And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

14 March

1802
Dorothy Wordsworth,
writer

‘William had slept badly - he got up at nine o’clock, but before he rose he had finished The Beggar Boys, and while we were at breakfast that is (for I had breakfasted) he, with his basin of broth before him untouched, and a little plate of bread and butter he wrote the Poem to a Butterfly! He ate not a morsel, nor put on his stockings, but sate with his shirt neck unbuttoned, and his waistcoat open while he did it. The thought first came upon him as we were talking about the pleasure we both always feel at the sight of a butterfly. I told him that I used to chase them a little, but that I was afraid of brushing the dust off their wings, and did not catch them. He told me how they used to kill all the white ones when he went to school because they were Frenchmen. Mr Simpson came in just as he was finishing the Poem. After he was gone I wrote it down and the other poems, and I read them all over to him. We then called at Mr Oliff’s - Mr O walked with us to within sight of Rydale - the sun shone very pleasantly, yet it was extremely cold. We dined and then Wm went to bed. I lay upon the fur gown before the fire, but I could not sleep - I lay there a long time. It is now halfpast 5 - I am going to write letters - I began to write to Mrs Rawson. William rose without having slept - we sate comfortably by the fire till he began to try to alter The Butterfly, and tired himself - he went to bed tired.’

Daffodils so beautiful

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1877
Rutherford B Hayes,
president

‘We left Columbus soon afternoon, Thursday, March 1, for Washington on a special car; having, in fact, two cars of Colonel Tom Scott, attached to the regular passenger train. In our party were William Henry Smith, ex-Governor Noyes, General Young, General Grosvenor, [and] Colonel H. C. Corbin.

The evening before, we had a reception at the State House given by the people of Columbus. A large crowd followed us to the depot. We were escorted by the college cadets. I made a short speech which was well received. Crowds met us at Newark, Dennison, Steubenville, and other points. The enthusiasm was greater than I have seen in Ohio before. At Marysville(?), near Harrisburg, we were wakened to hear the news that the two houses had counted the last State and that I was declared elected!

We reached Washington about 9:30 A. M. General and Senator Sherman met us at the depot, and we were driven directly to Senator Sherman’s house. After breakfast I called with Senator Sherman on President Grant.

It was arranged that I should in the evening, before the state dinner at the White House, be sworn by the Chief Justice to prevent an interregnum between Sunday noon (the 4th) and the inauguration, Monday. This was the advice of Secretary Fish and the President. I did not altogether approve but acquiesced.

I then drove with Senator Sherman to the Capitol. The colored hack-drivers and others cheered lustily. I went into the Vice-President’s room and many Senators and Representatives were introduced to me. Several Northern men, S. S. Cox and other Democrats, and still more Southern men.

They cheered lustily

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1908
William Booth,
priest and evangelist

‘Soldiers’ and ex-Soldiers’ Meeting fine - three-fourths men. A great improvement on anything I have seen in the way of Soldiers’ Meetings in this place. I got the truth out, and thirty-seven of them fell at the Penitent-Form [the bench at which salvation seekers kneel] to seek power to walk in its light.’

I got the truth out

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1934
Aleksander Rodchenko,
artist

‘There’s a proposal to go to Kramatorka, to photograph the finished workshops of the factory and make ten albums for a report and for showing the government.

I’ve begun packing, I’m even taking the enlarger with me, and I decided to try to keep a diary of the trip. I’m leaving on March 17th. Tomorrow I go to the Trust to arrange the tickets. . . I don’t know what the weather will be like, recently it has been cold, snowing. I also have to fix the Leica tomorrow, to try out the film . . . I want to photograph not just the workshop and factory but make new photographs of everyday life and types, too. . .

I want to make photos such as I’ve never made before, ones that are life itself and the most genuine life, photos that are simple and complex at the same time, that will surprise and amaze . . .

Otherwise there’s nothing to do in photography, then it’s worth working and fighting for photography as art.’

Photos to surprise and amaze

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1943
Joseph Goebbels,
politician

‘S.S. Croup Leader Kaltenbrunncr sent me a general report on enemy sabotage activity during the year 1942. It appears that it was rather over-estimated. While it is true that a number of regrettable events occurred, they did not affect the situation seriously. We can be quite satisfied with developments thus far, considering, after all, that we are now in the fourth year of war.’

The Nuremberg ten

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1949
Joe Randolph Ackerley,
writer

‘Graylingwell again yesterday. And I was astounded by the improvement which Nancy showed since I last saw her. She walked in, not altogether steadily, but by herself and sat with me, and conversed in a comparatively sensible way. Though still vague in many respects, she was now in possession of much of her mind. She asked for some money, complained about the food, and seemed to expect to be able to come and join me quite soon. Some of her luggage, she said, was missing, and she was concerned about that. She asked after my health, and seemed to take an interest in my replies. Her head was still too heavy for her neck and hung forward rather, but she was altogether, excepting for a cold, a well woman compared with what she had been before. She had even written me a letter, which I had not then got, but have since received - uncertain in writing, and rather rambling in thought, but wonderfully encouraging. She said she was having insulin now every day except weekends. I asked her if she had had electrical treatment too; she said no, not to her knowledge.

Oh dear. What was it that sent her down and out at the Acre? What thought, what anxiety, what revulsion - if any? And when her mind is able soon to embrace once more all the problems of her life, will she come up against that thought, that anxiety again, and fade out once more? At the moment there seems no reason why she should not be with me in a week or two - as Dr Brodie prophesied.’

Ackerley and his women

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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.

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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.