Note of July 2, 2014: A reader theorizes that two pages were signed by a Samuel, who wrote his name backwards. Samuel, who didn't give his surname, might have been an important person in Mary's life - a brother or husband - in case that is a clue as to which Mary Tracy was the owner of this album.
1838-1851 autograph album of Miss Mary Tracy of Norwich, Connecticut.
See another post that features the 1846-1851 autograph album of Aseneth (Nichols) Turner of Norwich, Connecticut. I didn't notice the names of any people who had signed pages in both albums.
Mary's album is missing its front cover. It measures approximately 7-3/4" x 6" and contains the sentiments of over 30 of Mary's friends, most of whom, unfortunately, signed with given names only or with initials. An alphabetical list of the signers appears at the end of this post.
The album was presumably given to Mary at Christmas in 1839 by a person whose surname appears to be Tracy. I can't decipher the first initial, whether a C or a B.
The album was printed by J. C. Riker of New York, New York. It has several embossed pages, including two with hand painting, one of which is the title page, below.
I found a couple possibilities for a Miss Mary Tracy at Norwich, Connecticut, one born about 1802 and another born 1824. Hopefully a reader will be able to tease out her identity from the various clues in the album.
One signer referred to himself as Mary's brother, and the handwriting seems very similar to that on the page signed on Christmas Day 1839 by C. Tracy or B. Tracy. In case it's a clue, he mentions "The Troy Budget". Could be a red herring, but in my research on the Tracy family of Norwich, Connecticut, there was a Troy, New York, connection.
One person, J. E. W., or J. E. H., who signed a page on September 22, 1848, called herself or himself Mary's cousin.
In case this is a clue, Lizzie inscribed a 3-page sentiment at Norwich, Connecticut, on September 1, 1851, and implied that Mary was about to leave her home for a far-off place, though places didn't have to be too far off in 1851 to seem far away.
J. H. Farnsworth, who was presumably Rev. Jeremy Hoadley Farnsworth (1822-1899), wrote a candid four page sentiment at Norwich, Connecticut, on 22 September 1845.
One signer appears to have signed his name backwards. I believe he was George Palmer, who inscribed a two-page sentiment at Norwich, Connecticut, on December 10, 1848.
One person sketched a swimming dog with a stick in its mouth. I'm not sure if the signer's name was Cowper or the poem on the page was by the poet William Cowper. I tried searching for the wording online and didn't come up with a Cowper poem, but perhaps it was paraphrased.
Someone whose name I can't decipher signed two pages in the album, both at Norwich, Connecticut, one dated 1843. If you can unravel the name - Lemuel, Leumas, or ?, please let me know. [As you can see in the comments below, reader Nick feels that the signer was a Samuel, who wrote his name backwards. Samuel may have been an important person in Mary Tracy's life - a brother or husband - which might be a clue as to which Mary Tracy owned this album.]
Surnames in the album
Signers in the album [Note: Given names within a specific surname may not be in alphabetical order.]
- J. E. W., signed September 22, 1848; Mary's cousin. Not sure of surname initial; could be H. or ?
- L. C. B., signed at Norwich, Connecticut in 1847
- 3-page sentiment of Lizzie at Norwich, Connecticut, signed on September 1, 1851. She implies that Mary is leaving home for a far-off place.
- Not sure of name, but possibly Leumas, signed at Norwich, Connecticut; this person signed another page in the album as well.
- Facing pages signed by W. W. C. on December 26, 1843
- Susan, signed on September 12, 1842
- Signed by E. or C. or ? on September 12, 1842
- Facing pages signed by Mary's brother, "From the Troy Budget". I don't know if the signer was Mary's brother, her brother in law, a Quaker brother or ?
- H., signed on August 14, 1848
- J. M. L., signed Norwich, Connecticut, in October 1848; not sure of second and third initials.
- Facing pages signed by A. D. C.; not sure of initials
- Facing pages signed at Norwich, Connecticut on May 28, 1844, by H. W.
- Very faint: Fitz Clarence, signed at Norwich, Connecticut, possibly in 1846. There's what appears to be a surname but I can't make it out.
- Elizabeth, signed at Norwich, Connecticut, on February 5, 1844
- Page with a poem and a sketch of a swimming dog with a stick in its mouth. The poem is signed Cowper, but I couldn't find that poem online. Perhaps Cowper was not the poet William Cowper but was the surname of the person who signed the page and sketched the dog.
- H. W., signed at Norwich, Connecticut
- Ann, signed on January 30, 1841
- Lydia, signed at Preston, Connecticut, on February 10, 1845; perhaps Lydia Ann (Harris) Conckin of Preston, who signed another page in the album, or perhaps a different Lydia
- Unnamed, signed on November 22, 1840
- Eliza C., signed at Preston, Connecticut, on February 10, 1845. Not sure if that C. is an initial or a flourish
- E. M. P. or E. M. T. or ?
- 2-page unsigned sentiment that may have been written by Miss Mary Tracy herself, as the handwriting looks similar to hers.
- Unsigned sentiment
- L. A. H. Concklin, signed at Preston, Connecticut, on December 29, 1844; presumably Lydia Ann (Harris) Concklin, wife of George Concklin
- F. Dennis, signed at Norwich, Connecticut, on November 6, 1841. Not positive of initial.
- S. Dennis, signed at Norwich, Connecticut, on November 6, 1841
- 4-page sentiment inscribed by J. H. Farnsworth, at Norwich, Connecticut, on 22 September 1845. I believe he was Rev. Jeremy Hoadley Farnsworth (1822-1899).
- Page signed by J. Milton, on January 23, 1851 at Norwich, Connecticut. Not sure of initial or surname; shared the page with another person, presumably a spouse
- Page signed by ? Milton, on January 23, 1851 at Norwich, Connecticut. Not sure of initial or surname; shared the page with another person, presumably a spouse
- 2-page sentiment signed by someone who wrote his name backwards at Norwich, Connecticut, on December 10, 1848. George Palmer, I believe.
- Miss Mary Tracy of Norwich, Connecticut; album owner
- ? Tracy, signed on December 25, 1839; first initial could be C or B; not positive surname is Tracy