I recently went to my favorite antique store in Dallas (Curiosities) to purchase an autograph book from the 1800s. But by the time I arrived the book was sold. Since it’s a long drive – I made the trip worthwhile. I scoured the store and found a consolation purchase that ended up being an even better gem. This little red autograph book belonged to 8th grader Ramona Holmes, a student at J. G. Wooten School, in Paris, Texas. The autograph book is dated 1946.
It is a charming piece of history. I’ll share pages from the book and research I’ve done. It is an unusual hobby but I enjoy linking a piece of ephemera with a place or person.
Some observations about the contents of the book: Ramona was archiving and documenting without realizing how helpful it would be 75 years later. She included addresses next to the messages her friends wrote. I’ve been able to search Google Maps to see if the homes of her childhood friends still exist. Some do while others are either empty lots or have been replaced with other structures. Ramona’s home no longer exists, by the way.
The other fun observation: it must have been the trend among children to write little poems in autograph books. You’ll soon see what I mean.
When I found the book at the store it was an easy decision to purchase. I have been to Paris, Texas and there were plenty of names and dates to research. But I didn’t notice the gold until I got home and turned to this page. I’ve typed it up for ease of reading:
It has been a pleasure knowing you. You are a very sweet and nice girl. I wish you lots of luck and happiness all through life. Because you have earned it.
When you get married
And live by a jail
Put up a sign
Babies For Sale
Put them together and
If you enjoyed Miss White’s poem, “Babies For Sale”, you’ll enjoy the others I will share in future posts.
About the Photo: The linen is something I purchased from a street vendor in Europe. And like Ramona, I had to document the purchase. I have the photo of the elderly woman who sold it to me.
Upcoming: I’m working on two other fun research projects / blogs unrelated to this autograph book. This will be a very fun year of local history, ephemera and hotels/motels. Thank you for reading.