Thursday, November 20, 2008

Scrapbooks: An American History

Jessica Helfand has written an excellent and richly illustrated history of scrapbooks in America. She delves into the scrapbooks of ordinary people and the well known (such as Zelda Fitzgerald, playwright Lillian Hellman, and poet Anne Sexton).

For anyone who loves to pore over old scrapbooks (when we're lucky enough to find them on eBay or at flea markets), the book is a treat. Helfand's analysis is never obscure or academic; it's like going page by page with a highly intelligent guide who anticipates our questions and raises others we hadn't even thought to ask. Her background is in design, and she also takes sheer pleasure in the beauty and arrangement of the page.

In addition, Helfand created The Daily Scrapbook, a web site featuring images from her scrapbook collection,

You'll also find a link there to Lydia Blanchard's scrapbook (
and many other interesting links.

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