The Ghost's Of My Friends


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Dow & Lester, c1907. Arranged by Cecil Henland. Two Volumes. 68 autographs & inkblots. 

Arranged by Cecil Henland, The Ghost Of My Friends is an autograph book of 'Ghost Signatures' that enjoyed a surge of popularity during the early 1900s, particularly in London and New York. The pages were made from paper suitable for blotting with instructions to sign along a printed line, the paper was then creased in the middle and folded back upon itself. This created Rorschach-like inkblots; a phantasmagoria of faces, bodies, animals, spirits and more innumerable forms. The results encouraged the mind to interpret as it will. 

The process of a “ghost signature” was much more effective in the days of fountain pens, with slow-drying India ink and a loose method of depositing the ink. The book was held sideways and the subject was encouraged to sign the book on half of a page, in their official hand and leaving as much ink as possible. 

Aside from being known for the creator of this book, little is know about Cecil Hendland's life. However, she was the founder of the National Society of Day Nurseries in 1906, which was fundamental in improving standards for day care nurseries.

“Shadows form in our ghostly past; Ho! Ho! young man. Ho! Ho! From forgotten graves they will rise at last; It is so, young man, it is so. You may run, you may dodge, you may Twist, you may bend, The flying phantoms win in the end; Ho! Ho! old man, Ho! Ho!” -  Gerald Villiers Stuart, Ghosts.