Dissective Nostalgia

This blogspace will allow for an ongoing discussion on topics of global and local significance, specifically as they relate to our discussion on 21 October.

It is my understanding that, to date, you have come to understand certain contemporary processes of globalization through the lenses of more invisible structures such as class struggle, nationhood and professional propriety.

Today, I'd like to begin by leaving global behind for a moment, and thinking purely local. I'm going to discuss design in the context of writing and history, and share with you one particular project that has become a catalyst and a conduit for some of my own ongoing questions about visual thinking, cultural disparity and the paradoxical relationship between memory and memorabilia.

By way of disclaimer, let me just say that my comments are unquestionably biased toward my own interests, perspectives and proclivities. I am a designer, a writer, an educator, a mother, a collector and a critic.

To begin, rather than assigning readings, I'd like to direct our conversation to the images here.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Girl Graduate, Part Two

Also from the 1920s, a scrapbook from a Pittsburgh woman who similarly documented her final year in high school—and saved every letter she was sent, creating a kind of makeshift origami of her page compositions.


Blogger agrayspace said...

(this is Jamie Gray)

This scrapbook from the 1920s (despite the 70 year gap) is more familiar to me than any contemporary pre-fab scrapbook. My mom made a high school scrapbook for me, in secret. I had no clue that she was keeping records of my high school life; awards, photos, newspaper clippings, programs. Then on my graduation day she gave me this (very complete) bulging three ring binder. Then, and now, it is a most precious gift.

I was (and still am) amazed with my mom's foresight. I asked her about this and she said she had kept scrapbooks during her high school years. Not because it was a popular thing to do or as a personal diary, but because of her love of history (and high school experience) and her desire to document it. Really, a precursor to her chosen career path (a history degree and as a high school history teacher).

Since I can't post a picture, I'll describe the books. Yellowed and dog eared pages are pasted full of play and band programs (many from ditto machine), hand-drawn sketches, hall passes, photos, calendar pages and newspaper clippings. There are pep club pins, band medals, dried corsages, a swatch of material from her prom dress and a latin club banquet invite in the form of a scroll wrapped around dowels and tied with with ribbon. Pages are arranged by topic and all contain hand written descriptions or simply a date.

Now, my mom sees her albums as a record of a particular time (early 1960s) and place (Colorado). She says she wants to donate them to her hometown museum (again her desire to document and share history). However, I want to keep them and cannot bear the thought of parting.

Thanks mom!

12:15 PM  

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