Scrapbooks as cultural texts: An American art of memory

Tamar Katriel, Thomas Farrell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The largely invisible but pervasive American cultural practice of scrapbook keeping is examined in this essay. Through a synthesis of ethnographic and rhetorical methods, the cultural genre of scrapbook is defined and explored. Interview data from 55 informants are explored to disclose the meaning of scrapbooks as an artifact of life narration for many youthful middle‐class Americans. Phases of selection, organizing, and sharing indicate that the scrapbook is a text that needs to be captioned and performed for both the self and ‘other’ as audiences. In an era often characterized by loss of belonging and cultural fragmentation, this is an American art of memory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalText and Performance Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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