Autographs: Then and Way Back Then

August 19, 2010

old autograph books

Remember autograph books?

Back in the day (when people actually wrote by hand), autograph books were popular, especially for girls not yet old enough to fill a high school yearbook with signatures of family and friends. I recently found two from my own childhood and an antique book I picked up at a garage sale.

The greetings are fun and interesting, like the ones pictured above.

I love this one from my dad: “My weird daughter. I love her. Daddy.”

My grandmother Ruth counters with an ego-boosting entry that only a grandmother can write: “God’s blessings and the best of everything to a beautiful and talented granddaughter. Love, Grandma Larson.”

My books are also signed in cute, little rhymes, such as this one from my childhood friend Sandy: “When you get married and have a set of twins, I’ll be your friend and buy safety pins” (foretelling of the children I would someday have).

But even more interesting are the verses and signatures in my antique book. Belonging to a Miss Helena R. Schuler, who’s unknown to me but obviously beloved by many back then, the book is filled with poetic prose written in a flowing script unlike anything we see today.

“Life is like an April day, Clouds and sunshine all the way;
Let the lower clouds depart, and the sunshine fill thy heart.”

—Your cousin, Ella Pale, Oct. 27, 1884

“Lena is your name, single is your station;
Happy be the little man, who makes the alteration.”

—Your funny cousin, Lizzie, Nov. 18, 1884

“I drop my pen into the ink, And grasp your album tight,
But for my life I cannot think, One single word to write.”

—Your niece, Annie Rex, Nov.27, 1884

“Cheer, fond wife, the husband’s struggle,
Lighten his gloomy hours with your tender smiles,
And gladden his home with your love.”

—David, Aug, 1885

“Dear Mother,
Do your best always,
And leave the future to God.”

—Your Son, Charlie Tisch, June 18, 1903

Did you have an autograph book back in the day? Anything interesting?

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One Response to “Autographs: Then and Way Back Then”

  1. Ann Says:

    How interesting! I have never heard of these before. They’re like Facebook!


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