Book: Scrapbooks: An American History


Rob Walker’s "Consumed" column in The New York Times Magazine featured Jessica Helfand’s new book, "Scrapbooks: An American History into the digital age."

"Many of the images reproduced in “Scrapbooks: An American History,” by
Jessica Helfand, date back 50, 80, even 100 years. Reproduced in color
and spread across wide pages, they are treated as worthy examples of
creativity. The anonymous scrapbook creators could hardly have imagined
such a fate for their work. Whatever audience they had in mind, it
surely did not include a design critic ruminating over this “evocative”
and “largely overlooked class of artifact.” In the 21st century, of
course, scrapbooking is a multibillion-dollar affair, with specialty
publications and businesses serving a huge market of
self-documentarians. By and large, their work has little aesthetic
resemblance to what Helfand has compiled. And while contemporary
“scrappers” may not be thinking about future historians, a good number
are thinking about an audience — and it isn’t just the grandkids.

Read the full article

Book link

2 thoughts on “Book: Scrapbooks: An American History

  1. I think modern-day “scrapbooking” has put a new shine on an old activity and it’s fine but many people now shy away from avid scrapbooking because it costs more than the rent as an art form and also people are REALLY into it and it’s become something else entirely. I think we all would do well to remember that pasting in ephemera from our lives into our notebooks is a fun and easy way to add a splash of color to a journal. I’m getting into it. One tip I did read is that newspapers are one kind of paper that is not acid-free. And that in the long run you’re better off XEROXING articles or comic strips from a newspaper that you want to past in. It seems like sage and simple advice.

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