The History of a Legendary Notebook
Moleskine is the legendary notebook that the European artists and intellectuals who made twentieth-century culture used: from Henry Matisse to the turn-of-the-century Parisian avant-garde, from Louis Férdinand Céline to Ernest Hemingway. Writer-traveler Bruce Chatwin picked up this tradition and made it famous.
A simple black rectangle with squared or lined pages, endleaves held by an elastic band, an inside pocket for loos sheets, a binding in 'moleskine' which gives it its name, this trusty pocket-size travelling companion guarded notes, stories, thoughts and impressions before they turned into the pages of beloved books.
Chatwin used to buy his moleskine at a Paris stationery shop in Rue de l'Ancienne Comédie. He always stocked up on the before going of on one of his journeys. He had a ritual set up over the years - before using them, he numbered the pages, wrote his name and at least two addresses in the world with the promise of a reward in case they got lost. 'Loosing my passport was the least of my worries, losing a notebook was a catastrophe'.
He even suggested this method to his friend Luis Sepùlveda when he gave him a precius moleskine before the trip to Patagonia that they whould never take together. It was precious because, by then, the notebook could no longer be found. In 1986, even the last producer, a small family concern in Tours, closed down. 'Le vrai moleskine n'est plus' were the lapidary words of the stationer to Chatwin who had ordered one hundred before leaving for Australia. Chatwin bought up all the moleskine he could find, but there were not enough.