The John Feathers Map Collection

By Alec Ernest | Documentary
A collector donates a trove of maps for a glimpse into the past.

In 2012, Glen Creason — a map librarian at the Los Angeles Central Library — got a phone call from a real estate agent. The agent told him a house scheduled for demolition in Mt. Washington was filled with maps.

Glen was skeptical, thinking it would be nothing but boxes of National Geographics. But Glen soon discovered the old house was stuffed with a treasure trove of priceless antique maps, much beloved to John Feathers, the occupant of the house and a passionate collector of maps. John’s private collection effectively doubled the Library’s collection, which started in 1873.

This short documentary, directed by Alec Ernest and created for the Los Angeles Review of Books, takes a quotidian subject and mines it for emotional resonance with great skill and sensitivity. Maps become more than just analytical, intellectual tools — they record what people want to see, how people live and chronicle the passage of time.

With a beautiful musical score and fast-paced editing, “Living History” communicates Glen’s passion and excitement for maps, showing how everyday objects can become imbued with memory, emotion and our dreams for the future.




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