A Tale of Two Obsessions: David C. Nolan & Marilyn Monroe and Arline Conradt & the Cat Scrapbook, 2011 - 2013
Conradt’s cat scrapbook, containing 3,770 reproductions of cats from the 1940s - 1950s, was a gift from my father (purchased in Milwaukie, Oregon in the late 1990s). Evidence inside this hefty book indicates that Conradt was from Western Oregon and she had a daughter named Paula, but there is no reference made to a significant other. Her mother is a prominent feature as is her sister Pauline who sent her the majority of the cards and drew cats in the style of Fernand Leger. There are notes and full paged letters addressed to Conradt’s cats: Smoky, Teat and Goldie. There is even a cat birth announcement. The most perverse objects in the book, however, are 70 year old cat claws taped to the inside of cards “signed” by Smoky.
All 310 pages of Conradt’s scrapbook are printed as wallpaper with three objects displayed on pedestals in the foreground: reproductions of the 1940s cat claw greeting cards with Smoky’s “signature” presented on two found photo album covers; a contemporary version of the scrapbook with 3,770 felines; and a greeting card dedicated to Arline with over 500 claws from 38 cats.