Wednesday, July 4, 2018

The Autograph Book

Autograph book given by Samuel Walker Booksh to Belle Tisdale Booksh on December 25, 1879.
8 3/8” x 7.” In possession of Vera Booksh Zimmerman.

On their first Christmas as a married couple, Sam gave Belle an autograph book. 
It has sustained some water damage and fading but most of the 58 entries are still legible. The earliest dated entries are from 1884 with most of them before 1890.

Title Page

On the title page, Sam wrote:
    To Belle
Dec. 25 1879

On the next page Sam wrote a poem. Whether he composed it himself or copied it from a published source we don't know, but it shows what a romantic heart he had.

                 To Belle
Apart from thee, what is the world to me,
The long hours pass and are a dreary maze,
In which I'm lost. Hope hides her face from me.
To my ever anxious heart.


If you wish to laugh
Just glance at my autograph.
          O. S. C. L. Tisdale
[Belle's younger sister, Olivia South Carolina “Lee” Tisdale, 1864-1929]

A friend, I here write my name
May we through life prove the same
                                  A. L. Denham
May 18/84

When ere you have naught else to do
O Belle just think of me
Your Brother
[Belle's brother, William Pratt Tisdale, 1866-1926]

Henry R. Denham
                   ---man Plant[ation]
May 17/84
[Henry Denham, age26, is listed on the 1880 census in East Baton Rouge Parish.]

                          Myrtle Grove May 27th
Full far I've gone         
Roved o'er the west    
And oft Alone             
Now that's the test     
Killing the Rest          
   F . . . .

Baton Rouge   Aug 10th/84
     One little wish, tis all I have to give
     Take it and know tis given with Free will
[This may be Belle's brother Robert Rafael Tisdale, 1866-1926.]

T. M. Sharp
Oct. 14th/87
[There is a T. McMichael Sharp, age 19, in East Baton Rouge Parish on the 1880 census.]

                      Always think kindly of
                                      Your Friend
                                       Maggie Denham
                   Plaquemine La.
                  May 18/84

On This leaf in memory fresh
May My Name forever rest  
       T. C. Booksh
     23rd Oct/87
[Sam's brother Thomas Claiborne Booksh, 1846-1902]

My Dear Friend
   A single wish for thee I'd breathe
   In friendship and in love tis given
   On earth a happy destiny
   And then a home in heaven
                            Your loving friendship
                             Eva Harelson

My Dear Friend          
                               Our friendship has budded on earth
                May it blossom in Heaven.
                                Is the wish of your
                         Loving friend -
                             Katie Harelson
Baton Rouge La.      
Jan 10” 1888    
May the darkest hour
in life be well lighted
With the sunshine of Contentment
23 Oct/84   T. C. Booksh
[Sam's brother, Thomas Claiborne Booksh, 1846-1902]

[Flowered cross card glued on page]
My dear friend -                        
May there be just enough 
cloud in your life to make a
beautiful sunset.                
Your true friend
        Mrs. Alice Kleinpeter
   Baton Rouge La.
[The Kleinpeter and Booksh families were connected by marriage.]

May heaven on you its choicest blessings shower
is the sincere wish
of your Brother
                      Claiborne Booksh
E. Baton Rouge
Oct 23rd 1887
[Sam's brother, Thomas Claiborne Booksh, 1846-1902, was generally known as Clay.]

[The following two autographs are on the same page.]

A small key unlocks the casket 
           of memory _”
                                Yours Lovingly
                                    Katie Harelson
Baton Rouge La
Jan. 10” 1888

     Yes, Whis Key
Mch 29th/88     Frank Tisdale

[Belle's brother Benjamin Franklin Tisdale Jr., 1860-1893, appears to have added his humorous comment to Katie Harelson's autograph.]

When this You see Remember me
Though miles apart we may be
T. Claib Booksh
Grosse Tete
Oct 1889
[Sam's brother, Thomas Claiborne Booksh, 1846-1902.]

O God                                                   
If only I could turn backward,           
And live over some years of my life. 

My Very Dear friend
     By thy request I'll write a line
     Of friendship good and true
     That I may be in future time
     Remembered well by you.
     When far away in hours of bliss
     Think of the one who scribbled this.
                                   Your fond friendship
                                   Katie Harelson
Baton Rouge La
January 28” 1888

Mollie Sharp
Baton Rouge La

William R. Sharp
Baton Rouge Louisiana
Sept 29th / 88

Tho's M. Sharp          
Sep. 29 1888          

Ira W. Roberts
Baton Rouge La.
Sept 29th 1888

      To Belle
We two are So united
So happily allied
And blissful are the moments
When We are Side by Side

My heart doth wear a fetter
That thou has o'er me thrown
And I my life would wager
None doth a heavier own
              Sam'l W. Booksh
Baton Rouge
     Jan 28 - 89

          TO BE CONTINUED                                    

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