SKU: A00562 Category:


Description: This volume is a fascinating snapshot of the students and professors at Albany Law School in 1865. The front cover has a gilt-stamped design declaring "Autographs," though the creator of this collection used the book upside-down and backwards.

The first three entries in the book are the three founders of the school: Amos Dean, Amasa Parker, and Ira Harris. Dean, who had previously helped to establish the Albany Medical College and was first president of the University of Iowa, and Parker, previously a US Representative from New York and a Justice on the New York State Supreme Court, signed the pages with their photos, and Parker included a Latin phrase for his student’s contemplation — "Via trita, via tuta" (the well-worn path is the safe path). Harris, who was serving as a US Senator from New York in 1865, did not sign; someone wrote his name underneath his photograph at a later date, in pencil.

The students each hand-wrote their pages, and they typically list their chosen religious affiliation (an eclectic mix ranging from "Orthodox" to "Infidel"), their political views (Abolitionists, War Democrats, Peace Democrats, Republicans, etc.), and their hometown – some students came from as far away as California. Most of the students tipped an albumen print photo of themselves to their page, as the professors had done, and some included their age and/or a Latin phrase at the bottom. 

Closer to the end of the collection is a page dedicated to the best-known student of the class of 1865 -Russell H. Conwell, who would later become a renowned Baptist minister (though he apparently identified as a Universalist at the age of 22) and the founder and first president of Temple University.

The autograph book is octavo, with a black, gilt-stamped leather cover and contains approximately 80 entries from the students and faculty. Item #A00562.  

Condition: The edges of the volume are rubbed, particularly at the corners and spine ends, and there is a crack in the leather at the lower rear spine. There is some light toning and a bit of foxing at the end papers, but the interior pages are generally clean and bright – most pages have a gentle wave due to the glue used to attach the photographs. In very good condition overall, and a wonderful piece of law school history.