An original 1910 album, Thomas J. Harris Commonplace Book.
This album was owned by Thomas J. Harris in 1910. The book comprises 78 leaves, 32 of which are inscribed with quotations. All are by the same hand; this was presumably the place where Thomas Harris noted down favourite passages from literature - there are quotations from Emerson, Ruskin, Longfellow, Coleridge, Wordsworth, Tennyson and Shakespeare, amongst others. The album has gilt edging to the paper, attractive endpapers and gold tooling to the inside covers.
The outer spine is missing and the cover edges are worn. There is minor foxing to some pages.
18.4cm x 14cm.
This book is one of a collection of commonplace books owned by young women at the beginning of the 20th century. They are an eclectic delight of intriguing inscriptions and drawings – often witty poems, proverbs and quotations, and humorous, sweet cartoons.
All signed and dated by the contributors – the owner’s friends, family and acquaintances – they tell a personal story and give insight into the life of a young women in Britain around the time of the First World War. Furthermore, their often moralising content reveals a wider context of a very different world from today – of an old-fashioned innocence and belief in values such as modesty, hard work and ever-lasting friendship.