(click to enlarge photos)
(Published in the Seattle Times online on Aug. 13, 2020
and in PacificNW Magazine of the print Times on Aug. 16, 2020)
A colossal contribution, and a blast from Paul Dorpat’s present
By Jean Sherrard
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 the Pike Place Market, he 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,” Paul 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 COVID-19, 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,” Paul says, “has always been a blast.”
A few more bonbons for friends and fans alike.
Here’s one of my favorites. When Paul and I took a 2005 trip to London and Paris together, we met up with our dear friend and colleague Berangere Lomont (a professional photographer who has through the years served this column as our Paris correspondent). While strolling in the 5th Arr., we did a double take. Paul’s doppelgänger was sitting at a street-side cafe table! The photo op was too good to be missed. Paul sauntered over to the adjoining table and sat down, pretending to examine a menu.
Berangere took the still and, trying unsuccessfully not to laugh, I pointed the video camera.
More recently, Clay Eals managed to capture a video of Paul feeding gulls on the waterfront (the perfect accompaniment to my still photo used in the column).
And in no particular order, a clutch of Paul pix throughout the years.
Stay tuned. More to come…