From Publishers Weekly
This academic but delightful volume explores the myriad ways 19th- and 20th-century Americans scrapbooked, turning photographs, magazine ads, love notes and recipes into albums that fashioned identities and preserved memories. Fifteen historians, librarians and literary critics contribute essays examining scrapbooks by an African-American musician, a Depression-era teen, a Wild West prostitute, South Carolina plantation ladies and countless children (including the young Willa Cather). In the 19th century, teachers and parents embraced scrapbooking as a wholesome pastime that would teach children to be frugal and productive. Scrapbooking wasn't an exclusively female pursuit. Ott argues that men often scrapbooked as part of their professional lives and examines male physicians' scrapbooks. The history of this hobby is bound up with the march of consumer capitalism; making scrapbooks was a way to refine and display one's taste, and mass-produced scrapbooks were the products of an industrial economy. The 65 b&w images scattered throughout are a visual feast: a prostitute's business card, newspaper photos of FDR, late–19th-century advertising cards, paper dolls, postcards, awards, Singer sewing machine ads, Bible cards. Scholars and scrapbookers alike will enjoy these slices of social history. (June)
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A wondrous, captivating book on a unique topic: the history of scrapbooking in the U.S. Obviously, this is not a how-to guide for the casual crafter; instead, it is a book requiring time for in-depth reading. Its audience, then, is dedicated crafters who want to go beyond simply the practice of their scrapbooking hobby, or even readers who don't maintain scrapbooks themselves but are interested in how these artifacts speak of American social life. In terms of format, this is a collection of essays by a wide range of writers. They approach an equally wide range of subject matter, including women using scrapbooks to pass down medical remedies in their families, the childhood scrapbook kept by famous writer Willa Cather, and the scrapbook of German artist Hannah Hoch and its inferences to German culture between the world wars. Ultimately, scrapbooks are seen here as one of two kinds: learning tools and information distributors or private reflectors of "self," of one's own interests and special activities. Brad HooperCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved