Merry Chaffey-mas!

This week I started working on metadata for the Chaffey Brothers Letters. It seems like I am the last CLIR CCEPS Fellow to work on the Chaffey Brothers Letters, but I knew I wouldn't be able to stay away from the Chaffey brothers for long. Other fellows have written about the Chaffey Brothers Letters many times before. They have inspired a lot of conversations here at Special Collections, and Alfonso even did his culminating presentation on the letters.


The infamy of the Chaffey Brothers Letters here at the CLIRWater Project is due to two factors. One is simply that there are a lot of letters which gives an enormously well-rounded view of their business operations. We are very lucky that these fragile records have survived almost 150 years and that complete transcripts exist in the case that the wet copy letters are illegible. Complete or near complete records like these can provide huge insights for researchers interested in the Chaffey brothers or the history of land use in Southern California.


This brings us to the second reason that the Chaffey Brother Letters are such a hot topic here at the Claremont Colleges Library's Special Collections: the Chaffey brothers are incredibly important to the history of Southern California and the Inland Empire specifically. They influenced the settlement of the area and effected water and land use in the area to such an extent that their legacy can be seen even today. Since our project centers on water resources and allocation, the Chaffey brothers are big players in the larger narrative that we are uncovering and publishing via the CLIRWater Project.


Now that I am creating metadata for some of the letters, I am beginning to understand why the Chaffey Brothers Letters are so captivating. Although most of the letters are short and center around specific business transactions, when read together a larger image of the Chaffey brother's business comes into focus. I have talked about learning history through osmosis before, and I am experiencing this sensation again while working with these letters.


Anyway, this is my last blog post for 2017. I will be back again working on the CLIRWater Project in 2018. Happy Holidays!

Last Week of the Semester

Hi all,

This week I continued my work on naming files from Chaffey letters book 2. I also got to see some documents being photographed and uploaded, which was cool because it showed me the earlier steps in the process of archiving these files. I'm learning more about the Chaffey brothers' business as I go; for example, I found this week that they were involved in growing raisins through a letter in which they requested someone send them an "A-1 raisin man" immediately!

Happy holidays,
Aalia

Working Merrily Along

Hello Everyone, I am pleased to report I have made progress this week. I have processed four records boxes and am working merrily along. I am hoping to keep up the pace next week and make some significant head way before the holiday break. I am busy processing administrative paperwork into folders and am looking forward to learning how to process items that need preservation, such as photographs and newspaper clippings, when we return to work in the new year. The Woman's Club of Claremont has taken great care in recording their history over the decades. From homemade leather-bound scrapbooks in the 1920's, to homemade quilted scrapbooks in the 1980's, the club has preserved items documenting their activities and contributions to the community. Items include photographs, slides, and newspaper clippings to name just a few types of records. A newspaper article titled, "Home Portals Opened," from 1924 documents the club's first meeting in their new clubhouse on 12th street in Claremont. The article relays how in 1922 a Mrs. Henry C. Gower reported to the group the club's fundraising efforts towards their new clubhouse had accumulated to $6 and some chickens! Somehow the determined group of amazing women managed to gather the necessary funds and in 1924 had one of their first meetings in their new clubhouse with approximately 150 women present. Some 72 years later the Woman's Club of Claremont made headlines again as they were recognized for their long history of community service. Quite an impressive group of women who have dedicated their lives to improving their community and I am thankful I am able to have just a small part in working to preserve their history. 

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Homemade scrapbook ca. 1920.


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The Women's Club gets a new home--I wonder if the chickens were part of the deal!


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 The Club being recognized for 72 years of service to the Claremont community.


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Homemade scrapbook ca. 1984.

Culminating Presentation

A couple weeks ago I posted a blog post about the CLIR CCEPS culminating presentation that I was getting ready for. Well, last week I gave my presentation along side my fellow CLIR CCEPS student workers. The presentations all went really well and I enjoyed sharing my thoughts with the folks in the audience.

For this blog post I wanted to share briefly what my presentation was about. Given my experience and interest in developing the CLIRWater project's social media presence, my presentation was about social media. More specifically, I talked about how social media might be able to support the mission statements of the stakeholders involved in the project.

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First, I talked about the successes and failures we've experienced over the last semester in terms of what works and what doesn't for our followers on different social media platforms. I believe that success and failure are both important to recognize so that we can learn and adapt accordingly. This process is about trying new things without the fear of failure, because failure is just another kind of learning opportunity. Likewise, recognizing success offers important lessons about what we can continue to do well.

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I used Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram as my case studies. I examined posts across all three social media platforms featuring the images seen in this slide, and noticed what was popular and what was not. From there I established guidelines about how we can proceed in future social media posts based on the lessons I learned from these case studies.

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I then looked at the mission statements for the organizations involved in the CLIRWater Project. My goal was to connect the online content we create with the goals and values of the organizations involved. I wanted to make sure that posting online content to social media platforms was a worthwhile aspect of this project outside of the normal activities that this project entails (and that we post about here on the blog).

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Finally, I connected some of the key ideas found in the mission statements listed above to the online content we create. I sincerely think that social media is a great resource for sharing archival and special collections material and engaging a larger audience. Hopefully this abridged version of my culminating presentation has convinced you too!

Chaffey Letters Book 2

Hi everyone,

This week I worked on naming files from the second book of Chaffey letters. In a few of the letters from Book 2 that I got to skim, I came across some business issues the Chaffey brothers had to deal with. A common theme was that the person they were writing to wasn't writing back to them in time. The brothers were dealing with pressing issues at times, but the speed of the postal service (and potentially the reluctance of their business partners to answer) meant they didn't always get a response when they needed one. For example, in the file ont00017_0103_0002, George Chaffey wrote about rabbits doing damage to trees on their land, and how the person he was addressing had left his letter unanswered. This made me think of how nowadays we are accustomed to instant responses, and if we don't get them, we can often check whether or not our messages have been received or even opened. People are also expected to be accessible at any time because our cell phones are never too far from us. This has changed business practices and customs so much. It was interesting to read how it used to be in the 1800s, and how all the Chaffey brothers could do to ensure a faster response was to perhaps insert some stern words into their requests.

Speaking of the digital age, I also worked on posting to CLIR and Honnold's social media pages today!

Best,
Aalia

Full Circle

Hello! I have some pretty amazing news! At this point in the semester I have now created metadata for all of the items I scanned this semester. After hours and hours of work I'm done with my first batch of objects! Once they have all been uploaded onto the digital library I will start scanning again.


Things have come full circle, officially, which is such an incredible realization. I actually had trouble thinking of a blog post topic for this week until I realized I've finally seen the process from start to finish. I guess I have to stop feeling like a newbie now.


I'm excited to start scanning again, something you probably didn't expect to read. However, new documents to scan equals new stories to uncover and I can't wait to share what new treasures I discover.

Archiving PDFs

Hi all,

This week I worked on converting PDF scans of the Chaffey Letters Book 1 into archivable PDFs, or PDF/As. I did a little research into why it's necessary for these files to be in the PDF/A format and found that this allows them to be preserved more carefully so that they remain accessible. It's used by governments, newspapers, libraries, and many more institutions as the world's information becomes more and more digitized. So, although the work was tedious, it ensured that the Chaffey letters meet the standards for digital archiving.

Happy December,
Aalia

Last Day at the Office

Hello everyone,

So today is my last day working as a CLIRWater CCEPS Fellow. For the past two days I have been working on my presentation displaying the work I've done this semester as well as continuing metadata for those Chaffey Letters. It might be a surprise, but my end of the semester presentation is going to be on... drum rolls please..

The Chaffey Letters!!

I've spent so much time with these letters and learning about the Chaffey Brothers, the Inland Empire and Ontario that I'm just waiting to burst with all that information.

Overall, I am thankful for the experience I have had at the library. I have always considered myself a history buff and while working with these documents I have enjoyed learning about the history of Southern California as well as the ability to work with archives. I've learned new skills, technical and job skills.

thanks for reading,

Alfonso

In the Thick of It!

Hello Everyone, after some thought and adjustments I began executing the processing plan for the collection this week. It was slow going at first, but I began to pick up speed as I became more aware of the patterns within the materials and things started to make sense. I understand now what the term "living document" means as logical methods of arrangements reveal themselves as I sort through and organize the materials. This really is a work in progress, and as I sort I am beginning to see how files will be combined, eliminated, or created a few steps from where I am now when the initial arrangement is completed. I have to say I really enjoy the work. I never thought my need for organization, and sometimes annoying habit of paying too much attention to detail, would come in so handy! The Woman's Club of Claremont has an interesting history, and being able to touch upon the Club's long and productive contribution to their community while utilizing my organizational skills allows me to combine two of my favorite things! I was able to complete an initial arrangement on one records box, and seeing the neatly arranged files really gave me a sense of accomplishment for this week. Now that I am in the thick of the creating the arrangements, I know I will be able to pick up the pace and put a significant dent in the 26 boxes that still need to be processed. I am excited for next week!    

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One box down, only 26 more to go!

There was a variety of information and correspondence regarding the Woman's Club celebrity hat and jewelry sale benefitting the Well Baby Clinic that took place in 1962. The "Les Chapeaux Elegants" event was successful and well received, and included the sale and Chapeau Luncheon. I have included some noteworthy responses from some well-known public figures that I though might be of interest.    

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Handmade invitation to the Woman's Club Celebrity Hat Sale and "Chapeau Luncheon."


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Newspaper article advertising the Woman's Club celebrity hat and jewelry sale.


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Janet Leigh, Mrs. Tony Curtis, agrees to donate a hat for the charity sale.


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Hedda Hopper, renowned for her flamboyant hat collection, is unable to donate a hat for the sale.


Presentations

The semester is almost over and there's a lot to do before it ends. As a student I have been busy working on wrapping up coursework and writing final papers. But as a CLIR CCEPS Fellow I have also been working on a culminating project for the semester.


Next Wednesday, December 6, I will be doing a presentation about my experiences along with the rest of the CLIR CCEPS Fellows. Each person will speak on a different topic that interests them and directly relates to their time here at special collections working on the CLIR Water documents. The event will be held at 2pm in the library's Founders Room.


At first I was overwhelmed with the idea of presenting my thoughts on the project to digitize this huge collection of documents relating to water resources in Southern California. Even though I have been here almost an entire semester, at times I feel like I have barely scratched the surface of the collection. However, in thinking more about the upcoming presentations I have realized I have a wealth of thoughts and ideas about the project.


I won't tell you what my topic is yet though! No spoilers! But if you want to come you can always check out the Facebook event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/363071144142301/.