History of Scrapbooking

Scrapbooking, the art of preserving memories and telling stories through the arrangement of photos, memorabilia, and other decorative elements in a personalized book or album, has a rich history dating back to ancient times.

The earliest known example of a scrapbook is a collection of recipes and medicinal remedies compiled by the Roman scholar Gaius Plinius Secundus, also known as Pliny the Elder, in the first century AD. Over the centuries, scrapbooking evolved into a popular pastime for individuals of all ages and backgrounds, serving as a means of capturing and preserving personal histories, cultural traditions, and collective memories.

They certainly have evolved to what they are today, but the idea of keeping memories in written and pictorial form is not new. While there are varying views on when the first ones were created, there are examples from the 1500’s of collections of writings and drawings kept inside of books. Later in the 1800’s colored prints were added and newspaper clippings.

As photographs became more widely available, photo albums started to take over as the more popular item to collect, and with the advent of personal cameras in the Brownie, they became even more widespread. During the early 20th century, it became popular to write on the back, or next to your pictures describing the people and places in the photos. In the 1980’s and 90’s a whole industry developed that created special papers, embellishments and tools for crafting in paper which helped to establish the current form of hard copy scrapbooking that we see today.

In some ways, computers and the internet impacted people’s desires to store hard copy memories as phones included cameras and the advent of social media really created a modern form of idea and photo collection.

Part of what is important for me in the history of scrapbooking is to recognize that it was started by people who were educated and had access to printed materials, and early in our history this was mostly reserved for men, and men started the early forms of scrapbooks. Certainly, it was later picked up by women and children as these materials became more widely available, but it was not considered a gendered hobby at the time, and I don’t believe that it should be considered as an exclusive feminine hobby now.

To discover more about the history of scrapbook I invite you to read through these links:

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