Textbook Autographs

I collect really old textbooks.  They aren’t worth much money but what makes my collection special to me is that most of them I inherited from my Grandma Gotcher who was a school teacher in a one room schoolhouse.  What makes them even more interesting is that my ancestors wrote in their textbooks when they were in school.  I find it very humorous to read their notes and see their names practiced over and over in the front pages of their books.  The biggest culprit of this was my Great Great Aunt, Rachel Rosanna Tracy.  She was born in 1860 so in 1875 she would have been 15 and probably in her last year of school.  By 1880 she was a school teacher.  In several of the books I have, the front few pages are covered with notes both to and from her friends.  The Front of “A Practical Grammar” is used as a sort of Autograph book.  And in another book, “A Brief History of the United States” (written in 1871, brief indeed), she is passing notes with a friend talking about some boy who is upset with one of them for not sitting with him. Many of the autographs are too faded to read but there are several that I can make out and they are quite creative:

  • “The flowers may fade away, the leaves may fall from the trees.  But Rachel though far away I will ever think of thee,” Jessie Smith.
  • “Around me shall hover in sadness or glee till this life is over sweet memories of thee,” Della Beckwith.
  • “Men differ and disunite in their plans but women are for union to a man,” A.T.W.
  • “Fall from the topmast of the deck, fall from the fence and break your neck.  Fall from the starry heaven above, but never never fall in love,”  E.A.B.
  • “Oh how I love you none can tell.  My little Rachel dear farewell,” Alice Elwell.
  • “One sweet kiss is the price of this,” H.E. Sterns.
  • “Remember is all I ask and, if to remember me should be a task forget me and let it be the last,” C. Alexander

I love that I inherited some of Rachel Rosanna’s books and that she left notes and her autographs for me to find.  My grandma, Mabel Rosanna, was named after her and I was named after my grandma, so I have always felt a connection to her.  I also inherited her school bell.  My grandma sent it to me in 1980 and with it came a letter form grandma about how she received it from her Aunt Rachel Rosanna and that Rachel used the bell when she taught school in 1880.  I received it when it was 100 years old and I cherish it and the history it brings with it of the one room schoolhouse.

About Rosanna Ward

Rosanna is a devoted mother of four children, two of which are homeschool graduates. She currently homeschools her 11 and 6 year old sons. Rosanna is a homeschool graduate and a graduate of Oral Roberts University: She grew up in Tulsa and has been homeschooling here for the past eleven years. Rosanna has loved family history for as long as she can remember and love genealogy for the stories of her ancestors.
This entry was posted in Gotcher Family Research and Stories, Tracy Family Research and Stories and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Textbook Autographs

  1. Wonderful story! I also love reading the little notes in these old books. Whether it is from a stranger’s book that I pick up from the Goodwill or an old one that’s been in the family. My grandmother has a very old German Bible (I believe belonged to either my Great Grandparents or my Great-Great Grandparents) that has some notes in German on the front pages. I wish I spoke German so I could see what they wrote!

  2. Jeanette says:

    Another lovely story Rosanna. Your blog, with the photos – just wonderful. Thank you again.

  3. Rosanna Ward says:

    Reblogged this on nextgenhomeschool and commented:

    As I write about Rachel Rosanna this week I thought it would be good to repost this fun story about her autographing and doodling in her textbooks as a young girl.

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