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Behind the Scenes in the Vent Haven Archives

October 12, 2018

 

Most of you have seen the Vent Haven collection firsthand...so many dummies and photos it truly boggles the mind.  What you probably don't know about is the massive and amazing archive that Mr. Berger preserved and that we have been cataloging for almost 20 years.  Here's a peek behind the curtain at Vent Haven...

 

First up, the figure database.  The Vent Haven figure database is the go to source for information on an individual dummy.  Bryan Sweasy wrote this database in 2001 and every dummy in the collection is logged here, along with many pertinent details about it: its acquisition date, features, condition, etc.   Here's a screenshot of figure number 1, Mr. Berger's favorite dummy, Skinny Hamilton.  Today's collection numbers 944 dummies and puppets.

 The next database is for the photographs.  Bryan Sweasy created this one, too. Each photo in the database has been scanned at high and low resolution.  Each one also has several information fields including who is in the photo, who took the photo, the inscription, etc.  Bryan connected the figure database to the photo database so I can toggle back and forth from a dummy to the photos of that dummy.  To date, more than 5500 photos have been scanned.   The photo scanning project should be completed in the next 3 to 5 years.  Here's a screen shot of photo number 1, the Dean of American Ventriloquists,  Jimmy Nelson.

 Another unbelievable element of the Vent Haven collection is Mr. Berger's correspondence file.  He wrote and received letters from 5747 people and businesses!  As I am continuing to file his papers, that number will likely be more than 6000 when it's all done!  Even more amazing is the fact that he kept carbon copies of all of his letters, so we have both sides of the