And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

24 December

1706
Nils GyllenStierna,
soldier

‘The road was filled in the morning with men who had frozen to death, with them lay horses, oxen, and other animals. Supply and sick-wagons stood still because their drivers had died by the cold they were still sitting like they were waiting for orders. Now many beautiful men were dead.’

Beautiful men were dead

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1828
William Bray,
lawyer and antiquary

‘Such has been the decay in my eyesight the whole of this year that I have not been able to read either print or MS., though I have continued to write letters, as I am writing on this 24th of December. I cannot read it when written. I have also lost my hearing in one ear in a great degree; subject to this, my bodily health has been what may be called good. I have been obliged to pay more than 1,100 pounds by the treachery of a clerk, and the malice of one who had been long attempting, and at last effected a loss of long friendship with Mrs. Wigzell.’

A good state of health

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1834
George Sand,
writer

‘And what if I rushed to him when my love is too strong for me. What if I went and broke the bell-pull with ringing, until he opened his door to me. Or if I lay down across the threshold until he came out!’

Sand’s Journal Intime

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1893
Lady Aberdeen,
philanthropist

‘We had our first service in our dear new little wooden chapel to-day. The men have been working night & day to get it finished by Christmas Day & they have done it. H.E. read prayers this morning & this evening Mr Winfield took the evening service. It is quite simple of varnished pine wood, a dark red drugget on floor, dull red & green windows & chairs for seats. We feel already that it will make all the difference to us. H.E. has put it up entirely himself, although the Government offered to pay, but we wanted no questions about this asked in Parliament. It will cost about $2000 (between £400 & £500) & then there is the little organ to come.

A busy evening preparing Christmas presents & stockings. A white blanket coat trimmed with red makes an excellent costume for Santa Claus to make his rounds - but Archie’s dog “Lady” thought I was a burglar & growled vigorously.’

God save the Queen

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1964
Arthur C. Clarke,
writer

‘Slowly tinkered with the final pages, so I can have them as a Christmas present for Stanley.’

Dreamed I was a robot

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1980
Andy Warhol,
artist

Cabbed up to Jerry and Mick’s apartment for Chnstmas lunch. Jerry’s pregnant sister Cyndy just married Robin Lehman, and so everybody was happy. Jerry’s mother was there. Jerry had an apron on that when you unzippered it a big cock came out, so I was taking funny pictures of that, her cooking a turkey with a cock in her hand.

Earl McGrath was there, and Ahmet Ertegun stopped by for a second. The food was ready at 5:00 but it was supposed to have been ready at 2:00. Everything was great, though, it was the best turkey and everything was fresh, the peas and everything, so I porked it up.

The limo came at 6:30 to take us out to the Guests’. We picked up Barbara Allen who was wearing a green taffeta YSL and then we went to the ‘hem of Harlem’ - that’s what Jerry Zipkin calls his neighborhood - and picked up Jerry and he had Nelson Seabra with him. It was a sit down dinner and the turkey was terrible. It was like canned stuff, and the cranberry sauce was canned and there were eighteen different desserts but none of them were good. I was next to ‘Suzy’ and Bob was next to Liz Smith and Iris Love, and Iris had a kilt on and let me feel if she was wearing underpants. Cornelia looked beautiful.

Then I had to get back to Halston’s in town and it had suddenly dropped from forty degrees to minus fifteen. Halston gave me a green beaded dress to hang in my closet. It’s like a $5,000 dress. It’s his art. But it’s not really my favorite green although it’s a nice green. I would rather have had a red one.

I felt another cold coming on and I wanted to go home to bed, but since the house was empty I didn’t. I gave Halston a chocolate box of art candy that I made, not too great, and a Diamond painting, and I gave Victor a Shoe one. I got home about 1:30 and opened my packages. Reinhold gave me a little TV set, a 2” x 2” Sony Trinitron.’

The Andy Warhol Diaries

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2006
Tim Dixon,
economist and businessman

‘I keep telling people - I do feel a lot more like I’m working for the guy who will be Prime Minister. If sheer determination was all that was required I think he’d get the prize. Kevin has an extraordinary, voracious appetite for information and briefings. I have prepared an enormous amount of briefing material for him in the past few days - everything from the Tasmanian forests issues to Commonwealth/State relations to dental health to industrial relations. . .

But this is the difference in the environment of working with Kevin - a lot more energy, a lot more anxiety. And a lot more work. . .’

Working with Kevin

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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.