A report in Exeter newspaper The Western Times from 1902 tells its readers about "the latest novelty for wiling the time in a country house... known as a 'Face-book'".
The lower-tech version involved guests at stately homes drawing a picture of a face in an album before signing it, with the newspaper adding: "The result is very amusing and the worst drawings frequently cause the greatest entertainment."
Amy Sell, a researcher from the British Newspaper Archive, said: "Forgotten stories like this really enrich what we know about the past. It's surprising just how closely the 'Face-book' of 1902 reflects what we use today - history certainly does seem to repeat itself."
The modern-day Facebook has users around the world and last week reported record revenues of 2.5 billion dollars (£1.5 billion) from 750 million daily users - a revenue rise of one billion dollars (£0.6 billion) on the same period last year.