Golden Beginnings

My name is Holly Everson. I have been collecting golden books since 1986. I began buying children books at secondhand stores and garage sales because my daughter, Julie announced that she was expecting our first grandchild. Now, I had always read to my children and expected my grandchildren would also be read to. After a summer of putting books in different piles as I bought them, I noticed the sparkling bindings of the golden books. I wondered how many different ones there would be. I noticed that they were numbered and thought that it would be relatively simple to look for one of all the numbers.

This was the beginning of my golden collection……..A collection, which would keep me, busy for years…..Looking, sorting and cataloging.

After a short time I purchased metal bookcases to keep the books on. Early on someone told me to protect the books from sunlight, so I placed these behind doors and in the backs of closets in our upstairs of our home. We live in a small town, in an older neighborhood of huge houses. We have large windows, doors and closets. Our children had all moved into there own homes so we had lots of empty spaces.

I continued to pick up golden books of all sizes and shapes. I picked up books with different prices on the cover. This collection began to grow by leaps and bounds. I remember one Saturday going to a garage sale in our small town and seeing three large tables of golden books. The owner of the local grocery and kept one of each as they came in for their grandchildren to read. The books were in great shape. I bought many books that day……as I learned more about the books, I've often wondered about all the good ones I didn't buy that day. It was by far the most books I've ever seen at a sale.

I realized that the older ones were not always available at garage sales and secondhand stores, so I began going to antique stores. In an antique mall, I found Steve Santi's first golden book guide. I really couldn't believe that someone else found these books as interesting as I. My collecting began another big spurt of growth after that. I really don't know why…..But I continued to buy each price of the book and kept track in that guidebook of each purchase. Then I learned what edition meant too, so I had to go through my books and keep track of editions.

In 1992, While in an antique store one day, a reporter asked what I was doing on the floor. She was writing a story about that store and wondered what I collected. We had a discussion about golden books and she felt he would like to do a story about my collection. I was amazed that anyone would care……..She came to my home and we talked golden books. The article in the paper began 'Holly Everson knelt on the floor, hovering over a stack of books as carefully as a mouse who'd just found a prize piece of cheese'. She had me pegged! That's exactly how I felt when I could go looking for books.

I made my own business card and ran it off on the library copier. I needed to have something to give people when they asked how to reach me. I picked up a spiral notebook to keep track of the books that Steve Santi didn't include in his catalog. I was having a ball!!!

A television crew visited me to do a spot for the local station for a traveler series. They visited persons who had different interests and had seen the newspaper article. Mark was wonderful to work with and I couldn't wait to see what he put on the air. After watching the spot with my husband, he said to me "where do we have all this golden books". As I stated before, our home is large and I had placed the bookcases in closets and behind doors….he was amazed at the number I had. He also felt we should use one of our empty rooms and make a golden library out of it.

In 1994, we took our smallest bedroom and turned it into the library (only now do I wish it had been the largest).

Now, anyone who would listen would learn about golden books from me. My first invitation was to place a display in our public library for children's book week. I was also invited to speak about golden books at a homemakers organization. I remember a woman telling me after that presentation" I thought before your speech, how much can be said about golden books. But I was amazed and could have listened to you much longer." I try to take a representation of many different sizes, dolls, stuffed toys, videos, toys and of course golden records. I always tailor the book selection to the organization I am speaking to. I have made presentations at libraries, mother-daughter banquets, churches and other organizations. I always try to get the group to bring books to help get the conversations going. One church group I spoke to, a lady showed me a little little book she had found on shampoo. Before I could drive home , I had to go to Wal-Mart and purchase one.

My husband did a wonderful job building a library for my collection. He made oak bookcases with adjustable shelves. He built a corner desk for me to work on. We had to take some of the units in through the window as they wouldn't make the corner of the stairway. It was such a thrill to see all my collection shelved in one room. Thanks, to Dale!!!! My oldest grandson, Josh ( whose impending birth was the starter of this book collecting) wrote me a note while we were shelving the books. I have framed it and it hangs in the library. He writes" this is a book freak but he is not.

Also in May of 1994, I received a call from Judy W. Just as I was leaving the house who wanted to talk goldenbooks with me. An owner of a collectibles shop gave her my name. She was in Brodhead the next day and took a chance on meeting me and seeing my collection. This phone conversation and meeting has turned into a fast friendship. She collects Eloise Wilkin and Joan Walsh Anglund and her husband, Elmer collects goldenbooks. She and I have booked( as we call our shopping trips) many times. Judy hosts Eloise Wilkin Club meetings and she and Elmer host a gathering of Little Golden Book collectors each April and October. We have shared so much of this collecting info. Thanks, Judy.

Much of 1998 was spent trying to put my collection on computer. The classifications of where to place books was the hardest to decide. When I finished in the fall, I had around 8200 items in my collection. This task was a long, hard battle to keep at. I was so relieved to finish! My hopes are to make this info available on this web site soon.

This golden collecting has made me many friends, some of which I've not seen. We just email or talk on the phone or send information back and forth. I believe the more you share, the more that comes back to you. It is such a small world when you are sharing !!

Last Updated Tuesday, September 26 2006 @ 12:40 PM GMT  59,931 Hits