Pictures and comments courtesy of Mr. Richard Blacher.

Autograph Book

Very Unique One of a Kind!

About 30 years ago a CT bookseller called asking to stop by on his way to New York. He had recently purchased a library and found a Roycroft autograph book filled with pictures – thought I might like a look. I had never seen anything like it before, but at that time, early in my Roycroft collecting life, I had no reason to think it was anything particularly unusual. Needless to say, if it came my way today, I would go into hyperdrive – realizing how extraordinarily special and rare it was.

I’ve looked through it many times over the years and I’m still bemused by the blatant racism and anti-semitism expressed in several of the drawings, reminding myself that these actually represented a“normal” and accepted form of satire (political and social) at the turn of the last century. A typical Roycroft autograph book may have one or two illustrations– florals are most common – but are usually filled with simple, written expressions of friendship, good wishes, or sympathy.

I’ve never been able to determine with certainty whose autograph book this was (some indication that the owner was Fred’k A. C. Baker) but, given the large number, artistry and complexity of many of the drawings, the owner must have been held in great regard. Most of the entries are dated 1901 (2 are 1905). Some of the signatures were difficult to read – did my best.

The entries alphabetically are: Baker (Alice W., Bessie, William C.); Boll, Geo.; Chandler, Lyman; Engray, Albert; Gardiner, Minnie; Gray, Jr., E; Griffin, J.; Hatfield (Irma, Thomas F.); Hawthorne, Lyle; Hubbard, Elbert; Hudgens (Bessie, Gertrude); Juankar, John B.; Kieffer, L.; Koester, H. E.; Kogge, A. H.; Miller, A. W.; Odell, Clarence; Roberts (Charles, Elizabeth); Runyon (George G., J. A.); Stackman, Lillian; Van Ness, Adelaide B.; VanPelt, Emma H.; and Vogt, Myrtle I.

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