Oh! sometime come
with gentle eye,
And o'er these pages kindly bend;
Then memory will give a sigh
For each beloved, departed friend!
My name will then reveal to thee-
Though parted in this world so wide,
And I may long forgotten be,-
That once I tarried by thy side.
Eliza R. Knowlton
Oct. 22nd 1865
In the United States the
practice of keeping autograph albums began in the 1820s and increased
in popularity through the nineteenth century.
In fact, the definition of album in the 1847 edition of Webster's American Dictionary
is "a book, originally blank, in which foreigners or strangers
insert autographs of celebrated persons."
Autograph albums during the Victorian
period often incorporated elaborate
illustrations, colored pages, and ornate covers. But earlier
albums were usually simple volumes that encouraged serious inscriptions
and lofty sentiments rather than the flippant verse so often
associated with such albums of the twentieth century.
Samuel and Emeline Palmer Allis, Missionaries
Samuel Allis was born in Massachusetts
in 1805. In 1834 he went west with
Reverend Dunbar under the patronage of the Presbyterian Church
American Board of Foreign Missions to Bellevue, which was the
agency for the Omaha, Otoe, and Pawnee Tribes. Prior to his departure,
he engaged to marry Emeline Palmer, a member of his church
in Ithaca, New York. She came west in 1836 on a wagon train to
marry Samuel and they served as missionaries to the Pawnee Indians
until 1845, when they built a boarding school for Native Americans.
The Allis collection in the Nebraska
State Historical Society includes
two autograph albums, Samuel's and Emeline's. Both albums were
completed as first Samuel and later Emeline were preparing to
leave family and friends to travel far into what was at that
time the wilderness. They knew that they would not likely see
these people again in their lifetimes, and the messages inscribed
in these albums would be evocative reminders of those that they
had left behind.
You tell me to engrave a few lines
in your Album, as a memento of friendship. To tell of scenes
forgotten accept at memorys shrine they'll stand as consecrated
relicks of remebrance. Ah yes, me thinks they'll awaken a pleasing
recollection of the past, they'll tell of friendships formed
at Ithaca, and joyful hours that are past away. But when towards
the west you sail, with the bright hope of enlightening the savage,
May you depart in Jesus name, and he will help you onward.
Ithaca May 28 1834
One might guess
that the most treasured autograph in Samuel's album was from
his bride-to-be, who wrote:
Lines addressed to Mr. S. Allis.
Since you are soon to leave your native land,
Permit me to address you as a friend To whom much love and gratitude
I write to bid my friend adieu.
In Emiline's album,
her cousin Lathrop takes the opportunity to describe the value
of this book of remembrances.
How valuable to you must be this repository of friendly tributes!
Each associate, relative & friend, anticipating soon a lasting
separation, is anxious to insert here some tribute of esteem,
some memento of past & happy times, which when the vicissitudes
of life shall have caused your departure for other & distant
climes, will yet remain, a valuable remembrance, & a mitigation
of the pain of separation.-And that such may be the value placed
upon this small but sincere tribute is the heartfelt wish of
your devoted Cousin
Lathrop Storrs Eddy
Ithaca 30th Au. 1834
Pawnee-made beaded bow tie worn by Reverend Samuel Allis when
he was missionary to the Pawnee in 1837.
Diaries and Journals
J.A. Hill, Civil
W. Richards, Surveyor
J.S. Morton, Statesman
Sara J. Price, Teacher
W. Danley, Businessman
J. & E. Green, Farmers
S. Buck, Farm Wife
S. & E. Allis, Missionaries
E. & L. Correll,
W.J. Bryan, Orator
Lucy Drexel, Student
Viola Barnes, Student
Willa Cather, Author
C. Calvert, Educator
Myrtle Soulier, Student
B. Watson, Porter
Margaret and Edward
Frances M. Creech,
Sierra Nevada Bunnell,