We tiptoed around stacks of files on the Kray twins and Kardashians, in Edda Tasiemka’s massive personal archive of newspaper clippings.
We’re sitting in Edda Tasiemka’s living room, in the north London suburbs of Golders Green, surrounded by antique furniture and shelves of dusty red books. But this is no ordinary house. It’s filled with a sprawling collection of newspaper and magazine cuttings, on everything from the Kray twins and Spice Girls to Ryan Giggs. Edda’s archive has earned her the corny but fairly accurate nickname the “Human Google.”
Edda’s collection of old newspapers and magazine cuttings is one of the most complete on Earth. It is a growing, unfathomably organized archive, where journalists from around the world have turned (for a small fee) when they need help finding out about the past.
Edda and her husband Hans started the collection in the 1950s in their three-story home, and she registered it in 1979 after Hans’ death. Manila files bulging with cuttings line every corridor, while stacks of yellowing newspapers teeter in piles. There are files everywhere: politics in the living room, medicine in the kitchen, sport in the bathroom, religion in the bedroom, three rooms of showbiz, and an attic crammed with crime and fashion.
Edda’s closed the archive to the public now, but the massive collection of files and papers lives on. We spoke to her about making sense of the archive’s chaos, people’s obsession with showbiz gossip, and what she’s going to do now that the internet has just about made her collection of clippings moot.
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