1880s Autograph Book - Joy

A message from the past – an 1880s autograph book

1880s Autograph Book - Joy

All images in this post can be clicked on for a larger view.

Title:  Joy

Artist’s Statement:  I combined ephemera to deliver a message from the past. 

The message is from an autograph book from the 1880s:

“To Miss Emma

Like birds that twitter in the early spring

May joy within your heart forever sing.

Your Friend

A.A. Johnson

Prairie Lea, Texas

January 7, 1886”

The photograph shows a group of women posing in front of a fence with large, showy hats.  They are smiling and having fun.  There are two men in the background also smiling.  It’s not the typical formal or serious pose for that time period.  I felt this photo expressed the sentiment of joy. 

Material Details:

Cigar Box: gifted to me by a family source.

Dried rose: I picked up the rose outside of church earlier this year.  It had fallen from a flower arrangement intended to decorate the altar of the church.

Autograph page: This is a copy of a page from an autograph book I purchased at an antique store.  I have done preliminary research on the original owner of the book and some of the individuals who signed it.  The book is a treasure for its history, messages and other details from the past.  I enjoy giving it new life through art pieces that others can enjoy.

1880s Autograph Book - Joy

Bird: I machine embroidered a bird and then used brown ink to create a mottled effect on the fabric.
Branch: I selected a branch from my backyard for the bird embroidery design to “perch” on.

1880s Autograph Book - Joy

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