Meet the Biographer
Gordon Imrie (interviewed in depth here) has been the curator for his family for forty-five years. His mother was a lifelong antique collector who conveyed to him appreciation of heirlooms and those who made them possible. His and his late wife Margaret’s home is a museum of family affection and service. Its favorite spot for decades of visitors has been the Great Wall of the Ancestors: eighty choice photo-enlargements of remarkable relatives and/or circumstances, recently converted to screensavers for family computers.
It takes an artist’s eye and broad general knowledge to put these treasures in proper frames – literally and figuratively. Imrie’s degrees from Stanford and Harvard cover three concentrations, and he has lived in all major regions of the US. His longest stop was twenty-two years in Manhattan, with less time, respectively, near Chicago, in Atlanta, and eight years in Northern California.
He sidelined as a professional photographer in college as part of a printing brokerage he ran. He worked for a newspaper and two magazines for most of his New York career, and has served in executive and board positions in the arts and non-profits, including a nursing home. He managed production of several Fortune 500 firms' annual reports and quarterlies. He and Margaret renovated a century-old ten-unit building in Manhattan and lived in an even older home near Chicago for ten years.
These experiences combine to qualify him for sensitive, discreet, and lively management of family memorabilia. He’s the man who got the elder relatives on videotape before their demise or disability. His computer and photo-editing skills have brought far-flung family branches closer together. Imrie is also co-moderator of an alumni website which has registered half the class and counted thirty thousand postings in twelve years. (One posting resulted in the Biographer's kidney donation to a classmate days before beginning a six-hundred-page family history based on a new client's twelve thousand photos and documents.)
Finally, his interviewing and writing skills are well-honed, especially in many eulogies, memoria, speeches, limericks, and in letters published in the Boston Phoenix, Chicago Tribune, Christian Science Monitor, New York Times, and Wall Street Journal. His ability to write in the third-person is unmatched.