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Author of 'Writing with Scissors' to talk scrapbooking at annual writers reception

"Writing with Scissors" by Ellen Gruber Garvey
September 29, 2014

In the days before Google and the blogosphere, a new method of recording and interacting with media came to the fore in the 19th century: scrapbooking.

This under-studied trend in American popular culture touched the lives of nearly everyone from Abraham Lincoln to Susan B. Anthony, from emancipated slaves to Confederate soldiers.

Ellen Gruber Garvey, professor of English at New Jersey City University, will discuss scrapbooking as an intensely personal and democratic exercise in information processing, when she accepts the 2014 IHR Transdisciplinary Book Award, Oct. 9, at Arizona State University, as part of the annual Institute for Humanities Research Humanities Faculty Authors Reception.

The reception is an event to recognize and celebrate humanities faculty authors from Arizona State University and the substantial body of humanistic research reflected in their publications. Garvey is being recognized for her pioneering book, "Writing with Scissors: American Scrapbooks from the Civil War to the Harlem Renaissance." She will speak from 4 to 5:30 p.m., in the Traditions and Thorens Room of the University Club on the Tempe campus.

Garvey’s book explores the profoundly personal relationship Americans have had with media over the last 150 years through the lens of scrapbooking. By taking newspaper clippings, sermons and other pieces of information that they found relevant, Americans managed to interact with their media sources in a manner that would otherwise have been impossible due to race, sex or class barriers.

Garvey’s book provides a novel take on our familiar national history, recounting events, both major and minor, as told by the individuals who lived them and recorded them in their scrapbooks.

This event will feature Garvey’s text along with more than 70 other titles published in the last year by ASU Humanities faculty.

For more information or to RSVP for the Authors Reception, visit

The Institute for Humanities Research is a research unit of ASU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.