(#123.2) The Convict Letter Collection
G.R. "Joe" Gebors Museum of the Imaginary and the Impossible*
The physical location of the collection is just south of Savannah on Tybee Island, Georgia.
Catalogue #123.2 Received by Museum: 5 July 1957. Originator: Eric Mintz
, born Erich Mintz in
wood and leather with metal clasps (broken). 32x28x44”.
- Trunk Contents: 2,412 letters, including 112 self-folding envelope letters; 2300 letters in "modern" envelopes; 1 volume, “Diary”, with dated entries from 1850 to 1892..
Mintz was a prison guard for more than
half a century and “collected” letters that were written by convicts and
entrusted to him for delivery to postal officials. He performed the acceptance part but ignored
the delivery and simply kept all of the letters. Over his many years Mintz accumulated some
402 letters. All remained unopened. Mintz’own diary--a scandalous affair of mostly repetitious, feverous, arithmetical nightmares in which he recorded his counting of one through ten many thousands of times--reveals that he stole the
letters because he “liked the way they felt”. In our experience we have seen that people can be committed to
deep and long-term heinous aberrations--like this--without very much
thought at all as to why they're doing it. Mintz may or may not have
collected money for postage; though even then the remuneration for
theft over such a long period of time--and committed in such a way as
to cause extended suffering for those waiting responses that were never
to come--would have been insignificant. There is also no evidence that he held the email "for ransom".
Mintz worked in 13 jails in 7 cities in two states, and collected
letters from felons convicted of crimes such as wire cutting, brand stealing,
chicken gutting, soil teasing, indiscretions with hoofed animals, stump mangle,
murder, arson-murder, fright-murder, and wanton abduction. The letters, dating
from 1850 to 1910, and ranging in locations from San Francisco to San Antonio
Mintz died in 1913, a suicide, in Archer
City, Texas, by swallowing a deputy’s badge. *Just to make sure, the Museum of the Imaginary and Impossible is my own fiction. Everything else on this blog is factual.
Mintz died in 1913, a suicide, in Archer City, Texas, by swallowing a deputy’s badge.
*Just to make sure, the Museum of the Imaginary and Impossible is my own fiction. Everything else on this blog is factual.