Art: The Compleat Collector

When Douglas Rigby was a boy, an adventurous relative brought home some shrunken human heads from Peru. The memory of those heads, he claims, has prevented him from collecting anything himself—except facts about collectors. For the past seven years Douglas Rigby and his wife Elizabeth have been collecting just such facts. The result is a 517-page book, chock-full of photographs and line drawings: Lock, Stock & Barrel (Lippincott; $5), the first such history ever compiled.

What prompted Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin to collect owls? Why do normally intelligent people collect cuspidors, garters, hearses,...

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