Thursday, February 28, 2019

Vintage Autograph Books

I'm currently reading Ivan Doig's Last Bus to Wisdom. Sadly, this was his final novel as he passed away in 2015. If you have never read anything by this fine author, please read The Whistling Season, my favorite, first, as your introduction to his body of work. 

The protagonist of the Last Bus to Wisdom is a young boy on a journey who collects autographs from fellow travelers on the bus and from others he meets along the way. This prompted me to pull out these autograph books which had belonged to my aunts. Flipping through the pages, I enjoyed reading the inscriptions. The messages were funny, some instructive, some were words of wisdom or faith, some were passages from favorite poems, and of course, there were those which were written all around the edges of the page or upside down.  :-)

There were also some delightful illustrations.

This illustration was done by my Aunt Mildred in my Aunt Alice's book.

And I was thrilled to see this message penned by my grandfather. Yes, the same little boy with the hat in the faded tintype in my last post who grew up to have with my grandmother four daughters and one son, my dad. 


I googled the words and they were from a popular song by Harry Clifton, a British music hall performer, who wrote this piece in the late 1800s. 

As an English teacher, I wrote many, many inscriptions in eighth grade yearbooks. The one I came up with and penned most often was "May the book of your life always be filled with adventure, success, and great happiness." I wish you all the same!!!


  1. I have some of these that were in my family from many years ago, priceless.

  2. I agree. :-) It’s also pretty interesting to see the handwriting of my grandparents both of whom I never knew. My dad’s father passed when I was only a few months old, and all my other grandparents many years before that.