This quirky book is filled with mementos and poems that tell show decades of friendship.
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.
Wagner lived in Lancashire, England, and was the aunt of poet Felicia Dorothea Browne, and Wagner apparently traveled a bit if her scrapbook is anything to go by. We love that everything from drawings to cut-outs to human hair made the book!
“Lest Time’s pervading powers should harm
There’s tributes, which with Fancy’s aid
Are wreathed by Life’s endearing charm
The breathings of Affection warm-
Each vivid tint of tender thought
Are here to Sanctuary brought
Safe, since on Friendship’s altar laid.”
The whole book is chock full of wonderful memories and quaint souvenirs of another world in which ladies collected mementos of their cherished friendships and social connections. Part autograph book, part sketchbook, part travelogue, Wagner’s friendship book is a unique artifact from the Georgian era.