19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century, No 5 (2007)

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'A Storehouse of Past and Present Manners and Customs': the Private Scrapbook becomes a Communal Record in the Journals of William Hone

Louis James

Abstract


The early-nineteenth-century private scrapbook and family album is in direct parallel with the format of the miscellanies of curious and ‘useful' information in early Victorian popular periodicals. An unacknowledged pioneer in this transition from private artefact to print culture was William Hone's The Every-Day Book, which not only offered a collage of English life and customs, but invited readers to contribute to it from a private ‘scrap-book, or portfolio or … collection.' In effect, Hone was proposing social history written by the people. Many decades before the Internet created the surfer-interactive ‘Wikepedia', Hone proposed a ‘storehouse' of knowledge created by its readers.

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