1650s, from Latin album "white color, whiteness," neuter of albus "white" (see alb). In classical times "a blank tablet on which the Pontifex Maximus registered the principal events of the year; a list of names." Revived 16c. by German scholars whose custom was to keep an album amicorum of colleagues' signatures; meaning then expanded into "book to collect souvenirs." According to Johnson, "a book in which foreigners have long been accustomed to insert autographs of celebrated people." Photographic albums first recorded 1859. Meaning "long-playing gramophone record" is by 1951, because the sleeves they came in resembled large albums.