Before My Time is about the ancestry and extended family of my four grandparents: John Samuel Krentz (Indiana/North Dakota), Margreta Tjode Hedwig (Gertie) Buss (North Dakota), Rosmer Pettis Kerr (Pennsylvania/Michigan), and Evelyn Elvina Hauer (Michigan), and other topics in genealogy and family history.

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday: Lizzie Schulte's Autograph Book, 1887-1890

I must say, I never imagined that I'd be writing a third* autograph book post, but here it is. My sister discovered a hidey-hole that I'd missed in all previous treasure-hunting forays into the wilds of my dad's basement--a wooden cupboard that once belonged to my grandparents Kerr. It's not that I'd never opened those cupboard doors before--I had. But the contents appeared to be really boring stuff--my mom's old dress patterns, Avon junk, some old Woman's Day magazines--nothing to stir up my passion for you-know-what. But my sister lifted up some of the boring stuff and... voilĂ !... a plastic bag with some of my grandma Evelyn's treasures in it!

More properly, I should say that this particular treasure belonged to Evelyn's mother, Elizabeth Schulte (not to be confused with the other Lizzie Schulte, the cousin who married Fred Hebert).

The book measures 3.25" x 5.5" and has padded red velvet covers which are now separated from the pages. The pages are in two sections, one with five sheets and the other with four, each folded with a large staple to bind them, and there's a single page that's not attached to either section, meaning there's at least one page missing. It wouldn't surprise me if there was another whole section of pages missing--the cover binding is wide enough to have accommodated another one.

With the book was a little leather snap-case holding a pencil sharpener. The ball-point pen wasn't invented until the 20th century, you know, and a pencil sharpener would have been an essential tool before that. This one is brass, quite heavy for its small size. A U.S. quarter, laid on top of it, hangs over the sides just a wee bit. The manufacturer's information is engraved on the back: "A.W. FABER, TUTIOR JUWEL, 4020, Patent, Bavaria." It still works. (Was there any doubt?)

Look all you may,
Write all you please,
But for pittysake donot
tare the leaves.

My best guess is that Lizzie herself wrote the page above. It's the first page inside the cover.

The book was given to Lizzie by her friend Mary Carl as a Christmas gift in 1887. Lizzie was 15 years old at the time. Mary also signed another page further back in the book.

Not every page has been used. Mary's pages are the only ones dated 1887. Other dated pages were signed in 1888 and 1890.

Detorit, Feb. 13, 1890
Dear Lissie,
I rite here not for bueaty, I rite
here not for farm, I rite to
be remberd and its here I
rite my name.
S Lulu Maddin

At least I think that says Lulu! You can thank me for adding punctuation to the transcription. And I'm guessing she never won a spelling bee, huh? Undaunted, however, she wrote two more pages, signing them with her initials only, S. L. M.

Detroit Mich Feb 13 1890
Lizzie Schulte is my Name
Single is My Station happy
is the Man that Makes
the Altration.
S. L. M.

Choose not your friends from outward show
The feather floats
But the pearl lies low
Your friend
Louise Gertow
Detroit July 7, 1888

Dear Lizzie
Beef Stake when your
hungry Lagger Beer when
your Dry Green Backs
when your hard up
and Heven when you die
S L M.

Dear Lizzie
Ha Ha Ha you make
Me laugh to write
My Name in your Augtograph
Your Friend
Miss Jose Hauer
Detroit, March 12th, 1890

Reader, this is where the book made me sit up and take notice. Miss Jose Hauer is actually Josephina Hauer, a younger sister of Felix Hauer, who would become Lizzie's husband in 1893. And she was not the only Hauer sister to sign the book.

Dear Lizzie,
When the evening hours is hushed
When the sky is no longer flushed
When alone you bend your knee
Will you sometimes pray for me.
Your friend,
Mamie Hauer
March 9th, 1890

Mamie was Mary Hauer, born 17 April 1871 in Detroit, also a younger sister of Felix. She wrote on the facing page as well:

Dear Lizzie
Mamie Hauer
March 9th, 1890

Dear Lizzie
Friendship has between us [sprung?]
I hope it has been true.
And may this Friendship ever,
Last between my self and you.
Your Friend,
Hattie Hart
Detroit, June 29th, 1888

Dear Lizzie
I thought of a mond in the sweet.
Alborn. Where a little head-stone
stood. How the flakes were folding
it gently as did robbins the
[babes?] in the woods.

Reader, my eyes popped out when I saw that one! Evelyn Hauer? That would someday be the name of the daughter Lizzie and Felix would have... but not until 1894. Although this page is not dated, I am discounting the possibility that Lizzie's daughter Evelyn wrote in the book at some point many years after 1890. First of all, it just seems unlikely. And second, would she address her mother as Dear Lizzie? So let's consider who else this might be.

Felix had two other sisters. Sophia, born about 1865, was the oldest of the Hauer children, nine years older than Lizzie. Katharine, born in September 1875, was the youngest, three years younger than Lizzie. I don't know middle names for either of them, but it seems more likely to me that, if this was written by one of them, it was probably Katharine.

In any case, suddenly it appears that my grandma may have been named after someone. I guess it's about time for me to go hunting for Detroit's Catholic churchbooks!

To Lizzie
Forget me not forget me never
Till yonder sun shall set forever
And in the future as you stray
Think of Ida when far away
Your Friend
Ida [Lun? Law?]
Detroit, June 6th, 1888

Dear Lizzie
Some love one,
Some love two,
I love one,
And that is you
Your friend
Mary Carl.
Detroit, Dec. 22th, 1887.
forget me not.

Dear Lizzie
May this day be only known
As one of sunniest cheer.
May Gladness claim it as its own
And bless it every year.
Your friend -
Lizzie Finucan
Detroit, July 10th, 1888

Dear Lizzie
May your joys be as deep
As the ocean, and your sorrows,
As light as the foam.
Your Friend,
Mamie Heinsman
Detroit, July 2sd, 1888


*Previous autograph book posts:


Joan said...

Wow, that was fun to see the history in an old autograph book. Thanks.

Barbara said...

I had so much fun reading the entries, and to think it was dated 1887. It is beautiful, and I'm glad it was found, and now shared. Thank you.

Cheryl said...


This is just great. I love it. What wonderful finds you have. Maybe you should pull that cupboard apart and see what is hidden beneath the boards!!

Michelle Goodrum said...

What a find! We've found lots of really cool things in the oddest places too. We keep saying that there may be a box full of "junk" but there's sure to be at least one treasure in it!

Texicanwife said...

I LOVED this!
When I was a young girl, girls still kept autograph books [mine is buried in a trunk at the moment]. I remember reading through my Mother's autograph album, and all the cute little poems! These were all new to me here, still they brough back so many fun memories!!!
Thanks so much for sharing this darling glimpse into your ancestor's past!

Renate said...

T.K., what an awesome find! I really enjoyed reading the little poems (and trying to decipher the Glad you did the transcriptions.
On that one name, I thought it read, "Law" before I read your transcription, so that might be a possibility, too.

Thanks for sharing this. :)


Nancy said...

What a wonderful, wonderful autograph book! Imagine holding in your hands the same book your great-grandmother held! What a thrilling treasure to find!

T.K. said...

Thanks for stopping by, all!

Renate, you could be right about that surname being Law--I added it to the transcription just in case.

Texicanwife, I used to have an autograph book too, turquoise with gold embossed letters on the front that said AUTOGRAPHS (what else? :-P) but I haven't seen it in decades. In fact, there are a number of childhood treasures of mine that are missing. Would I have thrown them out at some point? I can't imagine that I did, but they're gone. What I miss the most are two 8x10 glossies of the Beatles that I got at their concert at Olympia Stadium in Detroit, 1964, I think it was. And also gone, a snapshot my parents took of me, my sister and my friend at the concert, crying our eyes out with excitement!

Blog Archive


Our Family in Books: A Bibliography

  • My Ancestors in Books (a library of resources and notes pertaining to Reverend Samuel Stone, Major General Robert Sedgwick, Elder John Crandall, and other early Americans in the forest where my family tree was grown)
  • The Zahnisers: A History of the Family in America by Kate M. Zahniser and Charles Reed Zahniser (Mercer, Pa. 1906)
  • History of St. James Lutheran Church [full title: A little of this and a little of that in the 141 year (1861-2002) History of St. James Lutheran Church, Reynolds Indiana] by Harold B. Dodge, published at Reynolds, Indiana, 2002; 170 pages.
  • Lisbon, North Dakota 1880-2005 Quasuicentennial, published at Lisbon, North Dakota in 2005; 391 pages.
  • The Paschen and Redd Families of Cass County, Indiana by Alfred Paschen, c. 2005 (Gateway Press, Inc., Baltimore, MD); 322 pages.
  • Sheldon Community History: Sheldon Centennial 1881-1981, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 1981; 376 pages.
  • Sheldon, North Dakota 1881-2006 - 125th Anniversary: The Queen of the Prairie, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 2006; 498 pages.
  • A Standard History of White County, Indiana, written under the supervision of W.H. Hamelle, c. 1915 (The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York).
  • The Roots of Coventry, Connecticut by Betty Brook Messier and Janet Sutherland Aronson, c. 1987 (Coventry 275th Anniversary Committee, Coventry, CT); 206 pages.
  • "Elder John Crandall of Rhode Island and His Descendants" by John Cortland Crandall; New Woodstock, New York, 1949; 797 pages.
  • "The Descendants of Robert Burdick of Rhode Island." Nellie (Willard) Johnson, Pd.B.: H & L Creations, LLC.

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