Your basic needs

Working with the camera can be physically and emotionally
draining. You may wonder what can help to ease the process. Here are a few tips
that may make your trips to the camera room a little easier. First, coffee can
help. Drinking a few cups before the photo shoots may give you anxiety but will
help you stay alert. Second, be prepared to spend a few hours in the camera room.
It will take a few tries before you get that perfect shot. Nothing will ever be
perfect; but after a few hours, you will get close to what you want. Third,
bring power bars as you may need to skip lunch or grab a late one – a very late
one. Finally, bring a friend who actually knows everything about using a
camera.

Normal
0

false
false
false

EN-US
X-NONE
X-NONE

/* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
mso-style-noshow:yes;
mso-style-priority:99;
mso-style-parent:””;
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
mso-para-margin-top:0in;
mso-para-margin-right:0in;
mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt;
mso-para-margin-left:0in;
line-height:115%;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
font-size:11.0pt;
font-family:”Times New Roman”,”serif”;}

The Prize Controversy

In a plot twist that sounds more like one of Irving Wallace’s
novels than his own life, the author got a taste of excitement following the
release of The Prize. Briefly, the
novel is about the ceremony for the annual Nobel Prize. From the book cover, “Six
people all around the world are catapulted to international fame as they
receive the most important telegraph of their lives, which invites them to
Stockholm to receive the prize. This will be a turning point in their lives, in
which personal affairs and political intrigue will engulf every one of the
characters.”

Although Wallace was meticulous in his research, a reviewer
in Norway took issue with how Wallace portrayed the Nobel Prize institution and
its judges, calling the book a scandal and accusing Wallace of “declar[ing] war
on Scandinavians.”[1] A
rather heated exchange took place through letters and newspaper columns and
responses in which Wallace defended his research process and called on
witnesses to vouch for him. In one set of Wallace’s notes he stated, “I
interviewed [Dr. Anders Osterling] September 23, 1946. He was extremely frank.
Among other things he told me that he fought against Pearl Buck receiving the
Nobel Prize, that Bunin got it to “pay off” for the omission of Tolstoy and Chekhov, that Thomas Wolfe, Somerset Maugham, James Joyce were never nominated,
that Frost, Upton Sinclair, Dreiser were long ago considered and voted down. He
felt Mann deserved the prize twice.”[2]

Despite a good many people, including Dr.
Osterling, coming to Wallace’s defense, the eventual fall-out of the
controversy over his novel resulted in his book translation being rejected in
Copenhagen, and by multiple publishers in Norway. The controversy seemed to
finally blow over, but as recently as 1985, debate continued to ensue with the
release of the major motion picture starring Paul Newman and Elke Summers in
the Scandinavian countries


[1] Anonymous,
“U.S. Author Declares War on Scandinavians,” in the Eagle, Wichita, Kansas, 20 September 1962.

[2]
Irving Wallace, “untitled note,” 1962, Box 28, Folder 13, Irving Wallace Papers, H.Mss.1076. Special Collections, Honnold Mudd Library, Claremont University Consortium.


 

Normal
0

false
false
false

EN-US
X-NONE
X-NONE

/* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
mso-style-noshow:yes;
mso-style-priority:99;
mso-style-parent:””;
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
mso-para-margin-top:0in;
mso-para-margin-right:0in;
mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt;
mso-para-margin-left:0in;
line-height:115%;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
font-size:11.0pt;
font-family:”Calibri”,”sans-serif”;
mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;
mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;
mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;
mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}

Don’t send anyone unless he is very good

Have you ever struggled to fold laundry, vacuum or clean ovens? If yes,
you may have something in common with Mr. Charles Frankish. In 1891, Mr.
Frankish was searching for someone to do household work. Someone who would be
very quick and very clean. In a letter to L. A. Fawn, he wrote, “…Now don’t
send anyone unless he is very good as I won’t pay anything to one who is no
good.” 

Normal
0

false
false
false

EN-US
X-NONE
X-NONE

/* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
mso-style-noshow:yes;
mso-style-priority:99;
mso-style-parent:””;
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
mso-para-margin-top:0in;
mso-para-margin-right:0in;
mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt;
mso-para-margin-left:0in;
line-height:115%;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
font-size:11.0pt;
font-family:”Times New Roman”,”serif”;}

Land, water and money….

This week I continued to work on the collections from the A.K. Smiley Public Library. Since I was working on the metadata, I had read through some of the items in order to form a description. While doing so, I found an interesting item. It was a letter sent between a landowner and James T. Taylor (sometimes also referred to as Jas T. Taylor), one of the investigators who was selected by a board of committee
members to investigate and ascertain the most reliable and at the same
time the cheapest water supply to the City of Perris.
The landowner stated in his letter that he had around 80 acres of land located in the Alessandro district and wanted water supply given by the Bear Valley Water Company at a reasonable price in order to irrigate his land. Since I had never heard of the location, I started to do a little research on the Alessandro district and found out that irrigation in Southern California was begun by Spanish Mission priests in the beginning of the 19th century. The means of construction for irrigation was crude and narrowly limited along with a lack of experience and technology. The developments in advanced irrigation had only begun by around 1870. One of the reasons why the Alessandro district became an attractive location for irrigation was because it was all upon one plain, sloping south toward a basin whose immediate bottom is occupied by a great rugged cluster of granite hills i.e. the plain slopes from the surrounding hills to the base of this interior group in the San Jacinto Valley, making it an ideal place of irrigation.
Considering these facts, I was able to understand why many landowners wanted to irrigate large portions of their land. Because of the requirement of water supply, the Bear Valley Water Company and the Bear Valley Irrigation Company were later established leading to establishments of residents forming a whole mini-economy.

Off to London

Tomorrow evening this archivist takes off to explore Europe for the next 2 weeks. A few of my days will be spent in London. I thought this made an excellent opportunity to share one of the postcards John Laurence Seymour brought back from his European trip in 1922/1923. Seymour would purchase post cards as souvenirs to keep for himself, and frequently made notations on the back of them with personal descriptions and anecdotes. Below is a postcard of the Tower of London with Seymour’s notations on the back included.

london001.jpg
london002.jpg

“Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown”

While looking for an item to post on the social media page, I discovered an interesting newspaper article from the California Water Documents collection on the building of the ‘Colorado Aqueduct’. The article talks about the speeding of the work related to building of the aqueduct by certain citizen groups and the engineers. The idea of the aqueduct was conceived by William Mulholland but the construction was headed by Frank E. Weymouth, the Metropolitan Water District chief engineer. This aqueduct was one of the largest projects that existed in California during the Great Depression. This project had given employment to more than 10,000 people in a year. It was one of the primary sources of drinking water for Southern California.
While I was doing research on the Colorado Aqueduct, I was directed to the page of the ‘Los Angeles Aqueduct’ that was the basis for the movie ‘Chinatown’ (1974), directed by Roman Polanski. The movie talks about the murder of the chief engineer who refuses to build an aqueduct, which was set on the background of the water wars that existed in California. There were a lot of controversies surrounding the ‘Los Angeles Aqueduct’ as it had completely sabotaged the agricultural land that existed in Owen’s Valley. ‘Chinatown’ (1974) being one of my favorite movies and screenplays, I was highly intrigued on finding an item on similar grounds.

The Author Press Kit

Have you ever seen an author press kit? Me neither. At least
I hadn’t until I noticed a copy of Irving Wallace’s press kit for his novel, The
Miracle
. Produced by Wallace’s publisher E.P. Dutton, Inc. in New York, the kit
was meant to be sent to book sellers both to entice them to order the book for
their retail locations, but also to provide stock material those potential book
sellers could use to sell the book in their stores.

presskit-outside.jpg

The press kit arrives in a glossy 8.5″x11″ folder using the
same fonts and imagery as the novel’s cover. Inside the kit are two pockets,
one on each facing cover. In the left side, the kit includes the text of an
interview with Wallace about his new novel. The interview, often titled “Questions
and Answers” is a common feature of book publisher publicity and promotional
materials. The Q&A interview is created for every single book whether or
not a full press kit is developed. Additionally, the left-hand pocket includes
a 5″x7″ glossy black and white image of Irving Wallace looking particularly
authorly (Yes. I just made that up. Go with it.) in his suit and tie and
holding his signature pipe. His smile is friendly and affable if not somewhat
goofy (in a good way). The photographer managed to capture an image of Wallace
in which he looks a respectable professional, but also relatable.

mugshot.jpg

On the right-hand side of the folder, the pocket contains
three more items. The first is a glossy 5″x7″ black and white photo of the book’s
cover. Next is a press release from Dutton providing the sales pitch for the
book with a synopsis description that hooks the reader (the back cover text as
well). The “Dutton News” also lists the main cast members of the book and the
requisite price, ISBN, Publication date, and so forth. Finally, behind the
press release is a 3-page biography of Irving Wallace highlighting his long and
varied writing career and impressive bibliography of magazine articles, short
stories, fiction and non-fiction works to date.

presskit-inside.jpg

Since the press kit for The Miracle was produced
in 1984 with the release of the novel, I imagine that press kits have changed
significantly in the digital era. Although today’s press kits likely include
much the same information, it is, no doubt, sent electronically rather than
physically through the good ol’ snail mail. That’s too bad, really. Having gone
through this press kit I think there is something particularly endearing about the
physical artifact–its tactility: the smooth, glossy surface of the folder; its
smell: the faint chemical smell of the photo emulsion and the smell of good
quality paper with actual typed ink; and its visual appeal: the document design
of each item included, the photographic evidence of a real person and a real
book and even the sense that you’re holding the essence of the book in your
hands with the kit cover echoing the novel cover. All of these are part of what
makes us still buy physical books even when we own electronic readers, cell
phones and tablets that double as readers, and a host of other digital
equipment that lets us “read” a book today
.

Normal
0

false
false
false

EN-US
X-NONE
X-NONE

/* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
mso-style-noshow:yes;
mso-style-priority:99;
mso-style-parent:””;
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
mso-para-margin-top:0in;
mso-para-margin-right:0in;
mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt;
mso-para-margin-left:0in;
line-height:115%;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
font-size:11.0pt;
font-family:”Calibri”,”sans-serif”;
mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;
mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;
mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;
mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}

Secondary Sources

When processing an archival collection, generally, you are dealing strictly with primary sources. While that is a fantastic experience, sometimes some secondary sources can be incredibly helpful to help one synthesize and put into context the files upon files of documents. One of, if not the, best secondary source about John Laurence Seymour is a chapter from a book about Mormons at the Metropolitan Opera, written by Glen Nelson. The chapter “Digging Up the Pasha’s Garden” looks at both Seymour and his experiences related to his opera, In the Pasha’s Garden, performed at the Met in 1934/1935. I have found the chapter particularly helpful in writing the finding aid for the John Laurence Seymour Papers, and I would highly encourage others to read this chapter as well. The link is provided below:

More about scanning

Previously I raved about scanning a book. Most books are
relatively easy to scan. Nevertheless, caution is required as one should not
apply pressure to books in order to flatten them for image capture as it may
break the spine of the book. Still, a
brittle piece of paper needs more
care. The texts may be obscured by persistent folds
which need to be flattened by weights. Items that are oversized need special
attention and may instead need to be photographed. Overall, scanning seems
to be an art in its own right.

Normal
0

false
false
false

EN-US
X-NONE
X-NONE

/* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
mso-style-noshow:yes;
mso-style-priority:99;
mso-style-parent:””;
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
mso-para-margin-top:0in;
mso-para-margin-right:0in;
mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt;
mso-para-margin-left:0in;
line-height:115%;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
font-size:11.0pt;
font-family:”Times New Roman”,”serif”;}