Thursday, July 7, 2011

Vintage Autograph Books

I love looking through old autograph books and wondering about the lives of the people who wrote in them. Reading messages like, "May your voyage through life be as happy and free as the dancing waves on the deep blue sea" always makes me curious about how things turned out for the hopeful young owner of the book. What challenges did she face in life and how did she cope with them? Did her childhood friends remain in her life? Was her life "happy and free"?

This autograph book was part of an auction lot I bought. It belonged to a young girl from Zeeland, Michigan named "Bertie". Her friends signed her book in 1886 and 1887.


I think about Bertie sometimes and hope that life was kind to her.
I am always struck by the beautiful Spencerian penmanship school children practiced back then... as well as the sweet little sayings from a bygone era

Bertie's brother, Arthur, had an autograph book too...this is his.



The girls who signed Arthur's book placed colorful stickers on their pages...each more elaborate than the next.  (I'm guessing Arthur was considered a good catch!)

And this is my old autograph book from 5th grade...in 1958. It's not nearly as colorful as Bertie's but it's very special to me. I'm so glad I saved it.

Apparently I was an Elvis Presley fan at that time...and not a very neat one at that.

I loved re-reading this page...first I listed my best friends and then I circled a notation that the list "has changed". Now that I work in a grade 3-5 school, I realize that 5th grade girls haven't changed all that much since 1958...best friends still change daily, usually as a result of lots of drama at lunch or on the playground...which is forgotten the next day.

My sister, Nancy, would have been six in 1958 and it seems she got ahold of her big sister's autograph book more than once...she "signed" it throughout. I'm sure I must not have been happy to find her scribbles in my book at the time...but I treasure them now.



Middle sister, Andrea, signed too. She wrote about our dog, Tippy, and wondered if I still liked her. (Yes, Andi...I still do!)

And I treasure this entry from my Dad, who passed away in 2005.

 I also remember that "autograph dogs" were a big hit for birthday gifts in our small Connecticut town in the late 50's. Do you remember those?
(photo from Oriental Trading Company catalogue)

I keep my old autograph books on a table in the living room to enjoy again and again. It seems that the older I get, the more precious childhood memories become.

I saved my old Diary from 5th grade too and that is a hoot! Someday, when I'm feeling really brave, I'll have to share excerpts from that on the blog. (Wait 'til you hear where I thought babies came from!)

 Do you collect vintage autograph books or do you still have an old one of your own? Do you remember autograph dogs? What is it about old letters, postcards, autographs and
diaries that draws us to them? For me it is peeking into the life of someone who has lived in another time...a link to the past. What about you?

This post is linked to some amazing blog parties...here they are:
Show & Tell Friday at My Romantic Home
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage
Home Sweet Home at The Charm of Home
Vintage Inspiration Friday at Common Ground
Time Travel Thursday at Brambleberry Cottage
Vintage Thingy Thursday at The Colorado Lady

13 comments:

Ann@A Sentimental Life said...

So happy the autograph books are with someone who appreciates them. I have my Grandmothers and the entries are from about 1910's and then last month my Dad's cousin gave me my Great Grandmothers and the notes are from the 1880's like yours. The note from your Dad brought a tear to my eye...how wonderful.
Thanks for sharing!

LV said...

What interesting comments on people so long ago. Enjoyed so much visiting your blog and seeing all these vintage books.

AuntLou said...

I not only remember autograph dogs (weren't there other animals, as well?) but my neighbor had an autograph skirt. One daring neighbor signed herself, "Peter Poop." I wonder if she remembers that.

I was disappointed to find that the autograph dogs were no longer in vogue by the time I was old enough for one. I did have an autograph book. I wonder if it survived our fire... Perhaps I shall run across it, one day.

Linda said...

OH I love this post! I have a great fondness for old autograph books...what treasures you have! I had an autograph book and an autograph hound dog, as well...wish I still had them!

Dayle said...

Cheryl, what a fun post. Those vintage autograph books are amazing! What beautiful penmanship (those days are over, I'm afraid, sadly). I, too, have an old autograph book from Jr. High and love browsing through it occasionally. Such crazy times. My twin sister has a diary of when she and I were early teens. We have laughed hysterically over many entries. I'm so glad she saved it.

Linda @ A La Carte said...

Cheryl I had an autograph book but don't know what happened to it. I have moved so many times in my life and some childhood items were lost. I am lucky I still have as many as I do. I remember those autograph dogs and I had one I think for my sweet sixteen party....good times back then.
hugs, Linda

kluless said...

This is a delightful post. I have never encountered an old autograph book before and I think it would make me feel much the way it does you - what was Bertie's life like?? Thank you for sharing!

Carletta said...

I have my mother's autograph books from 1935 and 1941. I also have my own from 1960.

Verses were often for good times, like the following:
May your life be long and happy,
And your enemies be few,
But your friends be just as many
As the sparkles in the dew.

Sherry said...

Cheryl,
What a fun post. I remember singing yearbooks. It is fun to go back and look at those. Thanks for linking to Home Sweet Home!
Sherry

Trisha said...

God Bless You Cheryl, for sharing your special finds and fond memories with us. Your blog and post are beautiful, and I'm sure your beloved sister would be proud. I just found your blog and don't have time to read much this morning, but, I plan to visit again real soon. Blessings.

Shaley said...

My father worked for a local TV station, so my autograph book contained autographs from Gene Autry, the Lone Ranger (and Tonto) and Rin-Tin-Tin (dog print). Boy, did I just date myself!

The Cranky Queen said...

Cheryl, Congrats, you have received The Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award. See my post for details. Tiffany

Betty (picture circa 1951) said...

I'm playing catch up tonight. I still have my Brownie autograph book and I have my grandmother's autograph book around here somewhere. I really need to get organized. I have a little treasure box on my coffee table and I keep special tings in there. That's where my autograph book is along with a letter my Dad wrote during WWII, cards from every funeral I've ever gone too, etc. I enjoy taking out the autograph book and reading it once in a while. I guess I did't put my grandmother's in there because it's fragile. I had a yellow autograph dog and when we had the estate sale it was still sitting on a chair in my old bedroom. Why didn't I keep it? The names had all faded away over the years, but now you're making me wish I still had it.