Henry Tiffin's Commonplace Book

So, notebooks, art journaling (ooh horrible phrase), scrapbooking (another horrible phrase - turning a noun into a verb, sometimes I understand called 'verbing', itself a crime against English, is generally an etymological disaster), and, in medieval times, zibaldone - more here. Also, as well as being around in the 13th & 14th centuries, they've been going ever since:

"In his book A Letter of Advice to a Young Poet, Jonathan Swift advocated the use of commonplace books. According to Swift:

A common-place book is what a provident poet cannot subsist without, for this proverbial reason, that “great wits have short memories;” and whereas, on the other hand, poets being liars by profession, ought to have good memories. To reconcile these, a book of this sort is in the nature of a supplemental memory; or a record of what occurs remarkable in every day’s reading or conversation. There you enter not only your own original thoughts, (which, a hundred to one, are few and insignificant) but such of other men as you think fit to make your own by entering them there."

More can be found here by Barbara Pero Kampas at the blog of the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum (who knew?). Beautiful stuff. 


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