Royal L. Lewis of Rochester, New York, and Flint, Michigan, compiled proverbs, journal entries, poetry, and other material in this commonplace book roughly between 1844 and 1847.
The entries in Royal Lewis's book are spread throughout the volume, though most appear in distinct sections, separated by varying numbers of blank pages. From April to October 1845, Lewis kept a sporadic travel diary (11 pages), in which he described his journey from Rochester, New York, to Chicago, Illinois, via northern Michigan, and discussed some of his experiences while living in Chicago, where he remained until at least October 1845. He wrote about his lack of acquaintances, the weather, and a prairie fire. These entries are followed by a brief journal entry about food prices and a meeting of the "G. Co." Democratic Party in 1847 (1 page) and a copy of a letter Lewis wrote inquiring about land near a settlement called Waterloo (1 page). The middle of the volume contains 3 pages of material regarding the United States presidential election of 1844, including an antislavery poem or song entitled "For the Abolition Election of 1844," written to the tune of "Scots Who [sic.] Hae Wie Wallace Bled"; information about the Democratic and Whig candidates; and a table showing each state's number of electors and election date.
Lewis also recorded proverbs and copied poems, which are located throughout the volume (9 pages). Many concern love, self-improvement, and religion. One religious poem is attributed to Luís Vaz de Camões, and another, a hymn, was originally written by German poet William Augustus Muhlenberg, though it is labeled "Prescott's verse." The commonplace book also contains a page of shorthand writing and "Valuable Receipts," which are recipes for a soda solution and soap.
This volume includes an unused, 2-page, partially-printed index (modeled after John Locke's indexing method) and a 1-page explanation of the method. The printed page titles are: "Gould's Common-Place Book" and "Gould's Common-Place Book, Upon the Plan of Dr. John Locke."