Sunday, August 16, 2009

Autograph Books

Simply put, an autograph book is a small book to collect autographs of others. Self explanatory…right? However, vintage autograph books, also known as album amicorum ("book of friends") or stammbuch ("friendship book”), included beautiful hand written personal messages and remembrances in stunning penmanship and calligraphy, poems, rhymes, little sayings from a bygone era, and even drawings.

Autograph books have been around for centuries! From the 15th until the mid-19th century, they were popular among university students of central Europe to have their personal bibles signed by classmates and instructors. Finally, their popularity began to diminish and they were replaced by yearbooks, though a considerable number of young women continued to exchange them.

The first true autograph books appeared in German and Dutch cultures by the mid-16th century. By the late 1800's, German immigrants transported the tradition to American culture.

It’s soothing to look through these vintage treasures with their personal thoughts and messages from a time when life might have been a bit slower and harder to boot. Long before computers and type writers were used by just about everyone, your hand writing spoke volumes of who you were, your education and your gender. I admit with all my typing, my scribbling would shame my ancestors!

You can find vintage autograph books in antique stores, estate sales and online. Prim crafters can make aged books with a few vintage pictures, cardboard and scrapbooking skills. Go ahead! Give it a try and take a step back in time.



my tiny studio said...

wow !! that was cool to know.
I like finding out thing :)


The Vintage Polka Dot said...

I wish I knew how to write in such beautiful penmanship as they used to teach. I wonder if they offer classes in such??

Barefoot Primitives said...

I hear ya! I used to have better penmanship, but I get in too big of a hurry anymore and scribble scribble scribble. And what a mess if I can't read my own scribbles! ROFL -- The key is probably slowing down. hmmmmmm ;o)