Collector, spare that scrapbook!

I spoke yesterday at the engaging Unmediated History conference at the Library Company of Philadelphia, mainly attended by members of the Ephemera society of America organized by the hardworking Erika Piola. One heated conversation was with a collector who removes advertising trade cards he wants from scrapbooks he buys. From his point of view, the scrapbook doesn’t have much to say unless an attractive arrangement jumps out at him. And when he found a Gold Rush ship’s log covered over with clippings, his impulse was to remove them.

Of course there are no scrapbook police to stop him. But I hope he will photograph the pages before he removes items.

"How to Remove Vintage Cards from Scrapbooks"

“How to Remove Vintage Cards from Scrapbooks”

Meanwhile, hobbyists on eBay offer advice on how to soak the cards off scrapbook pages, complete with pathetic photos of dismembered sheets.

I never did learn where the idea that history using ephemera is unmediated — seems entirely told through media.

Speaking on Scrapbooks at Philadelphia Ephemera event Sept. 20, 2013

Album of clippings of human hair on display at the Library Company

Album of clippings of human hair on display at the Library Company

Looking forward to speaking Friday at Unmediated History — a conference jointly sponsored by the Ephemera Society of America and the Library Company of Philadelphia — Ben Franklin’s old stomping grounds. It will be great to be back there, and to meet some of the ephemera enthusiasts I talked to when I was working on The Adman in the Parlor: Magazines and the Gendering of Consumer Culture.

You can visit the Library Company on Facebook as well.