Telegrams, telegraphs and letters….

This week I continued working on the metadata for the collections from
the A.K. Smiley Public Library. The items I uploaded this week were mainly telegrams, telegraphs and a handful of letters. They were sent between James T. Taylor, the chief engineer at the Bear Valley Irrigation Company and the Spreckels Bro’s Commercial Company.

The subject that was mainly exchanged was the shipment of a specific type of cement known as the ‘Willingham’ cement at the rate of $3.55. Usually cement prices are measured per ton, but in the materials I worked on, it was not mentioned clearly on what metric basis they were measured in. In 2018, the price of a ton of cement was approximately $125.00. Also, I was unable to find any solid information on what the ‘Willingham’ cement was. The shipping of the cement was done using railroads. Thus, in the telegrams or telegraphs, the number of cars of cement being shipped was stated, which was usually followed by a reply confirming the arrival of materials. When the term ‘cars’ were mentioned, it referred to the railway cars.

One unique letter that caught my eye was a reference letter for a Mr. Marcus A. Byron for a job at the Bear Valley Irrigation Company. Having come near my graduation and as I will be moving into the zone of job hunting where reference letters are a key factor, this letter rather reminded me to change gears and pick up some speed on my career front.