And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

21 January

Jens Munk,

On the 21st January, it was fine clear weather and sunshine; and, on that date, thirteen of us were down with sickness. Then, as I had often done before, I asked the surgeon, M. Casper Caspersen aforesaid, who was also lying mortally ill, whether he knew of any good remedy that might be found in his chest and which might serve for the recovery or comfort of the crew, as well as of himself, requesting him to inform me of it. To this he answered that he had already used as many remedies as he had with him to the best of his ability and as seemed to him advisable, and that, if God would not help, he could not employ any further remedy at all that would be useful for recovery.’

Nobody to dig the graves


Claver Morris,

‘Eve Stacy came, & for her Husband (he being afraid of the Small-Pox) Agreed to Rent Puridge another Year. Mary Gould my Cook-Maid was so Ill in Convulsive Cough that all concluded she was Dieing.’

Cough, spitting, and fever


John Knox,

‘The whole company of rangers went out this morning to scour the country towards Bay Verde: they returned in the afternoon, and brought with them a sleigh which our unhappy sufferers had taken out with them, and on it were laid the bodies of four of our men, and one ranger, who were killed and scalped; the rest are still missing: at the place where these unfortunate people were way-laid, there was a regular ambush, and designed probably against the rangers, who have been out, for some weeks, cutting and cording wood for the garrison, and seldom missed a day, except the weather was uncommonly severe, which was the case yesterday; and their not going was providential, for they are generally too remiss upon service, and so little did they suspect any danger, that the half of them went out without arms, and they who carried any were not loaded. The victims were fired at from the right side of the road, being shot through the right breast; all were wounded in the same place, except one who had not a gun-shot wound about him, but was killed by a hatchet or tomahock a-cross the neck, under the hinder part of his scull; never was greater or more wanton barbarity perpetrated, as appears by these poor creatures, who, it is evident, have been all scalped alive; for their hands, respectively, were clasped together under their polls, and their limbs were horridly distorted, truly expressive of the agonies in which they died: in this manner they froze, not unlike figures, or statues, which are variously displayed on pedestals in the gardens of the curious. The ranger was stripped naked, as he came into the world; the soldiers were not, except two, who had their new cloathing on them; these (that is the coats only) were taken: I am told this is a distinction always made between regulars and others; the head of the man who escaped the fire; was flayed before he received his coup mortel, which is evident from this circumstance, that, after the intire cap was taken off, the hinder part of the scull was wantonly broken into small pieces; the ranger’s body was all marked with a stick, and some blood in hieroglyphic characters, which shewed that great deliberation was used in this barbarous dirty work. The bloodhounds came on snow-shoes, or rackets, the country being now so deep with snow, as to render it impossible to march without them; they returned towards Gaspereau, and we imagine they came from Mirrimichie, there being no settlement of them (as we suppose) nearer to us on that side of the country.

Our men were buried this afternoon, and, as we could not break or stretch their limbs, the sleigh was covered intirely with boards, and a large pit was made in the snow, to the depth of several feet, where they are to remain for some time; for the earth is so impenetrably bound up with frost, that it is impracticable to break ground, even with pickaxes or crow-irons; their funeral was very decent, and all the Officers attended them to the burying-place. Our men appear greatly irritated at the inhuman lot of their friends, and express the greatest concern lest we should not permit them to make reprisals, whenever a favourable opportunity may offer. In these northern countries, any people that happen to die after the winter sets-in are only left under the snow until the beginning of summer, for spring I cannot call it, there being no such season in this part of the world. With respect to fresh provisions of any kind, it is also customary to kill them about the middle of November, and leave them in an airy out-house, or other place where the frost will soon affect them; so that there is nothing more common than to eat beef, mutton, or poultry, in March or April, that were dead five months before: hares and fowl, as soon as killed, are hung up in their skins and feathers, and without being drawn, until they are wanted; at which time, by steeping them (or any butcher’s meat) for a time in cold water, and not merely immerging, as some writers and travellers aver, they become pliable, and fit for any purpose that the cook may require.’

Killed and scalped


John Newton,
sailor and priest

‘Our trial still continues, and I think increases. The Lord knows how and when to moderate it. We all find it a sharp trial for faith and patience. How mysterious are the Lord’s ways, but we are sure all that he does is right and good. Met the children. In the afternoon sent Miss T and A to Newport. Preached in the evening and was favoured with liberty. Acts 13:17’

The extraordinary Mr Newton


John Adams,

‘Went to Versailles to pay my Respects to the King and Royal Family, upon the Event of Yesterday. Dined with the foreign Ambassadors at the C. de Vergennes’s. The King appeared in high Health and in gay Spirits: so did the Queen.M. [Madame] Elizabeth is grown very fat. The C. D’Artois seems very well. Mr. Fitsherbert had his first Audience of the King and Royal Family and dined for the first time with the Corps Diplomatique.’

A spirit to our honour


William Sydney Clements,

‘[Tenant rights meeting in Milford] Engaged all the Public Houses. Police came in - about sixty. People came in two mobs of about two hundred strong each. The meeting held on the hill above the town - not on the estate.’

Splinters fell on me


Reginald Marsh,

‘I did’nt go to Sunday School this morning but in the afternoon Jut and I went skating over at the resevoir. It was slick and a big crowd was there skating and looking on. 5 Germans were there skating fancy in circles. A bunch of fellows would “snap the whip” in a long line hanging on to each other. Some boobs about 20 of them took hold of hands and skated along and snapped the whip. I skate better every time I go.’

Pictures and vaudeville


Herbert Sulzbach,

‘I receive another special order, pick one of the little Arab horses and ride to the Battery. It’s 6 a.m., still pitch dark, and you can only just find your way about. From the Battery I get an order to proceed to the Battalion Staff, lying this side of some high ground only 100 metres behind the front trenches. Since this high ground lies in front of the enemy trenches, I can ride towards the front without being seen by the French; but a hellish burst of fire starts up, and small-arms and artillery fire compete with each other in making things hot for me. I’m as hoarse as a crow and can’t speak a word. I get my orders and ride back to the Battery, which is now commanded by Captain Henn, while 2/Lt Reinhardt is what you might call his right-hand man, and acts as a liaison officer with the infantry.’

Pen & Sword diaries


Gotthard Heinrici,

‘In the morning I drove to the army. 42° below freezing. Rollbahn [roadway] clear. Dead Russians, broken vehicles lying at the edge of the road, covered with snow. The continuous and extreme cold weather is unusual even here. Met General Kübler. He has lost his command, because he told the Fuehrer that he did not believe it possible to hold the rollbahn and Yukhnov with the army. Maybe he will be proved right. But because he did not show unconditional faith and said so, they sent him away! Situation of army is tense. Thank God that we can still hold the rollbahn, which is our only transportation route for provisions and supplies.’

What we need . . .


Felipe Buencamino III,

‘Mrs. Quezon is slightly thinner. She says she cannot sleep well at night because her son who sleeps in the upper deck of her bed “moves too much.”

Mrs. Quezon showed great concern over hardships suffered by boys in Bataan. She said she was proud of the great stories of heroism of Filipino troops in Bataan. “The whole world,” she said “is talking about it.”

The President’s wife showed me the fuse of the first bomb dropped by Japs in Baguio on Dec. 8, 1941. “I’m keeping this,” she said in her slow, calm manner, “because this is historical.”

She said she was in Baguio when Japs first bombed Philippines. “We thought the planes flying were U.S.,” she said.

Mrs. Quezon told me to send some of our operatives to Arayat to find out what has happened to her farm. I said there were men in Arayat now looking into the matter.

Mrs. Quezon recounted how she and her family went to Corregidor, how they crossed Manila Bay and how an air-raid signal was sounded in the City when their boat left Manila.

She told me to see her before I leave for Bataan because she had some canned stuff for me.

Mrs. Quezon spends her time in the Rock reading, sewing, visiting some of the sick and praying. I think she prays most of the time. She is a very holy woman.’

Aurora Quezon’s bomb fuse


Bill Haley,

‘Salt Lake City, Utah. Rainbow Rondeau - $1,900. Spent day doing D.J. promotion. Treated us like royalty here. Very nice hotel. Worked two shows tonight. Drew over 2,500 people. Very good crowd, Record of ‘Later Alligator’ already in Top 10 here. Looks like we have a big hit. This has been a good day.’

The rock and roll life


Leonid Brezhnev,

‘Rested at home for first half of the day lunched at home. Weight 85.200 Second half worked in Kremlin Signed PB [Politburo] minutes of 20 January. Bogolyubov reported . . .’

To every historian’s despair


John Lowe,

‘Nationally, men are returning to work and this is very sad. They are not going back because the cause is wrong; after all this time the poor buggers are being forced back by all sorts of reasons: debt, a lack of money, food and fuel, and domestic and personal problems. Two of ours lost this week.

The case of the Transits in Mansfield: our initial findings were a ‘scab van’ picking up in Pleasley and going on towards Clowne, and police patrol cars patrolling the supposedly closed office block near the dole office, which showed signs of activity with many lights on inside and three wire-mesh Transits still in the closed-off yard. We then found that the vans were certainly driving into Yorkshire and taking part in the ‘scab runs’ there, with police escorts all the way – but that Notts men were not taking part.

What surprised us was that the drivers were Yorkshiremen, some of them from the pit villages they were driving to: I was very saddened to think that such treachery could be enacted by working class people against what were, perhaps, members of their own families.’

How bloody corrupt


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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.

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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.