Sunday, August 7, 2022

Mother-Daughter Autograph Books

On this Sentimental Sunday, I'm looking at autograph books from family history.

Nearly 90 years ago, my mother (Daisy Ruth Schwartz, 1919-1981) graduated from junior high school (which was then grades 7, 8, and 9). 

She was 13 years old and moving up to high school for grades 10, 11, and 12.

Mom kept her graduation autograph book in great shape! 

As shown above, she wrote her name, the school number (J.H.S. 60 in the Bronx, New York), the principal's name (Anna V. McCarthy), her graduating teacher (Miss Hammond), and the date of graduation (January 31, 1933). 

A January graduation was the norm then. Mom graduated from high school three years later, in January of 1936.

At right, a page from Mom's autograph book, with a cute rhyme that was still in use decades later. "There are all kinds of ships, wooden ships, and steel ships, but the best ship is friendship." Signed, "your sister grad-u-8, Anna Kratzer." I've been able to find many of these classmates in Mom's high school yearbook, as well.

Although I attended school decades after Mom, my autograph book from grade 6 graduation also included signatures and inscriptions from classmates, some sentimental and some funny. I attended PS 103 in the northern Bronx, NY.

At left, one of my best friends included an affectionate notation based on 2+2=4. This same "equation" appears at least three times in my autograph book!

Another inscription used more than once in my autograph book is..."For dirty people only." Turn the page, and the inscription continues: "Use soap! Happy graduation from ...." (no LOL or emoticons of course)

Best of all, these handwritten messages from the 20th century are well preserved in an archival box and will live on through the 21st century. If future generations can still read basic cursive handwriting, they'll be able to decipher the messages!

This is my post for the September 2022 School Days "Genealogy Blog Party."


  1. What a fun memento to have in your family history collection. I don't know of any that relatives created, but I remember some from childhood. I really wish I still had them, but they are long gone.

  2. I'm glad you still have these! I have one of mine as well, somewhere. Paper certainly beats digital for memories.

  3. My husband's grandfather has an autograph book. I think it was given to him when he left home and has signatures of his parents and sisters, and I was able to see where he was as his telephone worker friends signed it too in later years.

  4. Thanks for sharing. I now have my mother's yearbooks and will have fun reading what her friends wrote. And I'll save mine, of course.