Here’s an oddity that turned up recently at Jot HQ. The Querist’s Album: a Book for Confessions and Autographs (Glasgow, n.d., but c 1880) is a pocket-sized tome comprising several sets of pages meant for autographs together with questions addressed to the person supplying the autographs. All the questions are the same.
The questions are obviously addressed to young people—perhaps those in their late teens or early twenties. In this particular copy only around half the pages are filled and many responses date from the late Victorian or Edwardian period. One of those from this era was the actual owner of the book, one M.E.Laxton, who was given it by her aunt.
Most of those supplying an autograph have also answered the questions. However, Miss Laxton dodged many of them and appears to have found some impertinent, including one asking if she was ever in love. A few have merely signed their names, but have left the question pages blank. One anonymous male has only answered a handful of the questions. When asked what is the most beautiful thing in Nature he has replied ‘ Woman ‘, and when asked at what age should men and women marry replies 45 for a man and 60 for a woman. This person also confesses to having been married twice and been in love thirteen times. Another male, a Mr Grant Miller, replies to the questions in what appears to be a ballpoint pen, even though he dates his answers to 1910. His ideal woman is Sophia Ridsdale. Then we have ‘Edith Broughton’, who also uses a ball point pen for her answers dating from April 1905. A further respondent is ‘Clement Bartholomew’.