Connersville, Fayette County, Indiana: 1882-1893. 17.5x10.5cm: Green cloth with decorations to cover in red, green, blue and black with gilt accents. Stamped floral decorations to the rear board and spine. Contains 100 pages with only a few left blank and one leaf laid-in at the back. Heavy weight paper is lightly toned and alternates in color from cream and light blue, throughout. Presentation inscription to front free endpaper stating A birthday present, March 6, 1883, however, there are a few entries with earlier dates. Most of the entries are from the years 1883 and 1886 and do not necessarily appear in chronological order. Cover lightly rubbed with light fraying to edges and spine. Spine cracked at the front endpaper gutter, with all but one leaf holding. Very Good.
From what we can gather, Rosetta “Etta” Scholl was the oldest of four children, born in 1865 and raised on a farm in Fayette County, Indiana. This autograph book seems to have been started when she was just about 16 years old and is filled with loving inscriptions from family and friends, some even containing glued on fake flowers. Many of the entries contain silly poems about friendship, passages from the bible, and some best wishes from her parents, siblings and pastor. Most entries contain a message, a signature, and town name. Some of the more clever entries include: a passage with a morse code message “semembes me” perhaps attempting “remember me” written under their signature; an entire page written in German, and a passage written so you need to use a mirror to read it. Our two favorite passages are from her cousin, Eva, and her future husband, Uriah M. Ranck. Written almost like a yearbook entry from a best friend, Eva Scholl recounts numerous shared adventures for Etta to remember, all written in verse! The adventures include a high school social, an encounter with a “tramp”, and an inside joke about going to Maplewood. These two must have been very close friends as she used three pages for her message, more than anyone else. Uriah wrote a verse less than three years before they got married: "The humble words which here I pen/Years may not change or age efface/They may be read, Though valued not/When he who penned them is forgot." Overall, a wonderful autograph album with plenty of sweet messages and well wishes, with wonderful period handwriting to boot!