An excerpt from Before We Begin

Collecting is a series of small victories, making discoveries, acquiring objects over time and learning their histories, and then sharing these objects and their stories with others of similar interests and enthusiasms. This is exactly what Reba and I did, and this book tells our tale.
However, writing a book about collecting is like the act itself: disorderly and non-conforming to a plan or calendar. Frequently, when I walked into a gallery or print fair with an acquisition goal in mind, an unexpected discovery would take me down a path I hadn’t expected to travel. Again and again, a new artist or image would lead to a new field, with new prints to acquire and more opportunities for research and learning.
Collecting always has a beginning, usually a first purchase. And an end: disposing of the collection by gift or sale, or leaving it to the heirs. It’s the in-between part that’s difficult to describe in a logical order, because collecting seldom happens in a logical order.
The reader of this book will find a beginning and an end. The in-between chapters are a series of stories about our collecting experiences, not a chronology, but mostly framed around types and periods of fine art prints. I’ll confess it’s a bit of a jumble, just like collecting, jumping from opportunity to opportunity—story to story. But read on, think like a collector, and be ready for whatever comes next.


Small Victories: One Couple’s Surprising Adventures Building an Unrivaled Collection of American Prints by Dave H. Williams