More than half a century after her death, Janis Joplin’s legacy continues to loom large. Her estate kicked off this year with a 50th-anniversary edition of Pearl, while a children’s book featuring the icon teaching nouns arrives this spring. And, on June 10th, fans can take a deep dive into her personal archives with the scrapbook Janis Joplin: Days & Summers.
The scrapbook contains rare photographs, unpublished letters, newspaper clips, souvenirs, and more, documenting her career from 1966 through 1968. It features annotations from Joplin herself — as well as her family and friends — with an introduction by Grace Slick.
Joplin’s early years in Port Arthur, Texas, are also featured; she began scrapbooking while at Thomas Jefferson High School in the late Fifties. The pages show class photographs, programs of plays, valentines, ribbons, and other memorabilia.
“Our mother was into photo albums and shared a lot of the family,” Joplin’s younger sister Laura tells Rolling Stone. “We learned about our own life in keeping a scrapbook, in our awareness that the page was an expression and how we we used it. And Janis really got into it. She was visually an expressive person as well as a singer.”
The scrapbook is exactly how Joplin kept it; no editing was involved. “It came together through the curiosity and desire of Janis,” Laura says. “It gives you a way to focus on the smaller moments in a person’s life, and so much of who a person is comes from those moments.”
Later pages examine Joplin’s rise to fame, from playing gigs in coffee houses to joining Big Brother and the Holding Company. Vibrant photographs and posters show the psychedelic San Francisco scene with the Grateful Dead, while several spreads are devoted to Joplin’s breakthrough performance at Monterey Pop Festival in 1967.
“Monterey Pop was her primary introduction to the world,” Laura says. “It launched her career in that sense in terms of her musical performance. I think that Janis’s feminine energy and excitement created an identity.”
Clippings also feature Joplin’s tours and travels, including her performance at Woodstock in 1969, photos from one of her several appearances on The Dick Cavett Show, and an envelope she mailed to her father while staying at the infamous Hotel Chelsea in New York City.
Janis Joplin: Days & Summers is hand-stamped by the estate and limited to 2,000 copies. It’s sold as a collectors edition as well as deluxe, with the latter including a portrait of Joplin autographed by Slick. For Laura, the scrapbook offers a chance to revisit her sister’s memories. “She was six years older than me and was light years ahead in terms of her artistic ability and her curiosity,” she says. “I’d sneak books off her shelf that my parents wouldn’t let me read. She taught me about a world beyond my personal experience because she brought it home.”
“She was so important to me in my life and she lived for such a short time,” she adds, “but yet has had a legacy that has brought me into her life in a way that I never would have connected with if she had continued being able to speak for herself.”