Carlin, Nevada; Ogden, Utah: 1888-1895. Comprised of 37 manuscript pages in a variety of hands, compiled by friends, classmates, and family members of Madeline Buckle. Maroon binding embossed in blind and gilt, with illustration to front board; overall rubbed and delicate, with spine mostly perished and front hinge cracked. Commonplace books and albums from 19th century women in the West are rare in general; and Madeline's notebook provides insight into the language, dialect phrasings, and attitudes of young women and men in both a Western state and a territory of the US.
Born in Carlin, Nevada, Madeline E. Buckle would eventually move to Ogden, Utah and marry James Keckler on January 11, 1892. The present commonplace book has contributions from people in her life leading up to and including this moment. Not only does James himself pen a wistful poem to her on one of the pages, but Ida Larson and Mrs. Joseph Holland, who appear as witnesses on their wedding license, leave their own notations in the book the day after the wedding (and one inserts a prayer card from the chapel). These mark a shift to womanhood in a book that Madeline carried with her beginning in her school days.
Given to her on Christmas of 1888, the book's entries are largely dated from the spring semester of 1889. The first entries, from schoolmates Lillie Duyer and Jessie, feel like premonitions as the young women anticipate the adulthood they near. "Saling down the stream of life In a little bark canoe And have just room enough For Earnest and you" writes Lillie on the first page. Right after, Jessie adds, "If you should ever a husband Have and he this book should see Just tell him of your useful days And kiss him once for me!" Ernest himself -- possibly an early crush or beau of Madeline's -- leaves an entry with his own doubts about their longevity. "Undoubtedly it is my lot Just to be known and then forgot." By 1890, Ernest's doubts seem proven. In an entry dated January 1890, Madeline's future husband makes his only appearance during an apparent visit to Carlin, Nevada: "Fare well I serve thee now Thou star of my heart But do not forget me Although I depart. Remember me ever in kindness I pray. Forget me Oh never, Though far, far away." They would marry two years later.
While we have found little else about Madeline personally, the latest dated entry in the book is brief and revealing. From Odgen, Utah in 1895, Mattie Brown writes "Always remember your friend," with a marginal note "Bicycles and Bloomers." Further research could be done to determine the women's relationship to the dress reform movement, to suffrage, or to other women's rights causes burgeoning in the Western US. (Item #4257)