The Grail Diary was a possession of Doctor Henry Jones, Sr. In it, he recorded all of his findings on the topic of the Holy Grail, the study of which he had made his life's work. Because of a curious twist of events, it also bears Adolf Hitler's signature.
Dr. Henry Jones started noting down his thoughts about the Holy Grail after what he took to be a vision that he beheld in 1898. He did many travels between America and Europe, contacted many scholars and sought several historical documents during his studies, always carrying it with him. The diary had over 282 pages interspersed with miscellaneous sheets of notes, sculpture rubbings and train tickets that Dr. Jones Sr. used as bookmarks. As his son Indiana grew and his professional obligations augmented, he abandoned his research around 1906 for six years.
At around 1938 he had almost determined the secret location of the Grail from his years of study, and had drawn a map in the diary based on his findings. The information it contained was of such great importance that possessing it was dangerous for one's life; this was due to Adolf Hitler's desire for occult and supernatural objects like the Holy Grail, and subsequently a desire of the Nazi army that he controlled.
After being hired by Walter Donovan, Jones added to his diary a rubbing of Donovan's Grail tablet. Upon realizing that his expedition colleague Elsa Schneider was a Nazi, Dr. Jones Sr. sent the diary to his son in Barnett College by mail, to keep it out of Nazi hands.
However, Indy brought the Grail Diary with him to Venice, where, after finding the second Grail marker, he determined where the Grail could be found - the Canyon of the Crescent Moon, outside Iskenderun. Indy removed the map from the diary, gave it to Marcus Brody, and sent him to rendezvous with Sallah in Iskenderun. When Indy went to rescue his father from the Nazis, he was captured, and the diary was taken by Donovan and Vogel. Since the map was missing, the Nazis sent the diary to Berlin to show progress on their search.
Henry knew that the grail diary was still needed to overcome the defenses of the Grail Temple, and so went with his son to Berlin to retrieve it. Indy disguised himself and took it from Schneider. However on his leaving and while holding the Diary, he stumbled into Hitler himself who was signing autographs at a rally. Hitler took the Diary in his hands and skimmed through its pages. Assuming the posture of a German officer, Indy stood at attention. Hitler signed the diary and handed it back, not recognizing that it was the item sought by his men. After leaving Berlin, father and son studied the diary on their way to Hatay.
Behind the scenes
The Grail Diary is actually a detailed movie prop created especially for the film. It contained several sketches, illustrations and notes, as well as some 'inserts' kept by Henry (like a dollar bill, dated 1899, the year his son was born). The text on the diary is mainly unreadable on-screen however detailed scans and photos of some of its pages can be seen in the visual guides. In reality, much of the text was taken from the real life-book The Grail: Quest for the Eternal (ISBN 0824500350) by John Matthews.
A minimalistic replica of the diary was included as part of the package of the Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Graphic Adventure video game which served as copy protection. A more faithful version of the movie prop was released as part of the Limited Edition Collector's Set of Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures on Blu-ray which also included select pages from The Lost Journal of Indiana Jones.
The Grail diary prop currently resides in the Hollywood Museum (housed in the Max Factor building) in Los Angeles, California.
- Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (First appearance)