Garvey 2012

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Garvey, Ellen Gruber. Writing with Scissors. Oxford UP, 2012.

1870 farm scrapbook by teacher in the east -- "Writing her scrapbook with scissors let her send provisions ahead to her future self by bringing the community of helpful commentators from Eastern newspapers into an imagined future"

"Newspapers constituted a new category of media: cheap, disposable, and yet somehow tantalizingly valuable, if only their value could be separated from their (p.4) ephemerality. How to keep up with all that information, assess it, and find it again when needed? Just as present-day readers manage digital abundance with favorites lists, bookmarks, blogrolls, RSS feeds, and content aggregators, nineteenth-century readers channeled the flood of information with scrapbooks."

"In the second half of the nineteenth century, goods and messages traveled at unprecedented speed and volume across the growing country, spreading information in ways that made news central to economic and political life. National news entered into conversation and fueled ordinary social interaction. During the Civil War, people realized how much they wanted to hear news quickly."

"Such scrapbooks open a window into the lives and thoughts of people who did not respond to their world with their own writing. As they saved printed matter and arranged it in ways that expressed their own ideas, they created value from their reading for themselves and their communities." (4)

"Scrapbooks are the direct ancestors of our digital information management. In the nineteenth century—at home and in workplaces and institutions—readers adapted to the proliferation of print by cutting it up and saving it, reorganizing it, putting their own stamp on it, and sometimes recirculating it. Stacks of newspapers were unwieldy and obsolete; the modern household kept scrapbooks." (10)

Theater and scrapbooks

Politicians having their speeches, as taken down by stenographers and published in newspapers, cut out and put in their scrapbooks

Teachers using scrapbooks to compile miscellanies of poems

Scrapbook as an analog of life

Scrapbook, (friendship/autograph) album, portfolio, commonplace book

Advertising cards; photographs made into inexpensive carte-de-visite studio portraits

Newspapers didn't publish photographs until late 1890s

Contemporary scrapbooking is mostly family memorabilia (rooted in Mormon culture) -- not like commonplaces

Diana Taylor, archive as repertoire; "Although the current scrapbook movement zealously seeks to create an archive, most commonly to celebrate family activities, we might better define its work as repertoire: the embodied practices or gestures of cutting, arranging, and pasting materials, and displaying the resulting books to others." (20) -- they are "performing archivalness, acts and gestures of preservation, they express the will to save, organize, and transmit knowledge through a homemade archive"

"The repertoire of the actions of cutting and pasting for remaking print, too, survive and have moved into new arenas. Today, the 'cut and paste' terminology used by computer programs and applications reflects the history of scrapbook making: the icons at the top of our computer screens refer to the formerly literal practice of cutting and pasting as part of writing." (21)

Organizing information is just categorizing different bits and fragments; but with scrapbooks, fragments are attached to a specific typeface, layout, visual design