In 2012, the Guinness Book of Records named the Hyman Archive the largest collection of magazines in the world. Meet the man behind it.
1. Which year do the first magazines in the archive date back from?
2. Which is the main topic that all the magazines in the archive have in common?
3. What did James's family think of his idea in the beginning?
4. What did James do before he started his project?
5. How does he get many of the magazines in the archive?
6. How does Tory Turk describe James?
My name is James Hymon and I’m the founder of Hymon Archive. We are in the stock room in London SA 18 in Woolwich. I would estimate we are up to about 80,000 magazines and 3,000 different titles. The collection spans 1910 to present-day, even yesterday, we get magazines coming in all the time and over 55% of the titles in the collection are not owned by the British Library [Yes, I’m going to need the ladder.]
This collection is curated for popular culture. That's a very broad definition, so that’s film, fashion, music, television, technology, art, sports and you have to obviously realize that in that itself you've got from the last hundred-plus years the best photographers, critics, authors, journalists, illustrators, visual artists, cartoonists. That's why it's so valuable.
[Here we go. They’re up here.]
Initially my family, they would make ties and they thought I was quite crazy doing this but as this journey has progressed and they’re seeing all the cogs fit into place and they share our vision, they see, you know, what that madness could be genius.
I started collecting, the tipping point for me really was when I was a script writer for MTV Europe in the late eighties and early nineties. You didn't have the internet, your best source of information was magazines, they were the zeiss guides, they had all the stuff that you needed information on to talk about what was going on in music, film, fashion. I valued those magazines because I really felt an emotional attachment to them to preserve what was in there. There was something in those magazines that had to be preserved, the information, the pictures, the illustrations, the photography was very important, in my opinion, and still is.
[I think this is it. Hold on. Yeah.]
I don't have that anxiety like I used to, like oh my gosh I'm missing an issue, because again we get lots of donations. For me that anxiety is gone because I have the vision for what I want to do with
[Oh, hold on, number three.]
Well as you can see behind me, there’s an incredible team who help maintain it, Alexia and Tory Turk. Tory Turk has been incredible. She’s been with me pretty much from day one on this project.
Well, I think me and James automatically bonded. I really sort of appreciate his OCD spirit and his complete-ism. I think he's a genius. It's difficult to understand how he could’ve come up with this idea so long ago when at that time he probably didn't intend it to be what is going to become.
Hoarding is derogatory word. It gives the impression there’s no purpose to what you're doing. There’s a purpose here and that purpose is to digitize its contents, meta-tag it, create analytical tools to analyze the data and visualize the data, because that really unlocks the key and value of this archive. That’s something that businesses would like, researchers, students, professionals.
In twenty years’ time I see this collection as living, breathing, valued and accessible.
2. popular culture
3. He was crazy
4. He was a scriptwriter for MTV
5. Through donations
6. He's a genius