"Ellen Garvey's Writing with Scissors provides a meticulously researched and provocative glimpse of the ways that men, women, and children used the newspapers they read in the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century United States." --reception
"Writing with Scissors transports us beyond the well-known world of books, newspapers, and magazines, of internet websites, blogs, and databases into a bygone world of texts created with scissors and glue. Ellen Garvey shows us how nineteenth and early twentieth century readers became writers as they recycled and repurposed scraps from various sources to create secret, unwritten histories that often worked against the grain of accepted official narratives of the times."
--Carla L. Peterson, author of Black Gotham: A Family History of African Americans in Nineteenth-Century New York City
"American scrapbooks may just be our most precious time capsules. Fragile containers of personal memory and public reflection, they're potent--if ephemeral--receptacles of social history. To decode such volumes requires a curious mind, a steady compass, and a generous heart--qualities Garvey possesses in abundant supply. An extraordinary book."
--Jessica Helfand, author of Scrapbooks: An American History
"Writing with Scissors is cutting-edge! Drawing on an exquisite trove of original research, Garvey explains how earlier generations of Americans thrived amid an unprecedented onrush of information, tailoring media to individual ends and expressing--and making--themselves in the process. Writing with Scissors is the perfect prequel to Henry Jenkins's Convergence Culture, one part celebration of the grassroots and one part history of the ways that people consume the media they do."
--Lisa Gitelman, author of Always Already New: Media, History, and the Data of Culture
"By pointing out the connections between the paper technologies that preceded digital archives and social media, Garvey opens conversations between scholars of nineteenth-century print culture, twentieth-century modernism, digital humanists, and archivists. ...Writing With Scissors makes a huge contribution to scrapbook studies, and I imagine it will be a jumping off point for many further projects. Let's run with it."
--The GC Advocate
"A well-researched, well-written, thoroughly enjoyable book that provides a glimpse into the relationship between information and readers over a hundred-year span...Writing with Scissors shows us a way to glimpse their personal thoughts on their contemporary lives and times. In a way, it brings them back to life as human beings acting in their world."
"[A] well-researched study...Should appeal to a broad range of readers interested in visual culture and theories of communication--especially because of Garvey's judicious comparisons to contemporary digital strategies of engaging text...Highly recommended."
"[A] pleasure to read... Writing with Scissors adds invaluable material to a growing and significant body of research, and it also brings in theories about the connection between making scrapbooks and managing today's profusion of digital information."
--The Journal of American History
"[P]roves Garvey to be a dedicated archival researcher and a skilled cultural historian... Writing with Scissors is a richly imagined, original contribution to our understanding of periodical literature, book history, and the history of authorship and reading practices.
About the Author
Ellen Gruber Garvey is Professor of English at the New Jersey City University and the author of the award-winning The Adman in the Parlor: Magazines and the Gendering of Consumer Culture.