1

The Act of Collecting

2

The Object’s Voice

3

Whoops, It Broke

4

The Better Mousetrap

5

Plumb Wore Out

6

Taste Changed

7

Owners Lost Faith

8

Owners Lost Interest

9

Owners Grew Up

10

nobody cared

11

Got Lost

12

Part of Something Bigger

13

Used Up

14

Better in the Afterlife

15

A Bad Idea in the First Place

16

Never Made Enough

17

Provisional Utility

18

Made for One Use Only

19

Unintended Survivors

20

Mental Collections

21

So What’s Left?

22

Just in Time

About the Author

From the Author

From the field

From You

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From the Field

Karp deftly probes the psyche of the compulsive collector, and in so doing shapes whole new worlds of meaning. All those who believe in the power of objects—especially when creatively and intelligently grouped—will find In Flagrante Collecto a soaring manifesto to our material lives.

 
Paul S. D’Ambrosio, Vice President and Chief Curator,
New York State Historical Association
 

Die-cut printed tin tobacco tag, 1872-1935. USA

 

…Mecca for ephemera mavens. If soap shards can be made immortal, even human life might have some meaning.

 
Michael Blaine, Author of Midnight Band of Mercy and The Desperate Season
 

Group of foreign and domestic postage stamps, 1917-1979, 1"-2" high

 

Marilynn Gelfman Karp’s In Flagrante Collecto documents the social history of Twentieth Century America via a treasure trove of briefly loved and then cast off ephemera that speaks volumes about our tastes, sentiments, desires, fascinations, entertainments and anxieties with an at once tender and powerful voice that gleefully tugs at the heart strings. There is fun for all, but there is also infinite refinement of observation that sees (to quote George Santayana) “in things immediate and infinitesimal a sure premonition of things ultimate and important.” (from Reason in Society)

 
John Loring, Design Director, Tiffany & Co.
 

Babe Ruth sugar packet, c. 1960. Printed paper, 21/2" high. I.A.M. Packing Company, Perrysburg, Ohio, USA

 

Brilliant and beautiful; you’re bound to love it and learn from it.

 
Nina and Tim Zagat, Zagat Guides
 

Bride and groom cake topper, 1925. Painted porcelain, tulle veil, 3 1/2" high. Germany

 

Marilynn Karp lures the reader into a delightful, eccentric, and often astonishing love affair with the unloved cultural debris of our world. Her lively prose is a unique combination of factual detail, humor, and rigorous analysis of the why and wherefore of collecting. This imposing volume of the love and lore of collecting and collectors will stimulate even the most lethargic of armchair voyagers to hasten to the next flea market and antiques show without delay.

 
David Revere McFadden, Chief Curator,
Museum of Arts & Design
 
From the Press

Articles

COLLECTOR'S WEEKLY / HALL OF FAME – Winter 2010
Molly Barnes Brown Bag Lunch – October 2009
FLORIDA WEEKLY – September 2009
AMERICAN STYLE – October 2009
APARTMENT THERAPY BOSTON – Summer 2009
VINTAGE FOR KIDS – Summer 2009
CREATIVE LIVING – Winter 2008
WINTERTHUR MAGAZINE – Winter 2007
COUNTRY HOME – October 2006
WORLD OF INTERIORS – October, 2006
MODERNISM MAGAZINE – September, 2006
KIRKUS REVIEWS – September 1, 2006
MONTREAL GAZETTE – August 22, 2006
CALGARY HERALD – August 19, 2006
THE WALL ST JOURNAL – August 5, 2006
BBC HOMES & ANTIQUES (Book Choice, p. 13) –
August 1, 2006
THE VILLAGE VOICE – August 1, 2006
NYU TODAY – July 10, 2006
ESQUIRE MAGAZINE – July 2006
SUN CHRONICLE – June 15, 2006
METROPOLITAN NEWS ENTERPRISE – June 15, 2006
NY TIMES BOOK REVIEW – June 11, 2006
LONDON TIMES (Times Educational Supplement, p. 17) – June 9, 2006
NEW YORK MAGAZINE – June 5, 2006
ANTIQUES AND COLLECTING – June 1, 2006
WIRED MAGAZINE – June 2006
COUNTRY HOME – June 2006
NEW YORK STYLE MAGAZINE – May - June, 2006
THE DAILY TELEGRAPH – May 27, 2006
MARTHA STEWART BLUEPRINT – May 2006