Collyer Brothers

By: Elizabeth

I’m sure most of you have heard of the Collyer Brothers, but in case you haven’t… I just saw a puppet film (all done with paper puppets as opposed to animated) about them and was reminded of their ridiculous story.

They were two wealthy eccentric brothers who lived in Harlem and became insane horders over a period of decades (allegedly both a boat and an entire car were found among the rubble of their excavated apartment). They ended up literally being killed by the stockpile of their own household refuse- One brother was crushed by an avalanche of stuff, leaving the second (who, handicapped and blind, depended on his brother for survivial) to starve to death.

Their home was eventually destroyed and turned into a park, in their honor.

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2 Comments»

  cindypound wrote @

awesome. this is a documentary film waiting to be made. nothing like a new york city hoarder – particularly committed given the space constraints. :-)

there is a very sweet documentary called “herb and dororthy” about this modest couple whom over the course of several decades amassed one of the most important conceptual art collections in the U.S.

the national gallery ends up acquiring most of it – and when they have to remove it all from their tiny nyc apartment the volume of what they had kept in the apt was astounding – it filled several moving trucks! upscale hoarding. love it.

  jennykane324 wrote @

Yes — re Collyers — it is such an awful story – of course they were extreme cases but it is pretty horrifying how much stuff/junk people have stored in small apartments. Moving has made me deal with the amazing amount of stuff I’ve amassed over the years . Now as I’m unpacking an endless number of boxes, I’m wondering how I managed to store it all in my tiny apartment, (any why!) and now want to get rid of so many of more of my possessions.
But now, because of this class, I am obsessive about trying to recycle everything responsibly – (oy – takes way too long to empty out/rinse/recycle spice jars — would be so much easier to just toss them into the trash!)
And I miss the handy flea market across the street where Virginia, from the neighborhood, was happy to take my unwanted possessions.

Thanks for the doc mention — I remember reading about Herb and Dorothy and their amazing art collection – sounds good.


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