Scrapbook History: George Henry Ellis

3 02 2012

 

The scrapbooks housed at the archives are definitely one of my favorite historic MSU artifacts. If you remember a while ago, I decided to pick up a random scrapbook and see what it had to offer (if you don’t remember, check out the blog post here). Today, I decided to do the same thing – I chose scrapbook number 60…

“George Henry Ellis 1907

His book of useful information.

Begun this 12th day of April A.D. 1905

Changed to a scrap book in September 1905”

Those words are written on the first page of the book and are followed by an image of Ellis. His scrapbook is quite unique. As I began looking through it, I noticed the typical images and newspaper clippings, but what made this one stand out as different was the unique set up of the book. It appears as though Ellis originally used it as a notebook for one of his classes (perhaps a math or engineering class) and then decided to convert it into a scrapbook.

By reading through Ellis’ scrapbook, we are able to get a very unique and rather comical view into the life of a M.A.C. student living in the early 1900s. Various images flood the pages, yet Ellis always adds his own clever captions:

Machine Shop “This room contains a lathe which Noah is said to have used in building the Ark”

Mechanical Drawing Room “Uncle Billy’s Hangout”

President’s Residence “Prexy’s house”

Williams Hall “Places of Interest 1. YMCA room    2. Three Frat Rooms      3. Bed Bug Alley”

Women’s Building “Chicken Coop – Club C; where they sling hash a la style”

Physics Laboratory “Home of the ‘Physicists’. ‘Much more might be said.’ We were all asleep.”

Battalion “These guns are relics of the Crusades”

He also included sheet music and many cheers that the students used to chant at athletic games back in the day. One of my favorite things in the scrapbook was an article titled “Five Girls in the River”; it tells of 5 co-eds walking by the river when they noticed a man with a camera and wanted their picture taken. When they climbed up onto a tree branch that hung over the river, the age of the tree came through and the branch gave way and snapped into the river taking the five girls with it. They were then rescued from their unexpected plunge bath by the man who was going to take their picture – nice guy!

Ellis’ scrapbook makes me wish that the pastime of keeping a scrapbook was still used today. I wonder what students would say about various aspects of campus in present times…hmm…

 

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