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Manuscripts of Early National and Antebellum America
Commonplace Books and Friendship Albums

What follows is a list of Early National and Antebellum commonplace books and friendship albums from the North American manuscript holdings in the Department of Special Collections, University Libraries of Notre Dame. The manuscripts included here date wholly or primarily from the years 1788 to 1860.

  • COMMONPLACE BOOK. c1790-1800. 1 vol., 18 cm., 22 leaves, with 41 pages of manuscript entries in a single hand. This anonymous, undated commonplace book includes copies of 21 titled (though unattributed) songs and, less notably, poems. Original dates of composition appear to range from the 17th century to the 1780s. The latest, perhaps, is "Ode on Opening the Bridge at Boston," whose lyrics were written for the opening of the Charles River bridge at Bunker Hill in 1786. The greater number of the songs are secular. Lyrics (and poems) included in the book are: "On a Lady's Striking a Fly with her Fan;" "Indian Chief;" "Pompey's Ghost;" On John _____'s Picture by Smibert;" "Elegy on Two Ram Cats;" "Ode on Opening the Bridge at Boston;" "Rosamond's Soliloquy;" "Bunker Hill;" "Brittannia's Wolf;" "The Drunken Soldier;" "The Hypocrite's Hope;" "The Atheist;" "The Dying Christian's Soliloquy;" "The Maid of the Mill;" "The Wonderful Old Man;" "The Hermit;" "The Vicar and Moses;" "Song;" (to the tune of "Black Sloven"); "Friendship;" "Grief a Pastoral Elegy;" "Ode for Music on St. Cecilia's Day." MSN/EA 8604-1.

  • EMILIE GOUDAIN COMMONPLACE BOOK. 1823-1832. 1 vol., 20 cm., 65 leaves, with 39 pages of manuscript entries in several hands. Folio 2r of this blank-leaved volume is inscribed "Common Place Book," and identifies the owner as Emilie Goudain of New York. The entries, which consist mostly of verse (some in French), are in at least two different hands, one of which is Goudain's. MSN/EA 8600-1-B.

  • MARY W. MORRIS FRIENDSHIP ALBUM. ca. 1824. 1 vol., bound in full crushed morocco, with "ALBUM / 1824" stamped in gilt on the spine and "MARY MORRIS" stamped in gilt on the front cover; 20 cm., 88 leaves, with 20 pages of manuscript entries in various hands and 19 illustrations in various media. A manuscript dedication on 1r reads "From Charlotte, Countess de Survilliers, to Mary W. Morris / March 12th 1824." The dedicator is Charlotte Napoléone Bonaparte (1802-1839), daughter of Joseph Bonaparte, the older brother of the emperor. From December 1821 to August 1824 the countess lived with her exiled father on an estate on the Delaware River, near Bordentown, New Jersey. Among the many drawn, painted, or hand-colored illustrations in the album is a landscape in watercolor signed by Bonaparte, who was an accomplished painter and printmaker. The identity of the album's owner has not been definitively established; a likely choice is Mary White Morris (1800-1838), granddaughter of the Philadelphia financier Robert Morris (1734-1806). MSN/EA 8612-1-B.

  • JANE G. BARNITZ FRIENDSHIP ALBUM. 1828-1836. 1 vol., 27 cm., 92 leaves, with 80 pages of manuscript entries in various hands; 7 drawings in ink and wash, watercolor, or charcoal; and 4 engravings tipped in. 2 enclosures. Jane Barnitz (c1813-1840) was the daughter of Charles Augustus Barnitz, a wealthy York, Pennsylvania lawyer and U.S. representative (1833-35). During the years when the album was being compiled Jane lived at Springdale, the Barnitz family home in York. For the most part, the album contains poetry and prose selected and copied for Jane by numerous acquaintances; some of the hands are highly ornamental. A smaller number of entries appear to be original compositions. MSN/EA 8601-1-B to MSN/EA 8601-2.

  • FRIENDSHIP ALBUM. 1830-1838. 1 vol. partly printed, entitled The Literary Remembrancer (published by Oliver D. Cooke & Co., Hartford, 1827); 20 cm., 86 leaves, with 57 pages of manuscript in various hands and 4 watercolor drawings. The owner of this friendship album can be identified only by the given name Caroline, likely a resident of Attleborough, Bristol County, Massachusetts. The album contains 52 individual sentiments by a great many contributors; many of these entries are signed and dated (all but one to 1830-1834), and most are in poetic form. MSN/EA 8605-1-B.

  • ANNA SAYRE FRIENDSHIP ALBUM. 1832-1857. 1 vol. partly printed, with 8 engravings; 20 cm., 87 leaves, with 64 pages of manuscript in various hands and 1 drawing in watercolor. A friendship album belonging to Anna Maria Sayre (b. ca. 1818), daughter of the merchant Benjamin Sayre of Montrose, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania. Most of the sentiments in the book were written from 1832 to 1841, prior to Sayre's marriage to Joseph T. Richards of Montrose (20 October 1841). There are also two entries from 1857, one of them addressed to "my first teacher after my own mother" by Henry Harris Jessup of Montrose, future founder of the American University of Beirut. MSN/EA 8607-1-B.

  • HARRIET M. CURRY FRIENDSHIP ALBUM. 1833-1836. 1 vol. partly printed, entitled Album (manufactured by Hastings & Tracy, Utica, New York), 21 cm., 68 leaves, with 82 pages of entries in various hands, and 1 drawing in watercolor. Nine enclosures, including drawings in pencil. The owner of this friendship album, a young woman named Harriet M. Curry, was probably a resident of Trenton township, Oneida County, New York. The book contains upwards of 75 sentiments, in poetry and prose; dated entries range from 1833 to 1836. MSN/EA 8606-1-B.

  • MARY ELEANOR WILLIAMS FRIENDSHIP ALBUM. 1835-1842. 1 vol. partly printed, with "Album" stamped in gilt on the spine; 20 cm., 67 leaves, with 34 pages of manuscript entries. Mary Eleanor Williams (1816-1890) was a native of Fredericksburg, Virginia, the daughter of Isaac Hite Williams and Lucy Coleman Slaughter. The album contains around 20 sentiments in poetry and prose directed to Williams, mostly from 1835. Two sentiments (1838 and 1842) postdate Williams' marriage to Dr. Walter M. Hite. MSN/EA 8611-1-B.

  • MARY H. MONTGOMERY COMMONPLACE BOOK. 1835-1875 (bulk 1835-1847). 1 vol., 26 cm., 82 leaves, with 76 pages of manuscript, mostly in the owner's hand. A volume of handwritten literary extracts, poetry and prose, compiled by Mary Harrison White Montgomery (1805-1875), wife of the Philadelphia Episcopalian clergyman James Montgomery. Most of the entries date from the 1830s and 40s. Among the authors represented are Burns, Wordsworth, Caroline Bowles Southey, Felicia Hemans, Douglas William Jerrold, Francis Edward Paget, Grace Aguilar, and the American Anna Bartlett Warner. MSN/EA 8613-1-B.

  • FRIENDSHIP ALBUM. 1837-1839. 1 vol. partly printed, entitled Album (printed by J. C. Riker, New York, with 5 steel engravings of Asher B. Durand); 24 cm., 60 leaves, with 30 pages of manuscript entries in several hands, and 3 drawings in ink and wash or watercolor. The owner of this friendship album is not known; sentiments are addressed to both "Penelope" and "Maria." All the manuscript sentiments are in the form of poetry; several are dated, ranging from 1837 to 1839. MSN/EA 8602-1-B.

  • MARY ANN MARVELL FRIENDSHIP ALBUM. 1846-1857. 1 vol., 20 cm., 56 leaves, with 50 pages of entries in various hands. Mary Ann Marvell (c1830-1900) was a resident of North Dighton, Bristol County, Massachusetts. The album contains around 45 sentiments, in poetry and prose, written to Mary Marvell by almost as many different individuals. Entries are typically signed and dated; the authors appear to be local, from towns in Bristol County. MSN/EA 8603-1-B.

  • JANE ROSS FRIENDSHIP ALBUM. 1851-1853. 1 vol., partly printed, entitled Album of Friendship (published by J. C. Riker, New York); 20 cm., 49 leaves, with 24 pages of manuscript in various hands. 1 enclosure. The first leaf of this friendship album is inscribed: "Presented to Mrs Jane A. Ross By Mr A. C. Ross[,] Morrisville [New York,] January 1st 1851". Jane Ross was about 26 years old when she received the book; her husband was a shoemaker, of moderate means. The book includes 19 sentiments. MSN/EA 8610-1-B.

  • SERAPHINA KIMBALL FRIENDSHIP ALBUM. 1851-1863. 1 vol., partly printed, entitled Souvenir Album (published by J. C. Riker, New York); 20 cm., 60 leaves, with 42 pages of manuscript in various hands. Most of the 41 sentiments in this friendship album date from the early 1850s; they are addressed to Seraphina Kimball (b. 1830) of Amesbury, Essex County, Massachusetts. In February 1857 Kimball married Edward T. Merrill of South Hampton, New Hampshire; several of the sentiments postdate the marriage. MSN/EA 8609-1-B.

  • BROWNING FAMILY FRIENDSHIP ALBUMS. 1854-1870. 4 volumes, partly printed. A group of four friendship albums owned by members of the Browning family of LaGrange, Lewis County, Missouri. Two of the volumes were the property of Virginia (Jennie) Browning (b. ca. 1845); these contain around 43 pages of sentiments and other inscriptions with dates ranging from 1855 to 1870. The other two albums in the group were owned by Jennie Browning's sister, Ella Browning (b. ca. 1836). One of these (with a fancy japanned binding) is mostly blank; the second contains around 35 pages of sentiments with dates running from 1854 to 1861. MSN/EA 8608-1-B to MSN/EA 8608-4-B.


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