And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

15 July

Albrecht Dürer,

’On Thursday after Kilian’s, I, Albrecht Dürer, at my own charges and costs, took myself and my wife (and maid Susanna) away to the Netherlands. And the same day, after passing through Erlangen, we put up for the night at Baiersdorf and spent there 3 pounds less 6 pfennigs.

Next day, Friday, we came to Forchheim and there I paid 22 pf. for the convoy.

Thence I journeyed to Bamberg where I presented the Bishop (Georg III. Schenk von Limburg) with a Madonna painting, a Life of our Lady, an Apocalypse, and a florin’s worth of engravings. He invited me as his guest, gave me a Toll-pass and three letters of introduction and paid my bill at the Inn, where I had spent about a florin.

I paid 6 florins in gold to the boatman who took me from Bamberg to Frankfurt.

Master Lukas Benedict and Hans the painter sent me wine.

4 pf. for bread and 13 pf. as leaving gifts.

Then I travelled from Bamberg to Eltman and I showed my pass and they let me go toll-free. Thence we passed by Zeil. I spent in the meantime 21 pf. Next I came to Hassfurt and presented my pass and they let me go toll-free.

I paid 1 fl. into the Bishop of Bamberg’s Chancery.

Next I came to Theres to the (Benedictine) monastery, and I showed my pass and they also let me go on. Then we journeyed to Unter-Euerheim where I stayed the night and spent 1 pf.

From thence we travelled to Mainberg and I presented my pass and they let me go toll-free.

We came next to Schweinfurt, where Doctor (Jorg) Rebart invited me, and he gave us wine in the boat. They let me also pass toll-free. A roast fowl 10 pf.; 18 pf. in the kitchen and for the child.

Then we travelled to Volkach and I showed my pass and journeyed on, and we came to Schwarzach and there we stopped the night and I spent 22 pf.’

Carefully in oils


Richard Newdigate,

‘About 4 ith’ afternoon landed at Chirburgh, being a Port where the “Sun”, the great French ship, was fired. The Sea shore had hundreds of people upon it, it being their St James’s Day. When they saw the English colors they drew near our boat, and the third man we met with addressed us in very good English. He was a Merchant of that place, knew our swearing Seaman, Abraham, his name John Baily, but entitled Cobizon, from a Village he possesses of that Name. He led us to Mademoiselle du Val’s house, the Sun, where there were Stone Steps as to our Steeples, no boarded Floors but bricked, two Beds in a Room, no blankets under, but first a Great Mattress of Straw, then a small thin Feather-bed, and then a large Quilt, then a Blanket and Counterpane, round Bolster, no Pillows.

Mr Cobizon advised me to wait upon the Commissary, who is their only Governor, the Sieur Menevill. He was very Civil. Then we went to the Inn, and Mr Cobizon undertook to finish all with the Master of the Vessel, Mr Harly. But I had a mind to go on board our Ship, where I found the Custom house Officers and many people on board, and hundreds on shore to see the Sight.

After two hours spent in shewing all our goods to the Custom house officers, who were very strict but very civil, we slung our Horses and Coach ashore and put it together, and four men carried our Goods in great Handbarrows. The Coach was accompanied by the multitude into town, who had (as Mr Cobizon said) ne’er seen a Coach before, and I was forced to take it off the Wheels and carry it into a Bachelor Merchant (Mr Bousselaer) his Yard, to have it safe. Otherwise it had been torn in pieces and those kept as Relics by the people. This held me till near eleven.

In the meantime I went to bespeak Supper, but could have no flesh; they durst not dress it. ’Twas Saturday, a Fish day, and tho’ to break the seventh Comandment is venial, eating Flesh is a mortal Sin. Nor could we have fish; Mrs Du Vail said ’twas all gone. But I spied Crabs, of which she bought six for three pence, and we got Thornback and made a pretty good Supper. Prayed and went to bed after twelve, I having read myself half asleep and then went to bed. After my first sleep I slept heartily, I thank God, till after eight.’

But I spied crabs


Benjamin Franklin,

‘The Duke de Chartres’s balloon went off this morning from St. Cloud, himself and three others in the gallery. It was foggy, and they were soon out of sight. But the machine being disordered, so that the trap or valve could not be opened to let out the expanding air, and fearing that the balloon would burst, they cut a hole in it which ripped larger, and they fell rapidly, but received no harm. They had been a vast height, met with a doud of snow, and a tornado which frightened them.’

Founding Father Franklin


William Byrd,

‘About 7 o’clock the negro boy that ran away was brought home. My wife against my will caused little Jenny to be burned with a hot iron, for which I quarreled with her. It was so hot today that I did not intend to go to the launching of Colonel Hill’s ship but about 9 o’clock the Colonel was so kind as to come and call us. My wife would not go at first but with much entreaty she at last consented. About 12 o’clock we went and found abundance of company at the ship and about one she was launched and went off very well, notwithstanding several had believe the contrary. When this was over we went to Mr Platt’s to dinner and I ate boiled beef. We stayed till about 5 o’clock and then returned home, where all was well. I found an express from above with a letter from Joe Wilkinson desiring to be discharged from my service when his year was out.’

A planters life!


Lewis Carroll,

‘Went to Macmillan’s and wrote in 20 or more copies of Alice to go as presents to various friends. This took so long that I did not get to Terry’s till 12½, where I photographed till about 4½, and took a large one of Miss Terry in fancy costume, Tom, a Miss Martin, a friend of theirs, and finally a family group of all but the baby.

Then I had a game of “Castle Croquet’ with Miss Terry, Mrs. Watts, and Polly. I made a sort of dinner at their tea, and ended by escorting Polly to the Olympic to see The Serf. We had Miss Terry’s season-ticket, and got good places in the dress-circle. After The Serf I took Polly round to the stage-door to join her sister and went back to see Glaucus, a very pretty burlesque. I mark these last three days with a white stone.’ [See Contrariwise for a detailed discussion of Dodgson’s ‘white stone’ references.]

Dodgson in wonderland


Elizabeth Agassiz,
naturalist and writer

‘A long botanizing excursion to-day among the Tijuca hills with Mr. Glaziou, director of the Passeio Publico, as guide. It has been a piece of the good fortune attending Mr. Agassiz thus far on this expedition to find in Mr. Glaziou a botanist whose practical familiarity with tropical plants is as thorough as his theoretical knowledge. He has undertaken to enrich our scientific stores with a large collection of such palms and other trees as illustrate the relation between the present tropical vegetation and the ancient geological forests. Such a collection will be invaluable as a basis for palæontological studies at the Museum of Comparative Zoölogy in Cambridge.’

Slavery in Brazil


Leo Baekeland,

‘Got a telegram from Townsend that Bakalite patent has been filed at Patent Office last Saturday.’

Baekeland makes Bakalite


Alexandra Feodorovna,

‘Greyish morning. Later sunshine. Lunched on the couch in the big room, as women came to clean the floors, then lay on my bed again & read with Maria J. Sirach 26-31. They went out twice as usual. In the morning Tatiana read to me Spir. Readings. Still no Vladimir Nikolaevich - at 6:30 Baby had his second bath - Bezique. Went to bed 10:15.

of warmth at 10:30 evening.

Heard the report of an artillery shot in the night & several revolver shots.’

Death of the Romanovs


Renia Spiegel,

‘Remember this day; remember it well. You will tell generations to come. Since 8 o’clock today we have been shut away in the ghetto. I live here now. The world is separated from me and I’m separated from the world. The days are terrible and the nights are not at all better. Every day brings more casualties and I keep praying to you, God Almighty, to let me kiss my dear mamma.

Oh, Great One, give us health and strength. Let us live. Hope is shriveling so fast. There are fragrant flowers in front of the house, but who needs flowers? And Zygmunt - I saw him from a distance today, but he hasn’t come over yet. Lord, please protect his dear head. But why can’t I cuddle up next to him? God, let me hug my dear mamma.’

I just want a friend


Salvador Dali,

‘Once more I thank Sigmund Freud and proclaim louder than ever his great truths. I, Dali, deep in a constant introspection and a meticulous analysis of my smallest thoughts, have just discovered that, without realising it, I have painted nothing but rhinoceros horns all my life. At the age of ten, a grasshopper-child, I already said my prayers on all fours before a table made of rhinoceros horn. Yes, to me it was already a rhinoceros! I take another look at my paintings and I am stupefied with the amount of rhinoceros my work contains. Even my famous bread [1945 painting] is already a rhino horn, delicately resting in a basket. Now I understand my enthusiasm the day Arturo Lopez presented me with my famous rhinoceros-horn walking stick. As soon as I became its owner, it produced in me a completely irrational illusion. I attached myself to it with an incredible fetishism, amounting to obsession, to such an extent that I once struck a barber in New York, when by mistake he almost broke it by lowering too quickly the revolving chair on which I had gently put it down. Furiously, I struck at his shoulder hard with my stick to punish him, but of course I immediately gave him a very big tip so that he would not get angry. Rhinoceros, rhinoceros, who are you?’

Rhinoceros, who are you?


Carolina Maria de Jesus,
rubbish collector

‘The birthday of my daughter Vera Eunice. I wanted to buy a pair of shoes for her, but the price of food keeps us from realizing our desires. Actually we are slaves to the cost of living. I found a pair of shoes in the garbage, washed them, and patched them for her to wear.

I didn’t have one cent to buy bread. So I washed three bottles and traded them to Arnaldo. He kept the bottles and gave me bread. Then I went to sell my paper. I received 65 cruzeiros. I spent 20 cruzeiros for meat. I got one kilo of ham and one kilo of sugar and spent six cruzeiros on cheese. And the money was gone.

I was ill all day. I thought I had a cold. At night my chest pained me. I started to cough. I decided not to go out at night to look for paper. I searched for my son Joao. He was at Felisberto de Carvalho Street near the market. A bus had knocked a boy into the sidewalk and a crowd gathered. Joao was in the middle of it all. I poked him a couple of times and within five minutes he was home.

I washed the children, put them to bed, then washed myself and went to bed. I waited until 11:00 for a certain someone. He didn’t come. I took an aspirin and laid down again. When I awoke the sun was sliding in space. My daughter Vera Eunice said; “Go get some water, Mother!” ’

There’s nothing to eat


Malcolm X,

‘I find all the African delegates at all levels are strongly sympathetic to our cause, [. . .] But American propaganda through the USIS [United States Information Service] has been powerful[,] influencing most of them to think we hate Africa & don’t identify with her in any way. Most of them are shocked by my strongly pro-African sentiments - shocked and elated.’

Malcolm X uninterrupted


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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.