With December 25th fast approaching we have put together a little collection of entries for Christmas Day from an eclectic mix of different diaries spanning five centuries, from 1599 to 1918. Amid famed diarists such as the wife-beating Samuel Pepys, the distinctly non-festive John Adams, and the rhapsodic Thoreau, there are a sprinkling of daily jottings from relative unknowns – many speaking apart from loved ones, at war, sea or in foreign climes.
All diaries are housed at the Internet Archive – click the link below each extract to take you to the source.
In this section of the site we bring you curated collections of images, books, audio and film, shining a light on curiosities and wonders from a wide range of online archives. With a leaning toward the surprising, the strange, and the beautiful, we hope to provide an ever-growing cabinet of curiosities for the digital age, a kind of hyperlinked Wunderkammer – an archive of materials which truly celebrates the breadth and variety of our shared cultural commons and the minds that have made it. Some of our most popular posts include visions of the future from late 19th century France, a dictionary of Victorian slang and a film showing the very talented “hand-farting” farmer of Michigan. With each post including links back to the original source we encourage you to explore these wonderful online sources for yourself. Check out our Sources page to see where we find the content.
Memoirs of the Anglo-American colonial officer Lieutenant Henry Timberlake focus on the last seven years of his life, and specifically his work as emissary to the Cherokee Indians, including a remarkable journey made in 1762 with three of them back to London to meet King George III. …Continued
A small pamphlet (in the series "Little journeys to the homes of great musicians") on the life of the Italian composer Guiseppe Verdi, beginning with a fictionalised account of his childhood meeting with his early patron Signior Barezzi and his eldest daughter Margherita, with whom Verdi ended up falling in love. …Continued
Extracts from the journal of Joseph Banks detailing events when he accompanied Captain Jams Cook to the South Pacific in 1768. The journal is unique in character, not merely in terms of its content but also, as the writer Richard Holmes comments, "for their racy style, appalling spelling and non-existent punctuation". …Continued