Pastorius' commonplace book, usually referred to as the Beehive manuscript (from Pastorius' prologue, p. 1), is a compendium and alphabetical digest of knowledge including inscriptions, epitaphs, proverbs, poetry, Biblical citations, theological citations, quotations, a list of books he read or knew, copies of letters, and notes on science, useful herbs and other plants. Pastorius divided his list of titles into "Quaker" and "No Quaker," Quaker titles number 414 and non-Quaker 700 (see Lyman W. Riley). A section of genealogical materials on the Pastorius family was bound in or laid in at the end of vol. 1, this includes a memorial poem to Francis Daniel Pastorius by Howell Powell, dated 1720, and added entries in many hands recording births and deaths in the Pastorius family to 1865. A Catalogue of Francis Daniel Pastorius his Manuscripts, is in Vol. 2, p. 736. Vol. 3 is a continuation of the indexes present in the Beehive Manuscript itself; it is in Pastorius' hand and its references are almost entirely to entries in Vol. 2.
Title from caption title, vol. 1, p. 7; this heading is no longer intact; alternate title from caption heading at the start of the text, vol. 1, p. 51.
Incipit: For as much as our Memory is not Capable to retain all remarkable Words, Phrases, Sciences or Matters of Moment, which we do hear and read, it becomes every good Scholar to have a Common-Place Book, & therein to treasure up what ever deserves his notice &c. And to the end that he may readily know, both whither to dispose and Insert each particular, as also when upon Occasion to find the same again, &c. he ought to make himself an Alphabetical Index, like that of this Bee-Hive...p. 1.
Pagination: Paper, 478 leaves in 3 volumes; volumes 1 and 2 paginated consecutively on rectos only, [1-891] in pencil, bottom center, in a modern hand, for reference. Pastorius' contemporary pagination is visible on most pages in Vol. 1, but only occasionally in Vol. 2 due to breaking of the corners of the leaves; as follows, Vol. 1: pp. 1-50 [prologue and indices]; 1-54, 55, 55², 56, 56², 57, 57²-66, 66², 67, 67², 67³, 67⁴, 68, [68v blank], , 68², 69, 69²-76, 76², 77, 78, 79, 79[v], 80-87, 88 [blank], 87, 88, 89-129, [130-135], vellum cover, paper[?] cover, 86³[blank], 87²[blank], 88, [89-92], 93, [94-103], 104, , 106-125, [numeral 126 skipped] 127-258, , [1 leaf laid in], [cover], [genealogy in Pastorius' hand, 219-225], [226-227 blank], [228-230 genealogy in other hands]; alphabetical digest or dictionary from [Ab]sence-Fault in Pastorius' hand, pagination lost, 13 leaves, continued in Volume 2, Alphabetical digest, Favour-Zoilus, 28 leaves, (p. 441-497); with Additions, p. 217 (pp. 498-891), most original pagination no longer intact. The index in volume 3 is not foliated or paginated.
Decoration: Illustrated with diagrams, tables, and religious symbols, see especially p. 287; also genealogical tables, p. 403-404.
Binding: Vol. 1 and 2, modern goatskin, all leaves have been laminated for preservation. Original vellum binding with title (no longer legible) and date on front cover and other annotations is boxed with the manuscript, as are 6 black and white photographs of the manuscript before disbinding for preservation. Vol. 3, 18th-century leather with borders in ink.
Origin: Written in Philadelphia by Francis Daniel Pastorius for his two sons and their heirs between 1696 (p. 1) and his death in 1719; 18th- and 19th-century genealogical additions made by other family members (primarily p. 412-414), to 1865 (p. 414) and 1896 (p. 408).
A few folios have loss of text due to severe oxidation of ink.