We thought it would be fun to share a little round-up of journals throughout history. These are a wonderful way to peek into the minds of the greats. Enjoy.

Beethoven’s ‘conversation’ notebooks

These were notebooks Beethoven used to communicate when his hearing started to go. He would hand them to conversation partners and he’d respond verbally.

Beethoven's conversation notebooks


Ernest Hemingway famously declared, “I belong to this notebook and this pencil,” usually carrying around a notebook everywhere to record everything from gift lists, expenses, to his wife’s menstrual cycles.

One of Hemingway's earliest notebooks

Marie Curie

Marie Curie’s notebooks require protective clothing and a liability waiver to peruse her notebooks because they are still radioactive and are locked in lead-lined boxes. Marie Curie's notebooks

Leonardo Da Vinci

Da Vinci wrote daily in his notebook, amassing about 13,000 pages of his work. His notebooks are most famously known for being written in mirror script, from left to right. This could have been due to him being left-handed and not wanting to smudge his work. His notebooks contain many sketches and notes covering his many interests as an all-around Renaissance man. From art to shopping lists to human anatomy to flying machines – he kept them all together without being precious about what he put in his notebooks.

Leonardo Da Vinci's Notebook

These are just a few peeks into the notebooks of some of the most famous thinkers and creators.

About Kim Alvarez

Kim Alvarez is the creative behind Tinyrayofsunshine.com, where she writes about the Bullet Journal, productivity, planning, and other creative pursuits. She runs a sunshiney Etsy shop with stationery goods that will bring a smile to your face at tinyrayofsunshine.etsy.com
  • Lisa Wheeler

    WOW! That is amazing! I would like to learn of more people in the past that have used notebooks and how they used them. Thanks for sharing!

  • I’m in awe.

  • Pamela L

    Vincent Van Goghs journals were epic!! http://vangoghletters.org/vg/publications_2.html

  • Love this glimpse! Truly inspiring. Cleaning my fav fountain pens now. ..

  • Mirror script, huh. Amazing. Truly genius, especially if Da Vinci could read his own writing backwards!

  • Ed Furlong

    Don’t forget Henry David Thoreau:


  • WHY1mMaz

    I would’ve wanted to know more about Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks! Is it too much to ask another more in-depth article on his notebooks?

  • Joe Jackson

    That is amazing. Thanks

  • I am impressed with the expanded and exciting article! thanks author!