And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

2 November

Luca Landucci,

‘The following accident occurred at the Ponte Rubiconte: They were rebuilding the wall between the Porticciuola and the bridge, and as there was plenty of water, about 12 braccia, the gravel and lime were brought by river in certain little boats. On these boats they had made a platform, and whilst some 25 men were carrying the gravel on to the little platform by the side of the wall, and were approaching it, the said boats filled with water, from the great weight, and drew down the platform and the men, so that three or four men were drowned. They afterwards used a large vessel with a platform. I saw some of the men drawn out of the water.’

Earthquakes in Florence


John Perceval,

‘Mr. Verelts brought me letters from Mr. Oglethorp to the Trustees, dated from Frederica 4 July and from Savannah 16 the same month. I also had a letter from Mr. Oglethorp dated from Frederica 5 July.

Mr. Verelts told me Mr. Ausperger speaks very advantageously of the colony, to which he intends to return after he has settled some affairs in Switzerland his native country. He said he eat some grapes at Savannah in July as fine as can be seen, which will make the best Vidonia wine. He brought over twelve pound of extraordinary good silk, and there had been more of it, but that a multitude of worms died by putting them into the place where our sick people were kept.’

The 1st Earl of Egmont


Joseph Farington
, artist

‘Sir Nathl. is said to posess £24,000 a year, but does not expend more than £5,000 a year. He lives very handsomely however, both in His House & equipage; Has a man Cook, & when He gives dinners they are sumptuous. He is extremely fond of a young girl, the daughter of His Butler, and just emerging from Childhood. She sits at His table while Her father waits at it . . . and is taken by them [Sir Nathaniel & Lady Holland] when they pay visits, which causes some difficulty in others to know how to receive her. He makes sketches & occasionally paints, but complained of His eyes when speaking to Owen. Though He is considered a singular man in His manner, He is on the whole very well liked by the neighbouring gentry.’

Farington on Dance


Thomas Creevey,
lawyer and politician

‘We were again at the Pavilion last night. . . The Regent sat in the Musick Room almost all the time between Viotti, the famous violin player, and Lady Jane Houston, and he went on for hours beating his thighs the proper time for the band, and singing out aloud, and looking about for accompaniment from Viotti and Lady Jane. It was curious sight to see a Regent thus employed, but he seemed in high good humour.’

Dining at the Pavilion


Mountstuart Elphinstone Grant Duff,

‘A singularly clear and beautiful moonlight night has been followed by a most perfect day. To-night we have the aurora borealis streaming from nearly every part of the sky up to the zenith.’

Good-natured books


Henry J. Heinz,

‘L. C. writes again today that he checked for $300 and will check for $500 tomorrow. This caused me to write and say, for God’s sake quit this promiscuous checking, it is killing me.’

Caught in the mustard mill


Henry J. Heinz,

‘Mr. J. Wilson of Chicago is in our city and spends all day until midnight with us. Had quite a confidential talk with him on our past trouble. After all of our conversation he even gave me a check to help me out of a tight place, which we mailed him one week later, which was today. He also changed our terms from cash to 30 days.’

Caught in the mustard mill


Bronisław Malinowski,

‘Got up with a bad headache. Lay in euthanasian concentration on the ship. Loss of subjectivism and deprivation of the will (blood flowing away from the brain?), living only by the five senses and the body (through impressions) causes direct merging with surroundings. Had the feeling that the rattling of the ship’s engine was myself; felt the motions of the ship as my own - it was I who was bumping against the waves and cutting through them. Was not seasick. Landed feeling broken; did not lie down at once; had breakfast and looked through the newspapers with illustrations about the war. Looked for something about Poland - there was nothing. Very tired. Right after dinner, went to bed. Slept from 2 to 5. I did not feel too well afterward. I sat by the sea - no fit of dejection. The Stas problem torments me. In fact his conduct toward me was impossible. There was nothing wrong about what I said in Lodge’s presence; he was wrong to correct me. His complaints are unjustified, and the way he expresses himself precludes any possibility of reconciliation. Finis amicitiae. Zakopane without Stas! Nietzsche breaking with Wagner. I respect his art and admire his intelligence and worship his individuality, but I cannot stand his character.’

Dreaming of New Guinea


Josephus Daniels,
politician and businessman

‘Sperry said he and another man had a plan by which ships in convoy could communicate with other ships without danger of detection, very important now that wireless cannot be used by our ships going into danger zone and therefore can have no communication at night. This discovery would be of highest value –

Alfred Lucking same about Eidsel Ford, who had applied for exemption which had been denied by local board. I saw Baker who said it showed he passed on on its merits by this board organized for that purpose. Mr. Ford says he is greatly needed to carry on big work of factory.

Cabinet- WW criticism is that this is rich man’s war, & it was reported that sons of rich men were being given places in W[ashington] & others away from firing line and this ought to be prevented. Mostly in new organizations[.] Lane said he thought this mistake & that rich men’s sons were going quicker than others. Cannot be too careful said W.W.

Asked Baker to commandeer guns & hundred million rounds of ammunition belonging to Scandanavian country & then send to Italy. He said he could belonging to Scandanavian country & then send to Italy. He said he could not approve Ordnance recomm to let explosives go by express.

Council of National Defense. Too many organizations asking money to help soldiers – Some pay big salaries & there ought to be some way to prevent any except those approved to appeal &c’

Secretary to the Navy


Edward Weston,

‘El Dia de los Muertos. Like mushrooms magically appearing over night, los puestos - in celebration of the Day of the Dead - once more are with us. More numerous, more varied than ever, they line both sides of two blocks and the street centres as well, I wondered and searched untiringly for my occasional concrete reward; this time I found more “Mexican porcelains” - animales de barro - clay animals - a magenta-colored dog mouthing a green basket, excellent in form, and, at the same booth, a wildcat biting into a green snake . . . [. . .]

Yesterday, with the band’s salute, President Obregon formally opened the exhibit at the Palacio de Mineria. Our photographs are simply and well displayed. Tina’s lose nothing by comparison with mine - they are her own expression.

Sunday Evening. D. H. Lawrence, English author and poet, in with Louis Quintanilla. My first impression was a most agreeable one. He will sit for me Tuesday.’

Lost behind my camera


Richard Crossman,

‘A very long day entirely devoted to departmental meetings. In the evening a meeting of the strategy group over supper at No. 10. Present: Peter Shore, Tony Benn, Tommy Balogh, Marcia Williams, Gerald Kaufman, myself (as chairman) and the Prime Minister. When he came in he looked really jaded. The Rhodesia crisis has been telling on him. As soon as he flew in, after a week of activity, he was plunged into Cabinet on Monday morning and the House of Commons on Monday afternoon. Judging by the press, he has had a real success in the Commons and foxed the Tories by his proposal for the Royal Commission, even though it was pretty obvious from the word go that the Commission was a non-starter and we were merely postponing the evil day. Nevertheless, by Tuesday evening he looked tired and found it difficult to talk to us at all. Gradually he got more interested and we had a useful discussion on the line he should take in the Queen’s Speech. But then his interest lapsed and he suddenly got the bright idea that because Exchange Telegraph had closed down its parliamentary services, Tony Benn as P.M.G. should nationalize it.’

My room is like a padded cell


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And so made significant . . .
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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, several times a week. Now over ten years old, The Diary Review is the secondary source for the extracts in this online anthology.