Scrapbookers create scrapbooks of specific events but also “general family scrapbooking” which includes “keeping up with vacations, birthdays, regular pictures.” A more out of the ordinary scrapbook subject is about a person’s occupation. One industry worker has a customer who is a musician and his scrapbooks are of his recital halls and music instruments and another respondent has a customer who did a page about the things the customer’s dog had eaten. In other words, while there are commonly scrapbooked topics, there are topics more out of the ordinary, too.
Respondents were given a list of themes. They were asked to check the themes that they have scrapbooked. They were also given a few open ended selections to provide more detail about the theme (see the study for a complete list of themes). The list of themes is based on Bjorklund’s (1998) list of topics that she used to analyze autobiographies. I used this list as a jumping off point for compiling my list because scrapbooks are “autobiographical occasions,” meaning “an opportunity to constitute an identity, to lay claim to one’s own life, to the right to tell one’s own story” (Vinitzky-Seroussi 2000).
All themes are scrapbooked by at least two respondents. The most popular themes to scrapbook are family (N=34), events (N=32), relationships (N=29), and holidays (N=28) (see the study for complete results).
For family-themes, husbands (N=17) are twice as likely as wives (N=8) to be scrapbooked. I suspect this is because most respondents are women and only one of the men scrapbookers is even married. The immediate family as a unit (N=27) is the most common way family is scrapbooked.
Vacations (N=31) are the most popular event to scrapbook, followed by weddings (N=24), concerts (N=20), sports (N=18), musicals (N=13), and funerals (N=8). The popularity of vacations among my respondents could be due to social class reasons as my sample skewed middle to upper-middle class. Though vacation, wedding, and sports-themed scrapbooking products are quite popular, there are fewer products (if any) devoted to concerts (outside of marching band-themed product), musicals, or funerals. I’ve created several scrapbook pages about concerts both with and without photos. I don’t think I have ever scrapbooked a funeral, but I have scrapbooked about people who have died.
Friendships (N=28) are the most common relationship scrapbooked. The theme relationship contains the subthemes friendships, boyfriend, girlfriend, dating, breakups, and divorces. Boyfriends (N=14) are almost twice as likely to be scrapbooked compared to girlfriends (N=8). Interestingly, five respondents have scrapbooked breakups and two have scrapbooked divorce. I began scrapbooking after I met my husband. I did scrapbook ex-boyfriends as they were part of my past whenever I did scrapbook that time period in my life. I did a quick google search because I don’t really know what sort of tips are out there for people scrapbooking the divorce itself or dealing with photographs from that part of a person’s life. I’m curious to learn what people do. Please comment if you have seen anything much beyond chat room chatter on this topic.
Christmas (N=18) is by far the most popular holiday scrapbooked with Easter and the Fourth of July (N=7) tying for second. Other holidays scrapbooked are New Year’s Eve, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day, Chanukah, St. Patrick’s Day, Rosh Hashanah, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Pagan holidays (e.g., Ostara, Lammas, Yule, and Samhain). This is somewhat surprising in that when we think of scrapbooking products, what tends to be emphasized is Christmas, Halloween, and Valentine’s Day, but these are not the three most popularly scrapbooked holidays among my respondents.
What themes do you most frequently scrapbook? What are some of the more out of the ordinary themes that you scrapbook?
References (affiliate links)
Bjorklund, Diane. 1998. Interpreting the Self: Two Hundred Years of American Autobiography. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press. (Public Library)
Vinitzky-Seroussi, Vered. 2000. “ ‘My God, What am I Going to Say?’: Class Reunion as Social Control.” Qualitative Sociology 23(1):57-75.