On August 13, 1883 George Chaffey wrote a letter to J. P.
Gildersleeve, one of the original settlers in Ontario, California. This letter
announces the creation of the Ontario Land Company in the form of a trust deed.
Although originally the company was planned to be a joint stock company, the
Chaffey brothers thought that was too risky for themselves and their potential
The benefits of creating a company in this manner, according
to George Chaffey are the following:
“1st. There can be no combination of stock holders by which
the minority can be driven to the wall and be obliged to sacrifice to the
interests of the majority. Thus the holder of one share is in a good position
as regards his proportion as the owner of a thousand. 2nd. The shares are
unassumable and therefore the holder enjoys immunity from forfeiture. 3rd. No
debts can be made against the lands except such as is necessary to protect and
care for the property. 4th. The certificates of ownership can always be paid in
to the company at par value with 8% added for any of the unsold lands, thus
offering a security which has for its base real estate at market value.”
Then, George Chaffey transitions to talking about
Gildersleeve’s property. Apparently, the fruit trees are doing well, in
particular the apricot trees. A few weeks ago I wrote about George Chaffey’s
interest in apricot trees on this blog, so it was fun to see him mention it
again. The warm weather this summer has allowed for “enormous growth on vines
George Chaffey ends the letter by letting Gildersleeve know
that “a great many strangers” have been settling in the colony and they “expect
lively times next winter.” George Chaffey hopes that Gildersleeve will find
time to visit the colony during the winter to escape the Canadian snow storms.
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This week, I continued to survey the Yao family collection and encountered a box full of negatives and 35 mm slides. Since Mr. Norman Yao took many photos for the Claremont Colleges and the Claremont Church, I am also discovering local history while going through his photos. In the 1960s, the Scripps College campus was decorated with Chinese Buddhist statues donated by Norwegian General Johan Munthe who emigrated to China in 1886. The fascination with the Orient was so deep that President of Scripps College Mark Curtis even tried on a Chinese imperial robe.
The racial aspect of 1960s Claremont in this collection is also rather interesting as the vast majority of the people Norman photographed were Caucasians, and yet he was a person of color. This particular dynamic reminded me of the photos of the all-white parties that Norman took in Hong Kong. I wonder what psychological effect such racial dynamics could have had on Norman as well as the photographed subjects. Meanwhile, Norman’s camera also captured social changes in the 1960s, for instance, the first admission of Black students into Scripps College through Future Development Program of Negro Students.
Hope you have a good week!
Norman Yao reads “How to Use the Box Camera”
Hello Everyone, this week has been productive, but
time on this project seems to be passing quickly and I am trying to pick up the
pace to accomplish as much as possible. I now have nine of the twenty-seven
boxes completed with much of the annual and monthly operational club activity
records and Junior Club project reports in folders. I have also made significant
progress on creating folders for Club history as well as Woman’s Club events
and projects. The remaining boxes awaiting processing contain ledgers and
journals, printed matter and ephemera, newspaper clippings, photos, and slides,
and some remaining loose paperwork. I have a good plan of attack for next week
and am eager to get started on Tuesday.
The Woman’s Club of
Claremont has had some great fundraising events throughout their history and
have been very creative in coming up with event themes. I have come across some
wonderful event programs for fashion shows from the 1950’s and 1960’s with such
titles as “Autumn Fashion Treasures,” “Fashions for a Goddess,” and “Strawberry
Supreme,” with some programs being handmade. Check them out!
This week I broke apart transcripts from the Frankish letters book three and then started scanning the Frankish letters book two. As I broke apart the PDFs and scanned the letters I was surprised by the daily number of letters that Charles Frankish wrote. Some days he wrote twenty! I have also been thinking about the fact that before Charles was able to send the letters he wrote, someone had to transcribe them into a bound book for record keeping. It is making me feel very thankful for email!
Looking forward to next week,
There isn’t much to blog about this week. I just continued to make PDF/A’s out of PDFs. Some of the other material on this blog is really interesting, though. I’m jealous of the work that’s being done on the T.S. Eliot collection (never knew he frequented Claremont)! I wish there was more poetry to my work!
Good afternoon everyone,
This week I finished breaking apart all of the transcription files from the Frankish Letters Book 1. There were about 500 transcriptions for Book 1. It was interesting to see business transactions played out in letters. The most fascinating part about these transcriptions was the organization of the letters. I think it’s also important to note the underlying significance for organizing these letters in a specific way. I am looking forward to delving into another collection of letter transcriptions!
Until next time,
Valerie Eliot’s whimsical personality is evident even in her penmanship.
I think I am drawn to Valerie Eliot’s cards to Jeanette McPherrin because I see so much of Eliot’s influence on Valerie here. Her signature has the same slanted line underneath her name that T.S. Eliot employs.
Her handwriting is a lot easier to read than her husband’s, as hers is more bubbly and almost youthful. Valerie was 40 years younger than T.S. Eliot and she was a longtime fan of Eliot’s before she met him at Faber & Faber, where she purposefully worked as Eliot’s secretary (she used Charles Morgan’s connections to get a job at Eliot’s publishing company so that she could work in the vicinity of T.S. Eliot). Quite a fandom! Years after their deaths, I sit quietly at the Denison Library admiring Eliot’s writings, just as Valerie must have done when she was around my age. I wonder if Valerie knew about T.S. Eliot’s previous “relationship” with Emily Hale, Jeanette’s friend… A mystery indeed.
On May 25th, 1883, William Henderson wrote a
letter to C. L. Stephens. Stephens had
been in bad health for quite some time and William Henderson was writing to
offer his sympathies as well as invite C. L. Stephens to move to Southern
California. In order to better convince Stephens, Henderson enclosed an
informational pamphlet with his letter.
William Henderson believes that C. L. Stephens’ health will
improve if he moves to Southern California from Canada. Henderson writes of the
Chaffey brothers’ colonies, “so far as climate is concerned we have no
hesitation in saying that for Asthma and Bronchitis there is none better under
the sun.” Henderson also writes that many of the settlers in Etiwanda and
Ontario are fellow Canadians, with the hope, perhaps, to convince C. L.
Stephens that he will feel at home in the new Southern Californian colonies.
William Henderson believes that even with C. L. Stephens’
poor health, he would be able to find work in the colony. If Stephens’ health
improves enough after settling in the warm, dry climate of Southern California,
Henderson is confident that he will be able to find a good paying job. He
writes, “a small fruit farm would fill the bill exactly and you may be able to
get some occupation in this southern country that will eventually make such an
attainment possible.” William Henderson ends his letter by describing Southern
California as “the best climate in America for your particular complaints.”
I find this letter interesting because it aligns with a
common idea at the time that moving to a warm, dry climate could help with
one’s ailing health. In Southern California specifically there has been a
pervading idea that the weather here could help with a whole range of health
complaints, most notably upper respiratory issues. We see that illustrated
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I am very excited to be on board to work as a CCEPS fellow. This semester, I will be working on Claremont’s former mayor Mr. Peter Yao’s donation of photos and other family documents to The Claremont Colleges Library. First week on the job, I encountered many fascinating documents, including numerous personal letters and dozens of official documents issued by the Kuomintang, British Hong Kong and American government. From these documents I was able to reconstruct the story of the Yao family. Graduates of University of Shanghai, Peter Yao’s parents hailed from elite families in mainland China. But when the Communists won the civil war and confiscated their business, they fled to British Hong Kong where they worked for the US Information Service. Under the Refugee Relief Act of 1953, they came to the United States. Peter Yao’s father Norman Yao was a lifelong enthusiast of photography, and the photographs he had taken constitutes the majority of the documents I will be processing.
Hope you have a good week!
Norman Yao and his beloved Rolleiflex camera
This week was my first week working as a CLIR CCEPS fellow. I am very excited to work with and learn at Special Collections this semester. This week I have been exporting individual pages from transcripts of the Frankish Letters Book Two. As I exported the pages, I thought about the diligence put into writing, binding, and transcribing the letters. I am excited that soon they will become a public resource for researchers to use. I am sure they produce something equally as impressive as the letters themselves. Looking forward to what next week will hold.