Learn As We Go

Hello again all!

Just a short post for this week from me. I’m currently in between finishing the Imperial Valley Records and a new item, San Gabriel Spreading Grounds Investigation: Review of Haehl and Etcheverry Findings and Analysis of Conservation of Local and Other Water Supplies, Los Angeles County Flood Control District, 1955 by L. W. Jordan. 

In scanning these documents, I have learned new things about California’s water history and its relationship with other states and countries. I try to do a brief glance over of each page as I’m scanning, just so I can be familiar with the collection. I’m a history masters student, so I am more focused on looking for the socio/political/cultural aspects of these documents (see my previous blog posts for examples).

Here is an example of some socio-cultural information that I found interesting on one of the contracts found in Box 3 of the Imperial Valley Records:


No liquor and no gambling. Well that’s no fun! But also relevant for the time period. I have seen similar rhetoric in other contracts in the Imperial Valley Records as well as documents from other southern California cities having “character criteria” for workers and citizens. 

However, given the subject of these documents, much of what I see in the documents flies over my head. I am most unfamiliar with engineering and accounting jargon, which frequently comes up in schematics or contractual records. With just a basic google search, I have been able to provide myself with a better understanding of the differences between various water related infrastructure. Exposure to these terms and concepts has proved helpful. As I went through Box 1 and Box 3 of the Imperial Valley Records, terms became less unfamiliar, and I was able to piece together some sort of narrative. 

While I may not be able to digest these documents to their fullest, others who make use of the digital collection we’re creating might be able to. Maybe I can’t decipher all of what I see, but hopefully others can and will in the future!

Until next time!