Steve Geppi Donates His Entire Museum Collection To The Library Of Congress

by Hannah Means Shannon

If you have never been to Steve Geppi’s Entertainment Museum, located just across the street from the Baltimore Convention Center where Baltimore Comic-Con is held, that’s a big shame, but you only have a couple more days to do so since the museum will be closing as of June 3rd. It has been a pristine and awe-inspiring space filled with crisp ground-breakingly important comics of the past, and also a wide array of memorabilia.

For those who don’t know, Geppi is also Diamond Comic Distributors’ President and Chief Executive Officer.  Diamond have announced that Geppi has made a “multimillion dollar donation of more than 3,000 items from his personal comic book and pop culture collection” to The Library of Congress. The donation is said to be the largest comic cache that the Library has ever received.

Geppi’s gift includes “comic books, photos, posters, original comic book and comic strip art, newspapers, pinback buttons, and other rare, vintage pop culture artifacts including the original Plane Crazy storyboards that document the creation of Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse”, according to Diamond. But you can actually enjoy perusing these items pretty soon, since they are expected to go on display at the Library of Congress beginning this summer.

[Steve Geppi, owner and CEO of Diamond Comic Distributors in Baltimore, Maryland, shows off his collection, May 22, 2018. Photos by Shawn Miller.]

Basically, this donation consists of all the material that has been on display at Geppi’s Entertainment Museum, and with the acquisition of these items by the Library of Congress, the museum will close its doors in June. Its last day open to the public will be Sunday, June 3, 2018 from 10am to 6pm. Admission that day will be free of charge. The museum has been open since 2006, and Geppi sees this as a next step to bring the collection to a wider audience.

Geppi says:

I’ve been an evangelist for comics since I picked up my first issue of Batman at the age of five. Since then, I couldn’t help but share my excitement, first with my brother, then my family, and then my friends. I remember thinking ‘This stuff is great! I can’t wait to share it with so-and-so.’ After that, each step along the way has really preceded from those initial impulses…I’ve been blessed to make my living from something I love for decades, and further blessed to be able to share these treasures with others. The idea of how many more people will get to see this material under the auspices of The Library of Congress invigorates my mind with a multitude of possibilities. I definitely have other plans for the future as well. Besides, it’s not like I’m going to stop collecting.

Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden, adds:

The Library of Congress is home to the nation’s largest collection of comic books, cartoon art and related ephemera and we celebrate this generous donation to the American people that greatly enhances our existing holdings. The appeal of comic books is universal, and we are thrilled tht this new addition to the collections will make them even more accessible to people worldwide.

You can find the official Library of Congress press release about Geppi’s donation right here.