; COLLYER CURIOSA: A BRIEF HISTORY OF HOARDING
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COLLYER CURIOSA: A BRIEF HISTORY OF HOARDING

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Typically, these scientific findings also shore up their claims for Collyer Brothers syndrome with footnotes that date back to psychologists such as Sigmund Freud, Karl Abraham, and Ernest Jones - even though these early-twentieth-century thinkers refuted causal links between disorganization and accumulation.12 In his Anal-Erotic Character Traits (1918), Jones stresses that all collectors are anal-erotics, and the objects collected are nearly always typical copra-symbols: thus, money, coins (apart from current ones), stamps, eggs, butterflies - these two being associated with the idea of babies - books, even worthless things like pins, old newspapers, etc. [...] when we think about the legions now categorized as hoarders in the early twenty-first century, we're not just thinking about matter out of mental place.

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									COLLYER CURIOSA:
A BRIEF HISTORY OF HOARDING
Scott Herring




It’s the stuff of legend and the legend of stuff. With a front-page head-
line heralding “Homer Collyer, Harlem Recluse, Found Dead at 70,” the
New York Times reported on 22 March 1947, that “the circumstances sur-
rounding the death of 70-year-old Homer, blind as the poet he was named
for, were as mysterious as the life the two eccentric brothers lived on the
unfashionable upper reaches of Fifth Avenue, in the middle of Harlem.”1
Tipped by an anonymous phone caller the day before, police found Col-
lyer’s emaciated corpse in his Harlem brownstone located on the corner of
Fifth Avenue and 128th Street. Days later, officers discovered the rotting
body of his brother, Langley, lying several feet from where Homer had
died. Buried beneath mountains of material, Langley had been cru
								
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