Bodleian Library, Oxford University

MS. Locke f. 24

A parchment box containing a medical commonplace book, in unbound gatherings. The book consists of a single alphabet, with pages pre-assigned for each consonant-vowel combination; Headings are indented under letters corresponding to the second vowel in the keyword; most of the pages are rules in vertical columns corresponding to the five vowels. This is an early version of Locke’s method of commonplacing. However, the entries seem to date primarily from 1679-84, and some as late as 1688.

The notebook was first used for notes on ethical subjects, most likely between 1679 and the spring of 1684. After Locke’s arrival in Holland, he began to use the remaining space for notes on his medical reading. Most of these notes were made in the spring and summer of 1684, but a few notes were made later; the last datable entry being made shortly after 9 October 1688.

The manuscript is made up of gatherings sewn on bands, but not bound. The gatherings are not signed and mostly consist of a single quarter sheet folded once to form 4 pages.

190 leaves. 157 × 97 mm. Parchment box 167 × 105 × 32 mm.

Individual items in the volume include:

f. 4:

Æstimatio (1683?)

f. 17:


f. 18:

Canis rabidi morsus

f. 31:

Conversatio (1683?)

f. 93:

Malevoli (1683?)

f. 99:

Mos (1683?)

f. 103:

Mucus (1684?)

f. 181:

Tormina (1684?)