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Early-19th century French perpetual calendar and pocket notebook

  • A rare French perpetual calendar and pocket notebook published in the late 1830s, a remarkable survival of such a fragile and ephemeral item.

    The perpetual calendar is printed on the notebook’s upper cover (which also features an attractive port scene), and is adjusted by moving two paper strips, one printed with the days of the week and the other with the names of the months followed by the number of days in each. The rear cover is decorated with a neo-Gothic architectural design and a list of clothing types and household linens that were presumably for sale with the vender from which this notebook was obtained, perhaps as a promotional item. Unfortunately, the space where the prices should be printed is covered by the label described below. The notebook itself comprises twenty pages of which four are of a stiff, possibly waxed, material that could be easily cleaned (”s'efface facilement”) by slightly wetting a cloth (“mouillé légèrement un chiffon”), as described in a pencilled label on the rear cover.

    Of particular interest, this notebook has been almost completely filled with contemporary manuscript notes dated 1838, 1839 and 1840, mainly personal or household accounts, with prices paid for items such as butter, cakes, liquorice pats, a small bottle of phosphorus or phosphoric acid (“petite bouteille phosphorique”), a skein of black thread (”écheveau de fil noir”) and a small round mirror (”petit miroir rond”). Interestingly, on one of the last filled pages, dated 1840, are recorded payments for “un almanach de France” for 50 centimes and “1 astrologue Picard” for 40. On the inside rear cover someone, possibly a child, has sketched a French naval officer and written out the Jesuit motto “ad majuum dei gloriam” — “To the greater Glory of God”.

  • [France, c. late 1830s].

    10 leaf notebook of which 2 leaves are of a special stiff paper that can be erased with the application of a damp cloth. Bound with a single staple and green thread. Original green paper wrappers printed with a perpetual calendar, port scene, and decorative architectural designs. The calendar is operated by sliding two matching paper strips, printed with the days of the week and the month, through slots in the cover. Small paper label affixed to the lower wrapper with a note in pencil. Manuscript notes in pencil to 13 of the interior pages (including all four of the erasable pages), and a pencil drawing of a naval officer and the phrase “ad majuum Dei gloriam” on the inside of the lower wrapper. Wrappers a little rubbed and toned with a couple of tiny chips and some short splits at the edges, some creases to the calendar strips. Very good condition.

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