Friday, July 9, 2010

SCRAPBOOK OF A YOUNG VICTORIAN GIRL'S DREAMS...

My daughter presented me with a wonderful gift the other day, a Victorian Scrapbook. Glued in its pages are the images of a young girls ideals and dreams of that era. Each page sets a scene and plays out a story of hopes, wishes, and dreams. Each scrolling hand scripted caption speaks of a desire of destiny. There is no indication of who she was only a clue as to the time period she lived in.The book itself is a Mark Twain Scrap Book, patented June 14th, 1892 by the Daniel Slothe & Company of New York. No glue was required for this book, it came with gummed lines that were to be moistened and then the scrap pressed to it to adhere it.I thought you might enjoy this young girls pictorial of dreams and my imaginative observations about her life...I hope you won't mind photos of the pages but the book is too old and brittle to safely scan, just click on any photo to enlarge for better viewing. And now the tale begins...

Her name was Nettie Eudora Danaher, named after her mothers two sisters, but everyone called her by the boyish nickname of Ned, the initials of her name. She had so been dubbed by her brothers for her tomboyish ways. Nettie and her family lived in the small rural town of Euroa, New York where she spent many happy childhood days...
Riding her burrow, Poncho, with her little brother, Jack, and nursemaid, Emma, at their side, simple pleasures were to be had each day, playing with her favorite doll, helping mother with the chores, and sometimes special treats like homemade ice cream.As Nettie neared her twelfth year a memorable occasion drew near, an opportunity to attend her first real party! Her Mother ordered a special store bought dress from the big catalog at the dry goods store. Nettie was so excited that she could hardly wait. The boys and girls were to assemble at Miss Mayfair's home. Miss Mayfair was a favorite among the children of Euroa, a special teacher indeed.The purpose of the party was to teach manners and deportment. Nettie wasn't sure what deportment was exactly but if Miss Mayfair wanted her to learn it then she would do her best to please her. Refreshments were served on real china plates and they drank from paper thin bone china cups with little roses printed on them.

The social skills and manners, as well as the natural grace that Nettie grew into bode her well in her departing days of girlhood as she stepped into young womanhood. Nettie sped away from all that was dear, with each clcikity clack of the trains wheels against the rails, moving her towards the new adventure of her college days...Dorm life suited Nettie, as she and her two roommates, Abby and Hester, enjoyed quiet evenings of study or games, or attending social functions with their famous brownies always in tow. All too soon graduation day came and Nettie returned home to the farm...Much remained the same, she still helped out with the chores, drawing water, harvesting the garden, and feeding the livestock. But, in her absence the farm had grown quite prosperous under her bothers care. So much so, that farm hands had been added. They took quite the shine to Nettie and vied for her affections, one trying to impress her by teaching her to shoot and another being bold enough to propose...Nettie was flattered by their affections but had bigger dreams than that of being a farmers wife. She received an invitation from her former roommate, Hester, to come and take a holiday season with her. What a memorable vacation that turned out to be...She was introduced into a society of lively young people with whom she shared many fun times. There was the picnic where they piled into a motor car, her first ride of its kind, where a tire went flat and they ate at the roadside feasting on cans of beans while Owen patched the tire and Nate played a lively tune on his harmonica. There was ice skating on the pond where Hugh, Hester's handsome brother, smiled shyly up at her as he helped her with her skates. And her first time to attend the opera, where Oscar tried to get fresh with her in the dark private balcony seating. Most memorable were the huge family dinners with all of Hester's kin.

The following year she was invited by her other former roommate, Abby, to spend the summer at her family's little seaside cottage.
Another new experience was to be had, she donned her first bathing costume and swam in the briny sea, splashing about with her friends. They thought they were so stylish in their summer hats. She captured the affections of a certain dashing and flirtatious young man and received her second proposal...At the end of the summer she accepted an invitation to spend a month on the ranch of a family friend. Nettie quickly accepted, living a cowgirl dream of riding the open range... Two of the cowboys vied for her affections, one sweet and solemn and the other a little dark and dangerous... She fancied herself in love with them both wondering which she loved the best...
Still, ranch life was not that far removed from the farm life she had grown up with and Nettie bid them both goodbye with larger dreams still in sight. Moving into the heart of New York City with one of her namesakes, her Aunt Eudora, Nettie was properly introduced into the polite society of the well to do. Under the careful guidance and instruction of her beloved aunt, who was looking out for her best interests, she became a debutante...Her first season in town was a whirlwind of social engagements mingling in polite society, making contacts, attending musicals, plays, small private social gatherings as well as large balls, accepting and declining invitations and affections, calling and being called upon. It was enough to make a farm girls head swim, yet, Nettie did it with style and grace much to the pleasure of her maiden aunt.Nettie did not lack for her share of suitors...The farmhand still pined for her. Owen, from the picnic, still phoned on occasion. Hugh, Hester's brother, inquired after her in the letters she and Hester exchanged. The flirtatious young man from her summer at the seaside still wrote her. The dark and dangerous cowboy had come to town and looked her up. Lastly, there were all those young men she had met in her new society circles. With so many offers, which one should she choose?

She decides she does not love the young man at the seashore so she breaks the engagement...
At a street fair, her new friend, Phoebe, pulled her toward a Gypsy woman who claims to tell fortunes. Nettie succumbs and pays the woman a dime to hear the cliche, " You will marry a tall, dark, young man." , to which she rolls her eyes and wishes she had her dime back...At a chance meeting the very next evening at a dance, a very tall dark handsome young man asks if her dance card is free. Nettie spent the entire evening in his company either whirling around the dance floor or conversing quietly in the corner. The two became inseparable, spending quiet evenings of entertainment chaperoned by Nettie's aunt, often, Nettie played the piano while the young man serenaded her with his rich baritone voice. Engaged! She is truly in love with " a tall dark young man." She has made her choice...
Nettie's wedding day was the talk of the town. All those whom she loved dearest had traveled to what was sure to be the event of the season, her wedding. Wearing her mothers wedding dress with her auburn hair piled upon her head in an elaborate fashion, her green eyes shining, she set her veil in place, tucking sprigs of fragrant white jasmine at the crown above her rosy cheeked face...Picking up her bouquet she lightly stepped down the aisle placing her hand in her grooms where their vows would unite them and all of Nettie's dreams would come true...Or at least I would like to think so, that the dreams of the young unknown girl who carefully cut and pasted this story of her hopes and dreams together, that at least some if not all of it came true for her too.
The End!

Blessings,
Miss Sandy

P.S. Here is a free wedding image for you to use in your art, enjoy! (FREE IMAGE)

16 comments:

Mary Green said...

Oh my, that's a rarity! What a kind daughter you have! I came across something similar once - but of course I sold it - LOL. http://greenpaper.typepad.com/green/2009/09/a-simple-love-story.html

Mary Green said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
sjmcdowell said...

Sandy what a rare find and so nice of your daughter to give this to you.
I have always loved old scrap books and the stories told and untold are equally intriguing.
A treasure to keep always.

Hugs and Smiles,
Susan

. said...

What a delightful gift, and the whole book is just a dream to look at, so glad you shared that. Im just amazed with the whole story, and wonder who she really was. Wonderful.

Celestial Charms said...

What a lovely scrapbook, and a highly enchanting story. I didn't want the details to end. Love the phrase, "Oscar tried to get fresh with her in the dark private balcony seating." Oh my, it has been ages since I've heard the term getting fresh. My beloved grandmother would use that term often, and I always got a kick out of it. Thanks for the memories, Miss Sandy.
Maureen

Dorthe said...

Sandy, what a very lovely story-beautifull, --and the book is a special find, and so full of wonderfull images.
A great goodnight story for me, thankyou :)
Dorthe

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

Such a beautiful book...and a wonderful story! I've really enjoyed reading your post! What a gift you have! ♥

Charlene said...

Sweet Sandy, Thank you for your prayers,words of encouragement, & support during this scary time of Hubby's heart issues. It means so much to have your friends by your side in these dark & scary times. But, with God & all the love of friends as well as his strength & desire to get well I know all will be good.

I adore the book your daughter brought you. It's images are amazing. Thank you for sharing them with us! HUGS! Charlene

Vee said...

What a perfectly charming gift your daughter gave you. Very interesting indeed...sounds like a novel. Hope that Ned had the most wonderful life.

Doni said...

Sandy, what a hoot! That was wonderful. I feel like I just sat through a wonderful black and white movie!! Oh well. I guess those were the days. Thanks so much for the blast from the past and sharing your beautiful gift with us all. Happy Happy! Blessing, Doni

Diane said...

Sandy, what's amazing about this is that YOU are now the owner of the scrapbook. And...it was found and given to you by your daughter, who obviously knows you so well that she knew it should belong to you. Imagine the serendipity of these three connections, the scrapbooker from long ago, to your daughter, to you. It was meant to be yours. Do you suppose this unknown lady, long departed, is looking down from heaven knowing that her sweet efforts have found the best home possible.
Loved this story.
Blessings,
Diane

Ms Bingles Vintage Christmas said...

Oh, what a wonderful blog...
Thank you for sharing! You are invited to
come by my blog, too....
www.msbinglesvintagechristmas.com
Leticia

Jane said...

What a lovely gift! And your creative story fits right in. It is really nice that you now have the safe-keeping of that young lady's dreams. They are in good hands!
Jane - Jacksonville

karlascottage.typepad.com said...

That is such a treasure!!

Cordwood Cabin said...

What a lucky find! Beautiful ephemera and a perfect story behind it (may the young woman's life and romance have been as happy as your imagination -- she would have been lucky indeed!)

fairyrocks said...

How absolutely delightful!!!
Thank you for sharing your treasure!!

Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin