“Until the mid-1990s, almost every media organisation – from the smallest local newspaper to national TV stations – maintained a cuttings collection. These libraries consisted of scrappy folders full of articles, arranged in a bewildering classification system. Only the librarian knew how it worked.”
Edda Tasiemka ran a cuttings library out of her own house. It was considered by many, as her obituary in The Telegraph states, “the best cuttings library in Britain.”
Collecting press cuttings began as a hobby for Ms. Tasiemka. Her other pursuits included
Meissen china, Georgian salt cellars, knife rests, Staffordshire figurines of Queen Victoria’s children, Louis Wain cat paintings, Victorian fairings and Regency tea sets with Adam Buck mother-and-child decorations.
She was born in Germany, and dreamed of becoming a civil engineer, but her refusal to join the Hitler Youth impeded her education.
She had a lifelong fear of dogs, dating back to her childhood memories of being taunted and threatened by German shepherds which the Nazis used to let loose in her home, but in later life, to the irritation of some her her neighbours, she befriended the neighbourhood fox, whose typical menu would included chicken and beef.
Known as “the human Google,” Ms. Tasiemka kept the cuttings
largely hidden away in beautiful antique chests and cupboards – nothing so vulgar as a filing cabinet was allowed to intrude, though even her kitchen, bathroom, and garage were stuffed with cuttings. Those on international football, one of the few subjects which held little interest for her, were stored in the first-floor lavatory.