As a former Harvard archivist and a lifelong saver, clipper and collector, novelist Caroline Preston understands the stories that souvenirs and memorabilia can tell.
Her newest book, The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt, explores one such story via a scrapbook so gripping and exquisite that we were hard-pressed to remember it wasn’t real.
Told as a compilation of vintage postcards, letters, magazine ads, ticket stubs, catalog pages, menus and more, The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt is set in the 1920s and follows a plucky aspiring writer from her small New England hometown to Vassar College (where she befriends a young Edna St. Vincent Millay) and on to bohemian Greenwich Village and ex-pat-friendly Paris.
Using her trusty Corona typewriter, Frankie supplements her clippings with pithy captions and diary entries about her life and loves, with some of the book’s most fun passages coming courtesy of her decidedly flapper-era voice.
But the coolest part is definitely pouring over all the real-life vintage ephemera–including a 1920 Sears Catalog and a pack ofgypsy fortune-telling cards–many of which come from the author’s personal collection.
Plus, the glimpses at ’20s fashion are truly divine–or, as Frankie might say, “simply the bee’s knees.”