Sorting Saturday: Clara Shrader’s Autograph Book

Clara Shrader Autograph Book, Scan 5. (Click to enlarge.)


Roberts Family (Click for Family Tree)

Ummm, this is a blank page…

Yes, and that is the proper way to document an artifact- scan/note even what is blank. Our Roberts cousin has created a virtual autograph book for us, and the blank pages could be important as one sorts through information in the book. In this case, these two pages do not really give us information, but in other cases, what might appear to be blank may actually give clues. There might be a faint bleed-through that could help us to decipher what was on the opposite page or the scanner might pick up faint writing that our eyes have not noticed, such as words that have been erased or just faded over the many years. Plus, how many pages in the album are filled with autographs gives us some additional data about Clara and her circle of friends and family. (It’s the 19th century version of counting your friends on FaceBook, only these ‘posts’ will last much longer than a FB feed.)

The transcription that goes along with the scans is so helpful- it is a MS Word document consisting of background information and a table for the pages of the autograph book. The table has 3 columns: scan number, left page, right page. If a page is blank it is noted in the transcription. For ease in reading, we are posting the transcriptions with the individual pages.

Clara Shrader Autograph Book, Scan 6. (Click to enlarge.)

Transcription, left page:

8-14-1885 [down side of page]

To Clara

May your cheeks return the dimples,

And your face be just as gay;

When some nice young man will whisper,

Darling C name the day


Mollie Lowther

Transcription, right page:

To Miss Clara


As sure as comes your ___ [wed?]ing day

A broom to you I’ll send

In sunshine use the brushy ____ [part?]

In storms the other end.


Ever your friend {illegible}


March 21st 1884.

[These two pages indicate how marriage was the ultimate goal of a woman. “Darling C name the day” refers to “Darling Clara,” said by her suitor, “name the day” for their marriage. The broom mention is to use the bristle end for sweeping on good days, and to use the stick to smack a wayward husband on the not-so-good days. Rolling pins were common wedding shower gifts with a similar dual purpose even into the 1970s. Yes, good people who probably would have never done it joked about domestic violence…]

Clara Shrader Autograph Book, Scan 7. (Click to enlarge.)

Transcription, right page:

Dear Clara

Clara Shrader Autograph Book, Scan 8. (Click to enlarge.)


March 12, 1884

Dear Friend Clara

I ask you not as others may. I place

In your memory fair, but only in

True friendship say, forget me if you dare.

I am ever your friend.

George D. Wagner

Clara Shrader Autograph Book, Scan 9. (Click to enlarge.)

Concordia Kan

Jan the 22 1885

In what a changing world we live

Friends meeting parting ever

Let friends to friends some token give

That they’ll forget them – never

S Caylor

[The world was changing rapidly in the 1880s, and people moved away, never to be seen again- but that had been going on for many years as our population of the US moved west. Perhaps S Caylor was planning a move about the time Clara gathered the autographs of her friends? In 1880, Clara was in Concordia, Cloud County, Kansas, living with her parents; in 1885, the Kansas State Census shows her in Arion, still in Cloud County. She married in Cloud County in 1894, so Clara herself did not move for some years.]

Clara Shrader Autograph Book, Scan 10. (Click to enlarge.)


Command me always as a friend. M.


Mar 12, 1884.


Dear Friend Clara.


Here is one leaf reserved for me,

From all kind words it yet is free.

Oh! Could I now within thy mind

Some little vacant corner find,

How quick would I with greatest ease

Write down my name forever there.


Ever yours. Madge Wagner.




Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Thank you to our Roberts cousin who so carefully has preserved, scanned, and transcribed this autograph album.


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