Credits: Supply Closet by Connie Prince, Happiness in Your Smile by Kathy Winters Designs


Historic Smashing

Lots of people have complained that Smash Books are not a new idea at all and some true scrappers, especially the paper purists, find them almost offensive. I don’t find them at all offensive, but I agree that they aren’t new. It’s just new that they are packaged and marketed.

I was born into a family with a line of women who lived long having known my great-great-grandmother and having had a close relationship with my great grandmother well into 30s. Now I’m the matriarch and have done the cleanup and walks through the memories of the estates before me. My Mom didn’t keep mementos quite like my smashing or scrapping, I have her poetry folder with hand written or computer printed pages of poems she’d written. There were also enough special items that I therapeutically made a “Mom and Me” 5X7 scrapbook after she died. It includes tickets from the Olympics and the 1984 World Series that we’d been to together. She kept things like that in a drawer and occasionally there were things like tat in her poetry folder. The only difference between that folder and a smash journal is the binding.

Grandma had a stapled book made out of linen stationery with word clippings and little notes that she’d done in high school. Tori had done similar books for friends just before she graduated from high school. Of course, she’d never seen her great-grandmother’s high school clippings book and I can’t tell if Grandma’s was one she made or if it had likewise been a gift she traded with a friend, but that idea of a book of clippings definitely transcended generations.

On the other side of the family, Noni’s old photo albums with photos held on black pages with photo corners also had newspaper clippings, drawings from grandchildren and prayer card memorials on the pages with the photos, not in any dedicated order.

Mums, my great grandmother, had a number of Bibles, but only one she read from every day. She’d made a plastic punch cover for it and it had passages underlined throughout it with notes and names in the margins. There were photos, clippings and prayer cards between the pages. Her everyday Bible was her smashing place!

One scrapbook heirloom we all wished we could find but never did was Grammy, my great-great-grandmother’s Elvis scrapbook. She was in her mid-60s when Elvis debuted and she loved him. “That boy is going to change music forever,” was her opinion and she collected stories and photos from newspapers and magazines and kept them all with her thoughts in a scrapbook through the years as he proved her right!

So, “smashing” may be a new term and the Smash Book Collection a new way of marketing an easy way to start it, but the concept is old. Through the years the term “scrapbook” grew into an art of its own and a business of its own too, but the original scrapbook concept never went anywhere and it really never changed. What was a “scrapbook” became various different renditions of scrapbook, then junk books (like a junk drawer with pages) then journals with little extras tucked between the pages. And now they are made or purchased “Smash Books.” They have a little more personality than the scrapbook page as an art form and the thick covers and heavy decorated spiral bound pages will be a novelty of the past in 50 years and future generations will touch what I have touched and see my handwriting and maybe even hold on to it for one more generation as a sweet family antique and a glimpse of the past.