A lifetime with National Geographic

Published 7:24 pm Friday, September 1, 2023

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The Friends of the Library’s Book Store at the Troy Public Library has been busier than usual.  The reason? A donation of a large collection of National Geographic Magazines spanning the decades from 1965 through 2010.

Iris Byrd, Friends president, said the popular magazines have generated a lot of traffic and the interest continues to be high.

Now, with another recent magazine donation, interest is expected to peak.

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Andy Martinack, the donor of the National Geographics, has donated his collection of National Geographic History Magazines, which Byrd said, ‘has the potential of being more popular than the National Geographics

“‘Friends’ can’t thank Andy enough for another amazing collection of National Geographic Magazines,” Byrd said. “He first asked if ‘Friends’ would like a donation of National Geographic Magazines. We said ‘yes,’ and he brought  60 years’ worth.”

Martinack shared that he was a member of the National Geographic Society and one of the benefits was a monthly magazine.

The collection came about when Martinack bought a house in Florida that featured a room with a long library shelf.

“To fill the void, I started saving the National Geographic’s,” he said. “They are of book quality, so there were no complaints from my wife. Years later, when I retired, the long shelf was full.”

The Martinacks then bought a farm in Tennessee. The television reception was not good so the magazines went to the farm and he caught up on his reading.

Martinacks’ wife accepted a teaching position at Troy University. Their Troy home had wall-to-wall book shelves. So, Martinack, again, shelved his magazines.

In time, Martinack’s wife passed away. He later married a “wonderful lady,” Winnie, whom he met at the Colley Senior Complex.

For 25 years, the National Geographic’s have come faithfully every month. During those years, Martinack has left the United States only to take a Caribbean cruise.

“Now, being over the age, 90, and with failing eye vision, I can still remember my magazine adventures- visiting foreign lands, looking for buried treasure, climbing the highest mountains and diving to deep ocean depths and going to the moon,” Martinack, said, adding, all while seated comfortably in his recliner with a National Geographic Magazine or History in his hand.

His hope is that the collections he donated to Friends will bring the same opportunities for travel and learning that he has enjoyed over the years to those who invest in a 50-cent tour of an ancient city or Tut’s Tomb or a visit with Jesse James or a private viewing of Leonardo’s Last Masterpiece or ….