October 4, 2015 Sarah Ashlock
This competition is open to any interested individual or organization for the study of any aspect of ephemera, defined as minor (and sometimes major) everyday documents intended for one-time or short-term use. It is expected that this study will advance one or more aims of the Society.
Brinkman used his funding to visit the archives at Yellowstone National Park, to examine in detail dozens of scrapbooks from the 1880s to the 1970s, containing ephemera such as postcards, ticket stubs and dining menus. Why did he choose scrapbooks?
One of the things that has drawn me to the study of scrapbooks is the way in which scrapbookers often use the materials of mass print culture to convey their personal stories–how they individualize the general through juxtaposition and marginalia. Such materials might include clippings from newspapers and magazines, and in the case of the Yellowstone scrapbooks, also often include such other ephemera as maps, train tickets, and dining menus.
One thing that struck him as particularly interesting were the number of times visitors juxtaposed a postcard image of a natural feature, such as Old Faithful or the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, with a personal photograph (with or without a human subject) _ as if the "official" public postcard legitimated the photograph and the photograph made the public scene a personal one. He has posted a preliminary response to his experience toward a more formal academic essay at his personal website.
If you are interested in applying for the 2016 fellowship, please apply here by December 1, 2015.
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