Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Scrapbooks, Part II


Back in 2005 I received an e-mail from Elsa Jean Davidson informing me she had in her possession the two Branscombe Choral scrapbooks that dated from 1934-1954.  Her grandmother and mother had been members of the Choral and were  keepers of the scrapbooks.  The scrapbooks were handed down to Elsa Jean to preserve.  

The Branscombe Choral scrapbooks reside with Gena Branscombe’s collection at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. 

Scrapbooks – books that hold mementos, pictures, documents, dried leaves or flowers, postcards, letters, announcements and more.  They help us reach back to precious memories of times gone by whether joy-filled, bittersweet or sad.  Scrapbooking is personal storytelling!

In 1872 Mark Twain, the author of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, patented a self-pasting scrapbook that had an adhesive grid pattern on each page.  Who knew this famous author was also an inventor? 

Gena Branscombe’s daughter, Gena Tenney Phenix, kept a scrapbook during her younger years including her years studying at the Royal Conservatory in London.  The scrapbook is in the possession of her son, Roger Phenix. 

Recently Roger shared pictures of his mother’s scrapbook that included an article written by poet and author Katherine Hale. Miss Hale writes of Gena Branscombe's life, studies and her compositional goals.  The article was published in a Canadian newspaper. 

There is a partial article, a recital program with her mother's Violin Sonata in A Minor as the last piece and a typed out commendation.  

What beautiful remembrances and a partial story of her mother’s life cherished by her daughter. 


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