Monday, January 24, 2011


Living in an 1885 Victorian home, I often feel a kinship with those who lived during that time period. I wish our walls could talk and tell me about the people who once lived here! The Victorians were famous for being sentimental about love and family and often saved letters, locks of hair, postcards, even obituaries of loved ones. I do much the same. I still have letters that my grandma gave me as a child! Several years ago, I found this sweet Victorian scrapbook for a song. The dealer sold it to me for $2, clearly thinking it was pretty worthless. But to me, it was a treasure. It is literally filled to the brim with obituaries—a centuries worth of them spanning 1840 to 1945 from the Higbee family of Kentucky.

I hope you won't find me morbid but I actually find it interesting to read these bits of history from Victorian life. Many of the women were avid members of the temperance movement and worked arduously for its cause. The obituary for Sarah A. Higbee reads "She was a strong advocate of temperance and during the early history of White Hall was one of the leading women of the community in the activities to wipe out the saloons and gambling dens that were so notorious here." Click on this photo to enlarge and read some of the other Higbee obituaries if you are interested!

My most cherished Victorian finds are old magazines from that time period. A couple years ago I found two bound volumes of Golden Days for Boys and Girls magazine in wonderful condition. This was a weekly magazine of entertaining stories and articles for boys and girls published in Philadelphia from 1882 to 1890.

The articles for girls covered such topics as painting on silk and satin and tips for giving presents while the articles for boys focused on adventurous tales and lessons in activities such as fishing. I originally purchased the volumes for their beautiful illustrations of Victorian life.

Being an ardent pincushion fan, I especially enjoyed this article on making pincushions. I'm in the process of making this pea pincushion. Isn't it cute?

Here's another fun find from a few years ago. I found this old book, Little Chatterers, in an antique shop in the Twin Cities. These books can be found rather cheaply. I don't think I've paid more than $15 for a copy of Little Chatterers.

Like the Golden Days book, I bought it primarily for its wonderful illustrations. I just love these little beauties. Aren't they sweet?

What fun these children seem to be having popping corn over the fire!

So, my question for you is: Are you sentimental like the Victorians, too? I hope I'm not the only one out there who can't seem to let go of those childhood letters and other cherished memorabilia from days past.


  1. Some of my very favorite things are old children's books and magazines so thank you so much for writing such a wonderful post. Those illustrations are just beautiful :)

  2. I found a diary at my Mum's last summer and it is dated 1863 and belonged to a young girl aged 18. I did a bit of detective work and found out a few things but it was interesting reading. She mentions that she had a wash in the new bath, played billiards and went to watch a magic lantern show. How can you not be thrilled at reading of such a bygone era. I hope to tell more of the story on my blog soon.
    Love Shirley.x

  3. oh finding antique books is always wonderful, for me nothing better then looking thru used book stores...ah old childrens books always make me smile.
    I love reading books that take place in the 1800's as well....

  4. Great post! I love finding antique scrapbooks, photo albums, and letters. Old children's books are great too. Old magazines are wonderful too, especially the advertisements. I have a hard time not collecting stuff lol!

  5. I love old books! I think that's why I love genealogy so much. Throw me in a basement with a bunch of musty books and I'm happy for a week. I love that pea pincushion, and can't wait to see it. I know you'll work magic on it.

  6. Old books are the best. They often has so beautiful drawings in it and when you read them, you are back in time.
    Maybe thats why I also love to read the books of Jane Austen ... for a moment a step back in time.

  7. I love old books also, I'm always on the hunt for great old Childrens books. I have a box of books that has been handed down through our family since the 1850's.
    The pea pincushion will be darling, I'm sure.

  8. Looking forward to the pea pincushion! I am sentimental and love all the items my mother has given me from my grandparents~~a few very nice postcards I want to preserve.

  9. A Wondeful post!
    I too love obituaries the wording of them, so very interesting!
    They did keep everything>>I have so many of the items which my family kept>>obituraries, letters, postcards, & newspaper clippings. I so enjoy taking walks down memory lane from the old-in-days!

  10. I love old books and papers from the "olden" days. The scrapbook you purchased for $2 was a steal!

  11. When my mom passed away, she left me some wonderful old things that I just can't get rid of. There are so many really, really old books, pictures, diaires, oh my...just so much. I love it all, and wish I could figure out a way to display these things along with the lovely vintage linens that I own. I love the books you found. I am probably the most sentimental person ever, and love all things Victorian. Even a pice of linen or an old, beautiful handkerchief. Just think of the stories they could tell! HUGS

  12. I love such things as well. My grandma left me stacks of obituaries that date back to the 1800's of friends and family. Such a rich history she left us. Thanks for the great post - it's nice to know I'm not alone in my love of old items.

  13. I love anything victorian. I made a brownstone victorian dollhouse because I cant live in a real victorian. I loved the illustrations in The Chatterers. And your wonderful dolls are fantastic. I make dollhouse dolls but I will try one like yours. I have never worked with paper mache before but now I just have to, lol...


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