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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 13 Nov 2017 20:23:10 -0600
Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
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Kevin Mac Donnell <[log in to unmask]>
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The Mark Twain Scrapbook is nicely written up in a book on scrapbooking that 
I reviewed in the Forum a few years ago. As claimed in the advertisements, 
it was a clear improvement over the practice of having to apply your own 
paste. That could get messy. I have over 50 examples--all different cover 
designs and sizes--and this includes some unused ones. The pages do often 
stick together, but this should not comes as a surprise for a book kept over 
100 years in a barn, house, or attic without the benefit of humidity and 
temperature control. I'd get a bit sticky myself, probably within days. But 
I have many more examples whose pages have not stuck together, and the glue 
is remarkably stable. The glue used in some self-adhesive photo albums of 
the 1970s is notoriously unstable and often reacts very badly and destroys 
whatever is stuck in the album. Not so with the Mark Twain Scrapbooks.

The thing was a success and was produced from 1877 to at least 1901 (the 
date of the last catalogue I have listing them).

Mac Donnell Rare Books
9307 Glenlake Drive
Austin TX 78730
Member: ABAA, ILAB
You may browse our books at:

-----Original Message----- 
From: Martin Zehr
Sent: Saturday, November 11, 2017 12:46 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Mark Twain Scrapbook

Mark Twain scrapbooks are not in the rare category of Twain collectibles,
as far as I can determine, and Kevin Mac Donnell can attest. They come in a
variety of covers and sizes, with the "Mark Twain" trademark prominently
displayed inside the front cover. They come up on ebay once in awhile and
I've purchased three over the years, none which were expensive.  They were
available from the 1870s into the 20th century.  The examples I have were
used and are interesting artifacts to peruse, the owners inserting news
items, bad poetry and personal items.  An unused example would undoubtedly
be more expensive, but undoubtedly less interesting.
Martin Zehr


On Sat, Nov 11, 2017 at 3:17 AM, Arianne . <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Thank y ou so much.  One of his scrapbooks plays a large part in
> my interest in Twain.  I've never checked, but I wonder if any blank
> ones ever come up for sale.  I imagine plenty of used ones might.  I
> assume the collection of scrapbooks    held by the Mark Twain Project
> in Berkeley contain examples of scrapbooks the family created before
> the patent and some they made after.
> Arianne Laidlaw
> On Fri, Nov 10, 2017 at 11:38 AM, Robert M Ellsworth <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
> > Here is a direct link to the Google Patents page for the =91Improvements
> =
> > in Scrap-books=92 patent, from which you can download a PDF copy if the 
> > =
> > online documentation is too hard to read (as it very often is!)
> >
> >
> >
> > The idea is rather interesting: he covers the whole page with =
> > water-soluble glue or mucilage, and a user moistens just the area where 
> > =
> > something is to go, presumably most easily with a small brush or blot of
> =
> > paper.  Contemporary ads appear to show something between the treated =
> > gummed pages, perhaps material to which the gum left exposed between =
> > pasted items won=92t self-stick in humid locations.  Presumably there is
> =
> > some care to provide =91adhesive=92 that will not stick until desired, =
> > perhaps dusting with (dyed) cornstarch or similar material to form what 
> > =
> > parents with diapered children might know as =91a barrier layer=92.
> >
> > The accounts I=92ve read say that he made ample profit from this =
> > invention, and my guess is that the name recognition was a large part of
> =
> > the attractiveness.  Perhaps it would still be, if anyone decided to =
> > =93re-introduce=94 these with modern materials =85 I can think of a few 
> > =
> > improvements just looking at the patent drawings.=
> >
> --
> Arianne Laidlaw A '58