Art News – 24 October 2012

Here is a wonderful, feel-good piece of art news to remember amongst all of the stories of vandalism and theft that have been recently plaguing the art world.  Our thanks to Mister John Feathers for amassing this amazing collection and his family for donating it to the Los Angeles Public Library so that the world can enjoy and learn from it.

A rare 1944 street map of Los Angeles County, collected by John Feathers

John Feathers spent his life collecting maps and, when he died in February at the age of 56, he had amassed a collection of approximately one million maps.  After he passed away, his family hired realtor Matthew Greenburg to go through the 948 square foot house slated for demolition and rent a dumpster to dispose of the contents.  However, when Greenburg entered the house and saw the incredible collection he couldn’t bring himself to throw everything away.

Realtor Matthew Greenburg holding a shelf with some of the maps from Feathers’ collection.

Greenburg called in the Los Angeles Central Library’s map librarian Glen Creason to evaluate the collection.  He immediately saw that Feathers had collected some very rare maps.  Feathers’ family is donating the incredible collection to the LA Public Library.  The acquisition will launch the library into the top five library map archives in the country, behind only the Library of Congress, New York, Philadelphia, and Boston.  Creason stated that, “This dwarfs our collection — and we’ve been collecting for 100 years.”

Feathers stored his maps all over his home.

The process of cataloging the maps will take up to a year and the shelving to house it is expected to measure 600 feet.  The oldest map in the collection is a map of Europe dated to 1592.  Feathers’ Map Collection will become an incredible resource for researchers worldwide.

Is there any item that you collect and do you hope to one day donate it or pass it on?

To read more on this incredible story: click here.

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3 thoughts on “Art News – 24 October 2012

  1. What a nice thing for that realtor to do! I wonder how often it happens that someone has to go through a house of a loved one and discards a valued collection of either historic or artistic value.

    My wife and I collect books, so our son will inherit a house full of old hardcovers and paperbacks. My wife collects popular fiction from the 1880’s – 1920’s. Authors who are out of print and mostly unknown now, like Joseph Lincoln, E. Philips Oppenheim, Gene Stratton-Porter, and Edna Ferber. I collect genre paperbacks from the 50’s and 60’s, Sci-Fi and Mystery, mostly for the cover art and design.

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