This is my last week in the CLIR CCEPS Fellowship program. The program has helped me hone my skills both as an individual and as a working professional. Through the one year I have worked here, I have been able to understand time management, team work and professional ethics which are key elements for any career seeking individual. Freedom in the work space and being able to adapt based on fellow team members’ workflows also played a crucial role in this program. Being able to use the Hasselblad camera and experiment with lighting techniques for different archival materials was my most favorite part of the program.
Tanya has been a great mentor for me throughout the program in making me understand the process right from scanning till uploading the materials into the collection. Her patience and understanding helped me grasp the process quicker and stay ahead in the work front. I would like to thank her for looking at me as an individual and as a team player.
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.
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.
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.
This was my last week before I take a break for my final exams. I continued to work on the metadata for the collections from the A.K. Smiley Public Library. The items that I uploaded this week mostly consisted of letters, telegrams and receipts. The main subjects that were under discussion through the various formats of written communication were of payments that had to be made to certain parties, negotiation of rates for supply of goods, shipments of goods and water supply for irrigation. I also had the opportunity to photograph and edit a few oversize
items. Using the Hasselblad camera after nearly 6 months was exciting. I
also had the opportunity to look at the new Phase One camera that will
be used henceforth for photographing oversize items. I hope I get an opportunity to work on the Phase One camera after I come back from my finals week.
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.
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.
This week I continued to work on the collections from the A.K. Smiley Public Library. The items I worked on mainly consisted of receipts, telegrams and letters. Most of the telegrams this week were sent to James T. Taylor, the engineer in-charge at the Bear Valley Company. The main subject that was discussed through these telegrams was the installation of telephone lines and the rates at which they were charged. What was surprising were the prices. The connections were given on a contract basis. The 6-month contract was worth a mere $17.50 and the annual contract was worth just $35.
Looking at the telephone per month prices now, we have come a long way (even excluding the 4G charges). Some of the items I scanned in the previous weeks had telegrams where information regarding the tapping of the telephone wires were discussed. Though I still haven’t found any items where the reason for tapping them was given, I am curious to find out why.
There were a few receipts that were sent from the Stroll & Thayer Company, which were known for selling books and stationary items. A lot of the articles that were listed in the receipt were mainly crayons and books.
Another set of telegrams contained information regarding shipment of instruments, raw materials required to build a ‘C’ shaped galvanized iron flume along with any additional raw materials. The constructions costs were also enclosed along with some of the telegrams. What was surprising to me was that James T. Taylor, the engineer-in-charge had to oversee all the above mentioned activities. Usually an engineer’s work is very specific and related only to a particular department such as civil, electrical or electronic. Whereas, in this case apart from doing his job as an engineer, he was managing the complete process.
This week I continued working on the metadata for collections from the A.K. Smiley Public Library. Most of the items consisted of letters, telegraphs, receipts and memorandums. The main subjects that were discussed through the letters were the ordering of pipes, padlocks with keys for the factories and other raw materials required for building iron flumes. Once these iron flumes were built, they played a key role in developing cottonwood plants. As most of us know, cottonwood is used widely in the production of paper. Some of the letters also asked for confirmation from the recipients on the delivery of goods that were being shipped.
The receipts were dated between 1891 and 1892 where shipments took place from every 2 days up to every 2 months. They consisted of the list of items that were being billed along with their weights in pounds and the quantity of items.
The telegraphs mainly sent information regarding scheduling and arrival of goods that were being shipped. One of the key places where these shipments took place was from Wilmington. When I did a little bit of research on the history of Wilmington, it was stated that it is where the Port of Los Angeles District is located. Thus, it was through this port that iron flumes, pipes and other raw materials were shipped for the Bear Valley Irrigation Company. One of the chief engineers of the company, James T. Taylor, had handled all the shipment details.
This week I continued digitizing collections from the A. K. Smiley Public Library. The materials consisted of a mixture of postcards, letters, invoices and receipts. Most of the materials were sent to James. T. Taylor (sometimes also referred to as Jas T. Taylor). James T. Taylor of Pomona was 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. Thus, he examined all known water sites around the San Jacinto Mountains.
The receipts were from the Southern California Coal and Clay Co. and the invoices were from the Pacific Clay Manufacturing Co. The content of the receipts and the invoices were mainly raw materials that were required such as pipes, tubes, etc. in order to conduct an inspection and determine possible pipeline routes that could be built. The postcards were sent on the purpose of notifying James T. Taylor about the shipping of materials, sometimes asking for measurements and dimensions of the materials that were required.
The letters were exchanged between James T. Taylor and the committee members regarding the progress of the investigation and some of the letters gave updates on any possible solutions that could be implemented immediately.