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1872 Beautiful Birthday Album for Little Girl - Agnes Russel Barker

1872 Beautiful Birthday Album for Little Girl - Agnes Russel Barker


I sometimes come across these Victorian Birthday Albums that were very popular in the late 1800's. and always find them both beautiful and sentimental. Friends and family members of the person celebrating their birthday would write birthday wishes, Bible verses, poems, and even draw pictures in the albums. In this album, little 10 year old Agnes Russell Barker was the birthday girl and her 'friends' were poets, writers, painters, and academics that were her parents' friends and collegues. Agnes was born in 1863 in Edinburgh, Scotland and her father (Francis) was  listed in the 1891 and 1901 censuses as a 'clothier'. In early censuses, Francis was listed as a schoolmaster and, along with Agnes' mother who was also named Agnes, had friends who were teachers, professors, writers, painters, and poets. One entry is signed 'Professor Oliver Wendell Holmes Harvard University US'. It is quite possible that this is his true signature as he was in Scotland at the time that this album was passed around to Agnes' parents' circle of friends. There are some original poems, paintings of violets, a painted Birthday Wish, stickers, and Bible verses. There is also a picture included with this album of Agnes. She is the little girl at the top of the picture with her brother, Francis Lawrence Barker sitting beside her. A younger brother is the toddler to the bottom left.

In the 1901 census, Agnes is living on her own and is self-reliant. Her occupation is listed as: scholar so she may have been a college professor or lecturer. It is wonderful to think that little ten year old Agnes grew up to be a modern, self-reliant woman in the early 1900's.

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