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Senate Diaries

Aiken: A Senate Diary

Vermont Senator George Aiken compiled and published A Senate Diary after his retirement from the Senate in 1975. For three years, from 1972 to 1975, Aiken recorded his thoughts each Saturday, recalling the people and events of the past week. In publishing his diary, Aiken hoped it would show "how events can change their appearance from week to week and how the attitude of a Senator can change with them." Aiken was continuing an old and valuable tradition of Senate diaries. In a much earlier memoir, John Quincy Adams offered insight into his Senate career (1803-1808), including details of two Senate impeachment trials. The Journal of William Maclay, a Pennsylvania senator who served from 1789 to 1791, provided coverage of early closed-door Senate proceedings. Journalist Allen Drury contributed to the literature with A Senate Journal, 1944-1945. Packed with brilliant character sketches and detailed descriptions of events, Drury's diary recollected a Senate emerging from the darkest days of World War II into the promise of a new post-war era. His journal later served as one source of information for his Pultizer Prize winning novel, Advise and Consent.


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