Vienna, 1898-1902 handwritten congratulations, memoirs, admonitions. Printed pages with floral decoration, several colourful pencil drawing and watercolour.
Red velvet binding with gold plated metal decoration, gilt edges.
Traces from use, in good condition.
Size: 20 cm x 13 cm
Language: German, French
What is an Album amicorum?
It is a book for collecting the autographs of other people. Traditionally they were exchanged among friends, colleagues, and classmates to fill with poems, drawings and personal messages. Their modern derivations include yearbooks, friendship books, and guest books. They were popular among university students from the 15th century until the mid-19th century, after which their popularity began to wane as they were gradually replaced by yearbooks.
The first true autograph books appeared in German and Dutch linguistic regions by the mid-16th century. Known as an album amicorum “book of friends” or stammbuch “friendship book”, the oldest on record is that of Claude de Senarclens, an associate of John Calvin, and dates back to 1545.
By the end of the century, they were common throughout Germany among students and scholars. Academics tended to retain their autograph books for many years and gather the correspondence of fellow intellectuals with whom they associated; therefore the books began to function not only as sentimental artifacts but also as a crude form of scholarly credentials, a precursor to the modern “list of references”.