Scrapbooking has become such a popular craft and has spawned a monster supplies/accessories department at the craft store, hasn't it? Although I'm "old school" when it comes to preserving photos, I applaud anyone who has the patience to carefully compile and showcase their special photos with creative add-ons. Anytime we create things, it gives us a sense of pride and accomplishment, doesn't it?
Scrapbooking supplies might seem cutting edge, but scrapbooking isn't a new craft. Today I'd like to show you the beautiful compilations that our predecessors made way back in the mid to late 1800's, the era that fit snugly into the "Victorian-Era".
If you search antique stores and estate sales, you will come across "Scrap" albums sooner or later. I have four in my personal collection, out of which I obtain images for craft projects. Here is the first beautifully embossed scrap book I'd like to share with you:
The cover has all the necessary Victorian bells and whistles in terms of its decoration. A typical scrap album cover might have fancy lettering, be heavily embellished with classical or natural themes, and have a colorful image as a focal point:
The cover is beautiful on its own, but when opened the rich colors of the "scraps" are absolutely stunning:
The scrapbooker that created this book kept sections of the book devoted to various topics, like children, pets, flowers, and fruit.
Scrapbook-making was a huge fad that began around the 1840's.
Chromolithography, sometimes called "stone lithography", was the method used to create such colorful art for framing, postcards, calling cards, and "trade cards", which were little bits of advertising given away by various companies with their products.
Another scrapbook I acquired has a lovely cover with embossed silver accents and images of children:
But the inside of the book has mostly black and white images of royal families:
People of the time saved "scraps" and created lovely scrapbooks as a hobby. Remember, this was popular in the mid to late 1800's, so there was no radio, TV, or record players to entertain people. One could leaf through a scrapbook for visual stimulation.
Compiling beautiful scrapbooks was a way of showing friends and relatives that you were interested in curious images from around the world, people from other countries and beautiful flora and fauna.
Initially, the colorful images had to be carefully cut from periodicals such as the Illustrated London News and pasted into books. As the fad grew, printing companies began manufacturing "scrap", heavily embossed, die-cut images that wouldn't require any tedious cutting and were ready to paste into a scrapbook, like this sheet of witch scrap (below).
The pages of this scrap album below are brittle and dog-eared:
But there's all sorts of beauty inside:
My fourth scrap album with a stunning cranberry colored cover:
A nice image of Santa is included in the album. Whenever you have an image of Santa that's dressed in a color other than red, it's more valuable because it's less common than the red-dressed Santa. I love the little jester doll sitting at Santa's feet:
A whole page of Victorian-era homes:
During the 1880's, American author Mark Twain had become such an avid scrapbooker himself that he developed two self-adhesive scrapbooks and acquired patents for them. By 1885, he had marketed and sold over $50,000 worth of his scrapbooks, compared to $200,000 for all of his literary works combined.
I've noticed the old scrapbooks kept family photos out of the picture, no pun intended. Family photos were kept in a photo album, and "scraps" were kept in a scrap book. Nowadays we combine the two into an interesting mix. If Mark Twain could see how his hobby has changed, he'd be rolling over in his grave! Or maybe he'd be glad we're still cherishing bits and pieces of pretty things and saving them. What do you think?