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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

18th century planners

I'm reading a fascinating book called The Accidental Diarist: A History of the Daily Planner in America by Molly McCarthy. I was especially interested in the very beginnings of what we would call a planner. Back then it was used more as a memo book and to record expenses.

The earliest forms of them were from the mid 1700's and had a dated weekly format that is similar to a Moleskine weekly notebook, with dated spaces on one side and the other ruled for financial tracking.

This article has photos of a similar book, from 1796. These little books were meant to be carried with you at all times to record expenses and make note of significant events of the day.

This time was before the big diary boom of the 19th century when keeping a diary was fashionable on both sides of the pond. These little memo books were less about personal reflection and more about straight record-keeping, although according to the book some personal reflection did occur.

I'm fascinated by these beginnings of planners! I would love to see something like this in person.


  1. Laurie, amazing and thank you for sharing! Does the book have any pictures or does she only give written details?

    1. There are several pictures in the book, very neat to see the earliest planners. Well worth a read.

    2. I'm a sucker for pictures! Definitely have to put this on my list of wants.

  2. This book has been on my list for a couple of years, and I just never seem to get around to it. I'll definitely have to make a point to read it soon!

  3. Very cool! Just added this to my to-read list, and the article on the Folger blog is fascinating.

  4. Laurie, am about halfway through the book. It's been remarkably helpful in clarifying my own needs in a planner. It would be quite helpful to have a portion of one's daily carry devoted to accounts. Anyway, thanks for the lead - I'm loving the book.


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