Thursday, March 20, 2008

Just What Is A Collection?

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less."

The purpose of this blog is to explore my collection of photographs. But what exactly constitutes a collection? I do know that when it comes to collecting, there is an old saying that goes - "you must stand for collecting something or you will fall for collecting anything." Alright, close enough!

2 a : something collected; esp : an accumulation of objects gathered for study, comparison, or exhibition or as a hobby

Combining several sources my rather Humpty Dumpty working definition is:

This collection is a group of photographic images, including associated materials, assembled by me into a unit for cataloging, exhibition, and research purposes. The collection's characteristics are that:

(1) the items are the product or collection of one or more persons or family group;

(2) the items have inherent unity by virtue of their medium or format;

(3) the items have inherent unity by virtue of a single topic or several thematically related topics.

So in plain language - I have a collection of vintage photographs, the medium is photography. The collections within that medium are the following formats - Daguerrotype, Ambrotype, TinType, Carte-de-Visite, Cabinet Cards, Photo Postcards, and Albums.

Each of those collections fall into the thematically related topics of "Men and Dogs," "Women Wearing *******," and "Weird, Strange or Unusual." (I am not yet prepared to discuss what the women are wearing, but I will eventually.)

The next question is - How many items are necessary to form a collection? I have asked this question of just about everyone I know and after much input and deliberation my HD definition is "three of anything associated" constitutes a collection.

One of anything is a treasured possession!

Two of anything is a pair!

And Three of anything is a collection!

Now these definitions are a work in progress and I would love to hear your opinions. I am more than willing to incorporate the good stuff you pass along to me.

My husband, Mr. Maven, will be thrilled to know that in many circles the word hoard is used interchangeably with collect, as that is what he calls my passion.


Blogger Terry Thornton said...

Maven, This is wonderful to get to see your collection --- I look forward to your new venture.

Technical question! Didn't you just seamlessly switch us from one blog (page 1) to another blog (page 2)? WOW! I'm impressed. [Is this part of the "book" approach you were discussing the other day?]


March 21, 2008 at 1:18 PM  
Blogger Ann said...

I have been reading blogs for over a month now and am really addicted, but haven't yet posted a comment. I couldn't resist your new blog--it's very much like a "paper" I wrote for a seminar on Cataloging. Working from photographs I had accumulated in the 5 years prior to going to library school, I chose those I felt more interesting such as my sister using a diving mask while she chopped onions, my big feet while lying in a hammock, beautiful scenes, etc.

I had more fun with that project and made up a game with photos on each page with appropriate subject headings from the Library of Congress and asked which Library of Congress system code could be assigned.

That project is still dear to my heart even though I am now a retired librarian and it has long since been packed away.

Our extended family (with a common great grandfather) have been collecting some of the family photos to post on the family group site at Yahoo. Some I had never seen before some need restoration, and I'm afraid many of the members have discarded photos they cannot identify.

I will be following the new blog to see what other uses you have that I can "adapt/steal?" for use with our photos.

Thanks for sharing your creative ideas.


March 21, 2008 at 4:45 PM  
Blogger Susan said...

How delightful to find your new blog and be able to relate! I thought I was the only one to "collect" photographs whether or not I can identify the subject. It's going to be fun to read your posts!
Sue Edminster

March 21, 2008 at 8:00 PM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...


Technical answer - no, it's just html sleight of hand and if you want to know how, just email me.



Thank you for commenting here and welcome!

I really look forward to your input, as you have worked on a similar project.

I am one of those people who have to have a plan, and that's where I'm headed.



Good to hear from you again and so glad to know you are a collector as well.

I am working with the UW's database of photographers and trying to collect a representative photograph of each Washington Photographer.

I'd love it if you had something you'd like to share, just email me.


March 22, 2008 at 9:49 AM  

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