August 2018 Archives

Grand Pleasure Resort

Mr. Frankish got me thinking about visionaries. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a visionary is a person who has "foresight and imagination." For me, Steve Jobs was a true visionary. He wanted to change the world and he achieved it quite successfully. What I admire most is his persistence; failures drove him to work harder.

In a letter to O.S. Picher, Mr. Frankish talks about building the "San Antonio hotel." He writes,


"By the way referring again to "San Antonio hotel" if the thing could be started this fall I believe it could be more than filled all next winter. I would not say this much to some people lest they thought me visionary but I know that you fully appreciate the situation."


Shortly, in another letter to Mr. MacNeil, he writes,


".....neither do we want a "Sanitarium" but rather a "grand pleasure resort" for healthy people as well as invalids, and we can run the whole business without the doctor's advice."


And further in the same letter,


"And if you come across someone with plenty of funds, speak a good word for the "S. Antonio Hotel and Electric Railroad Co." for that is what will sell every acre we have a from double to three times our present prices and I feel that we ought to make every effort to put it through to completion. if we had it done and the hotel built every room would be full by Nov. and thousands of people would come to Ontario to see the novelty of a complete Electric road of 7 miles, street and house lighting, Hotel lighting, elevators, etc. etc. all run by Electricity without one cent expense for motive power. You must not think I am wild on the scheme but I do want to stir you all up to action."


Not sure what he thinks but I consider him a visionary.

The Bountiful Imperial and Coachella Valleys

Another interesting find from the 1939 annual project history of the All-american Canal! Below is a collage showing the Imperial and Coachella Valley's flourishing agriculture. The All-American Canal was built to help provide farms with the water necessary to help irrigate crops. What better way to demonstrate the success of the Canal other than showing how bountiful the local farms are? Along with the collage is the key which describes each individual photo. The combination of the photos and the descriptions of them provide not only a visual key of the various points along the Canal, but also a clear description of them. Note the emphasis on land which has been reclaimed and made fertile due to the Canal Project. 

1939 collage.jpg1939 collage key.jpg
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

The Long Goodbye Finale (Goodbye!)

After analyzing nearly two hundred documents in the form of letters between water leaders, riparian maps, and vivid speeches by passionate politicians from the Prendergast Collection over two months, my time with the CLIR Water Project has come to a sudden and unexpected close. I would like to thank my coworkers and Tanya for putting up with my constant questions and making my experience with the project a pleasant and informative one. I enjoyed donning the detective's hat and putting together the whos, whats and hows of documents over half a century old. It has given me an understanding of what it takes to work in the field of history and more confidence in my decision to be a history major.

This archival position was also gratifying to me because I felt as if I was honoring and preserving the legacy of those who toiled so hard to ensure that we Californians have the most basic and essential resource, despite living in deserts and other barren areas. The overarching story of putting aside Northern and Southern California rivalries and cooperating to preserve the booming population centers for generations to come is inspiring and impressive, especially in our day and age.

While I will no longer be working on this project, I will retain this appreciation of a pivotal moment in our state's history, as well as the practicalities and importance of archiving which I learned from Tanya, for years to come.

Irving Wallace in Europe

Irving Wallace's novel The Word, published in 1972, tells a story of international intrigue. The discovery of a new gospel in Italy--purportedly written by Jesus's younger brother, James--sends Wallace's protagonist, the world-weary New York public relations man Steven Randall, on a wide-ranging quest to confirm the authenticity of the explosive new document. Randall's resulting journey across Europe--from London to Paris, Amsterdam to Greece--reads like a pulp travelogue through a Europe where mystery and romance lurk around every corner.   

Wallace was well-known as a careful and prodigious researcher. While working on The Word in the mid- to late-1960s, he employed multiple research assistants to conduct library research, interview scholars, and photograph locations that he planned to write about in the book. In 1963, however, Wallace decided to conduct some research of his own, and with his wife (the writer Sylvia Wallace) and two children, he traveled to London and Paris to begin the work that would form the foundation of The Word.

The Word series of the Wallace collection provides some fascinating glimpses of Wallace's trip, giving us a sense of the headaches and pleasures of European travel in the early 1960s. The journey from Los Angeles (where the Wallaces lived) to Paris required a significant amount of advance planning; hotels had to be booked by letter, itineraries drafted, and personal and professional contacts notified of his family's impending arrival. I can't help but imagine the awkward, stuffy dinners that some of these "advance" letters (see below) may have resulted in. Perhaps, too, some formed the basis of lifelong friendships. 

wallace travel letter.jpeg

(Advance letter for Irving Wallace's European trip, 1963)

Whatever the case, it is striking how much the experience of travel has changed since the early 1960s. Lacking our contemporary reliance on Airbnb, Uber, and navigation apps, Wallace's European adventure was surely a slower and more painstaking journey than most of us would care to put up with today.

wallace license.jpeg

(Irving Wallace's international driver's license, acquired before his trip to Europe, 1963)


El Fin del Camino

Hi everyone,

Today will be my last working for the CLIR Water project. I want to start off by saying thanks and reiterating my appreciation for this experience. Specifically, I want to give a huge shout-out to Tanya Kato, who was extremely patient with me at all times and provided the necessary guidance for my success. I deepened my understanding of primary sources, learned to create metadata, picked up on CONTENTdm's navigational challenges, and made CGU friends along the way. Although it's always disappointing to have to move on, I've come to the conclusion that my time in the CCEPs room must end. The skills I learned and reinforced during my time at Honnold-Mudd Library will help me easily transition into other research positions directly related to my studies: Latin America. I hope to better understand the functionality of other databases and apply the lessons I learned in Claremont to future internships and positions. Next summer, I hope to intern with the Washington Office on Latin America. Thank you once again CLIR Water for having had me as a research fellow, it's been an honor and a privilege working with such a welcoming and caring staff. Thank you Tanya for making the experience worthwhile and fun, I'm thankful to have gained you as both a supervisor and a friend. Wish you all the best, and I'm looking forward to the CLIR Water Project's future!

Warmest regards,

Angel Ornelas

Lumps of Free Gold


So Mr. Frankish received a letter from a gentleman requesting to lease the use of water at the head of San Antonio Canyon for the purpose of hydraulic mining for a term of five years. The gentleman promised to enter into an agreement to not divert the water from its natural channel and not to diminish its quality but to release it to its original channel after being used for mining purposes. In a letter Mr. Frankish discusses this request with Mr. MacNeil. He writes


"By this mail I write you re Mr. Rossiters request for the use of water for mining purposes and think it well to give you some private pointers. Mr. R. has undoubtedly struck ------------ having shown Mr. Gissing and myself  lumps of free gold just as picked up from the gravel weighing nearly an ounce each and one lump picked up was sold for over $400. Now it occurs to me, if this is such a good thing and the use of our water is indispensable to its development, might we not be entitled to a fair remuneration (sic) for its use.  Again will not some water naturally be wasted and may not the refuse washed into the head of the Canon interfere with the flow of the water. I merely suggest these points for your consideration."


I sure hope to read Mr. MacNeil's response to this brainstorming session.

Human Rulers and Silver Sheen

Using the human body as a form of measurement is a powerful way to demonstrate size. Throughout work on the American Canal Project, men were used to stand in, near, and around completed sections of the Canal to help communicate its sheer size. The image begins the sixth annual history of the All-American Canal Project, created in 1939. In the table of contents the image is described as the "Frontispiece" of the document, and given the title, "All-American Canal, Looking Upstream from Point of Left Bank near Station 1005+00."

overlooking the canal 1939.jpg

While it cannot be seen in the photo, there is a silver sheen to the original document. This is because it is a silver gelatin photographic image on double weight, developing-out paper. Glossy photographs are commonly used in this, and all, of the annual histories. Thus making this particular image stand out as a decorative touch.  

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

Summer days scanning and reading

This week I continued to scan items from the San Bernardino County Flood Control District. Today I learned that the largest flood to occur in San Bernardino in March of 1938 caused severe damage to the area and a loss of approximately 113 to 115 individuals. The devastating damage, brought community members together in an effort to prevent this from happening again, leading to one of the biggest water projects: The San Bernardino County Flood Control District. However, unlike other water projects, the community wanted to make sure that this project targeted aspects of water conservation and not just flood control to help make sure that all water regardless of its use was being conserved. The focus of such a project helped not only target the issue at hand but also contribute to the future of water preservation. After today I realized I scanned a total of 200 pages from the San Bernardino County Flood Control District Collection. This number does not include the scans that did not make it. I am glad I was able to contribute to this project. Until next time!

Irving Wallace Comes to Claremont

Irving Wallace (1916-1990) was one of the most widely read novelists of his time. A one-time Hollywood screenwriter, Wallace had a knack for delivering stories with mass appeal. Blending workmanlike prose with meticulous research and can't-put-it-down plots, Wallace won legions of fans worldwide with titles like The Chapman Report (1961), The Prize (1962), The Man (1964), and The Word (1972). By the time of his death in 1990, Wallace's books had sold roughly 200 million copies, making him one of the best-selling writers of the twentieth century.


Wallace's papers first came to Claremont in 1982, in a move that drew the bemused attention of observers. The Los Angeles Times called Honnold Library's acquisition of the Wallace materials an "odd academic marriage." What use, the paper asked, did the Claremont Colleges--"a bastion of the intellectually elite"--have for the papers of this "hero-novelist of the reading masses, a man about whose books critics sometimes trot out words such as trashy and vulgar?" To be sure, Wallace never enjoyed great acclaim from critics in his lifetime, and scholarly attention for his work has been minimal since his death. The Times's question was a fair one.


It so happened that the library saw the Wallace papers as a test case for its new computer, known as the Claremont Total Library System. The system, one of the first of its kind in the country, enabled electronic searching of Wallace's prodigious materials. However unlikely the match between Wallace and the Honnold Library was, the sheer size of the Wallace collection presented the library with a unique opportunity to make use of its new technology--or to Wallace, "this damn computer."

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Wallace home office.jpg

[Irving Wallace in his home office with a Claremont Colleges representative, 1982]

Today, the Wallace collection bears the marks of its early history as a guinea pig for new technology. In order to make Wallace's papers searchable on the fledgling electronic platform, archivists in the 1980s assigned library-style call numbers to folders of documents. In time, this idiosyncratic system became obsolete, and the Wallace collection is now largely invisible to researchers. Making the collection visible again will require a good deal of reprocessing following standard archival practices. Given that the Wallace collection fills an entire room in the basement of Honnold Mudd Library, the process is sure to be a long but rewarding one. 


I look forward to sharing my thoughts about this process in the weeks and months ahead.      



Beverly Beyette, "Odd Academic Marriage at Claremont Colleges," Los Angeles Times, March 24, 1983. 

Burt A. Folkart, "Irving Wallace; Prolific Writer Reached Billion Readers," Los Angeles Times, June 30, 1990.   

The Long Goodbye Part 3

Within the past few days, California farmers have been protesting the newly-proposed and updated California Water Plan (which the State alters every five years) because of its requirement to double the water flow in the Low San Joaquin River to protect declining salmon populations. Farmers claim that they would lose thousands of gallons of water, while environmentalists and fisheries argue that the farmers are corrupt and without this increased water flow, the salmon would likely go extinct. This recent controversy made me realize that environmental concerns are basically nonexistent in the Prendergast documents I have been reviewing. These water politicians and engineers of the 1950s were blissfully unaware of the consequences in their attempts to fuel the growing urban California areas, thus leading to such dilemmas today. Thankfully, our state's mindset has broadened, and the most recent California Water Plan is full of ecological rhetoric.

More PDF/As and Scanning

Hi everyone,

This week I got back to scanning! I'm really glad I was able to re-work my scanning skills this week. I also continued converting PDFs into PDF/As. Luckily, the Honnold-Mudd Library gained new server space and I was able to store my scans directly onto the network drive. I am still working with Frankish Letters Book 3. Until next time!


Angel Ornelas

Excitement at NARA for New SAA President

This past week at the National Archives brought with it much excitement over the appointment of the new President of the Society of American Archivists (SAA). For the first time since the 1990-1991 Presidency of Trudy Huskamp Peterson, a NARA employee has once again been selected to serve as the SAA President. Dr. Meredith Evans started her tenure with NARA in 2015 as the Director of the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum, a position she still holds today. Instillation of the new President occurred this week at the end of the SAA/CoSA/NAGARA Joint Annual Meeting held in Washington, DC. To mark the special occasion of her SAA appointment, Dr. Evans gave a webcasted teleconference to all of NARA staff. Her talk focused on her own career path, the importance of the archival profession and professional engagement, and her vision for her upcoming SAA presidential year. At the end of her talk, Dr. Evans opened up a forum for questions from the staff. NARA staff are all looking forward to witnessing Dr. Evans flourish as President of the SAA.

Cheerful in a snug little cottage

I always enjoy reading Mr. Frankish's personal letters- particularly the ones he wrote to his family members. I live in Claremont so it all feels deeply surreal. Since I started working as CLIR Fellow, I have found that the words "Ontario" and "Euclid" mean much more than what I originally anticipated.

The following is a letter he wrote to his uncle in 1888,


"We are all very sorry to hear of your continued indisposition as we had hopes to have seen you out here by this time - you had better bring Aunt Lois along and put up a snug little cottage and settle down comfortably - we hope Grandpa's rheumatism is better and are glad to know that all the rest are well -

Well we have got over the elections, are having splendid rains, Easterners are beginning to come in and things generally are assuming a cheerful aspect, that is to those who want to be cheerful, but we have some people here (not very distant relations either) who never are and never will be happy or contented."


One day, I hope to have a snug little cottage in these parts of the country. But above all, I strive to be cheerful and content.

Appreciation for Digitization of Scholarship Resources

Hello everyone,

My name is Cindy and this is my second week as a Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) Claremont Center for Engagement with Primary Sources (CCEPS) fellow. I am excited to contribute to the efforts to digitize our Southern California water resources from the 19th to the 20th centuries. These time points will allow us to understand the efforts of water development from the lens of federal, state, and local governments to the efforts from water companies and engineers.  I believe this information will be significant as these perspectives will be important to understand the future of water conservation and help support future research.

This week I was scanning the San Bernardino County Flood Control District: flood control reports from 1939 to 1949, along with Biennial/Annual Reports from 1959 to 1962. Scanning these items has allowed me to have a further appreciation for technology advances in scholarship and research. The ability to quickly search and find online versions of documents can be overlooked.   Therefore, I am thankful for those who have contributed to the digitization of research and scholarship.  I look forward to working with my fellow CCEPs fellows and Special Collections Staff.

The Long Goodbye Part 2

While reading through the myriad of statements on the California Water Project given before various water committees in the early 1960s, I was struck by one in particular entitled "Without Vision -- and Unity -- the People Perish." This speech was written by William E. Warne, the Director of the State Department of Water Resources, and, as you can probably tell by the title, is quite dramatic for an address given at a regular Town Hall Luncheon. What stood out to me the most was the apocalyptic imagery Warne used to describe a future California in which the California Water Project had not come to fruition. He compares this desolate potential reality to previous civilizations like Persia, as "four times as many people lived in Persia years ago as are the same area in modern Iran today" and the Persian canals are but the merest traces in the desert now." Being a (tentative) history major, reading for this project provided me with the realization that because I take water for granted, I never considered the copious amounts of engineering and labor that must have gone into projects like the Roman aqueducts and Persian canals. Warne's persuasive speech has engendered in me an interest in the history of water transportation that I'd like to read about in the remaining days of summer vacation.

File Name Tracker and PDF/As

Hi everyone,

This week I spent my time converting some PDFs into PDF/A format. Also, I added new object titles and object names to the file name tracker for Frankish Letters Book 3. It's important to always maintain a keen eye when naming and organizing files, or else you end up having to re-do your work. I learned that hard lesson today, and I am hopeful that I won't ever have to go back and re-do any naming or tracking of files pertaining to Frankish Letters Book 3.

Until next week,

Angel Ornelas

A quaint week

This week I have been filling in the Frankish Letters Book 1 excel file that I have been working on with tons of useful information such as Archival Collection/Call number, hardware/software used...ect. This organization will make my job easier in the next few weeks as I move on to upload the files.
The game is afoot.


Coachella Valley Dates

Have you even eaten a date? If so, odds are the tasty fruit grew in Southern California! Each yearly report on the All-American Canal project includes a section recording the agricultural production of the farms within both the Coachella and Imperial Valleys. Crops grown in the area include different strains of grains, as well as a wide variety of produce. Dates are highlighted as a particularly valuable Coachella Valley crop. The statistic below, regarding Coachella Valley dates, can be found in the 1937 report:


Coachella Valley Dates-1937.jpgToday, dates continue to be a valuable California crop. In 2015, California produced 43,600 tons, or 87,200,000 pounds, of dates from 10,000 acres. Yield per acre was 4.36 tons, priced at $1,560 per ton. The total value of the crop was $68 million ("Noncitrus Fruits" NASS, 2016).[1]

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

[1] For more information about California Dates, see

Best advice can come from unexpected places

Today I finished renaming and converting the pdf files in Frankish Book I. Next week I will venture on to a new task.
Take away from my thus far adventure: Mr. Frankish gives great advice and I'd grab a coffee with him any day.  As I go through his letters, I can see that he was an intelligent man and so much of what he writes applies today.  In a letter to his sister, he writes, "trust in Providence and go on doing what one believes to be right....." Truer words have never been spoken.

#CLIRwater Digitization Begins at NARA

Digitization of documents to be included in the CLIR water collection began last week at the Riverside branch of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). The first series digitized includes the project histories of the All-American Canal. Construction on the canal commenced in 1934 and concluded in 1944. The All-American Canal flows along the California and Mexico border where it provides water to several desert communities in Southern California.

The maps below show the progress made on the canal during the years 1936 and 1937. Note the thick, hand drawn, red line which represents the completed sections of canal. 

Thumbnail image for 1936 MAP.jpg
Thumbnail image for 1937 MAP.jpg
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

The Long Goodbye Part 1

I have at long last finished the first steps in digitizing the Prendergast Collection! Hallelujah! After scanning through 139 documents and 1118 pages of largely bureaucratic reports of Californian water, it was refreshing to read this 1959 address by a SoCal district engineer...

"We must keep our eye on the primary objective here--the supplying of water to people. We cannot--we must not--permit other issues to become obstacles in the way of reaching that objective. In conclusion, I can only say that no matter what answer is evolved to any of the questions, there is going to be dispute about it. One thing is assured. The better part of wisdom would dictate that those decisions be based upon an informed and considered judgment. I know that some will attempt to interpret what I have said as an excuse for a lack of action. I want to assure you that such is not the case. It is the reason for taking time which is necessary in the public interest and which will permit sound answers."

It was an inspiring sendoff to the Prendergast Collection. However, I'm not out of the woods yet, as completing the archival process will require deeper analysis. Looks like Prendergast and I will remain close for a good while longer...