Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Happy Archivist

Here's a good WSJ article about collectors and their collections.

This sounds like an interesting fellow: A collectibles researcher in Vera Cruz, Pa., Mr. [Harry] Rinker, 64, himself collects everything from jigsaw puzzles to antique toilet paper. But he thinks sentimental "accumulators" need a reality check. "Old-timers thought the next generation would love their stuff the way they did," he says. "Well guess what -- it's not happening." He advises: Enjoy your collections, die with them, and have no expectations about anything after that... ..."Collecting is about memory, and young people today have a different memory base," explains Mr. Rinker, who is well known in antiquing circles for his books and personal appearances. He lives in a 14,000-square-foot former elementary school in Vera Cruz, Pa. He uses the classrooms as storage spaces for his 250 different collections. He says he doesn't care what becomes of it all once he's gone, and if his children opt to use his rolls of century-old toilet paper, "that might be the finest honor they can give me."

Now on the other hand, even with collections of a more modest scope, some people still run into obstacles: Some collectors now accept that younger people don't want their stuff. Philadelphia Daily News columnist Stu Bykofsky, 64, has collected the last editions of 79 daily newspapers that closed down since 1963. His adult children don't want the old newspapers, which fill a closet. "The only kind of paper my family wants is greenbacks and stock certificates," he says. He hasn't been able to find a university to take his collection, either. And now he's under the gun to get rid of it. He is about to marry his third wife, who is 27 years old, and in the prenuptial agreement, there's a clause that he must dispose of the collection by Dec. 31. She wants to store her shoes in that closet. "At least I can wear my shoes," says his fiancée, Jennifer Graham. "He never reads those papers, and besides, he likes how I look in my shoes." What a bitch! I hope she at least has something like this in mind. She'd better! Beeyotch.

Let me tell you one of the most wonderful things about The ♥GF♥ -- She lets me keep all my shit. Not only that, but she likes that I like it! I have stacks and stacks of cool stuff (some of which, I'll admit, I might not remember the exact significance of w/o a little reflection...) which in the aggregate would make the Fly Lady cough up her spleen. But, the other day The ♥ got me some frames and we hung up my Time Magazines from WWII in the hallway. (Specifically: 7/26/43, Gen. Patton; 9/27/43, House Speaker Rayburn; 9/25/44, Gen. Lee; 4/2/45, Gen Ridgway). Ah, the life of a happy archivist...

Update, 10:14 AM, Sunday 3/5/06: More comments on shoes vs. newspapers here, here, here, and here. Any of you librarians know of a good home for these papers, in case worst comes to worst?


Blogger whataboutitall said...

Nice blog entry.

Interesting and Funny.


4:36 AM  

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