Tupper Scrapbooks Exhibit
Collections of the Print Department

3rd Floor, McKim Building, Central Library

Available on Flickr

Old Travel Scrapbook: Munich, 2000. Photograph by Abelardo Morell.

In conjunction with the exhibit Voyages (per)Formed at the Photographic Resource Center, we are pleased to present the Tupper Scrapbooks from the collection of the Print Department of the Boston Public Library. The Tupper Scrapbooks are part of the Print Department's collection of 19th century photographic travel albums. Mrs. Alice Stevens, the daughter of the man who assembled the albums, William Vaughn Tupper, gave the albums to the Library in 1953. In the 19th century began the American habit (compulsion) of documenting their journeys photographically. At the beginning of the 21st century we use digital and disposable cameras but at the end of the 19th century travelers were dependent on photographs sold by photographic shops in the cities that they visited. William Tupper assembled his unique albums using commercially produced photographs made by some of the finest operators of the day. His albums were a labor of love.

Voyages (per)Formed was originally shown at the Southeast Museum of Photography in Daytona Beach, curated by Alison Nordstrom. Alison discovered the Tupper Scrapbooks when a cancelled appointment in Boston gave her some free time to visit the Boston Public Library; the Tuppers eventually became the stars of her show. In addition to exhibiting the albums themselves, Alison was able to commission four artists to interpret the albums.

In June of 2000, one of the artists, the Boston photographer Abelardo Morell, spent two weeks photographing the Tuppers. We include in the show photographs by Mr. Morell with some of the albums that he photographed. We hope that by exhibiting Mr. Morell's work with the original objects that he photographed, we can present you with a rare opportunity to look through the eyes of a great visual artist.

We invite you to visit the Photographic Resource Center at 602 Commonwealth Avenue to see more of the Tupper albums and of the work of Abelardo Morell along with the other featured artists, Carol Flax, Peter Goin and Lorie Novak. The Photographic Resource Center gallery hours are Tuesday-Sunday: 12-5pm, Thursday: 12-8. Admission is $3/general public, $2/students and seniors, and free on Thursdays. The PRC is free to members and to school groups with appointments. The PRC is fully accessible. For more of the work of Abelardo Morell, there is a small exhibit of his photographs of several books damaged when the basement of the McKim Building flooded in 1998. To see the show, take the elevator to your left to the concourse level and go past the phones to the left.

Old Travel Scrapbook & Postcard: Tower of Pisa, 2000.. Photograph by Abelardo Morell (From the Tupper Scrapbooks).