Official Nebraska Goverment Website Nebraska State Historical Society

  Saving Memories   


Unidentified girl looking at scrapbook in Doane College Dormitory, ca. 1920.

While in the midst of school life you think its memories always will be fresh. Soon it will be over, the old associations gone, and the pleasant memories that you thought indelible will fade and fade, until a shadow here and there is all. They are but footprints of a few short years of fellowship. Some evening when your hair has turned to gray, you'll draw your chair before the fireplace and follow back the road that's now before you. The footprints gathered here will point the way. A program, a name and verse, a Kodak picture will each bring back its memories, made dearer by the intervening years.
From Footprints of Fellowship scrapbook, copyright 1913 Intre-Collegiate Press, Kansas City, Mo.

The practice of gathering mementos into a book can be traced at least as far back as medieval society, when pilgrims to religious shrines collected souvenirs and devotional objects and occasionally attached them to pages of prayer books or Bibles. In the fifteenth century, "commonplace books," volumes of quotations, prose, and poetry, were compiled by men of letters and by students as aids in later recalling these resources when crafting speeches or writing essays.

As printed material became more accessible, commonplace books began to incorporate clipped articles from newspapers and other sources, alongside the handwritten entries of their owners. The evolution of printing to include color images in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and the growing availability and affordability of paper made this type of volume accessible to and popular with a growing middle class, and by 1835 the term "scrapbook" and the practice of compiling books of ephemera were common enough that "The Scrapbook," a periodical promoting the hobby of making such volumes, was published.

Commercially produced scrapbooks were widely available by the 1820s and 1930s and by the 1860s and 1870s, new innovations in scrapbooks were being patented, and creating scrapbooks was a hobby enjoyed by men, women, and children of all social and economic backgrounds.


What Shall We Do Now?
500 Children's Games and Pastimes
by Dorothy Canfield and Others, 1907

Dorothy Canfield Fisher was born in 1870 in Lawrence, Kansas. Her father served as chancellor of the University of Nebraska from 1891 to 1895, and Dorothy met and became a lifelong friend of fellow student Willa Cather.

What Shall We Do Now? 500 Children's Games and Pastimes

Making scrapbooks is always a pleasant and useful employment, whether for yourself or for children in hospitals or districts, and there was never so good an opportunity as now of getting interesting pictures. These you select from odd numbers of magazines, Christmas numbers, illustrated papers and advertisements. Scraps are very useful to fill up odd corners. In choosing pictures for your own scrapbook it is better to select only those that you really believe in and can find a reason for using, than to take everything that seems likely to fit. By choosing the pictures with this care you make the work more interesting and the book peculiarly your own.
    Empty scrapbooks can be bought; or you can make one by taking (for a large one) an old business ledger, which some one whom you know is certain to be able to give you, or (for a small one) an ordinary old exercise book, and then cutting out every other page about half an inch from the stitching. This is to allow room for the extra thickness which the pictures will give to the book. Or you can sew sheets of brown paper together.



Hide Paintings and
       Ledger Books

Diaries and Journals
  J.A. Hill, Civil War
  W. Richards, Surveyor
  J.S. Morton, Statesman
  Sara J. Price, Teacher
       & Homesteader
  W. Danley, Businessman
  J. & E. Green, Farmers        & Homesteaders
  S. Buck, Farm Wife

Autograph Albums
  S. & E. Allis, Missionaries
  E. & L. Correll, Suffragists
  W.J. Bryan, Orator
  Lucy Drexel, Student
  Viola Barnes, Student

  D. Canfield, Author
  Willa Cather, Author
  C. Calvert, Educator
  Fenton. B. Fleming,
  Myrtle Soulier, Student
  Verna Cort, Student
  Martha McKelvie,
       Movie Columnist
  Emogine Moor,
       Women's Army Corps
  Scrapbooking Today

Photograph Albums
  W. B. Watson, Porter
  Margaret and Edward
       Gehrke, Adventurers
  Nan Aspinwall,
  Frances M. Creech,

  Edith Withers Meyers,
  Sierra Nevada Bunnell,

Home Movies

Future Memories


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Last updated 15 April 2010  

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