Autograph books

“Roses are red, Violets are blue, Sugar is sweet, and so are you” is a common verse written in autograph books along with side notations of, “Remember Me When This You See” and “4 Get-Me-Not”. Lovely thoughts about the importance of friendship, to sayings today we would view as politically incorrect, to the clever and funny, even delightful illustrations were included. From a 1929 book: “Vinegar is sour, sugar is sweet, Ashland girls are hard to beat!”

A local autograph book collector has various Ashland books with entertaining verses and also containing sincere sentiments and personal words written in beautiful penmanship by former Ashland school teachers. Starting in 1928 teachers Ardis Almy, Florence Whipple and Hazel Hardman wrote their verses to their students. Additional 1930s Ashland teachers and their inspirational words include Duty von Mansfelde, Maude Wilhelm, Hildegarde Baumgartner, Ruth Carr. Unique writings from teachers in the 1950s writings include Lucy Meisinger, Irma Nelson, Inez Peterson, Mrs. Arnold, Marilyn Reynolds and Helen Stock.

Autograph books originated in the mid-16th century in Europe. The small leather bound albums collected sentiments and comments from traveling university students and also were used for address books. They were popular during the Victorian era and featured hand painted and needlepoint covers. Interest began to decline during the late 19th century, however, there was a resurgence from 1914 through the early 1930’s. Earlier and later albums differed in content with the earlier albums containing a variety of signatures, poetry, clever remarks and artwork. Later albums circa 1950 onwards, contain little or no artwork, fewer poems and simple signatures although there was clever humor and nonsensical rhymes.

“Yours Till the Butter Flies”...

For more information on other items from Ashland’s history, visit the Ashland History Museum at 205 North 15th Street, Ashland. The museum is open May through September on Thursdays from 1 to 4 p.m. and by appointment.

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