Hey, New Jersey! Want to Hear about Scrapbooks?

Whenever I give talks about scrapbooks in public libraries and historical societies, people walk in thinking scrapbooks are trivial, and leave astonished at what a rich history they speak for — that so many people in the 19th century made them as “unwritten histories,” and they were our ancestors way of coping with too much information. I’m delighted that the New Jersey Council for the Humanities has included my Writing with Scissors: American Scrapbooks presentation in their great catalog of Public Scholars events. Nonprofit organizations in NJ can sign up to book the talk here.

I love adding local material and inviting people to look again at scrapbooks in their families and communities. NJ author and editor Jeannette Leonard Gilder kept scrapbooks and wrote about her NJ life in her memoir, The Tom-Boy at Work. Isn’t it time for your historical society to bring out its scrapbooks?

Eligible groups include libraries, historical societies, schools, universities and more. My talks are both women’s suffrage related, so qualify for organizations to go over the usual NJ Council on the Humanities limit of two talks/year. (Jeannette Gilder was actually an anti-suffragist. Yikes!)

From The Tom-Boy at Work

The full catalog of speakers is here.

Queer scrapbooking

Alice Austen's photo of her friends

Alice Austen’s photo of her friends

A serendipitous unintentional followup to speaking on the Lesbians in the Archives roundtable at the Radical Archives conference a couple of weeks ago is this blog post from Autostraddle on queer scrapbooking, or at least documenting queer lives via scrapbooks. At the conference, I spoke about the scrapbook of Alice Austen, among others. Great to be on the panel with Lisa Merrill, Shawn Cruz Smith, Rachel Corbman, Margaret Galvan and others.