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Erasable Paper from 1609 (1609)


The Companie of Stationers in London published Robert Triplet's Writing Tables with a Kalendar for XXXIII Yeeres.

In May 2011 it was my pleasure to see the unique recorded copy of this ephemeral publication at an exhibit on diaries at the Morgan Library & Museum. Their exhibition note card read as follows:

"This rare copy of a renaissance portable calendar—a precursor to the pocket diary—includes blank pages that were specially treated with a coating of gesso and glue. Notes could be made on the go with a simple silverpoint stylus (no clunky pen and ink required!) and later wiped away. On the printed page shown, instructions are provided for erasing and rewriting: 'Take a little peece of spunge on a Linnecloath, being cleane without any soyle: wet it in water' and 'wipe that you have written very lightly and it will out, and within one quarter of a hower you may write in the same place againe.' "

ESTC System No. 006200615; ESTC Citation No. S95932. STC (2nd ed) 26050.8.  

ESTC System No. 006200616 cites a unique recorded copy of one presumably earlier, but undated edition of this, at the Bodleian Library, Oxford, for which the estimated date is 1602.

Curiously, when I wrote this note in May 2011 the ESTC missed the point of the gesso and glued blank pages describing them in both records as "Includes chalked and sized pieces of board the size of the book’s leaves, apparently intended to offer a firm surface upon which to write. Not included in pagination or signatures."