6 Heirloom Book Ideas

Your legacy is your most precious family heirloom. Yet preserving the experiences and lessons that constitute that legacy can seem like a daunting undertaking—where to begin, which stories to tell?

If you want to preserve your family stories, but have no idea where to start, we’ve got six special life story book ideas to spark your imagination.

A One-Hour Heirloom capturing the memories of one woman’s years spent in Greece, and her decision to return stateside with her newborn daughter.

A One-Hour Heirloom capturing the memories of one woman’s years spent in Greece, and her decision to return stateside with her newborn daughter.

1 - A Taste of the Past

Celebrate recipes that have been passed down through generations in a bespoke book that weaves your family’s cherished food memories with nostalgic photographs and handwritten recipes. Modern Heirloom Books’ secret ingredient to creating the perfect custom “cookbook”? Bringing the stories behind the food to life, so you’ll feel like you’re right back in Nonna’s anise-scented kitchen!

2 - Dear Daughter, on Your Wedding Day

One of our most popular signature products, this blue silk–covered gem is the surprise gift guaranteed to make your bride cry tears of joy on her wedding day! A book that looks back on the milestones of her life, from her baby years to her graduation, from her first words spoken to those you would like to share with her about her future...a book that will put the meaning back into the wedding planning process for you, her parents; and that she, on the cusp of the next chapter of her life, will cherish forever.

3 - A Life Well-Lived

Bring a family elder’s colorful stories to life in ways your children—and eventually their children—will want to revisit again and again. Through interviews, letters, and photographs, your loved one’s memories and wisdom will be captured in a bespoke book that will become your most cherished heirloom. Whose stories will you tell?

4 - Places in the Heart

Does your family vacation at the same Hamptons beach house or cabin in Maine every year? Has your home been passed down through generations and have its own story to tell? Maybe your kids are attending the sleep-away camp you did as a child—or they’re following in your college footsteps. This book makes your favorite place the central character and gives meaning to the phrase, “If these walls could talk…”

5 - Voyager

"The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page." You, dear traveler, are absorbing the world one trip at a time, discovering, experiencing, learning... Wherever your journeys take you (an African safari? The Maldives? the glaciers of Alaska?), our travel books help you not only remember the places, but relive the moments—and 'travel' back there from the comfort of your home.

6 - The One-Hour Heirloom

When you want to hone in on a single chapter from a life—Grandpa’s war years, Mom’s time abroad in the Peace Corps, Dad’s first year as a parent—the One-Hour Heirloom is the answer. Some stories beg to be preserved in loving detail, and celebrating them in a shorter book that will demand pride of place on your coffee table (and invite opening, often!) dignifies them fittingly. Consider creating a few smaller books such as this to be presented together in a matching slipcase.

The Possibilities are endless.

Hopefully the six sample books described above give you a sense of how to frame a story—how to thematically explore your memories so the resulting book truly becomes an heirloom worthy of your legacy. But remember, you don’t have to know how to proceed: That’s our job. With more than two decades’ worth of editorial experience, our specialty is transforming your stories from raw material into heirlooms.

What memories make you smile? What decisions from your lifetime put you—and your family—on an entirely new path? What lessons has your experience imparted that hold value for the next generation?

When we begin to explore those questions, we begin to hone in on the stories that are most important for you to preserve. Would you like to begin that conversation? I promise, once we begin, you won’t want to stop…

The investment for most Modern Heirloom Books starts at $7,000, with the exception of the One-Hour Heirloom, which makes the perfect gift at $1,500. Lead times vary based upon the nature of the book, typically taking from three to 12 months to complete.