Tuesday, April 28, 2020


Braggin' on the New Space

Hi folks, sorry I've been away so long. The house rehab is going well but very slowly, as we inevitably find many hidden problems in need of fixing. My ace carpenter spent several weeks just on levelling up the second floor, which we had initially decided not to worry about. Eventually though, we realized the can of worms we'd be opening by leaving those swooping floors be -- for instance, laying hardwood on top would have been quite an adventure, and the new bathroom fixtures would have been needing ugly shims, etc. So we waved the white flag, and he dug into the floors.  Meanwhile I have been practically a permanent resident of the cellar and the attic in order to clear out a lot of shoddy old-fashioned wiring and replace it with modern safer and more robust alternatives.

Despite the all-consuming work schedule, I'm tentatively returning the blog from hiatus on May 4. Fair warning -- it may well be temporary or a little intermittent. I've been feeling bad that there was no new material appearing on the blog at a time when so many people are looking for something to take their minds off this awful crisis we are going through. I mean, after you've binge-watched the entire Netflix catalog and re-read every book on your shelves, I need to do my part, right?

So now that I've warned you of Stripper's Guide's impending return, I can't resist but do a little bragging on my new workspace. As I mentioned in the previous post, my entire collection is now, after many years of being in whole or in part in storage, now accessible and all in one place. So here's some pics of the brand new Holtz Newspaper Comic Archives.

The entire collection is on the seond floor of a new building. Second floor is so that it is hopefully secure from mice, which are ubiquitous in our area. So here you are coming up the stairs:

The curtain is there to keep the A/C and heat in the room. Space for books, unfortunately, is at a premium and there are still about fifty boxes of them remaining packed until I have time to build some custom shelving.

Coming into the room you can see my desk area with the giant Epson Expression 1640XL scanner behind it. I shudder to think what I'll do if and when that scanner dies. Above you can see the heat pump unit, which keeps the place at a good temperature and humidity level for paper year-around. The floor is a custom job by my wife -- look up "paper bag floor" on the 'net to read about this practically free and yet attractive flooring system. This one looks mottled because we had trouble sourcing the huge quantities of kraft paper needed, and ended up with a couple different shades. I sacrificed some old comic strips to become literally a part of the floor. They're strewn about all over the place. I keep forgetting that we did that and occasionally feel really dumb when I try to pick them up.

Now we're behind the desk, and you can see the big shelving units that hold my later Sundays along the back wall. Those white boxes hold all the Sundays from 1960 and later. There's also some bound volumes (the few I just could not part with when I sold off my huge collection of volumes a few years ago) and miscellaneous stuff.

In the middle of the room and on my desk you can see the many boxes of clippings that have been waiting to be filed, some of them for (gulp) up to a couple decades. How time flies. Now in my Copious Free Time I'll finally be tackling that huge project.

Under all that stuff waiting to be filed are some of my file cabinets. There are ten total, and they hold all my research files -- a file for each feature, plus many cartoonist files and other miscellany. Here's a couple of them open:

Next here's a photo taken from the far corner from my desk, this one showing the central area with my files and 'to be filed' boxes, and behind them are my boxes of daily comic runs. There are about 62 of them now, with hundreds of daily comics runs stored in each one.

And here's a couple open daily boxes. Yes, eventually I'll rearrange those boxes into numerical order:

Next two photos show the remaining wall, this one with some bookshelves under the windows and my Sunday boxes, containing pre-1960 Sundays, in their racks. I'm up to around 130 of those boxes, each one holding a pretty substantial stack of Sundays. These racks are repurposed baker's racks, the sort of thing you see at grocery stores. They've served me well over the years, but I'm just about to convert over to some custom-made racking that will be more space-efficient. The new racks were supposed to be ready a couple months ago, but the welder is taking forever getting them done. Grumble, grumble.

As every castle must have a throne, so does the Holtz Archives have a comfy chair for reflection and perlustration. There are two comfy chairs in this central area, so when you come to visit we can chew the fat in comfort.

Okay, so that's the tour. I know the pictures make it look like the place is an unholy mess, and I suppose it is, but I'm so thrilled to have everything here that I'm wearing my rose-tinted shades. And once I've finished all the filing, it will look much much better.

So we're going to take a few more days off now, but we'll be back with daily posts on Monday May 4. See you then! 

Congratulations on this major achievement! Looks like my kind of place! Enjoy many happy hours ahead!

Hello Allan-
Ah, if only I could put my collection into some useful form. thanks for the look in.

I know the feeling of reorganization getting a nice result, with better access. Must be very heartening to you.
I’m geeking out on this. Congratulations. A great pleasure to see a archival collection well ordered. I’m inspired to clean up my heap.
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