This week I was creating more metadata from the Chaffey brothers’
letters. In the letter, William Henderson, a colleague of the Chaffey brothers
writes to a man in Canada about the status of the colony. In this 1883 letter,
he explains that the Ontario Colony is young, less than a year old. I couldn’t
believe it! I have been creating metadata for this series of letters for nearly three
months and I have covered less than a year of materials!
The letter explains that the principle occupation for colony
settlers is fruit and wine grape farming. William Henderson explains that the
Chaffey brothers don’t “expect a great city to rise up here in a day.” This
quote reminds me of the famous phrase, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” I wonder
if William Henderson did that on purpose, predicting the eventual future
success of Ontario.
William Henderson also mentions the benefits of Southern
California, which happens many times in these letters. He writes, “As to the climate
situation and fruitfulness of soil, this part of California is, we believe,
unsurpassed anywhere and undoubtedly has a great future.” Given the sunny
weather we are experiencing this week I have to say I must agree. The “climate
situation” is great!
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This week was really fun because I got to scan the second half of the Frankish Letters Book 2 in the Special Collections Room. This was the first time I got to use the scanner and it was super interesting to learn how to scan and all the various issues that have come up in relation to it. I learned which settings, and in what order I should do things so that Adobe wouldn’t crash or have any errors. Other than the occasional crash it went pretty smoothly for me and I got to finish the book! I got to test my theory that the writing on the pages would be more visible if we started using white paper behind them rather than black paper. It turns out that it actually does make it clearer to read the words. It was also really cool to spend more time in the Special Collections Room. Now I get to start checking, matching, and renaming the files I scanned.
More to come!
There is not much to report this week. I have spent
the week getting acquainted with materials, sites, and tools associated with
creating the Finding Aid for what will become the Woman’s Club of Claremont
collection. This involves learning how to use an open source archival data
management system called ArchiveSpace. The program is fairly user
friendly and it will just take some time to get familiar with using it. I started
out slowly, a little hesitant to make a mistake, but eventually just dove in to
creating headings and writing paragraphs for the Scope and Content notes. The
Scope and Content notes will let researchers know the content of the archive,
so they can determine the material’s relevance to their research. Luckily, I
was provided many examples to follow so I just allowed the work of those that
came before me to guide my way. I am wrapping up my week happy to have learned
something new. Have a great weekend!
This week I continued working with the Frankish Letters Book verifying the file transcripts and scans. I am currently working on the letters that were written in August 1887.
After reading several of the Frankish letters, I have noticed that Charles Frankish often corresponded with the same people over a long period of time. I have also noticed that he addresses different people with different greetings. For some people he says “My Dear Sir” or just “Dear Sir”. I wonder if he addresses people that he is closer to with “My”. I also noticed that some of the letters he writes go all the way to Kansas, I found it very interesting that he had business with people so far away!
I am looking forward to continuing to read the letters next week.
All the best,
This past week I have spent my time renaming PDF and and scan files in Frankish Letters Book 3! As of now, I need to scan more letters from the book and I just finished renaming the files I have scanned to their appropriate object names. Next, I will be converting these newly renamed files into PDF/As in order to start finalizing my work with Frankish Letters Book 3. I can’t wait to see what next week will bring!
I don’t have a lot of updates this week. I have been doing
metadata as usual, but recently the letters have not been very compelling. A
lot of the letters I have worked on have been about advertising for the Ontario
colony and other business correspondences. The Chaffey brothers sent a lot of
pamphlets and maps to potential land-buyers in order to give them information
about the colony. In some cases the Chaffey brothers even invited people to visit
the colony in order to really understand what living in Southern California
would be like.
Other recent letters have referred to the progress of land
development in the colony. Some letters are directed to land-owners who are
being updated on the state of their farm. Other letters are directed to
manufacturers and shipping companies regarding the shipment of building
materials, furniture, and other goods to the colony.
Hopefully more inspiring letters come my way soon so that I
can share some of the new and interesting things that the Chaffey brothers did!
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This week I continued processing the photos. First, I laid out all the photos on the table and then split all of them into three groups: people, arts, landscape. However, the borderlines between the three categories are hard to define. For instance, a photo of an artist who is working on an art piece can be categorized as both “art” and “people,” and a photo of a person posing before stunning landscape can fall into either “people” or “landscape.” So I had to create subcategory under the existing three major categories.
Another problem is dating the photographs. Although some of the photos are in envelops that has dates on them, the majority of the photos are scattered and cannot be dated. However, I am able to discern the events portrayed in some of the photos, so I looked up the dates of those events. But that only consists of a small minority of the photos.
Besides, because laying the photos out and sorting them back to the boxes is quite a time-consuming process, I will work on a different schedule in order to work longer shifts on fewer days from this week onwards.
The library hosted a taco party today to celebrate the completion of the refurbishment of the fourth floor, and it was really awesome to chat with my colleagues outside the setting of the work place!
Hope you have a good week!