And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

3 August

David Douglas,

‘Four o’clock A.M. saw more of the New World. Every face seemed to feel glad, and at 7 A.M. took a pilot on board; at 10 passed the floating light lately erected, the Captain of which came on board of the Ann Maria; 4 o’clock passed the Nourain waspe, and the other forts on the right and left; half-past 4 cast anchor and considered ourselves at land; 5 o’clock boarded by the Health Officer, who signified that fourteen days of quarantine was requisite in consequence of small-pox; at 6 o’clock went on shore on Staten; returned to the vessel at 7.’

Plant hunting in America


William Gladstone,
prime minister

‘German lesson and worked alone. . . Attended Mr Wilberforce’s funeral; it brought solemn thoughts, particularly about the slaves. This a burdensome question.’

An account book of time


John William Horsley,

‘Of nine fresh cases on the female side I find one is 18, one 19, two 20, one 21, and the average age of all nine is only 25.

A lad, aged 19, spends four shillings in fourpenny ale, and then after midnight runs out with his baby, aged 13 months, and tries to drown himself and it. His wife was a rope-ground girl, and aged 15 at her marriage. A stalwart, intellectual, and good living race is likely to arise from such parentage!

The next case to which I come is that of a lad of 17 who has attempted suicide. How? I got into a pond. Why? Because I wanted to go to sea. This sounds humorous, but it turns out that he was trying to frighten his parents into acquiescence with his wishes. [. . .]

A rescue-worker complains to me of how Bank Holiday upsets girls who have hitherto been quiet and contented in Homes. It is commonly observed. The memories of drinks and “larks” attached to that day will come crowding in.’

State-created crime


Elizabeth Lee,
young woman

‘Baked today. Mr. Rimmington and J. Carless came up tonight on a double tricycle and they gave me such a jolly ride on it up and down the road.’

A jolly double tricycle ride


Gertrude Vanderbilt,

‘Last night I dined out. After dinner Mr. Porchon talked to me. It was not quite as nice as on the piazza the surroundings were not as “agreeable, but we got on very well, laughed a lot and enjoyed ourselves generally, that is I enjoyed myself. I don’t know if he enjoyed it. I think we are getting to be very good friends. He is always impressing it on my mind that he is so old and so experienced that I have a wild desire to ask his advice in some imaginary conditions. For instance when I am alone with him the next time I will very seriously tell him that at last his plan has succeeded. He has impressed upon my mind that his grey hairs make him a fit confident for so young and inexperienced a child as myself. Will he listen to what I have to say? Yes, well then he realized that there are things one does not even like to ask ones parents, an old family friends, grey haired and care worn is just the person to apply to’

Our spirits were overflowing


Robert Charles Benchley,
writer and actor

‘A depression seems hanging over everything that is ominous - reflected from Europe where all the progress of 100 years is going to smash. H. G. Wells wrote better than he knew. But if any one is to lose, I hope that it is Germany and Austria, on whose aggressive brutality rests the blame.’

I hope not a ‘what it was’


Michael Macdonagh,

‘[Sir Edward] Grey [Foreign Secretary] on rising got a prolonged cheer from both sides of the House, and he stood at the Table - tall and erect in his light summer suit - until the applause had subsided and the House settled down silently to listen. He spoke in a steady, even, passionless voice. It was a plain statement of the events that had led to the crisis, to which the tremendous issue - Peace or War? - imparted a solemn seriousness. Nor was he long in coming to the point. Great Britain was pledged to maintain the integrity of Belgium under the Treaty signed by the Powers in 1839. [. . .] If there was to be a war, he said, Great Britain would suffer terribly. But if we were to stand aside it would mean the loss of our self-respect, and at the end of the War, we should find ourselves powerless to prevent Europe falling under the domination of one Power, to our undoing.’

The drama of London in WWI


rances Stevenson,

‘Had a most exciting night. D. rang up about one o’clock, saying I had better go down to the cellar, as there was going to be an air raid on London. I asked him if he were going down too: he said yes. I put on some clothes & went out to see if there were anything to be seen, then sat & watched at the window for sometime on the chance of anything happening. About 2 D. rang up again to say it was all right, & I could go back to bed. “Where have you been?” I asked. “On the roof”, he replied, “but there was nothing to be seen!” ’

We had great fun


Don Kazimir,
sailor and submarine captain

‘Approximately 120 miles east of Cape Hatteras; we drifted at shallow depths. Our drift speed has increased to close to 3 knots. J. Piccard caught a salp in the plankton sampler.’

The deeper you delve


Philip Toynbee,

‘How absurd it seems to me now, all that ‘humane’ outcry against ECT: as if a few electric shocks administered to an anaesthetized patient were more of an ‘outrage against the person’ than cutting open his stomach and removing his appendix. If the treatment works, as indeed it does in many cases, no experienced depressive is going to worry about the reason why.’

Toynbee and depression


Richard Proenneke,
mechanic and naturalist

‘Partly Cloudy, Calm & 45°. Very few clouds but enough that I couldn’t call it clear. The lake is rising because of so much warm weather. With so much calm weather I should he seeing sign of red salmon but as yet, none.

Today I would go to the far corner and get a good sunburn in the process. Go up the right hand fork of Camp Creek. Climb to the high ridge looking down on the head of Beatrice Creek. Sheep country in the summer time. Sheep leaving the lick climb to the high ridges and keg up on the ledges just under the crest of the ridges. It’s a long haul, almost like going to the lick as far as travel time is concerned.

I was a long time making up my mind - too many far away places that I would like to visit. This one had priority because of the satellite or space station that had burned on re-entry to the atmosphere of earth. Some garbage separated from it as it passed over head. I felt sure that it was to high for any space parts to land this side of Turquoise Lake but I would keep it in mind as I trudged along.

I crossed at the mouth of Camp Creek and I thought of Roy Allen. He and I had come down Camp Ridge to the creek crossing after an unsuccessful sheep hunt. I had worn boots and offered to pack him across. He disappeared in the brush up the creek and after what seemed an unreasonable length of time he came back with a stout willow pole that he had cut and limbed with his hunting knife. “I didn't take pole vaulting in college for nothing” he said after pole vaulting across the narrow stream. Camp Ridge is a good place from which to check Emerson Creek for bear. A lush green patch far up at the eroded rocks waterfall and a sow with triplets spent some time there one year.

I was sitting down glassing the country and just got to my feet to move. Here came a nice ewe and lamb around that point of loose rock. No more than fifty feet away and she stopped to check me out. I stood still and she and her lamb passed me at twenty five feet headed on up the ridge. Here came another pair, a nice looking ewe molted clean and starting a new coat. The wind in my favor so she wouldn’t wind me. She came a few steps and stopped to watch me. Closer still until she was no more than fifteen feet away. The lamb as close and off to the side. Me with the Exakta hanging around my neck and I didn't dare move. Those little sheep flies of the high country were biting me on the legs and still I didn’t move. Could I move slow enough to get the camera up without spooking them. I would give it a try. Very slowly I moved my hand and they watched. The ewe moved back to twenty feet as I raised the camera. Ewe and lamb came together and I got them. The click of the shutter was too much and they moved back the way they had come. Another pair came and caught me moving and trotted away.

I stayed up there as long as I dared. 2:45 and it would take me at least three and one half hours to get home. It had been building heavy clouds and so I would have shade

for the descent. One last look around and I headed down the loose rock mt. Forty minutes that took an hour to climb. Two hours fifteen to Emerson Creek flats below the falls. A nice breeze up the lake and I wouldn’t use the kicker. 50 minutes from Emerson Creek to my beach. The wind was calming while I had supper and now as I finish my writing it is near glassy smooth. The circles of a strong rise out front and it may have been the first of the red salmon. At 9:30 nearly clear again and the temperature 55°.’

Sourdough sandwich, caribou ribs


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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.