December 11, 1938 – September 20, 2021
“Make Every Day Count”
Our beloved husband, father, brother, colleague, and best friend, slipped away peacefully at his home in Santa Cruz, California, surrounded by his family. For many months, Larry held insatiably to life, because he simply loved living—on every level. Recently he was busy with many projects—adding more solar power to the house, taking magnificent photographs, practicing the viola da gamba, studying music theory, redesigning our front yard with beautiful succulent plants, and playing Pokémon with the grandkids and other aficionados of the game. Honestly, we all thought we would have more time together.
The last few months, this has been his daily mantra: “Make every day count.” And we did. His three-year journey with pancreatic cancer changed everything. We made every moment count. During his last few days, he was telling everyone, “There are only two things that matter: Having work that you love, and finding the right partner.” He said how lucky he was to have found both.
Larry is survived by Marti Selman, his devoted wife of 32 years; son Matthew David (Matisse) Selman, daughter-in-law Daniela Selman, grandsons Mason Lawrence Selman and Dashiell Jean Selman; son Noah Jordan Selman, daughter-in-law Sarah Selman, grandchildren Isaiah Clive Overson, Jacqueline Ruby Overson, and Khiaan J. Selman; sister Kay Ellen (Kelly) Selman, brother-in-law Robin Wallace, of Gainesville, Florida; first wife Linda Pope of Aptos; and a host of extended family and friends who will carry him in their hearts forever.
Born in Cleveland, Ohio to Evelyn and Morton Selman, Larry attended public schools in Cleveland Heights and earned a Bachelor’s degree at Kenyon College, after which he spent a year abroad studying chemistry at University College, London. He then went on to earn a Master’s degree and PhD in organic chemistry at Yale University. After a brief career in teaching, Larry discovered by chance what would become his career for the next four decades.
In the late 1960s, Larry found himself at a personal crossroads. With his PhD in organic chemistry (thanks to the persistence of his dedicated mother, Evy), he was torn between the prospect of an academic career, and his true passion—playing Renaissance and Baroque music. Larry felt he needed to make a choice. One day, a friend in the early music world introduced him to one of his collections: glass paperweights. Larry was immediately enthralled by these small objets d’art and began buying and selling them as a hobby, which in time evolved into a career.
During the Renaissance, skills and talents from many fields of expertise were combined into lives of extraordinary creativity. Eventually, Larry solved his career dilemma by choosing “all of the above,” following the path of innovators from the Renaissance era, whose hauntingly beautiful, complex music had smitten him. In other words, why not continue to be a scholar of many things, play early music, and…. deal in collectible glass paperweights!
Larry will be remembered by collectors around the world for his work in the field of fine glass paperweights, where he devoted himself to education about the art form and to fostering emerging artists who created these small treasures. In 1969, he founded L. H. Selman, Ltd. which began as a kitchen-table mail-order business with his first wife, Linda Pope, who co-authored his first book, Paperweights for Collectors. Through the publication of high-quality brochures, special photographic techniques and advertising, participation in antique shows, and collectors’ meetings and festivals, L. H. Selman, Ltd. became the world’s premier purveyor of both antique and contemporary glass paperweights. For years, Larry regularly traveled to London auctions to bid for clients or to purchase rarities for his collectors. He wrote numerous definitive books about the art form, and published many other titles under his publishing house, Paperweight Press.
Throughout his career as an art dealer, Larry drew on his lifelong skills as a photographer, figuring out the best ways to photograph glass. (He had created a dark room in his childhood home in Cleveland when he was fifteen). The exceptional quality of his photos set the standard among the paperweight world. Always the innovator, Larry was the first paperweight dealer to have a website. This was in the early days of the internet, when building a website required months of laborious and unforgiving attention to detail. Larry actually wrote the computer code himself, in the late hours on his home computer. He was the first paperweight dealer to establish an online auction. On two occasions, these auctions held the world record for the highest price realized for a rare antique glass paperweight.
Eventually the mail order / auction business evolved into a beautiful glass gallery in downtown Santa Cruz. The shop became a mecca for paperweight collectors from around the world who came to attend many festivals and other paperweight-related events which were hosted here. He fostered a collaborative work environment where his small staff could actively participate, and enjoy their work as much as he did.
In 2009, Larry decided that after 40 years it was time to “pass the torch” of the business to someone else.
L. H. Selman, Ltd. was purchased by the family of Wes Clark, a long-time collector, who moved the business to the Fine Arts Building on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, where it resides and continues to thrive.
Larry was a devoted father who adored his family. In 1976, son Matthew (Matisse) was born, followed by son Noah in 1978. Throughout his career as a businessman, he always found time to be 100% present for his children, constructing electronic projects at the dining room table, selling (hmm.. mostly buying) at the local flea market, having sushi-making dinners at home and lifelong daily conversations about their many diverse interests and activities.