Boorum & Pease/Esselte Black Notebooks

Here’s another old-time favorite of mine:


These are pocket sized notebooks made by Boorum & Pease and Esselte in the 1980s, with lined pages and a textured black hard cover. I look at these now and see them as a sort of proto-Moleskine. I was always looking for a nice “little black book,” in a pocket size, with an unadorned cover. For a while in the late 1980s, these were it for me. I just adored them. I still think their size and thickness is very appealing, though I hate all that huge cover overhang, and nowadays I never use lined notebooks since there are more options with plain and squared pages. (If these had been available with squared pages, I would have died and gone to heaven back then.)

It’s interesting that some were made with squared corners, and some round. Quality control was a bit of an issue– you can see that there’s a huge gap in the spine of one of the notebooks– it came that way when new, it’s not just that the pages are coming loose. Some of the paper in these is getting rather brown with age– not acid-free, I’m guessing!

Shown below with a pocket Moleskine and my other ’80s Boorum & Pease notebooks for size comparison:

I haven’t seen these black notebooks in stores in quite a long time, but I’m happy to report that they are still available online! Right here in the Notebook Stories Store: Pocket Size Bound Memo Book, Ruled, 3-1/4 X 5-1/4, White, 72 Sheets

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2 Responses to “Boorum & Pease/Esselte Black Notebooks”

  1. This would probably not be a notebook for me (if they even still make it). I do not like anything smaller than 5×7 in size, even that is a bit too small for me. Looks cool, the way the pages are browning though. Adds a kind of antique look 🙂

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