Frankish got me thinking about visionaries. According to the Merriam-Webster
dictionary, a visionary is a person who
has “foresight and imagination.” For me, Steve Jobs was a true
visionary. He wanted to change the world and he achieved it quite successfully.
What I admire most is his persistence; failures drove
him to work harder.
In a letter to O.S. Picher, Mr. Frankish talks about building the “San
Antonio hotel.” He writes,
“By the way referring again to “San
Antonio hotel” if the thing could be started this fall I believe it could
be more than filled all next winter. I would not say this much to some people lest
they thought me visionary but I know that you fully appreciate the situation.”
another letter to Mr. MacNeil, he writes,
“…..neither do we want a “Sanitarium”
but rather a “grand pleasure resort” for healthy people as well as invalids,
and we can run the whole business without the doctor’s advice.”
further in the same letter,
“And if you come across someone with plenty
of funds, speak a good word for the “S. Antonio Hotel and Electric
Railroad Co.” for that is what will sell every acre we have a from double
to three times our present prices and I feel that we ought to make every effort
to put it through to completion. if we had it done and the hotel built every
room would be full by Nov. and thousands of people would come to Ontario to see
the novelty of a complete Electric road of 7 miles, street and house lighting, Hotel
lighting, elevators, etc. etc. all run by Electricity without one cent expense
for motive power. You must not think I am wild on the scheme but I do want to
stir you all up to action.”
Not sure what he thinks but I consider him a visionary.
Another interesting find from the 1939 annual project history of the All-american Canal! Below is a collage showing the Imperial and Coachella Valley’s flourishing agriculture. The All-American Canal was built to help provide farms with the water necessary to help irrigate crops. What better way to demonstrate the success of the Canal other than showing how bountiful the local farms are? Along with the collage is the key which describes each individual photo. The combination of the photos and the descriptions of them provide not only a visual key of the various points along the Canal, but also a clear description of them. Note the emphasis on land which has been reclaimed and made fertile due to the Canal Project.
Series: All-American Canal Project Histories, 1948-1954. Record Group 48: Records of the Office of the Secretary of the Interior, 1826-2009. National Archives Identifier: 2292770
After analyzing nearly two hundred documents in the form of letters between water leaders, riparian maps, and vivid speeches by passionate politicians from the Prendergast Collection over two months, my time with the CLIR Water Project has come to a sudden and unexpected close. I would like to thank my coworkers and Tanya for putting up with my constant questions and making my experience with the project a pleasant and informative one. I enjoyed donning the detective’s hat and putting together the whos, whats and hows of documents over half a century old. It has given me an understanding of what it takes to work in the field of history and more confidence in my decision to be a history major.
This archival position was also gratifying to me because I felt as if I was honoring and preserving the legacy of those who toiled so hard to ensure that we Californians have the most basic and essential resource, despite living in deserts and other barren areas. The overarching story of putting aside Northern and Southern California rivalries and cooperating to preserve the booming population centers for generations to come is inspiring and impressive, especially in our day and age.
While I will no longer be working on this project, I will retain this appreciation of a pivotal moment in our state’s history, as well as the practicalities and importance of archiving which I learned from Tanya, for years to come.
Irving Wallace’s novel The Word, published in 1972, tells a story of international intrigue. The discovery of a new gospel in Italy–purportedly written by Jesus’s younger brother, James–sends Wallace’s protagonist, the world-weary New York public relations man Steven Randall, on a wide-ranging quest to confirm the authenticity of the explosive new document. Randall’s resulting journey across Europe–from London to Paris, Amsterdam to Greece–reads like a pulp travelogue through a Europe where mystery and romance lurk around every corner.
Wallace was well-known as a careful and prodigious researcher. While working on The Word in the mid- to late-1960s, he employed multiple research assistants to conduct library research, interview scholars, and photograph locations that he planned to write about in the book. In 1963, however, Wallace decided to conduct some research of his own, and with his wife (the writer Sylvia Wallace) and two children, he traveled to London and Paris to begin the work that would form the foundation of The Word.
The Word series of the Wallace collection provides some fascinating glimpses of Wallace’s trip, giving us a sense of the headaches and pleasures of European travel in the early 1960s. The journey from Los Angeles (where the Wallaces lived) to Paris required a significant amount of advance planning; hotels had to be booked by letter, itineraries drafted, and personal and professional contacts notified of his family’s impending arrival. I can’t help but imagine the awkward, stuffy dinners that some of these “advance” letters (see below) may have resulted in. Perhaps, too, some formed the basis of lifelong friendships.
Whatever the case, it is striking how much the experience of travel has changed since the early 1960s. Lacking our contemporary reliance on Airbnb, Uber, and navigation apps, Wallace’s European adventure was surely a slower and more painstaking journey than most of us would care to put up with today.
Today will be my last working for the CLIR Water project. I want to start off by saying thanks and reiterating my appreciation for this experience. Specifically, I want to give a huge shout-out to Tanya Kato, who was extremely patient with me at all times and provided the necessary guidance for my success. I deepened my understanding of primary sources, learned to create metadata, picked up on CONTENTdm’s navigational challenges, and made CGU friends along the way. Although it’s always disappointing to have to move on, I’ve come to the conclusion that my time in the CCEPs room must end. The skills I learned and reinforced during my time at Honnold-Mudd Library will help me easily transition into other research positions directly related to my studies: Latin America. I hope to better understand the functionality of other databases and apply the lessons I learned in Claremont to future internships and positions. Next summer, I hope to intern with the Washington Office on Latin America. Thank you once again CLIR Water for having had me as a research fellow, it’s been an honor and a privilege working with such a welcoming and caring staff. Thank you Tanya for making the experience worthwhile and fun, I’m thankful to have gained you as both a supervisor and a friend. Wish you all the best, and I’m looking forward to the CLIR Water Project’s future!
So Mr. Frankish received a letter from a gentleman requesting to lease
the use of water at the head of San Antonio Canyon for the purpose of hydraulic
mining for a term of five years. The gentleman promised to enter into an
agreement to not divert the water from its natural channel and not to diminish
its quality but to release it to its original channel after being used for mining
purposes. In a letter Mr. Frankish discusses this request with Mr. MacNeil. He
this mail I write you re Mr. Rossiters request for the use of water for mining
purposes and think it well to give you some private pointers. Mr. R. has undoubtedly
struck ———— having shown Mr. Gissing and myself lumps of free gold just as picked up from the gravel
weighing nearly an ounce each and one lump picked up was sold for over $400. Now it occurs to me, if this is such a good thing and the use of our
water is indispensable to its development, might we not be entitled to a fair remuneration
(sic) for its use. Again will not some
water naturally be wasted and may not the refuse washed into the head of the
Canon interfere with the flow of the water. I merely suggest these points for
I sure hope to read Mr. MacNeil’s response to
this brainstorming session.
Using the human body as a form of measurement is a powerful
way to demonstrate size. Throughout work on the American Canal Project, men
were used to stand in, near, and around completed sections of the Canal to help
communicate its sheer size. The image begins the sixth annual history
of the All-American Canal Project, created in 1939. In the table of contents the
image is described as the “Frontispiece” of the document, and given the title, “All-American
Canal, Looking Upstream from Point of Left Bank near Station 1005+00.”
While it cannot be seen in the photo, there is a silver
sheen to the original document. This is because it is a silver gelatin
photographic image on double weight, developing-out paper. Glossy photographs
are commonly used in this, and all, of the annual histories. Thus making this particular
image stand out as a decorative touch.
Series: All-American Canal Project Histories, 1948-1954.
Record Group 48: Records of the Office of the Secretary of the Interior,
1826-2009. National Archives Identifier: 2292770
This week I continued to scan items from the San Bernardino
County Flood Control District. Today I learned that the largest flood
to occur in San Bernardino in March of 1938 caused severe damage to the area
and a loss of approximately 113 to 115 individuals. The devastating damage, brought
community members together in an effort to prevent this from happening again, leading to
one of the biggest water projects: The San Bernardino
County Flood Control District. However, unlike other water projects, the
community wanted to make sure that this project
targeted aspects of water conservation and not just flood control to help make
sure that all water regardless of its use was being conserved. The focus of
such a project helped not only target the issue at hand but also contribute to
the future of water preservation. After today I realized I scanned a total of 200
pages from the San Bernardino County Flood Control District Collection. This
number does not include the scans that did not make it. I am glad I was able to
contribute to this project. Until next time!
Irving Wallace (1916-1990) was one of the most widely read novelists of his time. A one-time Hollywood screenwriter, Wallace had a knack for delivering stories with mass appeal. Blending workmanlike prose with meticulous research and can’t-put-it-down plots, Wallace won legions of fans worldwide with titles like The Chapman Report (1961), The Prize (1962), The Man (1964), and The Word (1972). By the time of his death in 1990, Wallace’s books had sold roughly 200 million copies, making him one of the best-selling writers of the twentieth century.
Wallace’s papers first came to Claremont in 1982, in a move that drew the bemused attention of observers. The Los Angeles Times called Honnold Library’s acquisition of the Wallace materials an “odd academic marriage.” What use, the paper asked, did the Claremont Colleges–“a bastion of the intellectually elite”–have for the papers of this “hero-novelist of the reading masses, a man about whose books critics sometimes trot out words such as trashy and vulgar?” To be sure, Wallace never enjoyed great acclaim from critics in his lifetime, and scholarly attention for his work has been minimal since his death. The Times‘s question was a fair one.
It so happened that the library saw the Wallace papers as a test case for its new computer, known as the Claremont Total Library System. The system, one of the first of its kind in the country, enabled electronic searching of Wallace’s prodigious materials. However unlikely the match between Wallace and the Honnold Library was, the sheer size of the Wallace collection presented the library with a unique opportunity to make use of its new technology–or to Wallace, “this damn computer.”
Today, the Wallace collection bears the marks of its early history as a guinea pig for new technology. In order to make Wallace’s papers searchable on the fledgling electronic platform, archivists in the 1980s assigned library-style call numbers to folders of documents. In time, this idiosyncratic system became obsolete, and the Wallace collection is now largely invisible to researchers. Making the collection visible again will require a good deal of reprocessing following standard archival practices. Given that the Wallace collection fills an entire room in the basement of Honnold Mudd Library, the process is sure to be a long but rewarding one.
I look forward to sharing my thoughts about this process in the weeks and months ahead.
Beverly Beyette, “Odd Academic Marriage at Claremont Colleges,” Los Angeles Times, March 24, 1983.
Burt A. Folkart, “Irving Wallace; Prolific Writer Reached Billion Readers,” Los Angeles Times, June 30, 1990.
Within the past few days, California farmers have been protesting the newly-proposed and updated California Water Plan (which the State alters every five years) because of its requirement to double the water flow in the Low San Joaquin River to protect declining salmon populations. Farmers claim that they would lose thousands of gallons of water, while environmentalists and fisheries argue that the farmers are corrupt and without this increased water flow, the salmon would likely go extinct. This recent controversy made me realize that environmental concerns are basically nonexistent in the Prendergast documents I have been reviewing. These water politicians and engineers of the 1950s were blissfully unaware of the consequences in their attempts to fuel the growing urban California areas, thus leading to such dilemmas today. Thankfully, our state’s mindset has broadened, and the most recent California Water Plan is full of ecological rhetoric.