Maplewood History: Scrapbooking – One Hundred and Forty-One Years Ago

My neighbor’s wife is a scrapbooker, I’ve heard.  I’m not sure exactly what these scrapbookers are doing or what their scrapbooks look like.  I’ve seen only a couple in the past. My grandmother started one when my father was born. My sister has that one.  A man once gave me one his grandmother, Marjorie Slavik Irwin, had made in high school for our historical collection at the library. I took a look at it and it seemed like something I would imagine a teenage girl would make.  A record in napkins, menus and matchbook covers of dances danced and dates dated.

There are about five scrapbooks in the trove of Sutton family artifacts.  Truly I should probably call it the Sutton, Thomas, Grumley, Hayes, McConnell collection with the emphasis on Thomas.  William Lyman Thomas had made two that survive. One in 1900 and another in 1901. His wife, Kate, made one that begins in 1877 with the obituaries of her father, James C. Sutton. Their daughter, Emma kept a journal dated 1885.  Additionally there is a memorial scrapbook to their daughter, Kittie who passed when she was only twenty years old. I would suspect that their other children may have made their own scrapbooks or journals that most likely followed them wherever their lives took them.

There exists a wealth of information in these hand-filled books.  I say hand-filled because they were store bought with pregummed pages.  At least one brand was manufactured by a fellow that most of you would recognize – Mark Twain.  I don’t know if he made any money off of his scrapbook venture but I can say that his glue is still holding well one hundred and forty-one years later!

The cover of Kate Sutton’s scrapbook. From the collection of Chrissie Hayes McConnell, descendant of William Lyman & Kate Thomas. Photographed by Doug Houser May 3, 2018

Look who made it. Her clippings begin with the obituaries of her father, James C. Sutton who died July 19, 1877.  Some of these clippings are very long but my audience includes a bunch of readers so here goes.  I’ve read them myself and they’re worth it.  I’m not sure until I post these if they’ll be easy to read on your cell phones.

An undated photograph of William Lyman Thomas from wife, Kate’s scrapbook. I suspect but can’t yet prove that Thomas wrote this obituary of his father-in-law. I hope everyone that wants to can read this without difficulty. I’m leaving on a short vacation early tomorrow so I won’t be able to work on any of this for about a week. Enjoy your summer weather. Doug


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