Special Collections and Archives

Girls' Friendship Books

Special Collections and Archives

Girls' Friendship Books

Girls' Friendship Books, 1824-1880


Prepared by Merritt D. Betts, April 15, 1981
Revised by Stephanie Wachalec, October 22, 2003
1 document case, .33 cubic feet, 11th floor

Historical Note

Friendship books were popular in the nineteenth century and "contained girls' tributes to their dearest friends as well as meditations on friendship itself...Writers sought to capture not only the essence of their friends but something of their friendship as well."* Included in these books were poems, selections from essays, and signatures of friends.

*Kelly, Catherine E. In The New England Fashion. Cornell University Press, 1999, p.77.

Scope and Content

This collection is comprised of miscellaneous friendship books dating from 1824-1880 and originating in New England, New York, Pennsylvania, and Quebec.

Box 1

  1. The owner's name is not known, but the name Mary Welles appears several times throughout the book, 1824.
  2. Mary Myers' book consists of poems, Herkimer, [New York] is mentioned throughout [the book is leather bound, includes engraved scenic views of New York State, "Miss Mary Myers" is engraved in gold on the cover], 1831-1836.
  3. Catherine E. Hunt's book mentions Glastenbury, [Connecticut] throughout, newspaper clippings and pressed flowers are included in the book [illustrated with engraved reproducitons of paintings, "Catherine E. Hunt" engraved in gold on the cover], 1835-1849.
  4. Catherine Ann Coolidge a student at the Poughkeepsie [New York] Seminary begins her book with several short essays, poems and passages are also included, cover is missing, 1836-1840.
  5. Amanda Yeager's book consist of poems and inscriptions by friends in Allentown, Pennsylvania; other places mentioned are Philadelphia and Shoenersville, Pennsylvania; Tiffin, Warren, and Cincinnati, Ohio [the cover is red leather and gold-inscribed "Religious Album" with religious engravings throughout the book], 1848-1860
  6. Lauraette Crampton's book entries date primarily from the 1860s, a notable entry by one young man is dated 1862, next to the entry another hand has written the fact that he was later killed in the Battle of Fredericksburg. [The cover is black leather, with the inscription "Love and the Flowers" in gold, includes allegorical representations of flowers throughout the book], 1861-1886.
  7. Sarah McKeon's book consists of inscriptions by her "convent friends" and the first poem is in French by Sister Marie Rose, [Montreal, Quebec?], 1870-1872.
  8. Emma Schnabel's book contains many entries in German, while others are in French and English. Places mentioned are Frankfort, Wiesbaden, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, and New York [the book is black leather, with a clasp], 1876-1880.