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