Thursday, December 2, 2010

A "Young Collector's" December Outing

The end of my first semester studying for a Ph.D. has been rather busy, and I have also been fighting a fever. However, my boyfriend, his classmate, and I battled crying babies and pushy old ladies (and men--I was scolded for looking through a pile of books a man set on the floor because they were too heavy to hoo!) at local tag sale this morning. 

Twenty dollars later...(some highlights):

Yeah, that's Printed Textiles by Montgomery for just $4  (he found it, actually, and, although he picked it up for me, I insisted that he hand it over immediately).  It's in very good condition.  There is a small tear on the dust jacket at the top of the spine, and there is some mold on the edge.  Otherwise, this is is great condition.  I am glad I resisted dropping $150+ for it the few times I have seen it around in book stores.

Well, I have always had a weakness for stationary.  This is a stack of paper labeled for the Alpine Hotel in Philadelphia, made in the 1910s.

I don't know much about eastern textiles.  This is stamped "made in Iran/8 x 8" on the back.  I think it's a printed cotton. 

Ok, I almost didn't take this home with me.  I prefer to purchase things that I can display.  This will probably stay in my closet until I buy a box for it.  At any rate, I love the color and the style, and the face and lining fabrics felt old based on my run-ins with old tetxiles when I catalogued furnishing fabrics.  I think the style is 1820s, but I need to do more close looking to determine how old it really is.  It may be a later nineteenth-century costume made in an early nineteenth-century style.

All in all, a good morning.  I need to do more research on the Iranian textile, the dress, and the Alpine Hotel, so stay tuned.

In the mean time, I came across a column and blog that you might find interesting.  Hollie and Andrew maintain The Young Antique Collectors blog, and they also write a column for the Maine Antiques Digest called "The Young Collector."

Their most recent column, "The Last of the Young Collectors?", raises some interesting and troubling questions about the future of collecting among younger generations.  I think that museums, historic preservation institutions, etc., should try to reach out more to their younger visitors and patrons, even if this does not translate into donations.  Individuals in the trade, students, museum staff, as well as those in academia all rely on continued interest in material culture among the public, and few in the field seem to be going outside their comfort zones to generate new interest.  Encourage the public to start collecting young and to start with the easy targets (tag sales, yard sales, estate sales, etc.)! 

If you, dear reader, are a young skeptic, get thee to an estate or tag sale and buy yourself a book shelf or dining table that is not made of particle board, and find something colorful to hang on your wall.  Trust me, standing in line on a crisp December morning for fifteen minutes is worth the years of pleasure and use you will get our of your bookshelf and framed print.  You may even learn something from your objects.


  1. Two links for me!
    I'll look forward to hearing what you find.
    What are your views on actually using the stationary?

  2. Great question. I think I acquired at least 100 blank pieces of, I don't see any harm in using a piece every once in a while. The collection may be sacred, but, at the end of they day, it's not a museum. I want to "live" with my antiques.