Antipathy to half and half men

Turning down opportunities (sometimes even good ones) helps me stick to my word. I guess I, too, have a "great antipathy to half and half men." This is true in the business world as well as in personal matters. Today, I was reading a letter, Mr. Frankish wrote to Mr. Stamm with regard to a banker. The following is an excerpt of the letter.

 

"I do not know how you felt about Dr. Olmsted but I was much disappointed in him. A man who will blow hot and cold as he did within 48 hours is not, in my opinion, the man of stability that we require in a banker. I felt that you must think me a fool speaking to you as I did about him being all ready to go into the business and then to find him so cool and indifferent about it. But I only repeated his own words as given me here on Friday and he then told me that he could put in at once $25,000 or $30,000. While today he was intimated that he had very little of course you may know more of him through his friends and he may be all right, but I must say that my present impressions are that we shall be better without him. I have a great antipathy to half and half men."

Memories from childhood.

I am really impressed with Mr. Seymour's papers.  He wrote so much during his lifetime; not only operas and plays but also so many letters, diaries, lectures, and educational materials. While thinking about all his achievements I just picture him as an adult, serious person. I forget that once, as everyone else, he was a child. This picture of Mr. Seymour as a child with his violin really surprised me and made me think about his childhood. Except this picture there are not many materials from his childhood, but the violin truly fits him and I have no doubt that the practiced a lot!

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Archival Oddities, Vol. 1

There is great deal of satisfaction that comes with entering the world of an archival collection, creating order out of disorder, and preparing materials for use by future researchers. Yet the joy of archiving also stems from encounters with strange and unexpected materials, like this tiny artifact from the Irving Wallace collection:

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Central to Wallace's novel The Word is the discovery of a lost gospel--the Gospel According to James. As a gift to people who assisted him throughout the writing and publishing process, Wallace had one hundred of these mementos printed and distributed. Wallace's gospel is thirteen pages long and light as a feather. As for its content, the tiny book makes a big claim: the resurrection never happened, Wallace's James insists, because Jesus survived the crucifixion as a mortal.

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Celebrating the Opening of the Canal with King Neptune

In 1940, a grand celebration was held to commemorate the opening of the All-American Canal. This celebration was not to celebrate the completion of the canal, but rather to celebrate the first use of the completed parts of the canal. A completed, and filled, section of the canal is where the celebration took place. This particular section is called the East Highland Canal. Water in this photo was initially "ponded" at the East Highland Turnout so that way the initial delivery of water could be made the day of the celebration. Water in the photos would eventually flow out to the Imperial Valley after traveling through the canal. Celebration photos below show King Neptune and his court of lovely women floating to the celebration on a decorated raft, as well as the Commissioner of Reclamation (John C. Page) giving an opening address which kicked off the celebration. It would be two more years before the canal would be completed. Reports on the Canal continue past its completion in 1942 and through to 1954. Later reports look closer at the functionality and economic benefits of the Canal.

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Series: All-American Canal Project Histories, 1948-1954. Record Group 48: Records of the Office of the Secretary of the Interior, 1826-2009. National Archives Identifier: 2292770

Zanjero: Ditch Rider and Water Keeper

A Zanjero is a "ditch rider" or someone who controls the flow of water to various irrigation sites by traveling along the irrigation routes. This week, I was enthralled in the life of Thomas Chappell, who was the only Zanjero in Upland in 1977, when the interview took place. His days began early, around 4:00AM and were often cut short by sleep, as he went to bed around 7:30PM. He worked on delivering water to farmers across the area, by way of opening and closing valves. His entire life revolved around supplying water for his community, so much so that he missed out on important family holidays and milestones in his children's lives. Chappell's commitment to his job has led me to reflect on the absolute necessity and value of water. Water is so important that someone committed their entire life to delivering it. We have to keep that in mind as we live our lives; water is life.

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Frankish

This week I learned that shortly after the Chaffey's left Ontario for 
Australia, Charles Frankish, became the guiding force during the
early years of the "Colony." Frankish commissioned a water fountain
to be placed on Euclid Avenue to symbolize prosperity to all visitors that
passed through Ontario.  The fountain can still be viewed
today in the Museum gardens.
Charles Frankish arguably was the man who
made Ontario the city it has become today.

A little note found between letters...

I did not realize how much one might learn about a person's life just by reading his correspondence. Indeed letters can create the whole picture of someone's life like, for example, in the book "The Bach Reader: A life of Johann Sebastian Bach in Letters and Documents" by H. David.
As my second week with the John Seymour papers continue I have read so many letters from and to Mr. Seymour. Some letters are personal, some relate to work and politics, some were written to publishers, but most of them concern music subjects. Between all of the letters I found a little note to Mr. John Seymour that made me smile. Hope it will make you smile too. Have a good day everyone!

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Selling Wallace

Part of what makes the Irving Wallace collection so fascinating is the view it affords of the publishing world of the 1960s-1970s. Wallace's books were big business for his publisher, Simon & Schuster, as evidenced by the million-dollar advances which they regularly gave him. Simply put, by the time of the The Word's publication in 1972, Simon & Schuster knew that Wallace books would sell--and sell and sell. And like any popular product in which a company stakes its money and its name, Simon & Schuster released The Word with a focused and aggressive advertising campaign.

Thanks to documentary evidence in the Wallace collection, we have a clear picture of how The Word was sold to a broad reading public. The publisher dedicated $100,000 to a promotional campaign which included prodigious radio and newspaper buys, as well as what now sound like delightfully quaint ways of selling books: counter and floor displays (see below), mobiles, and streamers. The Word was serialized in at least one magazine (Ladies' Home Journal), and surely benefitted from the near-universal attention it received from critics in national and regional newspapers.

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It is difficult to imagine such resources being devoted to selling a single book nowadays. I have a sense--despite the continued success of the Stephen Kings and James Pattersons of the publishing world--that we are a much more fragmented reading society today then we were in 1972, when your local bookstore was likely to have an Irving Wallace floor display in the window. 

Life and Water: Initial Relflections

Hello Everyone! My name is Sophia and this is my second week as a CLIR CCEPS Fellow! I am excited to continue to learn and grow in this new position!

The past two weeks have led me to consider how water influences our daily lives and the lives of other living things. I spent a lot of time reading about Harold S. Stewart, born in 1894, and how he spent his time. He worked on the advisory boards of citrus growing companies throughout the Upland area and most importantly on the San Antonio Water Company board. Water and its multitude of uses was a big part of his professional life.

Besides learning about his career, I learned about the things that interested him: hiking and hunting. The importance of water can often be easily overlooked, but as Stewart told the story of the San Antonio mountain range as an ever-changing place, I began to see water's influence. He recalled the wildlife and how there were fewer deer and mountain lions as he grew older. Simultaneously, water was being used to cultivate citrus, and collected to be sold by companies across the Inland Empire. Were the changes in animal populations reflecting some of the changes in water usage? I am not claiming correlation, but rather noting the deep interconnectedness of the world that takes shape through water.



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1,000th Scanned Document!!!!

Today marks quite a milestone! This is the 1,000th page digitized at NARA for the CLIRWater project. People often wonder why more collections are not made available to researchers digitally. It has taken approximately 180 hours to scan these 1,000 documents. The All-American Canal Project Histories 1934-1954 collection is made up of 2 linear feet, and 10 linear inches of documents. These 1,000 pages are barely one-third of the relatively small collection. It will likely take another 350-400 hours to complete the digitization of the documents in this collection. These hours do not even include the scanning of the over-sized documents mentioned in last week's blog post. There are also two additional NARA collections to be scanned for the CLIRWater project, and each is slightly bigger than the All-American Canal Project Histories 1934-1954 collection. It takes a considerable amount of costly labor, as well as specialized equipment and dedicated digital storage, to bring collections like these to the masses in a digital form. This is precisely why funding for projects like the CLIRWater project is so precious. 


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Series: All-American Canal Project Histories, 1948-1954. Record Group 48: Records of the Office of the Secretary of the Interior, 1826-2009. National Archives Identifier: 2292770