Collection Number: Souvenirs 10


Title: Autographs and Autograph Books Collection.

Date range of collection: 1905 - 1945

Scope and content note: Autographs and autograph books collected by individuals that include signatures of members of Australia's defence force.

Provenance: Items in this collection have been collected from a variety of different sources and donors.

Extent: 25 items

Location: Published & Digitised Collections, Research Centre, Australian War Memorial.

Related collections: Army Unit Souvenirs, Menus, Reunions, Sports Programs, Anzac Day Souvenirs

Administrative information

Processing history: Collection re-housed and re-numbered in 2005.

Access: Open.

Copyright: Contact Senior Curator, Published & Digitised Collections.

Preferred citation: Autographs and Autograph Books Souvenirs Collection, Australian War Memorial, Souvenirs 10.


  • Autographs
  • Victoria Cross
  • Signatures 
  • Returned Soldiers
  • Colour Patches
  • Young Australia League 
  • Collecting


Historical background

Autographs and autograph collecting

The word 'autograph' literally means "written in one's own hand". The writing may be done with pen, pencil, chalk, paint, crayon or any other writing device. The product may be a signature, letter, document, manuscript, musical score, drawing or map, among other things. However, in modern language the term "autograph" usually refers to a person's signature, that is, a person's name written in their own hand.

The collection of autographs (or manuscripts) began with the advent of the first forms of writing, from cuneiforms to writings on papyrus and vellum. An early example of the plight of a collector is in the form of Pliny, a Roman nobleman, scientist and historian, who complained that letters of Julius Caesar were very scarce and difficult to obtain. However, it was with the invention of paper that literacy and penmanship skills became available to a larger proportion of the population, and with the increasing number of manuscripts becoming available the collection of documents by libraries, universities and individuals began in earnest.

It was at the great universities of the 12th and 13th centuries, however, that the modern form of autograph collecting took shape. Students took to creating alba amicorum or 'books of friends' in order to remember their time at university. These were small books in which the student, their friends and professors would include quotations, personal mottos, sentimental messages, illustrations and the date and name of the inscriber. As university education was only available to a small number of privileged people, the writers in these books were generally men of significance and great achievement.

However, as the ability to collect autographs is now available to a wider proportion of the population, the practice has spawned many organisations and businesses devoted entirely its advancement. The autographs in this collection are mainly those soldiers during World War One and Two. They provide an interesting example of the high regard in which these voluntary soldiers were held by the Australian population.

The Young Australia League

The Autograph Books series contains an autograph book that belonged to the Director of the Young Australia League, which was used during the League's world tour of 1924.

The Young Australia League was founded by John Joseph Simons of Perth, Western Australia who, as a young man, travelled extensively and became aware of a great gap in the knowledge and understanding of people in other states. He was convinced that young people should be encouraged to travel and get to know each other. As a result, he founded the Young Australian Football League in 1905 to foster ideals of tolerance and friendship and to promote sporting tours for young boys.

The venture proved so successful that in 1909 the league was expanded to include all youth, and so the Young Australia League (YAL) was formed. The creed of the Young Australia League is "Love Service & Tolerance" and with its ideal of education through travel, many successful reciprocal tours were arranged both in Australia and overseas.

Thumb O Graphs

The development of fingerprinting is largely associated with Dr. Henry Faulds (1 June 1843 - 1930), a Scottish scientist. While working as a missionary in Japan in 1878, Faulds discovered fingerprints on ancient pottery and soon after began extensive research - including many experiments to reveal permanence and uniqueness of fingerprints. Faulds first published a paper on the subject in the scientific journal Nature in 1880.

The album for "Thumb O Graphs" kept by Lieutenant Colonel Garnet Ingamells Adcock is a rare example of the Victorian craze for collecting thumbprints. During the first decade of the twentieth century, albums were sold for the precise purpose of collecting the thumbprints of one's friends and family which were known as "Thumb O Graphs".


  • Benjamin, Mary A., Autographs : a key to collecting New York : R.R. Bowker Co., 1946
  • The Young Australia League Inc. Website,, August 2005
  • Thumb o graphs. We'll note you in our booke of memory. London: Dow & Lester, [ca. 1905]
  • Early Fingerprint Pioneers,, August 2005

Series List:

Series number Title of Series and Date
1 Autograph books, 1905-1945
2 Autographed items, 1916-1945
3 Munro Collection, 1915-1919

SERIES 1: Autograph books, 1905-1945

Description: This series contains books and albums that were used to collect autographs, often accompanied by drawings, addresses and quotes.

Young Australia League World Tour 1924

File Title/Description
1/1/1 An autograph book kept by Chas A. Brough (Director) during the Young Australia League World Tour of 1924. It contains both a farewell and a welcome home message from the Lord Mayor of Sydney, David Gilpin as well as other signatures, including:

Baron Forster, Governor General of Australia, and his wife Rachel
Charles Richmond Glover, Lord Mayor of Adelaide and his wife Elizabeth
Governor of New South Wales, Admiral Sir Dudley de Chair
His Royal Highness The Prince Edward, Duke of Windsor (as he then was)
His Majesty, King George V
Her Majesty, Queen Mary
Emery, Préfet de la Somme
Mayor of Leicester
Mayor of Nottingham
Lord Mayor of Sheffield
Lord Mayor of Leeds
Lord Mayor of Leeds
Vice-Chairman, Imperial War Graves Commission
Lord Mayor of Manchester
Lord Mayor of Birmingham
Mayor of Oxford
Lord Mayor of Bristol
Mayor of Cambridge
Commander of HMAS Adelaide
Lieutenant Governor of Quebec
Acting Prime Minister, Province of Ontario
Mayor and Mayoress of Suva (1 item)

Album, received while at No. 8 Stanley Gardens, 1917

File Title/Description
1/1/2 This album is inscribed as being "Received while at No. 8 Stanley Gardens, a jolly, happy time. Paid with thanks. A.R. Francis, 2/Lt. 32nd Battalion, A.I.F." It includes autographs of members of the A.I.F. and other forces accompanied by poems, quotes, paintings and sketches. (1 item)

Autograph book, Mr. and Mrs. E. Cornish, 1918

File Title/Description
1/1/3 This autograph book has a metal plate attached to the front engraved with the Rising Sun badge and "ANZAC Day 1918, Mr. and Mrs. E. Cornish". It is inscribed, "A small token of appreciation and esteem from those who spent a very pleasant afternoon at your home, Anzac Day 1918". Autographs are of members of the A.I.F. and the N.Z.E.F. (1 item)

Book of Thumb O Graphs, 1905-1930

File Title/Description
1/1/4 This book belonged to Lieutenant Colonel Garnet Ingamells Adcock and contains signatures and thumbprints of his family and friends. It contains a bookplate inscribed, "The book of G.I. and A. Van C. Adcock". (1 item)

Album, Dinner offered by Hugh D. McIntosh to recipients of the V.C., November 11, 1919

File Title/Description
1/1/5 A suede album titled "For Valour" and presented "With the compliments of The Hon. Hugh D. McIntosh, M.L.C.". It contains the menu for the dinner held at Hotel Australia on the 11 November 1919, a poem by Frank Morton "To these Brave" and the autographs of V.C. recipients who attended. (1 item)

Album, Lieutenant Sydney C. McNulty, 9th Australian Machine Gun Company, 1918-1936

File Title/Description
1/1/6 An album entitled "Just Diggers" with autographs, accompanied by drawings of soldiers, nurses and other military themes. Also contains a newspaper cutting from the Telegraph, 18 March 1936, "Triumph when so near to disaster" about the 9th A.M.G.C. at Villers-Bretonneux. Complied by Lt. McNulty of the 9th Australian Machine Gun Company while recovering from wounds in hospital. (1 item)

Autographs album, 1918

File Title/Description
1/1/7 An album entitled "Autographs" with autographs of members of the First A.I.F. Many are of men from the 49th Battalion, and most autographs are accompanied by a saying or poem. (1 item)

Autographs album, 1939 - 1941

File Title/Description
1/1/8 An album entitled "Autographs" with autographs of members of the Australian forces in WWII. Many of the men were in the 27th General Hospital in 1940-41, and most autographs are accompanied by a saying or poem. (1 item)

Autograph album, Mary Moats Marwick, 1913-1971

File Title/Description
1/1/9 An autograph album belonging to Mary Marwick that was given to her by her younger sister, Harriet, in August 1912. Mary, also known as Pollie/Polly to her family, was an English VAD and served in France during 1918 as a ward orderly nursing Australian soldiers at 1st Australian Field Hospital. She was transferred in 1919 to the 1st Australian General Hospital at Sutton Veny, Wiltshire County, Western England. The album was compiled from 1913 to 1971 and contains autographs of Mary's siblings and friends as well as 16 autographs written by the Australian servicemen she nursed during 1918 and 1919. Some of these include their battalion and home address details. Accompanying the book is a photograph of Mary wearing her VAD uniform in France, 1918. (1 item)

Autographs album, 1918

File Title/Description
1/1/10 Autograph books with sketches, poems and songs primarily written by members of the 5th Battalion AIF, but also some soldiers of other Australian and foreign units. The first page says "Collected in France for my dear friend Lil with very best wishes from Watson". (1 item)

Autographs album, 1918

File Title/Description
1/1/11 An autograph book entitled "Album" with autographs, poems, sayings and drawings from members of the Australian forces in WW1. Many are from their time in Belgium, and some are from members of the AIF. (1 item)

Autograph Book, George Cadd, First World War

File Title/Description
1/1/12 A small autograph book with a collection of pressed flowers from places around the world visited by George Cadd during his service in the First World War. There are samples from England, France and Egypt, and the book also includes ticket souvenirs and currency from his travels, all glued to pages in the book. (1 item)

Autograph Book, Elizabeth Kemp, First World

File Title/Description
1/1/13 A small autograph book with a collection of autographs, sketches and verses written by members of the AIF to Sister Elizabeth S. Kemp, during her service as a nurse in the First World War with the Australian Army Nursing Service. (1 item)

Autograph Book, Nurse Alice, 1910-1939

File Title/Description
1/1/14 A small autograph book with a collection of autographs, sketches and verses written by nursing colleagues including some from Yorketown Hospital, Yorke Peninsula, South Australia in 1915. (1 item)

Autograph Book, Margaret 'Peggy' Keogh, 1930-1945

File Title/Description
1/1/15 Autograph book containing signatures, messages and verses, including by men from HMAS Sydney II and the American fleet in 1941, and a sailor from the British fleet in 1945. (1 item)

Autograph Book, Leslie Walter Uhr, 1918-1920

File Title/Description
1/1/16 Autograph book containing signatures, messages and verses, including those from RAF staff at Hounslow Aerodrome, England. (1 item)

Autograph Book, Chaplain Ernest John Miles, 1943

File Title/Description
1/1/17 Autograph book containing signatures from those on board H.M.A.H.S Wanganella. (1 item)

Autograph Book, Staff Nurse Amy Bembrick, 1917-1918

File Title/Description
1/1/18 Autograph book containing signatures from staff and patients from 50th General Hospital, based in Salonica. It also includes illustrations by her future husband, Corporal Bill Gumbley. (1 item)

Autograph Book, Senior Cadet William (Bill) Walster, 1911

File Title/Description
1/1/19 An autograph book with signatures collected by Senior Cadet William (Bill) Walster from the 1911 Coronation Contigent. It is prefaced with "To Madge. From Will. Xmas 1912". Each signature is numbered and some of these are annotated later with what happened to the person during the First World War. (1 item)
SERIES 2: Autographed items, 1916-1945 Description Items upon which autographs have been collected.

Autographs of Personnel on board HMAT Shropshire leaving England for Australia, 1.4.19

File Title/Description
2/1/1 A photograph of a scroll containing the autographs of personnel on board HMAT Shropshire leaving England for Australia on 1 April 1919. It includes the Ship's Officers, Imperial Officers, Ladies, Australian Officers, W.Os and Sergeants and men of other ranks divided into those from Queensland, from Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania, from New South Wales and from Victoria. (1 item)

Welcome Home sign, 1945

File Title/Description
2/1/2 A "Welcome Home to Bertie Morris" sign dated 6th October 1945. Also signed by H.M. Lyndsay, Trudy Gay, Ada Wells, F. Wells, Harry Morris and Edna Heath, among others. (SC00681) (1 item)

N.S.W. Members of the 7th Battalion

File Title/Description
2/1/3 Autographs collected at a 7th Battalion Association meeting in Sydney. There are 44 signatures, including that of Lt. Col. E.E. Herrod who was Commanding Officer of the Battalion in 1918. (1 item)

Autographed letter to Mr. Langtree, 24th September 1917

File Title/Description
2/1/4 A letter sent to Mr. Langtree by the men of "B" Company, 4th Battalion, "being too lazy to write individually, wish to express in a simple manner their great pleasure on receiving a parcel of first class tobacco. Each of the signatures below and above is a symbol of gratitude to our lady barrackers at home, and we wish them all the very best of good luck". Contains roughly 55 signatures. (1 item)

Autographed drawing of the HMAS Warramunga, 1945

File Title/Description
2/1/5 A drawing by Able Seaman Stuart Delaney of the HMAS Warramunga at Tokyo Bay, commemorating the formal surrender of the Japanese forces on 2 September 1945. The drawing is signed by Admiral Sir Bruce Fraser, Commander-in-Chief of the British Pacific Fleet, Commodore Collins, Commodore Commanding Australian Squadron, Commander Clark, Commanding Officer and the ship's company. (RC03356) (1 item)

Eight pages of autographs

File Title/Description
2/1/6 Eight pages of autographs from servicemen collected by Mr Jim Pulsford in his uncle's autograph book. The last page contains signatures of American servicemen (1 item)

Autograph of John Hurst Edmondson

File Title/Description
2/1/7 Autograph of John Hurst Edmondson, taken from textbook he used as a student at Hurlstone Agricultural High School. Donor used the text book during the Second World War, after Edmondson was awarded the Victoria Cross (1 item)

Autographed envelope from luncheon at Charing Cross Hotel, 18 November 1914

File Title/Description
2/1/8 Souvenir envelope from luncheon at Charing Cross Hotel (Rue Nationale), Boulogne-Sur-Mer. It has been autographed by members of the Voluntary Chauffeurs of the Australian Voluntary Hospital Ambulances (1 item)

Autographs of Personnel on board HMAT Berrima leaving Australia for overseas, 20.1.16

File Title/Description
2/1/9 A postcard containing the autographs of personnel on board HMAT Berrima, in 1916. They were collected by Harold William Parle, MC, who was part of the company on the ship. In his message on the reverse, Harold states that 'The autographs on the other side are of the men in my Company, needless to say they are only a few of the many'. (RC08269) (1 item)

Autograph of Lance Corporal Bede Kenny VC

File Title/Description
2/1/10 A page from an autograph book containing the autograph of Victoria Cross recipient Lance Corporal Bede Kenny. It reads 'Bede Kenny V.C. 2nd Batt. A.I.F. "Hermies" 1917'. Bede Kenny received his VC for conspicuous gallantry in the attack on Hermies, France, in 1917. (RC08283) (1 item)

Autographed pack of cards, 1945

File Title/Description
2/1/11 Pack of Universal Aristocrat Playing Cards, autographed at the time of the liberation of Japanese POW camps. Relates to the service of TX4928 Driver Stanley James Garth, 8 Division Australian Army Supply Corps. (Donor ref: RC08525) (1 item)

Autograph of Captain Charles Hazlitt Upham

File Title/Description
2/1/12 Newspaper article titled "For Valor", signed by Captain Charles Upham, New Zealand VC and bar winner. 1957. (PUB00052) (1 item)

Autographed pamphlet: "Our Glorious 96 Victoria Cross Recipients"

File Title/Description
2/1/13 Pamphlet: "Our Glorious 96 Victoria Cross Recipients" signed by Lieutenant Arthur Roden Cutler, VC, Private Edward Kenna, VC and Warrant Officer II Keith Payne, VC. (PUB00052) (1 item)
SERIES 3: Munro Collection,1915-1919 Description These eight autograph books contain signatures and details of war injuries of 196 ANZAC veterans. The autographs were collected by Robert Keith Munro as a 16 year-old schoolboy, and are illustrated by battalion colours which he painted underneath the signatures. Munro later enlisted in the Army during the Second World War at the age of 43.

Returned Soldiers Roll of Honour, 6 December 1915-12 January 1916

File Title/Description
3/1/1 Signaller J. Finch
Private Williams
Private Madigan
Private Alexander
Private Mills
Private Sheldrake
Gunner Braughton
Private Sizer
Private Allan G. Smith
Private David W. James
Private J. M. Frigerio
Private Sandford
Sergeant A. Waterston
722 Corporal Kerr
485 Private J. Cairns
2765 Driver J. Lynch
2103 Private T. Hacey?
Private H. Thornton
Millard, C Company, 14th Battalion, 4th Brigade
5611 Driver Campbell
J. McKenzie
Private A. Lelts?, 21st Battalion
1335 Private Mitchell
Sergeant J. F. Anderson
764 Sergeant Warren (1 item, 25 names)

Returned Soldiers Roll of Honour, 1 January 1916-3 March 1916

File Title/Description
3/1/2 Sergeant Albert Powell
1329 Bugler Crawford
794 Sapper H.E. Hambly
Signaller H.L. ?
?Hozard, 1st Battalion, 1st Brigade
930 Private James
1406 Private E. Rowe
Corporal W. Manning
Private James M. Coall
Private Houston
A.W. Adams
Lieutenant G. J. Dyett
Private Murphy
567 V.A.H. Clark
941 Private R.W. McKee
Corporal J.H. Jones
Trooper Hugh G. Glen
945 Private B.L. Pain
867 Private John Fulton
Private C.J. Stranghair
959 Corporal J.J. Shannahan
3322 T.P. Meagher
Private George ?Day, 8th Battalion. 6th Brigade (1 item, 24 names)

Returned Soldiers Roll of Honour, 11 March 1916-3 April 1916

File Title/Description
3/1/3 1312 Corporal G. Duncan
Sergeant Norman Ernest Tomkins
500 Private Wishart
1838 Private Hopley
1577 Private W.H. Martin
1682 Private G.A.C. Crouch
1520 Cameron
773 Private A. Bolitho
851 Private F.H. Caldwell
134 Sergeant S.D. Hewitt
464 Sergeant C.S. Murphy
1239 Donald Daley
475 Trooper P. Pinder
1253 Private R.C. Rayner
38 Private A. Brownsell
808 Sergeant J.P. McLoughlin
Lieutenant W. Bolton
Lieutenant W.J. Symons V.C.
1415 Sergeant O'Neill
98 Private E.V. Finster (1 item, 20 names)

Returned Soldiers Roll of Honour, 4 April 1916-30 June 1916

File Title/Description
3/1/4 492 Sergeant C.G. Stewart
124 Sergeant A.A. Gillies
1733 Private W.H. Ingham
Sergeant L.E. Grant
911 Sergeant C.H. Hatt
Trooper A.F. Durham
1039 Private J.R. Rolls
1822 Private R.R. Underwood
Private McInnes
762 Corporal F. Gee
2898 Private G.C. Welstead
1401 Corporal N.S. Bisset
1442 Private G. Shaw
718 Trooper C.T. Gaywood
2129 Private C.E. Critchley
Captain Abbott
1936 Corporal S.G. Deering
379 Trooper R.J. Hedey
1977 Private E.G. Light (1 item, 19 names)

Returned Soldiers Roll of Honour, 30 June 1916-5 August 1916

File Title/Description
3/1/5 1588 Private J.H. Holmes
Private R.R. O'Donahoo
925 Private J.H. Heuston
798 Private A.R. Knight
1152 Private M.J. Ledwidge
1500 Private T.H. Pollard
399 Sergeant V.M. Dee
Sergeant J.W. Offord
281 Private F.R. Smith
1090 Private R.A. Gillett
3543 Private J. Jinks
1738 Sergeant Major Fair
1159 Private A.F. Morrison
515 Private W. Shippard
1503 J.H. Mackay
1434 Trooper H. Olsson
1650 Private Henry H. Wills
316 C.J. Curnow
77 Private G. Jenkins
153 Private J. E. Paynter (1 item, 18 names)

Returned Soldiers Roll of Honour, August 1916-December 1916

File Title/Description
3/1/6 700 Sergeant J. O'Connell
640 Trooper O.S. Sharpe
946 Trooper J.W. Lockey
2570 Private Milton Bolitho
Sergeant Leslie R. Marks
Private Harling, 21st Battalion
773 Private H. Beggs
261 Private W.E. Douglas
2465 Driver J. Lynch
810 Sergeant J.R. Bryan
Major R. Fowler, 1st Light Horse Field Ambulance
540 Trooper M.F. Ryan
716 Trooper E.M. Cummins
Lieutenant Colonel R.M. McVea
3160 Private E.G. Haywood
844 Private C.V. O'Heare
2865 Sergeant J.E. Bell
1837 Private B.J. Herrington
3828 Private H.V. Glen
Corporal C.V. Cummings, NZ Expeditionary Force (1 item, 20 names)

Returned Soldiers Roll of Honour, January 1917-June 1917

File Title/Description
3/1/7 1862 Bandmaster J.S. Williams
1059 Trooper H.H. Houston
1013 Private L. Mueller
1750 Private W.P. Toohey
3290 Sapper T.H. Field
373 Corporal L. Aspinall
9422 Gunner C.D. Holland
944 J.W. Sproule
2800 Corporal J. Thorburn
1024 W.A. Melville
1338 M.J. Kain
C. Hussey, 13th Battalion
349 Private R. Arnold
1002 Corporal R.M. Reid
528 Trooper W. Gosper
829 Corporal W. Bailey
2287 Henry W. Pearce
1289 Trooper A. Errington
383 Sergeant Holland
1016 Corporal George E. Wright
Private Fred Nichols
243 Sergeant J.H. Calthorpe
125 A. Grant
C.P. Mayall, R.A.N.
355 Frederick R. Lowe
J. Chapman, 1st Battalion Transport
90 H.L. Boots
538 E.W. Cobcroft
2584 Sapper Hughie Orr
4076 Private Alf Brown
4196 Private Guthrie
21 Trooper W.W. Daniel
Sergeant Amos J. Choral?, 4th Pioneers
Lieutenant F.J. Turner
Sergeant R. Boyd
Sergeant Stanley Lowe, 1st Australian Remount
1914 Signaller Neil M. Bennetts
1397 Driver R.H. Green
826 Private W.A. Walsh
3544 Dr. R. McDonald
Lieutenant K.G. Emonson M.C.
(1 item, 40 names)

Returned Soldiers Roll of Honour, June 1917-April 1919

File Title/Description
3/1/8 203 Private E.J. Aldridge
J.H. Johnston
Corporal A. McGorm M.M.
2713 Private J.W. Nias
Sergeant D.H. Campigli DCM
Sapper C. Beecham
Corporal L. Labeska
Private W.B. Jackson
Major C. Morley
4515 Sergeant F. Watson
4622 Private H. Watts
463 Gunner N.W. Bassett
Private J.H.H. Barton
2442 Private E. Sandy
5246 Sergeant C. Chambers
Major Fred T.H. Goucher
Company Sergeant Major L.J. Knight 1st Battalion The Welch Regiment B.E.F.
Signatures from the visit of the French Mission to Bendigo, 28th October 1918
W.J. Fitzpatrick M.M.
3678 Gunner G. Douglas
Corporal J. Delaney
68697 Private M.E. Simes
490 Driver W.H. Watson
4453 Private E.J. Burtonclay
2088 Private L.J. Buckley
161 Sergeant N.S. Trevena
367 G. Daniel
At the back of the book there is a list of the outlines of the colours of the 5th Division of the A.I.F. (1 item, 30 names)


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