Skip to Main Content
Skip to content

Cut & Paste: Scrapbooks and Memory Making: Home

utilizing scrapbooks from the Iowa Digital Library


In this class we will be looking at two scrapbooks created by college students at the University of Iowa. The scrapbooks are housed in the Special Collections and Archives at the Library, but have been digitized and are available in the Iowa Digital Library.

We will use these scrapbooks to learn about student life in the past and to think about records and memory making. 


Before you view these two scrapbooks, ask yourself what you expect to see. What people, places, or events do you think students from the past would want to create a record of? 

As you view the scrapbooks, take some notes on what strikes you as interesting or surprising. 

Hint: depending on your browser and internet connection, it may be easiest to "flip" through the pages by clicking the "Next" button located on the top right column, above the thumbnails, instead of clicking to each page by selecting the next thumbnail image. 


After viewing both scrapbooks:


What do scrapbooks typically document about someone's life? What narratives are the creators presenting about themselves/ their lives in these scrapbooks? 

Although Black students had been attending the University of Iowa since the 1870s, student dormitories were not integrated until 1946. What locations do you notice (either on campus or around town) in these photographs? 

Patrobus Cassius Robinson's scrapbook was made in the 1920s whereas Janet Pease's scrapbook is from 1963. How do these sources reflect different time periods? What aspects of the scrapbooks remained consistent despite the 40 year gap?



How do scrapbooks from the past compare to Instagram and Facebook? In what ways are their purposes and use the same and different? Think of audience, style, captions, etc. as well as the ways people record and access memories on social media. Articulate two key ways these media are similar and decide on what you think are the two most significant differences. 



Make a virtual scrapbook about your time at the University of Iowa via Padlet! This activity should get you to reflect on how memories are created, recorded, and remembered. You may choose to design your scrapbook for a friend or family member, like Janet - or keep the audience more general, like Patrobas. 

1. Sign up for a free account on

2. Click "+ make a Padlet" -- the "Canvas" template will allow you to place your items wherever you like on the page, but you can choose a different template if you'd like. 

3. Use a minimum of 5 tiles to post content and captions. You can also consider including material from newspapers or other sources, similar to the clippings Janet pasted into her scrapbook. 


This virtual instruction guide was created by Special Collections & Archives staff Liz Riordan ( and Kathryn Reuter (