Josephine Byerley Album Amicorum
Scope and Contents
Collection consists of an album amicorum maintained by Josephine Byerley (1835-1896) of South Bend, Indiana. An album amicorum is an early form of the poetry book, the autograph book, and the modern friendship book, and was used to compile artwork and writings from one’s friends, colleagues, and classmates.
This album amicorum maintained by Josephine Byerley is contained in a Souvenir Album with red cloth binding printed by J.C. Riker, New York. The entries in the album span 1852-1857, and consist of at least 45 pages of holograph poetry, remembrances, and original art from various contributors.
The earliest entries in the album, dated 1852 and 1853, are from Josephine’s time at St. Mary’s Academy, which at the time was located just north of South Bend in Bertrand, Michigan. The school was headed at the time by Mother Angela Gillespie (1824-1887), who would found the Sisters of the Holy Cross in the United States in 1869. Most of the entries from 1854 and following are bylined Notre Dame. A late entry from 1857 by a visitor from Albany, New York, specifies South Bend.
The album includes several original artworks and poetic compositions from various contributors. Many of the written passages, even the personalized poems, are of a devotional nature, with titles such as “God is Good,” and “L’angelus de Mai,” but there are also examples of sentimental verse. In addition to entries in French and English, there are several contributions in German, including an acrostic improvising on Josephine Byerley’s name. There are several items laid in, including a French prayer card edged in lace, and a watercolor of a lake. Many contributors signed their offerings only with their initials. All contributors appear to be local, and include nuns, priests, and presumed classmates. As is typical with such albums, the pages are not in chronological order, as contributors appear to have opened the book at random to inscribe it rather than filling the pages in sequential order.
Scope and Contents note adapted from vendor description provided by Carpe Librum Books, Chestnut Hill, MA.
- Creation: 1852 - 1857
- Byerley, Josephine, 1835-1896 (Owner, Person)
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research. Advance notice is required.
Conditions Governing Use
Collection is in the public domain.
Biographical / Historical
Josephine Byerley (1835-1896) was one of the daughters of Samuel Byerley (1796-1870), an English businessman who became an important early settler of South Bend, Indiana. Samuel Byerley served in the Napoleonic wars and had an early career in the shipping and mercantile company Howland and Aspinwall. Josephine’s mother, Henrietta Holzknecht (1805 – 1898), was born in Trieste, Austria. The Byerleys emigrated to America in 1832, and in 1843 moved from New York to become one of the first settlers of South Bend. The Byerleys were leading laypeople in the local Catholic community. Samuel and Henrietta were both instrumental in the founding of both St. Mary’s College and the University of Notre Dame. Histories of the University of Notre Dame credit Samuel with being founder Father Edward Sorin’s first benefactor. Josephine attended St. Mary’s Academy, and on January 6, 1858 she married Livingston D. Goldsberry (1837 – 1860) in St. Joseph County, Indiana.
Biographical note adapted from vendor description provided by Carpe Librum Books, Chestnut Hill, MA.
0.25 cubic feet
Language of Materials
Album amicorum maintained by Josephine Byerley (1835-1896) of South Bend, Indiana. Josephine was one of the daughters of Samuel Byerley (1796-1870), an English businessman who became an important early settler of South Bend and is credited as University of Notre Dame founder Father Edward Sorin’s first benefactor. The entries in the album span 1852-1857, during which time Josephine attended St. Mary's Academy, and consist of at least 45 pages of holograph poetry, remembrances, and original art from various contributors.
Genre / Form
- Josephine Byerley Album Amicorum
- Tyler Davis, Archives Specialist
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description