And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

7 September

Henry Hudson,
sailor and explorer

‘The seventh, was faire, and by ten of the clocke they returned aboord the ship, and brought our dead man with them, whom we carried on Land and buryed, and named the point after his name, Colman’s Point. Then we hoysed in our Boate, and raised her side with waste boords for defence of our men. So we rode still all night, having good regard to our Watch.’

A very good harbour


Hermann Ludwig von Löwenstern,

‘After a very quiet trip, we dropped anchor at five o’clock in the evening on the roadstead in Naples. The Turks, without landing any place, sailed straight to Constantinople. The view of the city is very beautiful; the city rises like an amphitheater up to St. Elmo. Vesuvius contributes greatly to Naples’s beauty. We found two Russian frigates and an English warship ahead of us.’

At sea with Von Löwenstern


William Godwin,
philosopher and writer

‘Church-yard: walk to Thatcham: dine at Woolhampton: tea Theal, sleep. George Dandin.’

William Godwin’s diary


William Bentley,

‘The Census of Salem is now before the world & the increase has been rapid indeed. So that their own blood which has flowed in our veins has not been unfavourable to increase, activity, powerful attraction. The Negroes have not increased, the worst part of our population, as Men without trades, tyes, & tribute must be. I impute the decrease to the number of sober citizens, & not without property, who finish the life of a seamen in the little offices of labourers & who have character, property, & ability enough to deserve attention.’

Society in Salem


Henry Wemyss Feilden,

‘Franklin Pierce Bay. Up steam at 9.30 a.m. and the ice slackening we moved into a large pool of water extending some distance to the eastern side of Walrus Island. Moored to a berg and landed on the island. Snow about 3 inches in depth, effectually concealed the Eskimo traces which we know to be so numerous on the Island.

Here and there a cache or the walls of an unroofed igloo were to be seen. I took a pick with me but the soil was too hard frozen to make any impression. Numerous skulls of Walrus showed above the snow, these crania are interesting because they have all been broken in the same manner, the skull broken through across the eye-holes and the front part split in order to extract the tusks. I also found the skull of a large seal P. barbata.

Several broods of eider ducks in a pool were still unable to fly. Giffard bagged 8, Malley was carrying them when the ice breaking, Malley let go the ducks, Giffard only managed to save one. I saw a pair of Ravens, and 2 Ptarmigan. A Phoca hispida was shot in the afternoon.

It was a strange sensation standing alone on the point of Cape Isabella, to the north lay the channel to the unreached Pole, a route ever to be impressed on our minds by the recollection of our dangers and escapes. The ships were drifting with the tide along with heavy masses of ice to the northward, and to the south an open sea with dark lowering clouds hanging over it. the boom of the waves breaking against the granite shore, brought back a flood of recollections from the outer world that have not crossed my mind for 18 months. So interested have I been in my work that up till now, I have never let the thought of home enter my mind, but the southern wind and open sea brought back a strange longing for home, which our letters did not dispel.’

Killed ♀ Ivory Gull


Friedrich von Holstein,
civil servant

‘Well, Bismarck’s foreign policy has suffered its first setback. We have meekly accepted a slap in the face from Spain and are retiring from the fray. Other people will be encouraged by this example.’

The Gray Eminence


Charles de Foucauld,

‘To-morrow will be the feast of the nativity of the Blessed Virgin, ten years since my Tamanrasset hermitage was built and I have said Mass in it. I owe much thanksgiving to God for al the graces He has bestowed on me here.’

From playboy to ascetic


Nikolay Nikolayevich Punin,

‘My brother [Leonid] has been killed (1st of Sept.). At dawn on the first he went out with a rear guard of partisans on reconnaissance. Having sent part of the men on a wide sweeping movement behind the German position, he attacked with the rest. They say that a company of Germans suddenly appeared before them, charging at them with bayonets. He quickly ordered a counterattack, but immediately fell, wounded by two bullets. One through the leg, the other through the hip. A machine gunner with his wits about him opened fire on the advancing Germans; he killed them by the dozens and turned the others back. My brother was carried away, but because there was no dressing station or ambulance nearby, and because he did not present himself to have his wounds dressed, he died from loss of blood at 1:30 p.m.’

I love the masses


Hannah Senesh,

‘This morning we visited Daddy’s grave. How sad that we had to become acquainted with the cemetery so early in life. But I feel that even from beyond the grave Daddy is helping us, if in no other way than with his name. I don’t think he could have left us a greater legacy.’

Israel’s Joan of Arc


Peter Fleming,

‘Started at 10 for a big agricultural implement factory. Here work appeared to be proceeding rather spasmodically, under conditions which are very enlightened on paper. The things that interested me most were that 43% of the workers are women; that each shock brigade, controlled by its own brigadier, pillories bad workers by name with bad caricatures on its notice-board - another echo of the Moscow Park stuff; that every worker’s rest period of an hour is preceded by 5 minutes compulsory P.T.; that Shock Workers have a silly little banner on their bit of machinery. Chiefly, in fact, the Montessorian atmosphere. In the club library questions and answers were posted on the notice-board. One was, “Where can I study man’s struggle for existence?” The answer was “Fill up a form and in the meantime read these books.” Another was “Why no books by Jules Verne, Mayne Reid, and Fenimore Cooper?” The answer was that Verne was all to the good, but Cooper and Reid misrepresented American exploitation of the indigenes and were chauvinistic and imperialistic. We saw also workers’ flats and a closed shop, where white bread was selling for 60 kopeks instead of 10 roubles and meat for 3 roubles instead of 9. Had the usual dilatory lunch, then George went to interview a judge while Mogs and I sat in a public garden and read and talked.

Then we all went on the Don in a motor boat with the director of Intourist, an insufferable young American-educated candidate for the Communist party. This is holding a purge tomorrow, and he is therefore aggressively orthodox. He also seems unhappy here. We bathed in shallow black mud, very nice though I spiked my foot on a fish bone and lost a cuff link. The sky was lovely coming back. I had a glass of sour wine with Boris, who told me he got 60 roubles an hour for coaching actors who had to play the part of foreigners - e.g. Cooper in Tempo. There is a lot of money to be made in the theatre, and it seems to hold a pretty high position in cultural life.

After dinner we went to a cinema, probably the worst I have ever seen. It began with a black blurred picture of salvage work in the Black Sea, devoid of interest or comprehensibility. Then there was a fearful comedy, sooty and prehistoric. We walked out.’

Dust all day like a fog


Willy Cohn,

‘No newspaper to be had yesterday. Paper is in such short supply that newspapers are quietly sold out. A number of streetcar lines won’t be running in the morning as of this Sunday. There is a shortage of personnel! I think that Germany’s situation continues to be very unfavorable, even though the newspapers report victories each day.’

This won’t break us


Arthur C. Clarke,

‘Stanley quite happy: “We’re in fantastic shape.” He has made up a 100-item questionnaire about our astronauts, e.g. do they sleep in their pajamas, what do they eat for breakfast, etc.’

Dreamed I was a robot


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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.