George and Ann RichardsCivil War Era Center

Colored Conventions
Ellen Gruber Garvey Talk

Ellen Gruber Garvey Talk

WhenJan 30, 2014
from 02:00 PM to 03:00 PM
WhereFoster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library, Penn State, University Park

Visiting scholar Ellen Gruber Garvey will give a presentation, “Hidden Histories: African American Scrapbooks Talk Back to the White Press in the 19th Century,” on Thursday, January 30, 2–3 p.m., in Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library. Garvey is the author of “Writing with Scissors: American Scrapbooks from the Civil War to the Harlem Renaissance,” a recent book from Oxford University Press that breaks new ground analyzing and discussing scrapbooking as an historical and cultural practice. A book signing in Mann Assembly Room, 103 Paterno Library, will follow the presentation and books will be available for sale.

In particular, Garvey, who is professor of English at the New Jersey City University, will discuss how African Americans used scissors to write Black history, based on her work with the scrapbooks of many early Black scrapbook makers, including William Henry Dorsey, the son of an escaped slave and an extraordinarily prolific scrapbook maker. Born in 1837 in Philadelphia, Dorsey made about 400 scrapbooks between 1860 and 1903, mostly about Black life and history. Even W.E.B. Du Bois consulted Dorsey’s scrapbooks while writing “The Philadelphia Negro.” Dorsey’s collection gathers information to assert the complex place of African Americans in U.S. history, often wresting black history from the hostile white press.

Garvey’s talk is jointly sponsored by the Penn State University Libraries and the Richards Civil War Era Center. It is held in conjunction with a research grant funded by the Penn State Africana Research Center that is supporting Penn State Libraries Digitization and Preservation Department’s condition assessment of the monumental William Dorsey Scrapbook Collection, currently on loan from Cheyney University of Pennsylvania.

For more information or if you anticipate needing accessibility accommodations or have questions about the physical access provided, please contact Sabra Statham at or at 814-865-0526, during normal business hours.