Sign Here: Autograph Books! July 30 2014
An autograph book is simply a small notebook where someone collects autographs from others.
Shown here is an autograph album page, signed by opera singer Claudia Muzio, with a short text quote from the opera "Tosca".
They started to be used as early as the 16th century among students in universities and schools, where they could preserve handwritten messages, drawings, etc made by colleagues and friends. Eventually, these books started to be used outside the academic environment, to collect signatures of artists from theater, opera, concert hall, circus, etc.
Autograph books became increasingly popular, but their popularity started to slowly fade in the second half of the 19th century. They were still in use by some people in the 1930s and 40s, were much more rarely seen after 1950 or so.
It is not unusual to find old autograph books with signatures of opera and concert hall artists of all kinds. But prices are not the same as a good old signed photo or even a nice program. Some have appeared where superstar Enrico Caruso not only put his signature but also added a beautiful ink or pencil caricature.
We have some full autograph albums in inventory, and we have in stock many individual loose pages coming from such albums. Today, they are not only a reminder of the artists from the past but of the way past fans approached artists and how memorabilia was collected in their times.
See some examples: