Posts Tagged ‘Pacific County Historical Society’

“Public Enemy Number One”

Friday, April 21st, 2017

Connecting With The Outside World by Robert M. Danielson

The package felt like it might contain a book – a heavy book – and had been mailed to me Par Avion from Calgary, Alberta, Canada.  It was from Robert Danielson – a name that sounds familiar, though I don’t think I know him.

Within the carefully taped bubble-wrapping was a 125+ page book, chock-a-block full of information quoted from historic documents, maps, charts, and copies of stunning old photographs.  The title:  CONNECTING WITH THE OUTSIDE WORLD – Construction of the National Park (1913-1918) and Ocean Beach Highway (1919-1934).  The accompanying letter began: “Hi Sydney, We have read your recent article on place names which helped familiarize us with your part of Pacific County…”

I think the “article” Mr. Danielson is referencing is the recent Sou’wester magazine issue I wrote, A Sense Of Place – Names of the North Beach Peninsula.  There is nothing that warms this author’s cockles more than knowing that something I’ve researched and written has actually helped another historian.  But, the surprises weren’t over.

Senator H.A. Espy at his desk, 1911

As I flipped through the pages, my grandfather’s name, Harry A. Espy, caught my eye.  I checked the index and, sure enough!  He appears on page 65 in a section called The Naselle River Toll Bridge: Public Enemy Number One.  There, in the fourth paragraph of that section, I read:

With no plan and no money appropriated in 1927 to resolve the bridge problem, the matter was left to sizzle through the summer as other parts of the road were being improved; there were plenty of needs to go around.  On September 7 “the war on [the] toll bridge” was renewed by Harry A. Espy, former State Senator and president of the Pacific County Taxpayers League, in a presentation to the County Commissioners.  Based on data collected by Senator Norman, an “implacable foe of the toll bridge from its inception,” Espy cited data that showed the Pacific County Bridge Company had, in 1926, experienced extremely large profits from operating the bridge.  The bridge tolls totaled $26,354 with disbursements of $5,607, and allowing for deprecation, the profits taken in the form of dividends to the shareholders were what he considered to be excessive.  It was recommended that an investigation be made to substantially reduce the tolls and eliminate them entirely for county vehicles.  This seemed to be a softening of the previous positions that called for total elimination of tolls an impossible choice as long as the operation or tolls, an impossible choice as long as the operation of the bridge was in private hands.

Poster in Oct. 4, 1929 North Beach Tribune, Page 69 Connecting With The Outside World

I knew that Papa had been concerned about roads during his term as State Senator and, in fact, during the 12th Legislative Session in 1911, he served on a number of Senate committees including the one on Roads and Bridges.  But if I had ever known that he was an advocate of toll-free bridges, I had forgotten.  Way to go, Papa!  And a HUGE thank you to Bob and Barbara Danielson for their kindness in sending me a copy of their handsome book.  I shall read it with interest!

The Best Approach

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

Jimmy Kemmer, Judy Heckes and ‘Aunt Rye’ at the Oysterville Approach, c. 1940

Here on the Peninsula, when we talk about one approach versus another, we usually aren’t talking golf strategies or planning a sales campaign.  We’re talking beach approaches – the traditional ingress/egress roadways to and from the ocean beach.

At Oysterville – and probably at other early settlements, as well – the approach road was originally constructed for wagons and stagecoaches that carried freight and passengers from one end of the Peninsula to the other.  Travelers journeyed along the only available north/south highway – the hard sands of the weather beach.  Each ‘approach’ was marked by a large, clearly visible sign constructed in the area of the primary dune.  Or, more accurately, as clearly visible as a sign could be made, considering the constraints of stormy weather, wind-blown sand, fog or any of the usual constraints and challenges.

Winter 1983 Sou’wester

Communities took pride in their approach Signs.  When I was a child, the sign said “Come Again” as you left Oysterville Road and drove onto the beach.  And, coming back, the big letters that spelled OYSTERVILLE may have been the first word I ever could read.  Community members took pride in constructing approach signs that were distinctive.  In 1983, the Sou’wester featured a photograph of Ocean Park’s “Sunset Arch” and provided the following information about it:

This old Ocean Park beach approach sign was dubbed the “Sunset Arch”. It stood at the east end of Bay Avenue and was erected in the spring of 1932. It replaced a weather-beaten sign which stood at the approach for many years. Two local clubs called the Nit-Wits, a men’s club, and S. I. O (Six in One), a women’s club, joined forces to build it. Club members were Les Wilson, Bob Delay, Henry Edmonds Jr., Bit Wins Sr., John Morehead Jr., Walker Tompkins, Lucille Wickberg (Mrs. Les Wilson), Edith Lundquist Winn (Mrs. Bill Winn), Alva Slagle, Nancy Peterson, Sharlie Peterson, and Edna Burden. Les Wilson says his club feted a fir tree, sawed the trunk into three pieces, and transported it to the dunes at the approach. After several failures, the sign was finally erected. Walker Tompkins painted it to read “Ocean Park” on the west side and “Sunset View” on the east side. Henry Edmonds says that Charles “Fitzy” Fitzpatrick set up his camera and waited for two hours to get a photograph of a car driving under it. This photo, without a car, was also taken by Fitzpatrick. The “Sunset Arch” finally rotted in the late 1940s and the sign was replaced by a new community group led by Lyle Clark in 1949. The new sign utilized the metal masts of the wrecked ship Arrow. One of the masts still stands, but it is now badly rusted. In December1981 the North Beach Peninsula Association instated a beautiful new sign at the beach approach.  The legend “Ocean Park, 1883, 46° 30′ W., 124°2′ N.” is etched in the wood. 

Long Beach Approach, Historic

I understand that nowadays, replacing an approach sign isn’t all that ‘easy.’  There are right-of-ways and easements and laws and liability issues to consider.  Estimates to replace the Seaview approach sign (damaged by a vehicle) are in the tens-of-thousands-of-dollars range.  In our complicated, litigious society, KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) no longer exists and liability rather than visibility determines the best approach.  A sad commentary, indeed.

Now’s your chance!

Saturday, July 2nd, 2016
Pacific County Historical Society Museum

Pacific County Historical Society Museum

I’m always taken aback when someone tells me they’ve never been to the Pacific County Historical Society Museum in South Bend.  Especially if the ‘someone’ purports to be a history buff!  Admittedly, these are usually people who live in “South County” – aka on the Long Beach Peninsula.  And, certainly, the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum in Ilwaco is closer at hand.  But still…

The PCHS is older by thirty or so years and was begun ‘back in the day’ (as they say) when the sons and daughters of Pacific County’s pioneers were the main movers and shakers in the area. They had a wealth of history at their fingertips – letters, memoirs, documents, photographs and artifacts that held answers to many of the questions about our early history.  In 1949, they decided to create an organization to encourage interest in our County’s history and to establish a repository for some of its treasures.  The Pacific County Historical Society (PCHS) was formed and the museum soon followed.

Inside the PCHS Gift Shop

Inside the PCHS Gift Shop

Of course, it’s a long way around the bay and, gradually, as the Peninsula has become more populated and the County has established satellite offices on ‘this side of the bay,’ our focus has fractured.   I find that even serious students of local history are not always familiar with the little museum and treasure trove on Robert Bush Drive (aka Highway 101, the main drag) in South Bend.

Published June 13, 2016

Published June 13, 2016

So… if you are one of those who’s been thinking, “I really should pay a visit to the PCHS museum,” now’s your chance!  Next Wednesday, July 6th at 3:30, I’ll be doing a book talk there and I would love it if my audience included folks who have seldom, if ever, been to the PCHS museum.  I promise to give you the ‘inside scoop’ on some of the County’s most infamous bad guys,  as well as a look a few of the amazing tactics used by those who pledged to keep law and order here in the rip-roaring days of the 1880s and ‘90s.

And, of course, the super-duper bookshop at the Museum will have Jailhouse Stories of Early Pacific County for sale.  I’ll be happy to sign and personalize as many copies as you’d care to get!  The book is guaranteed to be the perfect gift for all your far-away friends who can’t quite imagine that there’s much here beyond beach sand and winter storms…

Out of yet another loop?

Saturday, June 18th, 2016

museum-frontMy publicist (PUBLICIST???  I have a publicist???) contacted me last week and said that I have a July 6th book-signing date scheduled at Pacific County Historical Society.  Wow!  Since most book marketing opportunities in the past have usually been dates I’ve set up myself I was pretty impressed.  But also a little disbelieving.  Or maybe I’m just a control freak.

So… I called over to South Bend to talk to the PCHS people for confirmation.  The manager, Patricia Neve, herself, answered the phone and confirmed the time and date – 3:30 the Wednesday after the Fourth of July.  Yay!

Sou'wester Winter 2015But… in the course of our conversation, she said that the event has been mentioned on the front page of the PCHS Newsletter.  (It has?) Later, I went online to the PCHS’s recently updated website http://pacificcohistory.org/ and saw that they have a new Sou’wester out:  “A Gym is Born: The story of the “New” South Bend High School Gymnasium (1953)” by Steve Rogers.  (Really?)  I didn’t know anything about either publication being available.

There could be a couple of reasons for my not knowing: 1) Neither issue is actually ‘out’ yet; or 2) my PCHS membership has lapsed.  YIKES!  I hope it’s the former, not the latter, reason.  Also… I long ago promised Steve, valiant president of the Historical Society that I would write the “next” Sou’wester which would be due shortly after publication of this current one.  Am I overdue with my copy already?

Not that I haven’t been thinking about it, mind you.  It will be about an ‘Oysterville Girl’ I knew very well, indeed.  Steve and I have even chosen the cover color.  Hot pink!  I’m not saying ‘who’ but I have no doubt that some readers will know exactly the amazing woman I’m talking about!

Meanwhile… I think there’s a loop I need to get back into.  And maybe some good graces, too!

Pacific County, 1900

Friday, January 15th, 2016
F.A. Hazeltine, circa 1901

F.A. Hazeltine, circa 1901

In 1900, the South Bend Journal published a 32-page supplement called the “Pacific County Edition.” It is a treasure-trove of information about the each of the communities in our County at the turn of the last century – at least “important”  in publisher F.A. Hazeltine’s opinion.

In my own view and with the added advantage of 116 years of hindsight, I think it is heavy on North County material and not as thorough with regard to South County. Especially with respect to Oysterville. Granted, I am totally biased – but I think old F.A. was, too. Consider: six-and-a-half pages devoted to South Bend and two columns devoted to Oysterville; forty-seven pictures devoted to South Bend and three to Oysterville. I mean, come on!

Oysterville School circa 1880

Oysterville School 1875-1905

The three Oysterville photos were of R.H. Espy and his family, I.A. Clark, and M. Wachsmuth. Two other movers-and-shakers get special mention – Andrew Wert (a mis-spelling of Wirt) and F. C. Davis. And when it came to the little article on “County School Statistics,” Oysterville School is not even mentioned, never mind that it was the first public school in the County and in 1900 was going strong – even had a two-story building with two teachers.

SB Journal Centennial Edition0005

From the South Bend Journal Souvenir Edition, 1900

Notwithstanding the skewed nature of the edition, it is a fascinating look back in time and gives a clear idea of South Bend’s dream of becoming the “Baltimore of the Pacific.” Real estate businesses and building contractors dominate the four pages devoted to advertising. South Bend had been the County Seat for a full seven years (as compared to Oysterville’s thirty-seven years) and no mention at all is made of the infamous “kidnapping” of County Records. But… I digress.

This Souvenir Edition was given to me by Mike Lemesko at the Community Historian class the other day. He says others are available at the Pacific County Historical Society in South Bend, free of charge! Getting one would be well-worth the trip, so hurry while they last! Your winter reading entertainment will be assured.

One of the Pleasures…

Tuesday, October 27th, 2015
Ruth Dixon

Ruth Dixon

I’ve sung the praises of the Sou’wester many times over the years. When I’m getting background information on almost any aspect of Pacific County history, I search its pages first. Begun in 1966 by Ruth Dixon, the magazine was, for many years, published quarterly (now semi-annually) and is one of the membership perks for joining the Pacific County Historical Society. Current and back issues are also available at the PCHS Museum in South Bend.

Besides being a fabulous source for local history, the Sou’wester is just flat out fun to read. Pick up any issue, the older the better, and you are in for an hour or more of fun. One of my favorite parts, particularly of the early magazines, are the “fillers” – those little bits of (often) unrelated information that filled in a blank space here or there. I give you just a taste here.

In the Spring 1967 issue: With Her Flag At Half Mast and Cannon Ball Ballast – The sloop MARY HOBSON rushed news of Lincoln’s assassination from Astoria to Oysterville. Built in 1861 at Cape Disappointment, she was also known as the MARY H. Transportation of goods and passengers being her usual duty, she was ballasted for this trip with pig iron bearing the stamp of the Oregon Iron Works of Oswego, and with cannon balls. The ballast was put overboard and the sloop loaded with oysters for the return trip.                                                                                                                            -Charles Nelson.

Sou'wester Reprocuction of Postbox Advertisement

Sou’wester Reproduction of Postbox Advertisement

In an article about the Chinook post office, the Summer/Autumn issue ran a copy of this old advertisement from a Baltimore newspaper: SADLER PUB. CO., BALTIMORE, MD. IMPORTANT TO POSTMASTERS. The rental from boxes in Post-offices where the salary is less than $1,000 belongs to the Postmaster. They can, therefore, increase their income very materially by having their offices fitted up in an attractive manner. The money received from rentals alone will pay for a Cabinet in a few months. With this in view we would call attention to the line of POST-OFFICE CABINETS AND CASES shown on the following pages. These Cabinets are made of best material, finely finished and are furnished to Postmasters at very low prices either on cash or installment plan.

One of my all-time favorite is this bit from the Spring 1966 issue: TIDELAND CHICKENS – Rev. Wolfe of the Raymond Methodist Church has solved the problem of raising chickens on the tidelands. He has just completed a floating house for his chickens which insures a safe, dry place for them when the tide is high, while at low water they can feed outside. Rev. Wolfe did not say whether or not he had supplied his flock with tide tables.                                 -Raymond newspaper in 1908.

0049_San_Francisco-Cal-Oregon-Washington_Page_1096

From McKenney’s Pacific Coast Directory 1883-1884

In the Spring 1984 issue of the Sou’wester is an excerpt from McKenny’s Directory (L .M. McKenny and Company, San Francisco) for 1886 showing that the population of Oysterville was 100 people and its leading citizens were: Alf D. Bowen – join councilman; A.M. Brown – postmaster; W .A. Carruthers – furrier and general merchandise; F.C. Davis – tannery and county treasurer; R.H. Espy – justice of the peace; Joseph A. Gill – publisher and agent for Wells Fargo Bank; M .S. Griswold – justice of the peace; P. Henselman – coroner; Mrs. Ada Hicklin – school superintendent; Benj. Hutton – county commissioner; I.S. Jones – general merchandise; W.C . Lupton – blacksmith; S.D. Stratton – proprietor of Pacific House; J.P. Pall – carpenter; N.S. Porter – district attorney; L.M. Preston – county commissioner; C.A. Reed – notary public; J.H. Turner – sheriff and assessor; J.S .M . Van Cleave – county judge; Jos. A. Whealdon – county surveyor; Geo. W. Wilson – county commissioner; A. Wirt – hotel proprietor; E.B. Wood – county recorder and auditor.

Great stuff! I highly recommend putting these wonderful magazines at the top of your reading list. Many are online or at our local Timberland Libraries.

This Morning at the Oysterville Store!

Thursday, September 17th, 2015
PCHS Outing to Visit Willie Keil's Grave, 1953

PCHS Outing to Visit Willie Keil’s Grave, 1953

I wonder how many people are left in Pacific County who remember the Pioneer Picnics that took place in Bay Center every year from 1920 to 1972. They were almost always held on the 2nd Sunday in August and they were a time when the “old-timers” of the County (and their friends and families) would get together and reminisce. I remember going to several of them with my grandparents back in the forties and fifties – before I was old enough to appreciate those gatherings for much more than the fried chicken and potato salad.

PCHS Meeting August 25, 1953

PCHS Meeting August 25, 1953

There were always several hundred people there from all corners of the County. There was lots of visiting and speech making and the keynote speaker invariably told about an interesting and import aspect of County history. I think the first time I heard about the “Kidnapping of the County Seat” was at a Pioneer Picnic. I don’t remember who the speaker was – it could have been L.D. Williams or L.L. Bush or my Great Uncle Cecil or even my grandfather or Charlie Nelson. They would all have been there.

I remember being fascinated that my grandparents knew so many people from “across the bay” – from Nemah and Bay Center and South Bend and Tokeland. It never occurred to me then that these had been their closest friends in the days when transportation was primarily by water. Years later my mother would tell how the trip across the bay on the Shamrock or Reliable (or even in a neighbor’s boat) was much easier (and quicker) than getting to Ilwaco or Chinook by train. “Most of our friends were across the Bay in those days, not on the Peninsula,” she would say.

Oysterville Store, July 2015

Oysterville Store, July 2015

Although the Pioneer Picnics are no more, two important ‘direct descendants’ are – the Bush Pacific County State Park (which began as the Bush family’s property on which the Picnics were held) and the Pacific County Historical Society (which began in 1949 as a way to formally gather ‘the memories’ of Pacific County history.) Today the Pacific County Historical Society is holding their quarterly meeting at the Oysterville Store from 9:00 a.m. until 11 a.m. We intend to be there!

Peninsula Place Names – The Word is Out!

Saturday, July 11th, 2015
Winter/Spring 2014 - Summer/Fall Sou'wester

Winter/Spring 2014 – Summer/Fall Sou’wester

The long awaited (at least by me!) 2014 issue of the Sou’wester is ‘out’ at last! Once again I had the pleasure of being guest editor of the publication which means, in essence, writing it and submitting it to Pacific County Historical Society President Steve Rogers who does the layout and turns it over to the printer. Sounds easy. But, it isn’t. Mostly, it is a time-consuming proposition.

I thought when I turned in my copy a year ago that it would be the “catch up” issue. That is, that the magazine would actually carry a publication date of the year in which it was published. That’s always a toughie with a volunteer-based project and, once again, the dear old Sou’wester is a year behind. My fondest hope is that, in the meantime, I haven’t learned ‘new’ facts that make me itch to rewrite a corrected version.

Why was it called "Sherwood Forest?"

Why was it called “Sherwood Forest?”

That’s a strong possibility, especially with “A Sense of Place: Names of the North Beach Peninsula” as the publication’s topic. Even as I worked on fact-gathering and fine-tuning back in 2013 and early 2014, I found it hard to sort through the disparate information about Peninsula place names. More than once I wished I had asked more questions of my grandparents and their friends. Exactly who was Joe John, anyway, and where did he live on the road we call by his name? And why, even in my childhood, did my grandfather still refer to the town just south of Oysterville as “Sealand” rather than “Nahcotta?” From our twenty-first century vantage point, Sealand’s year or two of existence wasn’t long enough to make it, rather than Nahcotta, the preferred name for sixty years!

How did Klipsan Beach get its name?

How did Klipsan Beach get its name?

One of the prime examples of “being there” with regard to place names is the Peninsula’s Waikiki Beach. The logical explanation (and the one I had heard over and over) was that back in 1811 a crew member from Astor’s ship,  the Tonquin, was drowned and washed up on that beach. He was from the Sandwich Islands (now Hawaii) and, thus, the name Waikiki was given to the cove in his honor. But, according to the late Rod Williams, that’s not how it was at all. Rod happened to be a witness to that particular bit of history – the naming, not the 1811 drowning – and his version is also recorded in “A Sense of Place.”

Rod’s story and many others, equally interesting, can be found in this issue of the Sou’wester. The magazine is one of the perks of membership in the Pacific County Historical Society and, if you belong, you received it in your mail earlier this week. Otherwise, it is for sale ($8.95) at the PCHS Museum in South Bend and at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum in Ilwaco. I highly recommend it!

A Note to My Grandfather

Saturday, April 11th, 2015
Helen and Harry Espy Golden Wedding Anniversary

Helen and Harry Espy
Golden Wedding Anniversary

The other day I ran across the most interesting file folder – Photostat copies of some of the earliest business considered by our Pacific County Commissioners way back in 1857 — back in the day when we were still Washington Territory and the only way to get to Oysterville was by water. In fact, these documents have to do with the very first roads here on the Peninsula.

The documents were accompanied by a cover letter to my grandfather from Verna Jacobson. She served as County Auditor from 1947 to 1974. Beyond that she was the Daughter of North Cove pioneers, wife and mother, County Clerk, WWII Veteran, concert singer, world traveler, founding member and first Secretary of Pacific County Historical Society (PCHS.)

1857 Petition, Pasge One

1857 Petition, Page One

My grandfather, Harry Albert Espy, also descended from pioneers, had been a State Senator, long-time Justice of the Peace and, like Mrs. Jacobson, was one of the founders of the PCHS. The Espys and the Jacobsons were acquainted and the note begins with a reference to my grandparents’ 50th Wedding Anniversary which they celebrated on November 24, 1947:

11-25-47
Mr. H.A. Espy, Oysterville, Washington
Dear Sir:
May I extend my congratulations to you and Mrs. Espy with my very best wishes.
In rearranging my office I came across a very old record or as nearly as I can ascertain it is the oldest document in the office as to Commissioners Proceedings. I am enclosing a Photostat copy for you as I think you will find it most interesting as I did. This is not the complete record but only the first entry.
Sincerely,
Verna Jacobson

1857 Petition, Page Two

1857 Petition, Page Two

What follows are copies of ten handwritten pages of petitions to the Pacific County Commissioners – seven petitions in all with dates spanning the years 1857 to 1865. Most have to do with roads, or more specifically, the need for roads. The very first, dated October 1857, begins:

We the undersigned would respectfully represent to your honorable body by petition that we are without a direct road from Oysterville, Pacific Count, W.T. westwardly to the Pacific Ocean on 3weather beach and knowing that it is essential for it would be a general benefit to the travelling wayfarer or emigrant who is looking for a home and by locating this road, it being only one and half miles from Oysterville directly westward to the Sea Shore and from thence southerly toward Bakers Bay on the Mouth of the Columbia River for eighteen or twenty miles an excellent hard Sea beach Shore but aside from that it would connect a few miles South with the Territorial Road from Pacific City, Columbia River to Narcata landing in Shoal Water Bay, and would afford an easy ingress and egress, both to citizens and travelers and then would have both to choose whether to take Mail Stage or his own private conveyance in the more rugged way in an open sailboat up to the portage, through or over that dismal road (especially for families at any season of the year is unfit) to get at Baker’s Bay on the Columbia River…

Repair Work on Oysterville Road, 1880s

Repair Work on Oysterville Road, 1880s

Twenty-five men signed the petition. Most of the names are familiar in the annals of Pacific County History, among them R.H, Espy, Abe Wing, Andrew Wirt, Ezra Stout, I.A. Clark, Gilbert Stevens, Ed Loomis.

I had always ‘heard’ that Oysterville Road was the first in the county and that it was built in 1858. The information in this long-neglected file folder would seem to corroborate that information.

Shameless, Fret-Free Thievery

Friday, March 6th, 2015

 

Ruth Dixon

Ruth Dixon

I often feel a bit uncomfortable when I hear myself referred to as “a historian.” It’s true that I search endlessly for information about ‘the way it was’ here on the bay in the years of early settlement and, sometimes, I even uncover a hitherto unknown fact. But, with my academic training in journalism rather than history, I feel that I come by the title of ‘historian’ more-or-less through the back door.

So, it was with a good deal of pleasure that I read this statement by the late Ruth Dixon, founder and long-time editor of the highly respected Sou’wester, quarterly publication of the Pacific County Historical Society: It must be confessed that the information given here has been shamelessly “lifted” from every available source known – books, newspapers, family histories and letters. We make no apology because we believe the story should be told.

This was Ruth’s concluding remark in an article (which actually might have been a talk) titled “The Forgotten Pioneers of North Shoalwater Bay.” She had ‘lifted’ the material with the help of Virginia Olsen, which explains the “we” in her statement.

The First Sou'wester

The First Sou’wester

I couldn’t have expressed my own feelings any better and have every intention of blatantly quoting Ruth in the future. She did more than any other Pacific County resident to document and chronicle the stories of our past. I’m sorry I didn’t know her. I came along after she had passed the baton as Pacific County Historian on to Larry Weathers who carried on her work for several decades. Larry talked a lot about Ruth, crediting her with knowing more about ‘where the bodies were buried’ (literally!) than any other person in the County.

Unfortunately, there is some mystery regarding what happened to the bulk of Ruth’s personal files. I remember that Larry was concerned about their safety and eventual preservation during Ruth’s final years and made several attempts to talk with her about her lifetime treasure trove.

Just this last week Community Historian Mike Lemeshko ran across some of those files at the Raymond Library – in all-but-forgotten containers in the back room. His initial impression is that they’ve been there for years but whether or not they constitute “all” of what Ruth left behind was unclear. He and I are planning a ‘field trip’ to take a more extensive look and to see if we can determine whether this is just a portion of her collection or if it includes the latter material that Larry worried about back in the 1990s.

I wonder if I will feel a bit like Alice of Looking Glass fame – seeing a familiar, though somewhat distorted, reflection of my own archives. And I wonder what I will learn by the experience. I SO like what Ruth wrote about how she gathered her material. I wonder how I’ll feel about the way she left it for posterity.