The Adventures of My Scrapbooks
L. S. ALEXANDER GUMBY
In i$;o Mr. Gumby presented to the Columbia Library
his extensive scrapbook collection on the Am.erican Negro.
When completed it will consist of from two to three
hundred handsome volumes, each dealing with a particular
aspect of Negro activity. The story of Mr. Gumby's col¬
lection from its inception to its transfer to the Department
of Special Collections is one of selfless devotion of a col¬
lector to his project. It is a record of hope and failure, of
building and rebuilding throughout a lifetime.''
MY INTEREST in scrapbooks began in 1901 when I
was sixteen years old. My sister and I had gone to live
with our grandparents. We started a scrapbook in a
sample book of wallpaper left behind by some paperhangers. We
made our paste of flour and water, and mounted pictures and
newspaper clippings. I recall that the clippings about the assassina¬
tion of President McKinley in September, 1901, nearly filled our
My grandmother cherished a desire for me to become a lawyer,
and made it possible for me to go to Dover State College in Dela¬
ware. I entered college in 1902, but I spent only a year there. My
preparation was topheavy, and my own lofty impatience further
interfered with my studies. While at the public school in Salisbury
I had read widely, but I am afraid that I paid too little heed to the
need for sound fundamentals such as spelling, grammar, and the
like. Realizing my smart dumbness I left college before the final
^ This article is a revision of one that appeared in the Columbia Library World
for January, 1951. Since the Library World is sent almost entirely to officers and
employees of the Columbia Library, we thought that it should reach a wider
group of readers. The original article has been abridged somewhat, and iVIr.
Gumby has brought his story up to date.—Ed.