i was a little overwhelmed before my midterm this morning so i went into the bookstore for some quiet time and to buy a new water bottle. lo and behold they were having a storewide sale of 50% off everything 😱 so of course my dumbass had to pick up a few things lolol (water bottle, notebook, and 400-sheet sticky note cube all for $10! so good!)
it’s true that university bookstores are a load of shit, but it doesn’t hurt to take a peek sometimes. happy friday everyone!
Discovered: A School Composition Notebook from 1881
My husband and I own a rather old house for the city we live in, Denver. Our house was built in 1888 and we’ve had a bit of fun trying to fix it up, or as I like to call it, “undoing the years of bad decisions.” It’s an old Victorian though you wouldn’t know it. Someone covered up the brick exterior with ugly paneling and dropped the ceilings down from nearly 11 feet to 8. Plus all the old windows are gone and the layout is a bit wonky now.
Nonetheless, we love it. My Dad is a general contractor and he’s been incredibly helpful with various projects thus far. Today, we decided to mark out where the recessed lighting would go in the kitchen and bathroom. As my husband and brother cut out holes they found a lot of newspaper stuck in the rafters. This wasn’t surprising as newspaper was used to fill extra space and provide additional insulation and I’ve seen it before on my Dad’s other construction sites.
But here’s where it gets cool. My husband found a school composition notebook from 1881. There were various lessons and prompts as well as space for the owner to write. The book belonged to Lois Ashard, a fifteen year old student in Denver. After a bit of sleuthing and signing up for ancestry.com’s free trial (need to unsubscribe before I get billed!) I’ve learned the following:
Lois was born around 1865 in Colorado and was the eldest of five children. Both parents were born and raised in New York. In 1888 Lois married John William Beeson and they had seven children together, though one died in infancy. Lois Ashard Beeson does not show up in the U.S. Census again until 1920 where I discovered she was living in California and widowed. John died in 1917. Lois died in 1933. Most of her children did not marry and there is scant information on their lives minus birth certificates and a few draft cards from WWI.
I plan to clean up the notebook as best I can and will upload it in its entirety to Tumblr. I am fascinated by the curriculum and can’t wait to use this as a primary source in my AP U.S. History class this year. It’s extra cool because Lois was 15 when she completed this notebook, the exact same age as my AP students.
I’ve already gotten multiple asks about how I did the elastic on my notebooks. For the record, I actually meant to post that picture on my study blog. Whoops.
What you need:
something to write with (I used a sharpie)
3/8″ black elastic (you can use any width/color but that’s just what I used)
something to cut the cardboard with (I used a razor blade, if you have an xacto knife, use it)
cutting mat or cardboard
What to do:
Note: I slid my elastic through the slit on the *inside* of the back cover- it would honestly be better if you slide your elastic through the slit front the *outside*
Aight, you’re gonna start off by measuring 1″ from the top edge of your notebook down. Make a dot and keep it relatively close to the edge of the book- I promise it makes the next step easier. Repeat on the bottom.
Line your ruler up with the dot you just made. You’re going to measure 2 and 1/2″ in from the edge of the book.
Make a line that is 3/8″(or the length of your elastic) wide. Note: the width of this line is about 1/10″. Don’t bother measuring, you just want a thin box
Now you cut out the boxes with some kind of blade. I don’t have a cutting mat so I put a piece of cardboard underneath my notebook. Don’t sweat it if you cant cut a straight line (I couldn’t either)- your elastic should fit through the slit regardless.
Slip one end of your elastic through either slit and staple 2x- make sure your staples are parallel. DO NOT CUT YOUR ELASTIC YET!!!
Take your elastic and stretch it around the front your book and to the other slit in the back. Make sure to not stretch it so tight that the elastic wont be able to stretch around the cover.
cut yo string
Last step. Unwrap your elastic and bring it to the back cover of your book. Slip the unstapled end through the remaining slit, making sure that your elastic is not twisted. Staple the same as you did in step 4. Ta da! You’re done!