Document Actions

You are here: FRIAS Events Current Events Lecture - Ellen Gruber Garvey …

Lecture - Ellen Gruber Garvey (New Jersey University/American Literature & Gender Studies): Activists Repurpose Media: 19th Century Scrapbooks

When May 18, 2015
from 08:15 PM to 09:30 PM
Where FRIAS, Albertstr. 19, ground floor, large room
Contact Name
Contact Phone 0761 203-4216
Attendees universitätsoffen/open to university members
Add event to calendar vCal


Men and women 150 years ago grappled with information overload by making scrapbooks – the ancestors of Google and blogging. From Mark Twain to Frederick Douglass to Susan B. Anthony, African American janitors to farmwomen, people cut out and pasted down their reading. They devised ways of articulating opinions and compiling data without writing a word.

Scrapbooks let activists who didn’t own the press engage with media. Women’s rights activists documented their pioneering activities in scrapbooks and experimented with how to present their political work to varied audiences. They asserted that the press was not a simple record, but a set of conversations to read critically.

African Americans created scrapbooks to hold communal history. In hundreds of volumes, only a few years after Emancipation, black people asserted that they owned news and culture and passed along their critical, oppositional reading of newspapers.

In their scrapbooks, these nineteenth-century African American and women's rights activists reveal their personal, passionate, often critical, and always dynamic relationship to media.



Ellen Gruber Garvey is the author of Writing with Scissors: American Scrapbooks from the Civil War to the Harlem Renaissance, which has won four awards, and The Adman in the Parlor: Magazines and the Gendering of Consumer Culture, both from Oxford University Press. She is Invited Visiting Professor at the Université Paris 8/Vincennes-Saint-Denis for the spring 2015 semester.  She is a professor of English and Women's and Gender Studies at New Jersey City University.