As a girl, the only diary I kept was in my head. Not that I had terrible thoughts to hide. My mother didn’t believe children should have secrets, so when my younger brother started a diary at the age of ten, she forced it open, read it, and punished him for his private musings. I learned young that it was much better to relegate my memories and desires to memory.
Famous people, on the other hand, run the risk of diaries from their earlier years someday being made public, sold to the highest bidder, or made into a movie. Here are some of the most famous diaries in our times:
President Harry Truman – 1945. He wrote that ‘we’ have discovered the most terrible bomb in the history of the world. Weeks later, the atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan.
General George S Patton – 1944. He believed battle fatigue was cowardice, and slapped weary soldiers in the face when he visited them in the hospital.
Ernest Hemmingway – 1908. At nine years of age he prophetically wrote, “I intend to travel and write.”
Josef Goebbels – 1925. In his diary he described Hitler at their first meeting as having big blue eyes like stars. “I am in heaven” he said, and the following year wrote in his diary, “Adolf Hitler, I love you.”
Kurt Cobain – 1992. He revealed that he felt incredibly guilty for having abandoned his original fan base.
Virginia Woolf – 1941. She told her diary, “and then there was nothing,” the day before her suicide.
Anne Frank – 1944. This young Jewish girl in Nazi Germany described her life while she and her family hid from the Nazis in the hopes of avoiding the concentration camps.
Lewis Carroll (true name Charles Dodgson). This famous author, who wrote The Adventures of Alice In Wonderland, kept many diaries, some of which disappeared. Pages were mysteriously removed, possibly to protect the privacy of the young Alice Liddell, whom he is said to have proposed to when she was 11 years old. Whispers of pedophilia surrounded him for many years.
Samuel Pepys – He wrote detailed historical accounts of events in London, England in the 1660s in shorthand in his diary, including the Great Plague and the Great Fire.
Some of the most scandalous diaries were written by:
Anaïs Nin – who wrote of her sexual fantasies of friends and loves vividly;
Catherine Millet, curator and Art press editor-in-chief wrote her memoir of her sexual exploits;
The Marquis de Sade, whose sexual scandals led to exile;
Anne Lister, a wealthy British land owner who was a lesbian. She married a woman in the 19th Century;
Lord Byron, whose diaries were so steamy his publisher burned them.
How about you? Did you pour your heart out to your diary, or did you hold back some information you would not have wanted anyone else to ever read?
GEMMA JULIANA is a multi-published author who lives in an enchanted cottage in north Texas with her handsome hero, teen son and a comical dog. She loves making new friends and hearing from readers. Exotic coffee and chocolate fuel her creativity.
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