Commonplace Books

The Innovative Journaling facebook group was discussing reading old diaries, corespondance etc. One member asked if anyone looked at or knew about commonplace books. This was a new topic. So I Googled it. I finally have a name for my notebooks. Although my humble little notebooks are not as exact as those historical gems.

According to Wikpedia: Commonplace books are a way to compile knowledge, usually by writing information into books. Such books are essentially scrapbooks filled with items of every kind …

These books were kept by everybody and used as a learning tool. They recorded the mundane to the fantastical. Quotes, scriptures, medical information, anything the author thought was important to remember. I am sure family and genealogy records were kept in them as well. Imagine the historical value these books have for society at large as well as the personal value of being able to look back at Great, great, great, grandma’s recipe for making soap or candles.

That would be an incredible connection from the present to the past. Being able to step back in time to see what your ancestors or historical figures would have considered important and to see what kind of personality would have come through. These books were scrapbooks, textbooks, and unique to the individual that penned it. There are websites that have digital copies of the commonplace books. Harvard, the Library of Congress, and I think I saw something for Stanford. If you have any interest in the historical I urge you to check these treasures out.

Cheers, james

 

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