Historians At Home: Becky Chapin

April 25th, 2021

During the first half of 2021 Historical Society staff are sharing on social media how we “curate” our own stories at home.  Next up,  our Archivist Becky Chapin.

two printing blocks.  One contains an automobile with two people.   The other is a sailboat on the water with a lighthouse

                                                                                       My grandfather was a printer who had several printing companies in Wayne and Ontario Counties. He even had a Geneva office for Vanderbrook Press and I found out he printed ‘The Country Cousin’ book about the town of Geneva. These book plates are left from that time and are backwards so when printed they are the right way round. He had a ton of leftover equipment in his garage when I was a young kid that I used to watch him use. My dad recalls helping him out with various jobs too.


Three bookshelves filled with books My book collection started young and was encouraged by my grandparents and parents. While I’ve donated many over the years to our library I’ve still kept many given to me by my grandparents who are no longer with us just to keep the memories alive. As you may be able to tell, the shelves are dipping under the weight of the books I have to store stacked because they won’t fit stored vertically.

apple peeler, opera glasses, and the scale


My grandfather was quite the collector, we have a lot of his various items around our house including an apple peeler, opera glasses, and the scale. These little things remind me of him and my other grandparents whenever I see them.



an assortment of brochures and programs

My story would probably be easy to tell because I’ve kept every single program and brochure from places I’ve been and events I’ve participated in. This includes every single play, musical, skating show, dance recital, museum, and more. If I go to a museum twice, I get another brochure because these are all stored chronologically in the order that I visited.

Playing cards displayed on  shelves



I don’t know why I started to collect playing cards, but one day I discovered I had about 10 packs and just kept on going. Friends and relatives often give me packs they pick up during their travels and I picked up some when I spent time overseas. My grandpa and I built this display shelf together less than a year before he passed.





An assortment of calendarsAnother weird collection I have are calendars. I don’t write on my calendars as a rule because I keep every single one I’ve had since 2001. I also have about 10 Harry Potter calendars not pictured. Every Christmas I get a calendar or two and lately it’s been a London calendar since I loved the semester abroad I spent there.

Boxes filled with letters



I’ve kept all of my letters and greeting cards since I was in elementary school or younger. I used to write my camp friends from middle and high school, so these go back years. Everything is organized chronologically (of course) and I’m still in touch with some college friends that I write to on a regular basis. Not pictured is another drawerful of letters which need a box to go into.

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One response to “Historians At Home: Becky Chapin”

  1. Anne Schuhle says:

    Becky, really enjoyed this. I have collected playing cards for years, too. Many are unused, and if you’re interested in owning any of them, I’d be happy to give you some. I already gave a ton of the less-interesting ones to kids being served by a Covid-related program. If you’re interested, email me and I’ll let you k ow what I have.
    Take care.

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