The Janesville Gazette reports that Gail Gygax will be seeking the permission of the Lake Geneva Park Board to erect a statue Library Park to honor the memory of her deceased husband, Gary. The article also notes that funds for the project will be obtained in a variety of ways, including the auctioning off of some of Gygax's personal items, including "original manuscripts." I have to admit that I feel a little uncomfortable with this idea. I hope that none of the manuscripts being auctioned have any real historical significance. As Indiana Jones might say, those belong in a museum, or at least a library, where they can be archived for the reference of future scholars.
I know it's fashionable nowadays to mock all the reverence for Gygax in the old school community, but I think anyone who takes the time to think about it must concede that Gary was in fact an extremely influential figure in recent history. His ideas and writings laid the groundwork for so much of our popular culture that it's easy to dismiss such claims as mere hyperbole; it's not, because Gary really did change the world. That's why I'd much rather see his original manuscripts in the hands of institutions of learning rather than in private hands, where they might never be seen by those of us who are trying to piece together a history of the hobby. Besides, I suspect Gygax has enough admirers who'd be willing to help defer the costs of this memorial that such an auction would be unnecessary. At least I hope that's the case.