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A visit to W. F. Hermans’ typewriters

by | Dec 14, 2015 | correspondence | 10 comments

Correspondent Hans Boersma reports on a mechanographo-literary pilgrimage.

10 Comments

  1. Bill M

    Great report on a wonderful collection. Good to see it is getting proper care and best of all a museum that allows visitors to use the machines.

    Reply
  2. Ted

    Fantastic report of a wonderful collection! (:

    Reply
  3. Unknown

    Great pictures (!) and very interesting story.

    Reply
  4. Anonymous

    I'm genuinely surprised to hear of a European nation that is so flippant about its own legacy. Guess I don't know Europe well enough. Did you ask the custodian which one was Herman's favorite?

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  5. Unknown

    I didn't need to ask — Hermans' red IBM became iconic. This was the only machine some Dutch institutes/museums were interested in when the collection had become homeless.

    It is, I think, a 1970 IBM Selectric I (serial number: 721-58257291). This is the typewriter he appears to have used most in the last years of his life. Whether it was his favourite? In a 1993 interview he said that he would really prefer writing on all machines simultaneously. He also found that collecting had a downside: "…the collection turns itself against the owner. I hear little voices: me, me, me, me also write a masterpiece!"

    (http://www.wfhermans.net/interviews/90/webeling293.htm)

    The typewriter he probably had the strongest bond with was his first, the Underwood Portable he inherited from his sister (see my letter from last August).

    Reply
  6. rino breebaart

    Oh wow. And I was just in Ghent last year! I'll have to go back. Great story and pix. rino

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  7. Anonymous

    As you know, I love a good Belgian typewriter story, and this one's a corker. Great post. :)

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  8. Scott K

    Magnificent collection!

    Reply
  9. Lx

    I definitely plan to visit the book shop in January when back on the other side of the pond. Have to read up on Hermans again. Thanks, Hans, for all the interesting background information. It will be a joy to see all the machines (and dare I ask, try them out?!) :)

    Reply

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