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.
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.
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,
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!