Friday, July 11, 2008

Della's Circle of Friends - Post 1

We had new windows installed in our house yesterday, and to prepare for that I had to move much of my genealogy "dead-tree" collection out of the Genealogy Cave into an adjoining room. One of the benefits of moving stuff around in your house during home improvements or spring cleaning is that you sometimes find things you didn't know that you had (or in this case, you forgot that you had).

Moving boxes of genea-stuff from in front of the tall file cabinet allowed me to access the bottom drawers, wherein I found a nice collection of early-1900's San Diego High School yearbooks, a collection of coins and medals, and a very small autograph book. I spent two enjoyable hours last night reviewing this material, rather than moving all of the genea-stuff back into the Cave (that's today's job).

Abbie Ardell (Della) Smith (1862-1944) is my great-grandmother, who married Henry Austin Carringer in 1887, and resided in San Diego from 1887 to her death. I have transcribed her daily Journal from 1929 in my Della's Journal series.

Della's Autograph book is a small (4 inches wide, 2.5 inches high, 0.30 inch thick) book with a cover that has the following inscriptions (on hand numbered pages, a / means a line change):

Front page: "Presented to Dellie A. Smith / By her Mother Dec 25th 1877 / Concordia / Cloud Co / Kansas"

Page 2: "To Della / When prosperity brightens thy pathways / ?ull many will call thee 'My Friend' / But if adversity meets thee, / Remember one's true to the end. / Your Friend / Anna Ross / Feb 14 1879 / Concordia Kans"

Page 4: "Della / If we perform the small / duties of life faithfully / God will take care of the might / projects. / Minnie E. Cool."

Page 6: "Concordia Jan 20th 1878 / Dellie / May peace & pleasure / Be thy lot / And grief and sorrow / Attend thee not. / Very Respectfully / J.L. Dixon."

Page 14: "To flourish around your bower / To blossom around your Cot / Please cultivate this little Flour / They call forget-me-not. / Albert F. Newell / Concordia Kan / Dec 20th 1878."

Page 16: "Concordia Jan 30th 1878 / To Dellie A. Smith / A good name is better than Wealth / A good Education is worth striving for / Never say Can't, but I'll try. / From your Mother / Abbie A. Smith"

Page 22: "To Della, / Remember well and bear in mind / A trusty friend is hard to find / And if you find one good and true / Do not exchange the old one for / A new. Charles Jenkins / Concordia Cloud Co Kan. / Jan 12th 1878"

Page 26: "To Della / When on this Page you chance to look, / Think of me and close the book. / Ever your friend, / Miss Delia Hagaman / Concordia Kansas."

Page 30: "To Dellie Smith / When this you see / Remember me / From Aunt Libbie"

Page 32: "To Dellie / Remember me, you may, you must, as long as you / can gnaw a chrust / From your Brother / Concordia Dec 26th 1877"

Page 34: "To Della / Oft as the bell, with solomn toll, / Speak the departure of a soul, / Let each one ask himself, 'am I / Prepared, should I be called today?' / Your Schoolmate / Irena Davidson / Concordia Apr 14th 1878."

That's about half of the inscriptions - I'll transcribe the rest in a later post.

What is the value of an autograph book like this? I can think of:

* Provides a date and location for the individuals who inscribed it.

* Provides a handwriting sample of the individuals who inscribed it, and indicates literacy of those individuals.

* Provides an indication of what Della was called by her family and friends.

If any reader wants a scan of a specific page from this autograph book, please contact me at Some of the inscriptions are in pencil, and some in pen, and some are very faint.

1 comment:

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