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- To: BOOK_ARTS-L@LISTSERV.SYR.EDU
- Subject: Re: Scrapbooks
- From: Ed Hutchins <QUEERBOOKS@AOL.COM>
- Date: Fri, 7 Aug 1998 11:33:46 EDT
- Message-Id: <199808071624.JAA17142@SUL-Server-2.Stanford.edu>
- Sender: "Book_Arts-L: On the web at http://www.dreamscape.com/pdverhey" <BOOK_ARTS-L@LISTSERV.SYR.EDU>
This is not what Stan had in mind, but I thought the list would be interested
in one of my most cherished books: my great-grandmother's scrapbook. It was
given to Estelle Morehouse by an admirer in 1880 in Columbus, Ohio just as she
was finishing kindergarten normal school and about to head out to Arizona
Territory. There she started two kindergartens, first in Globe and then in
Tucson. Keep in mind that Arizona had just become a territory seven years
earlier and there were darn few schools of any kind in existence.
The scrapbook measures about 12" high by 9" wide. The pages have gummed lines
on them that could be moistened to attach mementos. The first several pages
are all pin-pricked designs. They start simple and work their way up to
complex patterns. The last page in this section has a beautiful rendering of
a fountain done with pin-pricks--some going in the page and others coming out
from the other side.
The pages of the next section have all been pin-pricked 1/4" apart to form a
grid. On these pages are sewn geometric patterns. Again, they start simple
and work their way up to intricate mazes and interwoven shapes. Following
this are many pages of origami designs. The 73 patterns are all variations of
just two basic folds. It has been speculated that these designs are quilt-
related. The final section is composed of woven paper mats. As they get more
inventive, they also become very modern by our standards.
Over time the pages started to disintegrate and the binding began to fall
apart. Several years ago Nelly Balloffet created a new binding of protective
mylar envelope pages. The pages are open at the top and binding edges so that
the original pages can be removed for evaluation and inspection. The embossed
front of the old binding was inset into the new front cover. I used the
remaining cover when I made the clamshell box.
Estelle Morehouse's scrapbook has had a profound effect on my work, not only
because of the imaginative art she used to decorate the pages, but also
because of her methodical approach to presentation. Almost 120 years after
she started her scrapbook, the pages still manage to inspire and astound me.