Published: Feb. 1, 2012 By

We Perceive, by the last London Atlas, that scrapbooks and albums are going entirely out of fashion in England.  This is one of those foreign examples, which, we trust, will be enthusiastically followed here.  We give this information thus early for the government of misses in their teens, scribblers of sonnets, etchers of small designs, and, in short, all aiders and abetters of such abominations.

Anonymous, The New York Mirror (1835)

We are all Scrap-books; and happy is he who has his pages systematized, whose clippings have been culled from sources of truth and purity, and who has them firmly Pasted into his Book.  

E.W. Gurley, Scrapbooks and How to Make Them (1880)

[1] In a how-to manual on scrapbooking published in 1880, E.W. Gurley conferred great value on a scrapbook by playfully suggesting that "we are all scrapbooks;" our lives are a series of events that are selected, clipped, and pasted firmly into our memories.  Gurley's fifty-six page manual was a comprehensive guide to keeping scrapbooks of all types, purporting to contain "full instructions for making a complete and systematic set of useful books" (n.p.).  The little volume prescribed scrapbooking for anyone who reads; Gurley argues that the farmer and the politician, the teacher and the student, the mother and the child, all have something to gain from selecting and arranging printed scraps for self-education.  Scrapbooks are suggested as a remedy for the overabundance of the printed word, a way to stimulate critical thinking and reading, and, when practiced as a family activity, a means to a "pleasanter" home and "an advanced standing in society" (13).  Gurley's book was only one of many books and articles that addressed the importance of the everyday practice of scrapbooking in the nineteenth century.  However, despite the enormous popularity of scrapbooking both then and today, we have only recently begun to account for this widespread rhetorical practice that, by the end of the nineteenth century, was increasingly associated with women and valued accordingly. 

[2] In the last twenty years, a handful of scholars have examined scrapbooking practices, typically by concentrating on individual scrapbooks.  The typical study examines how a particular author, usually a woman, composes a scrapbook to shape and express her identity.  For example, Tucker, Ott, and Buckler's 2006 edited volumeThe Scrapbook in American Life collects a wide array of scholarship on scrapbooks including essays on a "secret" scrapbook of a nineteenth century prostitute (Bowers), scrapbooks kept by three generations of South Carolina plantation women (LeClerq), and scrapbooks prepared by a young, small town girl during the Depression (Melvin).  There are several exceptions to this general trend. A few scholars have worked with groups of books in order to illustrate the various subgenres of the scrapbook to articulate their particular qualities and conventions:  Rodris Roth investigates the sub-genre of the scrapbook house, and Ellen Gruber Garvey examines trade card scrapbooks, though in both cases the studies still focus largely on identity formation.  Such work has been a valuable recovery of an important everyday rhetorical activity conducted by men and women alike, and in fact, Tucker, Ott and Buckler's edited collection does have two articles that touch on scrapbooking activity by men, "Between Person and Profession: The Scrapbooks of Nineteenth Century Medical Practitioners" by Katherine Ott, and another by Susan Tucker on "Telling Particular Stories: Two African American Memory Books" (one of which was composed by a man).  Although scrapbooking studies have repeatedly noted the association between women and scrapbooks, none have really investigated in a sustained way how scrapbooks acquired their gendered perception to the extent that men would now rarely admit to making one and none have considered what the implications of this gendering are for our own scholarship.

[3] In Gender and Rhetorical Space in American Life, Nan Johnson argues that the recovery of women rhetoricians should be "supplement[ed]…with an account of the cultural dynamics that created the possibility of that neglect" (Johnson 10).   Now that individual scrapbooks have made it onto the scholarly map, we need a similar study of the scrapbook as a genre, and even more importantly, an account of its gendering.  While scrapbooking was widely acknowledged as a popular practice and was supported by a large commercial apparatus throughout the 19th century, powerful critical accounts of scrapbooking tended to devalue scrapbooks as the "trifling" hobby of women and children.  Furthermore, an examination of the attitudes of modern scholars reveals the extent to which some of these nineteenth-century ideas about scrapbooks still shape perceptions of scrapbooking practices and continue to relegate scrapbook practices to the margins.

The Emergence of Scrapbooks

[4] The date of origin of the scrapbook and its generic distinction from other related album-making practices is hard to pin down exactly, though the Oxford English Dictionary, which records the earliest printed use of the word in 1825,  defines a scrapbook as "a blank book in which pictures, newspaper cuttings, and the like are pasted for preservation. Hence occas. as the title of a printed book of miscellaneous contents."  The first sample use offered by the OED was the title of a book, The Scrap Book, or a Selection of Anecdotes. The word was variously spelled "scrapbook," "scrap-book" or "scrap book" throughout the nineteenth century.    An earlier, and likely related, word, "scrapiana," was in use as early as 1792 to refer to "a collection of literary scraps."  Typically, "scrapiana" or "scrapeana" were used to refer to published works that collected miscellaney.  As well, the practice of grangerizing or extra-illustrating published books was popular from the mid-eighteenth century to the early-twentieth century (Wark 151).  Extra-illustrating involved readers adding their own material to published books, materials which may have also been cut out of other books.  The term "grangerizing" comes from Reverend James Granger, who published a history of England in 1876 with blank pages inserted specifically for such extra-illustrating.   One could see how the practice of making a personalized copy of a published book might easily turn into creating one's own books from scratch, especially as blank volumes were increasingly manufactured and sold throughout the nineteenth century.  Another related practice, the commonplace book (addressed in more detail below) was popular from the sixteenth century through the early twentieth century.

[5] The recent scrapbook craze was preceded by a similar phenomenon in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, during which time scrapbooking became a pervasive cultural practice.  Similar to today, scrapbooking was encouraged and supported by commercial enterprises; albums like Mark Twain's Pre-pasted Scrapbook were widely advertised in a variety of publications.   One such ad, published in an 1878 issue of Harper's Weekly, proclaims that "no library is complete without a copy of the Bible, Shakespeare, and Mark Twain's Scrap Book" ("Mark Twain's Scrapbook" 298).  An avid scrapbooker himself, Twain invented and patented the pre-pasting scrapbook, which had pages brushed with a substance that became sticky when moistened, like postage stamps.  Twain reportedly earned $50,000 on the patent for his scrapbook invention.  (Interestingly, The OED cites Mark Twain as the first writer to use "scrapbook" as a verb and "scrapbooking" in the gerund form in the late nineteenth century.)  It does not appear that the Pre-pasted was marketed especially to women, which makes sense given Twain's own scrapbooking habits.

[6] Different versions of the scrapbooks were available into the early twentieth century; they could be purchased in several different sizes and configurations of pasted columns.  Some were designed for newspaper clippings or photos, or were marketed for specific professions, such as authors or druggists (who could use a prepasted album to keep prescriptions organized).  Twain's scrapbook was probably the most famous, but a number of other pre-made albums were available to the scrapbooker. Thrifty people were also encouraged to use accounting ledgers or even unwanted books or catalogues into which new items could be glued.  Other inventions meant to support scrapbook activities were advertised in popular publications, such as Harper's Weekly's 1894 advertisement for the "Etchene:"[which] "reproduces pictures from ordinary newspaper prints" (216).

[7] Publications also appeared with scrap-book titles, often referring to a collection of information published for personal or educational use.  One example, advertised in the January 1, 1885 issue of Harper's Weekly, was the "Scrap-Book for Homely Women Only" which purported to contain a "collection of toilet secrets" available to the plain woman for the price of one dollar (32).  Other types of collections were also published with scrapbook titles, such as William G. Hoffman's The Public Speaker's Scrapbook (1935) which collected "paragraphs, hints, cues, stories, and illustrations that will…supply the substance, decoration, laughs, and eloquence for a variety of addresses" (v).  As Ellen Gruber Garvey notes in "Scissorizing and Scrapbooks:  Nineteenth Century Reading, Remaking, and, Recirculating" a number of publications adopted scrapbook titles, such as nineteenth-century periodicals like Fisher's Drawing Room Scrapbook and The American Scrapbook, both of which were literary annuals published in the 1830s and were collections of poetry and prose accompanied by engravings. (218).

[8] Printed chromolithography sheets, containing images popular in the nineteenth-century, including romantic images of cupids, flowers, beatific images of children, and images of famous people such as George Washington, or Queen Victoria, could be cut and pasted into albums (Hart et. al. 19-27, 54-66).   Illustrated business cards, postcards, cigar labels, and bills of advertisement often made their way into scrapbooks (Hart et. al. 14-15).  The increasing availability of cheap printed materials such as newspapers and magazines also meant that scrapbookers could more easily record their interest and involvement in current events.  Rather than having to laboriously hand copy interesting textual gems from relatively expensive books, one could cut and paste from the inexpensive and transitory mediums of newspapers and magazines.   Scrapbooking was a more efficient means of recording one's textual interaction with the culture in which one lived. 

[9] While we today tend to think of scrapbooking as a woman's hobby of recording familial events, in the nineteenth century, scrapbooks were regarded by proponents of the practice as educational projects.  Familial history was one of those projects, but scrapbookers made albums about a variety of subjects; the focus was self-improvement and having a supply of ready material for other purposes.  For example, in "One Way of Making a Scrapbook" published in theYouth's Companion in 1884, James Elderdice exclaims "How often we wish to read over again that sweet poem of that biographical sketch we saw a few weeks ago, but which now is lost, because…having no scrap-book, [we] never thought of clipping it out and putting it away for future reference" (234).  Similarly, Household Hints and Recipesadvocated the preservation of  "choice thought[s], which [are] far more precious than a jewel set in gold… that will not only be of service to yourself, but also to your children and grandchildren, in decades of years yet to come" (Williams and Johnson 133).  These choice thoughts were to be found in the pages of newspapers and other popular publications and pasted into scrapbooks for future use, either by the scrapbooker or the audiences with whom the volume would be shared. 

[10] Many scrapbook advocates saw scrapbooks as works of reference, more valuable than published works like encyclopedias, textbooks, or anthologies because they contained more recent and timely information. W.A. Bardwell argued in an 1888 article in theLibrary Journal that librarians ought to begin keeping scrapbooks expressly for purposes of reference by "taking important and interesting items, biographical, historical, or of any value, that would not ordinarily be found except in the newspapers; and preserving them in such manner that the information may be readily found when sought" (243).  Bardwell sees scrapbooks as important supplements to other published works, providing information not to be found anywhere else.  Responding to anticipated criticism, Bardwell goes on to say that, "it might be argued that information furnished on this plan would be of the scraps – scrappy and inaccurate; but perhaps it could be depended on as much as a great deal that is found in books; even history has been known to be prejudiced and to misstate facts" (243).  Bardwell equates scrapbooks with historical texts, both of which can be valuable, and at the same time, flawed.

[11] These scrapbook collections of "rare gems" were meant to be shared with other people, and scrapbooking often, although not always, was constructed as a communal activity.  That is, scrapbooks were not understood as private documents but as artifacts meant to be shared with others.  Scrapbook advocates often cited the sharing of scrapbooks as one of the genre's most appealing features.  The anonymous author of "A System in Scrapbooks" states that scrapbooks are for "the improvement of self and the delight of others" (276.)  Elizabeth Porter Gould writes to the editors of Literary World in 1884 that she has shared her book with a friend of hers "who was really surprised at the valuable reading-matter which it now contains" and later notes that she has clipped "all the editorials which seemed to me would be of particular interest to the future reader" (309).  Gould not only shares her book with friends, but she also anticipates a future audience for her volumes.  It seems clear from scrapbookers' descriptions of their practices that they paid attention to the needs of the anticipated audiences and made volumes they thought would be readable by other people.   In other words, they understood that scrapbooks were rhetorical productions.  However, our current understanding of scrapbooking practices doesn't seem to take this version of the popular vernacular practice into account, which is likely a result of inheriting gendered generic stereotypes that were perpetuated throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. 

Generic Predecessors and Gendered Genres

[12] Other scholars have noted that scrapbooking appears to be the later 19th century version of the commonplace book.  Todd Gernes notes that often "early commonplace books were literally transformed into scrapbooks, as news clippings and steel engravings overlaid and all but obliterated handwritten and extracted gems" (Gernes 40).  Likewise, in "Is It a Diary, Commonplace Book, Scrapbook, or Whatchamacallit? Six Years of Exploration in New England's Manuscript Archives," Zboray and Zboray argue that "while the folks who created these literary items recognized each one's distinct form and purpose … in practice they often merged formats, so that a diary, for example, could easily morph into a scrapbook or a scrapbook into a commonplace book" (101).  However, while scrapbooks share many generic features with and may have developed out of commonplace books, these two generic forms acquired very different reputations in nineteenth and early twentieth century culture.

[13] In his history of commonplacing, Earl Havens defines commonplace books as "a collection of well-known or personally meaningful textual excerpts organized under individual thematic headings" (8).  Scholars generally agree that commonplace books are grounded in the rhetorical tradition and can be traced back to Aristotle's advice to categorize commonplaces under topics (Berland et. al., Dacome, Gernes, Havens, Miller).   During the middle ages, books of "Florilegia" (or books of flowers) "filled to brimming with the moral dicta of the Doctors of the church and the scriptures" became common undertakings of theologians and preachers (Havens 19).  Quotations drawn from authoritative sources were copied into volumes and were often organized under topical headings, allowing preachers to quickly access material they wished to incorporate into sermons.  Similar to the inventional nature of the classical topics, the medieval collections of sententious excerpts were considered invaluable aids to invention.  As Havens argues, Renaissance commonplace books merged these two traditions by reviving the ancient topical system and using it in combination with the medieval tradition of collecting and organizing specific sententiae.    Scholars' commonplace books were often published for the educational benefit of the public, and schoolboys were instructed to compile their own books to organize the fruits of their reading, an intellectual exercise that facilitated their ascent to privileged rhetorical spaces. 

[14] John Locke, in the seventeenth century, published his "New Method of a Commonplace Book" in which he described his method for copying and cataloguing commonplaces in painstaking detail.  Despite his insistence that his method is "so mean a thing, as not to deserve publishing," the Lockean commonplace book became extremely popular, and blank books using his indexing method were published for popular consumption well into the nineteenth century.   According to Kevin Berland, Jan Kirsten Gilliam and Kenneth A. Lockeridge, commonplace books in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries served to "facilitate participation in the common culture" (30).  However, this "common" culture appears to have been limited to an educated, and relatively wealthy or powerful, elite.  As they note, "gentlemen participating in the coffeehouse discourse need to be practiced in the recognized forms of eloquence and thus required access to the original body of reference, which we see represented in commonplace books"  (33). 

[15] By the nineteenth-century, commonplace books had become volumes into which people would copy quotations and commonplaces useful for argumentation and self-education.  While Locke's method of commonplacing remained popular, other authors, declaring Locke's method laborious, published their own blank books.  Dr. John Todd'sIndex Rerum, published in 1835, explains on the title page that it was "intended…to aid the student and the professional man in preparing himself for usefulness."  The emphasis on "man" highlights the way that the commonplace book was gendered masculine through its association with systems of rhetorical education, systems which prepared men for public life.  As Nan Johnson notes in Gender and Rhetorical Space, "at the start of the nineteenth century, the arts of rhetoric were the undisputed province of the male professional classes… white middle-class, young men acquired the rhetorical habits of speech and writing that marked their status as those who would surely make everything happen" (3).  Understood as part of the system of rhetorical education, commonplace books were advocated primarily for these "men who would make everything happen," those who had acknowledged access and privileges in the courts, the legislature, the pulpit, the schoolroom, and the university. 

[16] The association between men and commonplace writing was also reflected in an anonymous article in the American Annals of Education and Instruction published in 1832.  The article lays out a defense of commonplace books, arguing that the practice is "meant only for the hard student, who employs whatever aids he allows to himself, solely to invigorate and expand his mental powers" ("Commonplace Books" 306). The "hard student" who emerges in the article is undeniably male, as represented through the use of pronouns he, himself, and his.  The author further cements the relationship between male scholarship and commonplacing by examining the commonplace practices of a number of famous men, including Locke, Swift, Bacon, and Gibbon.  He goes on to say that "it is quite fair to attribute some measure of their fame to the mode of study which they adopted" (306).  Women appear only once in this essay on commonplacing in a short passage describing an essay on "indolence and intellectual dissipation" by a Mr. Wirt, who advises an unnamed young lady to form a "little book of practical wisdom" (307).  While this one mention shows that the commonplace book was not entirely restricted to men, it also highlights the gendered division between serious male students and the women who were being admonished to correct their supposed "indolence and intellectual dissipation" through practical little volumes and not through larger, more intellectual tomes.

[17] The same connection between commonplacing and men's rhetorical practices remains intact fifty years later in a published lecture on commonplace books by Professor James Butler inBibliotheca Sacra in 1884.  Like the anonymous author in 1832, Butler describes the commonplace book as "useful to every scholar who would make the most of himself."  He connects the commonplace tradition with the rhetorical tradition by referencing ancient theories of commonplaces, specifically citing Cicero (481).  Butler also repeatedly links commonplace books with men's public activities by describing commonplace books "devoted to their profession[s],"and as  "the custom of so many an eminent scholar," all of whom are men.  Again, women are mentioned only briefly.   In what appears to be an aside, he says, "to the ladies I may say they [commonplaces] are the filling for the scholar's scrap-bag" (481).  Here Butler likens the act of commonplacing to the act of sewing and quilting, presumably to make the practice more clear to the female audience members. Perhaps this was an apt choice on his part: both Liz Rohan and Elaine Hedges have noted the connection between nineteenth-century quilting and scrapbooking practices as feminine mnemonic arts.  However, because of the way Butler constructs the masculine activity of commonplacing, his remark serves as a reminder of the separate spheres advocated for men and women.  Men might "scrap" in their intellectual lives, but women clearly are meant to "scrap" only within the confines of their domestic duties.   

The Feminized Scrapbook

[18] One of the frequent complaints about commonplace books is that they required a laborious amount of hand-copying and indexing, which is why Locke, Todd and others published their own systems for indexing to simplify the cataloguing process.  Scrapbooks obviously offered a simple solution to the problem of hand-copying, but it is possible that the ease with which scrapbooks could be made, and their association with trends in self-education (as noted by scrapbook advocates cited above) disconnected the practice from elite systems of schooling, and thus the elite status commonplace books enjoyed.  Perhaps more importantly, while the commonplace book largely remained a valued, masculine genre throughout the nineteenth century, the scrapbook did not receive quite the same reputation as its commonplace cousin.  Instead of automatically being understood as a system of rhetorical training, as commonplacing was, "scrapbook keeping became associated with domesticity and femininity," even though many scrapbooks assembled by men and scrapbooks assembled by women about non-domestic topics can be found in archival collections.  Despite their popularity, scrapbooks were often regarded with either suspicion or downright hostility, especially when connected with women's writing and women's identities.  Even more benign assessments represented the practice as a simple Sunday amusement suitable only for mothers and their children.  Furthermore, scrapbooks were often considered "mere" trifles, characterized as gossipy, self-interested, and poorly organized volumes – the feminine opposite of the masculine commonplace book.  The more scrapbooks became associated with women and children, the less "valuable" the genre seemed to be.

[19] As the epigraph that opens this article demonstrates, scrapbooking drew hostile commentary in magazines and newspaper articles, and that hostility was usually directed at women (even though, as I have pointed out, men did scrapbook also).  The anonymous author of the New York Mirror dislikes women's scrapbooks so much that he labels them "abominations" and criticizes those who would "aid" and "abet" such practices, as one might aid and abet criminal activity.  However, sometimes the criticism of scrapbooks appeared in slightly more humorous ways.  In a March 1888 article in Harper's Weekly, titled "Aunt Priscilla's Scrapbook," author E.J. Corbett lampoons scrapbook makers.  Corbett's piece is a mock first-person narrative in which Priscilla attempts to foist her scrapbook on an unresponsive visitor.  Corbett gives Priscilla a curious dialectical accent, making fun of her speech, perhaps illustrating lack of education:

Yus, that's my scrap-book, and I dew think it's worth lookin' at, tew.  Yo' see, most of the young folks in our town hez photygraph albums or otygraph books (which I thought wuz only a short way o' sayin' photygraph, till I see ‘Mandy Evans's, an' then I found out they wuzn't nothin' but kinder copy-books, with people's names an' specimens of their handwritin' in ‘em)…Waal, seein' all those albums wuz gittin' more and more the fashion, I felt as of I'd like to hev one too, so I jest went up garrett an' hunted out this big blank book o' my father's for myalbum, an' then pasted Scrap-book on the kiver, for I meant to make mine a leetle different from the others, an' I guess you'll say I succeeded when you've looked it through.   (167).

[20] In these lines, Priscilla's speech already marks her as somewhat ridiculous, but her confusion about the difference between a photograph album and an autograph album further reinforces the reader's assessment of her intelligence.  She claims to want to make her scrapbook different from the rest, and perhaps we are meant to believe that she means different from an autograph or photograph album; however, the nineteenth-century reader would have been aware of common scrapbook practices and likely would have seen Priscilla's volume as similar to the many scrapbooks that people may have compiled at the time.  Furthermore, Priscilla rather conventionally pastes the generic descriptor, "Scrap-book" on the cover, indicating that she is not nearly as original as she would have her visitor believe.  Priscilla shows the unnamed visitor her album, paging through the volume and talking about the different pieces she has collected. As Priscilla speaks, it becomes clear that no organizing principle guides her collection and arrangement of scraps.  She keeps pictures of the deacon's wife and another woman who was known for having "presentiments," a piece of her sister's shell comb, a "pretty picture" on a Christmas card that she "never could see no meanin' in," an account of the wedding of her minister's daughter, a blank page for her uncle, who she expects to die any day, and an account of a murder that happened in her home county.  Each scrap prompts a digression: we hear gossip about her sister and the deacon's wife, superstitious stories about the prescient women's misfortunes, and her idle speculations about the imagery on the Christmas card. Even though the visitor never speaks, we can almost feel his impatience with Priscilla.  She tries to get him to read some of the items and is rebuffed: "You don't want to read it?  That's a pity" (167).  Throughout the piece, Corbett represents scrapbooking as the silly hobby of silly women. Lest the reader simply accept scrapbooking as a harmless activity, Corbett makes sure we observe that the volume is foisted on the unsuspecting visitor and that it facilitates Priscilla's tendency to gossip. 

[21] Similarly, Ana Maria Porter makes fun of album makers in a short poem she ironically titles "Tribute to an Album" published inGodey's Lady's Book in 1830. It is important to note that the term "album" seems to be a catchall category describing the many different volumes compiled by women in the nineteenth century, a category which included scrapbooks, as well as autograph and photograph albums.  The opening lines of Porter's poem suggest a horror come to rouse an unsuspecting victim from bed:

The Nightmare came to my silent bed
In the stillest hour of night…
Oh, think of the horrible shape it wore!
It was not a demon grim:
Nor a dragon with scales and tales a score;
Nor a head without a limb.  (64)

Porter rehearses more horrors for two more stanzas before finally revealing at last that the nightmare is her "sister pale, with a gray goose quill,/And an album –sight of sorrow!" (64).  Porter reflects, as Corbett did, the "horror" of being accosted by a woman and her album.  More importantly, scrapbooking harms not only the "pale" scrapbooker, but also her sister who is accosted in her bed in the middle of the night.   Both Corbett's narrative and Porter's poem are meant to be funny, which would seem less hostile than the direct attack on scrapbooks by the New York Mirror.  However, the humor relies on an audience's preconceived negative perceptions.   Both Corbett and Porter rely on the same assumptions about scrapbooking that underlies the New York Mirror's critique.  All three critiques, humorous or not, explicitly represent scrapbooking as a silly and harmful feminine activity.

[22] Responding to the extremely negative preconceptions, enthusiasts often tried to rehabilitate the reputation of scrapbooks by demonstrating the ways scrapbooking could complement women's expected roles and duties.  Articles emphasizing the ways that scrapping was consonant with accepted women's roles of mother and housekeeper were common.  Some scrapping enthusiasts repeatedly connected scrapbooks with children's edification, education and amusement; thus scrapbooking was positioned, not as an abomination, but as an effective child-rearing tool.  In "Among the Scrapbooks" in The Ladies Repository in 1873, Julia Colman investigates the scrapbook practices of a family, talking at length with the mother, Mrs. May, who is the instigator of the scrapbook activity.   After examining the scrapbooks made by Mrs. May and her children, Colman concludes that scrapbooks are an effective tool for forming the mental and moral character of children (92).  Interestingly, although Colman is told that the father also participates in the scrapbook activities, he appears not to be present during the interview, and we hear nothing of his views on the scrapbook activity reinforcing the presumption that scrapbooks were really only meant for women and children.   Furthermore, while scrapbooks are represented as a valuable tool for the children's education, the mother's own education through her scrapbooks seems less clear.  Mrs. May notes at one point that she has made her own album on the "Woman Question" about which she remarks "was there ever another topic about which there have been such confused and conflicting opinions?  We have many a laugh over it" (91).  While Colman and Mrs. May take the scrapping very seriously when it comes to the children's education, an adult book on an increasingly important political issue for women is treated as a joke.  Similarly, an article published in the Mother's Department of Arthur's Home Magazine in 1884 includes scrapbooking along with making blackboards and rag-babies as educational experiences a mother could give her children.  The emphasis the author gives to sewing and dolls as training for "the useful callings" of life, highlights the ways that this particular kind of education, including scrapbook making, was intended primarily for girl children (Burns 313).  Such rehabilitations of scrapbooks reaffirmed women's place in the home, and thus their scrapbooking interests were meant to reflect that position. 

[23] Because the scrapbook was linked with children, and especially girls and young women, the advice on scrapbooking frequently included commentary and instruction on the selection of "appropriate" materials.  An example of this view of scrapping appeared in theLadies' Home Journal in 1891, in which the author praises the "Sunday Scrap-book" as a "source of unlimited pleasure and profit to children who can read and write."  The author then goes on to caution against the inclusion of inappropriate material, such as "comic pictures" which she deems "manifestly unsuitable."  However, images that could be illustrated with bible verses meet her approval as they could aid the child "in finding scripture references, while the verses are unconsciously committed to memory" (16). 

[24] A more pointed critique of the "appropriateness" of scrapbooks appears in a letter to the editor of the Christian Advocate in 1824.  The author's identity is not revealed, although interestingly, the male editor assumes the author to be female perhaps because the genre was already associated with women.  The anonymous author explains that she is writing to the editor about a "growing evil," the proliferation of scrapbooks, which she describes as "literary gossiping" and "trifling" ("Letter to the Editor" 405). She links scrapbooking exclusively with women by saying that the kind of literary gossiping to be found in scrapbooks is "almost universal with our educated females" (405).  Even more importantly, the author reflects the growing concern about women's identities, especially as represented in texts for public consumption.  She argues that "although the literary and moral character" of the scrapbooker is "not always to be correctly ascertained by the pieces" which fill her album, "yet it were well is she would recollect, that it is in some measure implicated by them" (405).  Clearly the author's concern is that scrapbooks permitted women to step outside of the cultural prescription for women to avoid licentiousness and impiety and to literally assemble new cultural roles that threatened to upset the "natural" gendered order.  She writes to beseech the editor of the Christian Advocate to publish articles on appropriate methods of scrapbooking, thereby hoping to contain the threat scrapbooks posed to nineteenth-century society.  The editor agrees, and further suggests that "impiety, impurity, and stupidity should be carefully and resolutely excluded from the pages of an Album; because the possessor's character will be, in a measure, estimated by the contents of her book" (405).  He further suggests that parents ought to supervise and control scrapbook production, particularly those made by girls.  He emphasizes the youth of scrapbook makers even though archival evidence reveals that many adult women (and men) constructed scrapbooks.  The editor's advice undercuts the ways that women could, and did, use scrapbooking to comment on the social roles for women, as well as to fashion new ones. 

[25] The scrapbook, because of its association with women, also began to be perceived as a reflection of domesticity and much of the advice on how to make scrapbooks repeatedly emphasized their use in the home.  In "The Kitchen Scrapbook," Minnie Barney tells the story of two young housewives who trade advice on housekeeping.  Ella, the scrapbooking enthusiast, shows "young" Mrs. Martin her kitchen scrapbook, in which she keeps articles and tips on housekeeping, including advice on how to polish tables, clean carved ivory, and how to treat burns on the fingertips (by sticking the burnt finger in one's ear).  The way the scrapbook's use is endorsed is clearly meant to define woman's appropriate sphere of activity.  Ella notes that one of the clippings gave her advice on how to find a new use for her "palette knife, which hadn't been out of her sketch box since [she] painted those ridiculous panels before [she] was married" (360). Significantly, the new use to which she puts her palette knife is scraping dried food bits from the sides of bowls.  The way Barney trivializes activities that are not related to housekeeping and glorifies washing the dishes makes it abundantly clear what a woman's interests should be, and as a result, what interests should be reflected in her scrapbooks. 

[26] It is likely that the negative gendered perception of scrapbooks contributed to the use of the term "scrapbook" as an insult in literary or scholarly reviews throughout the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.   While not specifically about women authors, such literary insults often repeated the gendered constructions of scrapbooking present in the nineteenth century.  Comparing a literary or historical work with a scrapbook often implied poor methods or organization.  For example, an editorial published in Appleton's Journal: A Magazine of General Literature in 1873, announced that "the arrangement of Mr. Hudson's work [Journalism in the United States] is somewhat confused, with a marked air of the scrapbook" ("Literary Notes" 156).  Similarly, Charles Haskins, in a review published in A Semi-Monthly Journal of Literary Criticism in 1901, criticizes a historical text written by W. Carew Hazlitt by comparing it with a scrapbook.  He calls Hazlitt's book "a gossipy compendium" and says the work is characterized by "easy and haphazard use of chroniclers [and] the same lack of critical discernment."  He concludes by saying that the material is "loose and ill digested" and most importantly that "these chapters evidently represent the result of years of note taking, but the mark of the scrapbook is still fresh upon them" (370).  The use of the word "gossipy" reinforces the connections between women, gossip, and scrapbooking.  Haskins also sees scrapbooks as unsuitable to scholarly pursuits since sources remain unnamed and the presumably well-ordered scholarly argument is seemingly displaced by disorder and lack of thought. 

[27] Through critical reviews, the term scrapbook becomes associated with poor rhetoric; because the term scrapbook was so highly gendered, critics came to equate scrapbooks and poor rhetoric with women.  An example appears in an anonymous book review published in 1917 in the same journal, in which the author uses the term "scrapbook" to disparage the book Heart to Heart by William Jennings Bryan. 

"A Speech," says, Mr. Bryan, "may be disputed, even a sermon may not convince." I do not doubt that he speaks out of a wide and varied experience, and I hope that he will not be too much disappointed if opinion finds these heart-to-heart appeals of his a scrapbook of unconvincing sermons and disputable speeches. "Twin Prophets of Platitude and Paradox" (445)

The precise meaning of "scrapbook" used in this particular passage goes unexplained, presumably because the audience would have already understood the reference.  From context, it seems that the term scrapbook implies a poor method of organization, as well as the lack of an (convincing) argument.  Furthermore, the emphasis on the emotional nature of the volume, which communicates "heart to heart," that is, by emotion rather than by reason, also calls to mind the binary constructions of "natural" characteristics of men and women. 

[28] Two years later in the same journal, the term "scrapbook" is used yet again to disparage the work of an author, although, in this case a female author.  Another set of connotations of the term "scrapbook" emerge in the anonymous author's critique of two books about World War I,  both authored by women.  The critique proceeds by comparison; Mrs. Humphrey's Fields of Victory, which is described as "clear-visioned, scholarly, and concise" is measured against Miss Corelli's My "Little Bit, " which the author clearly finds wanting ("Review of Fields of Victory and My ‘Little Bit'" 384). The author begins by saying that the great number of books written by non-combatants falls into two types; the first could be called "The War and the World," and the second, "The War and I."  The author proceeds to explain why Mrs. Ward's book is to be acclaimed and Miss Corelli's is not.  Mrs. Ward cites information "gleaned from sources of high command…weigh[s] the comparative value of …strategic move[s]"; she speaks with generals and meets president Wilson (384).  By contrast, Miss Corelli "edd[ies] about in little gusts of controversy…lash[es] herself into sarcastic fury…regarding food restrictions and hoarding" and when accused of sugar hoarding, "writes saucy parodies ‘cordially inscribed' to Sir Thomas Lipton, ‘the prince o' pickles and o' jam" (384).  The author's final pronouncement on Miss Corelli's work is that her "contribution is merely a scrapbook – possibly in more than one sense of the word.  It became a book by the grace of the clipping bureau" (384).  This last jab at Miss Corelli's book indicates that not only does he see her contribution as too self-involved, that is, that she tells the story of "The War and I," but that he also clearly sees that as a fault related to scrapbooks as well. 

[29] It is also important to note that the critic's evaluation of Corelli's work illustrates the ways that women were chastised when they were perceived as being unwomanly.  His pointed remarks about her sauciness and her overly "emotional" response to food hoarding imply a critique of un-ladylike behavior.  The fact that he links her unladylike qualities to scrapbooking testifies to the amount of anxiety many people had about women's literacy practices.  His critique also highlights the ways certain qualities that were perceived negatively became associated with "feminine" writing and with the feminine genre of scrapbooking.  For the critic, being too personal or emotional, or insisting on a woman's experiences as valuable evidence, was simply "poor" writing. 

[30] Even well into the twentieth century, when modernist aesthetics had opened up form to a great deal of experimentation, the scrapbook was clearly still held in low regard in literary circles.  In a review published in A Review of Books and Life in 1930, one critic notes that while "this book [John Dos Passos' 42nd Parallel] is experimental in form" it is "arranged like a scrapbook with no apparent order" (210).  Even though the author generally approves of experimental forms in other novels, like Manhattan Transfer, he finds that 42nd Parallellacks unity and coherence and declares that its "total effect is disappointment" (210).  Reviews of this type suggest that there existed common perceptions about scrapbooks that reviewers could draw on to evaluate other works.  The lack of explanation of these remarks suggests the dominance of this view, or at least, the assumed dominance of this view on the part of critics.  They feel no need to explain their bleak assessment of scrapbooking practices. 

Gendered Genres in the Nineteenth Century

[31] As other scholars have explained, the gendering of various genres in the nineteenth century was fairly common.  In a period when women claimed access to the pen and stage in unprecedented numbers, agitated for educational and political access, and participated in reform organizations and literary clubs, it was common for genres to pick up gendered distinctions that castigated women for their rhetorical performances and restricted their rhetorical productions to the domestic sphere.  As well, the connections between scrapbooks and home instruction and other women's crafts, such as decoupage or quilting, probably didn't help matters much either.  As Nan Johnson argues, "the American woman was reinstructed as to her proper sphere of influence at every opportunity in the postbellum press and in a variety of culturally significant discourses that shaped public opinion" (20).  Johnson examines a range of nineteenth-century rhetorical instruction manuals for home use, designed to teach speaking or letter writing, and shows how they prescribed a "serious rhetorical role for men and a sentimental or frivolous one for women" (38).  Likewise, Cinthia Gannett's Gender and the Journal: Diaries and Academic Discourse shows a similar gendering of genres in this same period; journals are considered more masculine, and thus more important or serious, than diaries which are coded feminine, regardless of the lack of actual distinctions between the two forms or the practices of actual diarists.  As Gannett notes, "not only does our culture teach children to prefer different styles and registers on the basis of their gender, it also labels women's ways of speaking-whether actual or stereotypical – as restricted, inferior, and inappropriate for public use" (68).  Gannett's distinction between actual or stereotypical women's production is especially important to remember when examining the history of scrapbooking practices, because the actual practice of users is not necessarily consistent with the gendered stereotype of scrapbooking that emerges from the nineteenth century and survives into the present.

[32] Clearly, throughout the nineteenth century, as the opening description of scrapbooks indicates, some proponents saw scrapbooks as useful, organized, and gender neutral.  In other words, cultural prescriptions didn't necessarily keep people from using genres for their own ends.   For example, as I have argued elsewhere, women in clubs and reform organizations appropriated the scrapbook genre to keep records of their activities, in ways that violated gendered norms for women and for scrapbooks (see "Material Histories"). However, what is most important to keep in mind about cultural prescriptions like these is that they have enormous power to dictate how the culture at large may value particular texts, whether particular albums will be saved,  how they will be treated in an archive, or whether they will be considered worthy of study by future scholars. 

[33] Take, for example, the scrapbooking activities of Mark Twain.  One would think that a paragon of American Literature would have some effect on the reputation of scrapbooking, given that he was scrapbooking at the end of the nineteenth century, when hostile gendered assessments were in full swing.  However, that does not seem to be the case; Mark Twain isn't really remembered for his scrapbooks, either his patented blank volume or his own collections of materials.  Even in his own time, reviewers' responses echo the negative perception of other scrapbook critics of the era. One unnamed reviewer for Harper's Monthly, while trying to be complimentary, reflected the association between scrapbooks and childish pursuits in an 1877 review.  He begins by complimenting the practicality of Twain's Pre-pasted Scrapbook, noting that it would "save sticky fingers and ruffled pictures or scraps" (qtd. in Budd 172).   However, his final assessment of the self-pasting scrapbook ends with this statement: "It is a capital invention, especially for children, to whom the ordinary scrap-book is a never-ending source of delight" (172).  Even though Twain himself was not aiming the scrapbook towards children, or even women for that matter, the reviewer's own sense of the value of the scrapbook becomes amply clear in his assessment.  Other reviewers simply regarded Twain's self-pasting scrapbook as a joke.  An anonymous writer in theWestminster Review in 1879 says simply, "Mark Twain's latest joke is a scrap-book of his own invention, gummed, ready for use.  A very good joke it is." (qtd. in Budd 172).  Robert Underwood Johnson, in an 1877 review in Scribner's Monthly, goes one step farther, and responds with his own tongue-in-cheek review that pretends that the scrapbook is a real book.  He says ironically that the book "has none of the discursiveness" of Clemens' other work (because it is blank, of course).  Most of the review is critical of Twain's career, by saying things like "the experiences of the author, his trials, his failures, and his final successes are patent on every page," implying of course, that he has no experiences, trials, failures or successes to report (qtd. in Budd 171).

[34] Reviewers in his own time didn't take the self-pasting scrapbook seriously, and similarly, today's scholars have little to say about Twain's scrapbooking practices. For example, an MLA search for Mark Twain and Scrapbook comes up with 0 results.  If the scrapbook is mentioned at all, it generally is as a quick side note.  The fact that he patented and made $50,000 from the Self-Pasting Scrapbook patent is generally presented as a minor curiosity. The other context in which his scrapbooks are mentioned is in bibliographic or archival notes, basically noting that a scholar found some letter or other clipping in a particular scrapbook.  In his autobiography published just this year, the editors don't even mention his scrapbooking habits when they consider the organization and some of the title choices he made in sections of his autobiography: "Clemens's use of the terms "Scraps" and "Extracts" (as well as "Random") in 1897–98 suggests that he was looking for a way to label "chapters" which, while not themselves strictly chronological, might still have been parts of some coherent narrative sequence" (Smith 17). 

Gender and Recent Scholarship on Scrapbooks

[35] Thus, the cultural notions about scrapbooking practices are important to understand the relatively low status assigned to the genre, particularly since our ideas about scrapbooking descend directly from the nineteenth century, which affects modern scholarship.  For example, the scholarly debate over Thomas Jefferson's scrapbooks, "discovered" in the Alderman Library by history professor Robert McDonald while working on his dissertation in 1988, illustrates how gendered perceptions affect which texts get studied and how.  In Thomas Jefferson's Scrapbooks: Poems of Nation, Family, and Romantic Love, Jonathan Gross describes his first encounter with Jefferson's literary scrapbooks, created between 1801-1809 (during both terms of Jefferson's presidency): 

I began copying portions of the manuscript. As the copier whirred and sent off light in all directions, I wondered if these books might not contain another side to Thomas Jefferson: an admirer of women writers, perhaps? A fan of abolitionist verse? A closet Anglophile?

Anxiety soon followed exhilaration. What if Jefferson had nothing to do with these books? I pictured a small girl of 8 or 9, cutting out poems from the newspaper and gluing them on scrap paper. Her mother ambled to her side and helped her paste a poem in her scrapbook. Perhaps the little girl was Ellen Coolidge, Jefferson's most literary granddaughter…Try as I would, however, I could not picture the author of "The Declaration of Independence" with scissors and paste, gluing poems about owls and parrots on the back of his own correspondence. (Gross 1-2)

While Gross eventually accepts that the scrapbook was indeed made by Jefferson, it is important to note that his initial reluctance was based on the same gendered conceptions of scrapbooking that were prevalent in the nineteenth century.  Gross can more easily imagine women and children scrapbooking than he can a great statesman like Thomas Jefferson.  Gross observes in a footnote that the scrapbooks had been previously attributed to female members of Jefferson's family and that "writers who have treated Jefferson's literary interests have studiously avoided this collection" (539).

[36] As a historical note, Jefferson appears to have been an enthusiastic compiler of albums of many types.  His legal and literary commonplace books are housed in the Library of Congress, along with a number of other "miscellaneous and bound volumes of notes and extracts" according to the LOC's catalogue.  Jefferson also made a scrapbook bible by cutting desired passages out of different bibles and compiling his own version in a single volume.  According to another Jefferson scholar, Douglas Wilson, editions of Jefferson's literary and legal commonplace books were published in 1928 and 1926 and have subsequently been republished with more scholarly emendations. So while Jefferson's commonplace books received attention throughout the last century, Jefferson's scrapbooks became the object of study only recently, and according to Gross's footnotes, under protest from other Jefferson scholars.  This suggests that scholars accepted and valued Jefferson's commonplace books because they were associated with manly civic pursuits, and his scrapbooks were ignored because of their association with women, children, and domestic pursuits.  This is in spite of the fact that we are not exactly clear what distinction Jefferson himself may have drawn between these two types of volumes.  While some of Jefferson's commonplace books are labeled as such, Jonathan Gross' description of the physical volumes of the literary scrapbooks reveals that the word "scrapbook" does not appear on the cover, and given his other commonplace volumes, it seems a natural extension for Jefferson to start clipping items rather than hand-copy. It's possible that he made no generic distinction between them at all. For example, Gross cites a number of letters between Jefferson and his granddaughters where they refer to the scrapbooks as simply "books," "volumes," or "volumes of poetry" (499-501). 

[37] History, however, is not the only field to reject or devalue scrapbooks as objects of study based on gendered assumptions.  The aesthetic dimensions, layout, design, imagery, and collage techniques of scrapbooks would seem to belong, at least partially, to the province of art, yet histories of collage from the discipline of art history tends to take one of two views of collaging practices in the nineteenth-century, to ignore it completely, or to reduce the significance of popular collage to "craft" rather than art.

[38] In her introduction to Collage: Critical Views, Katherine Hoffman refers once obliquely to a "folk tradition" of collage, but for the rest of the article contributes the development of collage techniques to twentieth-century male artists: "[t]he first experiments in collage as a legitimate art form may be seen in the works of Picasso, Braque, and other cubists such as Juan Gris" (6).    Presumably, the folk tradition she mentions constitutes an "illegitimate" art form.  In History of Collage: an Anthology of Collage, Assemblage and Event Structures, Eddie Wolfram takes a more inclusive approach to a history of collage, connecting modernist practices with traditions of cutting and pasting from a thousand years ago to the present in places as diverse as Japan, Persia, Byzantium, Europe and America.   He mentions a number of nineteenth-century home crafts using collage including pictures, memory chests, and decoupage screens.  But like Hoffman, he largely attributes the "legitimate" origins to modernism when "collage began to be a significant means of expression," obscuring the many nineteenth century women and men who found scrapbooking to be a valuable and significant means of expressing themselves (14).           

[39] Paralleling the feminist critique of the history of rhetoric, Miriam Schapiro questions the validity of a history of art constructed by and about male artists that had obscured women artists and their art.  Critiquing William Seitz's construction of collage as the "quondam delight of school girl and housewife" Schapiro argues, "[i]t is in fact the "schoolgirl" and the "housewife" we must look at more carefully to understand the aesthetics of our ancestors and their processes" (297).  Likewise, Gayle Davis notes, "[t]he mainstream has often associated women with craft, or applied, decorative, or folk art, using those labels pejoratively to signal art—by either gender—that it sees as technically and aesthetically inferior" (54).  Views like Schaprio's and Davis's encourage artists and art historians to take a wider view of artistic technique.  Jessica Helfland, in her article, "What We Saved: Pictures and Ephemera in the Twentieth Century Scrapbook" appears to answer this call by investigating three early twentieth-century women's scrapbooks which she characterizes as "a fascinating study in pictorial assemblage" (43).  However, as much as Helfland wants to recognize the importance of scrapbooking practices, she still characterizes scrapbooks as "amateur," a "craft phenomenon," and "outsider art," demonstrating the power that a gendered perception of scrapbooking has to determine what objects get studied, how they are classified, and how their meaning and worth are interpreted (40, 44, 45).

[40] These gendered perceptions also affect modern scholarship in rhetoric, shaping what it is possible to perceive and study as a worthwhile rhetorical practice and the possible frames of interpretation that can be applied to objects of study.  For example, although Earle Havens professes in his study of commonplace books that "scholars have generally recognized, and thereby considered privileged, one type of commonplace book…those most clearly based upon classical Greek and Roman theories of the commonplaces,"  he reaffirms the same system when he distinguishes between commonplace books that are "rigidly organized in the best tradition of the ancients" and the commonplace books that are "loosely gathered scraps of everything and anything" that are "undisciplined and disorganized" (9).  While it is admirable that Havens wants to rehabilitate and bring into focus these "other" commonplace books, it is significant that he creates a dichotomy between "traditional" organized books, and the non-traditional, "disorganized" books, rather than articulating the potential differences in organizing principles that may govern books of a range of types.  Also note that Havens resorts to the language of scrapbook critics, reaffirming the connection between scrapping and unruliness.  Further strengthening that connection, Havens goes on to list the "other" names such disorderly books have gone by over the centuries, including, of course, scrapbooks.  Furthermore, in the latter half of the book, where Havens begins to take up manuscript commonplace books (as opposed to printed and published books), he describes a nineteenth-century book which "at first glance…might be described as a "scrapbook," as it contains scraps of printed matter, in addition to manuscript writing" (90).  However, Havens goes on to say that it was clearly organized in the familiar manner of a commonplace book, with headings given to each entry, followed by assorted text-extracts, anecdotes, and original observations" (90).  For Havens, at least, the feature that distinguishes a commonplace book from a scrapbook, is not, as one might expect, the presence of pasted scraps; rather, it is the adherence to a particular "traditional" form of organization that distinguishes the two genres. 

[41] It is also significant that Havens rarely talks about commonplace books, albums, or scrapbooks prepared by women.  In fact, in his history spanning several thousand years, Havens only mentions two albums prepared by women, both in the nineteenth century.  Interestingly, both albums contain "scraps," yet again Havens reads them as commonplace books, rehabilitating them for his own study, but again connecting scrappiness and unruliness.  In fact, although Havens at some points sees scrapbooks as a subset of the commonplace tradition, he declines to study anything he actually calls a scrapbook, even despite his insistence that "manuscript commonplace books were not generically distinguished from albums or scrapbooks in the nineteenth century" (93).  

[42] Even more recent studies of scrapbooking, though valuable in many ways, replicate some of the negative perceptions of scrapbooks. With a few exceptions, scrapbooks are generally characterized as private, individual, and idiosyncratic documents.  In the introduction to The Scrapbook in American Life, Tucker, Ott and Buckler argue that, "most often, scrapbooks are created and kept in private, for a limited few to see.  They are idiosyncratic making them impossible to pick up and read as one would a published book. The meaning found in any particular scrapbook depends on the nimble skill of the reader" (12).   They argue that one of the difficulties of scrapbooks is that as "private" documents, meant to impart meaning and self- reflection for the author, the books become harder to read for outside audiences.  However, one could argue that reading anytext relies on the nimble skills of a reader; reading a scrapbook, just like reading a literary text, relies on a reader's understanding of the context and generic conventions, conventions with which scrapbookers would have been familiar.  Such assessments echo scrapbook critics who saw women's scrapbooks as narcissistic or disorganized, rendering such books "unreadable."  In their study of "An Antebellum Woman's Scrapbook as Autobiographical Composition," Buckler and Leeper argue that "like diaries and journals, the scrapbook is a ‘text written day by day' with no evident statement of purpose, objective, audience, or conclusion" adding that scrapbooks represent an effort to "define and understand self" (2).  Given that many scrapbookers saw their work as purposeful and audienced, such assessments seem to rely more on inherited conceptions of scrapbooking than on actual practices described by nineteenth-century advocates.  Similarly, other researchers describe scrapbooks as "mysterious" albums, made with "as little rational intention as possible," thus repeating the same gendered dichotomy between reason and emotion articulated by turn-of-the-century critics.   (Helfland 45). 

[43] Even studies that attempt to revise our understandings of scrapbook practices generally end up reinscribing gendered dichotomies.  For example, as Katriell and Farrell point out in their study of contemporary albums, the scrapbook is "a mode of life-review [that] is fundamentally rhetorical and performative in character" (2). Contrary to negative views of the scrapbook's "loose" or non-existent organization, they emphasize the logic and order that dictates the construction of a scrapbook and also explains its readability by general audiences.  However, Katriell and Farrell also note that "gender is a relevant cultural consideration for scrapbook practice" but decline to offer an explanation of this relevance except to say that it probably has something to do with "the traditional feminine role-assignation as custodian of matters private and familial" (3).  Their assumption that scrapbooks are only about such matters is a marker for just how much of the nineteenth-century attitude about women's writing we have inherited. 

[44] A similar gendered assumption appears in Katherine Ott's analysis of nineteenth-century male doctors' scrapbooks.   In "Between Person and Profession: The Scrapbooks of Nineteenth-Century Medical Practitioners" Ott argues that

[o]ne of the most common misconceptions about scrapbook keeping is that it is now and always has been an activity dominated by girls and women.  The contemporary stereotype of feminine scrapbook keepers leaves out the countless boys and men who have kept multidimensional laboratory books, ship and travel logs, science notebooks, newspaper clipping books about business, and even conventional scrapbooks…Men's books are overlooked because they are often an adjunct to paid and professional work rather than a private, domestic activity. (29)

While Ott wishes to alter our perceptions, she reinforces that the "conventional" scrapbook is necessarily feminine, domestic, and private.  Furthermore, she ignores the emergence in the nineteenth century of professional women and women who were actively involved in public life and politics through organizations devoted to educational reform, suffrage, temperance, and historical preservation and who made scrapbooks documenting their work.

[45] In fact, women's organizations seem to have been prolific scrapbook keepers and examples can be found in nearly any historical preservation archive.  The Library of Congress has an excellent collection of suffrage scrapbooks, including some kept by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, as well as other prominent suffrage workers.  Professional women also kept scrapbooks.  For example, Ella P. Stewart, one of the first African American women to be a certified pharmacist in the United States, constructed scrapbooks throughout her life, examples of which can be found in the Bowling Green State University Center for Archival Collections.  Women's professional organizations also collected scrapbooks, such as the Professional Women's League, whose scrapbooks are in the Iowa Women's Archives, or the Women's National Press Association, whose scrapbooks are housed in the archives of the General Federation of Women's Clubs.  Though much of the advice given to women about scrapbooking attempts to define women's sphere as domesticity, the ways women used scrapbooks weren't necessarily contained by that advice.  Perhaps more importantly, when we as scholars sift through the archives, we need to be careful not to let gendered assumptions cloud our vision.  When we assume that scrapbooks are idiosyncratic or private, we lose the ability to make observations about generic conventions and audience.  When we assume that scrapbooks are only about familial histories or traditional feminine activities, we run the risk of overlooking or misinterpreting the range of scrapbooks in archives.  Such assumptions can have enormous consequences for our understanding of both women's history and the history of rhetorical practices.

[46] These assumptions can also have consequences for our understanding of the "current" scrapbook phenomenon, which is largely perceived by the public through the commercial marketing of scrapbooking materials, which does seem to largely target white middle-class women and encourage narratives about familial topics.  However, the "current" trend is a trend in marketing and sales.  Measuring everyday rhetorical practices by the way marketers prescribe their use is perhaps a mistake. After all, people can and do choose to use such materials in their own ways, for their own purposes.  Of course, scrapbookers can always use found materials, as nineteenth-century advocates suggested they might, choosing to ignore the commercial industry entirely.  Given the scrapbook's gendered past, people may simply be scrapbooking under different names (memory books, notebooks, artists' journals, etc.). Even the belief that the scrapbook phenomenon is "new," or a rehabilitation of a quaint nineteenth-century women's craft is evidence that we have bought too much into the negative representation of scrapbooks perpetuated by the genre's critics.

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