And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

29 August

William Lambarde,

‘I sent to the gaol Thomas Cockes, late of Strood, tinker, for robbing the house of Alice Fuller, widow, and bound her, in 5 li., to give evidence, etc.’

Virtuous William Lambarde


John Stevens,

‘The enemy’s cannon played as before and enlarged the breach to above forty paces. At the bridge one shot cut both the chains of the drawbridge and did some other damage but not of much moment, because the enemy’s battery had not a full view of it, and their shot came slanting towards one end, yet the passage was very dangerous. The Grand Prior’s detachments were all relieved this afternoon except that where I commanded, which continued in the same place till night, when being relieved we only marched into the street, and having joined the rest of the regiment to the trenches on the south-west side of the town, where we continued all night expecting an attack. The night was extreme cold, dark and rainy and we almost spent for want of rest. For my own particular as appears by this relation I had had none at all for three nights before this and but very little during the whole siege, nor indeed was it possible to have much being upon duty every other day and continually alarmed when we expected to rest. Our cannon and small shot fired the whole night round the walls, and much railing was betwixt our men and the enemies, for we were so closed up on all sides that though the night was stormy we could easily hear one another.’

The sieges of Limerick


Conrad Weiser,
farmer and Indian negotiator

‘The Indians sett off in three Canoes to fetch the Goods. I expected the Goods wou’d be all at Chartier’s old Town by the time the Canoes wou’d get there, as we met about twenty Horses of George Groghan’s at the Shawonese Cabbins in order to fetch the Goods that were then lying at Franks Town.

This Day news came to Town that the Six Nations were on the point of declaring War against the French, for reason the French had Imprison’d some of the Indian Deputies. A Council was held & all the Indians acquainted with the News, and it was said the Indian Messenger was by the way to give all the Indians Notice to make ready to fight the French. This Day my Companions went to Coscosky, a large Indian Town about 30 Miles off.’

Weiser goes to Ohio


Horace Walpole,
historian and writer

‘Died Thomas, the new Lord Lyttelton, who had surprised the world with the badness of his heart, and with the dazzling facility of his eloquence; and who had not had time to show whether his parts were sound and deep, nor whether the reformation he had but partially affected since his father’s death was sincere, or only the momentary effort of very marked ambition. Nothing had given it the colours of shame. The Bishops, whose prostitution he had defended, would no doubt have given him absolution.’

The thread of my observations


David Cargill,

‘This day I finished my translation of the three epistles of John into the Tonguese language: May the Lord make them a blessing to all who may read or hear them.’

Like wolves and hyaenas


William Grant Stairs,

‘We have marched twenty kilometres in five hours and fifty minutes. We passed the place where poor [Thomas] Carter [a British army officer who had tried to introduce Indian elephants to Africa] was killed several years ago. . . Our camp is near the Lake Cheia which at the moment is simply a parched expanse without a drop of water. I sent natives on ahead to search for water. . . they report only empty wells, surrounded by decomposing buffaloes, giraffes, and antelopes, all dead from thirst. Extraordinary as it is for this region, there is also the corpse of an elephant upon whose putrid flesh the Africans feed.’

Marches without water


Franz Kafka,

‘The end of one chapter a failure; another chapter, which began beautifully, I shall hardly - or rather certainly not - be able to continue as beautifully while at the time, during the night, I should certainly have succeeded with it. But I must not forsake myself, I am entirely alone.’

I am entirely alone


Zorina Gray,

‘Sunday. George fetched me at three to go to Goldwyn for one of those Sundays. In the evening Goldwyn screened Broadway Melody with Eleanor Powell, and I was so surprised when he got up at the end and said, “It has no warmth, no charm, and, Balanchine, I want you to do for Zorina one or two minutes real ballet because I believe in it now after seeing this” - finally, finally, after weeks Goldwyn has come around.’

My knees felt like macaroni


Marielle Bennett,

‘Heard from the charwoman that Kentish Town got a bomb. That accounted for the noise being so near. Also heard that Smiths factory at Cricklewood had got some. Charwoman said that everyone “turned as white as a sheet.” Her husband will watch from the doorway but when she goes near he has “a fit”.’

The cost of stockings


Henry Agard Wallace,

‘. . . At lunch with the President. The President seemed to be looking quite well, in good spirits and very cordial. He complimented me on the work I had been doing in New England and said they would want me to do a lot of work of this kind during the campaign. He then started to skate over the ice at once as fast as he could, saying that I was four or six years ahead of my time, that what I stood for would inevitably come. I told him I was very happy about what had been demonstrated at the convention and following the convention because I now knew that the people were for me. [. . .] I went on to say that I knew just exactly what happened at the convention but that the reason I had come out for him was because his name was a symbol of liberalism not only in this country but in the whole world. He then hastened to say how much he appreciated that and said if everything went well on November 7 [when President Roosevelt would be elected to a fourth term] I could have anything I wanted in the government with one exception. The exception was the State Department. [. . .]

The President said he thought the election was going to be very close but in case we won, one of the first things we would do would be to sit down with me and make a list of folks we were going to get rid of, said the first on the list would be Jesus H. Jones. I said, “Well, if you are going to get rid of Jesse, why not let me have Secretary of Commerce with RFC and FEA thrown in? There would be poetic justice in that.” The President said, “Yes, that’s right.” ’

The 33rd vice president


Fred Bason,

‘As one grows older, birthdays usually pass unnoticed, but today, my birthday has been exceptionally interesting. Anton Dolin allowed me to attend a full rehearsal of a new ballet called ‘Napoli’. During it a beautiful ballet star, Daphne Dale, spent a great deal of her spare time reading a book. I felt bound to enquire as to the title of same and was rather astounded when Anton found out for me that she was reading, with apparent keenness and enjoyment, Anna of the Five Towns by Arnold Bennett. How the author would have enjoyed knowing this and meeting Miss Dale. She is a real smasher - and so very talented as well. Mrs Frank Pettingell gave me a lovely pullover for a birthday gift. Mrs Morris in Birmingham sent me a Max Murrey thriller, and my dear Lizzie gave me an electric razor. I also had eight cards. All in all a very wonderful birthday.’

The Loud Bassoon


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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.

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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, several times a week. Now over ten years old, The Diary Review is the secondary source for the extracts in this online anthology.