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A Guide to the Resources in the
Bentley Historical Library

Student Scrapbooks: The Michigan Experience

M Scrapbook Cover
University of Michigan scrapbook cover.
Audrey L. Wright Scrapbook

Student Scrapbook Indexes

The Bentley Historical Library has 88 scrapbooks documenting student life during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The majority of the scrapbooks date from 1900-1920, when manufactured scrapbooks were widely accessible and a popular way for students to record their experiences.

Scrapbooks served as a kind of diary, often employing the visual or artifactual character of objects in conjunction with textual information to tell the story of a student's years on campus. Many scrapbooks incorporate a wide variety of media within the context of a single volume. In addition to common pieces such as photographs, newspaper clippings, and programs, students utilized swatches of fabric, pressed flowers, locks of hair, and even an influenza mask to represent their experiences at the University of Michigan.

Researchers may find a variety of uses for the items in the student scrapbook collection. At an individual level, the books provide information about each author's experience at the University. On a broader level, the scrapbooks serve as a witness to changing social values, the growth of the University of Michigan, and the activities that comprised student life. They document, from the perspective of the participant, elements of student life that were often not recorded in any other way.

Student scrapbooks have been indexed by the names of the creators. The scrapbooks have also been indexed chronologically by decade and by common subjects documented in the scrapbooks. 

This website was researched and designed by Erin Passehl and Bill Cron.

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Last updated: 04/07 elp
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