The value of scrapbooks

Carefully compiled by their creators, scrapbooks can be very revealing. They can be informative, commemorative, and aesthetic, and give an impression of the owner as well as providing insights into a subject through the items they have preserved. We have a number of scrapbooks in our collections which show how varied they can be.  

Henry Mein was an award-winning architect and sculptor who developed an interest in ballet during the Second World War, attending the theatre when he was on leave from the army.  We hold 10 scrapbooks assembled by Mein which predominantly relate to ballet productions performed during the War. They inform us on how the arts were received during a time of great upheaval.

HM/1/2/6 Scrapbook on Ballet, 1939-1943

Ruby Ginner was a dance teacher who taught Bice Bellairs, founder of Guildford School of Acting. Ginner kept a number of scrapbooks documenting her career, signifying she felt proud of her achievements.

BB/N/13 Scrapbook on The Ginner-Mawer School in Cheltenham, 1947-1954

Geraldine Stephenson was a movement director who worked in film, television and stage productions. Stephenson arranged her scrapbooks retrospectively, recording details of her life and career through newspaper clippings, photographs, programmes and letters.

GS/8/2/4 Scrapbook on Geraldine Stephenson’s career, 1943-1955

Established in 1930, the Women’s League of Health and Beauty was an organisation for women to exercise and socialise with an emphasis on exercise bringing energy and peace. Their motto ‘Movement is Life’ highlighted the importance of physical health for overall well-being. Scrapbooks on the organisation show how their activities represented their ethos.  

Acc724/7/13 Scrapbook on the Women’s League of Health and Beauty, 1930s