And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

23 October

Albrecht Dürer,

‘On the 23rd day of October, King Karl was crowned at Aachen. There I saw all manner of lordly splendour, more magnificent than anything that those who live in our parts have seen - all, as it has been described. I gave Mathes 2 fl. worth of art-wares, and I gave Stephan (Etienne Luillier), one of Lady Margaret’s chamberlains, 3 prints. I bought a cedarwood rosary for 1 fl. 10 white pf. I gave 1 st. to little Hans in the stable, and 1 st. to the child in the house. I lost 2½ st. at play; spent 2 st.; paid the barber 2 st. I have again changed 1 fl. I gave away 7 white pf. in the house at leaving and travelled from Aachen to Jfibers and thence to —. I paid 4 st. for two eyeglasses; played away 2 st. in an embossed silver king (ein Silbem gestempften König). I bought 2 ox-horns for 8 white pf.’

Carefully in oils


Robert Woodford,

‘my deare child is still very sick, but the Lord is able to recover her, I now pr[e]pare for my Journey into the Country to morrow, & prayed for my Comfortable arrival at North[amp]ton & for favor in the eyes of the Maior & Bayleifes there & for presrvacon from the devouringe pestilence’

I pray increase my estate


Marianne Fortescue,

‘Conway. A fine day. We breakfasted this morn’g at Bangor, the harpur was playing all the time. I liked it vastly & think the place very pretty. In comeing here we came over two dreadful! hills. Penmont Muir & Penmont Ross, the road was very rough. I walk’d up the first mention’d hill as I thought it quite tremendous. We came a short journey this day, only 17½ miles. There is a very beautiful old castle here which we walk’d out to see. Fortescue felt fatigued so we dined early, and will soon go to rest for this night.’

The Fortescues go to Bath


Edward Hodges Cree,

‘All the piratical fleet being destroyed except six, two large and two small junks, which escaped through some other branch of the river, we prepared to return to Hoy-how and Hong Kong.

Junks destroyed - 58; 6 escaped

Killed, Chinese pirates - estimated 1,700; escaped to the shore, to be captured, or killed, by the Tonquinese - 1,000

Prisoners - 49; women 8, children 6; most of the latter kidnapped from Hong Kong and the coast. (I fear there were many women destroyed in the junks, unfortunate prisoners of the pirates, who had been plundering and burning the villages along the coast.)

We received 40 prisoners from the mandarin at Chok-am, who had given themselves up to the natives. Forty guns taken are to be given to the Governor of Hoy-how.’

Pirate hunting expedition


John Everett Millais,

‘Our landlady’s marriage anniversary. Was asked by her some days back for the loan of our apartments to celebrate the event. “If we were not too high they would be glad to see us.” ’

Painted on the wall; the day very dull. A few trees shedding leaves behind me, spiders determinedly spinning webs between my nose and chin. . . . Joined the farmers and their wives. Two of them spoke about cattle and the new reaping-machine, complaining, between times, about the state of affairs. Supped with them; derived some knowledge of carving a chicken from watching one do so. Went to bed rather late, and read In Memoriam, which produced a refining melancholy. Landlady pleased with painting on cupboard.’

At work on Ophelia


Jane Carlyle,
wife of philosopher

‘A stormy day, within doors; so I rushed out early and walked, walked, walked! If peace and quietness be not in one’s own power, one can always give oneself, at least, bodily fatigue - no such bad succedaneum after all! - Life gets to look for me like a sort of kaleidiscope; a few things of different colours (black predominating) which Fate shakes into new and ever new combinations, but always the same things over again! Today has been so like a day I still remember out of ten years ago! The same still, dreamy October weather - the same tumult of mind contrasting with the outer stillness - the same causes for that tumult; then as now I had walked, walked, walked, with no aim but to tire myself.’

I walked, walked, walked


Edward Pease,

‘I leave the record of this to me eventful and rather trying day until it is closed.

Noon. Called upon by twenty, mostly my fellow [townsmen ?] to present me with an address commending my early exertions respecting Railways and Engineering, also my Sons. While to be useful in our day and live in their esteem is to be gratified, yet the Address presented is quite too full and above all our services.’

Father of the Railways


Karl von Terzaghi,
engineer and geologist

‘Now I have determined plans for the future. I will abandon all dreams of my youth and choose a profession in which I can work most fruitfully. I would like to graduate from the Technische Hochschule as well as possible in order to enlarge as ever possible, the chance to get a professorship for mechancs.’

Power of a lion


Joseph Goebbels,

‘Churchill has issued an appeal to the people of France: impudent, offensive and bristling with hypocrisy. A revolting, fat beast. I drafted a speech with a sharp, withering response. If we don’t answer them, the English will continue to draw strength from their illusions.’

We can conquer the world


Lee Harvey Oswald,

‘Transfered to ordinary ward, (airy, good food.) but nurses suspious of me.) they know). Afternoon. I am visited by Rosa Agafonova tourist office of the hotel,/ who askes about my health, very beauitiful, excelant Eng., very merry and kind, she makes me very glad to be alive. Later Rimma vists’

JFK’s assassin in Moscow


Peter Clark,

‘I am at the office early and at precisely 9.30 we hear the screaming of sirens, and Douglas Hurd, his detective, and the Ambassador arrive, followed by members of his entourage - Richard Culshaw in charge of the press and his Principal Private Secretary, John Sawers, whom I last saw in Yemen in 1980. I take Douglas Hurd round the exhibition of Freya Stark’s photographs, and he talks to some of the staff. He also signs my copy of his novel, The Palace of Enchantments, which was already signed by the co-author, Stephen Lamport, in Abu Dhabi. And that is that. The party disappears and so do we.

Douglas Hurd has called on the President, with Andrew Green. It is the first time Andrew has met him.’

Damascus diaries


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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.