Public Collectors is founded upon the concern that there are many types of cultural artifacts that public libraries, museums and other institutions and archives either do not collect or do not make freely accessible. Public Collectors asks individuals that have had the luxury to amass, organize, and inventory these materials to help reverse this lack by making their collections public.
This page consists of sample findings and excerpts. It is also an account of the contents of my home and digital files from my camera. If you have suggestions, have a collection you want to share, or are in Chicago and would like to see something in person, please contact me. This blog is intended as a casual, more personal supplement to the main Public Collectors website.
Public Collectors is maintained by Marc Fischer.
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A new addition to the Public Collectors PDF Library:
This packet contains plans to build a beer can mortar for purposes of safe entertainment and enjoyment. This device is not a mortar with a barrel made from a beer can, as assumed at first, but rather a more heavy-duty device designed to fire beer cans filled with sand or gravel up to 500 yards. As the literature itself states: “We can assume no responsibility for the manner in which the enclosed information is used.” Don’t hurt yourself or others!
Just added a great new PDF to the Public Collectors PDF collection:
Parsons Bread Book, 1974, 76 pages, Harper & Row, New York, 8.5” X 11”
From the front cover: “A celebration of the art of baking bread and the great bakers of New York City by students at Parsons School of Design who made this book.” Made by David Blumenthal, Vicky Coleman, Chris Grana, Sherry Gutberlet, Peter Mattes, Ed Mazzola, Fran Rappaport, Dot Scott, Carolyn Sievers, Pat Valle, Bonnie Weber, and Cipe Pineless Burtin, faculty. This book started as a student publication produced over three months in 1973 and was produced as a yearbook for the school that “was representative of student interests and values without being strictly autobiographical.” This edition was published by Harper & Row for a wider audience. Thanks to the blog Gravel & Gold who posted about this book and brought it to my attention, which compelled me to find a copy and scan it.
Click here to download (33.1 megs)
Author unknown, untitled, circa mid-late 1990s, 22 pages, self-published collection of photocopies, 8 1/2” X 11”
This PDF of a document that was originally hand-written and photocopied, is filled with stream of consciousness writings on everything from bible passages and church experiences to speculations on the names of various businesses including multiple storage facilities and Pizza Hut. Constantly disrupting the writing are searches for words within words. It is a text that will test the patience of most, however its density and extremism have an unsettling power.
The donor of this PDF, Giles Hefferan, writes, “The manifesto was given to a friend of mine somewhere around 1997 or 98 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. A man who was presumably the author came in to my friend’s workplace and handed her a copy and said something like ‘you might want this’, almost apologetically. It was photocopied and I made more copies and gave them to my friends— as far as I know it is complete, at least since I have had it, but I know that it appears to be missing pages and sometimes repeats page numbers.”
Click the image to download the 5.7 meg PDF.
A new PDF of a scanned publication has been added to Public Collectors: Hey Beatnik, This is the Farm Book! By Stephen Gaskin, 1974. Click the cover image to download the book (181.6 meg PDF file)
This PDF is a collaboration between Public Collectors and The Library of Radiant Optimism for Let’s Re-make the World. Public Collectors provided the book and scan and Let’s Re-make wrote the following description:
The Farm is a long running intentional community near Summertown, Tennessee, in the south central part of the state. It sits on 1700 acres and estimates of the current population range from 175-200 people. The Farm was started in 1971 by Hippies who migrated from San Francisco, making the trek in a large iconic caravan, to rural Tennessee. They were following Stephen Gaskin, a charismatic hippie whose “trips” – he later calls them “visions” – provided the spiritual connection that he and many others were looking for in building a place like the Farm.
This book, written by Stephen Gaskin after 2 years of living at the Farm, gives you a good sense of the values and the activities of the people, at this point around 600, that lived there. The book chronicles their caravan, which took 7 months to land them in their current locale. It wasn’t an easy journey and the book lays out some of the problems they encountered. It chronicles their growing awareness of farming and raising their own food, their interaction with neighbors, especially older farmers who they found out were an incredible resource of practical information about agricultural practices in the region.
The book encourages others to follow and make their own situations by sharing information and experiences in an open and direct manner. The book today is a study in the groundwork for an intentional community. Page 15 is devoted to enumerating exactly how many acres had to be used to generate the produce needed to sustain their population for one year. There are pages on raising horses, their communal system of banking, building methods, healthy eating, home birthing, and some idiosyncratic gems like “tripping instructions.” This is not what you think and has nothing to do with drugs; those are are covered later in the book. Rather “tripping instructions” describe the interactions and relationships of Farm folks. The people of the Farm valued truthfulness, as they saw it, and challenging each other on their shortcomings. This page lets a visitor at that time know a little of what to expect from the people who lived there.
Large parts of Hey Beatnik! are written in Hippy-speak. Changing language to more accurately reflect a culture shift and create a revolution was a popular strategy at the time, and one held dear by the Farm community. The language shouldn’t distract you from the very serious, and continuing, utopian experiment these folks undertook. The Farm is well known for many things, among them the incredible amount of work they have done on home birthing. You can visit the Farm today. They offer classes in midwifery, permaculture, eco-village building and more.
A new addition to the Public Collectors collection of Complete Publications in PDF form.
Paul McCarthy & Mike Kelley, Heidi: Midlife Crisis Trauma Center And Negative Media Engram Abreaction Release Zone, 1992, 40 pages, Gallerie Krinzinger, Vienna, Austria, 5.5 ” X 8 1/4 “.
[Click image to download. 14.1 meg PDF file]
This 1992 booklet for a collaborative exhibition is designed more like an artist book. There is an essay by Timothy Martin, along with CVs for both artists and illustrations of their individual works, however the most unique feature is the collection of source photos that inspired this project. Among the sources are images from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, an Otto Dix painting, a tattoo design and Austrian kitsch.
In recognition of the cautiously exciting news that Swans are making music and playing shows again, here is a reminder that you can download this impossible to find PDF I made of a collection of band-leader Michael Gira’s writings:
From the Swans Discography web page: “This photocopied packet of stories was sold on the 1997 tour. It includes four illustrations by Gira (one for each story and the cover drawing). The cover is dated 1996 but the copyright information is listed as 1996/97.” There are actually six drawings in total but Gira’s astonishing writing is the primary reason for posting this obscure publication.
Click the photo to download the 9.8 meg PDF.
A new addition to one of the most heavily used sections of the Public Collectors website: Complete PDFs of Publications scanned in their entirety. Simply click the photo above and you’ll start downloading a 200 dpi scan of this hard to find book:
Elsie Svennas, A Handbook of Lettering for Stitchers, 1973, 100 pages, Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, New York, 8” X 5 5/8 “.
A real treat for stitchers and lovers of lettering! From the inside cover flap: “The Author has set out in this book with three distinct aims. Firstly to write a concise history of Lettering, tracing the development from the simplest markings to the elaborate and decorative monogram. Secondly, to give an an illustrated dictionary of all stitches that are suitable for carrying out any lettering. Finally to display in an illustrated section the great variety of lettering designs suitable for various stitches using every letter of the alphabet as examples.”
From a U.S. Border Patrol Museum coloring and activity booklet for children of all ages where, among other things, readers get to meet Koroc, the dog from Holland that searches for people and illegal drugs. Thanks to Deborah Stratman for the gift of this publication. You can download a 3.8 mb PDF of the entire thing here.
One of the most heavily used areas of the Public Collectors website is the section devoted to PDFs of complete publications. Today I made a new addition to the PDF family: a scan of the rare and out of print title Domebook 1, by Lloyd Khan, Robert Easton and others and published by Pacific Domes in 1970. This PDF was created by an anonymous donor. To download the 131.4 meg file, click here.