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  Written by
  Sharla A. Stewart


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The collecting mania


 


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Breakfast is a simple meal for Steve Wallman, AM'94. He pops a piece of bread into his toaster and kah-ping!-a panda. The toasted image is the spirit animal Wallman chose as a member of the Chicago Men's Movement 15 years ago. More than 500 items later, Wallman has collected pandas in many forms: stuffed animals, mugs, plates, pictures, key chains, waste baskets, rugs, puzzles, watches, and a mobile. "What connected me with the panda spiritually," says Wallman, "is its uniqueness and rarity as an endangered species and its strength and warmth. These are attributes that I respect."

When asked why she collects kangaroos, Jan Dwyer, MBA'92, asks back: "Can we ever have too much love??!" Stuffed, wooden, glass-Dwyer has more than 350 kangaroos. But her beloved is the stuffed Kanga and Roo (of Winnie the Pooh fame) she received from her grandmother for her fifth Christmas. "Her neck is sagging, her ears are worn, the little Roo has been sewn many times," she explains, "but she has been with me for years. "

Meanwhile, Julian Klugman, AM'55, and wife Stella have 600 giraffes-including their recent adoptee at the San Francisco zoo. "From carved wooden pieces from Oaxaca to delicate crystal from Poland," he writes, "the Klugman giraffe family continues to grow with the help of friends and store-owners who provide alerts on new sightings!"

Arthur Koch, AB'45, does not limit himself to a particular species; rather, he seeks animals carved from wood. His first were a pair of oxen and wagon purchased on a visit to Nova Scotia. "The young man said his items were not for sale," Koch recalls, "but finally broke down and sold me this treasured possession."

S. Walter Kran, MD'56, has chosen more exotic materials: whale tooth and reindeer horn. The animal in his collection is the tupilak, an imaginary and magical creature from Greenland and originally a living bundle of bones, peat, and skin. Legend holds that when the first white explorer, Captain Gustav Holm, reached Angmagssalik in 1884, he asked the people to describe a tupilak. Their carvings for him were the first tupilak souvenirs. Kran has 45 of the miniature mythical creatures.

For Darin A. Croft, SM'96, PhD'00, it's not the animal but what's inside-literally-that counts. Croft collects bones. Mostly mammal bones and mostly skulls, "though I also have a comparative collection of postcranial bones sorted by element," says the mammalian paleonto- logist. Among his collection of more than 50 species, Croft is partial to his warthog skull, with the marmoset skull a close runner-up. "They are fascinating natural works of architecture and, when displayed properly, make for interesting additions to home decor-or at least for interesting conversations."





  OCTOBER 2001

  > > Volume 94, Number 1


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