A Scrapbook By Any Other Name?

"Mixed Pickles," leaf from the Westmoreland Album (1864/70), watercolor and ink photocollage designed by Victoria Alexandrina Anderson-Pelham, Countess of Yarborough and Eva Macdonald.

While back visiting New York recently, I unexpectedly encountered this delightful exhibition during a routine trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Organized by the Art Institute of Chicago, Playing with Pictures: The Art of Victorian Photocollage displays the heretofore little known work of nineteenth century women who compiled these meticulously crafted albums, which contain individual leaves that creatively and often humorously juxtapose and incorporate cut up pieces of studio portrait photography within the artist’s own watercolor designs.

Do these sound like scrapbooks to you?

While I don’t think we have any examples in our collection of scrapbooks that are quite as classy, we have uncovered some pretty interesting ones during the course of the ongoing scrapbook cataloging and preservation project.

And who knows what wonders may be found among the Special Collections Division’s collection of photographic albums?  You may get your chance to ask, when Visual Materials Curator, Nicolette Bromberg, gives a presentation on the photographs of Viretta Denny at the next Seattle Area Archivists membership meeting on March 11, 2010.  You can read more about that event on their blog.

In the meantime, I have checked out the Libraries’ only copy of the exhibition catalog of the photocollage show, but promise to return it soon.


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I joined The Shubert Archive as Processing Archivist in 2015, having worked previously at numerous archives and special collections, including the University of Washington, New York Public Library, King County Archives, and New York University. I earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from Hunter College, City University of New York and an M.L.I.S. from the Palmer School of Library & Information Science, Long Island University. I have been a Certified Archivist since 2005. Throughout my career, I have been active professionally and held several leadership roles. Among my favorites are: Dance Librarians Discussion Group convener and editor of the newsletter of the Performing Arts Roundtable of the Society of American Archivists. I also was involved with the American Theatre Archive Project, a national grassroots initiative dedicated to assisting active performing arts companies with the preservation of their legacy. In addition, I have significant experience as a freelance archival consultant.

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