Mary F. Armstrong, sometimes called Fanny, was a member of the Armstrong family of Newark, Delaware, during the nineteenth century.
Biographical information derived from the collection.
This mid-nineteenth century autograph album belonged to Mary F. Armstrong of Newark, Delaware, and contains original or transcribed poems about friendship signed by her female friends. Many of the contributors are from Delaware.
Mary F. Armstrong's manuscript album, which was a gift from her uncle, contains short poems and verses, both original and transcribed from other sources. The poems are handwritten and signed by Mary Armstrong’s female friends. Most entries also contain a city or town and a date. Many of the locations cited by the signers are in Delaware, often Newark, and others are clustered around the mid-Atlantic region including Maryland, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Virginia.
The album was a gift to the University of Delaware Library from the estate of Elizabeth Wilson, last surviving member of the Wilson family of Oaklands, in Newark, Delaware. The Armstrong family was another prominent Newark family with ties to the town's earliest days. It is not clear how Wilson obtained the album, though she was the donor of a number of gifts related to nineteenth-century Newark history.
Mary appears to have written a short verse on the first page describing the purpose of the album. It reads, "Go faithful album take thy flight / And gather flowers from morn till night / Ask all my friends whilst thou art gone / A line for me to look upon." This poem is signed "Fanny." The poems are mostly about friendship. Some praise Mary or wish her well. Others lament that the friends must be separated.
The women from Delaware who wrote in the book include Mary Josephine Troth from Christiana; Adeline Bradley, Henrietta Lewis, and Mary E. Finley from Newark; Georgia Rust from Seaford; Elisa I. Burnham from New Castle; and Sarah E. Hyatte from Middletown. One inscription in the book is from "Lizzie S." at Deer Park Hall, September 1849, which suggests that the young women who signed this album may have been classmates at the Deer Park Seminary.
Friends from Maryland include Mary Ellen from Federalsburg and Anna Foaed. Friends from Virginia include Juliet Fisher from Eastvill and Tabitha R Cutler. Other signers include Mary Loyd and Sarah Jane Langren from Philadelphia; Harriete L. Hurd from Framingham, Massachusetts; Harriet A. Boulden and Mary E. Boulden from Grey’s Valley; and Mary I. or S. Armstrong. Other friends did not sign their full names.
Armstrong’s autograph album is a gold-embossed, leather-bound volume. It was published as a blank book entitled "Album" by J. C. Riker, New York. The title page of the book contains an engraving by E. Gallandet from a painting by J. G. Chapman of a Native American kneeling by water in a natural scene. Midway through the book, there is a second steel engraving by Thomas Kelly, from a painting captioned "Rome," by Robert W. Weir, picturing five women looking over a city skyline from a terrace. It appears that other engravings have been removed from the album.
University of Delaware. Library. Self works : diaries, scrapbooks, and other autobiographical efforts : catalog of an exhibition, August 19, 1997-December 18, 1997 : guide to selected sources. Newark, Del. : Special Collections, Hugh M. Morris Library, University of Delaware Library, 1997.