The Collector

The inimitable Abe Levine reflects on his passion for shells and his eventual decision to give away his collection of over 7,000 specimens.

In nineteen hundred and seventy two, a shell collector I became.
And since that time my life and home have never been the same.
Many moments of my leisure time, I spend among my shells.
As I study and admire the gorgeous homes, wherein the Mollusc dwells.

Ever since I was a youngster, Redpath visits gave me pleasure,
Making them the logical recipients of my conchological treasure.
In nineteen hundred and ninety four, I had to face the truth:
That I had just turned seventy, and getting a little long in the tooth.

Your shells you can't take with you and although it will break your heart.
The logical conclusion is with your shells you must start to depart.
Since then I have made donations with pleasure as the number swells.
The total of these donations are over seven thousand shells.

McGill and Redpath have honoured me declaring this exhibit permanent.
Therefore my shell collecting hobby represents time and money well spent.
As this exhibit will be permanent my shells will no longer roam.
They are resting in the shelter of their final Redpath home.

Land Acknowledgement

McGill University is on land which has long served as a site of meeting and exchange amongst Indigenous peoples, including the Haudenosaunee and Anishinabeg nations. We acknowledge and thank the diverse Indigenous peoples whose presence marks this territory on which peoples of the world now gather.

The Redpath Museum's director EDI statement.

Back to top