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Title: Grey's Memoria Technica, Excerpt from Lucius J. Polk's Notebook, August 12, 1821: Electronic Edition.
Author: Polk, Lucius Junius, 1808-1869
Editor: Erika Lindemann
Funding from the State Library of North Carolina supported the electronic publication of this title.
Text transcribed by Erika Lindemann
Images scanned by Mara E. Dabrishus
Text encoded by Brian Dietz
First Edition, 2005
Size of electronic edition: ca. 21K
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text
The electronic edition is a part of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2005-05-10, Brian Dietz finished TEI/XML encoding.
Part of a series:
This transcribed document is part of a digital collection, titled True and Candid Compositions: The Lives and Writings of Antebellum Students in North Carolina
written by Lindemann, Erika
Title of collection: Polk and Yeatman Family Papers (#606), Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Title of document: Grey's Memoria Technica, Excerpt from Lucius J. Polk's Notebook, August 12, 1821
Author: Lucius J. Polk
Description: 5 pages, 6 page images
Note: Call number 606 (Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Topics covered:
Education/Goals and Purposes
Education/UNC Curriculum
Examples of Student Writing/Diary and Notebook Excerpts
Editorial practices
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Transcript of the notebook entries. Originals are in the Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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For more information about transcription and other editorial decisions, see Dr. Erika Lindemann's explanation under the section Editorial Practices.

Document Summary

Polk's notes describe a mnemonic technique for remembering dates or numbers by constructing syllables or words that connect an event with its date.
Grey's Memoria Technica, Excerpt from Lucius J. Polk's Notebook, August 12, 18211
Polk, Lucius Junius, 1808-1869

Cover page

Page 1
Tecnica Memoria

Section I
The principle part of this method is briefly this: to remember any thing in History, Chronology, Geography, &c a word is formed, the beginning whereof being the first sylable, or syllables of the thing sought, does by frequent repetition of course draw after it the latter part, which is so contrived as to give the answer. Thus in History the deluge happened in the year befor Christ two thousand three hundred and forty eight; this signified by the word Deletok: DEL standing for deluge and etok for 2348. The first thing to be done is to learn exactly the following series of vowels and consonants, which are to represent the numerical figures, so as to be able at pleasure, to form a technical word, which shall stand for any number, or to resolve a word already formed into the number which it stands for.
a. e. i. o. u. au. oi. ei. ou. y.
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 0.
b. d. t. f. l. s. p. k. n. z.

Page 2
These letters are assigned arbitraily to the respective figures and may very easily be remembered. The first five vowels in order naturally represent 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.—The diphthong au being composed of a. 1. and u. 5 stands for 6—oi. for 7 being composed of o. 4. and i 3—ou for 9 being composed of o. 4 and u. 5. The ei. will easily be remembered for 8 being the initials of the word. In like manner for the consonants where the initials could be conveniently retained, they are made use of to signify the number; as t for three f. for 4 s. for 6 and n. for 9. The rest were assigned without any particular reason, unless that possibly p may be more easily remembered for 7 or septem, k for eight or oKto, d for 2 or Duo b for 1 as being the first consonant, and l for five being the Roman letter for 50. than any others that could have been put in there places. Always remember that the dipthong's are to be considered but as one letter, or rather as representing only one figure. Note also that y is to be pronounced as w for the more easily distinguishing it from i as syd = 602, pronounced

Page 3
swid, typ = 307 = pronounce twip. The reader will observe that the same date or number may be signified by different words, according as vowels or consonants are made choice of to represent the figures or to begin the words with as 325, tel, or idua2 154 buf or blo or alf or alo. This variety gives great room for choice, in the formation of words, of such terminations as by their uncommonness are most likely to be remembered, or by any accidental relation or allusion they may have to thing sought. Thus the year of the world in which AEneas is supposed to have settled in Italy is 2824; but as this may be expesed either by ekef or deido, I choose rather to join deido to AEneas, and make the technical word AEnedeido than AEnekef for a reason which is very obvius—Thus King Jno 3 began his reign A.D. 199 (one thousand being understood to be added as I shall shew hereafter) but as this may be expesed by anou, boun, or ann I make choice of the last for then it is but calling him Jann insted of Jno and you have time almost in his name. It is further to be observed, that z and y being

Page 4
made use of to represent the cypher, where many cyphers meet together as in 10000, 1000000 &c instead of a repetition of azyzyzy which could neither could be easily pronounced nor remembered, g stands for hundred th. for thousand and m for million thus ag. will be 100 ig 300 oug 900 ath 1000 oth 4000 &c—

Section II
The ages of [the] world before our Saviours time are by chronologers generally divided into six: the first from the creation to the deluge: the second from the deluge to the call of Abraham &c according to the following periods:
Ante Christum
1 Creation of the World— 4004
2 The universal DELUGE— 2348
3 The Call of Abraham 1921
4 Exodus of the Call departure of the Isealites out of Egypt 1491
The foundation of Solomons Temple 1012
6 Cyrus, or the end of Captivity— 536
All this expressed by one line thus. Crothf, Deletok, Abaneb, Exafna, Tembybe, Cyruts. Cr denotes the creation, othf 4004[,] DEL the deluge[,] Ab the calling of Abraham[,] Ex. Exodus, Tem the temple[,] Cyr Cyrus

Page 5
The technical endings of each represent the respective year—That part of the word which represent the numbers or dates is distinguished by Italic letters—
August 12th 1821—4


1. Polk and Yeatman Papers, SHC. The notes appear in a bound volume measuring 6 1/4 by 7 3/4 inches. The flyleaf is inscribed "Lucius I Polk's/Book Bought of/ Proffessor Mitchell /August 12th 1821/ Chapel Hill/ No Ca." The recto of the next leaf reads "Gray's Memoria Technica/Published in the year 1/transcribed from the original/By Lucius I Polk Esqr / Chapel Hill/August 12th 1821."Polk's notes on Grey's Memoria Technica continue for 25 pages and end with the following inscription: "Lucius I Polk/ Chapel Hill/ No 16—/October 15th 1821 Old College." On the recto and verso of the page following the notes, Polk wrote the poem "College Rules" (see Poem). Following the poem are fifty-seven pages of "Notes on the Lectures/of Chemistry/delivered/by/ Professor Olmsted at/the University of/North Carolina/September 18th 1821" as well as two pages of notes headed "Outlines of Mineralogy" and the transcription of a poem by Felicia Dorothea Hemans, "The Graves of a Household."
The notes appear to be copied from a transcription of Richard Grey, Dr. R. Grey's Memoria Technica, or Method of Artificial Memory (Oxford: J. Vincent, 1819). The original transcriber, whose text Polk was following, omitted several lines of Grey's work. A second set of notes on Grey's Memoria Technica is housed in Miscellaneous Student Notebooks, SHC. These notes are dated September 1, 1821, and were transcribed by Joseph H. Saunders , who graduated in 1821 and then became a University tutor for four years. Saunders sometimes summarized the text he was copying, whereas Polk tended to make a literal transcription; consequently, I have chosen Polk's version for inclusion in this volume. As "chronology" was one of the subjects seniors studied, Polk and Saunders were probably copying these notes at the instruction of Professor Elisha Mitchell .

2. Grey's text reads idu.

3. "Jno": Grey's text reads John.

4. Polk's notes continue in this vein for twenty-five pages. Tables of dates are followed by "memorial lines," lines of mnemonic words constructed to help someone connect an event with its date. Students appear to have used Grey's technique to remember historical dates, but Memoria Technica also applies its mnemonic strategy to geography; coins, weights, and measures; and geometry and physics. Polk finished copying the notes on October 15, 1821.