And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

20 January

Francis Lieber,
philosopher and teacher

‘Birth of a little daughter. I send the second part of my article “Napoleon” to Joseph Bonaparte [elder brother of Napoleon]. . .’

Lieber’s Life and Letters


William Sydney Clements,

Went to the garden and examined the footmarks of the man who had been there on Monday night. I took a model of them and compared with Rutherford’s and remarked his mode of walking which left no doubt of his being the man.’

Splinters fell on me


Otto Braun,

‘It is curious that in the darkness one can see even the tiniest glow, while in broad daylight it is difficult to see the biggest fire; I believe the same is true of human beings.’

So much inner power


Reginald Marsh,

‘Some swift coasting now in Nutley Park. In the morning I coasted some but not much. In the afternoon Jut and I went over to the resevoir, about a mile from here to skate. It was swell. The weather was warm and the ice was perfect. I can skate better now. Jut bought a hockey stick and we skated up and down the pond played a little hockey and got sore and and sore backs. We skated all the way across the golf course.’

Pictures and vaudeville


Wanda Gág,
artist and author

‘This noon at dinner we were discussing Love, Art & Marriage again. Miss Dean declared that she didn’t think there was any real love in the world. She believed in mother love, sister love, brother love and the rest, but not in The Love. I told her I had had that bee in my bonnet once too. She said, “Oh I know why you got over it,” and when I wanted to know why, she said, “Since you met Mr. Edgerley.” I told her I did not love Mr, Edgerley nor any other boy.

I reeled off the old story about taking Love & Art together etc. She thought I ought to sacrifice my art for my love. Theresa declared that I couldn’t take care of my children if I wouldn’t give up art, and I said if I would get married I’d drape my babies up in chiffon and sketch them, and that my husband would have to pose as king or beggar (according to what my latest fit would be like). To this Miss Dean said, “I pity your poor family!” and we ended up with a good all-around laugh.’

The giddy Wanda Gág


Wanda Gág,
artist and author

‘Yesterday was an event in my life - I started painting in oils. I am rather timid about handling my brush for I am not at all used to the medium, so my study is abominally smooth and insipid. It looks something like the work of that eternal aunt or sister or cousin of everyone you meet “who does beautiful oil studies and has never taken a lesson in all her life.” But ding, I have a long road to travel in oil painting. It seems that Emma Brock (a former student who did some good illustrations last year) has returned. They say she doesn’t care about eating either.

I am beginning to like Mr. Goetsch and I think in a short time I shall like him very much indeed. Only some fine day we will have a good hot little discussion, I think. You see he thinks himself smart about some things, and I think myself smart about some things, and some day we’ll both think ourselves smart about the same thing. I don’t know how he found out I was an artist’s daughter, but yesterday during sketch class he looked at my crumpled wrapping paper and absolutely impractical method of holding the whole drawing outfit, and said, “Tz! Tz! Tz! And you an artist’s daughter?” I said, “Well, that just proves that I am an artist’s daughter. Artists aren’t practical.” And he laughed and went on.

I made a sketch last night which I consider rather decent but to which no one, up to this time, has taken a fancy to. I like it because it is bold and simple, and I think that I have successfully hidden the fact that it was studied out very carefully in the first place. I mean it looks as if it had been dashed in, only it hasn’t. [. . .] I am taking Color Harmony now and have stacks of make-up work to do.’

The giddy Wanda Gág


Zorina Gray,

‘At 10, practiced the pas de deux for an hour with Donahue - went very well - then in the Gaiety Theatre all day. Everything goes so well I’m almost afraid, I have so much fun - tried on costumes.’

My knees felt like macaroni


Joshua Lederberg,

‘I had the evening all to myself, and particularly the excruciating pleasure of reading Avery ’43 on the deoxyribose nucleic acid responsible for type transformation in Pneumococcus. Terrific and unlimited in its implications. Viruses are gene-type compounds, but they cannot grow on synthetic or even dead media, and their capacity for production is limited to reproduction. The TF of Pneumococcus has every characteristic of a mutation. The obvious questions still to be considered are the fraction of serum that is involved in the reaction system; the induction of mutation in the TF by use of x-ray and more controllable methods; the problems of its antigenic specificity and relations to the specific polysaccharide whose manufacture it regulates or initiates. Also the possibility of activity of TF in vitro or in killed systems must be investigated, although the presence of phosphatases and desoxyribonucleases present a difficult problem. I can see real cause for excitement in this stuff though.’

I was rather incredulous


Soe Hok Gie,

‘Suddenly the group of students and labourers in the lead circled around behind and led by one big tall fellow, attacked the KAMI line with sticks and stones. The students, unprepared for this, were startled. Several small groups of students outside the line were surrounded and beaten. Furthermore they didn’t hesitate to hit the women. From Letters, Ibu Hendarmin (Archaeology IV) was surrounded and ordered to remove her yellow jacket. She refused and was kicked until her legs turned blue. Elvira Manopo (Elok) was stoned by Kosasih, a Letters student from GMNI-ASU. Judi was also stoned. His head was slightly wounded. From Psychology, Pudji, an ASU member, punched Kartini, a fellow first-year student. I could imagine what would have occurred if at that moment I had met one of the GMNI-ASU from Letters; I would have been beaten for sure, because they really hate me. The ASU supporters shouted out ‘Crush KAMI’, ’Crush the yellow jackets’, ‘KAMI - Kesatuan Aksi Maling Indonesia’, KAMI - rightists’ and so on.’

Politics is filthy mud


Paul K. Lyons,

‘I have finished Roy Jenkins diary. I must return it to the library today. Overall my impression remains the same as that recorded in December’s notes. The style of his diary reminds me exactly of that I used as a teenager. The content is occasionally interesting but far too concerned with lists of people, engagements, places; with general comments about whether a meeting was ‘good’ or whether people were ‘interesting’ or ‘dull’; and with travel arrangements. His tone is generally pompous and we never get any idea about the people who arrange his travel, his dinner, his paperwork; we never get an insight into any of the more minor issues or about the more mundane workings of the Commission.’

A fairly burdensome exercise


Peter Clark,

‘In the afternoon we go for a walk, due north, beyond Muhajirin and up the mountain. Jabal Kasiyun has slowly had the city encroaching upon it. We climb up roads that are at a gradient of about 1 in 3. The views over the city get more and more splendid - skyscrapers stand out, tall white buildings, with here and there to the west patches of green, all that is left of the gardens of Damascus. It is invigorating. We descend, passing by an office that is surrounded by dozens of black Mercedes cars and lots of security people. I learn later that this is where the President has his office. It is a shabby building but one can, at least, walk within 20 yards of it, and the residential flats nearby in these leafy suburbs must be desirable.

We are invited to dinner with Dr and Mrs Drubi. He is a prosperous doctor from Homs. She has three daughters, one of whom is studying English at the British Council. Another was Miss Syria in 1986 and is now in Canada. I talk to Zelfa Samman, half-sister of and 20 years younger than the novelist, Ghada, who chooses to live in Paris. Zelfa’s mother is a Shishakli, a niece of the former President, Adib. Her mother’s mother is a sister of Akram Hourani, who is still alive, in exile in Amman, over 80 and frail. Zelfa’s father was President of the University of Damascus and has been briefly Minister of Higher Education. Our host’s brother was Minister of Petroleum. The older ruling official and the contemporary elites merge.’

Damascus diaries


Kim Dae-jung
, politician

‘Because of the violent suppression of the police, five people are dead and an additional ten have been hospitalized with injuries. It is truly barbaric behavior. [. . .]

The situation of these poor citizens, who are being chased out of their homes in the cold winter, brings tears to my eyes.’ [On the day police stormed a building to forcibly evicts tenants]

Believing in history


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And so made significant . . .
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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.

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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.