The most important scrapbooking supply is the album itself, which can be permanently bound, or allow for the insertion of pages. There are other formats such as mini albums and accordion-style fold-out albums. Some of these are adhered to various containers, such as matchbooks, CD cases, or other small holders. When scrap artists started moving away from the "page" and onto alternative surfaces and objectives, they termed these creations "altered items" or now simply called "off-the-page". This movement circles back to the history of art from the 1960s when Louise Nevelson was doing "Assemblages" with found objects and recycled parts.
Marielen Wadley Christensen (pronounced as the names "Mary Ellen"), of Elk Ridge, Utah, United States (formerly of Spanish Fork, Utah) is credited with turning scrapbooking from what was once just the ages-old hobby into the actual industry containing businesses devoted specifically to the manufacturing and sale of scrapbooking supplies. She began designing creative pages for her family's photo memories, inserting the completed pages into sheet protectors collected in 3-ring binders. By 1980, she had assembled over fifty volumes and was invited to display them at the World Conference on Records in Salt Lake City. In 1981 Marielen and her husband Anthony Jay ("A.J.") authored and published a how-to booklet, Keeping Memories Alive, and opened a scrapbook store in Spanish Fork that ended up with the same name, that remains open today.
The advent of modern photography began with the first permanent photograph created by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce in 1826. This allowed the average person to begin to incorporate photographs into their scrapbooks. However, books or albums made specifically for showcasing photographs alone were not popularized in the United States until closer to 1860. Before that point, photographs were not thought of as items to be reproduced and shared. Demand for photo albums was spurred on in large part by the growing popularity of the carte de visite, a small photograph distributed in the same manner one might a visiting card.
Scrapbooking is a method of preserving, presenting, arranging personal and family history in the form of a book, box, card. Typical memorabilia include photographs, printed media, and artwork. Scrapbook albums are often decorated and frequently contain extensive journaling. Scrapbooking started in the United Kingdom in the nineteenth century, but is now primarily a United States phenomenon.