Center for Archival Collections
Archival Chronicle Gallery
March 2011: Volume 30, Number 1
This issue of the Archival Chronicle gives features a small sampling of the many albums in our collection--autograph albums, photo albums, and scrapbooks, most included in larger collections with other manuscripts. We invite you to look through all our manuscript holdings (or use such terms as "album" or "scrapbook" in a search). A special thanks is due to our volunteer Jim Gordon, who provided all the photographs in this issue, now found in the University Archives. Thank you, Jim!
Autograph albums were popular throughout the nineteenth century. Special books like those at left were designed specifically for the purpose. Blank papers of different colors were bound together, often with engravings of beautiful scenery or art scattered throughout. Each person who was invited to sign was expected to write more than a simple signature. Inspirational verses were especially prized. The sample page below includes calligraphy flourishes in the shape of a bird. Guests were invited to read through the signatures and verses very much the way they were asked to view the photograph albums, a very proper form of Victorian parlor entertainment.
The red plush autograph album, at left, is also typical of the binding of photograph albums and scrapbooks of the late Victorian era.
At left, a photograph album typical of the late 19th century, showing die-cut openings which allowed the card stock-mounted photographs to be held securely in place. Many albums allowed for four photographs on a page and often had a separate table of contents. Above, a tiny album holding only the "gem" size tintypes. Cameras could be adapted to create a grid of as many as sixteen images of a single pose. After the images were developed, the metal sheet would be cut down to the appropriate size and the photograph could be shared among many friends and family.
Many organizations maintain scrapbook collections to document their activities in the community. At left is a sample page from the Wood County Red Cross Collection (MS 410) showing the devastation following a spring tornado in the 1950s.
Scrapbooks kept by members of the armed forces document their time in service and provide us an intimate look at their wartime experiences. Annie Laurie Turnbull Panning (MS 241) served in Europe during the Second World War, while Josephine Suter Kronfield (MMS 364) was a member of the WAVES, stateside, working on aircraft.
|The scrapbook at right was put together by a young girl in the late 1940s and early 1950s, drawing from the family's accumulation of greeting cards. Many of these cards date from as early as the late 1910's and 1920's. Brought together like this, the cards document commercial art of the early 20th century, showing color and design choices available.|
Above, a page from the Gladys Gangwer Perry scrapbook (MMS 509) highlights student activities at Bowling Green State University during 1915. Over the years, many students have kept scrapbooks of their time at BGSU. Other scrapbooks from Normal College days include May Lambert's (MMS 329) and Martha Harvey Parquette's (MMS 1681).
At left, the Ruth King scrapbook (MS 267 Joan Brisbin Wills Collection) records special memories of a young woman during high school and nurse's training in Toledo.
Below, a typical scrapbook page shows the challenge of gathering together a wide variety of paper material into a single book. A tri-fold postcard shares the page with business cards, a paper napkin, a photograph, and small greeting cards.
Looking carefully, the portraits of a woman and a child can be seen in the cufflinks at right.
The even blue tone on the photograph at left tells us that this is a cyanotype. Related to the blueprint process, the cyanotype was popular among engineers and amateur photographers, who enjoyed making prints in their home darkrooms. This photograph was found in the Guitteau scrapbooks (MS 16).
|The stationer's label in the front of the Guitteau scrapbook reminds the owner where a similar item could be purchased. Many patents were issued for designs for photograph albums as well as scrapbooks, and still others for the means of fixing the objects to the pages. Today, scrapbooking is one of the most popular hobbies in the country. What will these gatherings tell our grandchildren about us?|
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