Saskatchewan

Mystery owner of child's autograph book from 1930s discovered

The mystery of 'Who is Hilda?' may now be solved after an antique collector's search for the owner of a child's autograph book from the 1930s has led to her brother.

Album's owner, named Hilda, attended Regina's Connaught school

The autograph book is filled with messages between Hilda and her friends, poems and drawings. (Keith Maynard/Submitted)

The mystery of 'Who is Hilda?' may now be solved after an antique collector's search for the owner of a child's autograph book from the 1930s has led to her brother. 

​Keith Maynard stumbled upon the autograph book two or three years ago at a yard sale in Sandy Beach, Alta., a small community about 50 kilometres northwest of Edmonton.

The autograph book was owned by a girl named Hilda who attended Regina's Connaught elementary school in the 1930s.

Maynard had been searching for the owner of the book in hopes of handing the keepsake back to her or her family. He shared his story with CBC Saskatchewan in hopes of solving the mystery.

Pieces of the puzzle

George Beckett's wife was browsing online when she found the story. She told Beckett, saying it sounded like it could be his older sister.

"I mean, everything seemed to fall in line with this," said Beckett. 

"The Connaught school thing, her age and everything. It would be unlikely you would get a coincidence like that."

Beckett reached out to Maynard, and became even more convinced the autograph book belonged to his sister, who is now deceased.   

Maynard plans to travel to Regina in December to hand the book to Beckett.

George Beckett says the writing in this entry from Hilda's mother looks like his mother's handwriting. (Keith Maynard/Submitted)

Family history

Now, Beckett is going to dig up old records with his mother's handwriting to compare it to notes in the autograph book by Hilda's mother as a final check. 

"There's some handwriting in there which, when it was showed, looked very much like my mother's," said Beckett. 

Beckett said his sister has three children: one daughter and two sons. Beckett plans to have the book professionally copied and sent to them for them to decide what they want to do with it.

"It's part of our history," said Beckett. 

"My brother and I have spent a lot of time putting that history together, and this was a part that we didn't know about, and that's because it was a very personal thing to her." 

With files from CBC Radio One's The Afternoon Edition

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