Inscribed with well wishes (mostly to do with marriage and child bearing), “in jokes”, sentiment, innuendo, verse and pranks this small book contains the words and signatures of friends, classmates, teachers, and family collected by Nancy Thompson, a 13 to 16 year old girl, from the years 1925 to 1928. Nancy lived in Spartansburg, Pennsylvania. The handwriting is clear, the punctuation precise and each entry neatly fills one side only of the allotted page. One page holds an illustration, a portrait of a female profile with a very stereotypical flapper hair cut. One can assume most of the signatories were also in their early teens. This little album (4X6 inches) is simply constructed with a thick green paper cover and inner pages of various colors all bound with a thin green ribbon through 2 series of punched holes. It is on loan to me because I love these old things. I hope I can convey some of the “feel” of this artifact to you, the digital reader.
Autograph books have been around since at least the early 19th century, scanned images or mention of ones that old can be found on the web and book collections exist in some libraries. Students often used them, even through college age, to collect sentiments and signatures around graduation time. People took their time in adding their page.
In the book I’m holding more than one entry is usually not seen from the same date.
The letters S.V.S. and S.H.S. and S.R.S appear frequently. What they mean is not clear to me but their frequent appearance does make me believe many of the signatories were classmates of Nancy and perhaps these were clubs or societies they were co-members of. I picture a Spartansburg ?V, H , R? Society in my mind.
Occasionally comments like “remember the hot lunch” and “ class of 31” or “remember May 27, 1927” appear.
I picture these young girls dreaming their domestic dreams of babies and husbands while clinging to their school days friendships.
For he who always does his best
His best will better grow.
But he who shirks his daily tasks
He lets the better go.
Roses are red (appears twice)
And so are you
The thunder roared
The cloud grew big
The lighting flashed
And killed my pig
When you get married (appears twice)
And your old man gets cross
Pick up the broom
And tell him your “Boss”.
Love me little
Love me big
Love me like a little pig.
But not forever.
Never slap your kiddies in the face
Since nature has provided another place.
These few line to you are written.
From a friend sincere and true.
That I may be remembered.
When I am far away from You.
When this you see
I’m just The “kid”
I use to be.
When you are married
And have twins
Come to my house
For safety pens.
“The pleasantest things in life are pleasant thoughts.
And the greatest art in life is to have as many of them as possible.”
When the gold sun is setting.
Oe’r the dark and lonely sea,
When the whippoorwill is singing,
Will you sometimes think of me.
I’ll write a line
To a friend sincere and true
May I be remembered,
When I’m far away from you.
Long may you live,
Happy may you be,
Loved by a lot,
But the best by me.
Look UP Look DOWN (letters in caps written up-side-down)
Now YOU have FOUND I HAVE
Signed MY name.
Not like the rose let our friendship whither,
But like the evergreen live forever.
I wish you love,
I wish you joy,
I wish you first a baby boy,
And when his hair begins to curl
I wish you then a baby girl.
I love you great,
I love you mighty,
I wish your pajamas were next to my nighty;
Now don’t be offended for what I have said,
For I mean on the clothes line,
And not in the bed.
In Your golden chain of friendship (written sideways on the page)
Count me as a link.
Yours till it snows in Africa
I love one,
I love two,
I love one
And that is you,
When Twilight pulls it’s curtain drawn
And pins it with a star,
Remember you have one true friend,
Wherever you are.
I wish I were a bunny
With furs as soft as fluff
I sit upon your dresser,
And be your powder puff.
I thought, I thought,
I thought in vain,
At least I thought
I’d sign my name.
“Ladies Only” (on a folded in half page’s outside these words appear)
Hello Boys: (and inside the folded page we see)
Curiosity killed a cat
Satisfaction brought it back.
When you are married,
And washing dishes.
Think of me and my best wishes.
These are my best wishes in melodious words expressed.
By the best of health and fortune,
May all your years be blest.
I’m the last in the book (and his was the final signature on the final page)