Period Armorials Online – Friendship Albums

The ‘friendship book‘ or (‘album amicorum’, or ‘Stammbuch’ in German), started to become popular in the 16th C in German-speaking regions. These books require a little explanation, so I’ve grouped them separately from the other sections.

They’re effectively autograph books, where entries may consist of some or all of: a motto (or the initial letters of one), the arms of the signer, a message of friendship (often including the name of the book owner as well as the signer), the date, and the location.

Because dates were often included, most entries are fairly easy to assign a date to. Be careful of undated entries, though, even if surrounded by entries with dates – the signers appeared to have typically chosen a page at random, so entries are typically not in any sort of chronological order.

Sometimes the name of the signer is obvious, sometimes it’s not, since the quality and style of writing varies. Some of the document viewers have a Table of Contents option, and some of these provide the signers’ names.

The dates given for each friendship album below are those provided by the institution housing it, and typically represent the earliest and latest dated entries. The names are the names of the original owners.

The majority of these are German. If they are from elsewhere I’ve specified.

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