Basil Thompson's Childhood Scrapbook and Journal

Basil Thompson was a poet and a prominent figure in the literary circles that flourished in postwar New Orleans.  His work was published in such magazines as The Smart Set, The Bookman, Current Opinion, Pearson's Magazine, and The Nation and in two slim volumes, Estrays and Auguries.  He was a founder and editor of The Double Dealer, a small but influential literary magazine based in New Orleans published from 1921 to 1926.  Thompson died of pneumonia at age 38 in New Orleans on April 7th, 1924.  The Double Dealer printed a bibliography of his poetry and prose and reprinted some of his writings in a memorial issue.

Basil Thompson’s Childhood Scrapbook, 1890-1910

Basil Thompson Papers (Box 4, Folder 4)

Complete with poetry selections, greetings cards, newspaper clippings, and images, Basil Thompson’s childhood scrapbook is a model example of late 19th Century scrapbooking. When researched, this scrapbook reads as a personal archive of young Basil Thompson’s interests and fantasies. Baseball player’s stats, circus programs, and pictures of pretty ladies, animals, and distant landscapes populate the volume. The pages employ a selection of the ephemeral flotsam and jetsam of Basil’s world presenting and preserving the personal within the larger framework of social class and custom.

Basil Thompson’s Journal, 1913

Basil Thompson Papers (Box 4, Folder 1)

Thompson’s journal is predominantly filled with lines of poetry and prose written by the likes of Shakespeare, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Edgar Allan Poe, and others. The last fourth of the book contains a travel journal from a voyage to Europe he took in 1913.

The pages displayed here are analogous to a Twitter feed, with its short selections of quotable content.  A correlation between both travel blogging and the practice of sharing inspirational quotes on social media can also be made.

Basil Thompson's Childhood Scrapbook and Journal