Scrapbooks are bound albums filled with paper ephemera, from plain written receipts to colorfully illustrated die-cuts. The modern form of scrapbooking appeared at the beginning of the 19th century, when steam power and rotary cylinders improved printing technology. Soon, scrapbooking became a way of processing the endless stream of printed paper being produced, allowing crafters to select items worthy of remembrance.

The earliest scrap albums often included handwritten passages from famous literature, cuttings from newspapers and magazines, and personal notes or mementos pasted or glued onto blank pages. Many also featured a special frontispiece or title page print indicating the album’s sentimental purpose.

During the Victorian Era, middle-class households would often have a family scrap album, where the bits of paper collected each day could be collaged onto its thick pages. Ticket stubs, brochures, greeting cards, newspaper clippings, paper dolls, postcards, business cards, ribbons, literary excerpts, and eventually photographs were all preserved on the pages of these memory books. At the same time, a growing fascination with the natural world led people to incorporate dried plant specimens into their albums, which were soon filled with everything from wildflowers to seaweed.

In response to the scrapbooking trend, 19th-century bookmakers designed blank albums with elaborate, tooled-leather covers, gilt paper edgings, and engraved clasps. The earliest materials explicitly produced as die-cut “scrap” for decorating homemade albums were black-and-white, hand-colored etchings. As lithography processes improved, bright colors, textured embossing, and glossy finishes were employed to enhance the printed imagery.

By the late 1800s, Britain, Germany, and the United States had become the leaders in such scrap production. Successful companies like Currier & Ives and Raphael Tuck & Sons created beautiful scrap pieces alongside smaller brands like Allen & Ginter and Littauer & Boysen.

Scraps, also called reliefs, chromos, or die-cuts, were sold in large sheets connected with small paper strips and gummed-backing, making for easy removal and pasting. These pre-cut shapes often featured the romantic themes so popular at the time, such as lush floral arrangements, domesticated animals, angels and cherubs, exotic birds, fashionable women, and holiday themes like Valentine’s Day or Christmas.

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

The Scrap Album

The Scrap Album

Malcolm Warrington’s The Scrap Album is a handsomely organized site, as you’d expect from an articulate champio… [read review or visit site]

Google Book Search

Google Book Search

Want to do one quick search and pull up the mother lode of vintage books? Try Google Book Search, a database filled… [read review or visit site]

Bruce Black's gallery of paperback book covers from the 1940s and 50s. With help from numerous contributors, he's a… [read review or visit site]

Ephemera Society of America

Ephemera Society of America

Great reference on ephemera... includes examples and descriptions of various ephemera categories, selected special … [read review or visit site]

Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Wwii Us Army 90th Infantry Division Scrapbook Group With Bring Back PiecesAntique Victorian Trade Card Album Scrapbook Mystery CardsHenry Wadsworth Longfellow, American Poet And Educator, Signed Album SheetHuge Lot Of 180 Vintage All Christmas Cards In Scrapbook Album 1940s Huge Lot Of 140 Vintage Mixed Greeting Cards & More In Scrapbook Album 1950s #31905 - Victorian - Newlywed Cats Valentine - Trade Card Scrap - ScrapbookHuge Old Paper Ephemera Lot Pamphlets Photos Programs Music Art Vintage ScrapAntique Diary Scrapbook Illustrated Id'd Soldier Drawing Handwritten Letters GunHuge Lot Of 170 Vintage Christmas Cards & More In Scrapbook Album 1940s 50s #2Antique Early 1900's Scrapbook 153 Pages - Michigan Estate - Rowena Herndon RiceLarger Victorian Die Cut Scrap Brown Kitten W Pink Bow C1880s7 Victorian Die Cut Scraps Lovely Fans C1880Vintage Die-cut Victorian ScrapsVintage 1960's Scrapbook - Valentine, Christmas, Easter, Holiday, Birthday CardsAntique "child's Greeting Cards Scrapbook" Wih Many Loose CardsAntique Scrapbook Of Wine Champagne Beer & Liquor Labels Early 1900'sVery Interesting 19th Century Medical Scrapbook - Unusual Maladies & Articles!Victorian Scrapbook Die Cut Flowers Birds Cats And DogsVictorian Scrapbook Advertising Greeting CardsVictorian Scrapbook Full Of Advertising Diecuts Some HolidaysVictorian Scrapbook Advertising, Greeting,autographs, And HolidaysVictorian Scrapbook Full Of Advertising Diecut And Greeting Cards1880 Victorian Scrapbook Lots Of Advertising And DiecutsVictorian Scrapbook Victorian Scrapbook Holiday And AdvertisingVictorian Scrapbook Holidays Advertising And Diecuts Approximately 50 Pieces1955 Brooklyn Dodgers Newspaper Clippings Scrapbook (b1)2 Victorian Die Cut Scraps Lovely Ladies In Red & Blue C1880Antique Early 1900's Scrapbook 121 Pages - Kentucky Estate - Roy Leonard RiceWwii Military Scrapbook Ww2 1940s ClippingsLoaded 40"s Era Vintage 100+ Greeting Card Scrapbook Wed Birth Cigar Christmas Victorian Scrapbook Advertising Greeting CardsVintage Die-cut Victorian ScrapsVtg Scrapbook Postcards Navajo World's Fair 1939 Green Bay Asheville San FrancisVintage Die-cut Victorian ScrapsLarger Victorian Die Cut Scrap Lovely Lady In Purple W Feathered Hat C1880Vintage Die Cut Scraps German Sheet Kruger 98/105 With GlitterVintage Die Cut Scraps German Sheet Kruger 98/37 With Glitter Antique Victorian Embossed Die Cut Scrap Fans & Horseshoes (p.487)Antique Victorian Embossed Die Cuts Bouquets Of Flowers, Roses (p.433)Rabbit, Deer, Fox, Flowers, Arbors -5 Lovely Victorian Die Cuts, ScrapsVintage Die-cut Victorian ScrapsVintage Die-cut Victorian ScrapsVintage Die-cut Victorian Scraps1800's - Victorian - Halladay Wind Mills - Batavia Il - Trade Card - ScrapbookVintage Die-cut Victorian ScrapsVintage Die-cut Victorian ScrapsLarger Victorian Scrap Coaching Scene Die Cut C1880sVictorian Die Cut Scrap Wicker Basket W Roses C1880sVintage Die-cut Victorian Scraps30" X 3-1/4" Antique Vintage Lace French Doll Dress Scrapbook Trim Lot 116Vintage Die-cut Victorian ScrapsAntique Vintage Remnant Pieces Lace French Doll Dress Scrapbook Trim Lot 11150" X 2-1/4" Antique Silk Net Lace French Doll Dress Scrapbook Trim Lot 113Antique 3-d Bobble Lace (last Piece) French Doll Dress Scrapbook Trim Lot 112Lot Of 15 -1880's Victorian Die Cuts Dogs And Cats Scrapbook Scrap S2 Victorian Die Cut Scraps Lovely Ladies In Pink & Blue C1880Larger Victorian Die Cut Scrap Lovely Fuschia Bouquet C1880Vintage Die-cut Victorian ScrapsLarger Victorian Die Cut Scrap Lovely Decorated Easter Egg C1880