25 September 2008

Scrapbooks, an American History - Jessica Helfand

Jessica Helfand, a partner with William Drenttel at Winterhouse and a founding editor of the Design Observer is releasing a new book that looks like it will be full of inspiration. The book Scrapbooks, an American History was developed from Jessica's collection of these artifacts of our past. A website has been set up about the book at The Daily Scrapbook and describes the book as follows-

"Combining pictures, words, and a wealth of personal ephemera, scrapbook makers preserve on the pages of their books a moment, a day, or a lifetime. Highly subjective, rich in emotional meaning, the scrapbook is a unique and often quirky form of expression in which a person gathers and arranges meaningful materials to create a personal narrative. This richly illustrated book is the first to focus close attention on the history of American scrapbooks — their origins, their makers, their diverse forms, the reasons for their popularity, and their place in American culture.

Jessica Helfand, a graphic designer and scrapbook collector, examines the evolution of scrapbooks from the nineteenth century to the present, concentrating particularly on the first half of the twentieth century. She includes color photographs from more than 200 scrapbooks; some made by private individuals and others by the famous, including: Zelda Fitzgerald, Lillian Hellman, Anne Sexton, Hilda Doolittle and Carl Van Vechten. Scrapbooks, while generally made by amateurs, represent a striking and authoritative form of visual autobiography. Helfand finds when viewed collectively they offer a unique perspective on the changing pulses of American cultural life. "

This book looks like it will make my list of "must haves" so I will have to get a copy. Visit the website, The Daily Scrapbook or here to get a copy of Scrapbooks, an America History.

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