October 2018 Archives

Mysterious Relocated Cemetery

This photo of a relocated cemetery is included in the 1936 All-American Canal Project History. It can be found in Chapter 2, subsection "Construction." While the chapter gives extensive information about the worker housing built in 1936, nothing is mentioned in this chapter about the photo of this mysterious cemetery. There is no indication of where it is specifically located, where it was previously located, or why the graves needed to be moved at all. The only information given to the location is in this photo: Potholes, California. 

Potholes was a small mining town located close to the Colorado River and Railway Lines. The small town thrived during the early 1900s. A 1981 Geological Survey indicates the Potholes Cemetery address as "County Route 24 south of Potholes & north of Bard", however keep in mind that is likely the 1936 location, and not the original location. 

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Geological Survey Information: https://geonames.usgs.gov/apex/f?p=gnispq:3:0::NO::P3_FID:247731

NARA 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

Halloween Revelry

For this week's blog, I wanted to take a break from my usual work and check in on the Claremont Colleges Digital Library. The CCDL provides access to a rich store of visual resources from across the Claremont Colleges community. I am particularly drawn to the site's photographic collections of early Claremont, including the Boynton Collection of Early Claremont, the City of Claremont History Collection, and the Claremont Colleges Photo Archive. The images in these collections open a window into the people and landscapes of early Claremont as only photographs can. Trust me: you will get lost in these photographs! 

In the spirit of the season, here are some selections from the CCDL which depict Halloween traditions in early twentieth-century Claremont. Enjoy!

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(A brick wall and cannonball placed at the top of the stairs leading to Sumner Hall, Pomona College as a Halloween prank in 1901. A notice reads, "Trespassers Will Be Given The Grand Boot.")

(This room inside Pearsons Hall, Pomona College was used as a museum. Written on the back of this photograph: "This horse grazed on the roof of Pearsons Hall of Science one Halloween.")

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(Another prank by those Pomona College tricksters, circa 1914-1918. A large sign in front of Sumner Hall reads "Claremont Nurseries.")


Claremont Colleges Photo Archive, Claremont Colleges Digital Library, http://ccdl.libraries.claremont.edu/cdm/landingpage/collection/ccp. 

Flooding in Upland and the End of the World

Recently, the United Nations published a report about climate change, warning the world of the potentially irreversible damage the phenomenon might cause if we don't radically change our actions (http://www.ipcc.ch/report/sr15/). That report has been on my mind for a few weeks because it feels like I am going to graduate college just as the world is ending. But, this week I was listening to an interview with Elizabeth A. Craig-Klusman. In the interview she was describing the disastrous floods in Upland in 1938. It must have seemed like the world was going to end! Maybe (and this is the most optimistic version of myself speaking) climate change will just be a momentary emergency in our lifetime and sometime in the near future we will have changed the way we interact with the world and the people on it. If it isn't, we might look back at the time in our lives as a time characterized by endless and wasteful consumption.

New Discoveries!

This week, I came across two library cards from the Honnold-Mudd Library dated back to 1967! Considering the technological developments that have taken place around us, it was fascinating to see an old library card, where the borrower had to mention everything on paper, every time they borrowed a book. Looking closely, one could see the mention of the Claremont Colleges from which the borrower had to choose. Being a Claremont Graduate University (CGU) student, it was interesting to learn that CGU used to be named as the Claremont Graduate School (as mentioned in the card).

Coming back to the digitization project, this week I worked on materials by Willis S. Jones that focused solely on building of pipelines and pumping plants. Going through the materials, I was able to understand that the process consisted of preparing examination reports of the regions, drawing sketch maps of the plants and pipelines, checking reports from the Los Angeles County Flood Control District and preparing reports of rainfall and discharge measurements along with the required mathematical calculations.

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Graphing Before Computers

Today we take advantage of the fact that we can create multi-colored graphs with a few clicks of a mouse. Prior to computers though, graphs had to be hand drawn and colored. It can be clearly seen that colored pencils were used to fill in the various parts of the graph below. Note the small spaces where the creator accidentally colored outside the lines! Ooops! One thing that is especially impressive about this graph is how vibrant the colors still are even after over 70 years!

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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

A flower from England

This week I came back from a trip to my home country in Europe and now I'm back on track with Mr. Seymour's papers. Coincidentally or not, I'm unfolding Mr. Seymour's travel letters from Europe. This is actually a physical process which I really like. I remove each letter from its envelope, make it flat and put chronologically in appropriate folders. He wrote so many letters during his trips to France, Italy, and England. I am very impressed that he had the time to do that. I was so busy back home and I cannot even imagine writing a paper letter there. Today we just take pictures and share them on social media. It was not the case from Mr. Seymour's time. Mr. Seymour wrote letters every couple of days, usually four or five pages long. While opening one letter from London, a dry, flat flower slipped out.  How sweet, Mrs. Seymour sent it from England in 1928 and it survived in that envelope for 90 years!
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It's Raining Men, Hallelujah!

According to the rainfall charts (rather than the spreadsheets, Sandman must have been on vacation), water either came in excess in two separate occasions in a year or nothing at all during the long seasonal drought. Makes one wonder what kind of lifeform could have survived for so long in such a crappy environment (definitely not those pompous palm trees). No wonder people fought over the precious liquid resource (before the non-polar oil brush off the moody water), whether they wanted to be involved or not (sorry Jake); just hope that the weather was more stable back then.

Halloween Ghost

Halloween is a great time for candy and chocolate. For the first time, I even bought a witch hat to show my full support for all the ongoing spooky stories and Halloween parties happening soon. Having experienced a few paranormal activities this week, which escalated as I completed uploading the number #200 of Frankish Letters Book 1, I became curious as to the significance of this number. Maybe the ghosts were trying to tell me something. According to the "Angel Number" website, number 200 is comprised of three numbers: "number 2 symbolizes duality and power" and 0 which appears twice is a symbol of "eternity." According to Stetson University, "200 is the smallest number which cannot be made prime by changing one of its digits." But the Bible Numerology suggests that number 200 "deals with something that has failed." Well, I actually do recall seeing the "failed to upload" sign on the computer screen. Maybe the ghost was literally trying to tell me something!

History of Place, Resistance, and Water

This week I spent time reading an interview with James C. McCoy. About twenty pages into the transcription of the interview, McCoy begins discussing how urbanization had negatively affected the Native American population in this area. He said "In my opinion, no one else in the United States has suffered more than our Indian citizens." Currently, I am enrolled in a course entitled "(Re)Learning the Love of the Land" with Professor Joe Parker at Pitzer College. In many of our classes we spend time learning from and listening to indigenous activists/cultural liaisons/people/educators from the Tongva indigenous group. Reading the transcription of McCoy's interview made me realize that he was talking about the violence inflicted upon indigenous people here in the Inland Empire, something I have spent a lot of time thinking about this semester. As I am enrolled in the course at Pitzer and continue my work with the Upland Public Library San Antonio Water Company documents, I am noticing the overlap. The course focuses on resistance to the continued colonialism in this region and the interviews I have been processing help me trace the history of how the area was colonized. This week, in a reading for my class, the author discussed how water has been colonized throughout the United States via dams, aqueducts, and irrigation. I have realized how many of these interviews recount that process. These interviews have helped me think more deeply about my studies, and I hope they help others understand what has happened in the Inland Empire.


I took a break recently to help with the best kind of archival tedium: numbering the pages of old scrapbooks. The books were created by David French, a Pomona College student in the 1930s. French amassed several folios of his nature drawings and homespun poetry, with each volume dedicated to a different feature of the Claremont landscape (wildflowers and leaves were evidently his particular favorites). 

The "Leaves" volume begins with an inscription that clearly reflects French's sense of wonder:

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French's notebooks will soon become part of the Claremont Colleges Autograph and Manuscript Collection here at Special Collections. Lovingly made and steeped in a strong affection for poetry and nature, these folios provide a wonderful glimpse into the mind of a Pomona College student as he documented a much sleepier and more pastoral Claremont. 

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Back to Base!

One of the elements that played a key role in determining water supply to a majority of the cities in California between 1918 and 1930 was the distribution of water that was conserved from rainfall. Digitizing rainfall records from various places such as Santa Rosa, the Tenaja Station, the Pauba Ranch and the Nigger Canyon gave me a perspective on how water was distributed to various parts of California based on the regions' seasonal rainfall. Regions with higher rainfall records would get lesser supply over a year compared to ones where the weather was mostly dry. Letters sent between the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce and Willis S. Jones was an eye-opener as to how the prices were negotiated.


While I am not a code breaker trying to save the world, I feel like I am on a journey of discovery. As I read Mr. Frankish's letters, I know that he was not an ordinary man. As Joan Clarke said in the movie, The Imitation Game, "I know it's not ordinary. But who ever loved ordinary?"

It seems a paper shortage was a thing a century ago since Willis S. Jones frequently recycled them, but in the worst way possible for archiving. So there's a pile of spreadsheets of rainfall data for two sets of locations from 1912 to 1920, one handwritten and one typed copy for each location each year. Here's the problem, half were written or printed on old letters or lists of some sort (marked 3, 4, 5, couldn't find 1 and 2); the rest were on some random stuff like the pre-Internet spam mail from a movie theatre company (hope they fared better than MoviePass). This may not be the best use for a time machine but if anybody got one please throw Mr. Jones a pack of printing paper. Then again, at least he didn't have to deal with Paper Jam (aka 2k Chaos God, aka 2016 Carly Fiorina).


It's true! The 13th annual Los Angeles Archives Bazaar is happening this Saturday, October 20, at USC's Doheny Library. This will be my first time attending, and I can't wait to explore what's sure to be a diverse and exciting array of L.A.-centric primary sources. I'm also looking forward to hearing from our colleagues Lisa Crane and Sara Chetney, who will open the day with a presentation entitled "Researching L.A. 101." You can find out more about the Archives Bazaar here.


Back here in CCEPS land, my work with the Wallace collection proceeds apace. The collection's peculiar, library-style processing scheme--a legacy of Honnold Library's initial foray into computers in the 1980s--requires wholesale reprocessing according to archival best practices. As you can see from my photographs, reprocessing for The Word series is just about finished, and we'll soon have the finding aid online and the materials available for research at Special Collections.


The Wallace collection contains materials from dozens of more books, so our work on The Word represents just one small step toward the eventual goal of complete reprocessing. But it feels good to commence the stepping nonetheless!  


(The original processing folders and call numbers. Note the discard basket!)


(Ahh. Much better.)


(The reprocessed series. Isn't it pretty?)

Women Who Shaped Upland's History

This week I had the privilege of reading through transcribed interviews of two women who lived in Upland. Elizabeth A. Craig-Klusman and Margaret Bassett were the first two women interviewees who I have encountered. After looking over these documents, I reflected on the role of women in history. Women's voices are often muffled because of their domesticated roles in the home or they are often silenced by the voice of their husbands. These interviews are important in gendering the history of Upland and further complicating how we think about the past. If we were to only hear the voices of men, it is dangerously easy to think that the history of Upland was only shaped by men. These interviews tell us that the history was importantly shaped by women, as well.

Lights, Camera and more..

In my second week as a CCEPS fellow, I got involved in digitization of over-sized archival items. This involved taking photographs of maps and diagrams. Being an avid photographer, I got the opportunity to use a Hasselblad 300CM camera in order to take pictures of the over-size items. Lighting and using various types of lenses was a key part of the process.

Apart from photography, I continued to work on the Willis S. Jones files, where reports on the Temecula project and well logs that were recorded by Willis S. Jones were digitized. Reports of various wells such as the Murrieta Valley wells and the Pauba Ranch Valley wells were particularly interesting considering the complexity involved in getting the readings accurately. Once the logs were recorded, soil and moisture determination using mathematical formulas were done by Edward S. Babcock & Sons, which was an interesting read.

We'll just see about that

It is written that George Chaffey "viewed the wastes known as the Cucamonga Desert and decided that this patch of land, if properly watered, could become productive and profitable."

I am sure he was not the first person who looked at the Cucamonga Desert and thought
of this. What is the difference between dreamers and doers? Mentors tell us that we
should work for our dreams. But a lot of people pass on their dreams and opt for a more
comfortable life. It is tough to step out of our comfort zone and live the life that we are
truly destined to live. Few of us go after our dreams. To be a dreamer is not enough.
We have to be doers.

If you are told that you can't do something, just reply, "we'll just see about that."



Missing Data: Origins

People a century ago, or at least Willis S. Jones and his associates, seemed to have an "interesting" habit of not including the legends and units in their charts and graphs. Usually, one might be able to guess the measurements based on the data points but if the title of the chart is also missing, well, might as well call the piece "something something numbers something." Now that's for charts and graphs, for maps, Jones and the gang probably thought giving each map a different orientation was funny: "Screw North arrow! Also, write the title 90° to the cross-section diagram then flip the values of the isolines just to confuse the hell out of folks in the future." Lets' take a moment to thank our other lord and savior, GIS.

Happy Electronic Records Day!

Did you know that October is both American Archives Month, as well as California Archives Month!?!? Even more exciting is that today is Electronic Records Day! Today is especially exciting considering the #CLIRWater project is an electronic project. So far, approximately 1500 #CLIRWater documents will join the numerous digital files already held at NARA. Not all digital files, however, are scanned. Some documents originate as electronic files. These files are held by the the Electronic Records Division of NARA. This particular division holds over 1 billion electronic files.

Digitizing records provides numerous benefits, such as making sources more accessible to researchers, preventing damage to original records by reducing handling, and allowing for easy addition of digitized documents to posters, projects, and presentations. Below is a poster celebrating the 2018 California Archives Month. Included on the poster are digitized photos of Hearst Castle. 

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Designing an Irving Wallace Book

The Irving Wallace collection is a rich resource for the study of American book publishing in the postwar decades. The series dedicated to Wallace's 1972 novel The Word, for instance, contains five complete drafts at various stages, multiple folders of copy-editing notes, and extensive correspondence between Wallace and his editors at Simon and Schuster. These documents provide a granular picture of the intellectual labor involved in the publishing process. 

Yet publishing also involves questions of design, as evidenced by this mock-up made by the production department of Simon and Schuster in 1971. While not remarkable in and of itself, this item testifies to the full spectrum of processes--from writing to editing to design to marketing--which shaped an Irving Wallace novel. 

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These kinds of materials also offer fertile ground for historians of popular culture, who might question the aesthetic and political values embedded in the mock-up of the title page for The Word. What might the design reveal about the author's (and publisher's) intended audience? Do the design elements of Wallace's books signal challenging polemical art or safe, middle-of-the-road entertainment? And was there a gap between the outward appearance of Wallace's novels and the content contained within?  

Do we really need two different kinds of Tang?

This week, I spent a number of hours listening to an interview with John H. Nicholson. He was a City Councilman in Upland and Head Engineer at Sunkist, among other things. His interview spanned across three double sided tapes. I was impressed by the wealth of knowledge that he had about the area, the Sunkist Corporation, and about his own community. Nicholson's remarks on the sheer number of goods that Sunkist produced got me thinking about how rapidly changes in how we produce and consume things occur. The corporation made almost 700 different products for their customers. Nicholson also mentioned that some products were very alike, he pointed to Tang as an example, sharing that the only difference might be the addition between it and a similar product might be the addition of more sugar. Sometimes it is hard to think about how and when some of the big social and economic changes in the world took place-- there were not always this many options at the grocery store! But this interview highlighted a point in which specific industrial changes in the Sunkist corporation occurred in this region. As we begin to think about the future we want to leave for future generations, it is important to understand at which point changes occurred in our past.This can give us tools to be able to reflect on the alternatives for the future. This week I asked myself "Do we really need two different kinds of Tang?"

First week with CCEPS!

This blog post entry was written by CLIR CCEPS Fellow, Swaminathan Vaidyanathan:

As a new member of the CLIR Project, the first week has been really exhilarating. Being able to work on archival materials has been an eye-opener for me in to the history of the water of California. Focusing on Willis S. Jones, I had the opportunity to digitize reports that focused on irrigated lands surrounding Claremont, Upland and Pomona, which also gave me a bird's eye view of the land surrounding The Claremont Colleges. Working on reports by Willis S. Jones on the Temecula Creek, Pauba Ranch and Murrieta Creek was highly informational, considering the efforts and various political factors that played a key role in shaping the water system in areas surrounding Claremont. Apart from digitization, I had the opportunity to work on a Phase-One vintage camera. Being an avid photographer, getting my hands on the camera was highly energizing and made me more curious into understanding the process of how it works. I believe the following weeks will give me a deeper insight into understanding the various factors that helped shape the water system present today in California.

Troves of Data: Charting the Past

This blog post entry was written by CLIR CCEPS Fellow, Vinh Tran:

There are lots of data that can be found in the pile of crumbling papers from the Willis S. Jones boxes: hydraulic head, rainfall, water flow, soil composition, etc. The thing, no one really turned them to graphs, probably because of the somewhat monstrous handwriting (seriously, is that an F, an S, or a P?), lack of measurement units (also, head of water [ft] or atm, pick one!), and the general unavailability of our lord and savior, Excel! But now that we can gather and view them in one place, producing charts and graphs can be easily done and may help us better understand the geographical and geological characteristics of the region (if you're into that kind of stuff). Who knows, someone might actually use them for their research (not me though). One last thing, who the hell thinks it's a good idea to use log√2 for the x-axis?


I greatly enjoy my time working with metadata. When I tell people I work with metadata, they quickly ask me, "What exactly is metadata?" In order to make collections of materials more accessible to the public, the Library works to digitize and publish them online. As a CLIR CCEPS Fellow, I help with the creation of descriptive metadata for these electronic documents. It's an enormous project with lots of people working on different tasks. It gives me a great chance to get immersed in a piece of California history and to help make this information more readily available to researchers and other users.


Date Farm Weather Reports

During the construction of the All-American Canal, in addition to tracking the production of produce grown in the Imperial Valley, regular weather reports were also taken. Below is a 1943 Weather Condition Report from the Date Gardens located in Indio, CA. This is an exciting find for researchers looking to examine global warming in the Imperial Valley. These weather reports could also be compared to the agricultural production reports mentioned in a previous blog post to see if there is a correlation between weather and produce production. There are also other great finds hidden away in the Project Histories collection that are just waiting to be discovered! 

048-18-0010-051-A.jpgSeries: 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

Back with CCEPS!

Hello again! It's me Marcus! This Friday, I was very excited to return to working on the Yao Family Papers at CCEPS. I genuinely enjoy going through documents, photographs, and personal letters and gradually formulating increasingly wholistic pictures of members of the Yao family in my mind. 

This week, I processed a series of the Yao family's official documents that came in a black leather briefcase. These documents include Norman's University of Shanghai diploma from 1936, Anne's love letter to Norman from 1943, their British Hong Kong ID cards from 1950s, US immigration documents in 1956, naturalization documents in the early 1960s, and even Norman's certificate of death in the 1980s. They marked not only the change in their legal status, but also told the personal stories of the immigrant family. 

Finishing processing this leather briefcase marks the completion of my work on the first half of the Yao Family Papers with the exception of the photo negatives, which require special processing actions. I am very excited to bring the second half of the collection from the Asian Library to the CCEPS room and continue my exploration of Yao family's stories! 

Have a nice week! 


Every family has its story.

This week I have been working on the processing plan of the John Laurence Seymour Papers. I'm trying to find the best way to organize the amount of materials so it will be user friendly to researchers in the future. There are 66 diaries and many personal letters from family members which I am sure might be of a special interest to someone. There is one interesting thing about the letters to Mr. Seymour's Mother... He never addresses her "Mother" or "Mom," instead he calls her Rosie, a nickname for Rose. He picked up this name as a child and as he described "the family thought the matter amusing; and so the habit grew and he clung to it uncritically over the years." Later, as a student of Russian, he translated the name into its Russian equivalent, Rozechka, and it stayed like that. I think this personal detail shows the close mother-son relationship unique to the Seymour's family. The letters below are from Paris and Milan, one addressed to Rosie, the other to Rozechka - the dearest Mom.

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Irving Wallace, On-screen

Before he made it big as a novelist, Irving Wallace spent the better part of a decade writing scripts for Hollywood films. His credits were unremarkable, and he found the work intellectually and financially unfulfilling. Nevertheless, Wallace would maintain connections to Hollywood for the duration of his career, and he apparently had few reservations about adapting his books for film and television. Starting with The Chapman Report in 1962 and continuing through CBS's serialization of The Word in 1978, several of Wallace's novels went on to enjoy a second life on the big and small screens. Whatever their merits as art or entertainment, these adaptations highlight the cultural (and commercial) cachet of the Irving Wallace brand in the 1960s and 1970s. Whether in print or on-screen, his work seemed guaranteed to attract a large audience. 

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(Advertisement for CBS's television adaptation of The Word, from the Los Angeles Times, TV Times, Nov. 18, 1978. Irving Wallace collection.

Labor in Citrus Groves and Globalization

This week, I spent time listening to an interview with Lonnie Blanton. He was a citrus grower in the Upland area and his interview provided insights into the citrus growing process. Toward the middle of the interview, Blanton reflects on labor patterns. He suggests that the relationship between the United States and Mexico could be mutually beneficial especially in terms of a more relaxed immigration/labor policy. This comment made me think about current political discussions surrounding labor and migration. In addition, it related to some of the readings I have done for my Senior Seminar. In the course we have discussed the processes of globalization and particularly its relationship to capitalism. Listening to this interview made me reflect on the global patterns of economics (specifically the accumulation of capital wealth) and its effect on sociopolitical relationships over time.