Wise Sayings: An Old Autograph Album

Mother's Autograph Album
Mother's Autograph Album | Source

Recently I came across my Mother's old Autograph Book. I used to have one, too, but I've moved several times and that hasn't turned up yet. However, there were plenty of entries in hers to entertain me as a child and that delight has not diminished.

There's such a range, from the downright sententious, to lovely thoughts about the importance of friendship, to sayings that today we would view as sexist and politically incorrect, to the clever and funny. There are even delightful illustrations. I remember how we, too, if asked to write and entry in a friend's book, would request to take it home so we could find just the right thing to write, or to spend hours over a miniature illustration.

I haven't put them all in, but even so it's turned out quite long, so it's probably best if you just browse a few. They are fun to read.

The First Entry
The First Entry | Source

The First Entry

I remember that in my album, a cheeky friend scrawled,

"By hook or by crook

I'll be first in this book."

Mother wrote her own first entry:

"My album's open, come and see.

What, won't you waste a line on me?

Write but a thought, a word or two,

That memory may revert to you."

Love Keeps Out the Cold
Love Keeps Out the Cold | Source

The Christian and Moral Entries

These two have been attributed to Longfellow, but they remind me of Proverbs in the Bible:

"Love keeps out the cold better than a cloak; it serves for food and raiment."

"Don't try to cross the bridge before you come to it,

Is a proverb old and excellent wit."

To thine own self be true
To thine own self be true | Source

This is claimed to be a quote from Shakespeare and I seem to remember that it is, but I haven't checked it for accuracy:

This above all, to thine own self be true,

And it must follow as the night the day,

Thou canst not then be false to any man.

Illustration by D. E. Taylor
Illustration by D. E. Taylor | Source

As you journey onward

May you ever find

Paths more bright and happy,

Friends more true and kind.

This next one must have impressed my Mother as she often quoted it to me.

A. H. Jenkin
A. H. Jenkin | Source

Garfield is a place-name in Victoria. I love the careful penmanship with the up strokes so light and the contrasting heavier down strokes. Alfred Henry Jenkin was born in 1869, probably in Chewton, Victoria. He was an enthusiastic Home Missioner and was known as the 'singing pilgrim.'

I would rather be beaten in the right than succeed in the wrong.

Violet Daniels
Violet Daniels | Source

This really is Longfellow:

Whene'er a noble deed is wrought,

Whene'er is spoken a noble thought,

Our hearts in glad surprise

To higher levels rise.

H. F? Webb
H. F? Webb | Source

I almost put this one in the Sexist or Humorous sections:

I would not waste my spring of youth

In idle dalliance, I would plant rich seeds

To blossom in my manhood, and bear fruit

When I am old.

B. Smyth, Rathdown Street
B. Smyth, Rathdown Street | Source

The hand here is more mature than some of the entries; perhaps it was a teacher.

There is so much good in the worst of us,

And so much bad in the best of us,

That it behoves us

To speak the least of any of us.

A. Moore
A. Moore | Source

I've seen different versions of this sweet little poem, too.

When to the flowers so beautiful,

The Father gave a name,

Back came a little blye-eyed one,

So timidly it comes [came?]

And hurrying to the Father's feet,

And gazing in his face it said,

"Dear Lord, the name thou gavest me

I have forgot."

Kindly the Master looked him down and said,


I. Webb
I. Webb | Source

Good advice here:

Let us then be up and doing,

With a heart for any fate;

Still achieving, still pursuing,

Learn to labour and to wait.

Ethel Croker
Ethel Croker | Source


Do what you can,

Being what you are.

Shine like a flower,

If you cannot be a star.

- Ethel Croker.

N. Cox
N. Cox | Source

This sounds a bit negative at first!

May bad fortune follow you

all your days,

But never catch

up with you.

William D. Jenkin
William D. Jenkin | Source

A blessing from the father of Alfred Henry Jenkin, Uncle Frank Jenkin and six other sons. He had been born in 1822 in Madron, Cornwall. In Victoria in 1858, he married Grace Thomas, six years his elder and also born in Madron. When he died in 1918 he owned four large properties and an acre in the town of Daylesford itself.

Autographs Only

On some pages there were mini-envelopes that Mother had ruled and those people have just recorded their names and addresses.

G. B. How
G. B. How | Source

The Importance of Friendship

I've seen different versions of this one, but they all mean the same thing:

True friends, like diamonds,

Are precious and rare;

False ones, like autumn leaves,

Are found everywhere.

S. D. Owens
S. D. Owens | Source

I wish you happiness and health,

All the wealth you need;

Friends in plenty, tried and true,

What more is there I could wish for you.

This is different. Perhaps it stems from the idiom we sometimes use, meaning a person is firm and reliable: "You're a brick."

Violet Weeks
Violet Weeks | Source
N. White
N. White | Source

This is in the days when most of the washing was first rubbed or scrubbed on a board, boiled in a copper, transferred to a wooden trough with a copper-stick to be rinsed, 'blued' if it were white, and wound through a mangle (being very careful not to pull off buttons) before being hung out to dry.

When you are married and at the tub,

Think of me with every rub,

And if the suds be very hot,

Render away and forget-me-not.

George Smith
George Smith | Source

Written by a Master George Smith, his youthfulness shows in his writing. "Nut" may have been "note", or perhaps it was accompanied by a nut. The area was known for its walnut trees.

That health prosperity and love

Thy future lot shall be

Believe it's now the wish of one

Who sends this nut to thee.

W. Owens
W. Owens | Source
L. White
L. White | Source

The Sexist and Politically Correct

Was this one written by a male?

Ancient Eve gave man the apple;

Modern Eve gives man the pip.

Daisy Smith
Daisy Smith | Source

This sounds like good advice from a girl-friend:

Here is to the Train

That goes on wheels

And never runs into danger.

Here is to the girl

That sticks to a boy

And never goes out

With a stranger.

L. Papworth
L. Papworth | Source

This could have other connotations these days:

Girls put your trust in no man,

Not even in a brother.

If you want to love -

Love one another.

Drawn by J. Sommers
Drawn by J. Sommers | Source
Violet Smith
Violet Smith | Source

Sound advice from a girl-friend?

May you be happy

All the days of your life

Get a good husband

And make a good wife.

W. H. McCartney
W. H. McCartney | Source

Is this from a family friend or a teacher? Obviously a man.

Be noble! And the nobleness that lies

In other men, sleeping but not dead

Will rise in majesty to meet thine own.


The Humorous Entries

This is an old one, but I guess they all are. It's full of quite clever homophones:

The Usual Story

They were sitting side by side.

He sighed and she sighed.

Said he: "My dearest idol!"

He idled and she idled.

Drawn by A. N. Caldecott
Drawn by A. N. Caldecott | Source

"On my soul there's such a weight!"

He waited and she waited.

"I'd ask your hand, so bold I've grown!"

He groaned and she groaned.

"You shall have your private gig!"

He giggled and she giggled.

Said she: "My dearest Luke!"

He looked and she looked.

"I'll have thee if thou wilt!"

He wilted and she wilted.

Myrtle Owens
Myrtle Owens | Source

He that sitteth on a pin,

Shall surely rise again

According to the sharpness thereof.

In my Autograph Album I have this as:


Sat on a pin

Mary rose.

J? Maddock
J? Maddock | Source

There are many things we ought to do:

We ought to sing, we ought to laugh,

We ought to eat, we ought to sleep,

But here we (ought to graph) autograph.

Alice | Source
S. Smith
S. Smith | Source

Beecham's Pills, as you may imagine, were for treating constipation. This little verse is usually written:

Mary had a little watch,

She swallowed it one day,

And now she takes Beecham's Pills

To pass the time away.


If we were to dress ourselves on scientific principles, what would become of man?

J. W. Moore
J. W. Moore | Source

There are two in this one (corrected).

Two's company. There were three:

The maid, the kitchen lamp and he;

Two's company, so no doubt

That's why the wise old lamp went out.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Two in a hammock attempted to kiss,

In less than a second landed like (This) (written upside down).

Frank Jenkin
Frank Jenkin | Source

This is one of my favourites. Francis Lawry Jenkin, or Uncle Frank, as I knew him, was a typical, not very tall, born in Australia Cornishman, full of fun and jokes, even in his later years. He was born in 1869 in Daylesford. His wife, one of my Grandmother's sisters, was considerably taller.

The penny stamp bears the head of Queen Victoria.

L. Brown
L. Brown | Source

This was a very delicate miniature painting. The scroll was carefully edged in gold, not so easily obtainable in those days.

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Comments 50 comments

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

Blossom I actually had fun reading most of these LOL a great share!!!! Frank

mactavers profile image

mactavers 4 years ago

This Hub is a real gem. The sayings are pretty universal but the drawings are amazing. I grew up in Arizona in the 1950s and 1960s, and I remember many of us had autograph books that had a gal wearing capris and a ponytail hairdo on the front. Many of us also had a cloth autograph dog that friends wrote on, that was intended to sit on your bed. Good times.

kashmir56 profile image

kashmir56 4 years ago from Massachusetts

Blossom this was a very interesting and fun read,enjoyed it !

BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia Author

Frank Atanacio: Thanks, Frank. Although I only knew a few of the people who wrote them I used to love to look at the album when I was a kid.

BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia Author

mactavers: They were good times and I'm amazed too at the time and care that must have gone into those drawings. The simpler pursuits of a bygone age - sigh!

BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia Author

Kashmir56: They are fun to read. That Great-uncle Frank was a real prankster. I remember once when we were staying there we collected chestnuts and he intentionally put some in the fire without cutting into them. They exploded and shot out all over the sitting-room - you should have heard his wife!

Rosemay50 profile image

Rosemay50 4 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

This is a fun read Blossom

I loved 'Ancient Eve gave man the apple; Modern Eve gives man the pip'.

I too remember having an autograph book although I have lost it somewhere along the way.

Capedium profile image

Capedium 4 years ago from Texas.

This is one of the best Hub I have read!. This is just what I need right now at this cross road of my life!

Thanks you so much Blossom.. Thank you for finding and taking time to share...

BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia Author

Rosemay50: Yes, some of them are such fun. I'd really like to find my own old album, too, although I'm not sure it has the entertainment value of this one.

BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia Author

Capedium: Thank you! You're right! It did take me a long time to prepare. Somehow things like this take us back to our roots. I'm not sure if I like the wise sayings or just having a good laugh at the funny one.

always exploring profile image

always exploring 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

I had a blast reading these. Thank you so much for sharing your treasure..

BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia Author

always exploring: You're right - it is one of my 'treasures.' I love old things (perhaps because I am one!) and while they might not have much intrinsic value they tie us to our roots. Thank you for reading.

ruthclark3 profile image

ruthclark3 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

OH,Blossom, what an awesome treasure! Thank you for sharing your beautiful memories with us. I know you treasure this book of your mother's. And yours will turn up somewhere. Take care my friend.

Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

This is one of the reasons that I love HP so much;we never know what subject we will be reading about next and this one Blossom was so interesting ;I loved it so a vote up here without a doubt.

Great work;take care and enjoy your day.


mours sshields 4 years ago from Elwood, Indiana

A lot of wise sayings! Very interesting!! What a treasure to keep!

Marcia Ours

BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia Author

ruthclark3: Thank you for your lovely comments. I'm still waiting, but I'm not going to spend any more time searching; I guess my album will surface one day.

BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia Author

Eiddwen: You write about lots of interesting topics, too, Eddy, and I love reading your hubs. I'm glad you enjoyed this one. Thank you for the vote.

BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia Author

mours sshields: The wise ones are interesting, but I also love the funny ones. Now I have a problem, as it appears that this is a treasure for others, I can only leave it for one of my children - how to choose??

Kamalesh050 profile image

Kamalesh050 4 years ago from Sahaganj, Dist. Hooghly, West Bengal, India

The sayings are truly very Interesting and some Funny too. Wonderful Treasure! The drawings are also Great!

Good job my friend. Thank you for sharing this Excellent hub.

Voted UP.

Trust you are all well. Best Wishes, Kamalesh

BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia Author

Kamalesh050: Thank you for your good wishes, vote and comments. I've always found them interesting and I enjoy a laugh or smile; I'm glad that you did, too.

KatrineDalMonte 4 years ago

A wonderful collection of wise words that will never lose it's meaning. The album to be treasured Blossom. Very nicely put together. Blessings :-)

Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 4 years ago from United Kingdom

Hi Blossom, how lovely to have come across your mother's autograph book, what a find.

I so enjoyed reading this and thank you for sharing.

Voted up, best wishes Lesley

rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

Kids back then had awesome sayings. I have seen a few autograph books too. an interesting and fun Hub!

BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia Author

KatrineDalMonte: It certainly is one of my treasures. Thank you for your comments and may God bless you, too.

BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia Author

Movie Master: Thank you so much, Lesley. I love old things - perhaps because I'm getting old myself! I'm very happy that I've been able to share it.

BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia Author

rebeccamealey: Yes. I wonder what the latest sayings are today, probably about computers and electronic games. I'm glad you enjoyed it, it was fun reminiscing all over again.

Drtruthman profile image

Drtruthman 4 years ago from Harlingen, Texas

Blossom, what a wonderful idea for a Hub. I enjoyed it immensely. Oh I love sayings gone by from yesteryear. So precious. thanks for sharing this. I voted UP all across.

Great Job. Lee

BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia Author

Drtruthman: Yes, some of them were so wise and we could do with taking more notice of them today, Lee. Thank you for your vote and God bless.

donnaisabella profile image

donnaisabella 4 years ago from Fort Myers

Ms Blossom, I love autographs, journals and all things that people leave written memories in. We used to keep autographs too when we were kids. Now kids have the internet, facebook and all. A couple of years ago my kids had their friends autograph stuff in books, I wonder if they are still doing that. I wish I had my own from my school years. But one thing I do, is keep journals, plenty of them hoping they will make interesting reading to future generations too. Thanks for sharing this, I enjoyed going back in time and seeing that young people are so much the same no matter the time and generation. Many blessings.

femmeflashpoint 4 years ago


This was such a unique and wonderful idea for a Hub! I enjoyed it immensely!

I remember seeing autograph books yearsssss ago. I love that they contain such good reflections of the personalities of the writers.

I love journals and diaries too. I think everyone should keep one. Not even so much for ourselves, but to pass down to the next generation, so they'll have a grasp of the influences of their roots.

A wonderful job with this! Voted up and across!


old albion profile image

old albion 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

Hello Blossom. this hub is an absolute delight. The time and thought spent shows through. I wonder if I might recommend a poem to you, which I have read all my life. Please Google; 'The Man In The Glass' I feel sure you will agree with it's sentiments. Please let me know if you find the time to read it. Might I invite other commenters to read it and let me know their thoughts. Voted up / awesome / SHARED.


Vellur profile image

Vellur 4 years ago from Dubai

I read every single line and enjoyed from beginning to end. Autographs are very special and bring back fond memories.I wish you would find your autograph book. I loved the first entry, good advice,the Beecham pills is hilarious,the one about friendship well almost everything. Voted up as awesome!

BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia Author

donnaisabella: I'm so glad that you used to keep autographs, they are so much fun to look back on and journals are a great way of remembering our many blessings through life. I know journal means 'day', but I only seem to write in mine occasionally, so that is great that you keep yours so well.

BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia Author

Femmeflashpoint: Thank you. Journals and diaries are great for recording happenings in our everyday lives, although sometimes I write private things in and I'm not so sure they are always for public viewing. Thank you for your vote.

BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia Author

old albion: I'm glad you found it. Yes, it did take a while, but so do most things if they're worth-while doing. That poem, written in 1934, remains just as applicable today - for women, too. Thank you for telling me about it.

BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia Author

Vellur: Yes, they are special and we can learn so much from them: the serious, the good advice, the funny, it is all there! Happy memories, as you say.

Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

BlossomSB, what a beautifully constructed hub, the original photos really bring the autograph book to life and I am impressed with the gorgeous handwriting (a dying art!), what a lovely thing to own and to be able to browse through at leisure.

Voted up, etc,etc.

BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia Author

Jools99: Thank you. I love some of the old handwriting, it was an art, as you say, rather than a scrawl that can hardly be deciphered. Remember that old 'light going up, firmer going down'? Rather hard to achieve with a ballpoint. Thank you for the vote.

Diana Lee profile image

Diana Lee 4 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

I remember having one of these autograph books. It's hard to say what ever has become of it. I love hearing about the old days. Thanks for sharing this.

BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia Author

Diana Lee: Yes, we need to look forward to the future, but we can learn so much from the past as well and I find such things fascinating. Thank you for your comments.

InCourage profile image

InCourage 4 years ago from North Carolina

I simply would love to have the book on my coffee table. what a delightful read.

BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia Author

InCourage: I love dipping into it every now and then; it always gives me a smile. Blessings.

Rayne123 3 years ago

excellent hub

A trip into the past it seems, I love the days of Jesus and vintage and log cabins.

I love the serenity of it all.

BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia Author

Rayne123: Yes, we can learn so much wisdom - and simple fun - from the old days.

Thank you for your comments.

Kevin Peter profile image

Kevin Peter 3 years ago from Global Citizen

The sayings and each and every word in the hub moved my heart a lot. Really mind blowing. It's a very different hub. I have always expected something special like this one. Great work!

BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia Author

Kevin Peter: Thank you so much for your comments. The saying really do speak to us, even after all this time. It's a pity that autograph books are not particularly in fashion any more, they evoke so many happy memories.

Perspycacious profile image

Perspycacious 2 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

I like to post my comments before reading those of others, to wit: This was precious, delightful, and memorable. I realize it took a lot of time and effort and I appreciate that. I'll be back. Now: find that other autograph book! Mine was entitled "High School Daze".

BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 2 years ago from Victoria, Australia Author

Perspycacious: Well, thank you for your lovely comments. It did take time, but then most hubs do. I'm about to begin a belated Spring Clean (it's summer here) so perhaps I'll come across that other autograph book. Yours sounds interesting, too. Happy 2014.

dghbrh profile image

dghbrh 18 months ago from ...... a place beyond now and beyond here !!!

I too remember having one for myself and your hub has reminded so sweetly about that sweet small Autograph book of mine! I lost it during many transitions of life. Present generation which is so much in to Mobiles, facebook, What's app that they never will understand the value of these real sweet memorable things of life. Thank you for this gem here. Sharing and voted up.

BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 18 months ago from Victoria, Australia Author

dghbrh: Thank you. It seems to be one of those things that is a sweet memory of the past, but with all the technology today we don't find time to enjoy. I'm so glad that you have enjoyed this.

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