ERIC Number: ED373333
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1994-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
From Reading to Writing: American Domestic Advice Scrapbooks.
Capezzi, Rita A.
In the United States of the 19th century, domesticity was the dominant mode by means of which women were urged to think of their experience. Accordingly, domestic advice scrapbooks were favored by many women of the period--scrapbooks which were composed from handwritten fragments and scraps of newspapers and magazines clipped for personal but often indeterminate reasons and glued onto any available bound pages. The processes of selection and arrangement mark these scrapbooks as a form of personal writing that interacts with, rather than insignificantly repeats, ideologies of behavior and experience. Domestic advice scrapbooks represent participation in the tendencies of the dominant culture, but potentially more than passive acceptance of it. Instructed by professionally published manuals about what their daily lives should look like, women were urged to use this socially mediated experience as a means to refine their knowledge of domestic practices. A testimonial from a 1905 "Harper's Bazaar" suggests the significance of advice scrapbooks for literacy studies; namely, the woman must learn, she cannot merely repeat, and the scrapbook assists this process. Examples of scrapbooks in the Winterthur Library encompass a wide range of materials--recipes, historical clippings, poems, advertisements, calling cards, etc. The idiosyncratic shapes of domestic advice scrapbooks invite contemporary browsers to re-imagine how knowledge is transmitted within instructional scenes, and to imagine that literate expression--that is, an engagement with the forces that shape experience--need not appear in essay form and need not be composed in group settings. (NKA)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Historical Materials; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Historical Background; Nineteenth Century; Scrapbooks; United States; Womens Magazines
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (45th, Nashville, TN, March 16-19, 1994).