And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

7 September

1609
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

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1808
William Godwin,
philosopher and writer

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

William Godwin’s diary

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1885
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

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1915
Charles de Foucauld,
priest

‘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

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1934
Hannah Senesh,
soldier

‘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

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1934
Peter Fleming,
writer

‘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

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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, 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.