And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

14 September

1587
William Lambarde,
antiquarian

‘Mungra Russel, a Scot, charged to beget a woman child upon Rebecca Gore of East Mailing, was by me sent to the gaol for not finding sureties for his good behavior and appearance, etc. Send for old Gore, her father, etc. He is escaped. Send for James Dowle, the borsholder.’

Virtuous William Lambarde

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1681
John Evelyn,
writer

‘Dined with Sir Stephen Fox, who proposed to me the purchasing of Chelsea College, which his Majesty had sometime since given to our Society, and would now purchase it again to build a hospital; or infirmary for soldiers there, in which he desired my assistance as one of the Council of the Royal Society.’

A most excellent person

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1705
Thomas Hearne,
antiquary

‘I was told last night that in the great fire at London was burnt a MS. Bible curiously illuminated, like the historical part of the Bible in Bodley’s archives, and that ’twas valued at 1500 libs.’

Remarks and collections

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1813
Francis Rawdon-Hastings,
politician

‘Rode out immediately after gun-fire. I observed great numbers of the date-palm, And casually asked if the dates were good. It was answered that the trees here never produced any fruit. Can this be owing to the ignorance of the natives that male palms must be planted among the others to make the latter fruitful? I have spoken on the subject with several of the natives in the course of the morning, as well as with some of the oldest white inhabitants, and none of them had a notion that male palms were requisite for the fecundity of the date-tree. As all the plantations on the Choultry plain have been made within these thirty years, and there is no tree of spontaneous growth in that tract, it is possible that it may have been thought unadvisable to plant a tree which had been remarked as never yielding fruit. The rendering the date-trees in the vicinage of Madras prolific would be a great benefit to numbers of the lower classes; therefore I shall solicit Governor Farquhar to forward to Madras some young male palms from the botanic garden at the Isle of France. The dates which are now consumed in considerable quantity at Madras are all imported from Bussorah.’

Meeting lionesses

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1843
Louisa Alcott,
writer

‘Mr Parker Pillsbury came, and we talked about the poor slaves. I had a music lesson with Miss F. I hate her, she is so fussy. I ran in the wind and played be a horse, and had a lovely time in the woods with Anna and Lizzie. We were fairies, and made gowns and paper wings. I “flied” the highest of all. In the evening they talked about travelling. I thought about Father going to England, [. . .]

It rained when I went to bed, and made a pretty noise on the roof.’

I flied the highest

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1930
Sigmund Freud,
doctor

‘Anna at Mother’s burial’

Anna with Gestapo

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1954
Hugh Casson,
architect and designer

‘Are you the cultural delegation?’ The flight clerk at London Airport looks up from his papers. ‘Mind you, I am only guessing.’ What else indeed could we be? Culture is written all over us. . .’

[Casson then describes the other members of the delegation naming them by their profession, a geologist, a poet, a painter, a philosopher.]

‘Myself, the architect, duffle-coated, sharp-nosed, straggly-haired.’

‘None of us, I’m sure, is certain of any motive for going except that of curiosity. We are all aware that a guest - even at the house of his dearest friend - is always a prisoner and that beyond the Iron Curtain there are no bystanders - only players, and that even a decision not to play is a commitment in itself. Yet none of us hesitated to accept the invitation - who indeed would have?’

Red Lacquer Days

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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.

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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, 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.