I did in elementary school. It was lots of fun to take the autograph book to school and have my friends write a poem and sign and date it. It was exciting to read what they wrote. As I got older, yearbooks [annuals] took the place of the autograph books. The difference was very few friends wrote poems. They tended to write a memory, say something about my character, or wished me good luck in the future.
I discovered my Daddy had an autograph book in 1938 when he was thirteen. He attended the Balcones School, which was about a mile from his house. Each morning he would join his cousins, and they would walk to school together. In April 1938, he carried the autograph book with him to school. He saved the first two pages for his daddy and mother to sign, which they did in May. I’m guessing most everyone at school had one.
Did you know that autograph books have been around since the 1500s, and it is thought they began in German or Dutch language countries? Their popularity has come and gone over the centuries, but they were definitely popular in a small country school in Texas in 1938.
This autograph book gives a quick snapshot of who was in his class at the Balcones School plus the ink stain on the front cover reminds us ballpoint pens had not been invented!
The Balcones School was a two-room school located about 4 ½ miles south of Boerne. In 1938 is was on Highway #6. The road is now called Scenic Loop Road. The building is still standing and is located next to the Kendall-Bexar County Line and the Balcones Creek.
Sign up and follow Conrad Stories!
Adam, Jimmie. Autograph Book. Original held by Jimmie Adam. Digital copy privately held by Kathryn Adam-Hurst. Boerne.