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  Saving Memories   

 
Lucy Drexel, Student

Autograph albums in one form or another have been especially popular with young women since Victorian times. These albums, with their inscriptions pledging everlasting friendship and asking the same from the owner, were not only a form in which to preserve memories of friends and family, but were also a way to define a circle of friends with cryptic messages and memories that only people on the inside of that circle could understand.


Lucy Virginia Drexel was born in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1861. She attended the Nebraska Baptist Seminary in Gibbon, Nebraska, in the mid-1880 and later married Henry George Harte of Omaha. She died in 1946.


Lucy Drexel's autograph album brims with cryptic notes only she, the author of the note, and perhaps a few good friends would understand. Inscriptions such as 'Last two Wednesdays in Gibbon, Bad Girl,' and 'skating party' were meant to remind her of secrets that friends shared.

"Beautiful hands are those that do
Work that is earnest and brave and true
Moment by moment the whole day through."

Dear Lucy,
In your journey through life, may you have agreeable companions, pleasant paths to tread, and an occasional ride, on a 4th of July for instance to Plattsmouth or Lincoln
Your friend. Sophie ________
Omaha, Neb.
Sep. 11, 1881
Do you ride or walk on "Fourth of July?
Walk.
  

In an album of light-hearted verse and good wishes, the inscription from Lucy's brother Henry stands out for its serious, scolding tone:

Omaha Nebraska.
January 27th 1882.
Sister Lucy,
   A good deal can be said about dancing "as the saying is."
It requires neither brains nor good morals to be a good
dancer. As the love of one increases, the love of the
other decreases.
    Put dancing in the crucible, apply the acids, weigh it, and
the verdict of reason & religion is, "Weighed in the balance
and found wanting"

Best wishes
Henry


The most striking entry in Lucy's book was crafted when Lucy's roommate, Clara Hendryx, sat down to add her note. She recounted, by name, all of the inscriptions already present in the volume. While the rhyming is strained, it is still an ambitious example of original verse.

Dormitory
Dearest Lucy
Albums are records kept by gentle dames,
To show us that their friends can write their names,
That Miss can draw or brother John can write
"Sweet lines," or that they know a Mr. Horth.
The lady comes, with lowly grace upon her,
"I will be so kind" do her book such honor
We bow, smile deprecate, protest, read o'er
The names to see what has been done before,
And write with modest glory "Osterhout"
A.B. Carson succeds, and King, Perkey, and Craig,
And Jacoby & Lucas with an original remark
Out of the speaker-then come "Elmers sweet lines,"
Christie's "sweet air," and Mary's "sweet designs."
Then Williams, Nightingale, Snelling, Enslow & Maude
And, with a flourish underneath them, Munson
Alas! Why sit I here, committing jokes
On social pleasures and good humor'd folks,
That see far better with their trusting eyes,
Than all the blinkings of the would be wise?
Albums are, after all, pleasant inventions,
Make friends more friendly, grace ones' good intentions,
Brighten dull names, give great ones kindred looks,
Nay, now & then produce right curious books.
Your Omaha friend & Gibbon room-mate
Clara Hendryx
April 23, 1883

Remember your Dormitory Troubles
"As if I ever cld forget them"

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  Sara J. Price, Teacher
       & Homesteader
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  S. Buck, Farm Wife

Autograph Albums
  S. & E. Allis, Missionaries
  E. & L. Correll, Suffragists
  W.J. Bryan, Orator
  
Lucy Drexel, Student
  Viola Barnes, Student

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  Willa Cather, Author
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       Businessman
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       Women's Army Corps
  Scrapbooking Today

Photograph Albums
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       Gehrke, Adventurers
  Nan Aspinwall,
       Entertainer
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       Musician

Quilts
  Edith Withers Meyers,
       Quilter
  Sierra Nevada Bunnell,
       Educator

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Last updated 15 April 2010  

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