And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

13 August

1592
Duke of Württemberg

‘Over the river at London there is a beautiful long bridge, with quite splendid, handsome, and well-built houses, which are occupied by merchants of consequence. Upon one of the towers, nearly in the middle of the bridge, are stuck up about thirty-four heads of persons of distinction, who had in former times been condemned and beheaded for creating riots and from other causes.’ [This practice of dipping the heads of executed men in tar and displaying them on pikes had been going on since the 14th century and would not stop until the mid-17th century.]

34 heads on London Bridge

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1664
Roger Boyle,
soldier and politician

‘. . . and to the new play, at the Duke’s house, of Henry the Fifth; a most noble play, writ by my Lord Orrery; wherein Betterton, Harris, and Ianthe’s parts are most incomparably wrote and done, and the whole play the most full of height and raptures of wit and sense, that ever I heard; having but one incongruity, or what did, not please me in it, that is, that King Harry promises to plead for Tudor to their Mistresse, Princesse Katherine of France, more than when it comes to it he seems to do; and Tudor refused by her with some kind of indignity, not with a difficulty and honour that it ought to have been done in to him. Thence home and to my office, wrote by the post, and then to read a little in Dr Power’s book of discovery by the Microscope to enable me a little how to use and what to expect from my glasse. So to supper and to bed.’

Height and raptures

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1852
Polly Lavinia Crandall Coon,
teacher

‘Dr Weber grew worse after stoping, medicine had no effect & about 1 o’clock at night he died. Our Co for the first time have the sad duty to perform of burying one of their number. Jane is also quite sick of a Diareah but we hope not dangerous. Samuel does not not improve much. The weather is so very hot & dusty that very many are complaining & the dust is the greatest hardship to endure we have found on our whole journey. But we hope for better times.’

We hope for better times

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1883
John Dearman Birchall,
businessman

‘We joined the Townhead party on the moors, Edward Birchall, Charles Armitage etc. It was very warm and fatiguing. I never saw half as many birds before. We shot 49 1/2 brace.’

The tricycle diaries

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1902
Victor Trump,
sportsman

‘Test over. England a glorious game. Deserved to win. Wicket bad. Catches missed. Great excitement. Glad Tests all over . . .’

Ran about all day

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1925
Richard E. Byrd,
explorer

‘Good weather has at last come. The NA-2 & 3 are out of commission. Bennett and I are going tonight for the blessed old navy. We must make a showing for her. Everything went wrong today. NA-1 lost cowling overboard. NA-2 went down by nose. Almost lost her. NA-3 nearly sunk by icebergs and injured lower wing on raft.

Later. MacMillan wouldn’t let me go. He seems to have given up. MacMillan seems to be in [a] great hurry to pack up and go back. Wonder what is in his mind.’

Flying over the Poles

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1945
Hideki Tōjō,
prime minister

‘We now have to see our country surrender to the enemy without demonstrating our power up to 120 percent’; and, ‘we are now on a course for a humiliating peace, or rather a humiliating surrender.’ And here’s another extract: ‘Now that the diplomatic steps have been taken after the emperor’s judgment [for surrender], I have decided to refrain from making any comments about it, though I have a separate view.’

Tōjō’s resistance to surrender

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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.