Yellow File Folders

In the room where I work in
Lived a man who sharpened pencils
And he wrote down the numbers of files
In the land of file folders
So we put documents in them
Till we run out of space
And we shoved them back in boxes
With our yellow file folders

Thank you!

There always comes a time when one has to say goodbye to their colleagues and this task may prove to be a difficult one. This week, several thoughts were going through my mind as I was deciding what to blog about on my last day as a CLIR CCEPS fellow. But now, when the actual moment has arrived, I can’t think of anything except two words, ‘Thank you!’ I can’t tell you how enriching my last year has been here at CLIR CCEPS. My mentor, Tanya, has been a great source of motivation and support. There are several fellows who have supported me to complete my tasks in a successful manner (You know who are!) and I am grateful to them. I always worked harder because of their support. My entire journey has not only been the most enriching but also fun-filled. I am going to miss the days spent here and I will utilize what I have learned in my future endeavors.

Once again, thank you all!

Lists, receipts, letters and postcards…

This week I continued working on the metadata for the collections from
the A.K. Smiley Public Library. The items consisted of a mixture of
letters, lists, receipts and postal cards. The lists contained the raw materials that were required for construction of the flumes, such as lead and varnish. The letters mainly addressed issues concerning the functioning of
the flumes, especially during trial runs and the necessary alterations that had to be made with respect to the dimensions of the flume for better runs. Most of the letters also had a
confirmation note from the receiver confirming the arrival of the note,
which was new in the items I have digitized so far in this collection. 

Rocks and railroads….

This week I continued working on the metadata for the collections from the A.K. Smiley Public Library. The items consisted of a mixture of letters, receipts and memorandums. The letters were sent between James T. Taylor, one of the investigators who had to ascertain the most reliable and at the same
time the cheapest water supply to the City of Perris and the California Marble & Building Stone Company.
The subject discussed through the letters was the supply of crushed rock. The amount of rock was measured in yards. The rock was delivered to the Bear Valley Irrigation Company. Transportation was done through railroad cars. The interesting aspect was as to how the rates of the rock per yard changed based on the time of the year. Between the months of January and June, the rates were moderate but gradually increased towards the end of the year. But towards the end of the year, the transportation costs had also increased due to unavailability of railroad cars as they were used for transportation of coal.
The receipts were the payments for the rock along with the transportation costs. The memorandums mainly had information regarding delays in delivery or requesting for further supply of rocks from James T. Taylor. I wonder why this change in price, and how the season would affect the quality of the rock and transportation costs. Hopefully, through items I will be working on in the following week, I will be able to get an answer.

Personal Anecdote….

Funny thing happened this week. While entering the Seymour Papers’ finding aid into the library’s records system. I had to double checked the written directions given to me because I could not remember how to do something. While reading the directions, it stated that the selection I clicked should have auto-populated the information I needed. I had a moment of panic because nothing auto-populated!!! Surely I must be doing something wrong! I moved onto task 2 and the same thing happened! As someone who HATES doing something incorrectly I quickly shot off an email asking for help. Turns out the part of the directions that stated information would be auto-populated was outdated. When changing the directions from how to use the old system to how to use the new system, this one sentence accidentally got left behind. Luckily the instructions can now be updated so that way future fellows won’t suffer momentary heart failure. 

Memorial Day

For the past few weeks, I have been updating and renaming
files for Frankish Letters Book 5. Most of the letters I worked on were written
in 1887. This made me wonder how Mr. Frankish would celebrate Memorial Day. After
some research, I discovered that until
1890, Memorial Day was celebrated in all the states of
the North. It was only after World War I, that the holiday changed to honor the
memory of all Americans who died in any war – not only Civil.

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What the Irving Wallace Papers Teach About the Importance of Archives

While working with the Irving Wallace papers, I have come
across more than a handful of books on the writing process. At first, I thought
it would be great to see what kind of writing advice prolific authors like
Wallace turned to when they needed help. And, while that would be interesting
and perhaps one or two of the titles have turned out to be for that purpose,
Irving Wallace collected these books for a completely different reason.

On several occasions, Wallace discovered that excerpts from
his own writing appeared in books on writing advice and even in textbooks. This
clearly pleased him well. One example is Karl K. Taylor and Thomas A. Zimanzl’s
Writing from Example: Rhetoric
Illustrated
. The Honnold Mudd Special Collections acquired this book as
part of Irving Wallace’s series for his book The Sunday Gentleman. I opened the book to see what sort of advice
it might offer, but discovered Wallace’s inscription, “An excerpt from The Sunday Gentleman on pages 6 to 10.”
Rather than offering advice TO Wallace, this book offers advice BY Wallace.

On another occasion, I wondered what reason Wallace could
possibly have for possessing a junior high school-level textbook on reading.
Here again his inscription reveals the purpose. In the front cover of this
book, Wallace wrote, “My Dr. Joseph Bell story, condensed from The Fabulous Originals, appears here in
a junior high school text book – pages 226-232.”  Again, his work is offered as advice to other
would-be writers.

What does this all have to do with going to the archives,
you ask? The information I have just related is only available to those who
physically go to the archives and hold these books in their hands to read the
inscriptions that Wallace wrote. Otherwise, one might easily assume, as I did
at first, that these texts served Wallace as writing advice for the work he
produced. Knowing that these texts instead feature Wallace’s work for others
provides for an entirely different kind of interpretation of Wallace’s work.  Irving Wallace wrote some kind of note or
explanation in the front of every single book (other than copies of his own
works) that he donated to the Claremont Colleges Library. In fact, he wrote a
short note of explanation for nearly every single item in the multitude of
items donated. Manuscript drafts have notes explaining which draft number, who
edited and read it, and whether the written comments are from Wallace or
someone else. Notes on letters or other correspondence briefly provide context
for the exchange. Galley copies often have notes explaining which is the first
or the final galley and whether it was sent to the publisher or straight to the
printer.

In thinking through his donations while he was still alive,
and how he hoped people might use his work, Irving Wallace provided a vast
amount of interpretive material. It is clear that he hoped seeing examples of
his work at various stages would be useful to people. He also hoped that his
research notes, memorabilia, and correspondence would be enlightening to his
life and works and all of the people who helped him along the way.

It is only by going to the archives to look at the
information that the finding aid and/or digitized excerpts cannot possibly
include that one truly learns about their research subject. In his simple
reflections, contexts, and notes Wallace revealed his love and devotion to his
family and friends, his joy in learning and sharing what he knows, and his
drive to tell a great story–the thing he wanted more than anything in life.

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Pocket Watch

Yesterday I came across a letter written by Mr. Frankish to
Mr. C. W. Filkins. I wanted to learn more about Mr. Filkins and found the
following cool story about him. The year is 1888. One morning, a man named,
John Oakes, walked in a bank and demanded to know if he had any
money on account at the bank. When he was told that he did not, he shot the
cashier and Mr. Filkins who was standing about six feet away. Filkins was
wearing a pocket watch that day, which saved him as the bullet hit the watch. The
pocket watch was damaged but a Swiss Jeweler fixed it for him 18 years later.
Needless to say that Mr. Filkins was very proud of the
watch.
 

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Reference
How a pocket watch saved a Riverside businessman’s life in 1888 bank robbery: https://www.pe.com/2019/01/03/how-a-pocket-watch-saved-a-riverside-businessmans-life-in-1888-bank-robbery/

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Back from Vacation for the Presentation

After spending 2 weeks abroad, I quickly got thrown back into work when I found out my final CCEPS presentation had been scheduled for my second day back to work. So 

I spent yesterday and the better part of today preparing for, and giving, my final presentation about the John Laurence Seymour Collection. Even though my time with Seymour will be coming to an end soon, it has been wonderful to get to know him through his collection. There are still a few loose ends to tie up (such as preserving a few more oversize posters and uploading the finding aid for the collection) so I will spend the rest of the month working to ensure the collection is ready for researchers.

Challenges of Frankish Letters Book 5

I could definitely make use of software that is well equipped
to decipher Mr. Frankish’s handwriting. In the meantime, Tanya has been a great
help in deciphering them.
Thanks Tanya!

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