1870s autograph album filled with pages signed by students at Fryeburg Academy, Gorham Seminary and Bowdoin College, plus others.
The album, approximately 6-1/2" x 4-1/4" and thicker than most albums of these dimensions, contains 44 autographs of people throughout Maine, a few other states and Cuba.
The album isn't identified as to the owner, though I suspect he was a young man originally from the Fryeburg area who belonged to the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity at Bowdoin College.
An authority on Maine history and genealogy feels that the album may have belonged to Edward E. Hastings (1857-1939) of Fryeburg, in part because his autograph does not appear in the album, though those of his hometown friends do.
Hastings attended Fryeburg Academy and Bowdoin College. He returned to Fryeburg and joined the law practice established by his father. The practice is still in existence today.
Another possible clue pointing to Hastings as the owner of the album is that his future wife also signed a page. She signed as Jennie M. Warren of Fryeburg, though her name may have been Mary J. Warren.
Several of the Bowdoin signers indicated they were members of this fraternity, and the symbols appear on the inside back cover:
It's possible that a few pages at the front are missing, as there is no title page. The first page in the album may be an autograph or it may be the owner's name, though I suspect it's an autograph.
The first page in the album, signed in 1874 by Orison W. Adams of Cornish, Maine:
J. Warren Achorn, member of Zeta Psi and Class of 1879 [at Bowdoin], signed at Brunswick, Maine - John Warren Achorn, who became a noted physician and naturalist: [image altered to show more distinctly]
Another signer of note was Arlo Bates of East Machias, Alpha Delta Psi, who, after graduating from Bowdoin, went on to become an editor, author, poet and educator. His papers are held at the George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections and Archives at Bowdoin College. [note: thanks to the Archives Assistant for her help in researching this album]
Several signers indicated membership in an organization called the B. L. of W. R. If you have any information about this organization, please leave a comment or contact me directly. It might be no more than a brotherhood of close childhood friends. Or it might have been larger in scope.
The consensus so far is that this was an organization of young friends from Fryeburg, or students at Fryeburg Academy, but further proof is needed.
C. L. Eaton, member of B. L. of W. R.:
John I. Holt of Fryeburg, Maine, a member of B. L. of W. R., signed a page in 1874:
Frank E. Howe, member of B. L. of W. R.:
Thomas Souther of Fryeburg, Maine, member of B. L. of W. R.:
Williams Souther, a member of B. L. of W. R. and Alpha Delta Phi, signed a page in 1874: [note: several items of correspondence and obituary pertaining to Williams Souther can be accessed here.]
Francisco P. Machado of Lagua La Grande, Cuba, signed a page in 1874 while he was a student at Gorham Seminary:
Perhaps Ignacio de la Torre of Cienfuegos, Cuba, who signed a page in 1874, was also a student at Gorham Seminary:
Be aware that the Special Collections Department at Bowdoin is likely to have information to share on Bowdoin graduates or attendees, as mentioned in the case of Williams Souther, above.
Alphabetical list of the inscribers - given names within a surname not necessarily in order:
- George M. Abbott of Ross Corner, Maine, 1874
- John Warren Achorn, at Bowdoin College, Class of '79
- Orison W. Adams of Cornish, Maine, 1874
- Arlo Bates, Alpha Delta Phi, of East Machias, Maine, 1875
- James M. Bennett of Moultonborough, New Hampshire
- John S. Bennett of Moultonborough, New Hampshire
- George W. Bourne of Kennebunk, Maine
- John J. Bradley of Fryeburg, Maine, 1875
- Leonard O. Buzzell of Dayton, Maine, 1874
- Howard S. Dearing of Waterborough, Maine, at Gorham Seminary, spring term, '74
- Ignacio dela Torre of Cienfuegos, Cuba, 1874
- B. W. Dinsmore of New York City, at Bowdoin '79
- Alice M. Eastman of Lovell, Maine, at Fryeburg Academy, 1879
- C. L. Eaton, B. L. of W. R.
- Fred Farrington of Fryeburg, Maine, 1874
- Addie E. Foster
- Jennie Harmon of Gorham, Maine, 1874
- John S. Harper of Waterborough, Maine, at Gorham Seminary, 1874
- Enoch P. Hazen of Lovell, Maine, 1874
- Horace E. Henderson of Wiscasset, Maine, at Bowdoin College, '79
- Carrie L. Holmes of Standish, Maine, 1874
- John I. Holt of Fryeburg, Maine, 1874, B.L. of W. R.
- Frank E. Howe, B.L. of W.R.
- Lily B. Keen of Gorham, Maine, 1874
- John Locke, Jr., of Fryeburg, Maine, 1875
- Francisco P Machado of Lagua la Grande, Cuba, at Gorham Seminary, 1874
- Marie Marriner of Fryeburg, Maine, 1874
- E. S. Osgood of Fryeburg, Maine, 1875
- Albert H. Pennell of Westbrook, Maine, at Bowdoin College, Class of '79
- W. Perry of Salem, Massachusetts
- Lewis E. Philbrick of Bartlett, New Hampshire, 1874
- Hattie Angie Pike of Fryeburg, Maine, 1874
- Walter A. Robinson of Bangor, Maine, Bowdoin College '76
- Thomas Souther of Fryeburg, Maine, B.L. of W. R.
- Williams Souther, 1874, B. L. of W. R., and Alpha Delta Phi
- Luella G. Sturgis of San Francisco, California, 1874
- M. Augusta Wade of Foxcroft, Maine, 1874
- Lillie M. Walker of Fryeburg, Maine, 1875
- Florence L. Warren of Fryeburg, Maine, 1874
- Jennie M. Warren of Fryeburg, Maine, 1874
- James C. Whitney of Gorham, Maine
- George S. Wilder of Conway, New Hampshire
- Clara A. Wilson of Orono, Maine
- F. A. Wilson of Orono, Maine