There’s incredible value in starting a journal for sorting out your memories, thoughts and keeping a record of your life. Not only can a journal be an insightful way to look back at your life, it may one day help you and others in the future better understand the countless stories that are currently being written in history.
The pages of historical journals are windows into the past. They provide first-hand accounts of the events that shaped our world, and those who built the foundation for our present. Luckily for us, there have been many famous individuals who have published diaries and journals.
Whether you’re considering writing for posterity or just for yourself, there are many published diaries and journals from famous writers, historians, and inspiring people. We’ve highlighted a few that we think are special. Let these five diaries inspire you to keep track of the world as you see it!
President Harry S. Truman’s Diary
No one imagines “the most powerful man in the world” taking the time to write historical diaries. But President Truman penned one of the most famous journals out there. In it, he strips away all of the pomp and glamor of the presidential office, leaving the thoughts of a regular man in an incredible position.
There isn’t a consolidated collection of his diary entries, but individual entries are available across the internet. Most were written during important moments in history or on days when there was a special event. You can help your own future admirers avoid this frustration by keeping your diary entries in one place using our notebooks and journals!
A Writer’s Diary: Virginia Woolf
Virginia Woolf underwent no small amount of hardship over the course of her life, but she also turned out some beautiful literature. Who wouldn’t want a glimpse into her mind and personal thoughts? That’s why Woolf’s diary is among the most famous journals you can find.
Reading her diary won’t necessarily be as uplifting or motivational as reading her books, but seeing her thought process and where her groundbreaking ideas came from is enlightening. Reading her journals will be inspiring for both your journaling and creative writing!
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson’s Journals
The name may sound unfamiliar, but the man behind the name is not — you probably know him better as Lewis Carroll! The author of Alice in Wonderland kept a diary for most of his life. One of the things making these such famous journals is that several years’ worth of entries are missing.
What has been recovered, though, is insightful and exciting. If you have dreams of writing your own great fantasies or experiencing one through the looking glass yourself, you’ll love reading the diaries of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson.
The Diary of Samuel Pepys
This is a name you’re much less likely to be familiar with, but his historical diaries are famous. Not many people left behind a detailed diary about life in 17th century London ( a critical period in English history), but Samuel Pepys writings described everything from the deadly plague running rampant, the ladies he courted, and even what he ate at meals.
Historians in particular love his famous journals, but when you read them, you’ll see why so many different people admire them. You’ll be inspired by how people thought and behaved during those difficult times of the 17th century. You may notice that they aren’t too different from us today. When you’re looking for famous diaries to read, make sure Samuel Pepys name is near the top of your list.
The Diary of Anne Frank
Given the history of the time she lived in, you might think of her journals as being more sad than inspirational. But when you discover Anne Frank’s incredible humanity, even when hiding with her family from the Nazis, you can’t help but see the world in a beautiful new light. Her insight and hope are a constant reminder of how precious life is. Reading about her experiences can only increase your own mindfulness about how lucky you are.
Anne’s historic, inspiring and tragic depiction of the inhumanity mankind is capable of has been translated into more than 67 languages. It isn’t one of the most famous journals in the world, it’s one of the most famous books in the world! Her diary is so much more than a holocaust memoir, it’s a testimony to the human spirit that has been an inspiration for millions of people. Read it and become inspired yourself!
Reading famous journals from people in history can be truly educational and even life-changing. These rare journals are gifts that give us a glimpse into some of the greatest minds. They often show us their unadulterated thoughts and feelings. We can learn from them, and we can be inspired by them.
These valuable pieces of history should not be forgotten but embraced and used as a looking glass to get an inspired view of our history and our lives. The privilege of getting a glimpse into the mind of incredible people by reading their diaries should not be taken lightly.
In the process you will learn, you will grow and most of all you will be inspired. You are more than an ordinary person, you are a historian of modern history. Perhaps, you’ll be motivated to give your family and future generations an idea of who you are by keeping your own diary. You can pass down the gift of your experience and knowledge. Be inspired and don’t be afraid to share your brilliance with the world through your journaling.
Download these free printable PDF bookmarks to use in your favorite notebooks and journals.