March 29 2020 scrapbook talk in Clifton, NJ

Historic house museums appeal to our desires to imagine ourselves into different lives, lived in different surroundings. It’s always complicated – in extreme cases, when plantation recreations invite us to enjoy the spoils of slaveholders, and ignore the slave quarters, for example.

Scrapbook House, Strong Museum collection

Schoolroom in scrapbook house, Strong Museum collection

Scrapbook house parlor, including black servant, Strong Museum collection

But wandering through someone else’s house is intriguing. Nineteenth century children played with the desire to try out different homes in their house scrapbooks, where they created rooms and scenarios in them from catalog and magazine pictures.

On Sunday, March 29, 1 pm, you can visit a 19th century farmhouse and hear about historic scrapbooks. And if you have old scrapbooks in your family, bring them. I’ll bring some from my collection, too – and of course, lots of great pictures of how our ancestors used their newspaper clipping scrapbooks to save women’s history, black history, and more.

I’m looking forward to the first of my New Jersey Council for the Humanities scrapbook presentations, Sunday, March 29, 1 pm, at Hamilton House, Clifton, NJ 971 Valley Road, Clifton, NJ 07013.

https://www.hamiltonhousemuseum.org/events-1

Impertinent Questions in Humanities: The Magazine of the National Endowment for the Humanities

July/August issue of Humanities with scrapbook interview.

July/August issue of Humanities with scrapbook interview.

In case you’re not a regular reader of Humanities, the magazine that the National Endowment for the Humanities puts out, I thought you might enjoy the interview Steve Moyers did with me on scrapbooks, in the Impertinent Questions column. Read it, and you’ll be able to answer the question, Who was Mr. Scrapbook?

I missed being in the issue with Anna Deveare Smith on the cover by two issues, but there are also articles on Studs Terkel and Willa Cather. Such company! Time to subscribe!

Speaking in Jersey City: Hidden Histories: African American and Women’s Rights Scrapbooks

Monday Feb. 25, 7 pm New Jersey City University, 2039 Kennedy Blvd., Jersey City NJ

GSUB 129 – Free and open to the public.For more information click here.

Move over Instagram! There’s an old-school way to cut, paste, and share the things that grab you. Men and women 150 years ago grappled with information overload by making scrapbooks – the ancestors of Google and blogging. From Mark Twain to Frederick Douglass to Susan B. Anthony, African American janitors to farmwomen, people cut out and pasted down their reading.

My Lesbian and Gay literature class will be attending, so discussion should be lively!

Joint Event Black History Month/Women’s History Month

Reviewed in New York Review of Books

Gumby scrapbook page of Frederick Douglass

A page about Frederick Douglass from the scrapbooks of L. S. Alexander Gumby – Columbia Univ. Libraries

Christopher Benfey’s review in the New York Review of Books blog of Writing with Scissors, “Scrapbook Nation,” makes great connections between scrapbooks and the writings of Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman. He reproduces some of the Dickinson writings on scraps of paper in the Amherst College archives that I had the chance to see this fall, with Karen Sanchez-Eppler’s class. Gorgeous and tantalizing. I’m so thrilled to have this brilliant and beautiful writer enjoying my book! (And I’m inspired to catch up on his other reviews – enjoyable reading.)

http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2013/feb/20/scrapbook-nation/

Thanks, St. Mark’s Bookshop!

I’m so proud to have given a talk at the St. Mark’s Bookshop, a Lower East Side neighborhood treasure.

Interview on New England Public Radio

Helen Barrington is a smart and insightful interviewer — so great to talk about Writing with Scissors on her show on New England Public Radio.Interview with Helen Barrington on Writing with Scissors