California: How the L.A. Public Library Library Bid $144,000 For a Hidden Trove of Celebrity Photos
From the Los Angeles Times:
Christina Rice’s obsession with a 1930s movie star led the Los Angeles Public Library last year into an auction for 12,500 celebrity photographs — the vast majority never published — taken by a post office worker who spent nights and weekends at the parties, haunts and ballrooms of the famous.
The idea of attending the sale came to Rice, head of the library’s photo collection, after a friend noticed that pictures of actress Ann Dvorak were part of an immense portfolio left by deceased photographer John Verzi set to be auctioned at Bonhams. Rice had published a biography on Dvorak, who starred with Paul Muni in the original “Scarface” and Bette Davis in “Three on a Match” before moving to Hawaii, where she died in 1979.
Rice suggested that City Librarian John Szabo consider purchasing the collection as an addition to the library’s archives. “I sent it to John as a kind of joke, saying ‘I think we should buy this,’” she said. “But he instantly saw the value of it, and we registered for the auction. This fits the Library’s mission. There are so many locales and specific events — play openings and restaurants — that aren’t documented elsewhere.”
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.