The theme this week suggests Family Bibles but I can't do that. Well, I could, if I visited my dad who has several in his cupboard. But in lieu of that I'm highlighting a different type of book that is a keepsake, a birthday book. In fact two birthday books.
The first is called A Shakespeare Birthday Book and it was a birthday present to my husband's great-grandmother, Maggie McKernan, in 1890. It has quotes from Shakespeare on the verso page and spaces under each date on the recto page in which to write the names of friends and family. In this particular book Maggie has entered quite a few names so I have been able to add them to my family tree database.
|Cover, Shakespeare Birthday Book
|Daily Shakespeare quote and room for birthday names.
A birthday's just an open gate
By which you enter through
To brighter fields of happiness
Where hopes and dreams come true
And as today you pause beside
The gate to your new year
My wish for you the whole year through
Is good luck and good cheer!
In 1903 Maggie started a new birthday book, this time A Longfellow Birthday Book. This time the quotes are from, you guessed it, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. On one of the pages she has written the same poem and there are several other diary-like snippets in the back. ("Dad finished painting the lattice fence at the back 3rd July 1930." "Ina started at Bank of Australasia Friday 13th June 1930" - 'Dad' was her husband and 'Ina' her daughter.) Under the birth date for her grandson, Allan Roy Phelan (19 December 1926), she has written "passed away at 'Rockville' Mitiamo 27th October 1927 buried at Pine Grove 28th October 1927".
|The Longfellow Birthday Book, cover.
|Birthdays of family.