And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

3 July

1679
John Evelyn,
writer

‘Sending a piece of venison to Mr Pepys, still a prisoner, I went and dined with him.’

A most excellent person

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1787
Thomas Clarkson,
anti-slavery campaigner

‘In crossing the ferry from Mr Feast’s Yard, I saw a Boat painted Africa on her Stern coming to the same Landing Place. On inquiring of the Crew Whether they belonged to the Africa, a Vessel in the Slave Trade, they answered, yes - I told one of them that I wondered how any seamen would go to Africa, and if he was not afraid - To this he answered in the following Words - If it is my Lot to die in Africa, why I must, and if it is not, why then I shall not die though I go there. And if it is my Lot to live, why I may as well live there as anywhere else. The Same Person told me that the Brothers, Capt. Howlett, then lying in King Road?, could not get Men - that he was cruel Rascal - that a Party of Men had shipped themselves on board him, but that they had all left him on Sunday Morning - I cannot describe my feeling in seeing these poor Fellows belonging to the Africa. They were seven in Number - all of them young, about 22 or 23, and very robust - They were all Seamen; and I think the finest Fellows I ever beheld - I am sure no one can describe my feelings when I considered that some of these were devoted, and whatever might be their spirits now, would never see their native Home more. I considered also, how much the Glory of the British Flag was diminished by the Destruction of such noble fellows, who appeared so strong, robust, & hardy, and at the same Time so spirited as to enable us to bid Defiance to the marine of our Enemies the French’

Campaigning against slavery

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1902
Victor Trump,
sportsman

‘Match started. Made 1. Our chaps made 190 odd. Abel and Archie batted well.’

Ran about all day

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1913
Franz Kafka,
writer

‘The broadening and heightening of existence through marriage. Sermon text. But I almost sense it.

When I say something it immediately and finally loses its importance, when I write it down it loses it too, but sometimes gains a new one.

A band of little golden beads around a tanned throat.’

I am entirely alone

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1942
Etty Hillesum,
young woman

‘Yes, I am still at the same desk, but it seems to me that I am going to have to draw a line under everything and continue in a different tone. I must admit a new insight into my life and find a place for it: what is at stake is our impending destruction and annihilation, we can have no more illusions about that. They are out to destroy us completely, we must accept that and go on from there. Today I was filled with terrible despair, and I shall have to come to terms with that as well. [. . .] Even if we are consigned to hell, let us go there as gracefully as we can. I did not really want to put it so blandly.’

Let us go gracefully

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1945
John F. Kennedy,
politician

‘I attended a political rally this evening at which Professor Harold Laski, Chairman of the Executive Council of the Labor Party and erstwhile Professor at the London School of Economics, spoke ... Odd this strain that runs through these radicals of the Left. It is that spirit which builds dictatorships as has been shown in Russia. I wonder whether dictatorship of the Left could ever get control in England, a country with such great democratic tradition.

These Leftists are filled with bitterness, and I am not sure how deeply the tradition of tolerance in England is ingrained in these bitter and discontented spirits. I think that unquestionably, from my talk with Laski, that he and others like him smart not so much from the economic inequality’ but from the social.’

JFK‘s diary strikes gold

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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.