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The Nature of Notebooks: How Enlightenment Schoolchildren Transformed the Tabula Rasa

  • Matthew Daniel Eddy


John Locke's comparison of the mind to a blank piece of paper, the tabula rasa, was one of the most recognizable metaphors of the British Enlightenment. Though scholars embrace its impact on the arts, humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences, they seldom consider why the metaphor was so successful. Concentrating on the notebooks made and used by the schoolchildren of Enlightenment Scotland, this essay contends that the answer lies in the material and visual conditions that gave rise to the metaphor's usage. By the time students had finished school, they had learned to conceptualize the pages, the script, and the figures of their notebooks as indispensable learning tools that could be manipulated by scores of adaptable folding, writing, and drawing techniques. In this article, I reveal that historicizing the epistemology and manipulability of student manuscript culture makes it possible to see that the success of Locke's metaphor was founded on its appeal to everyday note-keeping activities performed by British schoolchildren.

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1 Pasanek, Brad, Metaphors of Mind: An Eighteenth-Century Dictionary (Baltimore, 2015), 227–48.

2 Pasanek, Metaphors of Mind, 205–26.

3 Douglas, Aileen, Work in Hand: Script, Print, and Writing, 1690–1840 (Oxford, 2017); Thornton, Tamara Plakins, Handwriting in America: A Cultural History (New Haven, 1998).

4 Te Heesen, Anke, “The Notebook: A Paper-Technology,” in Making Things Public, Atmospheres of Democracy, ed. Latour, Bruno and Weibel, Peter (Cambridge, 2005), 582–89; Grafton, Anthony, “The Republic of Letters in the American Colonies: Francis Daniel Pastorius Makes a Notebook,” American Historical Review 117, no. 1 (February 2012): 139, at 23 and 39.

5 Here I am referring specifically to the epistemological variations of print culture revealed and historicized in Johns, Adrian, The Nature of the Book: Print and Knowledge in the Making (Chicago, 1998). For the epistemological foundations of note-keeping, see Rheinberger, Hans-Jörg, “Scrips and Scribbles,” MLN 118, no. 3 (April 2003): 622–36; Hoffmann, Christoff, “Processes on Paper: Writing Procedures as Non-Material Research Devices,” Science in Context 26, no. 2 (June 2013): 279303.

6 Yeo, Richard, Notebooks, English Virtuosi, and Early Modern Science (Chicago, 2014). For the long-standing relationship between memory and graphic culture, see Draaisma, Douwe, Metaphors of Memory: A History of Ideas about the Mind (Cambridge, 2000).

7 Ferguson, Stephen, “Systems and Schema, Tabulae of the Fifteenth to Eighteenth Centuries,” Princeton University Library Chronicle 49, no. 1 (Autumn 1987): 930.

8 Perry, William, The Royal Standard Dictionary (Edinburgh, 1775), 373.

9 Baxandall, Michael, Patterns of Intention: On the Historical Explanation of Pictures (New Haven, 1985), esp. 13.

10 The contemporary term used to describe students of this age was “youth”; see s.v., “youth, n.,” Oxford English Dictionary Online,, accessed 1 November 2017.

11 For further information on the other kinds of notebooks made by Scottish children (a number of them cited later in this essay), see Matthew Daniel Eddy, “The Child Writer: Graphic Literacy and the Scottish Educational System, 1700–1820,” History of Education 45, no. 6 (November 2016): 695–718.

12 For Locke's impact on Scottish pedagogy, see Eddy, Matthew Daniel, “The Cognitive Unity of Calvinist Pedagogy in Enlightenment Scotland,” in Reformed Churches Working Unity in Diversity, ed. Kovács, Ábrahám (Budapest, 2016), 4660.

13 Steven, William, History of the High School of Edinburgh (Edinburgh, 1849); Morrison, William, ed., Memorabilia of the City of Perth (Perth, 1806).

14 Most of the notebooks I use are housed in the special collections of the National Library of Scotland (hereafter NLS), Edinburgh City Archive (hereafter ECA), and Edinburgh University Library (hereafter EUL).

15 Early modern manuscript textbooks are discussed throughout Knoles, Thomas, Kennedy, Rick, and Knoles, Lucia Zaucha, eds., Student Notebooks at Colonial Harvard: Manuscripts and Educational Practice, 1650–1740 (Worcester, MA, 2003).

16 Howell, William Huntting, Against Self-Reliance: The Arts of Dependence in the Early United States (Philadelphia, 2015).

17 The printed textbooks used to teach these topics are discussed in Law, Alexander, Education in Edinburgh in the Eighteenth Century (Edinburgh, 1960); Wilson, Duncan Kippen, The History of Mathematical Teaching in Scotland to the End of the Eighteenth Century (London, 1935).

18 The epistemological possibilities of paper tools are foregrounded in Friedman, Michael and Schäffner, Wolfgang, “On Folding: Introduction of a New Field of Interdisciplinary Research,” in On Folding: Towards a New Field of Interdisciplinary Research, ed. Friedmann, and Schäffner, (Bielefeld, 2016), 730; Eric Livingston, Ethnographies of Reason (London, 2008), 89–107. For early modern paper objects, see te Heesen, Anke, The Newspaper Clipping: A Modern Paper Object (Manchester, 2014), 1531.

19 Locke, John, Some Thoughts Concerning Education, 12th ed. (Edinburgh, 1752), 324.

20 For the historical importance of paper as a form of information management, see Gitelman, Lisa, Paper Knowledge: Toward a Media History of Documents (Durham, 2014).

21 For Scottish paper and publications industries, see Waterston, Robert, “Further Notes on Early Paper Making near Edinburgh,” Book of the Old Edinburgh Club 27 (1949): 4059; Sher, Richard B., The Enlightenment and the Book: Scottish Authors and Their Publishers in Eighteenth-Century Britain, Ireland, and America (Chicago, 2008).

22 Paper devices were often mentioned by pedagogical authors influenced by John Locke's writings. A prominent Scottish voice on this topic was Home, Henry (Lord Kames), Loose Hints upon Education (Edinburgh: 1781), 6164, 234–35. For the cultural importance of paper in Scotland at this time, see Claire Friend, The Social Life of Paper in Edinburgh, 1750–1820 (PhD diss., University of Edinburgh, forthcoming).

23 Butterworth, Edmund, Universal Penman, or, The Beauties of Writing Delineated (Edinburgh, 1785).

24 Todd, James, The Schoolboy and Young Gentleman's Assistant, Being a Plan of Education (Edinburgh, 1748), 70. Note that, although the “gentlemen” is used in the title, the facts and skills communicated in the book were clearly aimed at middle-class children as well.

25 Robinson, Mairi, ed., The Concise Scots Dictionary (Aberdeen, 1985), 592.

26 Scroll Council Minutes, c. 1682–1875, Bound MSS, ECA; Final Council Minutes, c. 1682–1875, Bound MSS, ECA. The minutes are uncatalogued and must be recalled from an offsite depository.

27 One could possibly argue that Peter Purdie's 1823 school notebook is a scroll book. Its provenance, however, is unknown, making it difficult to say what stage of the note-keeping process it represents. Peter Purdie (Notekeeper), “Mathematics,” 1823, MS 14288, NLS.

28 May, Steven W. and Wolfe, Heather, “Manuscripts in Tudor England,” in A Companion to Tudor Literature, ed. Cartwright, Ken (Chichester, 2010), 125–39; Livingston, Ethnographies of Reason, 89–107.

29 Luckombe, Philip, The History of the Art of Printing (London, 1771), 410–38.

30 Several helpful specimens of pre-bound quires made by students can be found in the Edinburgh High School collection housed in Edinburgh City Archives. For example, see Archibald Cullen, “Translation of English into Latin,” c. 1800, loose-leaf, SL137/9/8, ECA. It consists of several quarto sheets folded into an octavo quire.

31 For the gestalt principles of visual culture, see Arnheim, Rudolf, Art and Visual Perception: A Psychology of the Creative Eye (Berkeley, 2004); Tversky, Barbara, “Visualising Thought,” Topics in Cognitive Science 3, no. 3 (July 2011): 499535.

32 William Erskine, “Latin Exercise Book,” 1784, Bound MS, SL137/9/38, ECA.

33 Walter Scott, “Translations of Latin into English and English into Latin,” c. 1800, loose-leaf sheet, SL137/9/29, ECA; Henry Brougham, “Translation of English Phrases into Latin,” 8 October 1790, loose-leaf sheet, SL137/9/3, ECA. See also the translations of Archibald Cullen that consist of two quarto sheets folded into an octavo booklet of four pages. Cullen, “Translation of English into Latin.”

34 Hamilton, Elizabeth, Letters on the Elementary Principles of Education, vol. 2, 5th ed. (London, 1810), 251–52.

35 The centrality of “conception” is most clearly summarized in the Edinburgh lectures of Stewart, Dugald, Elements of the Philosophy of the Human Mind (Edinburgh, 1792), esp. 132–50.

36 The uses and prices of Scottish paper-books remain relatively understudied. A good indication of their price and popularity are the sales ledgers of the Edinburgh stationer Charles Elliot; see Elliot, “Ledger 1,” 1771–77, John Murray Archive MS 43098, NLS. See also Brown, Stephen W., “Paper Manufacture,” in The Edinburgh History of the Book in Scotland, ed. Brown, Stephen and McDougal, Warren, vol. 2, Enlightenment and Expansion, 1707–1800 (Edinburgh, 2011), 6164.

37 Records of Scottish bookbinders from this period have not survived. William Zachs, “Bindings,” in Brown and McDougal, Edinburgh Book History of Scotland, 2:65–69. For England, see Hill, Jonathan E., “From Provisional to Permanent: Books in Boards, 1790–1830,” Library 21, no. 3 (September 1999): 247–73.

38 The technique of inserting blank pages in early modern books and notebooks was commonly practiced by adults. See Gibson, Jonathan, “Casting Off Blanks: Hidden Structures in Early Modern Paper Books,” in Material Readings of Early Modern Culture, ed. Daybell, James and Hinds, Peter (Basingstoke, 2010), 208–28.

39 The term “paper-book” was used regularly during the eighteenth century to refer to blank, bound writing books. The term “quire” was used to refer to foldings of unbound paper. See the entries for “paper-book” and “quire” in the OED.

40 James Fowler, “Schoolbook of James Fowler,” 1780, Bound MS, MS 14284, NLS. For a set of bound notebooks that were also compendia assembled from a collection of smaller notebooks, see I. M. (Notekeeper), “Perth Academy Notebooks, 3 Volumes,” 1787, Bound MSS, MS 14294-6, NLS.

41 School exercise notebooks were often assembled from collections of paper-books as well. For comparison, see Alexander Kincaid, “Latin Exercise Book,” 1764, Bound MS, SL137/9/37, ECA; kept at Edinburgh High School. The cracked binding reveals that it first consisted of exercises recopied on individual paper-books that were eventually bound together.

42 Eddy, Matthew Daniel, “Tools for Reordering: Commonplacing and the Space of Words in Linnaeus's Philosophia Botanica,” Intellectual History Review 20, no. 2 (June 2010): 227–52.

43 Ong held that topical logic was a mode of classifying that grouped things according to convenient “topics” (Greek: topoi; Latin: loci) and not necessarily according to natural kinds. Ong, Walter J., Ramus, Method, and the Decay of Dialogue: From the Art of Discourse to the Art of Reason (Chicago, 2004).

44 For more on the meaningfulness of folding, see Derrida, Jacques, Paper Machine (Stanford, 2003), 1113.

45 The “machineness” of paper seems to have been recognized in a variety of contexts. Women in colonial America, for example, described the paper fan, a fashionable object at the time, as a “little gay fluttering machine.” Stabile, Susan M., Memory's Daughters: The Material Culture of Remembrance in Eighteenth-Century America (Ithaca, 2004), 155–57.

46 Krajewski, Markus, Paper Machines: About Cards and Catalogues, 1548–1929 (Cambridge, MA, 2011), 7. For the use of slips or sheets as information management devices, see also Müller-Wille, Staffan and Charmantier, Isabelle, “Natural History and Information Overload: The Case of Linnaeus,” Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43, no. 1 (March 2012): 415.

47 Grafton, “The Republic of Letters in the American Colonies.” The comparison of commonplace notebooks to “information-retrieval machines” occurs across pages 5–6. Similar mechanical metaphors occur on page 8 (“information-recovery machine”) and 23 (“information-management machines”).

48 John Black, “Juvenile Poetic Works of John Black,” vol. 2, 1797–98, Bound MS, MS.14233, NLS.

49 de Certeau, Michel, The Practice of Everyday Life (Berkeley, 2011), 134.

50 Richardson, Alan, Literature, Education, and Romanticism: Reading as Social Practice, 1780–1832 (Cambridge, 1994), 127–42; O'Malley, Andrew, The Making of the Modern Child: Children's Literature and Childhood in the Late Eighteenth Century (London, 2003), 86101; Winter, Sarah, The Pleasures of Memory: Learning to Read with Charles Dickens (New York, 2011), chap. 1.

51 Stewart, Elements of Philosophy, 423.

52 Ibid., 441. The order of the written page captured the attention of many Enlightenment educators, including Immanuel Kant at the University of Königsberg. See Kant, , “On the First Ground of the Distinction of Regions in Space,” The Philosophy of Right and Left: Incongruent Counterparts in the Nature of Space, ed. van Cleve, James and Frederick, Robert E. (Dordtrecth, 1991), 2733, esp. 29.

53 James Fowler of Strathpeffer, for instance, turned both the verso and recto pages into one unified module. Fowler, “Schoolbook,” fols. 69v–70r.

54 Saenger, Paul, Space between Words: The Origins of Silent Reading (Stanford, 1997).

55 Goody, Jack, The Domestication of the Savage Mind (Cambridge, 1977), 53.

56 James Dunbar, “A Volume Completed by James Dunbar in 1710 Containing Arithmetic, Introduction to Algebra, and a More Compendious Way of Writeing Than Ordinar Called the Short Hand, Making Use of Farthing's Alphabet,” 1710, Bound MS, Acc. 5706/11, NLS.

57 Higgins, Hannah B., The Grid Book (Cambridge, MA, 2009).

58 Scotland's textbooks are reviewed in Law, Education in Edinburgh; Wilson, History of Mathematical Teaching in Scotland; Michael, Ian, The Teaching of English: From the Sixteenth Century to 1870 (Cambridge, 1987).

59 See the weights and measures conversion tables in the many Edinburgh editions of Fisher, George, The Instructor: Or, Young Man's Best Companion (Edinburgh, 1799). For a representative example, see the tables, pp. 70–80. See also Ramsey, David, The Weaver and Housewife's Pocket-Book (Edinburgh, 1750).

60 Fisher, George, The Instructor; or Young Man's Best Companion (Edinburgh, 1763), 323–27; Hoppus, E., Practical Measuring Made Easy to the Meanest Capacity, 15th ed. (Edinburgh, 1799); Ewing, Alexander, A Synopsis of Practical Mathematics (Edinburgh, 1771); Panton, William, The Tyro's Guide to Arithmetic and Mensuration (Edinburgh, 1771).

61 Grammatical declension schemes occur throughout Adam, Alexander, Rudiments of Latin and English Grammar (Edinburgh, 1786); Ruddiman, Thomas, Rudiments of the Latin Tongue (Edinburgh, 1779). Good examples of geographic tables occur in Fisher, The Instructor (1763), 265–96; Mair, John, A Brief Survey of the Terraqueous Globe (Edinburgh, 1775). All these texts were popular and went through multiple editions.

62 Daston, Lorraine, “Super-Vision: Weather Watching and Table Reading in the Early Modern Royal Society and Academie Royale des Sciences,” Huntington Library Quarterly 78, no. 2 (July 2015): 187215, at 205.

63 Fowler, “Schoolbook,” fols. 52v–53r.

64 For early modern word-based combinatorics, see Yates, Francis A., The Art of Memory (London, 1966); Schmidt-Biggemann, Wilhelm, Topica universalis: Eine Modellgeschichte humanistischer und barocker Wissenschaft (Hamburg, 1983). For an example of combinatorics during the eighteenth century, see Grafton, “The Republic of Letters in the American Colonies,” 25.

65 Dunbar, “A Volume Completed by James Dunbar,” 1710. For further treatment of the Dunbar notebook and its visual context, see Eddy, Matthew Daniel, “The Shape of Knowledge: Children and the Visual Culture of Literacy and Numeracy,” Science in Context 26, no. 2 (June 2013): 215–45.

66 Erskine, “Latin Exercise Book,” 1784. The notebook consists of several quires sewn together inside a paper cover.

67 Moore, D. T. and Beasley, M. A., “The Botanical Manuscripts of Robert Brown,” Archives of Natural History 24, no. 2 (July 2010): 237–80. The letter-writing skills of Scottish women abroad are addressed throughout Rothschild, Emma, The Inner Life of Empires: An Eighteenth-Century History (Princeton, 2011); Jasanoff, Maya, Edge of Empire: Lives, Culture, and Conquest in the East, 1750–1850 (New York, 2006).

68 A helpful summary of quill-making, including the dutching process, is given in the “pens” entry in Daniel Keyte Sandford, Thomas Thomson, and Cunningham, Allan, The Popular Encyclopedia: Being a General Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, Literature, Biography, History, and Political Economy (Glasgow, 1836), 732–35.

69 Many writing instructors demonstrated how to make a pen to their students. For a helpful written account, see the section entitled “Directions How to Make a Pen,” in Lawrie, Andrew, The Merchant Maiden Hospital Magazine (Edinburgh, 1779), 46.

70 Tracers are described and depicted in Barrow, J., A Description of Pocket and Magazine Cases of Mathematical Drawing Instruments (London, 1792).

71 Both quotations are taken from Lawrie, Merchant Maiden Hospital Magazine, 44–46 (emphasis added).

72 The first page of Fisher's Instructor, one of the most popular teaching compendia in Scotland, makes direct connection between the act of observation and the modes through which a child can read the letters of the alphabet. Fisher, Instructor (1763), 1, 5, 61.

73 Grey, Richard, Memoria Technica, or, A New Method of Artificial Memory (London, 1799), 48. Grey explained how the technical line ran between typographic markers that he had developed for the word matrices in his book. The book was a popular text in Lowland Scotland. The classic modern paper on scanpaths is Noto, David and Stark, Lawrence, “Scanpaths in Saccadic Eye Movements while Viewing and Recognizing Patterns,” Vision Research 11, no. 9 (September 1971): 929–42.

74 “Practical Mathematics,” 1804, Bound MS, 14285, fols. 21–22, NLS. It is likely that this notebook was made by a student attending the Perth Academy.

75 Ferguson, “Systems and Schema.”

76 Baxandall, Patterns of Intention; Ingold, Tim, Lines: A Brief History (London, 2007); Daston, Lorraine and Galison, Peter, Objectivity (New York, 2007); Rosand, David, Drawing Acts: Studies in Graphic Expression and Representation (Cambridge, 2002). For the eighteenth-century relationship between drawings (including pre-drawings) and pictorial intelligence, see Alpers, Svetlana and Baxandall, Michael, Tiepolo and the Pictorial Intelligence (New Haven, 1996); Nickelsen, Kärin, Draughtsmen, Botanists and Nature: The Construction of Eighteenth-Century Botanical Illustrations (Dordrecht, 2006).

77 Turnbull, George, Observations upon Liberal Education, in All Its Branches: In Three Parts (London, 1742), 273.

78 Linear concepts such as proportionality, similarity, perpendicularity, and parallelity are mentioned repeatedly in most geometric textbooks. See Douglas, George, The Elements of Euclid (Edinburgh, 1776); Simson, Robert, The Elements of Euclid (Edinburgh, 1781); Scott, William, Elements of Geometry (Edinburgh, 1782); Vilant, Nicolas, The Elements of Mathematical Analysis … and A Synopsis of Book V of Euclid (Edinburgh, 1798); Ingram, Alexander, The Elements of Euclid (Edinburgh, 1799). For an informative look at how the concept of proportionality functioned as a tool in the building of geometric systems, see West, John, Elements of Mathematics: Comprehending Geometry, Mensuration, Conic Sections and Spherics (Edinburgh, 1784), vi–vii.

79 Locke, John, Some Thoughts Concerning Education (London: Churchill, 1693), 184. Franke's use of pictures is discussed in Whitmer, Kelly Joan, The Halle Orphanage as a Scientific Community: Observation, Eclecticism, and Pietism in the Early Enlightenment (Chicago, 2015), 56.

80 Home, Loose Hints upon Education, 235.

81 Locke, John, An Abridgement of Mr. Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding (Edinburgh, 1767), 164.

82 Te Heesen, Anke, The World in a Box: The Story of an Eighteenth-Century Picture Encyclopaedia (Chicago, 2002); Stafford, Barbara Maria, Artful Science: Enlightenment Entertainment and the Eclipse of Visual Education (Cambridge, 1996).

83 Barrow, A Description of Mathematical Drawing Instruments, 6–7.

84 Metrological instruments occur in many gauging and surveying notebooks. For representative specimens, see “Practical Mathematics,” fols. 6, 33, 45.

85 See Fisher, Instructor (1763), and MacGregor, John, A Complete Treatise on Practical Mathematics (Edinburgh, 1792), for representative specimens of the kinds of instruments included on compendia plates.

86 For the cognitive links between using instruments and creating metrological knowledge, see again Livingston, Ethnographies of Reason.

87 My use of the term “tableau” is based on the following studies: Bender, John and Marrinan, Michael, The Culture of Diagram (Stanford, 2010), 1952; CPoggi, hristine, In Defiance of Painting: Cubism, Futurism and the Invention of Collage (New Haven, 1992), 8689.

88 Whitmer, The Halle Orphanage, 54–59.

89 The use of compasses and rulers (straightedges) as tools that generate and sustain an objective world is examined in Livingston, Ethnographies of Reason, 109–20. See also Livingston's analysis of drawing the lines and curves of Euclidean geometry in idem, The Ethnomethodological Foundations of Mathematics (London, 1986).

90 Somerville, Mary, Queen of Science: Personal Reflections of Mary Somerville, ed. McMillan, Dorothy (Edinburgh, 2001), 38.

91 See the figures throughout Fisher, Instructor (1763); Hoppus, Practical Measure Made Easy; Ewing, Synopsis of Practical Mathematics; Panton, Tyro's Guide.

92 Robert Jackson, “Geometry Notebook of Robert Jackson, A Schoolboy,” 1788, Bound MS, MS 9156, fol. 23, NLS.

93 For exemplary specimens used in the Perth Academy natural philosophy course, see I. M. (Notekeeper), “Perth Academy Notebook, Natural Philosophy,” 1787, vol. 3, Bound MS, MS 14296, fols. 56–57, 77–78, 90–91, NLS.

94 Fowler, “Schoolbook,” fol. 134r. “Dialing” was included in many compendia, including Fisher, Instructor (1763), 313–19.

95 Fisher, Instructor (1763), 314–15.

96 Fisher's “dialing” sections are accompanied by a fold-out table of dials. Ibid., 319–21.

97 Fisher advised his readers to cut out his dials, paste them to wood, and then paint them. Further sections explain how to make paint from household items. See ibid.

98 It is worth noting here that the dial occurs at the end of several pages of narrative on various kinds of dialing. Fowler, “Schoolbook,” fols. 123r–133v.

99 Jemima Arrow, “Maps,” 1815, Bound MS, MS14100, NLS.

100 Ibid.

101 Edney, Matthew H., “British Military Education, Mapmaking, and Military ‘Map-Mindedness’ in the Later Enlightenment,” Cartographic Journal 31, no. 1 (June 1994): 1420. See also Withers, Charles W. J., “The Social Nature of Map Making in the Scottish Enlightenment c. 1682–c. 1832,” Imago Mundi 54, no. 1 (January 2002): 4666.

102 A sample of notebooks that treat surveying and gauging include “Practical Mathematics”; “Perth Academy Notebook,” c. 1790, Bound MS, MS 14291, NLS; “Surveying Journal and Accounting Ledger,” 1809–1812, Bound MS, MS 14283, NLS.

103 Surveys of the Perth River occur in notebooks made by Perth Academy students. For two examples, see “A Plan of the North Inch of Perth,” in “Practical Mathematics,” fol. 121, and “N. Inch of Perth,” in “Perth Academy Notebook,” c. 1790, fol. 64v.

104 “Surveying Journal and Accounting Ledger.”

105 Spurr, Stephen H., “George Washington, Surveyor and Ecological Observer,” Ecology 32, no. 3 (July 1951): 544–49.

106 I. M. (Notekeeper), “Perth Academy Notebooks”; “Perth Academy Notebook,” 1780s–90s, Bound MS, MS 14291, NLS.

107 “Perth Academy Notebook,” 1780s–90s.

108 Compare, for example, the leveling figures in Ewing, Alexander, A Synopsis of Practical Mathematics (Edinburgh, 1799), plate 3 and “Practical Mathematics,” fol. 123. Ewing's Synopsis was a popular text in Scotland and had numerous reprintings in the 1790s alone. Ingram, Alexander, The New Seaman's Guide, and Coaster's Companion (Edinburgh, 1800).

109 On the long-standing reciprocal relationship between printed figures and words, see Bredekamp, Horst, Duenkel, Vera, and Schnieder, Birgit, eds., The Technical Image: A History of Styles in Scientific Imagery (Chicago, 2015). For manuscripts, see the captions of the figures in Daston and Galison, Objectivity, 84–98.


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  • Matthew Daniel Eddy


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