Could Mark Twain be the father of modern day Scrapbooking?
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OK... so that one is not fair...
What was Mark Twain's most profitable book during his lifetime?
Tom Sawyer or good ole' Huck you might say...
I'm afraid that you would be wrong. Twain, a lifelong reader, writer and observer apparently had a penchant for scrapbooking. This passion was more than likely due in part by the time in which he lived as well as the true need for documentation of his advertisements, criticism, release dates etc... Scrapbooking was a popular way of both sharing ones creative abilities as well as assembling what might be dubbed a "Victorian Facebook page."
By 1872, Twain had simply tired of the constant battle of 'man vs. glue' and set out to create his own version of the scrapbook. His version of the scrapbook featured his all-important stamp of approval (an official Mark Twain label and/or calling card of some sort) as well as pre-glued pages. Twain said his little invention was the “only rational scrapbook the world has ever seen.” By the early 1900's, it appears that over 57 varieties of the scrapbook had been produced from his patented (US PATENT #140245) idea. According to June, 1885 article in the St. Louis Dispatch, Twain had made over $50,000 from his scrapbook and only $200,000 from all of his other works combined.
You never know where one is going to turn up and quite frankly I have never had the chance to purchase one until today. Earlier, one of these books walked in the door of our shop in Leiper's Fork. The game of the purchase was up when my ears immediately perked up upon noticing the book in a simple box among a few other goodies and a few not-so goodies... I paid a fair price and the seller walked away happy. I have bought and sold valuable books before, but few have the power to turn me into that kid who just traded for a 1969 Topps Nolan Ryan Rookie. This one did.