I’ll be speaking on repurposed books at the Local Americanists series at UMD College Park 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.
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
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.)
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.
Looking forward to speaking on scrapbooks at NYU on Thursday, including a conversation with Jenna Freedman, zine librarian extraordinaire. Come! 6:00-8:00 PM at 19 University Place, Room 222. All welcome! Refreshments! And Jane Greenway Carr didn’t even plan it around National Scrapbooking Day!
Some of the extraordinary scrapbooks I worked with at the Massachusetts Historical Society will be on display there for my talk March 27, 6 pm (come early for wine and cheese). The lively (I’m told) talk, with lots of pictures, is on 19th Century Activists and Their Scrapbooks. Writing with Scissors talk at MHS — sign in to let them know you’re coming.
Pass the word to your Manchester friends — talk on Writing with Scissors at Manchester Metropolitan University coming up Thursday Feb. 28 at 4 pm.
I’m so proud to have given a talk at the St. Mark’s Bookshop, a Lower East Side neighborhood treasure.
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!
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.