Acts of Salvage explores what the contemporary city compels us to cling to or discard.

Acts of Salvage is curated by Amy Lavender Harris, Geographer, Torontonian, dumpster diver and author of Imagining Toronto (Mansfield Press, 2010), which was shortlisted for the Gabrielle Roy Prize in Canadian literary criticism and won the 2011 Heritage Toronto Award of Merit.

alharris [at] gmail [dot] com.


The following is a list of resources that have informed my thinking while researching and writing Acts of Salvage. It consists of a mix of popular and scholarly resources, several novels and memoirs, as well as links and articles that may be of interest to other researchers, writers or readers.

The list is an eclectic mix of works on hoarders and hoarding, dumpster diving, ‘tramps,’ ‘bag ladies’ and street people, garbage and waste. There are even a few books on decorating with salvaged objects.

Permission to make use of this bibliography, in whole or in part, for any purpose other than personal use or non-commercial  academic research, shall be obtained in advance in writing.

Beller, Janet, 1980. Street People. New York: Macmillan.

Brooks, Oscar Dexter, 1991. Legs: An Authentic Story of Life on the Road. Toronto: Key Porter.

Buchanan-Smith, Peter, 2001. Speck: A Curious Collection of Uncommon Things. New York: Princeton Architectural Press.

Carter, Mary Randolph, 2001. Big City Junk. New York: Clarkson Potter.

Chase, John, 2000. Glitter Stucco & Dumpster Diving: Reflections on Building Production in the Vernacular City. New York; London: Verso.

Cresswell, Tim, 2001. The Tramp in America. London: Reaktion Books.

Davenport, Marcia, 1954. My Brother’s Keeper. New York: Charles Scribner. [ a novel about the Collyer brothers]

Eighner, Lars, 1993. Travels with Lizbeth: Three Years on the Road and on the Streets. New York: Fawcett Columbine / Ballantine.

Ferrell, Jeff, 2006. Empire of Scrounge: Inside the Urban Underground of Dumpster Diving, Trash Picking and Street Scavenging. New York; London: New York University Press.

Freyer, John D., 2002. All My Life for Sale. New York: Bloomsbury.

Frost, Randy O. and Gail Steketee, 2010. Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things. Boston; New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Grantick, Harry, 1947; 1991. Underneath New York. New York: Fordham University Press.

Hakcett, Kathlee and Mary Ann Young, 2005. The Salvage Sisters’ Guide to Finding Style in the Street and Inspiration in the Attic. New York: Workman / Artisan.

Hammerslough, Jane, 2001. Dematerializing: Taming the Power of Possessions. Cambridge, MA: Perseus Publishing.

Hawkins, Gay, 2006. The Ethics of Waste. Lanham, Maryland; New York: Rowman & Littlefield.

Hine, Thomas, 2002. I Want That!: How We All Became Shoppers. Harper Collins.

Hoffman, John, 1993. The Art & Science of Dumpster Diving. Port Townsend, WA: Breakout Productions.

Holman, Felice, 1974. Slake’s Limbo. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.

Hovey, Tamara, 1991. Paris Underground. New York: Orchard Books.

Jamison, Dirk, 2006. Perishable: A Memoir. Chicago: Chicago Review Press.

Knechtel, John, ed., 2007. Trash. An Alphabet City book. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

Lidz, Franz, 2003. Ghosty Men: The Strange But True Story of the Collyer Brothers, New York’s Greatest Hoarders. New York: Bloomsbury.

Malkin, Nina, 2006. An Unlikely Cat Lady: Feral Adventures in the Backyard Jungle. Guilford, Conn.: The Lyons Press.

Miller, Benjamin, 2000. Fat of the Land: Garbage of New York the Last Two Hundred Years. New York; London: Four Walls Eight Windows.

Owen, Catherine [photographs by Karen Moe], 2006. Cusp / Detritus: An Experiment in Alleyways. Vancouver: Anvil Press.

Rathje, William and Cullen Murphy, 1992. Rubbish!: The Archaeology of Garbage: What Our Garbage Tells Us about Ourselves. New York: Harper Collins.

Rhatigan, Joe and Dana Irwin, 2001. Salvage Style. New York: Sterling / Lark.

Rhodes, Evan, 1975. The Prince of Central Park. New York: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan.

Rogers, Heather, 2005. Gone Tomorrow: The Hidden Life of Garbage. New York; London: The New Press.

Rothbart, Davy, 2004. Found: The Best Lost, Tossed, and Forgotten Items from Around the World. New York: Simon & Schuster / Fireside.

Rousseau, Ann Marie, 1981. Shopping Bag Ladies. New York: Pilgrim Press.

Royte, ELizabeth, 2005. Garbage Land: On the Secret Trail of Trash. New York: Little, Brown / Back Bay.

Strasser, Susan, 1999. Waste and Want: A Social History of Trash. New York: Metropolitan Books / Henry Holt.

Toth, Jennifer, 1993. The Mole People: Life in the Tunnels Beneath New York City. Chicago: Chicago Review Press.

Wagner, Jane, 1969. J.T. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.


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