Making Memories: Albums and Scrapbooks

Photograph Album of Canadian Army Medical Corp Training

Photograph of two unknown CAMC recruits during training at Base Borden, Ontario, [1914-1918]

The Great War was the first war which was photographed on a grand scale by professionals, official war photographers and even amateurs. While officially frowned upon, soldiers and other war workers brought their cameras from home to document their war-time journey. They took photographs of their training in Canada and England, of their new friends, their tents, the battlefields, and anything else that caught their fancy. Soldiers had their portraits made into postcards to send to loved ones, and mass marketed postcards showing the devastation of the battlefields became a popular souvenir. 

The result was personal albums, which document their personal journey as seen through the eyes of the participants. These albums served many functions: they marked important historical moments and their individual contribution, they could be used to introduce their friends and loved ones to what they had seen and whom they had met, and could also function as a point of reminiscence and recollection in later years or as a precious family heirloom.   

Similarly, scrapbooks, which were created by combining photographs, clippings, notes, and ephemera, captured what was deemed personally and historically significant to one individual.

Explore examples of the Fisher Library's holdings of photography albums, including those made by Canadian, Belgian and French soldiers, and a scrapbook by clicking on the links to the left.

Three photography albums belonging to Muriel Mina English, a British Ambulance driver, can be found under "On the Road and in the Hospitals." 

Autograph and Scrapbook of the Great War

Page from an Autograph and Scrapbook from the Great War, [1916-1917]

Making Memories: Albums and Scrapbooks