Susan Fenimore Cooper’s School Notebook

A Manuscript [transcribed by Hugh C. MacDougal])

This manuscript is the property of the Cooper Family; it is transcribed here with the kind permission of Henry S.F. Cooper, Jr., and Dr. Henry F.C. Weil.

[May be reproduced for instructional use by individuals or institutions; commercial use prohibited.]


Introduction

While a schoolgirl in Paris in 1831, Susan Fenimore Cooper (1813-1894) was given a bound blank notebook, presumably to keep class notes in. The book contains about 150 blank pages, approximately 18½ x 14½ cm., and has blue mottled boards and a green suede leather spine. The first approximately eight leaves have been removed by cutting, leaving fragments of text.

Entries are mostly in ink; those in pencil are indicated by reproducing them in italics. This transcription reproduces the original pagination (separated by a horizontal line) and line endings. Underlining, letters in superscript, and strikethroughs are as in the original, as are spelling, punctuation, abbreviations, etc. Susan seems to have “set up” the notebook by placing subject headings (mostly music and graphic arts) at intervals before using it. Not all these subject headings were used, or used for the topics originally intended.

There are inevitably places where Susan’s notes are illegible or can only be given questionable readings. While we have consulted references in an effort to transcribe Susan’s text accurately, we have not done so exhaustively, nor have we annotated our conclusions. Where we do not feel reasonably certain of our reading, we have appended a [?] and/or placed the questionable word or phrase in [square brackets]. Suggested corrections of the text should be sent to the Cooper Society.

Although begun in Paris, Susan continued to use the notebook after the family’s return to Cooperstown. And her father used the back of it (upside down) for a manuscript genealogy of the De Lancey family, evidently made while they were still in Europe — this will be the subject of a separate transcription.

I wish to reiterate my appreciation to the Cooper family for permitting me to transcribe this notebook.

Hugh C. MacDougall, James Fenimore Cooper Society (July 2000)


[Inside Front Cover]

[octagonal printed book dealer’s sticker reading:]

Aux Armes de France

DEROIRE

M d Papetier.

Rue S t Honoré, N° 372

à Paris.

 

Tournefort — Doubdan [?] — Maundrell —

D’Arvieux — Heymans [?] & Egmont —

Pallas — Niebuhr — Burckhardt — Châteaubriand

Susan Fenimore Cooper [in pencil, another hand]

S.A.F.C.

Given to me by Mamma

Tuesday Oct. 25ᵗʰ 1831

59 Rue St. Dominique

Paris


Begun at Paris

 

Finished Cooperstown [in a later hand]

Volume 9ᵗʰ counting the six cahiers. ------.------


[some eight leaves removed]


onseils pour bien jouer du Piano

Donnés par Madame Frantz dans mes differentes leçons

avec elle, ou le résultat de mes propres observations.

Pour bien jouer du piano il faut avoir un jeu

perlé, martelé, moëlleux, ne donnant à chaque note que sa juste

valeur — et à chaque passage l’expression qui lui est

propre, ayant à-la-fois une touche très délicate et trés forte

si il est nêcessaire; que votre délicatesse ne soit

pas faiblesse; que votre force soit fermeté — Ainsi

differents conseils pour obtenir un pareil résultat.

Il faut rendre chaque doigt aussi indépendent

des autres qu’il sera possible de le faire; aussi délié

que vous le pourrez.

Il faut que le mouvement vienne du doigt

seul qui doit tomber sur son bout, ni trop près

de l’ongle, ni trop àplat.

Votre poignet doit être aussi souple que

possible, jamais roïde, que votre force vienne de la main,

le doigt bras ne doit pas du tout s’en ressenter.

Appuyez aussi également que possible

chaque vos notes, qu’elles n’aient que leur juste valeur.

Placez votre bras de manière à ce que

la main tombe aisément sur les touches sans

courber le poignet.

Que vos doigts ne se levent pas trop des

touches, mais qu’ils puissent le faire sans vous donner la


moindre gêne.

En général que rien ne choque ni dans

la pose du corps ni dans celle des mains, que tout

soit gracieux, sans roideur.

Ne chargez jamais

Ne levez une note que lorsque celle qui la

suit est jouée; qu’un doigt se lève quand l’autre

tombe; c’est-à-dire qu’il n’y ait pas d’intervalle

entre les notes, mais qu’elles ne soient pas confondues

l’une avec l’autre.

Ayez un jeu ferme, pur, net et moëlleux;

pour cela que vos doigts soient enti

rement indépendents

l’un de l’autre, sans la moindre roideur.


Pour l’expression

Il faut donner à chaque passage l’intention de

l’auteur. Il faut se pénétrer des sentimens que chaque

passage exprime et tâcher de les représenter dans votres

jeu

Il faut faire attention au caracatère général du morceau

que vous jouez et l’avoir toujours en vu. S’il est

gai introduisez-y de temps en temps quelques petites

touches de mélancolie seulement pour lui donner du relief.

C’est-à-dire profitez des passages auxquels l’auteur

a donné cette intention pour en tirer tout le parti

possible, sans charger toutesfois; si le morceau est triste

mêlez-y quelque lueur de gaieté de temps en temps,

une note produit quelquefois un si heureux effet

que se répand sur tout le morceau.

De deux notes liées la première doit être appuyée,

la dernière enlevée.

Marquez bien la différence entre les points ronds

et les points longs en enlevaient.

Appuyez toujours une note que va rester pendant

quelque temps, la note pédale; ainsi qu’une note

sensible, ou une note qui marque un changement de

ton.

En fesant une suite d’octaves ou d’accords

ayez le poignet très souple, de même que lorsque vous avez

des basses en accords détachis, ou sautés, mais ne chargez

pas.

Appuyez ou plutôt restez un instant de plus sur

la première note d’une gamme ou d’une fusée.


Faites vos diminuendo et crescendo avec délicatesse

et gout.

Que sons sforzando et senozando déchirent l’âme.

De deux passages pareils que le premier

ait plus de simplicité, le second plus d’intention.

S’il y a quelques notes de différentes le seconde fois faites les remarquer

avec goût.

En général soyez gracieux, soyez gracieux, agréable au commence-

ment, déchirant en trainant à la fin; mais en ceci

comme en toutes choses ne perdez pas de vue

le caractère du morceau.

Jouez le thèème toujours avec beaucoup d’expression.

Marquez bien le différent caractère de chaque

variation quand il y en a.

Jouez les mineurs avec expression.

Dans les passages liés ayez beaucoup de moëlleux.

En jouant les batteries mettez-y un peu

de crescendo toujours, faites le avec grâce.

Soyez plaintif dans les adagio.

Jouez toujours en mesure exceptez en certains

passages où il faut se laisser diminuer par le

gout et le sentiment, ou ne pas sans charger.


Dans les morceaux à 3/8 ou à 6/8 marquez bien le

temps de valse.

Veillez à la mesure en jouant les contredanses,

ne la sacrifiez pas à l’expression, mais au contraire

faites la toujours sentir quoiqué avec beaucoup de

délicatesse dans certains passages; qu’il n-y ait jamais

de confusion dans les contredanses.

Battez la mesure aussi distinctement que

possible en jouant les valses.

Faites de même avec les galops.

Que vos gammes soient aussi perlées que

possible.

Appuyez toutes les notes de vos accords.

Quand vous avez une note staccata derivée

d’une accord ou d’une note appuyée, faites jouer

le poignet; et faites un peu attendre la dernière sur

laquelle la main doit tomber un peu lourdement.

Faites attention à l’égalitéarpégiées, les petites notes, les cadences, & &

Qu’il-y ait du flou du vague dans certains

passages.

Que votre main puisse être ou légère ou

lourde tout-à-fait à votre volonté.


Phrasez bien ce que vous jouez, quelque fois

en sacrifiant la mesure quand c’est nécessaire,

c’est-à-dire quand le gout le demande.

Marquez bien les notes syncopées.


nglish Poets

Cowley 1618, father grocer, prints at 13; politician;

a royalist; bachelor; — Works: Trees [?], Davideis an

epic. ------.------

Denham, 1615 gent; Dublin; royalist; Cooper’s Hill.

Milton 1608 father a lawyer; London — —


[3 blank pages]


bservations sur la Miniature

Il faut qu’une miniature soit aussi légère de

couleurs que possible, c’est à dire que les couleurs soient

le moins epaisses possible. Il faut que le trait soit très

légèrement tracé. On doit arriver au ton petit-à-petit

ou commençant par des teintes pâles. Il faut que

les couleurs soient plus liquides que pour l’aquarelle.

Il faut bien se garder d’empater en fisant de la

miniature; en général la miniature demande des pinceaux

plus carrés que l’aquarelle. Il faut se servir

du talon de son pinceau et ne pas trop travailler

sur la pointe, autrement on risque de faire un

ouvrage sablé et pas largement fait. Cette dernière

observation s’applique également à la miniature et

à l’aquarelle.


[1 blank page]


oros Greek for Sarcophagus, last Latin word of

time of Pliny — Intaglios from Egypt, beetle shape

cameos more modern, but one ancient Greek

cameo, that of Thebes — ancient theatres facing

sea & nat. form of mountain when possible --

Acre very ancient, cel.d by Crusades; Joppa

said antedeln, Noah built ark here says trad.

Gothic architec. said origd fm palm-leaves meeting.

Fountain of Virgin at Nazareth ---

Plain of Esdraelon, fertile & beautiful ---

Mount Thabor isolated; Sisera & Barak; --

Gothic castle of Santorini near anc.t Samaria ---

Naplous anc. Sichem: tombs of Joseph, Eleazar &

Joshua: between Gerizim & Ebal: Jacob’s Well &

Jacob’s field ---- Jerusalem, Mosque Omar finer

than St. Sophia; no windows lower stories; latticed above.

Tomb of Helena; tombs like Telmessus & Tiberias;

Fountain Siloa; Oak [?] Angel [?]; Isaih sawed [?] in two; ---

Mt. Olives; Solomon’s high places, David’s exile

view of Dead Sea; — Bethlehem, David’s well.

Terebinthine Vale of Elah, Jesse’s sons --- drama [?]

St. George, --- Caesaria built by Herod 10 years ---


[1 blank page]


Observations sur l’Aquarelles

Titus takes temple 10th Aug. 70; anniversary of

dest. of first temp. by Neb. ---- triumph of Ves.

& Titus at Rome. ---- Masada on Dead Sea, gar.

kill each other --- Josephus lives & dies Rome, fav.

of Emp; also Agrippa no issue --- S

Law School Tiberias --- Bareschab false

Messiah --- Trajan builds Rom. city on ruins Jerus.

calls Elia; — 45 Patriarch of West. Tiberias & Prince

of Captivity at Babylon. 200 rich Jews in China ---

Zenobia Jewish descent --- Sardinia --- Crete ---

Patriarchate West dest. Thedosius 429 --- Jews slave

merchants --- Jews in Arab; Jews km of Homerites

pers.d in Ar-by, Mohamet; agree with Moors in Spain.

Prosp.r und. Charlemagne & Louis le Débonnaire.

Embassy of Isaac to Haroun al Raschid 810.

Jews fininaciers & physicians --- In Spain learned,

Moses Maimonides (in 12th) returns to Egypt --

Prince of Captivity 934 extinct, beheaded,

Jews of Bab. disperse, sons of P. of Cap. to

Spain, house of David --- Massacres at time

of 1st Crusade 1100 --- German cities, orig. of Hep! [?]

Hiersolyma est perdita — badges blue — separated

fm Christians — Popes rather protect them --

1381 Jews expelled for last time fm France

under Charles VI --- Expelled fm England


Cabala precedent. Nishma Comment — Talmud Tradition, includes others; — — Karaïtes re d reject all Talmud.


under Edward I 1290, property all to king; libraries

convents; number 16,000, return clandestinely

under Cromwell --- Jews expelled fm Spain

by Ferd. & Is. 1492. sufferings in Marocco ---

[new cnty rcd ?] fm Italy or Germany

False Messiah Sabba Thai Sebi, gen.y fol.d living

Turk. dies 1676 in castle near Belgrade ---

Frank another 1750, at Vienna and Brün,

lives in splendor, sect call selves Zoharites,

dies 1791 --- Jews numerous in Poland;

natn law attempted in Eng. 1753 but obd to given up.

Jews exd fm Vienna by Leop. I whose Jew. mist.

shot crossing a bridge - 5,000,000 at present;

few in Alexandria. in Baddad 5,000 — most numerous

in Poland


Miscellaneous

Temples Jupiter always Doric --- Tripod Delphi

Hippodrome at Constantinople, Brazen Horses

at Venice also fm Hippodrome,


[6 blank pages]


Observations sur le dessin

[7 blank pages]


bservations sur la Lithographie

Il faut avoir son crayon taillé comme une

aiguille long et fin, on fait entrer le crayon

dans la pierre à force de repasser dessus

si on restait seulement sur la surface la p’ère

impression enleverait tout. On attaque les

ombres franchement. Il ne faut jamais pointiller

pour la raison déjà donné. On ne peut jamais

effacer, excepté en grattant tout et recommançant.

Quand il y a des épaisseurs de crayon on enlève

ce qu’il y a de trop avec une aiguille. ---


[1 blank page]


he East

Turks and Persians not architects; T. mosques

gen.y 4 minarets, sometimes 6; Pn rarely any --

No public fountains in Persia, very common in

Turkey --- in Armenia houses half subn and of mud;

in Persia mud also; mosques mud also; ancient

Persians not appear to been architects, few ruins ---

No roads, camel tracks, ancient Roman roads

appear lost; --- Naked rocky hills mountains,

Asia Minor, Mesopotamia, Armenia & &

great tracts without trees; plains with grass;

occasionally a castle with towers, a Roman bridge;

--- much in Armenia as in days of Xenophon, mud

sub.n houses --- Lake of Van large; barley & straw

houses; Van sup.d by Samarians; antiquities, caverns

mounds --- Lake of Ourmiah, road near Kehoy,

only 5 feet deep but nearly 50 miles long ----

Persia, barren, ragged mountains; naked

plains, grass, sometimes salt, scarcely any trees

of nat. growth; mud villages, vineyards

river fronts, cream-coloured poplars — people

lively & false; potatoes & tobacco — (Maize Asia Minor)


[2 blank pages]


Mt. Demavend 12000 feet high seen 200 miles near

Teheran; peasants more at ease than Turks, [meat ?]

lying; --- few rivers; little water, or rain, irrigation

Hamadan Ecbatana 710 A.C.; fragments of sculp.

& coins — Kenghevar Concobar [?], ruins temple fm

Extray peak at Bisitoun, perp.r on one side,

blocks of stone & columns at base, inscriptions

Median Gates Tagris Pylae, sing.r pass in mts,

Fire worshippers; Yezidees, devil-worshipers,

pagans in small numbers ---- Soofeism,

Puritans of Mahom.m ---- Desert; ferry of inflated

skins; tombs of Zobeide wife of Haroun al Raschid

15,000 Jews; boats like bowls of skin, since

Herodotus; --- Arbela on artl mound like

many other old towns of Mesopotamia ---

Mossoul Nineveh; tomb of Jonah ---

a year to make a camels-hair shawl.


[2 blank pages]


xtracts------

Every man of sense is a judge of paintings but a

[common sense ?] ---- Hogarth

If angels were to write books, they would not

write folios --- Goldsmith ---

On voit bien que sans vous efforcez d’être plaisant;

mais ce n’est pas le moyen de l’être.

Lettre de Racine

-- the minstrel file drew near

And made me prize the listening ear.

Scotts Bl of Triermain

Where lives the man that has not tried,

How mirth can into folly glide,

And folly into sin!

Scotts Triermain

“The promises of princes ought not to be too carefully

Princes should not

remembered, nor the performance of them exacted

unless it suits their own conveniency,” said Marie

de Guise, mother of Mary Q. of Scots.----


Florence

Of all the fairest cities of the Earth

None is so fair as Florence ------. —

’Tis the Past

Contending with the Present; and in turn

Each has the mastery.

Rogers


[22 blank pages]


Architecture

Arabs great architects; Turks not at all


[3 blank pages]


Armies

160,000 pounds revenue of a rich Roman Senator

15,000 men in each legion at largest number; army gl.

power 400,000 men — — Justinian conq. d Africa f m —

Vandals with 15,000; Italy from OsGoths with 7500------


[13 blank pages]


Ancient Geog. y

Tyrins in Homer, ruins extant. Mycene d o — —

Joppa very ancient — Sinope. Milesian — —


[11 blank pages]

[loose slip of paper inserted]

Names of Persons Confirmed

June 17 - 1889.

Ransom Spafard Hooker

Walter Hodge Bunn Jr.

Mrs. Grace Hellene Bunn

Mrs Cassia Moore

Delia Murkly

Lillian Van Nort

Elizabeth Boden

Maud Heath

Wilfred Roselle

DeWitt Hills

Frederick Heams [?] Edick [?]

-------------- 11 persons ---


ope

1073 Hildebrand Gregory VII. Soana in Tuscany; he first ob. d that

Pope and other Bishops be no longer elected by clergy and people

of their diocese; but Pope by Car d and other B s by Pope and chapter

Infallibility also — calls Normans to Rome who burn city — His

rights disputed by Emp s and kings.

115 — Alexander III. Fred Barbarossa — war of

investitures; Alessandria di Paglia; Guelphs & Ghibellines.

Innocent III 1197-1216 Roman noble C te di Segni; Fred II inquisition.

Dominicans and Franciscans — burns paterini & cathari sort of

puritans — more religious than temporal power —

Gregory IX 122 —Frederic II burns paterini and cathari; sort of Puritans------


Spain
eography (Middle Ages)

Seville very rich; Ponce de Leon & Guzman feud

spot for auto da fe stone, statues of the Prophets

at corners; observatory, fine, one of first---

Cordova Mosque very old and covers great space

next largest church to St. Peters ---

Rosas a Phocan town; Cadiz i.e. Gades one of

most ancient towns in world; sup.d older than Carthage

or Rome; also Malaga, Ilmeria & &

Sargossa celebrated for martyrs as well as siege. ---

all the pop. was ordered to be killed at one time ---

Tangiers very ancient town --- Marocco founded by

after Mahomet ---

Constantinople taken by Latins 1204;

Florence rebuilt about 800; dest.d by Attila. Palazzo Vecchio built 1298 in

time of Dante, also the Loggia, Santa Croce and Sta

Maria del Fiore about same time. The Bronze doors of

Battisteria cast by Andrea di Pisa in 1300; the right to ring tocsin

a privilege g.d to towns by Emperors; bells int.d in churches about 500.

Palazzo Pitti built by Luigi Pitti comy of Cosimo de Medici 1440 by

runaway felons --- Savonarola burnt in Piazza Vecchia.

Pisa took the lead in civilization, remained a long time

a republic connected with Constan.l; Leaning tower, Duomo

and Battisteria built 1063 to 1200, commenced about

time Macbeth reigned in Scotland and Wm Conq.r in

England and Normans in Lower Italy.


Italy Florence destroyed by Attila; rebuilt

under Charlemagne.

Venice commenced 452 in.s of Attila; Rialto chosen as chief

isle in 824; not long after body of St Mark bt from

Alexandria ---

Rome entered by Alaric, k. of Goths in 410; little harm Attila not enter it;

but Vandals under Grassire called in by Antonia widow of Val III dreadful

havoc; Alaric not so much of Bourbon — Alaric buried in bed of a

river at Cosinga.

Pictish Walls 1st by Agricola [Sep Severno ?], 81; form by from

Clyde to Forth; 2nd by Adrian 120, from Newcastle to

Carlisle ---


Switzerland Zurich; Lucerne; Dissentis; S t Gall 623 Clothaire II

Nyon-Noviodunum 158 a Cr — battle betwn Divichio & Cassius 111 BC

Windish and [Avertius ?] — vines in Valais 211 — Christianity in

Zurich and [Solense font. d ?] Henrick Vogelsteller 932.


[1 blank page]


England

Windsor Windlesore; or winding shore — Richmond Shene

i.e. Shoen------


[30 blank pages]


eudal customs. — —

In France those only were barons, peers, strictly speak.

who immediate vassals of Crown before Hugues

Capet — of these were but three Bourbon, Coucy, & Beaujeu or Beaujolais in Ph. Aug. however

they numb.d 59 ---

Predial servitude existed in some few instances

in Eng. as late Elizabeth ----

Serfs existed in some parts France until Revolution --- About

1450 parle. de Toulouse were required to return some

Catalonian serfs who had fled to France, but decided

Quiconque entre au royaume en criant France

est libre --- The liberty of our kingdom such

says Mezerai that “as air com.s freedm to those

who breathe it and our kings to oug.t to reign

over any but free man” — (This much in spirit

of Eng. declaimers who have nations of slaves in

East, or Ireland next door) ----

1130 Philippe 1er Roi de France était vassal du

comte de Sancerre pour le vicomté de Bourges et fit

hommage comme tel — Aboli par Ph. le Bel en 1313.


[45 blank pages]


Ecclesiastical

Holy War in Churches 120-

Fonts instituted 167-

Church-yards consecrated 217-

Cardinals instituted 308-

Council of Nice 325-

Marriage in Lent forbidden 364-

Bells in Churches 606

Clocks and dials 615

Jerusalem taken by Saracens 687-

Surplice introduced 786

Bells first England Croyland Abbey 945-

 


[4 blank pages]


rchitectural

Temples of Jupiter Doric; of Venus gen. Cor.

Most ancient ruins: Temple of Cybele at Sardis

Jupiter Panhellenius, Egina before Trojan war

Tyrins near Argos & Mycene are more ancient

still & Cyclopean, part of walls of Argos,

of [Syrian ?] also, & Crotona in Italy — Paestum

or Posidonia unknown, but with Jup. Pan.

most perfect Doric in world; sup.r to Parthenon

says artist Lusieri; probably date 1000 years

before Christ


[4 blank pages]


32 Carisbrooke Castle built —

600 Bells in Churches (invented at Isola 400)

670 Building in stone in England by Bennet a

monk

696 Churches built in England

854 Church of St. Giles in Edinburgh

945 Bells in Croyland Abbey, Lincolnshire

960 Castleton castle, Isle of Wight

1005 Old Churches rebuilt

Newcastle built by William I 1078

1080 Tower of London

1128 Holyrood Abbey

1136 Cathedral Glasgow

1163 London Bridge Stone

 


1233 Houses in London, Paris & & thatched with

straw


[25 blank pages]


ankeeisms Traced

This was the mede of loving, and guerdon

That Medea received of Duke Jason,

Right for her truth and for her kindnesse,

That loved him better than herself I guesse.

Chaucer

What should I say?

He is so plaguey proud, that the death to hear of it

Cry — no recovery.

Shakespeare


[5 blank pages]


Botany — — ( Trees

[9 blank pages]


otany — — ( Flowers

Ice-plant: from Athens, to England about 1700

Carob or Acacia the locust of scripture,

also husks eaten by prodigal son -----

Lemons brought from India to Rome, called

Italian apples --- Cherries. Asia Minor. Lucullus;

Gardening introduced into England 1509; before that

imported vegetables from Low Countries ---

Currants in England from Zante 1533 — Pears

cultivated and cherries 1550 --- Henry VII lime or

apple cost 1 or two shillings; red apples dearest ----


[12 blank pages]


15 pages used (upside down and in reverse order) by James Fenimore Cooper for genealogy of De Lancey Family [transcribed separately]


[14 blank pages]


[inside rear cover]

Nations are quickly chastened for their vices and crimes, for

them morality is identical with good policy; but individ-

uals, of whose existence we see but the beginning, await

a different retribution.

Sismondi ------.