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 […]

Boorum and Pease Brown Taped-Spine Notebook

A reader recently wrote to me with the following question: “I have been looking for a particular kind of notebook for quite some time. I see them more in movies than anything, and examples include JFK and the most recent Captain America movie (see pic below). It’s very similar to the one you have posted […]

Old Roaring Spring Notebooks

This is just a small part of an article in which Paul Zahl talks about the movie Super 8: Recently I came across ten little notebooks, notebooks for a person’s breast pocket, which I used for my to-do lists during the Winter and Spring of 1972-1973. I was a recent college graduate and quite confused, […]

David Wojnarowicz’s Journals

I love seeing artist’s notebooks, especially ones like this with notes about how the artist is working out an idea as opposed to just sketches. Below is a journal page by David Wojnarowicz, a controversial artist who died of AIDS in 1992. (If you want to learn more about him and the 1980s East Village […]

Random Notebooks from My Collection

Here’s a few things I pulled out of one of my storage boxes, about half of which is filled with childhood notebooks from the late ’70s to mid-’80s. First, a small orange looseleaf notebook. I was probably in about 6th grade when I decided to devote it to Astronomy and colored the cover with a […]

Early 1980s “Comp” Pocket Memo Notebooks

Here’s a notebook that I liked so much, I had to buy three of them. I still love the concept of these: the look of a composition book in a different size. I’ve always loved the black and white patterned covers of the traditional composition book, but I have not usually wanted to use something […]

An Unusual 1980s Spiral Notebook

This notebook is one of the gems of my collection because I’ve never seen anything else quite like it. I must have bought this in the early 80s, at one of the various five-and-ten stores in my area. It’s just a generic mass-produced notebook. But this cover just fascinates me! There is something so weird […]

Happy Valentine’s Day!

This seemed like an appropriate notebook for today: Actually, the contents of this notebook are anything but romantic. My mother gave it to me in 1981 and asked me to keep a diary while she was away for a couple of weeks, helping her sister with a newborn baby. I dutifully chronicled everything I did, […]

Mid-1980s Vernon McMillan Notebook

Here’s an oldie but goodie, which I used during my freshman year of college: It was made by the Vernon McMillan company, based in Elizabeth, New Jersey. The “Memo Book” typography is pretty cool… and check out that snazzy, wave-like VM logo! I love the mottled orange cover– I don’t know if there’s a name […]

Memorandum Book Made by Northern Central Co., Milwaukee

Another notebook that was probably manufactured in the late 1970s to early 1980s: a slim lined memorandum book by the Northern Central Co. of Milwaukee. The cover has a textured fake-leather look, but it’s just glossy card stock, stamped in gold foil. Dig that cool logo on the front! I didn’t use very many pages […]