I began collecting autographs at the ripe old age of 6. My father would take me to Wrigley Field – home of the hapless Chicago Cubs. He would settle into his grandstand seat with a hot dog and a beer and I would gallop down the concrete steps to troll for autographs from the likes of Hank Sauer (see post of August 2d).
My autograph collecting has evolved to a point that — while I still have (and would never part with) my Hank Sauer autographs — I am focused on original handwritten letters and documents of Justices of the United States Supreme Court. I have them all in some handwritten form. Only two other private collectors have complete collections.
One of the great resources for a collector of history in its handwritten form is The Manuscript Society (www.manuscript.org). A thousand members – colleges, universities, libraries, collectors and dealers in 20 countries. I’ve been a member since an old friend from the University of Iowa encouraged me to join. I was President for 2 years. It’s worth the price of admission ($65.00 a year). We have made many friends through this great group and taken many trips for annual meetings (London, Washington, Dublin, Belfast, L.A., Seattle, next year Quebec). If you have any interest in history, manuscripts, genealogy or antiquarian curiosities, check it out. You will not be disappointed.