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.
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.