Esther Blackmer, Friendship Album, 1842-1846
This album looks similar to other albums from the period, with its hand-colored lithographs and manuscript poetry. The album’s owner, unlike the many students who kept friendship albums, was a chambermaid at the State Lunatic Hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts. The hospital’s trustees’ report indicates that Esther Blackmer’s compensation was board plus $1.50 per week and that several of her family members also worked at the hospital as attendants, a table girl, ironer, and kitchen help. On the first two pages of the volume, Samuel B. Woodward, founder of the hospital, writes to Esther, “Have you ever duly considered the necessity of cheerfulness to a happy life? It is above the price of rubies.” Esther eventually married Benjamin F. Slow in Worcester in 1846, the same year the entries in this album end.