COLLECTIONS & RESEARCH

Mary Anning’s Commonplace Book

Cover of Mary Anning's Commonplace Book© On loan from Dorset County Museum which retains copyright and from where permission to publish must be obtained.

This manuscript book was Mary Anning’s own book in which she invited friends to write short pieces for her, hence it is in many different hands. Commonplace books were the forerunner of autograph books, except that entries are often whole poems, prayers or pieces of prose, rather than the signed good wishes of celebrities.

Sample Page from Mary Anning's Commonplace BookThis book mostly contains prayers and indicates Mary’s piety, but it says nothing about her business of fossil collecting. Lyme people were God-fearing and religious at that time and Mary came from a non-conformist tradition at the Coombe Street Independent Chapel, now Dinosaurland, although she became connected with St Michael’s parish church later in her tragically short life.

This book mostly contains prayers and indicates Mary’s piety, but it says nothing about her business of fossil collecting. Lyme people were God-fearing and religious at that time and Mary came from a non-conformist tradition at the Coombe Street Independent Chapel, now Dinosaurland, although she became connected with St Michael’s parish church later in her tragically short life.

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