Queer Places:
Mount Auburn Cemetery Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA

Stephen Davies Paine (April 7, 1932 - November 8, 1997) was a preeminent collector of printed ephemera and a partner and senior vice-president of the Wellington Management Company. He was a member of the Horace Walpole Society, elected in 1987.

Raised in Brookline, Massachusetts, he attended Deerfield Academy, from which he graduated in 1950. He received the B.A. from Williams College in 1954 and then entered the United States Air Eorce. While in the service, he contracted polio. During his long period of recuperation he developed a deep and abiding love for contemporary American art. In recent years he served on the boards and committees of the Institute for Contemporary Art and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, tbe Williams College Museum of Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. He is remembered by all of these institutions for his steadfast support of American artists and for furthering the study and appreciation of American art.

But it was Stephen Paine's other collecting interest that intersected with the Society's—printed and engraved ephemera. His collection started with posters advertising agricultural implements and later grew to document the growth of business and manufacturing in general. To him, this collection of cultural artifacts provided windows into the history of American free enterprise. His discerning eye for quality resulted in an important collection of examples in fine condition with elegant typography and impeccably engraved vignettes. His sense of order and understanding of the conservation needs of these fragile documents was apparent. The small trade cards and billheads were securely housed in Mylar enclosures in notebooks. Each notebook was devoted to a different business or trade—agriculture, banking, insurance, mining, printing, and transportation are just a few of the headings that could be searched in his extensive collection. Large lithographed advertisements were also a part of his collection. In addition, he obtained city directories and reference works of all kinds to provide the context for his collection of artifacts. This hobby was as serious a passion as his collection of paintings. All in all, he assembled a stunning collection, one that he was happy to talk about and share with specialists.

In 1980 the Ephemera Society of America was founded by a group of collectors and dealers, and Paine served on its board from 1982 to 1994. In the fall of 1993, the Ephemera Society met in Worcester in conjunction with the American Game Collectors Society. Paine was able to join in the fun of learning about games, a form of ephemera. Among his friends in the Ephemera Society, he was known as a fierce competitor, a giant in his field, and a true connoisseur. He was recognized posthumously by the American Antiquarian Society (AAS) at its annual meeting in March 1998, when his accomplishments were commemorated with the presentation of the Maurice Rickards Award.

One of the speakers on that occasion noted that Paine learned several precepts at Deerfield Academy, including 'don't cut corners' and 'be mobile.' In his collections, he and his wife Susan never cut corners. And, in spite of the paralysis caused by polio, he managed an important business career, served many cultural organizations with distinction, and led an active life as a collector. He had the perseverance to overcome tremendous physical obstacles. His accomplishments were acknowledged by Williams College, which conferred on him an honorary L.H.D. in 1972.

Stephen Paine was elected to membership in AAS in 1990. He maintained an interest in the Society's activities. In addition to serving as an active trustee of many museums, Paine was a member of the Massachusetts Historical Society, the Walpole Society, the American Bugatd Club, and the Victorian Society. He was a director of the Charles River Broadcasting Company (the parent of radio station WCRB) for many years. In Boston, he was a director of Urban Arts and a member for many years of the Boston Arts Commission.  The works that he and his wife gave to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, where he was a trustee for more than 20 years, included paintings, sculptures and prints by such artists as Kandinsky, Robert Rauschenberg, Helen Frankenthaler, Jean Dubuffet and David Smith.

In 1962 he married Susan Gittings Woods, who shared his love of the fine arts and his commitment to serving the cultural community. Susan was elected to membership in the AAS just before her husband's death.

Paine died on November 8, 1997, at the age of sixty-five, from complications of post-polio syndrome.

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