Jennie Wilds and Caddie Lynch autograph albums and daguerreotypes

Biographical and Historical Notes

Around 1856-1857, Virginia ("Jennie") Wilds, daughter of John Wilds and Mary Jane Spruance, attended the Deer Park Seminary for young women, located at the Deer Park Hotel in Newark, Delaware. Jennie Wilds, who was born on January 3, 1843 and died December 23, 1922, later married William Hutchison; together they had six children and lived in Kenton, Kent County, Delaware. William Hutchison was born in 1833 and died in 1900, at the age of 67. Jennie Wilds Hutchison's sister, Lydia Wilds, lived with the Hutchison family and helped raised the children. She was born on August 3, 1844 and died December 28, 1922, five days after her sister. After the death of Mr. Hutchison, the two sisters maintained a household in Claymont, Delaware.

William and Jennie Hutchison's son, William, married Mary Elizabeth Streets, whose daughter Mary Streets Hutchison Brown donated this small collection to the Library.

Catherine ("Caddie," "Kate," "Katie") Lynch also attended the Deer Park Seminary in 1856-1857. She attended the Rosedale Seminary in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, in 1856, and appears to have lived in Wilmington after 1859.


Biographical AND/OR historical information derived from the collection.

Scope and Contents

The Jennie Wilds and Caddie Lynch Autograph Albums and Daguerreotypes, 1856 – 1862, consists of two autograph albums and two daguerreotypes of Jennie and Lydia Wilds, who were sisters and lived in Kent County, Delaware. The autograph albums represent the popular nineteenth-century custom of keeping friendship albums, and the photographs provide portraits of the young schoolgirls who typically engaged in this activity. The albums are filled with sentimental verses and poems of remembrance primarily gathered from acquaintances at female seminaries. The collected names, dates, and locations in the albums offer a glimpse of the geographically dispersed students who attended these schools.

The first album, spanning the dates 1856-1857, belonged to Jennie Wilds. It consists almost entirely of names of female friends. The marbled papercovered album is 6.5 x 8 inches and in fragile condition. There are several names written on the cover label, including "Jennie Wilds." The inside front cover bears the inscription "Jennie Wilds, Smyrna, Delaware" and many autographs and verses are addressed to "Jennie" or "Virginia." The album contains over seventy names of schoolmates and friends, primarily female. John D. McBeth of Philadelphia inscribed the last page: "One little word is all I ask, And if remembrance be a task, Forget--." Classmates came from Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, but also from Mississippi, New York, Ohio, and Cuba. Regionally familiar names include Kirby, Kirkbride, Lilley, Evans, Haines, and Lippincott.

While most of the young ladies simply wrote their names, addresses, a few lines of poetry, or a short note ("Think of me," "Often think of thy friend," "Remember me when far away" and "Do not forget old friends, Jennie"), there are some lengthy poems and commentary. There is a poem written to Wilds from "Mrs. Osgood," possibly one of her teachers. Laid into the album is an unsigned manuscript poem.

The second album, spanning the dates 1856-1862, belonged to Catherine ("Kate," "Katie," or most frequently "Caddie") Lynch. This leather-bound volume has an ornate, gold-embossed cover with the title "Album of Remembrance." The album includes blank pages filled with autographs and sentimental verses, as well as hand-colored, engraved illustrations of flowers in urns. The illustrated frontispiece frames an inscription that reads "Presented to My dear Little Kate pride of my Af [fection?] – Wm Hutchison" over the publisher's name "Published by J.K. Biker, N.Y." There are several other autographs from John, Samuel, and William Hutchison.

Many of the signers have dated their entries, and most wrote a few lines of verse. An example is the following: "To Caddie, The humble lines, which here I trace tears may not change nor Time efface, they may be read though Valued not when she who penned is Forgot, Ever yours Emma. Rosedale F Seminary." A number of other autographs indicate that Caddie Lynch attended the Rosedale Female Seminary in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, in 1856; and the Deer Park Seminary at the Deer Park Hotel in Newark, Delaware, in 1856- 1857. An inscription from "Jennie [Wilds], Deer Park Seminary, 1857," is marked and suggests the friendship that brought these two albums together. Most of the autographs from 1859-1860 are from Wilmington.

Several young men from Bachelor's Hall signed the album in 1857, suggesting these were student acquaintances from the neighboring Delaware College in Newark. Friends and acquaintances often included their homes, such as Centerville, Templeville, and Easton, Maryland; Franklin County, Pennsylvania; or "Golden Range," "Maple Grove," "Quincy Farms," and "Rabbet Range." Three items are laid into the front of the album, one of which is a hand-written poem called "The Child's Watch" that is signed "Lydia S. Wilds."

The two miniature daguerreotypes are of the sisters Jennie and Lydia Wilds. The embossed leather cases house "sixteenth plate" size daguerreotypes measuring 1-3/8 x 1- 5/8 inches. The spines of both cases are damaged; the one of Jennie Wilds is held together by tape.