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Monday, June 14, 2010


"Old timers" will be quite familiar with the Traver name. In years past, Traver's Book Store was THE source for books. Mr. Traver was a kindly gentleman who was always willing to lend his assistance to booklovers. One of the saddest days in Trenton history was when Traver's closed their door and left Trenton without a book dealer. I remember the clearance sale they had back in the 1960's. It started out the one could by a bag of books for $3.00, and as the closing day arrived, all you could carry for a few dollars. I was there on the last day of the clearance sale. Mr. Jim Brimmer from the Trenton Rescue Mission was there. I had bags of books that were true rarities and as I was leaving, I asked Mr. Brimmer what was going to happen to the remaining books. They were going to be recycled! Trashed! Thrown away and crushed in a paper shredder! To a book lover such as I, the pain was awful! He and I were standing near the Rescue Mission truck which was being loaded for the trip to the paper recycling facility. I asked him if he would sell me a truck load. "Sure, $35.00 and you tell me where to deliver them." I was working in New Brunswick at the time, and at about 11:30 A.M. the next morning, Judy called me and said......"Tom, 5 men from the Rescue Mission were here at 8:30 this morning. They just left. I went out in the garage. There are books from the floor to the ceiling."I spent hours, days, weeks, going through those books. Mr. Don Sinclair was the archivist at the Rutgers "New Jersey Room." I called him and asked him if he was interested in any of the many rare volumes that were destined for destruction. I sent many rare New Jersey books up to him for inclusion in the New Jersey history collection.
I could write a book about my many years of collecting and seeking out historical material which would otherwise end up being destroyed. I also say with all the humility I can muster, that I had the foresight to procure the 100 year collection of local Trenton newspapers which were also going to the recycler. Somehow, I knew that microfilm preservation was not going to be the end of the preservation story. I was right! Along came the personal computer, and here we are, ready for the next 100 years of digitizing local history, "one page at a time." When the time comes that I am unable to function at this project, there will most certainly be a continuation of recording local history as it is found in the millions of pages in my Trenton newspaper collection.

1 comment:

Candy Frenking Jens said...

That store was a treasurehouse! Not only the basement and sales floor, but a second and third floor (maybe fourth - faulty memory) of used volumes. I'm so glad you rescued some from the chipper! I worked there after school 1952-3. We were allowed to bring books home as long as we returned them in new condition. AND - we got paid too!