And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

26 June

1784
Benjamin Franklin,
politician

‘Mr. Waltersdorff called on me, and acquainted me with a duel that had been fought yesterday morning, between a French officer, and a Swedish gentleman of that king’s suite, in which the latter was killed on the spot, and the other dangerously wounded: that the king does not resent it, as he thinks his subject was in the wrong.

He asked me if I had seen the king of Sweden? I had not yet had that honor. He said his behavior here was not liked: that he took little notice of his own ambassador, who, being acquainted with the usages of this court, was capable of advising him, but was not consulted. That he was always talking of himself, and vainly boasting of his revolution, though it was known to have been the work of M. de Vergennies. That they began to be tired of him here, and wished him gone; but he proposed staying till the 12th July. That he had now laid aside his project of invading Norway, as he found Denmark had made preparations to receive him. That he pretended the Danes had designed to invade Sweden, though it was a known fact that the Danes had made no military preparations, even for deface, till six months after his began. I asked if it was clear that he had had an intention to invade Norway? He said that the marching and disposition of his troops, and the fortifications he had erected, indicated it very plainly. He added, that Sweden was at present greatly distressed for provisions; that many people had actually died of hunger! That it was reported the king came here to borrow money, and to offer to sell Gottenburg to France; a thing not very probable.’

Founding Father Franklin

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1869
William Henry Jackson,
photographer

‘Morning opened bright. Got things out at once to make negatives. Set the box up in the yard & made a few up town of Rollins House, Ford House &c., &c & them went down to the depot securing half a dozen different views. After dinner went over to Madame Cleveland’s to make the group of the girls with the house. Weather was just hazy enough to soften the light down for an out-door group. Made three exposures - first two not good but the last very good. Occupied the rest of the afternoon varnishing and retouching the negatives made.’

Set up the box

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1914
Robert Laird Borden,
politician

‘Further confce with White as to Canadian Northern and GTP mortgages. Discussed with Ackland the situation respecting GTP machinists and sent strong telegram to Chamberlain. Answered many telegrams of congratulations as to my birthday. Wrote to Farquar as to departure of Duke and arrival of new GG. In afternoon laid cornerstone of Perley Home for Incurables.’

Russian cavalry and jams

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1942
Hermione Llewellyn,
secretary and noblewoman

‘Wounded are pouring into Palestine because the hospitals in Egypt are overflowing. Each day between one and five I go down to a hospital in Jerusalem to help in the wards. I have no training so I do all the odd jobs such as washing soldiers, making beds and emptying things. Today I washed four heads which were full of sand. I am learning a lot about pain and courage and getting used to smells and sights. The soldiers make fun of everything and, even in the long ward where the serious cases are, no one ever grumbles. I cannot describe the courage of these men. Only when they ask me to help them to write home do I glimpse their real misery: some of them are so afraid their families will not want them back now they are changed. They call me ‘Sugar’.’

Reinforcements received

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

2001
Harold Frederick Shipman,
doctor

‘. . . As near suicide as can be, know how and when, just not yet.’

I’m looking at dying

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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.