There are lots of words. I like words. I write words. I like to learn new words. I even like to read the dictionary. Some words have similar meanings, some are opposites of each other. Some words are used for a certain situation and time period, then they evolve into another word entirely, for the same type of activity.

That is what I am writing about today. There are three that seem to have switched places over the years. These are….

1. Photo Albums

2. Scrapbooks

3. Smash Books

Take the photo album. For many years it has been thought of as a place to put your snapshots in book form. You buy a book that has blank pages designated for this purpose. There are lots of ways to stick them in and be a bit creative in the layout. In earlier days you would purchase little stick on photo corners to hold the photos in place. Mostly they would be arranged in a row, with maybe a caption underneath saying who was in the picture.

Later on there were the magnetic photo books. You’d peel back a clear film on the page, arrange your pictures on the sticky cardboard, then pull the filmy plastic back over them to protect them.

There were also books that had separate picture sized holders which you just slipped your photo into.

To me, that is a photo album.

Next we have scrapbooks. People have been scrapbooking for many years. It would consist of a purchased blank book, usually large, with paper pages. On these pages people glue in all types of things. These could and did include photos, but also souvenirs, mementos…something you wanted to save to remember. There could be bits of colored paper, cards, ticket stubs, newspaper clippings, and whatever the person felt like including in their book. It was a personal record of their interests and reflected their individual personality.

To me, that is a scrapbook.

Here is where it gets tricky, and the words seem to have switched places.

What people of today are calling ‘scrapbooking’ is by my reasoning, just a pretty, decorative photo album. Photos arranged on a page with some cute purchased thematic stickers or cutouts pleasing to the creator of the book.

What was once actual scrapbooking is now called a ‘smash book’. It’s the same as it always was, just using a different word.

When and why they switched, I don’t know. I have been doing the traditional scrapbooking since I was a kid. There were a few years that I didn’t glue anything into books, but I saved all my bits and pieces of items I would eventually use to fill them. When I did begin to do this, I found the words had changed as to which was which.

All words put aside, though, if you like doing pretty photo albums, or scrapbooks, or smash books, it is a wonderful and creative process. It is fun to look back at the pictures and remembrances that you saved, and for later generations to look at and have more of a sense of who you were at that time in history.


***note, this was written on my other blog in December, 2013


Thanks for visiting! Peace }i{

© 2017 BS

12 responses »

  1. To me, I think a photo album is used to organize photos while a scrapbook is used to record a moment in pictures and maybe some words. In my opinion, I don’t think there’s a way to be artistic with photo albums but scrapbooking is all about artistic creation.

  2. I have never heard of smash books before now. I have scrapbooked things for donkey’s years..my wedding album is a scrapbook with napkins, flowers, invitations, a few (very few) pictures. Mostly just memorabilia from the ‘big day”..and I have at the very least 20 photo albums.

    • I hadn’t heard of scrapbooks being called smash books, either, until I was wondering why photo albums were now being called scrapbooks. I have lots of both, but traditional scrap booking means, to me, you put all kinds of memorabilia in the pages, not just photos.

  3. Quite true. I had an earnest scrapbook phase, about a decade or so. Made books for all the kids, some for us as a family, some as gifts. I would say I’ve got a bit of smash in mine — ticket stubs, maps, diaper pins, napkins. Since everything got so digital, I can’t tell you the last time I printed pictures. Maybe 2014 for Sassy’s last book. Maybe. My mother nags me for analog pics all the time. *sigh*

    • I think that’s the best kind, with a little bit of everything in the pages. My daughter still gets printed out photos from Shutterfly, and gives me a bunch, so they go into a regular photo album. I should get some printed from the 35mm films I still have from a long time ago. Don’t even know if they are still any good.

      • I have no idea how old they are, or even what’s on the photos! I’m going to make a point of getting them done. It will be a surprise! 🙂

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