Ann Blair

Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor

Writing tables with a Kalendar for xxiiii yeres
London, 1581

People have been jotting down notes since the invention of writing, but we know little about this mundane activity because notes are so often treated as temporary. This unusual book was likely of use to a merchant in Elizabethan England. It offers printed information needed for business and travel, including a 24-year calendar, distances between cities, details about coins and weights, but also prayers and a history of the kings of England. In the middle of the book a few pages have been specially treated so that they offer a hard blank surface on which to write with the stylus stored in the binding. The opening shown here features instructions on how to erase writing on those pages with a bit of moisture, so they could be reused. 

3 L x 4.25 W x 1 Th (in)
STC 26049.8. From the library of William Augustus White, 1941

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Ann Blair speaks about the Writing tables