This is a traveler’s story today from the Los Angeles Times that may go viral. John Feathers died last February and the small 948-square foot cottage in the hills of Los Angeles where he had lived for the past two decades was filled with maps.
John Feathers was a map hoarder. He had collected all kinds of maps from a 1956 pictorial map of Lubbock, Texas to rare Los Angeles street maps like four copies of the first Thomas Brothers guides from 1946. He had old European maps such as a map depicting pre-WWI London and a map of Europe dated from 1592. Maps were stuffed in every nook and cranny of the cottage. The cottage contained about one million maps.
John Feathers, a military brat child in the 50s and 60s continued to travel widely during his life that ended earlier this year at the age of 56.
Feathers was a collector of other travel items. He had collected bars of hotel soaps over the years and restaurant matchbook covers and National Geographic magazines dating back from 1915 to the present.
Matthew Greenberg, the real estate agent hired to clean out the house and place the property on the market, recognized the map collection might be a significant find. His mother was a retired university professor specializing in library science.
Greenberg invited Glen Creason, Los Angeles Central Library’s map librarian, to visit the home and check out John Feather’s map collection.
Creason called the find unbelievable. “I think there are at least a million maps here,” he said. “This dwarfs our collection — and we’ve been collecting for 100 years.”
Los Angeles Times Oct. 20, 2012
The map collection may give Los Angeles Public Library status as one of the top five map archive collections in the US behind the Library of Congress, and public libraries in New York, Philadelphia and Boston.