[1838–1841 Friendship Album. Kept by Martha Shippee in Jefferson County, New York an Charlemont, Massachusetts].

“Go, then, and try my rural muse”

Poetical friendship album kept by Martha Shippee in Jefferson County, New York, 1838–1841, before her 1844 marriage to Isaac Farley and removal to Charlemont, Massachusetts. The album contains 38 original poems or poetical inscriptions almost equally divided between men and women. Where place names are indicated they are for Rutland and, in one instance only, Pamelia, New York, both in Jefferson County.

Martha Shippee was born in New York in 1809. One poem in the album is addressed to her as “Miss Martha S.” and another poem, datelined Rutland, New York, is an “Acrostick” of her name, but which is spelled out as “Martha Shippie,” likely to accommodate the poem’s text. Shippee’s post-marriage ownership inscription, as “Martha Farley, Charlemont, Mass.,” and one copied poem within the album are dated 1863 and 1866 respectively. These are the sole outliers among the dated inscriptions within the album, excepting the 1862 letter likely to her daughter Emma Farley that is laid into the album.

About one and one half pages of the album contain a genealogical record of Isaac Farley and his children from his two wives, of which Martha was the second.

The final dated entry within the album is an unattributed copying out of English feminist and social reformer Caroline Norton’s poem Bingen on the Rhine: “A soldier of the Legion lay dying in Algiers…” The concluding poem within the album, undated, but almost certainly from the 1830s, was composed by “Cynthia Ann” and is appropriately entitled For the Album:

A fitter time thou canst not choose. / Her fostering friendship to repay — / Go, then, and try my rural muse / To steal her lonely hours away.

Description: [1838–1841 Friendship Album. Kept by Martha Shippee in Jefferson County, New York an Charlemont, Massachusetts].

[Rutland and Pamelia, New York and Charlemont, Mass[achusetts]. 1839–1866. [44]ll., [28]pp. [44]ll. Friendship Album. 8½ x 7 inches. Three-page 1862 letter to Emma [Farley] laid in. Half black roan with marbled boards; gilt ruled spine; ruled wove paper leaves. Both hinges separated exposing cords; two leaves loosened; foxing; worn.


Ref. Martha Shippee Farley (1809 - 1907) - Find A Grave Memorial accessed online February 2013.

Price: $40.00