Friday, November 21, 2008

A Tribute to Collector John Axe

John Axe, a well-known series book and doll collector, passed away this week. Here is a link to an obituary:

Since links often become inactive over time, here is the text of the obituary:
YOUNGSTOWN – After a courageous one year battle with a cancerous glioma brain tumor, John E. Axe, died Monday, Nov. 17, 2008.

John was born in New Wilmington, Pa., the first child of Margaret and Alex Axe. He was raised in western Pennsylvania and lived there until 1970, when he moved to Youngstown.

He holds a degree in Spanish studied from the Universidad of Valladolid in Spain and an AB and MA from Youngstown State University. He also had hours towards a PhD at the University of Akron. He taught Spanish for Penn State University in Sharon, Pa.

John was a professor of history at Youngstown State University for 25 years, and after his retirement from there worked part-time at Pat Catan arts and crafts store in Hermitage, Pa.

He was an award winning artist and the author of more than 30 books and thousands of magazine articles. These books and articles are about the hobbies of collecting dolls, toys, teddy bears and children’s series books. His artwork included designing teddy bears for the Merrythought Doll and Toy Company in England. For six terms, he was the editor of Doll News Magazine. In recent years, he contributed a large number of articles in book collector’s magazines about the hobby of collecting and purchasing books from the early 20th Century. He was, currently, the president of the Friends of the Hubbard Library Association.

He is survived by his sister, Elizabeth Ann; his best friend, Bill; his three dogs, Mildred, Frances and Judy; his cat, Claude; and hundreds of friends worldwide.

He was preceded in death by his beloved sisters, Susan P. Axe and Patricia E. Axe; brothers, Robert Axe and Thomas Axe; and his parents.

Any material contributions should be sent to your local animal shelter in John’s name. In Youngstown, that would be Angels for Animals, Animal Charity and Second Chance Animal Shelter and in Warren the Animal Welfare League.

Friends may call from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday at the Shriver-Allison-Courtley-Weller-King Funeral Home, where a memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday.
In addition to many books about dolls, John Axe wrote two books about collecting series books, All About Collecting Girls' Series books and All About Collecting Boys' Series Books. John Axe's books are lovely and picture the dust jacket art for most of the major series books. Even though I own all of the books, I still like to get out my copy of All About Collecting Girls' Series Books so that I can gaze at the pictures and read John's commentary about the books.

All About Collecting Girls' Series Books inspired me to create my series book website. I wanted to create something similar to John's book but on the world wide web. I wanted to have nice cover art galleries and information about the series in hopes of inspiring more people to collect the books I love.

Judy Bolton was John Axe's favorite series, and he wrote a letter to Margaret Sutton when he was a boy. Margaret wrote a letter in return. Her letter meant the world to him. Earlier this year, Margaret Sutton's daughter, Lindsay Stroh, posted a message from John's sister to the Judy Bolton group. In part the message stated, "My brother has, all of his life, treasured the letter your mother sent to him, and he believes that she was a great influence in his life, as she was the first person who encouraged him, and she also encouraged him to be a writer. He still has her original letter."

Margaret Sutton's letter was reprinted in John Axe's book. A tribute to John Axe is not complete without this letter that meant so much to him.In the Foreward to All About Collecting Girls' Series Books, John Axe writes, "People who do not do so wonder why we who collect books do. I am always amazed when somebody comes into my house, sees all the books and (always) asks, "Have you read all those books?" . . . After all this time, I still re-read my series books over and over. When I read them and when I look at the pictures on those dust jackets I am young again, my little sister is still alive, and I cannot wait for Christmas because I may get some more books on my "Wish List."

I always get a lump in my throat when I read the last part of that passage, especially now knowing that John is gone. That is exactly why we read series books. We remember the good times when all was right in the world. I will confess that I have begun to cry as I finish typing this message. John Axe will be missed.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

a wonderful tribute to a very awesome author and collector.