What do you do with all the memorabilia you collect (other than make it into a fun work of literature) do you display it (how)? Keep it for craft projects?
Caroline: It’s proving a challenge to figure out what to do with boxes and boxes of 1920’s ephemera I collected for The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt. I have limited storage space in my studio and I have to make room for my next project, so I am winnowing down.
I have framed some of the most beautiful magazine covers (from Saturday Evening Post, Colliers, McCall’s and Ladies Home Companion) and sheet music to hang in my studio. I am keeping the best 1920’s scrapbooks for my vintage scrapbook collection. The rest of the Sears Catalog pages, fashion spreads, and vintage postcards I am matting and giving away to family and friends. I have birthday, graduation, baby, house warming and wedding presents covered for the next decade.
How long did it take you to complete The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt?
Caroline: It took me about 20 months from the first crazy “Why don’t I make a novel that is actually a vintage scrapbook” idea to a finished manuscript. It took me a few months to figure out how I’d go about making a graphic novel and then to work out the details of Frankie’s story. Then I had to go about collecting the vintage ephemera for each chapter of Frankie’s life—from a New England village, to Vassar College, Greenwich Village, and Paris. In all, I collected 600 pieces of vintage ephemera from antique store and eBay. It turned out that making a 1920’s vintage scrapbook novel was a much more complicated and laborious process than I ever imagined—which isn’t surprising.
Have you thought about making more scrapbooks? Maybe of Frankie’s friends??
Caroline: I am planning to make a whole series of scrapbook novels set in different time periods. My next one is a scrapbook kept by a bride during her first year of marriage, 1959-1960. I think of it as a prequel to Mad Men. I don’t have any plans to return to Frankie Pratt, but I’m very fond of her, so maybe I will.
What is your favorite piece of memorabilia you have discovered?
Caroline: I can’t single out one single favorite discovery. There have been a few: a 1925 Sears catalog, a 1918 foldable portable typewriter, a bi-plane-shaped badge handed out on the streets of Paris when Linbergh landed, a flapper’s Bakelite cigarette holder, a luggage ticket from the Mauretania, a pair of cardboard eclipse glasses that allowed you to stare directly at an eclipse “in perfect safety.”
Do you scrapbook your own life?
Caroline: Like a lot people, I intend to scrapbook my own life, sometime, someday. For now, I just collect things about my family and kids in boxes. I have about 25 years of boxes right now…
Check out our review of The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt