May 2018 Archives

The Importance of Software

This week has been kind of an odd one for me. I had planned to finish up the metadata for the Chaffey letters, but I encountered some issues with our metadata software, CONTENTdm. I was in the middle of uploading a series of documents about the Colorado River Aqueduct and the Hoover Dam to the Claremont Colleges Digital Library when the metadata software started operating very slowly. After doing some trouble shooting with Tanya and the software providers, we eventually got the metadata software up and running again.

In the meantime, I've been doing some miscellaneous tasks related to the Chaffey brothers and Frankish letters. I used an excel spreadsheet to track metadata for the documents for which I couldn't use CONTENTdm. I also cleaned up some of our internal files, in particular a file which tracks the progress for each and every item that we work on. These internal files help CLIR CCEPS fellows keep track of the items in the collection that we all work on and sometimes it is nice to make sure that these files are up to date. This is especially the case because pretty soon we will have some new faces here at CLIR CCEPS. I was happy to see that for the most part these files were in pretty good condition, but it is always nice to double-check that things are complete and consistent.

The big lesson I learned this week was how important our technology, especially our software, is to this project. We use very specialized equipment and software every step of the way to get the original physical documents onto the Claremont Colleges Digital Library, so it's important that everything is working. I'm glad our metadata software is back up and running!

San Antonio Canyon Photographs

If you have been keeping track of our social media accounts, you may have noticed that we have recently started posting photographs from around 1911-1915. Last week Tanya and I went through an album of incredibly interesting photographs of the San Antonio Canyon and the Pomona Valley. The San Antonio Canyon is responsible for carrying water down to the Pomona Valley from the San Gabriel Mountains. Claremont and this surrounding area is part of the Pomona Valley. However, sometimes the Pomona Valley floods when lots of water runs down the mountains and through the San Antonio Canyon. Flooding can cause damage to homes, infrastructure such as roads, and agricultural lands. This was a huge problem in the early 20th century for local residents who primarily relied on agriculture for their livelihood.

Flood control was an important issue for people during this time and a variety of things were done to protect this fertile alluvial plain. These measures were documented and now they are part of the Willis S. Jones Papers at The Claremont Colleges Library. There are photos of streams, ditches, rock dams, cement dams, and even of the damages sustained in certain floods. This album specifically highlights the Osgoodby Dam in the San Antonio Canyon and a series of floods in 1914 that caused major damages in the Pomona Valley. I have taken photographs of particularly interesting parts of this album and over the next several weeks I will be sharing them on our social media accounts, which are listed below. Join in the conversation with #CLIRWater!

Twitter: @honnoldlibrary

Instagram: @honnoldlibrary

Facebook: CLIRWater

San Antonio Flood 1.jpg

Dwinelle Letters

In the first part of 1884 William Chaffey sent letters to C. H. Dwinelle about what it would take to set up a farm in Ontario, California. In the first letter I came across, Chaffey describes the different kinds of fruit tree available along with the prices of each type of tree. Chaffey also explains that the trees for Ontario farms come from Los Angeles nurseries which in turn get their trees from the north. The next letter, dated a couple days later was about which lots in Ontario Dwinelle was interested in buying. Apparently Dwinelle was interested in purchasing three plots of land, but the ones he was most interested had already been purchased. In the latest letter I found,  William Chaffey describes the kind of work his workers can do to set up and care for Dwinelle's land. Chaffey lists the approximate price for the materials and the labor. I found this series of letters interesting because I was able to see a little bit of the progression for someone interested in purchasing land from the Chaffey brothers during this time period.

Ontario Property Prices

Last week I came across a letter that referenced the price of land in Ontario in 1884. I've seen references to property prices before but this was the first time I thought about what those prices really mean. In 1884 prime property sold for $200 per acre and the rest sold for $150 per acre. I got online and did some research about what $200 in 1884 would translate to money today. Apparently $200 from 1884 converts to about $5,000 in 2018, an immense difference!

However, I went one step further. After all, the value of land is related to more than just a simple calculation of inflation over time. In 1884 Ontario, California was in its infancy, whereas today Ontario is part of the greater Los Angeles urban area. I've already spoken about the population growth in Ontario from its initial 200 residents to 170,000 people. The population increase is just one symptom of people wanting to reside in Southern California. Rent and property prices are another symptom, as more people need housing, property prices increase.

So I returned to the internet for more answers. How much does an acre of undeveloped land cost in Ontario today? Any guesses from the audience? Drum roll... $500,000! For one acre of land. That's 100 times the price (taking inflation into account) of land in 1884. 

Final Blog Entry

PP Slide One.jpg

Hello Everyone, 

Today is my last blog entry and the day of my culminating CCEPS presentation. My presentation was an introduction to the Woman's Club of Claremont, showcasing some of the interesting items in the collection, and a summary of my experience processing the collection. I have managed to get the original 27 boxes processed into 19 organized boxes of folders that will hopefully enable future researchers to easily access any materials they may be looking for in the collection. I have a great sense of accomplishment, and my experience with the CCEPS fellowship taught me many valuable skills I can take with me into the future, but it also allowed me the opportunity to informally meet the wonderful ladies of the Woman's Club of Claremont. Enjoy your weekend everyone!

Last Blog Post

Hello All!

This is my last week as a fellow. This week I learned how to convert files to PDF-A1b and meta-data. Both tasks are relatively tedious, but very important to the archival process. As I reflect on my time as a fellow I am glad that I was able to work here for the semester. I learned a lot about working in special collections, learned some skills, and read several letters from Charles Frankish.

Thanks for a great semester!

Metadata, metadata, and summer!

Hi everyone!

This week I continued my work on metadata! Unfortunately, this will be my last day at CCEPS for the Spring 2018 semester! But, I will be coming back in June to continue my work with the Frankish Letters and I hope to continue discovering new and exciting information during my time here in the library!

See you later,

Angel Ornelas

Wells Fargo & Company

This week I ran across a letter addressed to Wells Fargo & Company. It was interesting to see the name of a company that still exists today. I was inspired to do a little bit of research to find out more about the history of the company. The first thing I learned was that the company was named after its two founders, Henry Wells and William Fargo. I had never thought about how Wells Fargo & Company got its name, but I guess it makes sense that it would have been named after people.

I also did a little research about the founders of Wells Fargo & Company after finding this letter. Henry Wells first became successful after he started an express postal company that would carry mail at a lower rate than the United States Post Office. William Fargo started carrying mail at the age of 13! Eventually, the two came together to form Wells Fargo & Company AND the American Express Company in the mid-1800s. Again, I was surprised to hear about the initiation of a company like American Express.

The letter to Wells Fargo & Company is actually not that exciting. George Chaffey is writing to Wells Fargo & Company about sending cash to someone named E. B. Love through Wells Fargo & Company. I could not figure out who E. B. Love was or what his significance might be--that will have to be a task for a historian who is better equipped.