Ohio State University Oct. 1 Visit and McGuffey’s Scrapbook

I wasn’t planning to look at scrapbooks in Ohio State University’s Special Collections when

Poster for OSU talk

Poster for OSU talk

I go this week to give a talk on scrapbooks on Thursday, October 1, and lead a graduate seminar in the English Department on archives on Friday. But I couldn’t resist looking in the catalog, and found that they have a scrapbook where poetry and vignettes are pasted into an 1866 McGuffey’s Fifth Eclectic Reader! A scrapbook anthology on top of a school anthology!

I remembered that in Julia Colman’s 1873 article “Among the

Preface: McGuffey's Fifth Eclectic Reader

Preface: McGuffey’s Fifth Eclectic Reader

Scrap Books,” a shocked visitor finds a family “using up good printed books!” to make scrapbooks. The mother presiding over the scissorizing explains, “There is nothing in them that we want, and so we propose putting in something, rather than have them stand idle. … Some of them are old school-books, not much worn, but out of date.” I always assumed she meant geography books or science books, not readers. Perhaps this McGufffey’s was simply out of date for the family that owned it, with no more schoolchildren. I may have to see it.

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Speaking on repurposed books at UMD College Park Friday Nov. 14

I’ll be speaking on repurposed books at the Local Americanists series at UMD College poster for talk 11 14 14Park on Friday.  I have to find out where the picture on this gorgeous poster came from! Come if you’re in the area. Thanks to Ingrid Satelmajer and Bob Levine for the invitation. This will also give me a chance to revisit the amazing Joseph W. H. Cathcart scrapbooks at Howard University. These are the over 100 scrapbooks made by a 19th century African American janitor who stamped some of his books “GSBM” for the Great Scrapbook Maker.

Handmade Books Panel at Columbia Thurs Oct 10 – and scandal!

Talking about Repurposed Books on a panel with Karen Sanchez-Eppler and Rachel Feder this Thursday at 6 pm will be such  a treat! Karen has done such remarkable readings of all kinds of reworked printed matter that I can’t wait to hear what she’s found

Handmade Books, Remade Genres

History Colloquium at Columbia

in a mourning journal. Rachel Feder will take us transatlantic with her work on women’s daily writing and the origins of experimental poetry. I’ll focus on the ways scrapbook makers and others have repurposed books –and the story of a recent book repurposing scandal.

The talk will take place in 523 Butler Library on the Columbia University Morningside campus (535 West 114th Street, NYC) Take the 1/9 train to 116th street. (Bonus: you can get into Butler Library this way.)

Treasures at the University of Washington

I had the treat of speaking to the Book Arts Guild in Seattle Nov. 1. What fun to connect the scandal of reality TV star Lauren Conrad turning book spines into box decorations with the reuses 19th century scrapbook compilers made of books!

Sandra Kroupa with scrapbooks

Early 20c scrapbook made up of hacked up early printed books and bits of medieval manuscripts. Don’t do this!

Book Arts and Rare Book Curator Sandra Kroupa laid out an array of the University of Washington’s scrapbook treasures. They included the truly horrifying work of a man who had hacked up early printed books and medieval music manuscripts to save the choice bits in his scrapbooks. He probably thought he was engaged in scholarship or some form of preservation — saving the best of these books. It reminded me of the collection of snipped off decorative letters from medieval manuscripts that another collector donated to the Marmottan Museum in Paris. Far more troubling than Lauren Conrad fiddling with Lemony Snicket.

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.