The New York Public Library, Berg Collection of
English and American Literature
Dickens's Book of Memoranda.
Quite unremarkable in appearance, measuring 5 x 7 inches and approximately one inch thick, the Memoranda book is, in fact, one of the most important items in the Berg Collection, having wandered about for a while before finding its way to the collection. Inherited by Georgina Hogarth, it was presented by her to John Forster as he was writing the official biography of her brother-in-law. He in turn willed it to Dickens's much-loved daughter Kate. It eventually crossed the Atlantic, landing in the magnificent rare book and manuscript collection of the American composer and ardent bibliophile Jerome Kern, who, with great foresight (or preternatural luck), sold off his entire collection in early 1929, less than ten months before the Great Crash. The Memoranda book's last private owner was Owen D. Young, who acquired it at the Kern sale.
Page 3 of the book of Memoranda. Dickens
drew on the columns of names at bottom for characters in Little
Dorrit (Bangham, Chivery, Merdle, Dorret-Dorrit, etc.), Great
Expectations (Magwitch), and Our Mutual Friend (Rokesmith,
Snigsworth), among other works, checking the ones off that had been put to
good use. The entry above the columns of names is a "portrait" of
an invalid woman long confined to her room, an early evocation of Mrs. Clennam