Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Commonplace Book, 1846-1857

Finding aid created by
Mary Parsons, June 2009, and Kay Miller and Meg Hixon, February 2012

Summary Information
Title: Commonplace Book
Creator: Tilton, Ann Maine Wells and Anonymous
Inclusive dates: 1846-1857
Extent: 1 volume
This commonplace book contains 21 poems, 1 pressed flower, and 4 pages of manuscript music. Items originally laid in the volume, a map of United States Army encampments near Corpus Christi, Texas, and a drawing of a Spanish house in St. Augustine, Florida, are housed separately. Many of the poems relate to romance, and 3 are attributed to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site:

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1999. M-4039.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.

Preferred Citation:

Commonplace Book, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Ann Maine Wells, the daughter of United States Army surgeon Dr. John Bloodgood, married McLane W. Tilton (1836-1914) on July 24, 1866, while Tilton commanded the Marine Barracks at the United States Naval Academy. In 1869, Tilton served onboard the USS Colorado and traveled to Korea and China. They had two sons: McLane Tilton, Jr., and John G. Tilton. Wells created the collection's maps, but the compiler of the commonplace book is unknown.

Collection Scope and Content Note

This commonplace book contains 21 poems, 1 pressed flower, and 4 pages of manuscript music. Most poems are 1-2 pages in length, and the longest is 4.5 pages. Five poems are accompanied by epigraphs, including one in Greek from Aeschylus's Oresteia, one from a Latin elegy by Sextus Propertius, and one from Chaucer's Anelida and Arcite. The book is divided into three sections, with 56 blank pages separating the first two sections, and 1 page separating the final two sections.

The first section (24 pages) contains 12 poems, three of which were inspired by the poetry of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832). Subjects include nature, knights of "A hundred Years ago," and love. The second section (22 pages), entitled "Poems under various dynasties," has 9 poems about a man's love, grief, loss, and longing for his beloved. The third section (4 pages) consists of manuscript sheet music for 3 songs

The book came with two illustrated items. Two manuscript maps were drawn on the same page by Ann Maine Wells: a view of the "Camp of the Army of Occupation, Texas," near Corpus Christi, Texas; and a portion of the Texas Gulf Coast shoreline from the Rio Grande to Corpus Christi. The second item is an ink drawing by W. H. B. of an "Old house at St. Augustine" built of coquina stone and plaster (1857).

List of poems:

  • First section
    • "Little Mosses, Golden Mosses"
    • "Daiduchus" (with German epigraph from Goethe’s poem "An den Mond")
    • "At the Ford"
    • "A Hundred Years Ago"
    • Untitled ("O foolish flowers!...")
    • Untitled ("It is over; let me rest...")
    • "From Goethe"
    • "Evening" (with note: "On Lake Horicon")
    • Untitled ("Yesterday is dead!...")
    • Untitled ("I drew it to its full soft length...")
    • "From Goethe"
    • "From Goethe (Book of Zuleikha)" (with Greek epigraph from Aeschylus's Prometheus Bound)
  • Second section: Poems Under Various Dynasties
    • Untitled ("Ours is a simple tale of love...")
    • Untitled ("Thou art my morning and my evening star...")
    • Untitled ("Evening shades are falling...")
    • Untitled ("Winter's in love with the springtime...")
    • Untitled ("I have a little darling, a winsome little pet...")
    • Untitled ("Oh gentle, uncomplaining face...") (with Greek epigraph from Aeschylus's Libation Bearers)
    • Untitled ("Dear, forgive me if I weep...") (with Latin epigraph from Propertius's Elegiarum)
    • Untitled ("Without a word, without a sign...") (with penciled epigraph from Chaucer's Anelida and Arcite)
    • Untitled ("Ah, the fearless little heart...")
  • Third section
    • "Melody" (with lyrics)
    • "Nevermore" (without lyrics)
    • "Would thou wert here!" (without lyrics)
Subject Terms

    • Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von, 1749-1832.
    • Love poetry, American.
    • Music--19th century.
    • Poetry, Modern--19th century.
    Subjects - Visual Materials:
    • Corpus Christi (Tex.)--Manuscript maps.
    • Dwellings.
    • Mexican War, 1846-1848--Manuscript maps.
    • Military camps--Manuscript maps.
    Genre Terms:
    • Manuscript maps.
    • Poems.
    • Sheet music.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Volume   1  
    Commonplace Book,  1846-1857 [series]
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Alternate Locations

    The map is housed in the Map Division.

    Each of its sections is cataloged separately:

    An ink sketch of an old Spanish house at St. Augustine, Florida, by "W.H.B." (1857) is housed in the Graphics Division.


    Wood, Charles Anthony, and Jack B Hilliard. Register of the McLane Tilton Papers, 1861-1914 in the United States Marine Corps Museum, Quantico, Virginia. [Quantico, Virginia: United States Marine Corps Museum, 1970].