Margery Somers Foster Center- Fall 2015 Internship

My name is Alexandra Steiger and I will be participating in an internship at the Margery Somers Foster Center this fall! I am currently working on my Masters Degree in Library and Information Science from the School of Communication and Information at Rutgers University.  I also received my Bachelor’s Degree in English from Rutgers.

Allie Steiger

My interest was certainly peaked when I heard about the project that was being conducted here at the Margery Somers Foster Center.

They have been conducting a project that will capture, restore, and preserve oral histories from women who graduated from the New Jersey College for Women.


The New Jersey College for Women became known as Douglass College in 1955 after Mabel Smith Douglass, the college’s founder.

In keeping with Rutgers’ mission of diversity, these women who were interviewed are from many different backgrounds and each have a unique perspective on life at the New Jersey College for Women.

I will be specifically looking into scrapbooks from students and graduates in order to provide visual representations of life at Rutgers. The team has found that Dean’s papers as well as yearbooks do not go far enough in creating a rich understanding of what life was like at the New Jersey College for Women.

Personally, I have made many scrapbooks of my family and friends in the past. Scrapbooking has become more commercial in recent years as stores like Michael’s and A.C. Moore have entire sections devoted to tools for scrapbooking. I understand the care it takes to insert and position memorabilia into a book that will hopefully be preserved for many years. Creating scrapbooks, as well as viewing them, produces a very strong emotional and nostalgic reaction for me. Throughout this internship, I would like to the see how the history of scrapbooking has shaped its current popularity.

Kayo Denda, head of the Margery Somers Foster Center, has already obtained one scrapbook from a woman named Florence Marshall who later became Florence Nash. Florence graduated from the New Jersey College for Women in 1929.

Florence Marshall Scrapbook Cover
New Jersey College for Women class of 1929 graduate, Florence Marhsall’s Scrapbook Cover

I will strive to find other depictions of life in that time period. I will be unearthing scrapbooks throughout my internship and I will share my findings as I move through the semester.