Antique autograph albums are rich with the sentiments of school children, quaint verse, and the faded names of friends long forgotten.
Autograph books were popular in the late-Victorian era and early 1900s. Schoolboys during the early 1900s rarely had autograph albums of their own – the very thought too sentimental to endure. Yet, they didn’t refuse young ladies’ requests for contributions. Instead, they hid their discomfort by making their inscriptions terse and comical.
"Alas, alas, I am so dumb.
The familiar verse "Roses are red, violets are blue," appearing in scores of albums, first appeared in print in 1784 as an English nursery song:
"The rose is red, the violet blue.
By 1937 it had become a sidewalk rhyme, changed by children in this fashion:
"Roses are red, violets are blue,
During World War II, the verse had become even more irreverent and appeared in autograph albums as
"Roses are red, violets are blue.
Following are actual writings found in autograph books from the Pine Island area:
True friends are like diamonds
First in your album
Oh little book go far and near