Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Archives Scrapbook Collection

A page from Angela Russell's scrapbook (1910).
The October display highlights the archives scrapbook collection. It consists of a selection of scrapbooks compiled by former students during their time on campus. The scrapbooks provide a record of student life from the early period of St. Kate’s history (1907-1927). They contain photographs, writings and a broad range of ephemera such as news clippings, playbills, pressed flowers, dance cards, party favors, autographs and inscriptions of fellow classmates.

Elizabeth Casey’s scrapbook from 1916 is an example of how this medium functioned as a predecessor to the yearbooks that later became popular. (The first yearbook was not published at St. Kate's until 1919). Casey's scrapbook contains photos she clipped of each of her classmates. Each photo is captioned with a quote that conveyed something about the student’s personality. For example, she invoked the words of French writer Fran├žois de la Rochefoucauld, to describe a fellow classmate, “Nothing is rarer than real goodness.”

In addition to revealing aspects of student's personalities, the scrapbooks also document fashions of the time. Angela Russell’s scrapbook from 1910 shows her and her fellow classmates dressed in wide-brimmed hats and long dresses with corsets that were popular during that era, with a caption that reads, “Yes we’re ready!” 

The scrapbook collection will be on display during the month of October on the main level of the St. Paul Library, in the case in front of the video carrels.

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