Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Chester Thorpe's Scrapbook

A few years ago I found a scrapbook kept by one Chester Thorpe of Lexington, Mass. covering the years 1925-1927.

The pages were brown and brittle, but the items he pasted in were in great shape--greeting cards, movie and theatre programs, his drivers license, beer labels from a car trip Canada and numerous bridge tallies. He and his wife Carrie were mad for bridge--there was a general craze for the game in that era.

When I researched my recent article about scrapbooks, and especially after reading Jessica Helfand's book about the American scrapbook, I realized that dissembling the scrapbook was probably not the best thing to do, even if the pages were in terrible shape. I had scrambled Chester Thorpe's narrative, a story and chronology that was his alone. Still, I'm glad I have so much of what he wanted to hang on to, a great window onto an era that has always fascinated.

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