Recycling Victorian Style

Scrapbooking was nearly as popular in the 1880s-1890s as it is today. Unlike today’s creations, these books were heavy on the scrap, including everything from newspaper clippings, programs, and letters to flowers, ribbons, charms and even chewing gum. Though there were dedicated “books” on the market, some even boasted moisten-able strips, these were usually expensive. So what was the stylish but frugal teenager/woman to do? Reuse catalogs of course!

Catalogs were expensive to produce and were often printed on heavy paper and bound like a book. As long as you didn’t mind the ghosts of their former use peeking out between your scraps, they were perfect candidates for reuse.

Below are a couple of examples of these wonderful recycled scrapbooks from the collection.

Cover of two catalogs turned scrapbooks. A peak inside shows the clever re-purposing of the bound catalogs.

Cover of two catalogs turned scrapbooks. A peak inside shows the clever re-purposing of the bound catalogs. (WSA H64-66)

Behind the newspaper clippings pasted on this page, you can see an elaborate chandelier

Behind the newspaper clippings pasted on this page, you can see an elaborate chandelier

Here you can see a gas light.

Here you can see a gas light.

The subject of this catalog becomes clear when you read the description left under these two clippings. "Fancy Moulded White Casket with Fance Corners..."

The subject of this catalog becomes clear when you read the description left under these two clippings. “Fancy Moulded White Casket with Fancy Corners…”

A lovely and ornate casket peaks out from behind this etching of the John Hunton Ranch.

A lovely and ornate casket peaks out from behind this etching of the John Hunton Ranch.

You can just make out part of a set of pillars designed to display a casket in a funeral parlor.

You can just make out part of a set of pillars designed to display a casket in a funeral parlor.

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