The Serendipitous Scrapbook

This little book doesn’t seem very promising, does it? 7 1/2 x 9 1/2. No cover. What did it look like the day it was purchased? Was it colorful? Textured? Patterned? We’ll never know. Why was it preserved? It looks like trash, inconsequential. Maybe it meant something to someone, long ago. Let’s find out.

120+ lined and pre-numbered pages. Chock-full of pasted on bits: reviews, interviews, letters, photos, telegrams. It is abandoned about 3/4 of the way in, eventually coming alive again in the final stages. The scrapbook covers the period 1920-1922. 

Outside: ugly and damaged. Inside: an invaluable and well-preserved look at the auspicious beginnings of a theatrical career that lasted, in one form or another, more than 20 years.

What an introduction to J! Simply irresistible. So here I am–a century after she mounted that first clipping–researching material for a book with her as its subject. Serendipitous, indeed.

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