Scrapbook Making and Extra-illustrating

Scrapbook makers borrowed and imitated other forms of 19th century media to give their works authority. Read the rest of “Imitation Is the Sincerest Form of Appropriation” here.

Scrapbooks and Voting


As we get closer to the November 3, 2020 election, I will frequently post items about voting from my research on old scrapbooks here on the Scrapbook History website. Scrapbook makers collected many items from the newspapers that were deeply significant to them about why people, especially women of all groups and Black people, fought for the right to vote, how they used their vote, how they fought voter suppression, and sometimes how they honored those who fought and voted. Their scrapbooks were tools in their struggles.

Thousands of Americans made scrapbooks in the 19th and early 20th centuries. People needed them to keep track of the news moving past. Speakers and politicians collected clippings on their public appearances. Writers collected clippings of their own writings and background material for future work. The scrapbooks that have survived are now mostly in archives, historical societies, and special collections. I looked at hundreds around the country as I researched Writing with Scissors: American Scrapbooks from the Civil War to the Harlem RenaissanceThey are a rich trove of items themselves, but also of how their users thought about them.