Facebook in the 1750s
“Stammbücher appear for the first time in the 16th and 17th centuries in the German- and Dutch-speaking areas of Europe, where it had become fashionable among graduating university students to have one’s personal bible signed by classmates and instructors. Soon inscriptions went beyond simple signatures to include reminiscences of common experiences, good wishes for the future, or a favorite passage from literature or poetry. Publishers foreseeing a lucrative market printed bibles with empty pages and soon also turned out small decorated books with only empty pages.
Eventually these albums were not only passed around at graduation but accompanied a student throughout his life, gathering entries from relatives, friends, and important acquaintances.
Inscriptions were personal, yet frequently included literary quotes, showing the writer’s—and by extension the bearer’s—social and intellectual standing. The messages emphasized values such as intellectual and political freedom, hard work, honesty, forthrightness, self-reliance, and friendship. Good wishes for happiness, health, good fortune, and prosperity were always included.”
Also read: Hamlet in the Age of Facebook