The new thing that I learned this past week about Jefferson which I found most fascinating was the portable notebooks he used to write down short notes. Jefferson keep detailed notebooks on items such as his buildings, the weather, his plants, etc. but he did not carry around all of these books with him during the day. Instead, he carried a small notebook made of small pieces of ivory.
|Jefferson's ivory notebooks - Monticello Visitor Center - July 2012|
These portable notebooks were tiny but folded out like a deck of cards. Jefferson wrote notes on the ivory with a pencil and then transferred the notes to his more permanent record books at home. He would wipe the pencil marks off the ivory and start with a clear notebook the next day.
The visitors center at Monticello has two of these ivory notebooks from Jefferson on display and I have included a picture with this post.
I find these very interesting and inquired about any replica notebooks that could be purchased. No one knew of any replicas but Jacqueline Langholtz, a member of the Monticello education staff, told me they once created replicas for the learning center and suggested that use old piano keys to make a replica. I think I will try to make a replica of the notebooks this summer to use in my class. If anyone has about 5 or 6 old piano keys let me know and will incorporate them in my project.
Link : Official Monticello Website reference to the ivory notebooks
Link : Library of Congress - Picture of ivory notebooks
Link : Reference to Ben Franklin possibly using similar notebooks