Preserving History

You might call Joyce Mitman Welken America's unofficial curator of retail jewelry. As president of the oldest jewelry store in the United States—Bixler's Jewelers in Easton, Pa.—Welken oversees a collection of 200-year-old (and older) documents and aging photographs that make up a historical record of the family business. She also educates and entertains by sharing 217 years' worth of retail jewelry history through countless interviews with the press. Her goal: to maintain the Bixler retail legacy for as long as she can. In a shop filled with museum-quality American artifacts, JCK learned first-hand about events that transpired over the course of more than two centuries, with Welken serving as guide and narrator for Bixler's Jewelers photo-biographical tour. A ledger book from 1785 is in remarkably good shape. Its fading marzipan cover opens to reveal thick pages showing signs of

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