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Henrietta Singer Autograph Book, 1830-1835

By Trevor Sandgathe

Collection Overview

Title: Henrietta Singer Autograph Book, 1830-1835

ID: MSS Singer

Primary Creator: Bradford, Henrietta S.

Extent: 0.01 cubic feet. More info below.

Languages of Materials: English [eng]


The Henrietta Singer Autograph Book is comprised of more than seventy poems, verses, messages, and drawings contributed by friends of Singer from 1830-1835.

Scope and Content Notes

The Henrietta Singer Autograph Book is comprised of more than seventy handwritten poems, verses, messages, and drawings contributed by friends of Singer between May 1830 and July 1835. The book begins with a poetic inscription on friendship and memory added by Henrietta in June 1830. The remainder of the volume is comprised of entries from friends, including excerpts from the works of established writers such as William Cowper, Robert Pollock, James Montgomery, and Lord Byron. Of particular note is the appearance of Thomas Pringle's abolitionist poem "The Slave Dealer." The book also contains numerous biblical verses and other Christian-centric writings including a poem titled "The Christian Female."

Some entries appear to contain original poetic content or other personalized messages. One entry from 1833 is titled "Lines on the death of H.S." followed by an unidentified poem. Messages from Isabella and Margaretta McClelland express a close relationship with Singer. Isabella McLelland's entry is followed by a pencil drawing of a young woman. Other drawings include a colored wreath, a small bird, a harp, and an ink drawing of a walled village and surrounding landscape. Twelve of the entries indicate the city in which the entry was made with several originating in Germantown, Pennsylvania and the majority having been made in Philadelphia. The entries are not arranged chronologically.

The album includes a contemporary newspaper clipping that reads "At the residence of her husband, in the town of Dover, Delaware, on the 23d inst., Henrietta S., wife of Rev. Thomas B. Bradford, formerly of this borough," likely excerpted from the "Society" section of a Philadelphia-area newspaper. Limited geneaological notes about Singer and Bradford, probably created by a later owner, are also present.

Biographical / Historical Notes

Henrietta Singer was born July 29, 1813. She was married to Reverend Thomas Budd Bradford, a Presbyterian pastor who worked in Neshaminy and Germantown, Pennsylvania. For at least a portion of their marriage, the couple resided at Bradford's family estate in Dover, Delaware. Henrietta had no children and passed away on January 24, 1851 at the age of 37. She is interred in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The autograph book tradition was born in Europe and introduced to the United States by immigrating Europeans, where it thrived in the early-to-mid 1800s. Autograph books, friendship albums, and other memory books were bound volumes in which friends could record their signatures, messages, favorite poems, or drawings for later enjoyment--a practice that was especially meaningful in a time when geographic distance could be a significant barrier to communication. The trend decreased in the United States after the end of the Civil War, in part due to advancements in communication and the growing popularity of the school yearbook.

Author: Trevor Sandgathe

Administrative Information

More Extent Information: 1 oversize box

Statement on Access: This collection is open for research.

Acquisition Note: The Henrietta Singer Autograph Book was acquired by the Special Collections and Archives Research Center in May 2017.

Related Materials:

Other autograph books can be found in the Ellen J. Moore Papers (MSS MooreE), the Mark Clyde Phillips Collection (MSS PhillipsM), and the Abigail and Mattie Wright Collection (MSS WrightAM).

The Thomas Bradford Family Papers are held at the William L. Clements Library at the University of Michigan and include correspondence from Henrietta Singer's husband, Thomas Budd Bradford.

Preferred Citation: Henrietta Singer Autograph Book (MSS Singer), Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.


Bradford, Henrietta S.

People, Places, and Topics

Americans--Social life and customs

Forms of Material

Autograph albums.
Autograph verse.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.