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.

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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.