Wednesday, October 9, 2013

For the love of books…

"In the 1920s, as an unwanted fourteenth child on a remote North Dakota farm, Lawrence L. Thomas found an escape in books. Because reading anything but the Bible angered his father, Thomas took his books to solitary fields or the outhouse. And it paid off.
     He was the first member of his family to complete high school, then went on to attend the University of California, Berkeley on the G.I. Bill. After earning a Ph.D. at Berkeley, he became a professor of Slavic languages at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Following his wife's death in 1976, he devoted himself to books—in unprecedented fashion. When he died in February, at 88, his modest 2,514-square-foot Madison house contained more than 59,000 books.
     'The living room had a fortress of books around where he sat and read—new books which had arrived but had not yet been shelved,' says Mary Winchester, the youngest of Thomas's three children. 'Many rooms didn't have furniture; they had books, stacks of books. But it wasn't like you walked into the house and thought, "Holy crap, he's a hoarder!" The books were very well cared for—lots of dehumidifiers running all the time—and extremely organized. He listed the books in spiral notebooks with entries like, "blue room, northeast wall, northernmost stack, fourth book from the bottom."'"
— Keith Thomson, Huffington Post
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