The Biggest Scrapbook I Have Ever Seen

Boyd Scrapbook

Boyd Scrapbook

The library houses 100+ scrapbooks of a Mr. Charles N. Boyd. His bio can be found here and here, but briefly, Boyd was the co-founder and director of the Pittsburgh Musical Institute, a music professor at Western Theological Seminary, a long-tenured organist/choir director at North Avenue Methodist Church, the initiator/director of the Pittsburgh Choral Society, president of the Music Teachers National Association, a scholarly writer for Grove’s Dictionary of Music, and (ahem) somewhat of a paper hoarder.

Boyd’s scrapbooks are housed in the Oliver Room (rare books and special collections). They range in size and scope, from single subject small scrapbooks to six extremely large and fragile ones. The larger contain newspaper articles, magazine clippings, concert programs, and other ephemera from many sources and about many music topics, some of which have a direct Pittsburgh connection, most of which do not. We preserved intact the smaller ones and the ones containing information primarily about Mr. Boyd himself, articles he wrote, or groups and performances he participated in. For the large and larger ones (volumes 31-99 to be precise) we extracted just the articles pertaining to Pittsburgh music. I removed the bindings and created preservation boxes for them, consolidating volumes when possible. We created finding lists, and then collated all of the information to create a web page for this collection:

This project took a little over a year to complete.

On one of Kathie Logan’s last days before she retired as Head of the Music Department in 2011, the whole Department went up to the Oliver Room to see what music-related material there was and take an inventory. That’s when we discovered the biggest Boyd scrapbook yet, sitting sideways on a lower shelf at the back of the room all by itself. I was ready to treat it like all of the rest: extract just the material pertaining to Pittsburgh. As I wheeled it down from the Oliver Room on a book truck, I was struck with the idea that we might preserve this last one in its entirety for its value as an artifact. This would make it unusable for getting information from, but we have seen and saved lots of other similar articles from the others.  After talking with other staff members, we decided that it would be nice to keep it intact. Due to its fragile nature, we will not be able to open it up to make a finding list for it.

We consulted our in-house Preservation Department, and they said that they would make a special box for it.

I think perhaps it might have been serendipity that made us overlook this last Boyd scrapbook.  It will be nice to display this interesting behemoth at special events.

Large and Fragile

Large and Fragile

Interesting Behemoth

Interesting Behemoth



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7 responses to “The Biggest Scrapbook I Have Ever Seen

  1. Eleanor "Serene" Mendicino

    How can you stand not knowing what might be in it?

  2. The museum I work at has a scrap-book similar to this.

  3. hadassah34

    Is there some way I can run off a copy of a picture of this scrap book? I keep writing notebooks and looking at this one is a kind of inspiration to me.

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