- Oct 2022
After his retirement in 1947 the Carnegie Corporation of New York persuadedhim to write a history of American state universities, which came to interest him in-tensely. At the end of a year he had written half of the book and sorted his lastnotes. He notified the university administration that he was unable to complete thejob before leaving his study for the hospital where he died, October 24, 1948. Thevolume is being completed by one of his students, Professor Walton E. Bean of theUniversity of California.
Even following his retirement in 1947, Paxson continued to take notes specifically on education for a project which he never got to finish before he died in hospital on October 24, 1948.
he kepthis note pads always in his pocket
The small size and portability of index cards make them easy to have at hand at a moment's notice.
He took it toWashington when he went into war service in 1917-1918;
Frederic Paxson took his note file from Wisconsin to Washington D.C. when he went into war service from 1917-1918, which Earl Pomeroy notes as an indicator of how little burden it was, but he doesn't make any notation about worries about loss or damage during travel, which may have potentially occurred to Paxson, given his practice and the value to him of the collection.
May be worth looking deeper into to see if he had such worries.
He had a separate bibliographical file,kept in six scantily filled drawers in his coat closet, and it is obvious
that he used it little in later years. His author-title entries usually went into the main file, after the appropriate subject index cards.
This is a curious pattern and not often seen. Apparently it was Paxson's practice to place his author-title entries into his main file following the related subject index cards instead of in a completely separate bibliographical file. He did apparently have one comprised of six scantily filled drawers which he kept in his coat closet, but it was little used in his later years.
What benefits might this relay? It certainly more directly relates the sources closer in physical proximity within one's collection to the notes to which they relate. This might be of particular beneficial use in a topical system where all of one's notes relating to a particular subject are close physically rather than being linked or cross referenced as they were in Luhmann's example.
A particular color of cards may help in this regard to more easily find these sources.
Also keep in mind that Paxson's system was topical-chronological, so there may also be reasons for doing this that fit into his chronological scheme. Was he filing them in sections so that the publication dates of the sources fit into this scheme as well? This may take direct review to better known and understand his practice.
While he didnot attempt to write down all that he thought and knew, apparentlyhe was seldom if ever at a loss to find a place for a note. He filedaway successive series of lecture notes, notes that he took on seminarreports, even notes on the scenery that he saw from a train.
notes on pretty much everything....
shows a more commonplace practice rather than just a zettelkasten focusing on his direct work.
November 7, 1916: "I expect to vote for Woodrow Wilson
I wonder if others use the sense making features of a note card system to think through their voting decisions? This seems an interesting and useful exercise which Paxson has done.
At all events notes on news-papers comprise the greater part of the Paxson note collection
s notes accumulated, hefiled them under new and subsidiary headings, with cross-references(on the index card) to related headings, which might be numerousand many years remote.
he three-by-five inch slipsof thin paper eventually filled about eighty wooden file drawers.And he classified the notes day by day, under topical-chronologicalheadings that eventually extended from 4639 B.C. to 1949, theyear after his death.
Frederic L. Paxson kept a collection of 3 x 5 " slips of thin paper that filled eighty wooden file drawers which he organized using topical-chronologic headings spanning 4639 BCE to 1949.
- Frederic L. Paxson's zettelkasten
- bibliographical notes
- 3 x 5" index cards
- Frederic L. Paxson
- chronological headings
- chronological order
- 3 x 5" slips
- topical headings
- sense making
- tools for thought
- note collection loss and damage
- note taking mobility
- open questions
- note taking affordances
- cross references