Scrapbooking History: How It All Began!

Scrapbooking History

Have you ever wondered about scrapbooking history?  After all, scrapbooking ranks as one of the top hobbies enjoyed by men and women of all ages.

In fact, over four million adults are scrapbookers!  Has scrapbooking been around for a couple of decades or dozens of decades?  Actually, scrapbooking has been around for quite some time.  The form of scrapbooking has changed over the years, but the history of scrapbooking begins in the 15th century.

According to scrapbooking history, people wanted a way to preserve “scraps” that were important to them.  Scraps included love letters, greeting cards, business cards, poems and other paper items of importance or sentimental value.  Interestingly, embellishments were added to the pages.  Ornate designed paper would be cut into small shapes and glued to the pages.

The 15th century

Scrapbooking history has its roots in England.  In the 15th century, commonplace books and friendship albums became popular.  Letters, poems, recipes, quotes and similar items were kept in the commonplace books.

Friendship albums were typically used when company was invited to a home.  The company would be asked to sign the album and to include something personal.  Some people included a quote, a poem or their thoughts about the homeowners.  Others drew pictures.

The 1800s

Over time, scrapbooking history included preserving black and white photos and newspaper clippings.  To house these mementos, scrapbook albums were invented.  Many of these albums were large and bulky.

During the mid-1800s, leather bound albums were manufactured and quite often contained themes.  Some albums contained corner pockets to hold photos and even had pages for water coloring or drawing.

A Scrapbooking President!

scrapbooking history
Thomas Jefferson:: A Presidential Scrapbooker!

In the world of scrapbooking history, you might be surprised to learn that one of our presidents was a scrapbooker!  That’s right!  Thomas Jefferson created album after album of pages containing newspaper clippings of his presidency.

In the late-1800s, Mark Twain capitalized on the scrapbooking idea and invented the Mark Twain’s Adhesive Scrapbook.  The book contained pre-pasted pages that made putting an album together super easy to do.

Scrapbooking takes a dive

Then there was a shift in the history of scrapbooking.  With the recession that followed World War I, the production of scrapbook albums drastically dropped.

People still collected and saved their photos, letters, greeting cards, and such, but they were kept in boxes and stored in a dry area.  For those who wanted to keep their scraps in an album, it was difficult to find a store that carried the albums.

Later, as the world of photography began to expand, scrapbooking took another hit.  People were eager to purchase photo albums and spent less time on scrapbook albums.  In fact, some people tossed out their filled scrapbooking albums because they felt the albums were inferior to the photo albums.

Scrapbooking history drastically changes

In 1980, scrapbooking history took another turn.  A woman, Marielen Christensen, had put together 50 volumes of her family history.  These books were shared with the public and caused a lot of people to become interested in scrapbooking.  Ms. Christensen opened the first scrapbooking store–Keeping Memories Alive.  Within a decade, scrapbooking became one of the fastest growing hobbies in America.

Although modern scrapbooking still includes photos, love letters, newspaper clippings, etc., how the items are displayed has changed.  Scrapbookers can now choose from a wide variety of scrapbook albums.  Layouts now include backgrounds, matted photos, and interesting embellishments.  Pride is taken in designing each page.  Scrapbook albums are made with the intent of sharing their contents with other people, rather than keeping the information private.

A social event

What was once considered to be an individual hobby has turned into a social hobby.  Some scrapbooking companies encourage parties as a way to promote their products.

Scrapbooking groups, formal and informal, have popped up all over the United States.  For the truly committed scrapbookers, there are scrapbook cruises and retreats readily available!

The internet

Today, scrapbooking history also includes the impact that the internet has on this popular hobby.  Now, scrapbooking materials are accessible worldwide.  There are numerous scrapbooking websites, many of which offer free layouts and other ideas.  Within seconds, scrapbookers can find answers to their scrapbooking questions or can order supplies online.  Scrapbookers also have the choice of scrapbooking by hand or digitally.

Walk into most any craft store and you’ll find a good selection of scrapbooking supplies.  Large retail stores typically have a scrapbook section as well.

What is next?

Scrapbooking has certainly become a multi-billion dollar business.  Now with the availability of ordering supplies via the internet, some of the individual small scrapbooking stores have closed.  However, the hobby of scrapbooking continues to grow and the scrapbooking sections in craft sores have increased.

It will be interesting to see what impacts scrapbooking history during the next couple of decades!

Topic: Scrapbooking History