And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

30 March

Henry Newcome,

‘I rose after 8. Was basely imposed upon by Sathan I beleive in some suggestions to mee in my sleepe ye last night. After secret dutys wee went wth ye children to Nicholas Leigh in Salford. Wn wee returned wee went to dutys and after to ye library I went & read a little about lots. Mr Illingw: was wth mee a little before dinner. After I looked up papers in ye cockloft. My Cozen Davenport & his wife &c were here most of the afternoone. Wee should have met at bowles at 4 but it misst. I dispatched after am: my papers. My wive’s distemper & cozen’s toothach might awaken mee to some seriousnes ye night.’

The nonconformist Newcome


John Evelyn,

‘Easter day. The Bishop of Rochester preached before the King; [. . .] I had received the sacrament at Whitehall early with the Lords and Household, the Bishop of London officiating. Then went to St. Martin’s, where Dr. Tenison preached (recovered from the small-pox); then went again to Whitehall as above. In the afternoon, went to St. Martin’s again.’

Modesty, prudence, piety


John Adams,

‘Presented Mr. Hamilton to the Queen at the Drawing Room. Dined at Mr. Paradices. Count Warranzow [Woronzow] and his Gentleman and Chaplain, M. Sodorini the Venetian Minister, Mr. Jefferson, Dr. Bancroft, Coll. Smith [William Stephens Smith] and my Family. Went at Nine O Clock to the French Ambassadors Ball, where were two or three hundred People, chiefly Ladies. Here I met the Marquis of Landsdown and the Earl of Harcourt. These two Noblemen ventured to enter into Conversation with me. So did Sir George Young [Yonge]. But there is an Aukward Timidity, in General. This People cannot look me in the Face: there is conscious Guilt and Shame in their Countenances, when they look at me. They feel that they have behaved ill, and that I am sensible of it.’

A spirit to our honour


Edward Pease,

‘A day of great bustle and unsettlement from the opening of the Great North of England Railway. Twenty years ago these projects, or rather that from this coal district, was of much interest to my mind and its completion in 1825 may be said to have given birth to all others in this world. For the cause of humanity, at least, I believe them to be useful and being in the permission of infinite Wisdom hope they may not be wrong, but I desire to acknowledge with thankfulness that my mind is broken off or weaned from all new schemes.’

Father of the Railways


George Sand,

‘On the fourth floor, No. 2, Rue Racine. [. . .] We could see a grey shadow against the pale light. It was a woman, who did not attempt to rise, but who remained impassive to our bow and our words. This seated shadow, looking so drowsy, was Madame Sand, and the man who opened the door was the engraver Manceau. Madame Sand is like an automatic machine. She talks in a monotonous, mechanical voice which she neither raises nor lowers, and which is never animated. In her whole attitude there is a sort of gravity and placidness, something of the half-asleep air of a person ruminating. She has very slow gestures, the gestures of a somnambulist. With a mechanical movement she strikes a wax match, which gives a flicker, and lights the cigar she is holding between her lips.

Madame Sand was extremely pleasant; she praised us a great deal, but with a childishness of ideas, a platitude of expression and a mournful good-naturedness that was as chilling as the bare wall of a room. Manceau endeavoured to enliven the dialogue. We talked of her theatre at Nohant, where they act for her and for her maid until four in the morning. . . . We then talked of her prodigious faculty for work. She told us that there was nothing meritorious in that, as she had always worked so easily. She writes every night from one o’clock until four in the morning, and she writes again for about two hours during the day. Manceau explains everything, rather like an exhibitor of phenomena. “It is all the same to her,” he told us, “if she is disturbed. Suppose you turn on a tap at your house, and some one comes in the room. You simply turn the tap off. It is like that with Madame Sand.” ’

Sand’s Journal Intime


Alfred Domett,

‘[Alf - Domett’s son] and I going to R Curling’s house to dinner in Princess square, as we were crossing Hereford St, heard someone calling loudy ‘Domett!’ Turned, and Browning came rushing up. Alf’s being a Royal Academy student, made us ask how ‘Pen’ [Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barret Browning only child] was getting on.

‘He has had a wonderful success!’ said Browning. He brought over with him at Xmas a ‘study’ of a priest reading a book. Millais had seen the picture and pronounced ‘the drawing perfect.’

Lehmann [Frederick Lehmann, a wealthy industrialist] expressed a desire to purchase it and offered Pen 150 guineas for it. Pen said ‘It was absurd - it could not be worth so much!’ that he did not wish to sell it, knowing its defects. The other persisted in his offer. ‘Let me wait another year and then I will paint you a picture if you like and if I can,’ said Pen. ‘Then your price will probably be beyond me’ replied Lehmann, ‘I must have this one.’ Browning said Pen was ‘quite wise’ about it and still declined to take so much money, until at last he (Browning) said ‘Pen, don't be a fool - take it as it is offered.’ Then he consented but stipulated that it should not be exhibited - not on account of misgivings as to its merit, whatever he may have entertained, but because the book the priest was represented as reading was a very uncanonical one indeed - certain notorious memoirs of a French Madame - and Pen did not wish to give offence to the many who ‘reverenced priests.’

Browning’s friend Domett


Aaron Copland,

‘Rehearsal in the morning. Presented discs to the radio station, scores to a choral conductor, clar[inet] concerto to a clarinetist, etc. ’Tis thus we propagandize. Meeting at 5 with Composers’ Union of Latvia. Very well organized presentation of their music on tape with short fragments of works by younger men, Edmund Goldstein (1927) and [Romuald Grinblat] (1930) and older men Jacov Medina (18[90]) and Adolf [Skulte] (1909) teacher of most of the young composers. Top man seems to be Janis Ivanovs, composer of many works, including 9 symphonies. Saw little merit in his stuff, myself. They seemed genuinely interested in hearing some of our stuff. I gave them a taste of App[alachian] Spring and Lukas his Symphony of Chorales (2 mvts.) and Song of Songs (someone mentioned Hindemith, and unearthed his [Lukas’s] Berlin birth, with the usual innuendoes). Dashed off to hear two acts of Prokofieff’s The Duenna at the Riga Opera. One of his least inspired pieces in a creditable production.’

Copland watches Shostie


John Reith,
businessman and politician

‘I feel immensely sad (and more than that) at the eclipse, or rather complete overthrow and destruction, of all my work in the BBC. It was my being prepared to lead, and to withstand modern laxities and vulgarities and immorality and irreligion and all. No-one was ever in such a position as I; I did what my father and mother would have wished - to universal amazement. All gone. Feeling most melancholy.’

Reith on Hitler, Churchill


Ronald Reagan,

‘The weather was in & out but I managed to ride every day although one day was in fog, one in light rain & one in a strong wind but with sunshine. All in all it was a good trip and Barney, Dennis & I got in some trail clearing etc.

During our stay got a night time call re the bombing of the Disco in W. Berlin where 50 or so of our servicemen were wounded & killed. Evidence is adding up that the villain was Kadaffy although that hypocrite went on T.V. to say “it was a terrorist act against innocent civilians & he wouldn’t do such things.”

Roy Miller came up one day with our income tax forms. We really need tax reform!! Final day, Ron & Doria came up - that was our rainy day ride.

Sun was coming out today - Sunday of course because we had to leave. Ride home uneventful & here we are in the W.H.’

A burst of gun fire


Derek Jarman,
director and artist

‘March 30 is my parent’s wedding anniversary, neither of whom were particularly interested in gardening. Though in our family film it might seem otherwise: my mother picking the roses, and dad pushing a large wheelbarrow jauntily along blooming herbaceous borders.

On this day nearly 50 years ago my parents posed for their wedding photo under a daffodil bell hanging in the lych gate of Holy Trinity, Northwood. The photo, with my father in his RAF uniform and my mother holding a bouquet of carnations, her veil caught in the March breeze - captured the imagination of the press. It appeared in national papers - hope at a time of encroaching darkness.

Dungeness has luminous skies: its moods can change like quicksilver. A small cloud here has the effect of a thunderstorm in the city; the days have a drama I could never conjure up on an opera stage.’

Tired of the cinema


Sasha Swire,

‘David meets the Queen today, to mark the formal start of the general election campaign. It will be based on the usual fear tactics: families facing a £3000 tax bombshell if Ed Miliband gets into office, blah, blah, blah. Meanwhile, Miliband is pushing the message that the biggest threat to British business is the prospect of exit from the EU. Blah! Blah! Blah!’

Blah, blah, blah . . .


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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.