A commonplace book, circa mid-1600s.
Photo via Beinecke Flickr Laboratory
This special request comes from Bev Duell-Moore. =) And hilariously, as soon she asked me to feature it, I did a quick search…which came in mighty handy just a few days later, when I needed a scrapbook in the historical line of my current story! So thanks, Bev. LOL
There isn’t a whole lot of description on this word’s history. It’s quite simply scrap + book.  But you might not realize how old this concept is! Originally written with a hyphen, scrap-book (as a noun) dates all the way back to the 1820s. But even then, it was just a new word for a very old concept.
As early as the 1400s, people were making scrapbooks…and calling them commonplace books. These were books where they compiled recipes, quotations, letters, patterns, poems…any little thing they wanted to keep in a safe place for easy reference.
Vintage scrapbook (late 19th century) currently in
The Women’s Museum in Dallas, TX – photo via Wikipedia
As the years wore on, this idea went in new directions. People would create scrapbooks to memorialize certain periods of their life, especially college. It became a popular alternative to journaling, because it included more than words, even in the age before photographs became easy to acquire and include.
So when did scrapbooking move from this centuries-old hobby to what it is today? That move is credited to Marielen Wadley Christensen who, in the 1980s, began creating family albums that were very stylized and put in protective sheets of plastic. In 1981 she published a how-to book on doing this, and the modern scrapbook was born. Today, of course, you can go into any craft or art store and find gorgeous supplies for this purpose.
Student’s scrapbook, circa 1906, from Smith College.
Photo via Wikipedia
Do you do much/any scrapbooking? I’ve never been bitten by that particular bug, but I do appreciate looking at the beautiful books my sister has created!
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