The Afterlife of the Nineteenth-Century Scrapbook

Ellen Gruber Garvey

in Writing with Scissors

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780195390346
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979240 | DOI:
The Afterlife of the Nineteenth-Century Scrapbook

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  • Literary Studies (19th Century)


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This chapter demonstrates how scrapbooks led the way in materializing an understanding that information was detachable, movable, sortable, and not wedded to the context in which it had been published. Other technologies developed in the late nineteenth century for accessing newspaper articles again, and then for sorting and mining them to turn them into data to move information faster. Robert Budd, an African American entrepreneur in New York, created a newspaper storage establishment. His work highlights the difference between thinking of newspapers as material objects and as movable data. In the 1890s, clipping bureaus took over and industrialized the work of saving and sorting the press that individual scrapbook makers had previously done. Scrapbooks receded as an ideal means for keeping the massive quantities of clippings that the bureaus produced; clipping savers turned toward more flexible modes of sorting and filing by multiple subject headings that developed at the same time.

Keywords: scrapbooking; information management; Robert Budd; newspaper storage; clipping bureaus

Chapter.  9560 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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