Publication Date



An abstract of this interview is available below. A time-annotated index is linked above and to the right. A transcription will be posted as soon as it becomes available. An essay summarizing themes that emerged from interviews conducted about Myers in 2016 is available: Portrait of a Collector: Reflections on an Influential Bibliophile.

This interview subject is affiliated with IWU and/or President Myers in the following ways: Class of 1979; Babbitt’s Books owner 1990-2015.


Simpson recalls meeting and getting to know Myers and his family as patrons of his store Babbitt's Books. Myers asked him to appraise collections the library received from estates and Simspon reflects on that work. Simpson describes Myers' goal in acquiring special collections for the library not so much for their suitability to undergraduate study but more so that people would come to campus to see these things. Myers understood the value that objects held for research rather than the content but Simpson also recalls Myers' willingness to balance the usefulness of content on microfilm when the original would be difficult to acquire. He speculates that there was some philosophical basis for Myers' collecting but could not name it and compared it to a Citizen Kane-like phenomenon. He describes Myers as a person who "knew what to look for on a shelf" and could identify interesting additions in Simpson's store and he shares his ideas on Myers' methods of organization. Simpson recalls Myers' auction and shares thoughts on what he bought, how the lots were arranged and how the auction was managed. He offers insights into Myers' influence on campus and the way he interacted with others.

Streaming Media




collector, personal characteristics, donor acquistions, collecting techniques, artifactual value, books, stamps, musical instrumens, silver, postcards, online tools, psychology of collecting, auction, condition, Portrait of a Collector, Alumni, Bookseller


United States History