Why Scrapbooking?

Scrapbooking has experienced a major resurgence in popularity since the 1970's. One of the reasons for this renewed interest is that present generations are highly invested in awareness of their genealogical history and origins. In an effort to preserve recent memories for future generations, many people are turning to scrapbooking. All in all, this is a great way to preserve personal history as even Thomas Jefferson and Mark Twain did, for themselves.

There are a multitude of ways to generate scrapbooks these days. You can be a traditionalist and develop intricately designed and meticulously compiled physical scrapbooks. Or, you may opt for the digital method, preserving your memories in virtual form on websites, through social media, in collages or on-screen flip books.

Regardless of your method, scrapbooking is a great way of chronicling the past. It is even a wonderful means of planning for the future. Forget any fear of doing things wrong as you set out on the scrapbooking journey, as there is no wrong method and the only limitations are the bounds of your own creativity.

History of Scrapbooking

Although some historians refer to works of Aristotle and Cicero as parallel to scrapbooking, the first true reference to the hobby was in the late 1600s. Aristotle and Cicero's earlier activities were general compilations much as anyone develops textbooks, study materials and other works of educational reference and teaching.

Earliest Scrapbooks
It was during the Renaissance when scholars and others started a sort of journaling, wherein they drafted notes and collected thoughts into blank books for later reference. Those personally designed anthologies often included favored poems and passages one would want to reflect upon in the future. Much like later photographs, the written passages marked moments in time one would want to remember and these works were often collections of pieces which touched the collector.

In the sixteenth century, an Italian author named Giorgio Vasari started saving prints and drawings in albums. Through his recommendation of doing so, the beginnings of museums and libraries were influenced.

A philosopher of the late 17th and early 18th centuries named John Locke called such compilations "commonplace books." He was the first to write a guide for what is now known as scrapbooking, in 1706. That book, "New Method of Making Common-place Books," was the first known effort toward creation of a hobbyist approach to bound books of memories and highly regarded passages and prints. In that book, Locke specified how exactly one should preserve proverbs, quotes, ideas, speeches and other materials as journals.

William Granger, an English historian, published his history of England with drawn illustrations of his writing in a separate section. That work was published in 1769. Later, he thought it practical to provide blank pages in his history books where the reader could create their own illustrations or preserve related materials. This was known as "grangerizing" and was popular into the 1800s.

Always an innovator, Thomas Jefferson started saving newspaper clippings from his Presidency. He placed the clippings into a series of albums for later use in reflection upon that period in history. Others of the same era collected notes, clippings, drawings and handwritten entries into hand bound albums. The creators also used wallpaper over cardboard as lovely handcrafted covers. Sometimes the more wealthy would utilize old books as scrapbooks, simply applying memorabilia directly onto printed pages.

In the early 1800s, the art of scrapbooking started becoming feminized. Ladies would spend free time collecting thoughts and materials into friendship albums. These albums were passed from friend to friend. They became a way of politely sharing innermost thoughts, dreams, quotes and favored poetry. Even locks of hair woven with flowers and ribbons started to appear in these books. This was, perhaps, the very beginnings of the tradition of keeping a baby's first haircut remnants in modern baby books. These friendship books had elaborate covers, beautifully engraved clasps and locks.

Because Utah is largely a Mormon population, that state has played a large role in the redevelopment of scrapbooking and its retail growth. Mormon families are required by their church to document their family histories. As a pairing with the largely Mormon-owned genealogical research websites on which many people worldwide conduct family history and tree documentation, scrapbooking became another way to keep that family history alive and close at hand.

With the invention of the Internet and its provision of endless portals of information and imagery, scrapbooking has become more creative and popular than ever before. The web provides connection between hobbyists and allows plenty of opportunity for sharing of resources, ideas and examples. Now, digital scrapbooking is adding to the popularity of collection of mementoes, as those mementoes can be photographed or scanned into virtual digital form, requiring no physical space for collection. The Internet also provides a multitude of ways to be visually creative which have never been possible, before.