A Physical Description of the Scrapbook
The Prudence Person scrapbook is preserved in the Wilson Special Collections Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The physical object is a hardback book, one hundred two pages bound together. Scrapbooks created during this time period could be either an unwanted book repurposed to serve as a scrapbook base or a blank book sold explicitly for scrapbooking (a practice which became common as scrapbooks gained popularity). Prudence's falls into the latter category. The opening page is signed "Miss Prude Person, Dec. 1883" - the year she most likely received the scrapbook. Since the articles span years between the 1860s and 1910s, it is a safe assumption that Prudence began collecting the articles prior to receiving the scrapbook. The articles are printed on a form of newsprint, which was undergoing a change during the period in which Prudence was preserving articles. The 1870s and 1880s saw a move away from newspapers containing linen and cotton (rag linen) into the newsprint which is common in modern newspapers. Prudence's scrapbook may contain examples of both papers. Other paper included in the scrapbook is a thicker material, like cardstock, on which many images are printed. These could be examples of magazines, special advertisements, or images printed specifically for pasting into a scrapbook. The scrapbook articles are not in precise chronological order. The first article is Prudence's wedding announcement, dated March 10, 1897, several years after she began the scrapbook. The center of the scrapbook, pages 49-50, has the longest article - this seems more strategic than fortuitous. These instances, along with the full coverage most of the scrapbook pages receive, indicate a strategy of collecting and planning article placement rather than pasting in each article when found.
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