And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

22 March

955
Ki no Tsurayuki,
writer

‘This day the carriage arrived. Owing to the dirt on board he removed from the boat to the house of a friend.’

The earliest literary diary

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1736
Charles Wesley,
priest and evangelist

‘While I was persuading Mr Welch not to concern himself in this disturbance, I heard Mrs Hawkins cry out: ‘Murder!’ and walked away. Returning out of the woods, I was informed by Mr Welch that poor blockhead Mrs Welch had joined with Mrs Hawkins and the Devil in their slanders of me. I would not believe it till half the town told me the same, and exclaimed against her ingratitude.’

Hymn writer in sex scandal

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1840
Barclay Fox,
businessman

‘Had the long anticipated pleasure of meeting John Mill, the exquisite writer in the London & Westminster. His voice, face & manner betoken delicacy of feeling, mildness, clearness and correctness of view, with that entire absence of assumption & affectation which distinguishes the really great from the really little.’

The day came at last

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1847
George B McClellan,
soldier and engineer

‘The command ‘Fire!’ had scarcely been given when a perfect storm of iron burst upon us every gun and mortar in Vera Cruz and San Juan, that could be brought to bear, hurled its contents around us the air swarmed with them and it seemed a miracle that not one of the hundreds they fired fell into the crowded mass that filled the trenches. The recruits looked rather blue in the gills when the splinters of shells fell around them, but the veterans cracked their jokes and talked about Palo Alto and Monterey. When it was nearly dark I went to the left with Mason and passed on toward the town where we could observe our shells the effect was superb. The enemy’s fire began to slacken toward night, until at last it ceased altogether ours, though, kept steadily on, never ceasing never tiring.’

Musket fire in Vera Cruz

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1887
Robert Earl Henri,
artist

‘I don’t like perspective. I hate it. I understand it but can’t take interest. It’s like chopping wood.’

Make the draperies move

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1908
William Booth,
priest and evangelist

‘The theatre again in the morning at ten. An excellent plan. Oh, that it could be adopted the world over! The senseless system of beginning at eleven makes you feel it is time to close almost before you have had time to get well started. We were crowded, large numbers outside clamouring for admission, so much so that the police called out their reserves, and fifty men guarded the entrance. We had an excellent service inside, and forty at the Mercy-Seat. It was a beautiful Meeting, and made a mark for ever on my heart, and on the hearts of many more.

Afternoon. The large Hall of the People’s Palace had been arranged for this as well as the Night Meeting. We were full, and many were turned away. I lectured on ‘The Duty of the Community.’ Great satisfaction among my own people, and a good impression made upon the minds of a good many of the leading people of the city.

Night, 7.30. Again full. It is a building erected for an Exhibition, and made suitable for a Meeting only by putting up a great screen across the centre. I suppose we could have filled the entire space; but whether my interpreter could then have been heard, I am not sure. I preached with point and power - more breathless attention I never had in my life. I reckoned on an easy conquest, but we had one of the hardest fights I ever remember before we got a soul out. I left at 10.30, completely played out. A wall of policemen on either side kept the people back while I got into the carriage, the crowd having waited a long time to catch a glimpse of me. Had long, restless, and sleepless spells during the night; but still I have not done amiss on the whole. I must now prepare myself for the coming Berlin Staff Congress.’

I got the truth out

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1928
Ira Gershwin,
writer

‘Up at 12. To the Embassy Club with Lee to meet Guy Bolton for lunch. My lunch very nice, too - smoked salmon (everybody eats smoked salmon here), filet of sole marguery, curried veal with chutney, coffee, wine, cake (cocktail & beer). The club was crowded with a lot of important looking men, mostly over 40 and a lot of young women. At the next table to us sat Arnold Bennett, Frederick Lonsdale & 3 other men. After lunch walked Guy down Piccadilly to the theatre where his “Blue Eyes” is rehearsing. Dropped in for a minute, saw John Harwood. Then to Anderson & Sheppard for fittings. Visited some other shops. Evening we were too tired to go to the Kit-Cat Club where a “George Gershwin Night” was on, so stayed in hotel & played 21 with Phil [Berman] & Leo [Robin], losing about £4. Frankie came in about 3 & told us both “This Year of Grace,” the Noël Coward revue opening to-night, & the Kit-Cat affair were great successes. The weather was lovely again to-day & it’s too bad we don’t get up earlier in the morning to do some sight-seeing. Changed $200 worth more of American Express checks to-day making 5 in all.’

Of Thee I Sing

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1938
Sigmund Freud,
doctor

‘Anna with Gestapo’

Anna with Gestapo

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1975
Mochtar Lubis,
journalist

[Of the pride in his wife for staying calm.] ‘I want you to be like that always. Do not worry about me. If you are strong, I will be strong too. I get my strength from you, and hope you will get strength from me. . . Thank you for your flowers. Each time I look at them I see your love in them.’

Mochtar Lubis in prison

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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.