And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

26 May

1550
King Edward VI

‘The embassadours saw the baiting of the bearis and bullis.’

Edward VI, the Boy King

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1703
John Evelyn,
writer

‘This day died Mr Samuel Pepys, a very worthy, industrious and curious person, none in England exceeding him in knowledge of the navy, in which he had passed through all the most considerable offices. Clerk of the Acts and Secretary of the Admiralty, all which he performed with great integrity. When King James II went out of England, he laid down his office, and would serve no more; but withdrawing himself from all public affairs, he lived at Clapham with his partner, Mr Hewer, formerly his clerk, in a very noble house and sweet place, where he enjoyed the fruit of his labors in great prosperity. He was universally beloved, hospitable, generous, learned in many things, skilled in music, a very great cherisher of learned men of whom he had the conversation. His library and collection of other curiosities were of the most considerable, the models of ships especially.’

A most excellent person

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1751
David Garrick,
actor and producer

‘I waited upon Lady Sandwich, was very politely receiv’d by her Lady; she is a woman of great vivacity (tho very old) & of great parts; & tho much us’d to ye french and their customs, know all their foibles, & retains ye sentiments of an English woman . . . We went this Evening to ye Opera; a very raw Entertainment to me; ye scenes were well conducted & had a good Effect ye habits seemingly rich, the singers and dancer very numerous; but yet singing abominable to me, & the dancing very indifferent.’

Hiss’d off ye English Stage

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1853
Peter Hawker,
soldier and hunter

‘I sailed to Yarmouth, and got Butler’s excellent phaeton to the high lighthouse, and returned by Groves’s Hotel; but was so weak I could not enjoy my old paradise, Alum Bay, as before. The lighthouse is now kept by a Mr. Henderson, vice Coleraine, and the dangerous occupation of taking the eggs of rock birds is performed by a man named Lane, of the village below, called Weston, whose brother was lately killed in this awful pursuit.’

A life spent hunting

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1865
Lewis Carroll,
writer

‘Received from Macmillan a copy (blank all but the first sheet) of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, bound in red cloth as specimen.’

Dodgson in wonderland

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1902
Victor Trump,
sportsman

‘Played MCC [Marylebone Cricket Club, based at Lords]. . . ran about all day. Hard ground . . . 41 not out. MCC dinner at night.’

Ran about all day

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1920
Aleister Crowley,
writer and priest

‘3.40 a.m. It has been a trying night. I wrote two poems. Leah screamed terribly for over an hour until, twenty minutes ago, I felt it inhuman not to stop it, and so, in the impossibility of getting the doctor’s permission, I gave her about ⅛ grain of heroin under the tongue. She is now calm. I thought heroin better than my only alternative, ether, as he has been giving her laudanum, and ether is irritating to the system, and so contra-indicated in anything like enteritis (P.S. It acted splendidly, with no bad reaction.)

3.45 a.m. I notice that Language itself testifies to the soundness of my ontological theories; for the adjective of Naught is Naughty! Wrote two more poems.

11.00 p.m. Leah is still very ill; and this doctor rather trimmer. I think, without much confidence in himself. A tiring day, though I slept off some arrears.’

18 June 1920 [a few sentences from a much longer entry]

‘10:30 p.m. I accuse myself of not keeping my Diary properly. There ought to be a discoverable relation between my health, my worldly affairs, and the tone of my thoughts. For even Absolute Ego in eruption makes the relation between its modes of illusion a ‘true’, or harmonious one; for all moods are alike to It, despair a theme of pastime equally with exaltation. [. . .]

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law

10:36 p.m. I beginning a new MS book. My Magical Diary has been very voluminous in these last weeks; I seem to find that it is the sole mode of my initiated expression. I don’t write regular essays on a definite subject, or issue regularly planned instructions. This is presumably normal to my tense and exalted state, to the violent Motion proper to the resolution of all symbols. [. . .]

I am drunk with the pride-absinthe that I am great, the greatest man of my century, its best poet, its mightiest mage, its subtlest philosopher, nor any the less for that classed among the very few well eminent mountain-climbing, in chess-play, and in love.

I am aflame with the brandy of the thought that I am the sublimest Mystic in all history, that I am the Word of an Aeon, that I am the Beast, the Man, Six Hundred Sixty and Six, the self-crowned God whom men shall worship and blaspheme for centuries that are yet wound on Time’s spool, yea, I am insane as if with hashish in my Egomania and Folly of Greatness, that is yet Fact steel-hard, gold-glittering, silver-pure; I want to be yet more than this. [. . .]’

Do what thou wilt

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1942
Hermione Llewellyn,
noblewoman

‘Jerusalem: We had an official dinner for HRH Duke of Gloucester who is staying with us. He is visiting troops all over the Middle East and next month he is going to India. His itinerary is enough to give anyone a stroke. At dinner there was a discussion about the rubber shortage and, stupidly, I chipped in and said I thought this news was worse for the women than for men. HRH fixed me with an amused look and demanded that I explain exactly what I meant. I said it may become difficult to obtain elastic girdles and that bras are very dependent on elastic, but I dodged mentioning needs further south.’

Reinforcements received

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And so made significant . . .
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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.

SITE DEVISED by Paul K Lyons

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.