Main content

Sacred album to Amelia


Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Little is known about this album's owner or contributors. The owner, Amelia, appears to have been in Philadelphia in March of 1854 and in Paris in January of 1863.

Rosa Mordecai, who contributed to this volume in 1854, might refer to the Rosa Mordecai of the "important nineteenth-century Jewish American family" (Brenzel). She was born in 1839 and attended the Rebecca Gratz School in Philadelphia in the 1850s. She and her sisters established and ran a girls' school in Philadelphia and in 1897, she wrote an account of her experience at the Rebecca Gratz School. She died in 1936.


Brenzel, Barbara. "Rosa Mordecai." The Shalvi/Hyman Encyclopedia of Jewish Women. Jewish Women's Archive.

The sacred album to Amelia contains 26 poems and passages from various individuals dating from 1852 through 1854 and 1857, 1860, and 1863 in Philadelphia, PA and Paris, France. These writings convey loss, memory, and the desire for remembrance.

This volume largely follows the format of an autograph book, in which Amelia's friends filled its pages with verse and poems along with their signatures.

Although there are entries dating from 1852 to 1863, there is only one entry each from the years 1852, 1857, and 1860. A significant number of entries are dated from February through March of 1853. In 1854, there is another significant set of entries that date from October through November, all from Philadelphia. The last significant grouping is from January 1863 in Paris.

The individuals that contributed to this volume include, Paul-Emile Gase (p. 10, 14), Becky C. Sirley (p. 11), Kate (p. 15-16), Nellie (p. 25, 35), Annie (p. 27), Rosa Mordecai (p. 33), Nannie (p. 47), Sallie (p. 51), Fannie (p. 53), Cora Monges Cummings (p. 55), Henri de Laget (p. 59), Mary R. Churchman (p. 61), Emily (p. 67), and Eliza B. Penrose (p. 75). Several other contributors are not clearly identified.

None of the messages in this album are personal. They appear to mostly be generic poems expressing longing and remembrance.

The volume was published as a blank commonplace book by Cornish, Lamport, & Co. Its pages have been mostly filled by the entries detailed above. It contains a chromolithographed title page (p. iii) and four engravings (p. 19, 31, 45, 71). There is also a small painting pasted in (p. 17), attributed to E. Gase, likely referring to one of the contributors, Paul-Emile Gase.

Many of this volume's versos are blank and there are additionally several runs of blank pages (p. 20-24, 28-30, 42-44, 48-50, 64-66, 68-70, 72-74, 76-78, 81-82, and 85-90).

Sold by Modern First Editions, 2021.

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Finding Aid Author
Kelin Baldridge Smallwood
Finding Aid Date
2024 February 29
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Collection Inventory

Request to View Materials

Materials can be requested by first logging in to Aeon. Then, click on the ADD button next to any containers you wish to request. When complete, click the Request button.

Request item to view
Sacred album to Amelia, 1852-1854, 1857, 1860, 1863.
Volume 1

Print, Suggest