What do you do when you have a dozen identical pieces of product literature when for all practical collecting purposes, you only need two or three in the collection – one for use in the Benson Ford Research Center by researchers and one to two more, if it’s really rare, as backups. Just like when you own a home, there is a limited amount of space that can fill up very quickly, and as a research facility, it is always better to have 12 different pieces of research material than 12 of the same thing. So what do you do?
That was the question facing the Archives team in 2007 after we were fortunate enough to be given several HUGE collections of product literature from the Ford Motor Company Archives.
After both archives put aside what was needed for future use, Ford Archives gave us permission to sell the extra copies with the provision that the money be used for our educational programs and collections. And so the Sale was born.
As the sale grew we found more and more things that were triplicate PLUS, and things we just wanted to recycle and thought someone else would enjoy. One year it was a solid brass lamp that needed re-wiring and some funky 70’s wallpaper.
Last year after dismantling a longtime exhibit, we found things that were not artifacts but rather “props” used to enhance the exhibit, so if you came last year, you could have gone home with a great aluminum prop for a plane to decorate your wall at home or work and make everyone envious of your great find, or you could have gotten a KITCHEN SINK – yes a kitchen sink! There was also some FIESTAWARE left over from one of our restaurants.
What will be there this year?
- Automotive items from the Big Three and foreign manufacturers (mostly post-1960): brochures, pamphlets, promotional materials, shop and owner’s manuals, warranty guides
- Non-automotive items: beautiful lithographs and photographs ready for framing, literature, and more
- Antique and rare books covering many topics including automobile history, travel, arts and the sciences; most are from the early teens, 20’s, and 30’s
New offerings for this year’s sale include more vintage photographs, a new selection of rare and hard-to-find periodicals dating back to 1900. AND? I guess you’ll just have to stop in and find out for yourself. Even I don’t know until the day before what has been discovered in a sealed box or behind the door of a closet. It is always a fun time at the BFRC Sale.
So come and see what you might discover–just what you’ve been looking for, or maybe that surprise find you didn’t know you needed—at the Books, Etc. Sale.
This event takes place in the Benson Ford Research Center Conference Room from 9 a.m.- 5 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 8, and is free to the public. All proceeds from the sale benefit the education and collection programs of The Henry Ford. Cash, check and charges are accepted. All sales are final. If you have any questions, call the Benson Ford Research Center at 313-982-6020.
Please note: some materials, such as antique and rare books, lithographs, and periodicals have been deaccessioned from The Henry Ford collections and may not be purchased by or for any paid or unpaid staff member or board member.
Margaret Hoover works arranging and describing the institutional photographic collection. She has helped organize the Books, Etc. sale since its beginnings.