1873. Original manuscript. Hardcover. 48pp of handwritten sentiments from friends and family; four engraved plates, tissue guards, title-page vignette. Bound in red morocco, blind-stamped decorations, chrome-litho floral pieces on both covers, gilt cover lettering and spine decorations, all edges gilt. 8.25" x 6.5". Pieces of spine covering chipped from both ends; internally in very good condition. Item #039913
Many of the entires in this album were written at Tiskilwa, Mt. Carroll, and Rochelle, all in Illinois, and a few others are from Boston, Orange NJ, and St. Louis. Most are in ink, a few in fading but readable pencil. Several contain highly-calligraphed phrases or titles within their text, while one woman offers three animal sketches (2 dogs and a buck). Some of the non-calligraphic hands are nevertheless beautiful and flowing, illustrating the importance of penmanship in the school curriculum of the day. Many entries contain short poems, and some of these appear to be original, since they mention “Mary” or “my sister”, etc. ~~ Mary's album documents the prevailing sentiments of the era with inspirational messages on the importance of living a Christian life, trusting in God/Jesus, etc. Only a few are of the “remember me” variety. Some take up a full page, including those of her father, William R. Webb, and her mother, which are both highly religious in nature. There are also entries by her father-in-law “B. Lichty, “who signs with “Bless you is the prayer of your unworthy father,” and by her sister Ada. One signer, Will P. Hallett of Mt. Carroll, writes that he’s signing the book “although I have not as yet formed your acquaintance,” and goes on to hope that if they don’t meet “in this sinful world, may God help us to meet around his throne….” An entry from Mrs. C.B. Boyer notes that “One year ago you came to us as a stranger and today you leave for your new home...” and concludes with sending her good wishes. The only signer of historical note seems to be J[oseph] Morris Ray, who signed as “your friend” in June, 1873, and later became an Iowa attorney and State Senator 1893-95, after residing in Mt. Carroll for many years.