Childhood Memories Friday: Scrapbooks

Childhood Memories FridayDid you make scrapbooks as a child? I did. Some of my childhood scrapbooks include pages where I cut out ads of movies I went to see. I also cut out the write-ups of weddings I went to. Some were quite long, with photos of the couple (or often, just of the bride), and descriptions of the dresses, flowers, etc.

My mom made scrapbooks as well, and she has given one to me. It’s filled with clippings of news events of the day, including — Queen Elizabeth’s coronation:

Queen Elizabeth coronation scrapbook I read an article recently in Smithsonian magazine, about … scrapbooking and its history. Some tidbits gleaned —

  • “Scrapbooking” of some sort went on even in the 19th century. Penny newspapers debuted in 1833 and photography was new as well, and people wanted to save favorite bits of information on paper.
  • For centuries, readers had kept “commonplace” books full of favorite quotes they copied by hand. But witht he advent of newspapers, people cut out favorite quotes and glued them into scrapbooks — early “cut and paste.”
  • A schoolteacher with dreams of marrying a farmer and moving west compiled clippings on things a farm wife might want (remedies for rashes, details about lightning rods), while a 1920s housewife clipped articles for a database on stain remove and recipes. “Little Women” author Louisa May Alcott said, “The habit of reading with a pair of scissors in my hand has stood me in good stead for much of my literary work.”
  • Mid to late 19th century saw color print, and many people clipped even more items, feeling they were too precious to throw away.
  • Mark Twain developed a “self-pasting” scrapbook with gummed strips pre-installed By 1885, sales of these scrapbooks accounted for 20% of his publishing income. Twain popularized the term “scrapbooking.” Prior to this, clippers said they were going to “scrap.”
  • Newspapers noted the clipping craze and began printing short quips ideal for scrapbooks; some even had sections called “For the Scrapbook” and “Scissors and Paste.”
  • By the early 20th century, people began saving not only paper clippings, but bits of memorabilia as well: tickets, room keys, etc.
  • Scrapbooking as a modern hobby surged in the 1990s, and now it’s becoming largely digital. Pinterest is another type of modern scrapbooking, where you can collect (or “pin”) images and organize them onto boards. Currently, more than 30 billion items have been “pinned.”

I have to say that, although I’m a bit late to the Pinterest party, I do love it. I recently sorted through some of my voluminous stack of Princess Diana clippings. What to do with them was a huge dilemma. No, I didn’t really look at them anymore, but it seemed wrong to throw them away. With Pinterest though, I can create a Princess Diana board, and ‘collect’ all the lovely photos I want, right in one place.


3 thoughts on “Childhood Memories Friday: Scrapbooks

  1. Scan the Diana things and you can keep them that way. I keep a Commonplace book of quotes from all the books I enjoy–its a fun thing to look over from time-to-time. I enjoy scrapbooking, but haven’t done much in recent years. Still, my kids scrapbooks are their favorite things of all time so it was well worth the effort. Another great memories post!

  2. I’m going to try doing digital scrapbooking, but not using Pinterest, since I don’t even understand that concept yet. I hope you’ll be around to help me with the scrapblooking.

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