A 120-year old autograph book, purchased at an online auction by a Pennsylvania man, has helped to put together the pieces of a tragic story from a local family’s past.

The saga began to unfold last December, when this message was posted in the guestbook on the Almond Historical Society website: “I have an autograph book that was owned by Carrie Haskins with about 40 autographs from her relatives and other townspeople from 1881 and up. I was wondering if any of her descendants are still around? Almost all autographs list Almond NY as their hometown. Signed: Bob Reiter”

Reiter gives a further explanation with this subsequent e-mail: “I purchased the autograph book a few years ago from an antique dealer in NY at an online auction. The thing that caught my eye was the interesting drawings and sayings. They were very clever. The book was given to my mother-in-law in Baltimore for a birthday gift. I was visiting her house this past Christmas, and read all the autographs and decided to see if I could find out anything about the person who owned the book.

“The owner’s name was Carrie Haskins, and she was from Almond, NY. The book has autographs from the 1800s. I was on the internet and found the Almond, NY, website through a search and then posted a question to see if anyone had heard of the family,” he writes from his home in Seven Valleys, PA.

MORE on the Woodruff Autograph book (pdf)