Sarah Tuttle’s Scrapbook (1834-1860s)

In 1834, Sarah Tuttle started a scrapbook which she seems to have kept until the 1860s; the date “February 12, 1834” is handwritten on the fly leaf and at least one other place in the book, and a pasted-in obituary is dated 1863. In her book, Sarah pasted poems, humorous stories, and pictures from various sources; she also recorded information on medicines. I’m not sure who Sarah was; I bought her scrapbook at a family auction in Missouri.

Unfortunately, I can’t provide many scans from the scrapbook, but I’d like to record here some of what she collected.

Images from Sarah’s scrapbook are featured in a wallpaper for your desktop.

[Two lovely ladies] [Medical remedies] [An editors’ joke] [“Old Hickory & Mother Bank”] [Political conundrums, 1836]
[“Going to Congress”] [Frances Trollope] [Rules for Young Ladies] [“Miss Ann Barger & Miss Abigal Seholey”]
[Two yellow birds] [Still life from two angles]

Frances Trollope
caricature of Frances Trollope

After almost four active and financially disappointing years in the United States, Frances Trollope returned to England to publish Domestic Manners of the Americans, a lively book on her experiences that delighted English readers and outraged Americans, who didn’t appreciate her candid portrait of them. This retaliatory caricature depicting her as a brawny-armed termagent sucking on a clay pipe probably struck Sarah Tuttle as funny. (It still is.)

Rules for Young Ladies

Some arch advice on snagging a husband. Exercising the mouth into a pretty shape through repetition of certain words seems to have been an indoor sport for young nineteenth-century girls; in Little Dorrit, Charles Dickens’ overly bred girl repeats, “papa, potatoes, poultry, prunes and prism.”


At Fifteen.—Affect vivacity and line your bonnet with pink. In company of the man you would like for your husband, hold your breath long enough to blush; when he speaks to you incline your eyes downwards in giving an answer. Be cautious at this age to wear gowns made high in the neck, that your charms may be conceived the greater.

At Sixteen.—Seem to have a high spirit, with the most unbounded submission to the opinion of the favored one. You may now look, when in conversation, in the gentleman’s face; but be cautious that the eye-brows are kept well arched. Affect a great fondness for little babies, and get the credit of being a good nurse.

At Seventeen.—Read the news of literature and fashion, and form your opinions of the follies of the day upon what you observe and know yourself. Keep the works of Byron, Scott, Bulwer, James, and other popular authors lying on the table to induce a belief that you have them all at your tongue’s end, and that you keep pace with the literati of the age. It is pleasant to hear ready discussions about the beauties and virtues to be found in such characters as Flora McIvor, Rowena, Rebecca, Julia Mannering, Mary Dacre, &c. &c. Read “Cookery made easy," and “Ecoise and Aberlard," in secret.

At Eighteen.—Look for a husband for yourself, and practice making baby linen for a friend. Condemn play-going women, and talk of retirement and domestic life. Simper “miminy piminy" to put your lips in pretty shape, and kiss gentlemen voluptuously before gentlemen, to set them a longing.—Wear low frocks, but dont show off too much.—Talk of modesty, discretion and industry in others, to prove that you think of them sometimes yourself.

At Nineteen.—Go to routes and parties, but avoid general flirting. Dress fashionably, but with great decency. Wear no flowers in the hair, but let the curls be displayed widely. Laugh when others look grave, and when particularly engaged in conversation, study to appear meditative and absent. It will go far to fix an air of romance about you, and cause much talk and speculation. Such deceptions are harmless and admissible in the tender sex.

At Twenty.—Consider yourself in danger of getting a husband, and now suit your conduct to your circumstances. Talk of the rarity of suitable matches, and your determination to be circumspect.

two girls, painted by Catharine H. Tuttle

Two well-dressed girls accompanied by two unlikely butterflies, apparently by Catharine H. Tuttle
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