My first camera was called a Brownie even though it was black. It came with a strap that hung around my neck and when I waked it bounced up and down. I would insert a roll of film, take 12 picture and take the roll to the store where they would develop it. Each picture was a mystery until it was printed. Unlike digital cameras today, there was no way to view the picture before printing.

I had a 10” by 13” scrapbook where I kept my pictures. I would dip a wooden popsicle stick into a jar of milky white paste, smear the back of each picture with a generous portion and permanently adhere the picture to the construction like paper in the album. Along with my photos I included memorabilia like napkins from various places, dried flowers from a neighbor’s yard, postcards from places I went and postcards from friends. There was a small braid of my hair, some of my school report cards, and articles and pictures I cut out of magazines. With the turn of each page I would see memories I wanted to remember and share with others. For each memorabilia I included a few sentences about it. Today this is called journaling.  I never knew what I was doing had been around for centuries.

In the 15th century in England people created what was called “commonplace books” where recipes, poems, quotes, letters, and other things the owner of each book wanted to keep indefinitely were housed.  By the 19th century, women were creating scrapbooks to document their daily life. Playbills, tickets stubs, and small trinkets were added to the items mentioned above that were saved in “commonplace books.”

Today, scrapbooking is a hobby extremely popular in the United Kingdom and the United States, with over 4 million scrapbookers in the United States alone. People spend billions of dollars on scrapbooking supplies like brads, ribbons, embellishments, stickers, glitter, and paper in all sizes, weights, and colors. An added value to the scrapbook is handwritten journaling. This opened up the need for journaling supplies. Scrapbookers insisted on archival quality materials and the business industry complied.

By the 21st century approximately 1,600 companies were making scrapbooking products. There are magazines full of scrapbooking ideas and retail stores specializing in scrapbooking items. Many of the stores provide a room for “scrappers” to meet together and share ideas and supplies while working on their scrapbook pages.  Scrapbookers can gather together to share their craft at conventions, retreats, and even cruises.

Some people contribute the growth of scrapbooking to the increase of interest in genealogy. People want to preserve their personal and family history for future generations. It’s like having a time capsule filled with things you want the future generations to know were important to you.

With the digital age here, computer generated pictures, journaling and printed scrapbooks are becoming popular with the younger generation.

If you scrapbook the original way or digital, on each page you are creating a little bit of you. There is no right or wrong to make a scrapbook. Be creative, be yourself, be the person you want others to remember. That’s what Mark Twain did. His scrapbooks contained souvenirs, clippings, and pictures of his travels.

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