[Posted by Jennifer Sharp M’11, a Project Archivist with the Watkinson Library]
A common practice in the nineteenth century was to maintain a friendship album. Though mostly kept by women, entries were often from both men and women. The albums contained poems and stories, and served a purpose similar to a high school yearbook or a Facebook wall.
Lucy Strong was the sister of Charles Wells’ wife, Jane Naomi (Strong) Wells. As we can tell from the album’s dedication, in 1832 Lucy attended (or perhaps just visited) Wesleyan Academy, now Wilbraham & Monson Academy in Wilbraham, Massachusetts.
She received entries from several men there, including one from Columbia, South Carolina, and another from New Hartford, Connecticut.
While often the entries were just text, some, such as this entry from Clarissa Talmage, were far more intricate.
Though water damaged, the pages all remain legible. It’s great to have this example of a nineteenth century custom in the collection.
*I have learned from online histories of Wilbraham & Monson that Wesleyan Academy was the first co-ed boarding school in the country. The wording in the dedication makes it sound like Lucy was a student there, but in my quick search I was unable to find a date for co-education.