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Updated 5:30 PM January 20, 2005
 

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Library gift celebrates the open road

More than 500 books, 34 photograph albums and approximately 3,700 postcards from the collection of the late Douglas Pappas have been presented to the Transportation History Collection of the Special Collections Library.

Pappas's collection reflects his passion for shunning the superhighways and turnpikes in order to delight in the unusual and distinctly American world of travel on the old highways of the United States. The gift was made by his mother, Carolyn Reed Pappas of Eastchester, N.Y.

The Pappas collection has been accessioned and will be processed, cataloged and made available for researchers. The books, mostly monographs addressing specific highways will bear a bookplate designating them as part of "The Douglas Pappas Collection." Some of them are rare and products of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Work Projects Administration.

The photograph albums document Pappas's road trips from the mid-1980s through the 1990s. With a thoughtful camera and witty captions, these images capture the back roads of America and what is expected some day to be a vanishing world.

Vintage and contemporary postcards complete the collection, showing images from the early days of the Lincoln Highway and Route 66 up to the more contemporary renderings of the 1960s and 1970s.

The Special Collection Library Transportation History Collection, with its more than 70,000 items, owns the original documents and photographs of the Lincoln Highway Association (LHA). The more than 3,000 black-and-white photographs document the highway's route from New York to San Francisco.

"The Special Collections Library welcomes the addition of the Douglas Pappas Collection, and looks upon this as the first of many research collections created by a Lincoln Highway Association member to be donated to further enhance the depth and research value of the existing archive," says Kathleen Dow, curator of the Transportation Collection. "It is also, we hope, a fitting tribute to Douglas Pappas that his books, photographs, and postcards are housed at his alma mater alongside the letters and photographs of men who were, some 90 years ago, just as enthralled with the open road."

Pappas graduated from the University of Chicago in 1982 and was a magna cum laude graduate of the U-M School of Law (1985). While a student, he served as executive note editor of The Michigan Law Review.

At the time of his death in May 2004, the 42-year-old Pappas was an attorney at Mintz and Gold, LLP, in New York City, specializing in general civil and commercial litigation. He also was chairman of the Society for American Baseball Research Business of Baseball Committee since 1994, and was a nationally recognized authority on the business and economics of baseball, authoring numerous articles and a frequently consulted Web site on the topic.

In addition to his legal career and involvement in the study of baseball, Pappas was director of the New York chapter of the LHA. His love of the old roads built during the first half of the 20th century led to an interest in one of the first transcontinental highways, the Lincoln Highway. The original LHA, headquartered in Detroit, was active from 1911 through the mid-1930s. The association was reinstituted in 1992 to conserve and preserve the history and legacy of the highway, parts of which remain in use today. Pappas became head of the New York chapter.

To view the Transportation Collection, visit http://www.lib.umich.edu/spec-coll/collections.html#Transportation%20History. The Lincoln Highway Digital Image Collection can be found at http://images.umdl.umich.edu/cgi/i/image/image-idx?c=linchigh&page=index.

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