Friday, May 15, 2009
New Take on Scrapbooking
I've been working today on the repair of a 70-year old photo album for a friend of a friend. It's a photo-diary of four 17-year old boys' "voyage down the Arkansas and Mississippi rivers in their homemade boat." They left Tulsa on June 2, 1940, and arrived in Baton Rouge on June 25, 1940. The newspaper clipping announcing their arrival in Baton Rouge has an advertisement on the back of it for "large soft bath towels -- 10 cents."
The Log of Ha-Pe-Jo-Jo (the name of the boat) is neatly typed, with the date in black type and the entry in red. I can see the typewriter ribbon in my mind as I read every page. He went to so much trouble to keep this journal. It's put together with brass brads that are attached to a page in the album. I had to make a new page for that because the weight of that page and probably the number of times it had been handled, had torn it completely away from the binding.
He writes about buying a $30 1934 Ford to drive the rest of the trip after they hit New Orleans. They went to Atlanta and then headed back home to Tulsa. Long story short, they ended up selling the car for $18 and bought bus tickets home. Too many flats, the car too hard to hold together. They arrived home July 11, so their trip was about 6 weeks.
They had many "swell" dinners, saw quite a few "swell" shows, and generally had a "swell" time. It's a treasure of a book.
I've never met the man who took the trouble to document this incredible journey, but I've decided that my "invoice" for the repair of this book will be a request to meet him and perhaps get to hear him tell me the story himself.
Besides new pages for the front matter and adding some pages in the back for loose photos and news clippings, the repair was mainly the covers. I made completely new covers, using watercolor paper for the board part, covered it in black Strathmore, but covering it "backwards" so that the old cover of the album could be glued in its entirety to the front. The covers are under weights now and I hope to reassemble the album later this weekend.