Fred C. Finkle Papers

Hello! I’m Jade, a History major at Pitzer College and the CCEPS Fellow this summer. I am very excited to explore the materials in Special Collections and learn as much as I can about archiving, processing, and digitizing during my time here.

My first project is reexamining the Fred C. Finkle Papers in the Water Resources Collection. Finkle (1865-1949) was a engineer and geologist who designed or consulted on many hydroelectric power projects throughout the western states beginning in 1887.

The Finkle Papers are comprised of 24 oversized flat folders stuffed with maps, blueprints, charts, and tables from Finkle’s water projects in California, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington state, as well as several items from a project in Mexico City. The time frame for the materials ranges from 1895-1931, with the majority being from 1902-1912.

My first task has been to inventory the collection, over 800 pieces that for the most part are a disorganized mess, with all projects and material types jumbled together. The folders are labeled, but only with simple labels such as “Water – Finkle – Blueprints, Tables, Maps,” which is not useful at all for organization or research. Next week I will begin researching some of the placenames and other clues to determine where some of the more mysterious items that do not have titles or obvious reference points. I will also begin research for a more thorough Fred C. Finkle biography entry to add to the online collection guide. I will also devise a schema to rearrange and re-house the collection.

I hope to post a lot of photos of items from the collection over the coming weeks, it will be helpful in showing what the collection contains while also highlighting the beauty and artistry of the drawings. Below are a few items that struck me as I worked through the last folder.

The first gives an idea of the type of content and organization of the folders, with a promotional blueprint for rail car gear lubrication oil at the bottom and a blueline map of the rivers and reservoirs of Oregon’s Mt. Hood Railway & Power Co. above. The second photo is a portion of a blueprint diagram sheet for Kern River Power Plant No. 1, in California’s Central Valley. The third image is a graph diagram I found particularly lovely, made for the Arrowhead Reservoir and Power Co. based in San Bernardino. Click the thumbnails to see full images.
More next week!