And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

9 January

1684
John Evelyn,
writer

‘I went across the Thames on the ice, now become so thick as to bear not only streets of booths, in which they roasted meat, and had divers shops of wares, quite across as in a town, but coaches, carts, and horses passed over. So I went from Westminster stairs to Lambeth, and dined with the Archbishop. [. . .] After dinner and discourse with his Grace till evening prayers, Sir George Wheeler and I walked over the ice from Lambeth stairs to the Horseferry.’

A most excellent person

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1708
Timothy Burrell,
lawyer

‘These are the funeral charges on the internment of my dear sister Jane Burrell, who died on the 16th January, 1708. To G Wood, for crape and worsted for the shroud, £1 6s, and for making it, 8s; for making and nayling the coffin, £2 2s; for bays to line it, 11s, and cloth to cover it, £1 6s; for black crape, hatbands, gloves, 6s; favour knots, wine, and use of pall, £15 1s.

To Mr Middleton, for sermon, £2 3s. To the clerk and sexton, for the passing bell and grace, 2s 6d. To Mr Daw, for his bill for charges for commission and probate of the will, £2 9s. The total expenses were £35 9s 6d.’

Dr Fuller’s infusion

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1810
Mirza Abul Hassan Khan,
diplomat

‘Many London houses are built around ‘squares’: these are large, [. . .] enclosed by iron railings as high as a man and set vertically a hand’s breadth apart. The streets between the houses and the square are wide enough for three carriages to drive abreast; and streets for carriages, horse-riders and pedestrians lead out from each corner. Each square belongs to the owners of the houses surrounding it, and only they are allowed to go in. On each side there is an iron gate which the residents - men, women and children - use when they wish to spend some time walking and relaxing within. The squares are pleasant gardens, planted with a variety of trees and beautiful, bright flowers. Most squares also have pools of water and wide, straight paths to walk along. Three gardeners are kept busy in each square repairing paths, plantings trees and flowers and tending the shrubs. At night street lamps are lighted - like those outside each house. The doors and windows of all the houses look out on to the square. It is pleasant to walk there in all seasons.’

I was utterly amazed!

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1832
Barclay Fox,
businessman

‘Commenced schooling today by myself in the new schoolroom and made an address to it in 6 Latin verses. I knocked out a pane of glass with my whipping top. A very wet day. I have begun to go to bed at 9 instead of 10.’

The day came at last

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1914
Gertrude Bell,
writer and archaeologist

‘The temp fell to 22° in the night and our unwelcome guard had a bad time. Spent the day waiting for the Qaimmaqam of Salt. F. and Abdallah came back (the chowwish had offered to bring them back in the middle of the night) and we all spent the morning making a new tent pole for me, the soldiers aiding. Heaps of gazelle in the hills. Sat in F.’s tent and drew out a section of Kharaneh in afternoon. Cold and horribly windy. Jusef Ch. who has been away all day, came back in a good and obliging temper. It is all rather fancy I must say.’

The Arabian Diaries

**************************************************************************************

1956
Bill Haley,
musician

‘Reported at 9.30 am for third day at Colombia lot. Shot more scenes on the picture. Today did ‘Rock Around The Clock’ and ‘Rudy’s Rock’. That makes 5 songs so far we’ve done in the picture. So far the picture is going great. This is a big break for us. Keeping my fingers crossed. To bed early and up at them tomorrow at 7.30 am.’

The rock and roll life

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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.

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.