THIS WEEK, WE drop in on our “Now & Then” column founder, Paul Dorpat.
For 37 years, his witty wisdom (and wise wit), drawn from deep wells of history — and a vast collection of old photos — provided a weekly fount of delight for thousands of fans. Clay Eals and I take ongoing inspiration from Paul’s legacy, but Dorpat ain’t done yet.
Having recently moved from Wallingford into senior housing near Pike Place Market, Dorpat has overseen the contribution of his extensive archive of historical books and manuscripts, as well as more than 300,000 images, to Seattle Public Library.
“I hope my donation will inspire others to do the same,” Dorpat says. “When we protect and share our history, we can give our community a depth that’s truly resounding.”
Andrew Harbison, the library’s assistant director of Collections and Access Services, concurs: “We’re thrilled to receive this incredible gift and look forward to making the collection available for the public to see and enjoy.”
But that’s not all.
Along with the rest of us, chafing at the isolation imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, Dorpat continues to collate his many thousands of hours of documentary film and video, dedicated to making this treasure trove available for future generations of historians and documentarians.
“For me, revisiting the past,” he says, “has always been a blast.”