Friday, February 18, 2011

Julia's Autograph Book

At the turn of the century, my great-grandma Julia was a tween living in a sod house in Garretson, South Dakota. 

But while her daily life differed greatly from ours today, that doesn't mean she didn't share the same thoughts and feelings of girls today. 

I know because her autograph book is a prized possession of mine, and it is filled with personal messages and poems (some in Norwegian) from friends, family members and even teachers.

In honor of Valentine's Day or perhaps for her birthday, Julia received this autograph book in February 1898.

Here are a few favorite entries:

What do you care for gold or silver,
What do you care for on sea or land,
All you seem to care for 
Is a handsome young man.
Your sister, Mary

When the golden sun is setting
And from care your thoughts are free
When of others you are thinking
May you sometimes think of me.
John Johnson

Look for goodness, look for gladness,
You will find them all the while.
If you bring a smiling visage
To the glass, you meet a smile.
Your friend, Libbie Tabor

Julia is your name:
Single is your life.
Happy is the little man
who gets you for his wife.
Your friend, Agnes

That "little man"—and he was short—turned out to be Severin, a Norwegian immigrant. They married in 1911 when Julia was just 22 and "S.L.," as he was called, was 24. Cheers to their 100th anniversary.


  1. WONDERFUL! I'm going to find my old autograph book (though it's not as old as Julia's) and read every page!

    Thank you!

  2. Fabulous! What a treasure! I remember reading about autograph books in Little Town on the Prairie.