the new areas. These must be some salvation for the Americans on Bataan. Why do the American people at home parade and rejoice in the glory of “all out” war when these poor devils here daily watch the seas and skies for the aid of the US which now appears too late. I have held hope all along for something to happen to get this mess straightened out and, mind you, I still have hope, but the situation is desperate. The reports all day are bad. I took report at 7:00 p.m. which means the end of Bataan. Col. [James V.] Collier called from G-3 Luzon Force and said that Philippine Army troops on right flank of II Corps line had fled and the Japs pouring thru. Proved to be double envelopment as Nips were also coming around II Corps left flank. Col. Irwin (G-3) and Col. Galbraith (G-4) went to Bataan this p.m. with plans for evacuation of certain units to “Rock.” During night Ordnance + Engineers busy destroying ammunition + other such few supplies as need be.

Gen. Wainwright in conference most of day with Chief of Staff Gen. Lewis Beebe (who is quite sound). Gen. Wainwright quite upset. Two days ago Gen. Funk came to “Rock” for Gen. Edward King to say he was going to capitulate. Gen. Wainwright gave two direct orders - one - do not surrender - two - attack with I Corps toward East. Later the second order was modified. Last night when things looked so bad and plans for evacuation of certain units were made and order was given to Gen. (I Corps) to make a frontal attack with his Corps and attack Olongapo. Went to bed about 1:00 p.m. Frank Hewlett, United Press, wanted me to wait up and see the Bataan episode, but I didn’t want to watch it. I feel sick when I think of it and feel that I should be there with them, but I started this war with the General (and before it) and will stay around ’til ordered differently.’

To Bataan and Back


Anthony Barne,

‘A cold, windy morning. I talk to each squadron in turn during the course of the day regarding the forthcoming battle. Each talk takes over an hour and there’s half an hour of driving between three of them. One talk is in a schoolroom, one behind a haystack and others in farmyards out of the wind.

We also have to move RHQ and have two conferences. My bus moves up while I am out so the moment I come in I can sit straight down and get the paperwork dealt with. With no increased staff I am directly working with three divisions and my own tank strength is about that of a brigade. Thank goodness the office staff are most capable, helpful and friendly.’

Pen & Sword diaries


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.