I found this wonderful autograph book in an antique shop some years back and had to have it!  The book originally belonged to a woman named Agnes Stracke.  Autograph books were popular among Dutch and German communities in the late 1800's and were a precursor in many ways to today's yearbooks. This book dates back to at least 1879 according to the date on one of the pages. The entries are often in English, but some of them are in foreign languages like German.

German Entry from November 1st, 1898

There is so much to appreciate about this piece. The gold embossed cover caught my eye first... then I opened it!  

The penmanship is exquisite artwork that displays the careful detail and time involved in the inscriptions!  The poems, phrases, or just personal notations speak of an age long passed. Such heartfelt passages to a dear friend are written here. 

Beautiful Calligraphy of Agnes's Name

One beautiful poem reads:

When this page doth meet thy gaze Mid other scenes and future days  And when thy pleasant thoughts are cast On friends and pleasures of the past Then think of me who wishes now That sorrow may never cross thy brow  But all the blessings that heaven can send  May visit you my dearest friend.   Emma  February 12th, 1882

A simple note, but one of my favorites reads: Agnes,

May the snowy wings of innocence ever protect you. 

Your loving friend


September 7th, 1879

Another sweet entry from 1898 reads:

My dear Classmate.

May your noble life, be long, prosperous, and happy. And may your friends be as true to you; as you have been to me.

Your loving friend,

E.M. Baker

June 23rd, 1898

Not that I want to begin using thy or doth in my everyday vocabulary, but I am afraid that technology, and perhaps some laziness, has caused us to lose the desire to spend the time and effort to express feelings by means of the “poetic” language written with obvious care and emotion.  This is a treasure that I can physically hold and read, a compilation of beautifully written expressions of friendship!


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One activity that I have enjoyed over the last several years is browsing through antique stores, antique shows, and flea markets. It’s great to find treasures that I can use when creating lampshades. I have found beautiful trims, beads, flowers, and sometimes even a fabric or garment in pristine condition. It's wonderful to use these pieces and give them new life in a lampshade.

Photo of New Old Stock trim from Cincinnati, Ohio.
New old stock trim from an antique shop in Cincinnati, Ohio.

But another reason I enjoy browsing and antiquing is that it reconnects me with the past. Many items I find are from before even the lifetime of my grandparents, but I’m beginning to see more things enter the market that I recall being in the homes of my older relatives or neighbors when I was young. Many of these items were either dispersed among other family members, given to goodwill, or possibly tossed, so I had temporarily forgotten about them. But now, I can hold an object in my hands for a moment and my memories transport me back to a time, a place, or even into the presence of someone I spent time with during my childhood. Memories are truly a gift!

On a personal note, the things I kept for myself when going through belongings from my mother and grandmother aren’t valuable to anyone else (except some family members), but they are special to me. I have some costume jewelry I remember them wearing, my mom's measuring cup, and the old bowl my grandma used to make delicious popcorn balls.

antique frame and historic photo of woman from 1910's
My Grandmother in the 1910's

What treasures do you have from someone in your past?

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