The development of scrap books and albums date from the 18th century, they contained a wide variety of printed material, as well as paintings, drawings and “...a medley of scraps, half verse and half prose and somethings not very like either, where wise folk and simple alike to combine, and you write your nonsense, that I may write mine.”
With its elaborately embossed binding the scrap album or scrap book was an object of admiration, giving endless and pleasant recreation for its owner. Early albums, compiled mainly by young ladies of some social standing, were neatly arranged with poetry and original writings, often florid and sentimental together with the other accomplishments expected of every intelligent and well informed young lady - drawing and painting.
Suitable items were added with care and enthusiasm for when the book was complete it would be her most precious possession commanding a place next to the family bible upon the drawing-room table.
The flourishing period for scrapbook compilers achieved its height of popularity with the arrival of colour printing. From the mid 1860s Valentines and Christmas cards, with their paper laced and embossed decorations, colourful scraps and beautifully printed chromolithographs provided a ready supply of material for pasting into albums.
Scraps, stamped embossed reliefs, chromos or die cuts are small paper images printed by the process of chromo-lithography and embossed.
After printing of the scrap the sheets were coated with a gelatine and gum layer which gave the finished sheets a glossy surface, embossing came next giving the scrap their three-dimensional look.
The final production process was to pass them through a punching / stamping press to cut away the unrequired areas of paper from the design leaving the individual images connected by small ladders, often bearing the name or initials of the maker.
The elaborate use of stamping can often be seen in uncut scrap sheets. Optimum use of space, required minimal cutting and lead to the intricate and ingenious design of the cutting die.
Examples of Newfoundland Dogs on Victorian Die Cuts
Small chromolithographed cards were a popular medium for rewards of merit in the late 19th century and were carefully pasted into scrap albums where they could be viewed at family gatherings to show the childrens accomplishments at school.
The Reward of Merit was given by the teacher to a pupil for amongst other things punctual attendance, good conduct and improvement at school.
"The Animal Story Book" by W.H. Kingstorm Published by DeWolfe, Friske & Co.
THE NEWFOUNDLAND DOG AND THE MARKED SHILLING
I must now tell you a story which many believe, but which others consider "too good to be true."
A gentleman who owned a fine Newfoundland dog, of which he was very proud, was one warm summer's evening riding out with a friend, when he asserted that his dog would find and bring to him any article he might leave behind him. Accordingly it was agreed that a shilling should be marked and placed under a stone, and that after they had proceeded three or four miles on their road, the dog should be sent back for it. This was done the dog, which was with them, observing them place the coin under the stone, a somewhat heavy one. They then rode forward the distance proposed, when the dog was dispatched by his master for the shilling. He seemed fully to understand what was required of him; and the two gentlemen reached home, expecting the dog to follow immediately. They waited, however, in vain. The dog did not make his appearance, and they began to fear that some accident had happened to the animal.
The faithful dog was, however, obedient to his master's orders. On reaching the stone he found it too heavy to lift, and while scraping and working away, barking every now and then in his eagerness, two horsemen came by. Observing the dog thus employed, one of them dismounted and turned over the stone, fancying that some creature had taken refuge beneath it. As he did so, his eye fell on the coin, which - not suspecting that it was the object sought for - he put it into his breeches pocket before the animal could get hold of it. Still wondering what the dog wanted, he remounted his steed, and with his companion rode rapidly on the an inn nearly twenty miles off, where they purposed passing the night.
The dog, which had caught sight of the shilling as it was transferred to the stranger's pocket, followed them closely, and watched the sleeping-room into which they were shown. He must have observed them take off their clothes, and seen the man who had taken possession of the shilling hang his breeches over the back of a chair. Waiting till the travelers were wrapped in slumber, he seized the garment in his mouth -being unable to abstract the shilling - and bounded out of the window, nor stopped till he reached his home. His master was awakened early in the morning by hearing the dog barking and scratching at his door. He was greatly surprised to find what he had brought, and more so to discover not only the marked shilling, but also a watch and purse besides. As he had no wish that his dog should act the thief, or that he himself should become the receiver of stolen goods, he advertised the articles which had been carried off; and after some time the owner appeared, when all that had occurred was explained.
The only way to account for the dog not at first seizing the shilling is, that grateful for the assistance afforded him in removing the stone, he supposed that the stranger was about to give him the coin, and that he only discovered his mistake when it was too late. His natural gentleness and generosity may have prevented him from attacking the man and trying to obtain it by force.