And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

27 October

1640
William Laud,
priest

‘Tuesday, Simon and Jude’s eve, I went into my upper study, to see some manuscripts, which I was sending to Oxford. In that study hung my picture, taken by the life. And coming in, I found it fallen down upon the face, and lying on the floor. The string being broken, by which it was hanged against the wall. I am almost every day threatened with my ruin in Parliament. God grant this be no omen.’

My picture fallen

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1881
George Whitwell Parsons,
lawyer and banker

‘Snow this morning. Windy and extremely cold and disagreeable. Wendt, Heyne and I started this AM for Tombstone and Ray went with us over the mountains to where a wagon was which H & W had, driving the burro before him loaded down with samples from different mines. Very disagreeable ride till we harnessed and drove out of the cold mountains into the sunshine on the Mesa beyond. I led Haynes horse and read of one of the Strallus’ long European letters given me this morning by Capt Hanson who arrived at last, much the worse for his 3 weeks absence. It seems almost as though the Capt was gone in. I hope he has not yet lost his grip.

At Charleston we dined by invitation of H and reached Tombstone about 5 o’clock. Much excitement in town and people apprehensive and scary. A bad time yesterday when Wyatt, Virgil and Morgan Earp with Doc Holliday had a street fight with the two McLowerys and Bill Clanton and Ike, all but the latter being killed and W and M Earp wounded [in fact it was Virgil wounded not Wyatt]. Desperate men and desperate encounter.

Bad blood has been brewing some time and I was not suprised at the outbreak. It is only a wonder it has not happened before. A raid is feared upon the town by the Cowboys and measures have been taken to protect life and property. The ‘Stranglers’ were out in force and showed sand. My cowboy appearance and attire was not in keeping with the exited mind. Loud talking or talking in groups was tho’t out of place. Had to laugh at some of the nervousness. It has been a bad scare and the worst is not yet over some think.’

Gunfight at OK Corral

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1932
Reader Bullard,
diplomat

‘The three maids report that all their clothes are falling to pieces and have put in an enormous list of things they want - at least enormous for this place where material is so short. There is not a yard of any material to be had.

Soermus, the Soviet violinist who visits England and combines his concerts with propaganda, is in some difficulty with his passport. Under the latest regulations, when a Soviet citizen returns from abroad his passport is taken from him, and if he wants to go abroad again he must apply for a new passport, and before it is granted he has to pass first a chistka, or purge, to find out exactly where the applicant has been and what he has done, and then an examination by a trio of communists. Mrs Soermus says her husband lives with his head in a musical cloud and notices nothing.

Woodhead has returned from another visit to the paper-mill. Two OGPU men who travelled part of the way with him had chickens and all sorts of things in their luggage. ‘The new bourgeoisie!’ one of them said to Woodhead. The mill, which ought to have begun operating two years ago, began in September and is making five tons of paper a day instead of forty-five tons. Woodhead attended an eight-hour meeting of about thirty men, only two of whom were engineers, the others were ‘Red’ directors, workmen etc. Woodhead refused to take any part in the discussion, which he described as worthless. To engage in the discussion would have been to admit that all these untrained people had a right to give an opinion on highly technical questions.’

Inside Stalin’s Russia

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1997
Alastair Campbell,
journalist and political aide

‘CHOGM [Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, in Edinburgh] finished on time, TB telling us how brilliantly he had chaired it. TB was regaling us with a few stories from the receptions. One of the African leaders pinching Cherie’s bum and asking her who she was, then him jumping a mile when she said she was Tony’s wife. Mandela being difficult on a couple of issues and TB saying to him ‘You are so revered you can come out with any old nonsense and nobody is allowed to say it’s nonsense,’ Mandela laughing.’

Call me Cherie

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2007
Tomaž Humar,
mountaineer

‘I spend the entire day inside the ice hole to acclimatize more - I do not want to take any risk of edema. The wind is really strong reaching speeds greater than 100 km/h.’

Inside the ice hole

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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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