Scrapbooks - Annotated Bibliography

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This is a subpage of the Scrapbooks page in the Book Conservation Wiki. It is intended to point users to great resources on the preservation, conservation, and reformatting of scrapbooks. The references listed should be online if at all possible, the blurb should explain the focus of the resource, and the list should be short. This bibliography is not meant to be exhaustive, but rather a list of the most relevant and useful sources. The citation style follows the BPG Reference and Bibliography Protocols.

Scrapbook opening showing stickers, original pencil artwork, and pasted-in clippings. MARBL Collection, Emory University. Photo taken by Kim Norman.

Wiki Compilers: Ann Frellsen, Katherine Kelly, Kim Norman, Jennifer Hain Teper
Wiki Contributors: Suzy Morgan

Copyright 2019. The Book and Paper Group Wiki is a publication of the Book and Paper Group of the American Institute for Conservation. It is published as a convenience for the members of the Book and Paper Group. Publication does not endorse nor recommend any treatments, methods, or techniques described herein. There is an ongoing project to update the BPG Wiki. We welcome contributions and feedback. If you would like to get involved in this effort, please contact the wiki team at [email protected].

Introductory Resources and Resources for the General Public

Fox, Lisa. 2003. "Care of Scrapbooks". Conservation Services Notes. Missouri State Archives. Accessed October 9, 2014.

Covers the basics of storage and handling, and offers a more detailed exploration of rehousing and treatment options. Some discussion of reformatting options.

Hanthorn, Ivan. 1996. "Helpful Tips for Preserving Your Precious Documents & Memorabilia: Tips on Preserving Scrapbooks". Archival Products NEWS 4 (2). Accessed October 9, 2014.

Brief, basic advice for handling and rehousing.

Image Permanence Institute. 2003. Scrapbook Retailer's Science of Scrapbooking Series.

A collection of five articles written by IPI for a newsletter for scrapbookers. A good introduction to the science behind degradation and what steps people can take at home to choose good supplies and make scrapbooks last.

Rutherson, Jane. 1999. "Victorian Album Structures". The Paper Conservator. 23: 13-25. DOI: 10.1080/03094227.1999.9638613. Accessed March 16, 2015 (with subscription).

Discussion of the development of commercially produced scrapbooks and photograph albums, with a a particular focus on how structures and materials contribute to deterioration . Album structures are discussed in four categories: sewn, guarded leaf (e.g. cartes-de-visite albums), adhesive (e.g. caoutchouc), and loose leaf mechanical binding (e.g. post bindings). Various methods of compensation, end paper construction, and leaf hinging are diagrammed.

Zucker, Barbara F. 1991, rev. 1998. "Preservation Basics: Preservation of Scrapbooks and Albums". Library of Congress. Accessed October 9, 2014.

Basic advice on accessioning, storing, and handling scrapbooks for librarians and archivists.

Treatment and Rehousing Solutions

American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works. Conservation of Scrapbooks and Albums: Postprints of the Book and Paper Group/Photographic Materials Group Joint Session at the 27th Annual Meeting of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works. AIC, Washington, DC 1999. (print copy available for sale in the AIC store)

  • Accounts of the West (abstract) / Boal, Gillian
  • Images of the Southwest: a tourist album / Laura Downey
  • Historical photo albums and their structures / Richard Horton
  • Glossary of terms relating to photo albums / Richard Horton
  • Champs délicieux: an album of twelve Rayographs by Man Ray / Sylvie Pénichon
  • Conservation considerations for a Thomas Eakins photograph album / Mary Schobert
  • The structure's the thing! Problems in the repair of nineteenth-century stiff-paged photograph albums / Mary Wootton, Terry Boone & Andrew Robb
  • Interim report on the HRHRC photograph album survey:
  1. Nineteenth-century photograph albums: structure, condition, and treatments / Olivia Primanis
  2. Developing a conservation survey database for photograph albums / Meg Brown
  3. Photographs in albums: observations, treatment comments, and some survey results / Barbara N. Brown
  4. Glossary of terms for the photograph album survey / Meg Brown, compiler.

Brewer, Allison. 2013. "Stabilization of a Scrapbook from the Veterans History Project". Conservation Treatment Highlights from Library of Congress, Conservation Division webpage. Accessed March 16, 2015.

Description of project to stabilize a disbound scrapbook prior to digitization. This article is of particular interest for its description of polyester encapsulation that accommodates scrapbook structures. One page is encapsulated with a flap to allow a pasted-in folio to open, and another oversize page is encapsulated folded. Spot welding is used to hold irregularly shaped pages.

Hebert, Henry. 2011. "Sleeves and Posts: A Rehousing Option for Scrapbooks". Archival Products NEWS 16 (4). Accessed October 9, 2014.

Description of a treatment where a scrapbook was disbound, the pages placed in polyester L-sleeves, and bound into a post binding. The advantages of this treatment are its low-cost, its use of polyester when one does not have access to a polyester welder, and the ability to remove each page reasonably easily from the structure.

Ogden, Sherelyn. 1991. "Preservation Options for Scrapbook and Album Formats". Book and Paper Group Annual 10. Accessed October 9, 2014.

Good overview for a conservation audience. Discusses aspects that should be considered when developing treatment proposals, such as the artifactual integrity of the scrapbook vs. the importance of the individual elements, the desire to prevent loss or theft of small elements, anticipated use, and the cost of treatment. Examples are given for different approaches to treatment and rehousing.

O'Loughlin, Elissa and Linda S. Stiber. 1992. "A Closer Look at Pressure Sensitive Adhesive Tapes: Update on Conservation Strategies" Postprints, Institute for Paper Conservation Manchester, U.K.

Smith, Merrily. 1985. "Scrapbooks in the Library of Congress". In Preserving America's Performing Arts, ed. B. Cohen-Stratyner and B. Kneppers. New York: Theatre Library Association. 73-77.

A discussion of the preservation challenges presented by scrapbooks. The author observes that, "The diversity in type and condition of materials makes it very difficult to treat the scrapbook as a unit" and that the essential question curators (and conservators) are faced with is whether to preserve the artifactual integrity of the scrapbook. Three different examples of scrapbook treatments are described. In each case, compromises were made between the scrapbook's original organization and the need to preserve and provide access to the content. The first treatment was of a photograph album with 94 photographs mounted with pressure sensitive tape on brittle paper. The tape was removed and the photographs were encapsulated in window mat pages and rebound into a new scrapbook format. The second treatment was of 6 scrapbooks with photographs, newspaper clippings, and other materials. The scrapbook was microfilmed to record its organization, then disassembled and the parts filed separately. The last treatment was of a very deteriorated and frequently consulted scrapbook about Harry Houdini. This scrapbook was disassembled, the contents treated, and a new assemblage of the materials was made to allow the contents (or facsimile versions) to be served to the public.

Tedone, Melissa. 2014. "Preserving Scrapbooks". YouTube video of a webinar created by Association for Library Collections & Technical Services (ALCTS).

Hour long video discussing scrapbooks, the terminology of the bindings, supports, and attachments, preservation problems, and basic stabilization options. Very good, specific instructions on interleaving, encapsulation, and reattachment methods. (00:00 to 28:24) Extended discussion with examples of decision-making, considering factors such as condition, inherent vice, collection priorities and size, and available conservation and digitization capabilities (28:25 to 44:50). The handout and the Q&A responses (48:30 to end) are also available on the ALCTS webinar page.

Teper, Jennifer H. and Emily F. Shaw. 2007. "Planning for Conservation of Archival Scrapbook Collections". Archival Products NEWS 14 (4). Accessed October 9, 2014.

Describes an item-level conservation survey of almost 500 scrapbooks and the treatment that followed. Covers survey methodology, simple cost-effective treatment steps, and rehousing options.

Teper, Jennifer H. 2009. "Assessing and Stabilizing Archival Scrapbooks". Discussion from the Archives Conservation Discussion Group 2009. Book and Paper Group Annual 28.

"Preserving Your Treasures: How to Remove Photos from a Sticky Album". Video post blog from the Smithsonian Institution Archive.

Short video demonstrating how to remove photographs from "magnetic" photo albums with dental floss.


ARL Preservation of Research Library Materials Committee. 2004. "Recognizing Digitization as a Preservation Reformatting Method (PDF)". Association of Research Libraries. Accessed July 1, 2014.

Frellsen, Ann, Kim Norman, and Brian Methot. 2014. "Scraps of Memories, Shards of Time: Preserving the African American Scrapbook Collection of Emory University Libraries, a Save America's Treasures Grant Project." Book and Paper Group Annual 33. 26-34.

A continuing description of the project discussed in the 2012 Norman article listed below. The presentation of this article at the 2014 AIC Annual meeting was reported on here. This article is of particular interest for its description of the project process, collaboration between conservation and imaging, and conservation decision-making. Equipment and staffing needs are detailed.

Norman, Kim Knox. 2012. "Preservation of Emory University's African American Scrapbook Collection". Archival Products NEWS 17 (3). Accessed October 9, 2014.

Description of Save America’s Treasures grant project to conserve and digitize a collection of 34 scrapbooks. Discusses how the conservation and digitization actions were focused on maintaining the "scrapbook experience", and how the conservation and imaging staff worked closely together to achieve those goals.

Davis, Bethany. 2015. "Preserving Vaudeville and Early-Film History at the University of Iowa". Archival Products NEWS 19 (2). Accessed February 11, 2015.

Description of the early stages of an NEH grant-funded project to stabilize, digitize and rehouse 150 scrapbooks, many of which were filled with newspaper clippings. Includes images of specially designed book cradles for imaging.

News, Blog Posts, and Ongoing Projects

Gloor, Jessamy. 2014. "42nd Annual Meeting – Photographic Materials Session, May 30, “Preserving Ernest Hemingway’s Photograph Albums and Scrapbooks at the Finca Vigía,” by Monique Fischer and M. P. Bogan". Conservators Converse blog. Accessed March 3, 2016.

Discusses treatment and digitization of scrapbooks under circumstances of limited supplies and funding. This talk was presented at a 2014 AIC Annual Meeting PMG Session, and may eventually be available as part of Topics in Photographic Preservation.

Martin, Julie. 2013. "Sitting with Woody: Preservation of Guthrie Archives Collections". Post on NEDCC website. Accessed October 9, 2014.

Discusses preservation planning and grant application for, and then conservation and digitization of six scrapbooks.

Texas State Library and Archives Commission. "Treating a 1950s TSLAC Scrapbook" Blog post on July 14, 2014. Accessed October 9, 2014.

Blog post on single item treatment of scrapbook.

Kahn, Eve M. 2011. "Saving Scrapbooks From the Scrapheap" New York Times, August 4. Accessed January 2, 2015.

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