Longtime East Village resident Lois Kirschenbaum died earlier month. She was 88.
Lois Kirschenbaum, a fan fixture at the Metropolitan Opera for more than 50 years, has died at 88. https://t.co/WYkMvITA4e— NYT Obituaries (@NYTObits) April 10, 2021
The Times covered her passing (see tweet above), and followed up with another story on who they called "the queen of the Metropolitan Opera’s stage door since the 1950s."
Corey Kilgannon has a feature on her extensive collection of autographed photos of opera stars as well as singed programs — a number that exceeds 200,000. And they are all sitting in boxes in her spare bedroom now.
Kirschenbaum was a switchboard operator from Flatbush, Brooklyn, who became perhaps New York's biggest and longest-standing opera buff — and an obsessive autograph collector. For over half a century, she spent about 300 nights a year at the Met and other musical and dance performances. Legally blind since birth, she would usually sit in the uppermost balcony and follow the action with a pair of large binoculars, always hustling back after the curtain call — programs and headshots in hand — to gather signatures.Her will, drafted in 1992, directed her collection to be left to the "Lincoln Center Research Library," which, as the Times notes, is likely a reference to the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center.
Its executive director, Jennifer Schantz, said the library was "delighted and honored," adding, "We look forward to reviewing the collection and learning more."But...
Since the library does not accept all such donations, however, Kirschenbaum’s friends still fear the material might wind up discarded.