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Barry Schrader


I wrote a column for the DeKalb Daily Chronicle for 8 years starting in December 2007 and running until November 2015. Then I returned to column writing in August 2016, all of them archived here.


If you've missed any please follow the links on the dates to catch up.

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Why do we collect things?

By Barry Schrader Senior Columnist...................Nov. 17, 2016

Being a fan of both Antiques Road Show and American Pickers on TV I looked forward to the November "show and tell" program of the DeKalb County Historical-Genealogical Society. Eight of us volunteered to bring some examples of collectibles and share something about our hobbies:

Marcia Wilson opened the program, explaining three main reasons why people collect:
1) Those who aim to complete a series
2) Those who long to possess things that have fascinated them
3) Those who use an object to mark a memory and store a story

Probably the most unusual collection looked like just some old nails with small numbers on them, brought by Terry Martin. They may look like common house nails, but the railroad companies used them for many years to date stamp railroad ties and even utility poles. Terry has hundreds he has accumulated from several countries.

The most colorful collection was brought by Anna Marie Coveny: DeKalb Ag and other corn memorabilia, much of it from the local seed company but also other corn-related objects. She even wore a top with a seed corn design-but not a seed sack dress like you might see during the Depression years when people made clothes from whatever material they had at home.

Carol Woodin from Malta brought part of her collection of paper dolls that were popular back in the mid-20th Century (Barry Schrader photo)

Marcia Wilson of Sycamore displays some of her wood carvings from around the world. A few were carved by her husband Wes. (Barry Schrader photo)

Ron Klein had the most valuable collection-several books ranging from 1533 up into the 20th Century, many signed first editions, some worth thousands. He has a library of some 4,000 volumes in his collection.

Carol Woodin's collection brought back memories from yesteryear-paper dolls. They used to be cut from the Sunday comics-Brenda Starr and even Roy Rogers cutouts. She said kids also cut out pictures of people from Sears Roebuck and "Monkey" Wards wish books and then added clothing cut from the same catalogs.

Marcia Wilson shared her wood carvings, some done by her husband Wes, and others obtained from countries in Europe and Africa.

Bud Burgin showed two of his hobbies-mechanical and wood pencils, amassing some 675 over the years. He also has a collection of coin banks that children would get when they opened their first savings account. Most of them are from DeKalb County banks and vary in shape and size-such as a stagecoach, a book, skyscraper and a barrel.

Steve Bigolin, also a man with multiple collections, brought memorabilia from local banks, various check designs from banks no longer in business like the Barb City Bank, and a 1910 calendar with a cover photo of Joseph Glidden, published by the First National Bank.

When it was my turn I shared my collection of old newspapers. The eight that I brought were local weeklies no longer in existence. They were once published in Kirkland, Genoa, Sycamore, Waterman, Shabbona, Hinckley, Somonauk and Sandwich. I also displayed two rarer issues, one that reported the death of Abraham Lincoln and the other about the 1906 California earthquake.

The show and tell was so successful that Marcia said they would repeat it with other hobbyists in another year or so.

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Barry Schrader
PO Box 851
DeKalb, Ill 60115