Image of the Week: Female Friendship in 18thC

To Miss Anne Wagner.

To Miss Anne Wagner. (Elizabeth Venables, Abergale, 29th July 1803)

Celebrate female friendship this week by investigating the friendship book of Anne Wagner, or the Anne Wagner album, 1795-1834. (Also called the Anne Wagner keepsake album, 1795-1834 and Souvenir D’Amitié.)

Searchable in 18thConnect, this friendship book is hosted on the New York Public Library’s Digital Gallery. The album contains missives, watercolors, and collages to and from Anne Wagner from 1795-1834. As seen above, friendship books are fragile, usually containing locks of hair and many forms of creative expression on each page. The image above was authored by Elizabeth Venables in Abergale, Wales in the summer of 1803, and the token contains a lock of hair with blue ribbon, decorative pasted border, and various other layers that create a multi-media collage representing the friendship between two women.

Written at the end of July, the message relays a tone that conveys both the inevitable passing of time and an unchanging, solid relationship. Anne Wagner was a member of the Shelly Circle and resident of Liverpool, England.


Anne Wagner keepsake album, 1795-1834. Pforzheimer Collection of Shelley and His Circle. Web. 2 Aug. 2012.

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