Notebooks of note

I saw many notebooks last week at the stationery show. These from Albertine Press were among my favorites: barely bigger than an index card, with letterpress-printed covers, and motifs that make me happy. Might a notebook this neat and petite inspire me to make my notes in one place, rather than on every kuhnceivable scrap? Maybe. I’m a big fan of writing things down, but I like to type them. But this is beside the point, which is that in the past twelve hours, I have become fascinated by former Senator Bob Graham’s notebooks and the scrupulosity with which he has recorded his life in them for decades.

Here is a link to an excellent blogopsis at Boing Boing about the in-depth report by Gary Wolf at Quantified Self about The Notebooks – complete with a video of Rachel Maddow’s recent MSNBC “Dear Diary” segment. Four minutes into her report, she segues to Katie Couric’s interview several years ago with Bob Graham, about his notebook habit.

I am writing around the political particulars, to draw your attention to the notion of a humble handwritten primary source document – almost a “note to self” – being used to contradict high-level, high-techumented assertions. Anyway, the actual notebooks are nothing to write home about – but Bob Graham fills a new one every couple of days. Where, you wonder, does he keep his almost 4,000 finished ones? At the University of Florida Library of Florida History. I will close with a Chinese proverb: The palest ink is better than the best memory. Want to write it down?

Alyson Kuhn, the Editor of Felt & Wire, thanks her friend Wm. M. Senkus, the ultimate alphabetilatelist, for bringing this news story to her attention.

Photography: Donna Mugavero


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