The New York Times offers an obituary of Lester Glassner, photo archivist and artist, who amassed a huge collection of pop culture ephemera as well as owning a quarter-million movie stills:
Her brother’s collection is being catalogued and prepared for auction. She has no idea what it is worth, she said. The executor of the estate, Thomas Handler, when asked about the value, said, “I don’t have that information yet.” But Neal Peters, who was a partner with Mr. Glassner in a photo archive business, said Mr. Glassner’s collection of movie stills alone, about 250,000, was probably worth $1 million or more.
The collection had collections within it. For example, Mr. Glassner collected the military propaganda posters and anti-Nazi bric-a-brac that was prevalent during World War II. He collected relics, like lawn jockeys and Sambo dolls, that document a mainstream American racism. (The African-American memorabilia, along with a collection of rare children’s books and theater and film books, about 2,500 volumes in all, have been donated to Buffalo State College.) He collected all kinds of vintage Disney material.
Beyond his focus on pop culture artifacts, he developed other interests: vintage jewelry and Czechoslovakian art glass.
Mr. Glassner worked as a designer, picture editor and art librarian in the 1960s and ’70s for CBS Records. He designed a number of photography books and created his own artworks. He also wrote a book, “Dime-Store Days,” with the photographer Brownie Harris, that is part personal reminiscence and part documentation, in pictures, of his curious, eclectic holdings.
But for the most part he devoted his time to collecting, financing his obsession through the photo archive business and the occasional sale of items in his collection. He had financial support as well from his longtime partner, Jerry Feirman, a real estate investor who died in 1994.
Lester Glassner, Pop Culture Collector, Is Dead at 70 (New York Times)