And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

6 July

Jeffrey Amherst,

‘I went over all the works, asked the Admiral for four 32-Pounders to joyn Br. Wolfe which he readily granted. I changed the Guards, took 600 Men and 3 Companies of Grenadiers to the Right and 300 Men to Green Hill. I put a Subaltern and 24 in each Redoute, the works on the Right were continued and perfected; cannonading continued all day. At night Br. Wolfes Battery forced the Frigate to retire. We lost some few men by the cannonading and some wounded. The Admiral sent me a letter taken out of a French mans Pocket who was found drowned. A Sloop sailed out of the Harbour with a flag of truce to Sir C. Hardy, to carry some things to their wounded officers and Prisoners.’

Canada for the British


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow,

‘Examination in Modem Languages. The Spanish classes did very well; the Italian not so well; the German best of all, as is usually the case. A warm, weary day, made more weary by a long Faculty-meeting in the evening. So ends the college year with me, and vacation begins. Dear vacation, when alone I feel that I am free! I have a longing for Berkshire or the sea-side. Both Nahant and Stockbridge beckon; and Niagara thunders its warning and invitation. And now let me see if I cannot bring my mind into more poetic mood by the sweet influences of sun and air and open fields.’

Gabrielle, Celestine or Evangeline?


John L. Ransom,

‘Boiling hot, camp reeking with filth, and no sanitary privileges; men dying off over a hundred and forty per day. Stockade enlarged, taking in eight or ten more acres, giving us more room and stumps to dig up for wood to cook with. Mike Hoare is in good health; not so Jimmy Devers. Jimmy has now been a prisoner over a year, and poor boy, will probably die soon. Have more mementoes than I can carry, from those who have died, to be given to their friends at home. At least a dozen have given me letters, pictures &c., to take North. Hope I shan’t have to turn them over to some one else.’

See maggots squirming


Tappan Adney,
journalist and photographer

‘Mr. Chamberlain was to give a lecture before the Society and wanted some fresh birds, so I went out back of the city and found myself in wild woods. I poked about in a dense cedar swamp. The usual fog came in. I lost my bearings and walked in a circle until I remembered that the wind was probably constant. Then I took a course by the wind and got out. Thankfully, I got a crow for the lecture.’

Goose Lane Editions


Raymond Priestley,
teacher and explorer

‘The worst of our day as messman is the infernal crick we get in our backs from never being able to stand upright. Mine is at present aching terribly, but the pain soon passes off in our bags.

Levick is too broad for our inner door, and we have just spent an amusing five minutes watching his attempts to get through with a joint of meat in one hand and a cooker in the other. Luckily, as a rule we run to slimness, and no one else has much trouble.

The atmosphere is becoming tolerable again, but we have ruined the pure white of the roof and wall until a few more smitchless days enable pure crystals to form over the dirty ones.

Browning has slight indigestion and Dickason has complained of a bad stitch in his side, but otherwise we are in excellent health.

We are running out of penguins and of bones for the fire, and shall be short of sea ice in a day or two, so I hope for fine weather, for the penguins especially make all the difference between palatable and monotonous hoosh.’

Vice-chancellor Priestley


Bruce Lockhart,

‘Mirbach murdered today by two unknown people who came to the Embassy with false documents. Murder took place at three-thirty. . . We have been moved to a box on the third floor with the Germans opposite. . . Later the theatre was surrounded by troops and no one was allowed to go out. In night and during afternoon rising by Left Social-Revolutionaries. This speedily squashed. Left Social-Revolutionaries fled.’

Secret agent in Moscow


Basil Wolverton,

‘Great lapse of time. Pardon me for leaving out so much of my diary but I have forgotten and neglected to write it. Well, it is summer and school has just been out for a month. Therefore only two months left. I went to Sunday School and Church today. I have been working in the cannery. I have earned sixteen dollars in seven days. I guess all the work is over now. I went to the show yesterday that is the second show in 1924.’

He distorted body parts


Charles Graves,

‘The moon was almost full, London looked lovely, and a distant barrage balloon was silhouetted against the moon like Hitler’s moustache.’

A hell of a night


Hugh Dalton,

‘Return by way of Chingford, where I speak in P.M.’s constituency. I make a good speech and get off most successfully with the lady Mayor of Chingford and, even more important, Sir James Hawkey, Chairman of the P.M.’s constituency organisation, who hated Neville Chamberlain and the old Tory machine and with whom I exchange various political reminiscences, designed to bring out the undoubted fact that it was the Labour Party which determined the change of Government leading to Churchill becoming P.M., and also that I played some personal role in this.’

Uproar in Parliament


James Chuder Ede,

‘I heard the P.M.’s statement on the flying bombs. He had to wait to make it until a lot of questions on business about the Town & Country Planning Bill had been answered. The P.M. did not underrate the menace of the bomb. 2754 had been launched; these had caused 2752 casualties. He told of the months of heavy bombing which had delayed the use of this weapon by the enemy. He said June had been a very bad month from our point of view. The overcast skies had prevented us from using our great air supremacy over the Normandy battlefield and had prevented us from photographing & bombing the sites from which the flying bombs were launched. I was sitting below the Bar and there was some cynical amusement when the P.M. announced that Duncan Sandys, who is his son-in-law, was Chairman of the Committee in charge of offensive operations. The P.M. said the Chiefs of Staff suggested this arrangement. He announced that evacuation was taking place. No compulsion would be used. He could give no promise as to the length of the attack or its possible increase in strength. He paid a tribute to the work H. Morrison had done and wound up by saying this attack would not deflect our strength & determination from the Normandy battlefield . . .’

The Chuder Ede diaries


Jim Elliot,

‘Spent the evening with Dave Cooper who described the Quichua uplands as the neediest, roughest place in Ecuador. He has worked with Tidmarsh on the Shandia station, is burdened for the yet unreached Ecuadorians, Aucas, Cofanes, Sionas. Gave us sketch map of the area describing need.’

Massacre in Ecuador


Bill Haley,

‘Today is my birthday and it’s the first one I ever spent on a train. Arrived Chicago at 1pm. Had a three-hour layover then caught the 4pm train for home. Should be there at 6.35 tomorrow morning. Happy birthday Bill. What a life.’

The rock and roll life


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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.

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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, several times a week. Now over ten years old, The Diary Review is the secondary source for the extracts in this online anthology.