Traditional Scrapbooks in Archives

No matter what pains be taken in making up the book, if the selections themselves are not good the book is worthless.

– E. W. Gurley, Scrap-Books and How to Make Them (1880)

As discussed throughout this section of the exhibit, many people made traditional scrapbooks, and for a diverse range of purposes. While Gurley may have been quick to judge the value of certain selections of scraps, every scrapbook maker and reader would likely judge differently.

According to Garvey, the practice of scrapbooking is akin to the practice of personal archiving; by making scrapbooks, people "demonstrated a desire to save fleeting bits of information that would otherwise be lost. They created their own archives" (Writing with Scissors 22). Ironically, scrapbooks have not always been valued or acquisitioned by archival institutions. Historically, many were judged as books of "worthless" scraps.1

Thankfully, while many scrapbooks have been lost, others have now found their way to archival repositories. To see three examples of traditional scrapbooks held at the University of Victoria Libraries Special Collections and University Archives, click the following links:

Or, you can continue to the next section of the exhibit:


  1. Garvey, Writing with Scissors 210 and Gurley 16

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