I'm drawn to different penmanship notebooks for different reasons--often for beautiful handwriting, obviously, but also for the specific words and sentences repeated, which both speak to the specific values being imparted to students when they were written, and resonate in all sorts of ways now. This one, completed by a Lewis Betts of Milton, MA in 1853, predates the teaching of Spencerian calligraphy by a few years, so the handwriting is small and not especially fancy, but the sentences are great--not loaded with the religiosity of the second great awakening, but rather very very much about hard work and good citizenship. Among my favorites here: "Diligent industry is better than lazy genius," "If you are innocent you will have no fear of justice," "Let the duty of the day have no adjournment," "Time well employed will bring a rich reward." I think I will never tire of looking at pages tightly filled with such phrases written over and over and over again like mantras.
8 1/8" x 6 3/4". 14 pp total, 11 of them filled both front and back (22 pages of writing plus one partially completed.) Good condition, some staining/toning here and there, especially on the first page, but ink strong and completely readable all the way through.