Thursday, April 16, 2009

Autograph Books

Autograph books were kept by Victorians and used to collect signatures and good will tidings. Sometimes these books can be a gold mine with the names of people as well as other identifying elements. These can be found in the private collections of family as well as in a manuscript/special collection of a library, archive or museum.

As I was researching and compiling my presentation for tomorrow on using manuscript collections, I came across this website,, with a digitized 1888 autograph book.

I love the inscription on page 2 of this little book (excerpted here):

Dear Josephine

Anna Bellmuth is my name Minnesota
is my station Brainerd is my dwelling
place and Heaven is my expectation
And when I am dead and in my
grave and all my bones are rotten
This little book will tell my name
When I am quite forgotten...

What a great piece of yesteryear to have! And what a great piece of family history to have that tells so much more than a few dates and places.

1 comment:

M. Diane Rogers said...

Thanks for posting this. What a good example it is. In 1888 given to Josephine Nelson by Anna Bellmuth, both of Minnesota, USA, and now with the help of the Internet, it's brought some of that family back together.
I have a couple of similar birthday books. Years ago, I posted the names on-line but I should think about scanning it all now too.