In this post, Elsie Chrisco gives us tips for keeping track of collections. I interviewed Mrs. Chrisco in St. James in 2001, and her advice is relevant today — especially if you are a collector. ~BB
Old photographs without a home seem out of place in junk shops, antiques stores, flea markets and auctions. If only someone had taken the time and trouble to write the names of the people in the photos on the backs, maybe then the photos would have meant something more than a few dollars to someone.
Elsie Chrisco on Keeping Track of Collections
Elsie Chrisco always writes not only the names, but also descriptions and dates on the backs of her photographs. Her family calls her the official photographer.
Thimble Collection Extraordinaire
But Mrs. Chrisco does not just keep her photographs carefully and painstakingly documented. She also keeps track of a thimble collection that numbers well over 600 items. Each thimble has a little piece of paper with either a typed or hand-written description of where, when and how she came to acquire it. Her first thimble was a gift in 1978 for her and Mr. Chrisco’s 31st wedding anniversary.
Mrs. Chrisco’s collection stands meticulous and dust-free on display in the front entry of her home in St. James. Thimbles from all 50 states and 17 countries can be found on several shelves. Birds, Precious Moments and Christmas thimbles are just a few, among the many, grouped in interesting arrangements on the walls and on a table.
Christmas Ornament Organization
Mrs. Chrisco has also documented her Christmas ornament and knick-knack collection using the same method as with her thimbles. She slips the information about who, where, and how she came to own each piece of Christmas inside the package where she stores the ornament.
She hopes that someday her sons, their wives and her grandchildren will be able to appreciate the collections of thimbles and ornaments. At least they’ll be able to find each item’s history.
Mrs. Chrisco is not the only one in the house who likes to collect things. Her husband, Howard Chrisco, has an impressive shot glass collection. Each glass, of course, has a piece of paper with the particulars written or typed on it.
It’s doubtful that these family treasures will wind up on an auction block somewhere. And it’s not too late for some of us to start following Mrs. Chrisco’s example and record information for future generations of our family to treasure.