Understanding and Digitizing Scrapbooks to Uncover Hidden Histories in Archival Collections

My capstone project highlights an underused archival object, the scrapbook, and how it uncovered a hidden history within the Archives of the Archdiocese of New York. My project culminated with a digital exhibit titled, “Cardinal Patrick Hayes and the Archdiocese of New York in the Bahamas.” This exhibit takes a look at a 1922 scrapbook and how it is vital to understanding the role that the Archdiocese of New York played in the Bahamas.  The Bahamas was under the jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of New York from 1885 to 1932, a not commonly known fact. The scrapbook documents the first trip that Cardinal Patrick Hayes took to the Bahamas in 1922, as leader of the Archdiocese of New York.  It contains items such as photographs, newspaper clippings, postcards, and menus. Extensive research was conducted in order to piece together the narrative of the scrapbook, as there were no captions throughout it.  The entire scrapbook was digitized and linked with the appropriate metadata. The scrapbook lives on the exhibit website as a slideshow, allowing you to flip through its pages like you would in person. The remaining exhibit tabs provide context for the scrapbook and highlights the  important people and events.  Ultimately, this project shows the importance of scrapbooks in archival collections, preserves and provides access to one of the many scrapbooks at the Archdiocesan Archives, and invites researchers to explore a unique part of the Archdiocese’s history.