Sara’s Picks December 2020

Commonplace book


This commonplace book is an accumulation of various artworks, poetry, and quotations. It reminds me of my own journals in which I have recorded things or have affixed images and clippings that I want to remember and keep together in one place.

I think it is important to record the words or images that resonate with each of us personally, as they are something to look back on when we need encouragement or a reminder of the things that matter to us.

As cooler days of late fall and early winter approach, you can use many brightly colored flowers captured in stunning lithographic detail in this book as a reminder of the brightness and new life that will return in only a few more months. Something to look forward to as we reflect on the closing of this year of many changes and challenges.

Scrapbook and ledger, 1863-1865


Scrapbooks are always fascinating to me.  As you flip through the pages, you can see a variety of clippings, either as words or images.  One might wonder why those particular items stood out to the book’s creator. This week’s selection is no exception.  Found within the book are newspaper clippings, humorous poems, and anecdotes, which can be interpreted as life lessons to be learned.   I continually wonder about the person who created and saved such books.

Letter:  Eunice to Carrie Kummer, 1887


This correspondence between cousins is an excellent example of a writing style used over 155 years ago in order to conserve precious paper—crossed letter writing.  In order to use this method, the writer fills the page vertically and rotates the paper perpendicularly to fill the page with text horizontally.

It can be challenging to read, due to crosswise text along writing in cursive.  In order to read this text, you will have to rotate the page accordingly.  After a little practice, you will be surprised at how easy it becomes to decipher these documents.

Ledger:  Allan Farquhar in account with Sandy Spring Store, 1906-1910


This account book shows the personal tab for Allan Farquhar with the Sandy Spring Store.  Dated from a little over 100 years ago, it is interesting to see the items that he consistently purchased.  Because the purchases included food and household items, it is easy to imagine how these items were used on a daily basis and to envision what life was like at that time.