Alba amicorum: Friendship Albums at the Morgan - Morgan Library & Museum
225 Madison Ave. - 212-685-0008
Midtown, NY 10016
Description: The Morgan invites you to explore personal journeys as seen through fourteen rarely-displayed alba amicorum, or Friendship Albums. From the late sixteenth century through the end of the nineteenth century, alba amicorum were a popular way for students, artists, scholars, and gentlemen, mostly from Germany and the Low Countries, to document and memorialize their travels, interests, and relationships. Similar to the autograph books we know today, these keepsake albums were commonly filled with handwritten mementos from friends�dedications, poems, quotes from ancient authors or Fathers of the Church -- and sprinkled with illustrations, sometimes created by the signatories themselves, and sometimes commissioned from professional artists. The selection on view includes fourteen albums from the Morgan's collection. These albums were produced all over Europe -- in Germany, the Low Countries, France, and Italy -- and span the sixteenth through the nineteenth centuries. Visitors will see the scope of mementos contained within these books, including inscriptions, watercolors, hand-colored engravings, miniatures, sketches, emblematic and floral motifs, and even a lock of hair.