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Re: Common-Place Books, yet again

"Notes & Queries" although a literary publication seems to cover many=
My set of the Second Series 1856-1861 includes a number of refences i=
n the
index volume to common-place books.  I suspect that most main US refe=
libraries will still have copies on the shelves.

Some scanned extracts are below which may be of interest.   Clearly t=
he idea
has been around for some considerable time.   The book was available =
purchase certainly in Victorian times it seems.

Rodney Fry
<rod.fry@gecm.com >

    =09From Vo. 1, p.303, April 12, 1856
Common-Place Books (1st S. xii. 366. 478.)

In =93Lectures  in Connection with the Educational Exhibition of the =
Society of
Arts=94, delivered at St. Martin's Hall, 8vo., Routledge, 1854, will =
be found an
interesting paper on common-place books, with an account of a new pla=
n with
great merits, of forming a common-place book by gradual accumulation,=
corresponding with the mental process by which sciences are built up.=
" It is
mentioned that fifty loose leaves, ruled, &c., with a stout portfolio=
, for
this plan may be had, with directions, of Messrs. Street, 11, Serle S=
Lincoln's Inn, for one shilling.       J. P.,  Birmingham.
=09From Vol 1, p.487, June 21 1856
         COMMON-PLACE BOOKS. (1st S. xii. 366. 478.)
         2nd S. I. 303.): A GENERAL LITERARY INDEX.
Your correspondent, F. C. H., when he explains an improvement upon Lo=
method for a common-place book, assigns thirty-five years ago as the =
date of
its first appearance. I beg to observe that the plan of a common-plac=
e book
here referred to was published in the third volume of the =93Asiatic
Researches=94, 1792, the author of which John Herbert Harington prefi=
xes the
following useful remarks:
     " If a small margin be left in each folio of the book and
     title indicative word or head be written on it, it will be
     conspicuous, although several heads should be included in
     the same folio; but until it become necessary from there
     being no more remaining folios wholly blank, it is
     advisable to appropriate a separate folio to each head, as by
     this means the several subjects entered are kept more
     distinct, and any additions may be made to the same head without=
 the =09
    trouble of reference to other folios; for
     which purpose it is also advantageous to place the folio
     numbers on the left pages only, leaving the right hand
     pages for a continuation of the subjects entered on the left
     or for remarks thereon, until it become necessary to
     appropriate them to new hands in order to fill the book."
The revival of this plan (perhaps what was intended by your correspon=
appeared in a volume published by Taylor and Walton, entitled =93The =
Diary; or Complete Common-Place Book=94, with an explanation and an a=
lphabet of
two letters on a leaf.  More recently Todd's =93Index Rerum=94 has be=
en published,
intended as a manual to aid the student and the professional man in p=
 himself for usefulness, with an Introduction illustrating its utilit=
y and
method of use.  Mr. Todd proposes that the common-place book, the ver=
y name of
which is associated with drudgery and wearisomeness, should be supers=
eded by
the Index, by which any passage may readily be recalled.

=46rom Vol 2

At p.38, July 12 1856, a correspondent refers to a method he kept 43 =
previously for a common-place book.

In reply, another correspondent on p. 94, Aug.2, 1856 mentions again =
method being adopted in 1792 and an example in "Asiatic Researches", =
vol. iii,
therefore the method is older than the 43 years suggested by the abov=
e.   This
correspondent also refers to the indexing described in Hales' book "G=
Remains", p.234, 1688.

W. Collyns on p. 219, Sept 13 1856, mentions "... an excellent common=
book, paged and ruled, with index, and with short printed instruction=
 for use,
published in 1820, entitled an "Aid to Memory", by J A Sargent; sold =
by Wetton
& Jervis, Paternoster Row,[ London].  It is a thick quarto, and conta=
ins 574
pages, and has a brass lock".=20

Mottoes for a common-place book are suggested on p.327, Oct 25, 1856.

This was supplemented by a later correspondent at p.399, Nov 15 1856,=
four more mottoes, including one from Bacon's "Advancement of Learnin=
1.2.c.16.s.1. where he says "... I hold the entry of common-places to=
 be a
matter of great use...";  but he later in the quote seems to denigrat=
e the
methods of common-places as "... there is none of any sufficient wort=

=46rom Vol 7

This correspondent refers to a ".. Curious MS of the middle of the se=
century in Sion College Library ...   It is an old book containing ep=
jests, poesies, and such things."

There are over two pages of quotations from the book.


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