Welcome to the Scrapbook History website and blog. Here you’ll find materials on how ordinary (and extraordinary) people took media into their lives over a hundred years ago, through their scrapbooks. The site supplements my book, Writing with Scissors: American Scrapbooks from the Civil War to the Harlem Renaissance. I hope you’ll comment and contribute.

Speaking in Provo, UT Thurs. Sept 11

poster for talk at Orem Public library

poster for talk at Orem Public library

Utah is the font or maybe the cornerstone of the 21st century interest in making scrapbooks, so I’m excited to be speaking in Provo, UT on Thursday, Sept. 11. First I’ll be speaking at Brigham Young U, at noon, focusing on  how activists used scrapbooks, speaking to Women’s Studies, American Studies, and the English department. Then I’ll speak at the Orem Public Library. on the history of scrapbooks. The students have the assignment of introducing speakers and delivering a response to the talk — great idea!

July 17:Bring your wacky collection to City Reliquary/ Bklyn Historical Society Collector’s Night

Quirky collections on display and in discussion at City Reliquary’s evening of collections, Collectors-Night-2014-300at the Brooklyn Historical Society. I’m not a collector myself, unless you count dust and the bin of nonworking pens on my desk, but I’ll be speaking about scrapbooks as collections. It should be a fun evening. And if you have a collection to share, there may still be time to sign up to present it!

Collectors can sign up for Collectors Night by sending an email to collector@cityreliquary.org with the following information:
– Brief description of your collection (one or two sentences)
– A few photos (no more than 5)
– The amount of space you require for your display.
The Brooklyn Historical Soc is in Brooklyn Heights at 128 Pierrepont street.


19c scrapbooks in the Smithsonian Magazine!

Clive Thompson has a fine article on 19c scrapbooks in the July issue of the Smithsonian,

Scrapbook social media mashup

Scrapbook social media mashup

“When Copy and Paste Reigned in the Age of Scrapbooking: Today’s obsession with posting material to Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter has a very American history.” 

I’m quoted along with Susan Tucker and Jessica Helfand. Looking forward to your responses!

Writing with Scissors wins Transdisciplinary Book Award

I’m thrilled to officially announce that Writing with Scissors has won the Institute for Humanities Research (Arizona State University)’s Transdisciplinary Humanities Book Award. The award honors a nonfiction work that exemplifies transdisciplinary, socially engaged humanities-based scholarship. What an honor to have my book described that way! The award committee writes, “Garvey’s book provides a novel take on our familiar national history, recounting events, both major and minor, as told by the individuals who lived them and recorded them in their scrapbooks.” I’m looking forward to giving a talk at the award ceremony, Oct. 9, 4-5:30.

Scrapbook talk DC May 23, 3:30

Writing with ScissorsWashington, DC was such productive rummaging ground for my research for Writing with Scissors. I am grateful that the Library of Congress saved the scrapbooks of Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Clara Barton, and Anna E. Dickinson, among others, and that Howard University’s Moorland Spingarn Collection preserved some of William Dorsey’s that didn’t end up at Cheyney University, one of John Wesley Cromwell’s, and the extraordinary collection that Joseph W. H. Cathcart passed along to Cromwell. So glad to be heading speaking about these and other scrapbooks in DC at the Washington Area Group for Print Culture Studies, Friday May 23, 3:30, at the Corcoran College of Art + Design, 500 17th St. NW, Washington, DC, RCR Room, Main Atrium. (Yes, that’s the same address as the Corcoran Gallery — plan your afternoon accordingly!)


Queer scrapbooking

Alice Austen's photo of her friends

Alice Austen’s photo of her friends

A serendipitous unintentional followup to speaking on the Lesbians in the Archives roundtable at the Radical Archives conference a couple of weeks ago is this blog post from Autostraddle on queer scrapbooking, or at least documenting queer lives via scrapbooks. At the conference, I spoke about the scrapbook of Alice Austen, among others. Great to be on the panel with Lisa Merrill, Shawn Cruz Smith, Rachel Corbman, Margaret Galvan and others.

Interview on scrapbooks in Transatlantica

I had just enjoyed a dinner conversation with Professor Claire Parfait, who was visiting NYC from the Universite Paris 13, and then came home to discover that her interview with me about Writing with Scissors has just appeared in Transatlantica: revues d’études Américaines / American studies journal — an online journal well worth exploring.
Claire is the author of the marvelously thorough The Publishing History of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, 1852-2002, and it was exciting to hear of her new work — researching the work of early African American historians, and their publishing histories. (Of course scrapbook maker William Dorsey read these works.)
The issue of Transatlantica has articles in French and English, not to mention some provocative NYC photos.