Thursday, April 28, 2011

Autographs - Victorian Style

Queen Victoria reigned from 1837 to 1901, but some of the generous Steampunk aficianados still classify it as "Victorian" up into the 1920s. The latest dated signature I found in here is from 1900, so I don't need the extra time here -- though I do need that and a little more in the story I'm writing, since it begins with the Cottingley fairy photographs taken from 1917 to 1921. --I transcribed as much as I could to help with the difficulty of reading photographed handwriting.
Presented to Mrs. J. H. Andrews, from a friend. Christmas 1881
My favorite is the first one. From her husband.
Dear Wife, Time cannot take away from me, The happy days I've known, And death alone can break the tie, That binds my heart to thee. Your Husband, J. H. Andrews; Jan 14, 1882
Rockville, Dec 30, 1881 - Dear Friend-- So might I shun the shame and pain; That o'er me at this instant come; When Beauty, seeking Wit in vain; Knocks at the portal of my brain; And gets for answer, "Not at home." Your Friend, Arthur A. Davies. (I looked it up, it's the last stanza of this T. Moore poem.)
Dear Gilda, Our lives are albums written through; With good or ill with false or true; And as the blessed angles (angels?) turn, the pages of our years, God grant they read the good with smiles, and blot the bad with tears." Your Sister, Maggie Stirling Jan 2nd 1882 (This one is attributed to Whittier and a large number of autograph books and journals)

 Dear Friend, May you ever life free from care, above the vanities of life and with the smiles of Heaven daily resting upon you. Your Friend, J. H. Hanstine  --Deselm, Ill, Jan 16th, 1882 (I didn't find this one as a quote elsewhere, but I did find a mention of Rev J. H. Hanstine of Mount Morris, Ill)
 Mary Small, Kankakee, Illinoise, (I swear there's an extra 'e' there) New Year 1882
Agnes M(??) Durham; Rockville, Ill August 3, 1882
 Cousin I will remember the old and the New Year that I spend the last part of the first and the first part of the last at your house. W S (??)
Remember me dear Gilda when on these lines you look. Remember it was Maggie who wrote this in your book. From your Cousin, Maggie Stirling --Waldron, Ill Aug 7th, 1882 (This one seems to have also been a popular thing to write around this time.)
 Remember me ever in friendship, I pray; Forget me O never; Though far far away; Your Aunt Celeste McIntosh -- May 20th 1889
 Emerich, Neb Jan 2 1894 --Dear Friend, Not like the rose; May our friendship wither, But like the Evergreen last forever; Yours Truly, Anne McIntosh
 Friend Gilda: There is a rose without a thorne; Dear friend, may this your brow adorne; Religion is this timeless rose; To endless age fresh it flows (Guessing at this signature) Lilian E McKee, Terre Haute, Ind.
 Cousin Gilda --Within this book soo pure and white; Let none but friends presume to write; And may each line with friendship given; Direct the readeres thoughts to heaven; From Your Cousin, Minnie McGillirray (more name guessing) Custer August 7th
 John E. McIntosh, Kankakee, Ills, Future Home Emerick Madison (??) Nebraska
Dec 26th, 1886 Compliments of Reube Pringle, Lancaster, Ohio --13 of 14 (No, I have no idea)
 Compliments of Your Friend and Well wisher, Jennie Cooker, Kankakee, Ill May 6th 84
Kankakee, Ills, March 28, 1900 --Dear Friend Agnes (Not Gilda anymore?) May she who clothed the Lilies; And marks the Sparrows fall; Protect and save you Agnes; and guide you safe thro all; Is the wish of your friend, Daisy (Wank??)
 Dear Gilda, Weave into the web of your life here below; Threads that are beautiful, white as snow; And when the last shuttle through the fabric is run; The "Great Mystic Weaver" May say "'tis well done." Your Sister, Aggie Stirling Aug 13, 1882


  1. This may be a very weird question, but how does that smell? I have a book from the 20's, and it has always had the weirdest smell of old paper and unseen mildew about it.

  2. Unlike a lot of old books, I'm not overwhelmed by the smell just by opening it. When I hold it up to my nose I get -- dust? Which is pretty amazing for any old paper in super-moist Florida. I think most of the dirty you can see on the pages is glue remnants and inky fingerprints, but otherwise it's amazingly clean.