Why “Amy’s Scrap Bag?”

The last couple weeks have been slow for Amy’s Scrap Bag: A Blog about Libraries, Archives, and History so I thought a bonus post might be in order.

I thought long and hard about a title for this blog.  At first I was thinking of playing off the concept of the “Renaissance Man” by being a “Renaissance Woman.”  After all, the concept of a “Renaissance Man” is that they do and know a little bit of everything.   In the end, I decided against this because the idea was already used too frequently (as based on a Google Search).

My next idea involved paraphrasing a book title for my blog’s name.  First, I thought about paraphrasing Laura Ingalls Wilder’s On the Banks of Plum Creek.  I decided against that because the local creek is too predominate of a feature in my state and I didn’t want to be tracked down to my exact address.  So I came up with a few more ideas based on other titles, mostly classics and Star Wars novels.  In the end, I chose a very obscure title by a very well-known author to paraphrase.  That title was Louisa May Alcott’s Aunt Jo’s Scrap-Bag. 

Aunt Jo's Scrap-Bag

Aunt Jo’s Scrap-Bag; Image from the blog “Louisa May Alcott is My Passion”

Aunt Jo’s Scrap-Bag is a collection of short stories Alcott created between 1872 and 1882.  In all, there are six volumes.  While never confirmed, Aunt Jo’s Scrap-Bag might have been originally written to entertain Alcott’s own niece and nephews.  The stories were definitely written for children’s entertainment.  It is at this point, I remind readers Alcott based Little Women and its sequels, Little Men and Jo’s Boys, on her own family, so a title including “Aunt Jo” clearly indicates a link to her previous work and might indicate a connection to her own family.  Also, keep in mind Alcott helped her widowed sister, Anna (Meg is the novels), raise her sons and Alcott raised her niece Louisa, known as “Lulu,” (daughter of her sister May; Amy in the novels) after Lulu’s parents’ death.  We might never know for sure, but these are strong connections.

I chose this title for two reasons.  First, it honors a favorite author.  Besides her most famous works, try reading some of her lesser known ones.  I especially love The Inheritance, Eight Cousins, Rose in Bloom, and An Old-Fashioned GirlSecond, like Alcott’s Scrap-Bag, my blog will be a collection of short stories.  However, in my case, stories will not be the only feature; I am also including tips, advice, and instruction relevant to the world of libraries, archives, and history.  Thus is will be a scrap bag of stories and information.  After all, one definition of scrap is “odds and ends,” and these are odds and ends of the written world instead of, say, fabric scraps.*

The links to all the books but The Inheritance are to Project Gutenberg’s reading/download formats for each book.  These options include HTML, PDF, EPUB, Kindle, and plain-text formats.  The Inheritance is not available via Project Gutenberg, so I linked it to Amazon.com.

Do you have a favorite novel by Alcott?  Have any of you read Alcott’s lesser known works?      If so, did you think?

* From my Webster’s Third International Dictionary.

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2 thoughts on “Why “Amy’s Scrap Bag?”

  1. My favorite Alcott novel: Eight Cousins — I read it so much that I had the entire book memorized at one point. My second favorite: Little Women, closely followed by Rose in Bloom and Under the Lilacs. I think I’ve read all of the LMA books that have been published but, beyond those that I mentioned and Little Men and Jo’s Boys, didn’t really care for any of them.

    • thehistorytourist, thanks for the comment and for following Amy’s Scrap Bag! I look forward to exploring your blog too.

      And thank you for sharing your favorite Alcott books! I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who has read a great deal of her work! And I agree, in addition to her famous three about the March family, Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom are among her best! (I still need to read Under the Lilacs…)

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