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Re: I would rather burn them (was Re: Librarian responds) [Being posted for Jack Thompson]

 >>I have some 40,000 volumes in my private book collection....
 >Dear Art:
 >I can see how you would prefer to sell your collection...
 >Do you remember that piece of 60s wisdom which said: If you love them, set
 >them free ... ?
 >Richard Miller

The follow up on that wisdom was that if they do not return within a certain
period of time, go out and kill them

I don't own 40,000 volumes, but my conservation reference collection exceeds
4,000 volumes.  Other conservators have told me that I have no business owning
such a collection; that the books belong in a public collection.

Well, some of my books are exlibris; discarded by public collections.

A few years ago the librarian from the Getty Conservation Institute came
to my lab to make an offer for the collection; a couple of months ago a
book dealer told me that the Huntington Library was interested in acquiring
my collection.  I do not know if that is true, because the Huntington has
not contacted me personally, but I can say that the reason I built my research
library is that none of the university or public libraries in my part of the
country carried the books I required for my research.

If I have not sold the collection before I die, my wife & children will read
the letter I've left in our safe deposit box.  If possible, my collection will
go in one piece to either an institution or a private collector.  Failing that,
there are directions about how best to dispose of the 14 subject areas
represented in the collection.

A collection of books is not the end-all, be-all; it is only a speed bump
in the meaning of life (apologies to Monty Python.)


Jack C. Thompson
Thompson Conservation Laboratory
Portland, Oregon 97217

503/735-3942  (voice/fax)


Philobiblon: Book Arts, Different By Design
Hand binding, conservation, and project websites for historical agencies
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