Proper DOT dustyoldthing_belowtitle

This “Friendship Book” from 1795 is Charming Beyond Belief

In 1795 a creative soul endeavored to create a one-of-a-kind scrapbook, savoring the memories and people that colored her life. The author, Anne Wagner, spent the next 4 decades adding to this friendship book. Books like these told the story of who the author knew, as well as recording fun details of beautiful places they had been or things they enjoyed, a tradition begun by young men in Germany in the 17th century.

Friendship books had been widely adopted for women by the time Wagner began her book and they served as a sort of Facebook for the pre-electric crowd. Wagner’s book is held by the New York Public Library collections and since this fragile book is not available to check out, the digital scans of the book serve as a wonderful peek into the past.

NYPL Digital Collections

Front cover of Ann Wagner’s Friendship Book. Via/ NYPL Digital Collections

NYPL Digital Collections

A delicate drawing and a lock of hair from her friend, Eliza Crooke. Via/ NYPL Digital Collections

NYPL Digital Collections

Collage and drawing. Via/ NYPL Digital Collections

NYPL Digital Collections

“Ah! the shadow mocks our hearts!” Via/ NYPL Digital Collections

NYPL Digital Collections

A lovely ink and watercolor drawing of a seashell, covered in lacquer and signed by Wagner’s friend. Via/ NYPL Digital Collections

NYPL Digital Collections

More studies of specimens: a butterfly, a feather, and two seashells. Via/ NYPL Digital Collections

NYPL Digital Collections

“Think of your sincere friend sometimes.” Via/ NYPL Digital Collections

Click “Next Page” to see more of this charming book!

RevContent
Proper DOT dustyoldthing_belowcontent

Get Dusty Old Thing stories in your Inbox!