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Autograph Albums

Remember Me

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.
I cannot write in this album, " wrote one boy.

Another penned
"When you slide down the banister of life,
be sure not to get a splinter in your career."

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.
The gillyflower sweet, and so are you."

By 1937 it had become a sidewalk rhyme, changed by children in this fashion:

"Roses are red, violets are blue,
I like pecans, nuts to you!"

During World War II, the verse had become even more irreverent and appeared in autograph albums as

"Roses are red, violets are blue.
You have a nose like a B-22".

Following are actual writings found in autograph books from the Pine Island area:

True friends are like diamonds
Precious but rare
False ones like autumn leaves
Found everywhere
- Emma, January 1887

First in your album
First in your heart
First to be remembered
And not to be forgot
- Your loving Friend Annie, Pine Island, Dec 1, 1887

Oh little book go far and near
To all your friends so dear
And tell them all to rite a page
For you to read in your old age
- Sophia, Pine Island, January 2, 1887