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
"Beautiful hands are those
Work that is earnest and brave and true
Moment by moment the whole day through."
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 ________
Sep. 11, 1881
Do you ride or walk on "Fourth of July?
In an album of light-hearted verse and
good wishes, the inscription from
Lucy's brother Henry stands out for its serious, scolding tone:
January 27th 1882.
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
Put dancing in the crucible, apply the
acids, weigh it, and
the verdict of reason & religion is, "Weighed in the
and found wanting"
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.
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
April 23, 1883
Remember your Dormitory Troubles
"As if I ever cld forget them"