by Grace Bonney

Earlier this year I found this odd little book entitled “The Ghosts of My Friends.” Inside were instructions to have your friends sign a line lengthwise down the page with an inky pen tip, and then quickly fold the page before the ink dried. The result is this oddly occult and figural looking inkblot created from their signature. The pages in my book were signed between 1907 and 1923. It’s a beautiful little object, and the concept is brilliant. I can’t imagine why such an ingenious book isn’t in print again.


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  • I was so inspired and enthralled that I found and ordered a copy from an antiquarian bookstore in the UK. It’s apparently half-full, so it’s going to be an amazing piece to have in my library.

  • Thank you for sharing this. I vaguely remember doing something like this in art class as a kid (no, I’m not quite THAT old, loL!, but it was still in the days when there were art classes in grade school) but no one thought to put it together in a book.

    What a lovely idea!

  • wow!! i have one of these too, my dad gave it to me,years ago . and i’ve often wondered if anyone else owned one.
    mine was given to to a lillian winifed kemp on christmas day 1909 and is signed on that day,by members of her family and friends.she later signs it in her married name (broderick),as do her husband and children.

  • I have one also – signatures between 1911 and 1914. I was entralled with the idea. multiple signatures on same day – perhaps a party? What a great idea

  • Hey! I found one of those books in my house and all the signatures are form 1909. I tracked down some of the names in the 1900 census. I found the family of the owner of the book and it seems that most of the ghost autographs were school teachers in Cleveland, Ohio.

  • I found one in the Garage that dates back to 1901, Hyde Park ontario canada. Signatures I am just starting to do research on…actually quite interesting.
    love the concept.

  • I just found this awesome gem while going through my Grans book collection! First entries in 1931 in England- I absolutely LOVE it!!!
    Samantha van Wyk, South Africa