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Alfred William Douglass Common-Place Book, University of Nashville

[Alfred Douglass Commonplace Book]
Alfred William Douglass
Alfred William Douglas Diary, Vanderbilt University Special Collections

[Alfred Douglass Commonplace Book][Alfred Douglass Commonplace Book][Alfred Douglass Commonplace Book][Alfred Douglass Commonplace Book]

Students at the University of Nashville like Alfred Douglass learned their lessons through transcription and recitation, so note-taking was essential to their success. Faculty determined if students would move on to the next level based on their public recitation of textbook passages. Commonplace books were in use at Harvard and other schools at this time, designed not as a chronological journal but as a place to record rhetoric.  Alfred Douglass neatly records his class notes on topics such as public speaking and wisdom. On the front page is an elaborate stamp with his initials “AWD.” We know from the 1850 Catalogue of the Officers and Graduates of the University of Nashville that Mr. Douglass successfully completed his coursework and that he entered the ministry but by the time of the 1850 catalogue, he was deceased.