And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

26 October

Marianne Fortescue,

‘Kidderminster. We left Shrewsbury at a quarter past eight, Fortescue not very well. The road from it to Cole brook dale is quite beautifull. It was so foggy a morning that we could not see much of Shrewsbury. It soon clear’d up & was very fine. There is a new iron bridge only about one month finish’d within a mile of Cole brook dale. It is amazelingly light looking, only one arch, it is pannell’d. The old one is very curious & handsome. Altogether ’tis a delightfull place. A vast quantity of wood along the road at one side & at t’other a river. We breakfasted at C.B. dale & left it a little after eleven. There is a tremendous hill just after passing the bridge & on top of it there are great iron works & coal pits. The next place we came to was Bridge North, it is a large town & an old castle leaning quite crooked, it suffer’d by Oliver Cromwell. We left that at two and arrived here at half past four. It is a very good looking town and a carpet manufacture carried on in imitation of Turkey. Here we dined & are to sleep. The bells have been ringing all the eve’g.’

The Fortescues go to Bath


John Everett Millais,

‘Walked out with Hunt. Called upon Woolner and upon Mrs. Collins to get her to come and dine with us; unwell, so unsuccessful. Felt very cross and disputable. Charlie called in the evening; took tea, and then all three off to the country seat.’

At work on Ophelia


Edward Hodge,

‘I find my rascally servants not only got drunk, but they committed robberies upon the officers’ stores. They have lost my tent, and I only wonder that I have any kit left. I am most uncomfortable with such blackguards as these about me. I am far from well today. I am much purged and griped.’

Charge of the Light Brigade


Jane Carlyle,
wife of philosopher

‘My morphia a dead failure last night - gave me neither sleep nor rest; but only nausea. So much the better perhaps. If morphia had always, instead of only at long intervals, its good effect on me - making me all whole, for the time being, like a cracked dish boiled in sweet milk, I dont know what principle would be strong enough to keep me from slowly poisoning myself with it. Today then I have been up to nothing, naturally.’

I walked, walked, walked


Richard Wagner,

‘Leafing through the Brown Book just now, I read a bit of Parzival. How that time lies once more like a sacred dream - once more like a lost paradise behind me - Oh Cosima! Will it ever come to my quietly completing my works and entering with you the promised land of peace? How storms rage ever and ever anew! I desire - so it seems - the most unnatural state of affairs which the world just will not accede to. My trouble is great. Always something new hounds and oppresses. From within and without.’

How storms rage ever


John Sarsfield Casey,
civil servant

‘Morning calm breeze light speed, 4 knots 12 OC. Breeze increasing - speed 8 knots - 2 Sail in sight - one of them “our Convoy”. A prisoner received 48 lashes from boatswain to day without wincing for beating another prisoner most inhumanly - At conclusion cheered by his Comerades - got cross irons on his feet - Evening looking gloomy - dark sombre clouds flitting across sky - Sunset very stormy looking - fear a rough night wind increasing sailors furling royals &c. 4.30 All hands below - usual amusements.’

The Galtee Boy


George Whitwell Parsons,
lawyer and banker

‘Started out again this AM and first saw the ‘Phoenix’. Seems more promising than any other claim. Ledge about 18 inches and going down straight. ‘White Star’ next. Small ledge, rather flat, but fair rock. I left at Bells and went home. Rain this afternoon and very pleasant. Fired at mark this afternoon and I beat with rifle, 75 and 250 yards. Tailings sampled by Wendt this evening and liked. Chicken dinner. Skunk excitement tonight, but didn’t get him.

Gunfight at OK Corral


Mary Watts,

‘We went to pay a visit to Burne Jones, he & she, & we sat together in their little drawing room & did not go to the studio. They have Michelangelo’s Night & Morning, which Signor does not care for. Mr Burne Jones stood up for them. Signor thinks M.A. the greatest of all artists, but his sculpture by no means on a level with the painting. He thinks he was prevented by the obstinacy of his material from dashing in his thoughts (his wax sketches as fine as can be). From there we went to Holman Hunt & saw his very impressive picture of the Flight into Egypt, with all its strange ugliness of surface, flesh made of a hard stable material reflecting every sort of colour, wh. makes a most unlovely impression. The dignity & moral influence of his work always surprises me.’

Happy with Signor


Joseph Goebbels,

‘I have no friends and no wife. I seem to be going through a major spiritual crisis. I still have the same old problems with my foot, which gives me incessant pain and discomfort. And then there are the rumours, to the effect that I am homosexual. Agitators are trying to break up our movement, and I’m constantly tied up in minor squabbles. It’s enough to make you weep!’

We can conquer the world


Evelyn Shuckburgh,

‘By 3 o’clock in the afternoon it was clear that the Conservatives would probably have a majority, though it would be a very small one, and we all assumed that the weekend might be spent in discussion as to whether Mr Churchill would form a Government at once or whether there might be some delay. The Secretary of State (Morrison) came back from his constituency to No. 11 at about 5 but showed no inclination to come to the Foreign Office. I went over to get a decision from him about expelling some Italian Communists from Libya but he (rightly) would not take responsibility for this in view of his knowledge that the Government were almost certainly defeated. He said that if there were any delay in the appointment of a new Foreign Secretary, he would take the decision on Monday.

Half an hour later we were informed by No. 10 that Mr Attlee had resigned and Mr Churchill had been invited to form a Government; also that the King would hold a Council the following morning at 10.30 to swear in new Ministers. It was therefore clear to me that there was a risk that a new Foreign Secretary might walk into the Foreign Office during the course of the next morning. Meanwhile Mr Morrison had gone to Miss Donald’s flat announcing that he would go straight home to bed and did not wish to be woken before lunchtime on Saturday.

Obviously, therefore, I had to get him back and had a painful half-hour at No. 11 in which I stripped him of his Foreign Office key, box, and pass and obtained authority to send over the seals to Buckingham Palace. He was plainly feeling very deflated and very tired. He asked whether it was constitutionally right of me to take away his keys, etc., before the new Foreign Secretary had been announced. I said, ‘no’; he remained Foreign Secretary until his seals had been handed over the following morning. But, as he wished to sleep the following morning, I had to perform the operation tonight. He accepted this and was very friendly about me. He is clearly disappointed at leaving the Foreign Office just when the job is beginning to intrigue him. I accompanied him downstairs and through the communicating door into No. 10 and out through the front door into his car. Just as I was shaking hands with him, he was recognized by the crowd, who booed him the whole way down Downing Street; they had come, of course, to see the new men, not the old. I felt very sorry about this but assumed politicians are used to this kind of thing. I, on the contrary, was disconsolate on the pavement.’

Disconsolate on the pavement

******************************************************* *******************************

Joshua Lederberg,

‘I was to work at the lab until about 12:30, then pick up Phyllis and Margaret for lunch and then see Phyllis off to her plane: --> Columbus->Denver->SFO->Sydney. At 11:30 + or - there was a call from a Mr. Lindquist of the “Tijding...” newspaper in Stockholm - the New York correspondent. He explained his call to my astonishment that Beadle, Tatum, and I were to be the co-recipients of the Nobel prize in medicine this year. I was rather incredulous: he insisted the AP was quoting the rumors and he was quite sure it would be announced Thursday. It’s no surprise, of course, that Beadle should be honored this way and it is a perceptive courtesy for Tatum but I am still quite astonished (as I was for the NAS last year) to be added on. I just had the impression that this kind of dignification in biology should go to the venerables and veterans and it is a bit of a shock to be classed that way. Of course in physics quite young men, e.g. Willis Lamb have been marked this way too. But I’m worried enough at keeping up a lab career that this kind of stigma has some dreadful connotations: I guess I just don’t believe in memorializing the live and kicking. On the whole I’m a little afraid the fuss and bother more than outweigh the egotistic satisfactions, the cash and the prestige factors that might help in getting my lab going. Perhaps I’m exaggerating the fuss; I was glad enough to be off the cover of Time, however! Anyhow I should have guessed sooner: several clues make some more sense now! - George Klein’s enigmatic correspondence (saying earlier he’d see me this year, then denying he was coming to the U.S.); Leo Goldberg’s request for a photograph; a telephone interview yesterday or Friday by Dag Nystadter reporter; George’s request for a bibliography last spring ( I suppose it did occur to me that George did have something of the sort in his mind then, but hardly this year.) Anyhow the trouble is it is by no means certain and there must be some possibility it is a mistake; I am rather nervously awaiting the AP bulletin to be picked up locally as I’m sure I’ll have no peace after that! I do feel as much as ever that the nonsense ought to be abolished but I don’t have the courage to meet it head on and I’m afraid it would raise even more fuss and perhaps affront Ed and Beadle in a rather nasty way. The best I can do is to be as inconspicuous about it as possible and make some reference to the obsolescence of personal distinction in scientific life.’

I was rather incredulous


Soe Hok Gie,

‘Father Art Melville mentioned a total of 400 peasants who had been murdered. I was reminded of the 300,000 who died without protest of any kind. For many people this is just a number. For me too. I don’t know the face of one of those victims. But I will always endeavour not to depersonalise this ‘number’. I will always imagine them coming to me. Speaking to me like the soldiers slain in the Civil War spoke to Walt Whitman...

What a lot of injustice there is in this world. Not just in Indonesia but everywhere. In Guatamala, in Vietnam, in the United States, in the Soviet Union, in Czechoslovakia, in Africa and elsewhere. It’s as if the world is a rubbish heap of the lust and greed of mankind. Sometimes I wonder whether it wouldn’t be better to blow the world up so that it all comes to an end.

But as well as all this we also find people struggling for ideals. Some succeed and become widely respected - Gandhi, Kennedy - but millions sink in the rubbish and are swallowed by time. But more distressing are those who experience disappointment and become consumed by hatred of their opponents. Determined to destroy their enemy’s world and brutal towards all of them. I think the great idealists whether communists, fascists, Black Power activists, or any others are fired by the same ideals. Revulsion against the world’s obscenity and devotion to those who are oppressed. How many are able to survive in defeat? I don’t know about my own future. A successful person? A person who fails in his idealism? And who sinks with time and old age? A disillusioned person who then attempts to terrorise the world? Or a person who fails but who gazes at the setting sun full of pride. I want to try to love it all. And hold firm in this life.’

Politics is filthy mud


Tomaž Humar,

‘I start climbing at 6am - no helmet, no rope, no harness - just bivy gear, some food and gas. I leave everything else with Jagat who would face the descent alone in case I did not come back. At 3pm, I start digging a hole in the ice at 7200 meters. This is my second bivy.’

Inside the ice hole


Pikle - The Diary Review - The Diary Junction - Contact

And so made significant . . .
and its companion websites -
The Diary Review
and The Diary Junction - are maintained privately without any funding or advertising. Please consider supporting their author/editor by purchasing one or more of his books: the memoir, Why Ever Did I Want to Write, and the Not a Brave New World trilogy.
Thank you.

Why Ever Did I Want to Write is a patchwork of themed stories about one man’s early life, embracing highs and lows but driven by a desire to make the most of being alive, to experience, to feel, and above all to understand. Reminiscent of Karl Knausgaard’s A Death in the Family and Theodore Zeldin’s An Intimate History of Humanity, this memoir, often based on diaries, sees Lyons reflecting on a repressed childhood, exploring the world through years of travelling, and searching for meaning and excitement in the arts and love affairs – an archetype of the counterculture in the 1970s and 1980s.

Not a Brave New World is an extraordinary fictional memoir, a trilogy in three wives, spanning the whole of the 21st century: one man’s - Kip Fenn’s - frank account, sometimes acutely painful and sometimes surprisingly joyful, of his three partners, and his career in international diplomacy working to tackle the rich-poor divide.

GILLIAN - Book 1 - Amazon (US/UK)
Kip Fenn’s first love is in a coma. His father suddenly isn’t his father. After formative trips to Brussels and Brazil, Kip wins a civil service job. Unfortunately, a media baron discovers his sexual weakness and is blackmailing him for government secrets. If only Kip could find solace in his wife’s arms or joy in his children.

DIANA - Book 2 - Amazon (US/UK)
Kip Fenn is a success: his career has taken off within a major UN agency trying to spread wealth from the rich to the poor. But all is not well with the world - the golden age of oil and chips is now over, and unsustainable development is leading to social turmoil, and to world war. Kip has found love and a new family, but he can find no way to stop his older children self-destruct; nor does he realise his partner’s deceit.

LIZETTE - Book 3 - Amazon (US/UK)
Third time lucky - Kip Fenn finds true love. His UN career though is ending with a whimper. Another terrible war is cut short by the devastating Grey Years, and while nations rebuild many individuals turn Notek. In restless retirement, Kip’s lifelong passion for vintage photos sees him launching a new arts institution. But who is the mysterious visitor by his bedside, and how will she affect his planned deathday?


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.

in diary days



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