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Samuel Pepys

Writer

Born: 23 February 1633
Died: 16 May 1703
Birthplace: London, England
Best known as: Author of Samuel Pepys' diaries
Detailed and intimate, Pepys' diaries became a mainstay of British literature after their first publication in 1825. Pepys was educated at Magdalen College, Cambridge, and spent most of his career working in the British Admiralty; he also served as a Member of Parliament for three different terms between 1673-89. For 10 years, from 1660-69, Pepys kept an extraordinary diary, with running commentary on his daily rounds, his meals, his health, even his relations with his wife. Pepys never intended the diaries for publication, and he wrote them in an unusual shorthand which kept them from being read for many years. When the diaries were published in 1825, they were hailed as an intimate glimpse at life in the Restoration-era England. (His meticulous frankness was such that some of the more impolite details were omitted from publication until the 20th century.) Particularly famous are his firsthand accounts of the coronation of King Charles II and the Great Fire of London.
Extra credit: His name is pronounced peeps... Pepys was imprisoned in the Tower of London for six weeks in 1679 after being accused of involvement in the Popish Plot... Upon his death Pepys left his personal 3000-volume library to Magdalen College... Pepys' unusual shorthand is often called a "secret code," but in fact was his own version of an existing system called the Shelton shorthand.

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