2012 NIA Hall of Fame Inductee

 Marilyn Albers

 In February of 2010, the insulator hobby lost one of its finest jewels, Marilyn Albers.  Marilyn was born in Libertyville, Illinois in 1927.  In 1945, she met “the love of her life” Bill at the University of Colorado in Boulder from which they both graduated.   They married in 1949.  Bill’s work in oil exploration took them throughout the United States and Canada and eventually to Houston, Texas.  They were blessed with six children, and she became the grandmother of twenty grandchildren and the great grandmother to five.  Marilyn’s hobbies included playing classical guitar, Girl Scouting, running, sewing, and collecting insulators.  She was an incredible hostess to all who visited and, in the finest Texas tradition, was one of the most gracious ladies you could ever know.   In the decades preceding her passing she was one of the most influential and prodigious contributors in the history of insulator collecting. 

Her collection began in 1973, like for so many of us, with a stop at an antique store.  There was a window display of many colorful glass insulators and husband Bill gifted her three pieces for her birthday.  Bill probably came to wonder what type of monster he had unleashed, after such a harmless beginning, because Marilyn’s insulator collection would ultimately number in the thousands. 

Starting with a general glass collection, Marilyn subsequently developed an affinity for foreign insulators of all types and became heavily involved in collecting, researching, and documenting all she could discover about them.  She traveled throughout the world visiting collectors, acquiring specimens, and conducting research.  In 1981, with the help of Woody Woodward, Marilyn compiled the book “Glass Insulators from Outside North America,” a companion book to “Worldwide Porcelain Insulators, which she co-authored with Jack Tod the following year.  1986 saw the publication of “Glass Insulators from Outside North America, First Revision” (Albers/Woodward) and “Worldwide Porcelain Insulators, 1986 Supplement” (Albers/Tod).   These references remain the standard works on the subject of foreign insulators thirty-plus years later. 

In addition to her books, Marilyn became the Foreign Insulators editor for Crown Jewels of the Wire magazine in July of 1979.  She continued to serve in this demanding role until December of 2002, a period of over 23 years.  The depth of her commitment can best be realized by searching the Crown Jewels online archives where the name Marilyn Albers produces an astonishing 379 hits! 

Marilyn served the hobby in many ways other than her research and writing.  She was active in several local clubs as well as the NIA which she served as Awards & Recognitions Committee Chair (1980 -1982), as our only lady President (1982 – 1984) and as Central Region Vice-President (1991 – 1994). 

 She has been duly recognized for her contributions having received the NIA Outstanding Service Award in 1982 and together with Bill, the NIA’s highest honor, Lifetime Membership, in 1988.  The NIA has also honored Marilyn by naming the award for the best competitive display at the National Show in the “Foreign” category the “Marilyn Albers Memorial Award.” 

She assisted with many local shows and was a co-host of the two NIA National Shows held in Houston, Texas, first in 1988 and again in 1994.  Marilyn was also a prolific exhibitor at dozens of shows where she consistently developed some of the most creative displays ever assembled.  She was a selfless mentor to countless collectors who sought her advice and assistance. 

Husband Bill has stated: “Joining Jack Tod and Woody Woodward in the NIA Hall of Fame place’s her in the company of two men that nurtured her love of the hobby.

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