Artists’ Diaries at the Smithsonian

I was in Washington DC over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, and thanks to a tip from a reader, I went to one of the Smithsonian museums to see a cool little exhibit on artists’ diaries: A Day in the Life: Artists’ Diaries from the Archives of American Art. It’s not a huge exhibition, and the […]

In Search of Notebooks: Paris and Amsterdam

I recently took a trip to Paris and Amsterdam. Searching for notebooks wasn’t the sole purpose of the trip, of course, but I did a better job than usual of preparing for the journey with some research on places to buy notebooks. In Amsterdam, I had less time to devote to stationery shopping, as I’d […]

From the In-Box

Catching up on various tips  and questions people have sent in! From S, a link to an old episode of Fresh Air Weekend: ‘Let’s Explore': David Sedaris On His Public Private Life: The best-selling author and humorist has kept journals for 36 years. Those diaries have been the jumping-off point for the personal essays that […]

Julien “Seth” Malland’s Art

I came across some really interesting work by an artist called Julien “Seth” Malland. He seems to have done graffiti art in Paris, as well as other paintings and collages in notebooks, such as the one below. It looks like an old ledger, which he’s partially covered and painted over, incorporating the old handwriting into […]

Rosa Bonheur Sketchbook

I love the random things I sometimes find from online archives, usually via Google alerts. This one is from the Getty Research Institute: Rosa Bonheur Sketchbook, 1847   Title: Rosa Bonheur sketchbook, 1847. Author/Creator: Bonheur, Rosa, 1822-1899. Creation Date: 1847. Physical Desc.: 1 sketchbook Summary: The sketchbook contains studies of plants, peasants, farm tools, decorative […]

Facsimile of John Wilkes Booth’s Diary

Wow, this is really cool– an amazingly detailed reproduction of the diary of John Wilkes Booth, reproducing all the interior pages, and housed in a painstakingly crafted leather exterior. I love how it’s a wallet and notebook all in one, with lots of handy pockets.   Lots more photos at I have a Booth diary! […]

From Readers

Paul sent photos of this fascinating eBay find: a one-month diary from 1887. I’ve never seen this kind of promotional diary covering only one month!   Anastasija from Macedonia invites you to visit her Etsy shop called Eleusa, where she sells handmade journals and other items:   Marush from Guatemala has a line of notebooks […]

A Notebook Full of Colors

This is so cool… an artist hand-wrote and painted this book in an attempt to document every color in the world:   “In 1692 an artist known only as “A. Boogert” sat down to write a book in Dutch about mixing watercolors. Not only would he begin the book with a bit about the use […]

A 15th Century Sketchbook

Interesting– you don’t usually hear the term “sketchbook” applied to things this old. I think back then paper was a more valuable commodity and wasn’t used as much for practicing and doodling, as some of these pages seem to have been. Or else those rough pages just didn’t survive, and were perhaps erased and re-used. […]

French Factory Worker’s Notebook

Isn’t this a lovely old notebook? Seems to be phone numbers and assorted jottings kept by a guard named Andre who worked at a now-defunct Renault factory, from what I was able to translate of the website where I found it. “Prenez un bleu et suivez moi à travers le carnet de André. Lui était […]