And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

29 July

Caroline Herschel,

‘I paid the smith. He received to-day the plates for the forty-foot tube. Above half of them are bad, but he thinks there will be as many good among them as will be wanted, and I believe he intends to keep the rest till they return. Paid the gardener for four days which he worked with the smith. I registered sweeps to-day. By way of memorandum I will set down in this book in what manner I proceed.

I began some time ago with the last sweep which is booked in the old register (Flamsteed’s time and P. D.), viz., 571, and at different times I booked 570, 569, 568, 567, 566, 565. To-day I booked 564; 563 is marked not to be registered; 560 and 561 I was obliged to pass over on account of some difficulty. The rest of the day I wrote in Flamsteed’s Catalogue. The storm continued all the day, but now, 8 o’clock, it turns to a gentle rain.’

I swept from ten till one


Anson Jones,

‘I shall be surprised at no one’s committing suicide after hearing of Col. Grayson’s doing so. It is the first time in my life that any one in the circle of my acquaintance has done such an act; and it has shocked me more than the death of a dozen others would have done in the usual course. I believe party abuse has been the cause, acting upon some predisposition to morbid melancholy. Col. Collinsworth’s drowning himself was a thing in course. I had expected it, as I knew him to be deranged, and, when excited by liquor, almost mad. In all the annals of suicide, perhaps no parallel to these two cases can be found. Two years ago they were in this house, and on their way to Washington together, as Commissioners on the part of Texas to procure recognition, &c.; and, at the time of their deaths, both candidates for the highest office in the republic. Both committed suicide about the same time, and at the distance of 2,000 miles from each other; both at the time holding high and responsible offices in the Republic of Texas.’

Texas Republic’s last president


Sophia Louisa Jex-Blake,

‘Sunday. Went to Keswick church in the morning and the text was James 4. 8. Brother went to church at Thornthwaite. Papa, Brother and Carry walked off to the Vale of St. John’s, but there was no sermon - only prayers. Went to Keswick church in the afternoon and the clergyman took his text from Ps. 119, 96.’

Pioneering women’s education


Henry Sewell,
lawyer and politician

‘Started with Stoddart for Christchurch. To the Land Office. First settled business with FitzGerald and Brittan; got their signatures to the Conveyances of Church Lands. Then talked to Brittan about my Electioneering plan; he highly approved; recommended me to stand for the Town in preference to the Country which was of course to get rid of me as a Competitor. Then he said his Brother-in-law one Mr Fooks who knew all the constituency should canvass for me at once. So I left, considering that Brittan at least would help me. My reasons for offering myself are, simply, that there are no persons at all fit, and I believe I may be useful; but the Assembly will doubtless be held at Auckland, a terrible undertaking, about as distant from Canterbury as England from Lisbon - a much severer work than going to America per Steamboat from England. Besides this, the work to be done is very responsible, and I have no doubt will be very disagreeable; all fighting with the Governor. Watts Russell is an amiable good kind of gentlemanly dummy, utterly unequal to such work. FitzGerald who will probably be returned for Lyttelton is scatter-brained. Brittan is untrustworthy, even if he is returned which is not likely. To undertake such an office has neither pleasure, honor nor profit in prospect. I could however manage to attend the first important Meeting, which will probably be about November. The Governor leaves the Colony in December. His plan is, doubtless, to pay a parting visit to the different Settlements, to hold a Session of the Assembly at Auckland in November - to smother the Southern Settlements by Auckland influence and if possible to get off with eclat. Doubtless he calculates on the Southern Members not coming up. I returned to Lyttelton Friday evening, Stoddart remaining to canvass for me.’

New Zealand’s first premier


Anna Dostoevsky,

‘Early this morning, the weather was perfectly lovely, but towards ten it clouded over and rain began to fall. More boredom, and I simply do not know what to do with myself. I suppose I should go along to the Reading Room, but I don’t like turning up there in my shabby gloves. So I stayed in again all day, and was most dreadfully at a loose end. For sheer lack of occupation I started translating a French book. It would be a good thing to get used to it, and then I should be able to translate something good. The weather was as dismal as my state of mind, and I could hardly wait for our dinner to be brought in, which was better to-day. Afterwards, Fyodor lay down for an hour’s sleep, and I read. When he got up again we went to the post and then on to the Reading Room, where we found a great many people, including ladies. But for some reason or other there was a heavy smell of cabbage, and at the reading table there was no room. We sat down by the window. The man in charge handed Fyodor some Russian papers at once, and we started reading; when it got dark we moved to the table, on which a lamp was burning. An Englishman was wandering around, also wanting to read, but he couldn’t find a proper place, and created quite a disturbance in the room that is usually so silent. It annoyed me very much. I read the “Moscow News” and the “Northern Bee.” At last the fidgety Englishman changed his place, and I was duly glad of it. A Russian lady, fairly elderly, sat herself down next to us and demanded Russian papers. She was probably beautiful in her day, but now is so no more. Like all the Russian women here, she was dressed in Russian fashion, and very badly at that. Then came in a charming girl, whom I, had I been a man, should have fallen in love with. A dear little nose, blue eyes, sable eye-brows, but unfortunately her face so made up that, for all she could not have been more than three and twenty, she appeared quite wrinkled. Finally we went home; on the way, I went into a baker’s shop and bought “Lenten Buns,” which I did not much care for at first, but afterwards continued to eat the whole evening. I was fearfully cold, and shivering all over my body, so that I almost began to think I was sickening for nettle rash. After drinking some tea I lay down on Fyodor’s bed and went to sleep, while he worked and wrote. He told me to-day he was going to start dictating his article to me to-morrow. I am delighted about it as that means I shall have something to do and time will not hang so heavy on my hands. I lay there for a couple of hours, then went to bed, and to sleep again. Fyodor was very sweet when he came to bed later, and said a multitude of nice things.’

Quarrelling with Fyodor


Kate Chopin,

‘Rain! All the day rain. So we could not venture out, and have amused ourselves all day, making mental photographes of the falls.’

My wedding day!

My wedding day!


Reginald Marsh,

‘Bill came down and helped me a door blue. It rained a little and we went swimming off the float. It cleared up in the afternoon and so I went for a sail with four of the Goodrich’s in the “Aspenet” a sailboat not large. I don’t mean the hole family because there are only 7 without the relatives or ancestors. The Goodrich’s I went with ranged from about 17 to 23 years of age - all girls except Will who sailed the boat. We sailed out in the ocean 3 or 4 miles, got a soaking and when we came back we got stuck letting down the anchor.’

Pictures and vaudeville


Basil Wolverton,

‘Seven months is quite a long time. It is almost August already, and vacation is going fast I was elected president of the Lower Junior Class for the coming semester and will be president of the Upper Juniors during the last semester. I am sixteen years old now. Mom wanted to take her trip back East this summer but there is not enough money. I thought sure we were going to get to take it but I guess now we are not. I worked a little over a month now in the cannery, right after school and earned $96.88, which helps a little bit.

I am now trying to sell my cartoons to some syndicates. I made a few strips and called them Simple Simon and These Modern Inventions, and sent them to the King Features Syndicate at New York. The King Features Syndicate sent them to the International Feature Syndicate, just a block away. They both had no use for the cartoons, so sent them back and I made some more, only they were not in strip form but were just one big picture, and were called Funny Features. I made a four line verse to go with each of them and then sent them off to the N.E.A. Service at Cleveland, Ohio. I haven’t got them back yet, though. I sent them sixteen days ago. This mornings mail hasn’t come yet; they might be coming this morning.

Dad has been gone for about six weeks. He lives in Portland now. I will go out and saw some more wood and then come back and write down whether my pictures came this morning.

My pictures are coming tomorrow, I guess. I got a letter today saying that the syndicate had no use for them. C. N. Landon of the Landon School of Cartooning is the art director of the syndicate, so of course he wants me to take a course in his school, and then I’ll get a job. I won’t do that but I’ll make eight more pictures and send them to another syndicate.’

He distorted body parts


Dorothy Dix,

‘At 9.30 Mr Noa – the boy friend provided by the American Express arrived with a fine open car with the top down, and we drove along the series of beautiful bays, seven in number that make the water front of Rio. Nothing could be lovelier than the blue bay dotted with little islands, with always the frowning heigths [sic] of Corcovado looking down upon them – We went thro miles of quaint streets with houses whose architecture took on every fantastic shape that it is possible to give bricks & mortor [sic] – Moorish looking houses with tile borders – houses that were job lots of towers & cupolas, houses with all sorts of statues on the roof – Evidently the Brazilian taste is very ornate for every public building is lavishly & sy[m]bolically adorned – But they are grand for all that –

We went out to see the old palace of Dom Pedro, now a museum[.] It is a big brownish yellow structure in the midst of a lovely park. In it is a small aquarium with a curious cannibal fish that eats people. It is a small blue fish with a snub nose, & a dumb face, but let any flesh appear near it, & millions of it fall upon its victim & devour it in a few minutes. They say a man attacked by it will bleed to death before he can reach the bank, even if it is only 10 ft away – It is a fresh water fish & abounds in rivers, & stockmen test every stream before trying to ford it with animals[.] The guide said that not long ago a murderer who was being hunted down tried to escape by jumping into a river, but he was attacked before any one could reach him by these fish & literally devoured alive & his screams of agony were frightful[.]

In the afternoon went with the B’s to the top of Sugar Loaf Mt, which is accomplished by means of an ascent to a low lying hill, then being shunted in a cage – like the cash in a department store – to the top of Sugar Loaf – across a valley a mile wide & goodness knows how high – We staid up on the mountain – or rather the second one – and had dinner on a terrace[,] a most scrumptious meal with a view that has no equal scarcely in the world – the whole city spread out like a scintilating [sic] jewel on the breast of nature, the water front outlined by strings of electric lights, and the wide expanses of blue water growing bluer and bluer as night fell until all was black except where the moon lay a silver band across it – no words can describe the beauty of Rio because it is the favorite child of nature, which has covered up all its man made defects with bougainvillea. No other city has such monstrosities in the way of architecture yet even these become quaint & interesting in their exotic setting, so that you dont wonder that the new rich taste of a generation ago ran to cupolas & towers & statuary[.]

The street scenes are very interesting[.] I am particularly intrigued by the fruit & vegetable vendors who carry hughe [sic] flat baskets on their heads & on their arms a little folding stand – like [word crossed out: the] suit case racks – which they set up & on which they deposit their wares when making a sale. Quaint too are the men who carry their poultry slung in hampers on either side of a mangy pony.

It seems that when the street car system was inaugurated here that the money was obtained by the sale of bonds. The Brazilians had no knowledge of what either a street car or a bond was so they got their terms mixed & called the cars bonds, which nomenclature goes to this day. They say “take the bondie to so- & so” –’

A day of adventure


François Mauriac,

‘At my age, the conflict between the Christian and the novelist has moved on to another plane. It’s much less a question of the Jansenist scruples that used to trouble me in describing the passions than a kind of disenchantment with everything to do with art in general, and with my own art in particular. A feeling that art is literally an idol, that it has its martyrs and its prophets, and that for many people it is a substitute for God. And not art alone, but the word - the word that has not been made flesh. [. . . Having resumed work on a new novel, L’Agneau, he is determined not to put it aside] ‘until I have found the balance that I’m looking for, and the young saint, my hero, is burning at the heart of the furnace.’

Burning at the heart


Dang Thuy Tram,

‘The war is extremely cruel. This morning, they bring me a wounded soldier. A phosphorus bomb has burned his entire body. An hour after being hit, he is still burning, smoke rising from his body. This is Khanh, a twenty-year-old man, the son of a sister cadre in the hamlet where I’m staying. An unfortunate accident caused the bomb to explode and severely burned the man. Nobody recognizes him as the cheerful, handsome man he once was. Today his smiling, joyful black eyes have been reduced to two little holes - the yellowish eyelids are cooked. The reeking burn of phosphorus smoke still rises from his body. He looks as if he has been roasted in an oven.’

I stand frozen before this heartbreaking tableau.

His mother weeps. Her trembling hands touch her son’s body; pieces of his skin fall off, curled up like crumbling sheets of rice cracker. His younger and older sisters are attending him, their eyes full of tears.

A girl sits by his side, her gentle eyes glassy with worry. Clumps of hair wet with sweat cling to her cheeks, reddened by exhaustion and sorrow. Tu (that’s her name) is Khanh’s lover. She carried Khanh here. Hearing that he needed serum for a transfusion, Tu crossed the river to buy it. The river was rising, and Tu didn’t know how to swim, but she braved the crossing. Love gave her strength.

The pain is imprinted on the innocent forehead of that beautiful girl. Looking at her, I want to write a poem about the crimes of war, the crimes that have strangled to death millions of pure and bright loves, strangled to death the happiness of millions of people, but I cannot write it. My pen cannot describe it all, even though this is one case I feel with all my senses and emotions.’

The crimes of war


Roland Barthes,
philosopher and literary critic

‘(Saw the Hitchcock film Under Capricorn) Ingrid Bergman (it was made around 1946). I don’t know why, and don’t know how to express it, but this actress, the body of this actress, moved me, has just touched something in me which reminds me of Mam. Her carnation, her lovely, utterly natural hands, an impression of freshness, a non-Narcissistic femininity.’

Barthes and his mother


Pikle - The Diary Review - The Diary Junction - Contact

And so made significant . . .
and its companion websites -
The Diary Review
and The Diary Junction - are maintained privately without any funding or advertising. Please consider supporting their author/editor by purchasing one or more of his books: the memoir, Why Ever Did I Want to Write, and the Not a Brave New World trilogy.
Thank you.

Why Ever Did I Want to Write is a patchwork of themed stories about one man’s early life, embracing highs and lows but driven by a desire to make the most of being alive, to experience, to feel, and above all to understand. Reminiscent of Karl Knausgaard’s A Death in the Family and Theodore Zeldin’s An Intimate History of Humanity, this memoir, often based on diaries, sees Lyons reflecting on a repressed childhood, exploring the world through years of travelling, and searching for meaning and excitement in the arts and love affairs – an archetype of the counterculture in the 1970s and 1980s.

Not a Brave New World is an extraordinary fictional memoir, a trilogy in three wives, spanning the whole of the 21st century: one man’s - Kip Fenn’s - frank account, sometimes acutely painful and sometimes surprisingly joyful, of his three partners, and his career in international diplomacy working to tackle the rich-poor divide.

GILLIAN - Book 1 - Amazon (US/UK)
Kip Fenn’s first love is in a coma. His father suddenly isn’t his father. After formative trips to Brussels and Brazil, Kip wins a civil service job. Unfortunately, a media baron discovers his sexual weakness and is blackmailing him for government secrets. If only Kip could find solace in his wife’s arms or joy in his children.

DIANA - Book 2 - Amazon (US/UK)
Kip Fenn is a success: his career has taken off within a major UN agency trying to spread wealth from the rich to the poor. But all is not well with the world - the golden age of oil and chips is now over, and unsustainable development is leading to social turmoil, and to world war. Kip has found love and a new family, but he can find no way to stop his older children self-destruct; nor does he realise his partner’s deceit.

LIZETTE - Book 3 - Amazon (US/UK)
Third time lucky - Kip Fenn finds true love. His UN career though is ending with a whimper. Another terrible war is cut short by the devastating Grey Years, and while nations rebuild many individuals turn Notek. In restless retirement, Kip’s lifelong passion for vintage photos sees him launching a new arts institution. But who is the mysterious visitor by his bedside, and how will she affect his planned deathday?


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.

in diary days



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.

SITE DEVISED by Paul K Lyons

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.