April 18, 2024 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

Typewriter Collection on Display in Beverly Hills

When it comes to assembling collections, some choose to collect rocks and stamps, whereas others decide to embark on a road less traveled.

This month, the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills is housing an unconventional and interesting collection of typewriters in the exhibition “From the Page to the Screen.”

Amassed by Steve Soboroff, president of the L.A. Police Commission, the 28 typewriters – also known as the Soboroff Typewriter Collection – have all been owned by iconic figures past and present, including the legendary likes of authors like Ernest Hemingway and musicians like John Lennon.

Soboroff explained the inspiration behind his typewriter collection and described how the idea initially came about.

“I was selling Sandy Koufax’s baseball glove at an auction and it sold for so much more than I thought,” Soboroff said. “The next item up during that option was Jim Murray’s typewriter. He’s an amazing hero of mine and he wrote about sports and things I really cared about.”

The prospect of possessing “such a personal item” of Murray’s was appealing enough for Soboroff to outbid both the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Los Angeles Times, win the typewriter, and eventually think of a beneficial means of utilizing the Remington Model J.

“I contacted Murray’s widow and told her I bought the typewriter,” Soboroff said. “I was aware of Murray’s foundation, and told her that if anyone was willing to type on the typewriter and donate to the Jim Murray Foundation in return, I’d be happy to loan it back to her. That’s what started this whole concept.”

Soboroff began to hear more stories about how typewriters are one-of-a-kind and should be viewed distinctively from other collectors’ items like stamps or coins, as typewriters become very personal to their respective owners.

Thirteen years and 28 typewriters later, Soboroff has discovered two aspects of collecting typewriters.

“They’re too expensive, and they’re hard to find,” Soboroff said with a laugh.

However, this has not hindered Soboroff from continuing his mission and investing time and money in the cause that his collection supports.

“There are some I haven’t bought – most are incredibly hard to find and verify,” Soboroff explained. “Ernest Hemingway’s typewriter took a trip to Boston, and Jack London’s a trip to the Huntington Museum.”

Although Soboroff has joked that his high-standard criteria is dependent on whether or not the owner has graced the cover of Time magazine, he clarified that he collects the typewriters partially for what was written on them.

“[The exhibit at the Paley Center for Media] will be the first time that the typewriters will be all together in one place,” Soboroff said. “This will be the world’s finest collection of typewriter machines.”

Soboroff was present at the exhibit’s opening night on Dec. 4 to share stories about his prized typewriters and discuss his collection in general, including the fact that Angelina Jolie has given him a deposit on a Hemingway typewriter as a wedding gift for Brad Pitt.

He has not ruled out the possibility of returning to the Paley Center for those who may have not been able to make it to opening night.

The exhibition will display the typewriters once owned by Orson Welles, Glenn Ford, George Bernard Shaw, E.M. Forster, Barbara Streisand, Marilyn Monroe, Ted Kaczynski, Tom Hanks, Ray Bradbury, John Updike, Truman Capote, Alistair MacLean, Mildred Benson, Tennesse Williams, Jack Kevorkian, Jack London, Andy Rooney, Greta Garbo, George Burns, Julie Andrews, Marlene Dietrich, Harold Robbins, John Lennon, Ernest Hemingway, and of course, Jim Murray.

The display is open Wednesdays through Sundays, noon till 5 pm, till Jan. 4. Admission is free. The Paley Center for Media is located at 465 North Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills 90210. For more information, call 310.786.1000 or visit paleycenter.org.

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