And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

28 January

1848
Johann August Sutter,
mill owner

‘Marshall arrived in the evening, it was raining very heavy, but he told me he came on important business. After we was alone in a private Room he showed me the first Specimens of Gold, that is he was not certain if it was Gold or not, but he thought it might be; immediately I made the proof and found that it was Gold. I told him even that most of all is 23 Carat Gold; he wished that I should come up with him immediately, but I told him that I have to give first my orders to the people in all my factories and shops.’

Sutter’s Gold Rush

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1885
Rudyard Kipling,
writer

‘Scraps on Accidents on Indian Railways, The Dynamitard’s attempts at Westminster and Hume’s vegetarianism. About one column altogether. An easy day as far as the paper was concerned; there being plenty of matter in hand and not much proofwork.’

Something of myself

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1917
François Mauriac,
writer

‘My son Claude to keep me pure.’

Burning at the heart

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1918
Harvey Cushing,
neurosurgeon

‘I saw poor Jack McCrae . . . last night - the last time. A bright flame rapidly burning out. He died early this morning . . . Never strong, he gave his all with the Canadian Artillery during the prolonged second battle of Ypres and after at which time he wrote his imperishable verses. Since those frightful days he has never been his old gay and companionable self, but has rather sought solitude. A soldier from top to toe - how he would have hated to die in bed . . .

They will bury him tomorrow. Some of the older members of the McGill Unit who still remain here were scouring the fields this afternoon to try and find some chance winter poppies to put on his grave - to remind him of Flanders, where he would have preferred to lie.’

Ether, a gorilla, and poppies

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1935
Patrick Leigh Fermor,
writer

‘I left Iviron after an early lunch yesterday, the track running close along the shore, sometimes over the high rocks, sometimes over the pebbles and sand of the beach, and sometimes winding away inland, a little footpath between the trees. It was really a succession of Devonshire combes, but full of wildly growing evergreens, with now and then a squat stone hermitage standing on a ledge of the mountainside, surrounded by dark cypresses.’

Paddy’s broken road

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1971
Cecil Harmsworth King,
businessman

‘Lunch with Dennis Hamilton and Hussey at The Times. Both very friendly and it was nearly three o’clock before I got away from Ken Thomson and others. First, Fleet Street. Denis had done his best with The Guardian but they insist on maintaining their independence, in spite of now moving into the red on both papers together. The obvious move is for The Times in London, The Guardian in Manchester and The Scotsman to co-operate with news and other services; but Richard Scott, the chairman of the trustees (and Washington correspondent!) of The Guardian will have none of this. It is thought The Sketch will fold in the next few weeks. It has been making a small contribution to overheads but is doing so no longer. . . Murdoch is threatening to start a new evening paper if the News and the Standard merge. It would be a sort of evening News of the World. The Sunday Telegraph is losing a lot of money, and The Observer in serious financial trouble. The Mirror has lost all its character and has become an imitation Sun. The unions continue as militant, short-sighted and irresponsible as ever. I have been told recently . . . that the Central Branch of the paper workers is politically dominated by a group called the International Socialists . . . [and that] these Socialists get money from China via Ceylon and that this is well known to the Special Branch. The Times has done quite well out of its increase in price to 1s and its losses are now manageable.

The Sunday Times has bought Wilson’s book on his six years in office. He is receiving £260,000 and the book will be out about May. Denis thinks he is going to tell all (why not make sure - for that money?) and he certainly goes to town on George Brown. The Times has bought Rab Butler’s memoirs. According to Denis he was very dependent on his first wife for decision and courage, but had a built-in sense of timing and a feel for politics all his own.’

Cecil Harmsworth King

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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, 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.