In Praise of Good Old-Fashioned Autograph books

These days your average school leaver gets everyone to sign their shirt with marker pen on their last day as a souvenir of their time at school. Turn the clock back a few decades and you reach the time when people kept autograph books, and their friends wrote silly little poems, or drew pictures, or even a sentimental verse. I had one of these – but only for junior school, and I don’t know what happened to it. I’ve been clearing my Mum’s house the past few days and have been too tired to blog until coming home.

I’m continuing to find treasures, and one I wanted to share with you today is her autograph book – the entries within date from around 1941 onwards so she’d have been ten then, and it carries on through her senior school days at Belfast’s Methodist College. I remember it well from my childhood – we often used to look at it for inspiration for rhymes to write in other people’s books. But for me the stars in Mum’s book were always the drawings people did. Here’s a few of them, and some rhymes too …

autograph 1
Your Highness sublime
Your Highness so mighty
I wish your pyjamas were next to my nightie
Oh! Don’t be mistaken
Don’t be misled
I meant on the clothes line: Not on the bed.

M Ritchie, 1946


autograph 2
Oh Maureen dear I love you,
You know the reason why,
Your eyes are always blurry
And your nose is never dry.

Rona McAlpine, 1946.

autograph 3
Three things to remember on your wedding day –
Aisle, Altar, Hymn.
I’ll alter him!

Flo Blair, 1942

Aren’t they wonderful? Bring back traditional autograph books – so much nicer than marker pen scribble on an old shirt.

Did you have an autograph book?
Any good ditties or pictures to share from it?

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