clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Some important events in scrapbooking history

Greek and Roman times: The word "album" dates from the days when a praetor's edicts and other public notices were recorded for public information on paper tablets or tablets that were white.

Medieval times: Scribes sometimes extended their work to produce emblem books, which were bound pages of drawings with accompanying interpretations of allegorical meaning.

1550: Giorgio Vasari (1511-74) wrote about hundreds of artists in his "Lives of the Most Eminent Italian Architects, Painters and Sculptors." Vasari advocated keeping works of art in albums, and his method was to influence the beginnings of museums and libraries all over the world.

1600: From this century dates the development of commonplace books, in which "good sayings and notable observations" were recorded.

1601: Shakespeare directs Hamlet to write in his tablets or his commonplace book.

1650: The popularity of the Kunstkammer — a cabinet of curiosities — reaches its peak among the wealthy. The album found a home in the Kunstkammer or was itself a poor man's cabinet of curiosities.

1600-1700: This period witnesses the development of the use of albums to keep prints and drawings. Samuel Pepys, for example, preserves most of his prints this way. These albums are popular in Europe but rare in the United States.

1706: John Locke publishes his "New Method of Making Common-Place Books," in which he instructs others on how best to preserve proverbs, maxims, ideas, reference, mediation, self-cultivation and speeches.

1769: William Granger publishes a history of England, in which he includes blank pages on which could be pasted whatever appropriate illustration a purchaser might choose. Combinations of printed book and scrapbook come to be known as "grangerized" books, and they reach the zenith of their popularity in the 19th century.

1792: The invention of chromolithography revolutionizes everyday contact with color on paper.

1799: Scraps — die-cut glossy printed paper images — appear.

1800-1900: The early 19th century is the heyday of the friendship album, a book in which people keep the autographs, poetry, prose and wishes of their friends. Other printing inventions and improvements in engraving, letterpress and lithography result in more collectible paper. Ephemera — throwaway printed paper artifacts — become a part of everyday life. Some are not thrown away but collected.

1820: Publisher John Taylor comes out with "A Pocket Common Place with Lock Index."

1825: The term "scrapbook" is common enough that a serial called "The Scrapbook" is issued, which defines the hobby as the keeping of a blank book in which pictures, newspaper cuttings and the like are pasted for preservation.

1837: Louis-Jacques Daguerre invents the daguerreotype, the first practical process of photography. It will be soon followed by other processes. Collectively, these provide a new item to include in scrapbooks — photographs — and change forever the way we remember our own lives.

1857: Carte-de-visite photographs arrive in the United States, producing a craze. Carte-de-visite albums contain a pocket for the insertion of photographs.

1860: The first advertisement in the national press for photographic albums is printed in Harper's Weekly on Dec. 22.

1872: Mark Twain markets his patented scrapbook, which featured moisture-sensitive gummed pages.

1880: E.W. Gurley publishes "Scrap-books and How to Make Them."

1881: Frederick Ives invents a photoengraving process.

1888: Eastman markets the Kodak camera and roll film.

1900: The first mass-marketed camera, the Brownie, appears.

1905-15: The postcard fad adds another dimension to collecting. Some albums and scrapbooks are marketed particularly for these cards.

1930: The photo album, first created in the 19th century, becomes the most common form of scrapbook in the 20th century.

1987: Creative Memories, a direct-sales company, begins marketing of scrapbooks, creating a new craze for this form of memory keeping.


SOURCE: Tulane University