I had an enquiry the other day about someone’s commonplace book. What was that? According to Wikipedia:
a commonplace book is ” Commonplace books (or commonplaces) are a way to compile knowledge, usually by writing information into books. …. Such books are essentially scrapbooks filled with items of every kind: recipes, quotes, letters, poems, tables of weights and measures, proverbs, prayers, legal formulas. Commonplaces are used by readers, writers, students, and scholars as an aid for remembering useful concepts or facts. Each one is unique to its creator’s particular interests but they almost always include passages found in other texts, sometimes accompanied by the compiler’s responses. ”
When I read this I remembered that I grew up doing this in primary school. I wonder where they are now?
They are neither diary nor journal. The two examples in this blog will have some of the author’s own musings and writings in them.
Thomas Clifford’s commonplace book (NLA MS1097 – item 42) houses all manner of information:
It is actually a great way to remember things. Indeed, as a bookbinding teacher I now deliberately leave information out of any notes I give; I recommend to my students that they add in information as a way of retaining it.
Here are some of the things Clifford wrote in the book:
On the endpapers I found this pot watermark
This is Nettie Palmer’s commonplace book of a much later period 1907-1936 (NLA MS 6531)
According to the catalogue, this is a notebook in which
“she transcribed favourite pieces of poetry, extracts of prose writing, brief diary entries and personal reminisciences for the period 1907-1910, 1913-1914, 1918-1921 and 1936. Loose clippings, a drawing and manuscript notes inserted.”
I remember writing all sorts of notes. Maybe you could try as well.