A blog about my photos, my artwork, quotations, ideas, collections, passions, England, authors, handwork of all kinds, rusty bits, buffalo, and architectural detail...for starters. And the occasional rant.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Original Scrapbook

If you are at least 50, you might know what I mean when I say scrapbook.  I do not mean the beautifully ornamented and often quite expensive books of family photos that have become the part-time occupation of most mothers and grandmothers.  Although the term is “scrapbooking”, what they wind up with is a beautiful “photo album”

A scrapbook, by definition, is made of scrap.  They were usually made of soft paper (either black or cream colored) and most of the clippings were glued in.  It will come as no surprise that the books with things taped in have not held up very well.  Occasionally, wandering through really musty antique shops you will find a scrapbook.  We found one in Portland from the 1930’s with what were then called pin-up girls and just had to have it.

Looking through it recently I realized it was, for its time, a bit naughtier than I had thought.  Some near-nudes, lots of risqué cartoons, smutty poetry, hand-written comments, and nipples – lots of nipples.  I would love to know something about the young man (he must have been a young man - a boy wouldn’t have access to this material and a man wouldn’t need it) who put this together.  There is a name stamped on the back, but the only thing I could find on the net was someone with the same name on Facebook who included “Jesus” as one of his activities.  It the book did belong to his dad, I don’t think he’d want it back…
Everything was glued into a ledger.

When I was young, I had one with carefully clipped photos from movie magazines.  We didn’t have stars on TV that often and there was no internet, so there were a great many magazines with all the gossip that was as important to us then as it is now.  I was especially fond of Tommy Sands, Tab Hunter and John Saxon. You’ll need to be over 50 to remember them also.

I kept one in Junior High which I still have.  It has a puffy hot pink cover with a teenage girl in a poodle skirt talking on the phone embossed into the cover.  Inside are all the paper bits from dances, student body elections, football & basketball games, newspaper clippings, and anything that would glue in flat.  I look through it about every five years or so and it gets harder and harder to put faces to the names.

Now I am especially fond of Corvids, Puffins, Draft Horses, Wild Roses, Hares, Buffalo, Hollyhocks, Roosters, the Tower Bridge, and Sheep.  I have started scrapbooks for the Tower Bridge and Corvids and I have been saving stuff (newspaper & magazine clippings, greeting cards, etc.) for the others.  Sometimes I think I was born a hundred years too late.

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