And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

19 December

Andrew Ellicott,

‘Set up the clock, and prepared to make some astronomical observations for the purpose of determining the latitude and longitude of the confluence of those great, and important rivers [. . .] The Ohio river, is formed by the junction of the Allegany and Monongahela rivers, at Pittsburgh, which name it retains till it falls into the Mississippi. It may not be improper here to observe, that all the Indians residing on the Allegany, ever since my acquaintance with the western country, have called that branch, as well as the main river, the Ohio, and appeared to know it by no other name.

The Ohio is certainly one of the finest rivers within the United States, whether considered as to magnitude, the great extent of its course, or the outlet it affords to an immense and fertile country rapidly filling with inhabitants.

The bottom and sides of the river are stony, from Pittsburgh down to the low country, which is generally supposed to be about eight hundred miles. The strata of stone are horizontally disposed, and principally consist of either freestone, or limestone. This horizontal disposition of the strata of stone, is observable through a very large extent of the United States. I have traced it from Oswego, up Lakes Ontario and Erie, with all the waters falling into them, and through all the western parts of Pennsylvania, and down the Ohio, wherever hills or mountains are to be seen.

The flat, or bottom lands on the Ohio, are not surpassed by any in the United States for fertility; but in many places they are small, and inconsiderable; being limited by hills or mountains, on one side, and the river on the other. A large proportion of the hills, and mountains, are unfit for agricultural purposes, being either too steep, or faced with rocks. The hills and mountains on the east side of the river, generally increase in magnitude, till they unite with the great ridge, commonly called the Allegany: but on the west side they decrease, till the country becomes almost a dead level.

The country produces all the immediate necessaries, of life in abundance, and far beyond the present consumption of the inhabitants; the residue, with many other articles, such as hemp, cordage, hard-ware, some glass, whisky, apples, cider, and salted provisions, are annually carried down the river to New Orleans, where they find a ready market. Mines of pit coal (lithanthrax), are not only abundant, but inexhaustible from Pittsburgh many miles down the river. [. . .]

The people who reside on the Ohio and its waters, are brave, enterprising, and warlike, which will generally be found the strongest characteristical marks of the inhabitants of all our new settlements. It arises from their situation; being constantly in danger from the Indians, they are habituated to alarms, and acts of bravery become a duty they owe to themselves, and to their friends. But this bravery, too frequently when not checked by education, and a correct mode of thinking, degenerates into ferocity.

Vessels proper for the West India trade, may be advantageously built on the Ohio, and taken with a cargo every annual rise of the waters down to New Orleans, or out to the islands. The experiment has already been made, and attended with success.’

Fat alligators in Florida

Phebe Orvis,

‘Cold and windy. Mrs. D[urfey] gone all day. Mr. D[urfey] this eve at Mr. Chester Rockwell’s did the wash. Twisted and washed ten knots of yarn. pieced the outside of a quilt. Mr. E[astman, Jr.] called. I spent the eve alone excepting the children. Retired at twelve.’

An extraordinary ordinary woman


William Crookes,

‘Raining, blowing, thundering, and lightning almost all day. Prospects very unfavourable for eclipse. Went up to the observatory tents and worked at the telescope and spectroscope I am to have, it having been decided in committee this morning that Huggins was to have the large telescope and equatorial. On the road home made some purchases at the shop of Moïse Ben Ichou, 22 Rue Philippe. Towards evening the rain, wind, and lightning got much more violent.’

Victorian eclipse diary


Hamlin Garland,

‘I am settled in a neat room at 58 East 25th and now sit writing therein waiting for my trunks to arrive. Already I feel the superciliousness of this old town, not toward me but toward my people. The feeling that nothing worthwhile exists in the West, that things are so much superior here. This conception runs through every conversation. It annoys and embitters me.’

A son of the middle border


Lady Minto,

‘Went to the races. Tea was spread out in a shamiana under the trees of which numerous people partook. This is an excellent way of getting in touch with Calcutta society.

Went down to Barrackpore by motor. Miserable at receiving a most anxious account of Lord Windsor. The nurses are splendid; Colonel Crooke is quite devoted and never leaves the house unless relieved for an hour or so by Major Bird wood or Captain O’Meara. Captain Gibbs and Arthur Guise are both at Agra, but have not been allowed into Lord Windsor’s room.’

Lady Minto’s Indian diary


Peter Fleming,

‘Bus at 8 on stomachs empty save for peanuts. Good seats and smuggled luggage. Bloody driver. Second bus constantly en panne. A Chinese attached to it savagely beaten up by Jap with starting handle. Lovely mountain passes. Hunting boxes in firs. A little snow. New untouched road. One concrete bridge made. No work going on elsewhere. Soup at Lungwha, where there is a good yamen, bright colours, much mistletoe. Dust all day like a fog. Took streets too fast. Carts on ice. Camels. Suddenly came on Chengteh. First the club-shaped rock, then Tashi Lumpo (now fronted with Manchukuo barracks), then palace pagoda. Gave names and ages to Military Mission man, then walked through busier fuller [than on my last visit in 1933] streets to Conard, who was delightful and lodged us in luxury. The sad Lewisohn also there, leaving tomorrow. In clover, but police on our trail.’

Dust all day like a fog


Agard Wallace,

‘I got it on very good authority yesterday that Edgar Hoover continually has Drew Pearson [a journalist and diarist - see Salty and Petulant] shadowed. Hoover specializes on building up a file against the various public figures and especially against the columnists. He has not yet built up much of a file against Walter Winchell. Winchell has so far been too smart for Hoover. Hoover is apparently on his way toward becoming a kind of American Himmler.’

The 33rd vice president


Robertson Davies,

‘Minor bothers: car goes crook; parcels get mislaid, etc. Rosamund is out of school at 12. Give a good lecture at 2. We call on the Edinboroughs and have mince pies and rum punch. In the evening to Kind Hearts and Coronets, my favourite film.’

Robertson Davies as diarist


Andy Warhol,

‘The ABC 20/20 camera crew was coming to the office to film. I worked until 7:30. Then at home I glued myself together. Bob called and said he was exhausted but he really wanted to go to the Alice Mason dinner, so he picked me up and we walked to 72nd Street and Lexington. I was next to Norris Church Mailer. I told her we were still interested in doing something with her for Interview but she said she’d put on weight and that she really liked eating better than staying thin for modeling. Then we got a cab to El Morocco, Norris and Norman and Bob and me (cab $5). It was a party for Margaux Hemingway’s engagement. I ran into Jamie Blandford there and had a fight with him, I don’t know why, I just always do, I hope I didn’t (laughs) offend him. And Mimi Trujillo was there. She was married to the son of that dictator and she’s a fashion designer. Victor sees her stuff then tells Halston about it - I mean, she does stuff like Halston, but she does it sort of first.

Millie and Bill Kaiserman were there. I introduced Norris to them, but I think I did it in a strange way, I guess I said, “This is Norris Church, she wants free clothes.” But they should have good-looking people walking around in their clothes for free. There were lots of funny young people, El Morocco’s back on its way again.’

The Andy Warhol Diaries


Roy Jenkins,

‘Office at 9.15. A little signing before inner office Christmas drinks at 11.45, and then to London by the 12.45 plane, and on to East Hendred. The effective end of Brussels and the beginning of Christmas and, more significantly, of the return to British politics.’

A fairly burdensome exercise


Paul K. Lyons,

‘Cronin’s The Stars Look Down in many ways is a profoundly pessimistic novel. Satisfying in that it weaves the stories of many well drawn characters in and out of each other and in so doing creates a tapestry of the times, rich in colour and detail and action. But Cronin must have been deeply upset at the way British politics and society was moving. All the decent and upright characters find their life’s efforts rewarded by failure, while those who are greedy and even nasty do well. The heroes find some success in the world but Cronin tends to smash it down. The baddies are never more than incidental, but they succeed in the world. Cronin does not even make a very good job out of showing their nastiness and the consequences on the people around them. He has taken on a bitterness about the day’s politics and unleashes it through the novel. I remember discovering that the novel I’d had for years but never looked at contained two more parts than were filmed for the movie by my grandfather. How excited I felt to be able to learn more about the film’s characters, see them develop on and find some justice in the world. Clearly Goldsmith and director Carol Reed captured the mood of the entire book in the film even if they only used one-third of it.’

The Stars Look Down


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.