Benjamin Kolinsky Collection of Tarzan Memorabilia and Artifacts

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TxAM-CRS C000540

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Benjamin Kolinsky Collection of Tarzan Memorabilia and Artifacts


  • 1966-2017, undated (Creation)


15 boxes

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Biographical history

Benjamin Kolinsky, of Fort Lee, New Jersey, was a kindhearted man, and a longtime fan of the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs, particularly the legendary character Tarzan. Over the course of many decades, Kolinsky, an assiduous collector, assembled a collection of editions of Burroughs' Tarzan books, Tarzan audiovisual media, and a wide variety of interesting Tarzan memorabilia and ephemera. He donated his collection to Cushing Memorial Library & Archives in late 2022.

Benjamin Kolinsky passed away in January 2023, beloved by his family.

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This collection consists of a large and varied amount of memorabilia, artifacts, and ephemera depicting or concerning the famous character Tarzan, first introduced by Edgar Rice Burroughs in the 1912 serialTarzan of the Apes. All items in the collection depict Tarzan, unless otherwise noted.

Materials include objects such as candy and gum, pocket knives, statues, action figures, mugs, metal signs, and other pieces of ephemera. Tarzan, an intensely popular character, was the first fictional character to be heavily merchandised. Because of this, and because Tarzan appeared in so many different forms of media, including films, television, comic books, and works of animation, it is no surprise that his image and name can be found on a dizzying variety of materials.

Tarzan is often regarded as one of the best-known literary characters in history. He was first introduced by creator Edgar Rice Burroughs in the serialized story "Tarzan of the Apes" (in the pulp All-Story in 1912, book form in 1914), and went on to star in 23 additional novels from Burroughs and published by A.C. McClurg between 1912-1966. Tarzan is a feral white child named John Clayton, marooned somewhere on the African coast with his parents, British aristocrats Lord and Lady Greystoke. The two die soon after their arrival in Africa, leaving young Clayton to be found and raised by a tribe of great apes (who give him the ape-name 'Tarzan').

Tarzan's upbringing brings him heightened strength, agility, speed, climbing ability, and stamina, all of which he uses to defend his loved ones and his beloved jungle from various threats. These include wild animals, rival tribes of apes, lost races that dwell in hidden cities, German troops, strange monsters, and other hazards. In addition to Burroughs' novels, Tarzan has also been featured in numerous unauthorized literary works, multiple films (most notably the franchise starring Johnny Weissmuller between 1932-1948), radio shows, comic books and comic strips, and television programs (particularly the 1966-1968 NBC series starring Ron Ely).

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The collection was donated by Benjamin Kolinsky in December 2022. [2022_0153]. The books in the donation were given over to be catalogued and integrate into Cushing's Science Fiction & Fantasy Research Collection.


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