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Pepys' contemporary John Evelyn also kept a notable diary, and their works are among the most important primary sources for the English Restoration period, and consist of eyewitness accounts of many great events, such as the Great Plague of London, and the Great Fire of London.The practice of posthumous publication of diaries of literary and other notables began in the 19th century. Civil War diaries are those of George Templeton Strong, a New York City lawyer, and Mary Chesnut, the wife of a Confederate officer.As internet access became commonly available, many people adopted it as another medium in which to chronicle their lives with the added dimension of an audience.The first online diary is thought to be Claudio Pinhanez's "Open Diary," published at the MIT Media Lab website from 14 November 1994 until 1996.One of the early preserved examples is the anonymous Journal d'un bourgeois de Paris that covers the years 1405–49, giving subjective commentaries on the current events.Famous 14th- to 16th-century Renaissance examples, which appeared much later as books, were the diaries by the Florentines Buonaccorso Pitti and Gregorio Dati and the Venetian Marino Sanuto the Younger.
Otto Frank edited his daughter's diary and arranged for its publication after the War.In the medieval Near East, Arabic diaries were written from before the 10th century.The earliest surviving diary of this era which most resembles the modern diary was that of Ibn Banna' in the 11th century.The self-reflective Diary: Divine Mercy in My Soul written by Saint Faustina contains accounts of her visions and conversations with Jesus.A strong psychological effect may arise from having an audience for one's self-expression, even if this is the book one writes in, only read by oneself - particularly in adversity.
Samuel Pepys (1633–1703) is the earliest diarist who is well known today; his diaries, preserved in Magdalene College, Cambridge, were first transcribed and published in 1825.