(I've documented the heck out of this one as I think it's so extraordinary; photos don't show every page but I could't help but to include a lot!)
As you can see, I've had an eye out lately for 19th century school notebooks, both math and calligraphy, all of which I find exquisitely beautiful. But this I think is even more spectacular--a manuscript known as a "commonplace book," common in the 1800s, especially among students, readers and scholars, as means of compiling knowledge and texts of interest. This one belonged to a George Birkenheld, who we know from a couple of letters tucked in a marbled paper pouch at the front of the book, received a Bachelor of Science from the University of London and, as of June 17, 1865, had been accepted to the University to pursue his Doctor of Science degree there.
On most every page are gorgeous Fraktur headers/titles, becoming more ornate as he goes along, and incorporating different colors of ink. Quite a variety of poems and exerpts of all manner of texts, plus several pages of alphabets in various fonts at the front. Handily, at the end of his book, he created an index of its pages. More page by page detail of contents below. In addition to being extremely beautiful, I think it’s quite a significant document as a portrait of what a young scholar was reading in 1865!
8 1/4" x 6 3/4. 44 pages (1 pg = front and back), a few filled on both sides but most on front side only (he numbered each page front and back for a total of 88 pp.) (I might be tempted to carefully cut a few of the alphabets out to frame, but it's so nice to have all the texts together.) Bound in a simple black pebbled morocco binding, with marbled paper end papers. Two letters + 1865 Liverpool Free Library & Museum Syllabus/Lecture Schedule tucked into the front pocket. Very very good condition, with the ink dark, clear and very readable. JUST FANTASTIC!!!
Pages 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 contain the record of various kinds of handwriting to be used in the book with complete alphabetic examples of each.
Pages 11 and 12. Containg "Learning" by Pope and Instances of Patience. Original Extracts from Isaac Newton, Dr Hough of Worcester, and the Duke of Marlborough.
Pages 13 - 17. A Cure for a Recent Scald [from the Gentleman's Magazine; including an historical account]
Page 18. Recipes for Rheumatic. Wonderful two stanza poem, appears original; not traced elsewhere. Begins "When rheumatic pains prevail, Take three pints of good old ale."
Page 19. The Picture of Good Manner [Account of Sir William Gooch, "Sir William Gooch returned the salute of a negro, who was passing by about his master's business. Sir, said the gentleman, does your honour descend so far as to salute a slave? Why yes. I cannot suffer a man of his condition to exceed me in good manners., etc."]. Also, On a Drunkard.
Page 20. Another Drunkard.
Pages 20 - 27. Honesty the Best Policy. Later in Charles Buck, Religious and Moral Anecdote. Original source unknown.
Pages 29, 31. Health. Begins, "O blessed health! Thou art above all gold."
Page 31. Resignation. by John Byrom
Page 33. The Wish. by Maria Falconar.
Page 35. Scan the Watch's Memento. Also. An Estimate of Religion by Byrom. And The Contrast.
Page 37 and 39.. Scraps of Horace the Heathen Poet. Paraphrase and Reflection by Isaac Watts
Page 41. Humility by Sterne. Faith, Hope, and Love by Byrom [this was a much-loved poem of Spurgeon's]
Page 43. "English Ingenuity." and "On Time."
Page 45. The Beau and the Bedlamite. by Charles Wesley
Page 47. The Winter's Day.
Page 49 - 53. On the Life of Man. by Isaac Watts
Page 53. The Hazard of Tomorrow
Page 55. On Being Asked What is the Greatest Blessing on Earth. And. Reflections over a Pipe of Tobacco and a Pinch of Snuff.
Page 57. An Account of Sir Walter Raleigh on Beer and Tobacco. And. Versus Taken with Little Variation from the Tombstone of Margaret Scott, who died at Dalkeith, Four Miles from Edinburgh. 1738.
Page 59. The Sailor's Petition.
Page 61 - 63. Potters Field. And. Elegant Epigram. Ink faded on the latter.
Page 65. Smart Reply. And. On Scandal.
Page 67. The Secrety of Being Always Easy.
Page 69. Infidel Wit Repelled.
Page 71. The Man of the World and the Christian. And. Fine Courage.
Page 73 - 75. Mahomet's Charge. A Tale. by William Cowper.
Page 75. The Chinese Mandarin.
Page 77 - 79. The Jester's Surprise. And. Exercise, Recreation, &c.
Page 81. Against Lewdness. by Isaaac Watts
Page 83. The Interest of the Poor
Page 85 - 87. A Sermon on the Word Wait.