Greetings with Unexpected Surprises



My name is Marissa Hicks-Alcaraz and I’m the final fellow
assigned to the CLIR CCEPS water archival project for the Fall semester. I
thought I’d begin my first entry by briefly introducing myself and my interest
in the project.


I’m a second-year PhD student in Claremont Graduate
University’s Cultural Studies program with a focus on the representation of Chicanx/Latinx
cultural identity in film and moving image art, as well as its curation by
cultural institutions such as film festivals, cinematecs, and museums. I’m also
the Programming Director at the Latin American Cinemeteca of Los Angeles, and teach
undergraduate courses on Chicanx/Latinx and Middle Eastern cinemas at Cal Poly,
Pomona in the Ethnic and Women’s Studies Department as an adjunct lecturer.


What initially attracted me to the CLIR project was an
opportunity to learn about the collaborative process among various Southern
California libraries to digitize a mass collection of archival materials. I’m
currently working on a grant to obtain funding for a similar project that would
digitize materials across various personal and library collections in Southern California
related to Chicanx film and filmmaking. A week in and I’ve already gained a lot
of valuable insights regarding this process, such as the kind of equipment used
to digitize archival material and the resources needed to execute such a large


I’ve also come upon some unexpected surprises as well. While
reading through the beautifully handwritten notes (nearly a lost art in the 21st
century as suggested by Alfonso in his last entry) within a minutes log book
from a meeting of the board of directors of the Etiwanda Water Company held in October
1890, I was surprised to come across some juicy drama. While the entry was vague
on details, it described what was referred to as a “grave and unprovoked assault”
(fist fight perhaps?) committed by a father and son team against the board’s Secretary
of the Treasury, and also the author of the minutes log book. The board
resolved to “take action thereon to vindicate its own respectability as well as
to protect its officers in the discharge of their duties.” It’s fascinating to
see how the motivations for taking the issue to court was just as much about
defending the company’s honor as it was about defending its officer…



I’m looking forward to filling you in on more water drama in
the coming weeks!