OSU Navigation Bar

The Ohio State University

University Libraries


Bellingham's signature - Click here to return to homepage. A Seventeenth Century Commonplace Book


Recently, historians and literary scholars have shown renewed interest in commonplace books. Scholars have identified this genre of composition as intensely personal, like a diary. Therefore they have studied such books for insights into the minds of individuals. But what if more than one person contributed to a commonplace book?

This site allows you to explore the seventeenth-century English manuscript, Henry Bellingham's Book. It represents the work of several authors engaging with many subjects, such as political philosophy and science. Although you cannot read it for insights into the mind of Sir Henry Bellingham (its first owner), you can read it for evidence of the "spirit of the times," intellectual life, the circulation of of ideas, and the interaction of manuscript and printed texts in the mid-seventeenth century.

What do you think is most important or interesting about this manuscript?

Historical Context navigation button. About the manuscript navigation button. About this project navigation button. Suggested reading navigation button. Read the manuscript navigation button. Read the manuscript navigation button.