Friday, February 06, 2009

Diary of a nobody

A hundred examples of these dryly detailed, unintentionally revealing manuscripts came up for sale last week at Horst Auction Center in Ephrata, Pa., just north of Lancaster. A dozen bidders, mostly Amish, spent about $3,000 for all the lots, which ranged from 1850s daybooks and medicine and dessert recipes by one Christian Lantz Fisher ($130) to Sarah King’s 1930s-1990s annotations ($25) that the Horst catalog summarizes as “weather, company for supper, visiting, quilting, baking, household chores, stitching rose chair cushions, painting door stops.”

Clarence E. Spohn, the cataloguer for the Horst sale, said in a telephone interview: “We could find no precedent for any collection like this previously being auctioned. It’s not common at all for this material to surface on the market. Much of it was lost or destroyed by the families.” The consigner, Mr. Spohn added, is “an Ohio collector who is not Amish but has had a strong interest in Amish culture for decades. He’s now downsizing.” (The sale, on Jan. 30, also included 70 scholarly books with titles like “Mennonite Attire Through Four Centuries” and “Plain and Amish: An Alternative to Modern Pessimism.”)


(From Dzyd Bill)



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