DEN Project

Fashions From The Past

Short History of Friendship Books

Back in the 17th century there were books known as commonplace books. These books were used to record information, such as weights, poems, medical formulas and prayers. Instead of trying to remember all of this information, it was written into a commonplace book. Commonplace books were used by students to record the information learned.

Over time commonplace books also held newspaper articles, recipes and illustrations. Commonplace books were a way to share information.

The first scrapbooks in the 18th century were not about preserving photos as cameras weren’t created yet. So what sort of scraps did the people collect in their albums? Mainly mementos such as quotes, poems, calling cards (decorated cards left behind at a friend’s home), religious cards, paper cuts, and other ephemera.There were also friendship albums that were created and given as gifts.

 By the early 1800s, albums had evolved into ones resembling those of today with embossed covers, engraved clasps, and locks. Along with commonplace books, people in the 1800s kept diaries, journals, and friendship albums. Friendship albums were almost exclusively owned by women and kept a lady’s favourite quotes, poems, calling cards, and hair weavings in one place. Hair weavings, which started in Germany, were intricate weavings of pressed ribbons and flowers into a friend’s cut strands of hair to display in an album along with a poem or remembrance of that friend.

Later, with the advent of photography young women in the late 1800s often created memory books or visitor’s albums filled with signatures, scrap, cards, hair, handwriting, poetry, and photographs of their family and friends. Again, these were a permanent way of preserving memories.

The modern resurgence of interest in scrap-booking has led people to create both traditionally crafted friendship books with an artistic approach to the presentation of the pages, and electronic versions of the friendship book which are computer generated using formatted backgrounds and uploading digital images from cameras.

 

Comments

  •  

    Jane November 26th, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    I saw some lovely modern scrap books at the Northamptonshire Community Foundation awards last week , and as you state above some of them were very artistic.

  •  

    theresaworkman December 1st, 2010 at 9:38 am

    Thanks for your interest Jane,
    One of the satisfying aspects of the Friendship Book part of the project was the enormous pleasure that the pupils at Ash Villa School got out of expressing themselves in such a personal way. They were able to assess their relationships and relive favourite days, strong friendship, family bonds, and re-evaluate the positive aspects of their lives. As their stay at Ash Villa involves a lot of introspection and self-analysis, the role that these books played was quite profound.

    I was also astonished at all the hidden artistic talent displayed throughout the pages of the books, as can be seen in the illustrations.

 

Leave a Reply

The name field is required. Please ensure you fill in this section

The email field is required but will not be shown on the website. Please ensure you fill in this section

The email field is required but will not be shown on the website. Please ensure you fill in this section

The email field is required but will not be shown on the website. Please ensure you fill in this section

Post Comment

css.php