The European Nobility Had A Way Of Socializing That Is Oddly Like Facebook

In so many ways, the Internet has made the world much smaller. With the ability to reach countless people in any part of the world that has a connection, socializing and networking have become easier than ever. This is, of course, all thanks to social media. Although it hasn't been around for that long, it's becoming harder and harder to remember a time before sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, serving all of our social and professional needs. But there was a time before them, and people made do. It turns out that very early versions, if you will, of what we use today existed as far back as 1560. 

PhD scholar Sophie Reinders has been examining very old forms of written social records, similar to a Facebook wall in some strange ways, called alba amicorum, which means "friend books" in Latin. These books were often used by university students in Europe. While on academic tours, men would have the artists, philosophers, scholars and scientists they met sign their books and leave records of their meetings. 

Reinders says that members of the European nobility began keeping records of their networks as early as 1560.

These records were kept in beautiful, leather-bound books.

Artists painted family crests and designs on the covers.

The books were called "alba amicorum," or "friend books." 

They include records of and comments on meetings between intellectuals and artists.

Looks like these two are "in a relationship."


This is a drawing by Michael van der Meer, who lived from 1590 to 1653.

The books are the result of the academic tours of noblemen and students, taking them to Europe's most prestigious universities.

This is an illustration of the King of England.

The books also include drawings of beautiful women.

Although, at the time, women could not travel like men could, they also started their own friends books in convents.

The concept is the same as Facebook: the more signatures you have, the more "popular" you are.

This book belonged to Jacoba Cornelia Bolten, who lived from 1787 to 1859.

This one belonged to Petronella Moens.


And this one to Frans van Jongema.

Here's a vintage event page, from Margaretha Haghen's friends book.

Much like Facebook, the pages were filled with jokes, gossip and sentimental notes.

They often included Bible verses or song lyrics.

Newlyweds would even write joint entries.

Seems pretty familiar, huh?

Via: Messy Nessy Chic | Sophie Reinders

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