IN PROCESS AT THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES
The following is a guest posting by the National Archives at Riverside’s Summer Intern, Jeffrey Castel De Oro
Having recently graduated with my Masters in Library and Information Science degree (MLIS) from San José State University (SJSU) I was understandably eager to put my conceptual studies to practical use. I was pleased to discover via Facebook’s Society of American Archivists’ SJSU Alumni Group a listing for an internship position at the National Archives at Riverside as part of the Federal Diversity Internship Initiative. This program is offered through the Washington Center, an independent organization that supports personal growth, leadership and civic responsibility, and designed to give students and recent graduates the opportunity to gain professional experience working within the United States government.
My internship experience involved processing a collection of records dealing with irrigation projects and water rights on Native American lands along the Colorado River. It is comprised of survey maps, water project blueprints, on-site photographs, financial data and annual reports to the Department of Interior and other agencies. Much of the initial work on this material involved what is known as holdings maintenance; making sure that all of the records are properly housed, with any potentially damaging materials such as rust-generating staples and paper clips removed, and photographs safely housed in protective polyester film sleeves. Then the records can be arranged into useful series, organized to assure ease of discoverability for future patrons.
Following the chronological progression of these records illuminates the history of the Indian Irrigation Service as part of the United States Department of Interior. The earliest records are surveys of potential irrigation issues on Native American lands. This information develops into specific plans for projects such as diversion dams, progress reports from multiple construction site visits, and evaluations of the results of these projects. A substantial portion of the records goes on to tell the story of how the legal rights to this diverted water ultimately came to be challenged by both individuals and the states along the Colorado River.
These photos represent one of the largest projects in the collection, the construction of Coolidge Dam between 1924 and 1928 as part of the San Carlos Reservation Irrigation Project. This unique three-dome structure spans the Gila River and created what is now San Carlos Lake in Arizona.
After specializing in archival studies during my degree program, it was a genuine thrill to actually find myself working in the National Archives. In addition to gaining significant practical records processing experience, it was a valuable opportunity to interact with the employees of the archive, establishing professional relationships and networks that I will continue to build upon throughout my career as an archivist.
After the inception of the Apollo program in 1961, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) collaboratively launched a series of geology education training courses for Apollo astronauts to help them understand geological principles and analysis for future manned spaceflights to the Moon. In this photograph from April 17, 1964, future Apollo 11 astronaut, Neil Armstrong, (left) and future Apollo 1 astronaut, Edward H. White (right) study the notes of an unknown NASA employee (center) during a geology field trip to Big Bend National Park in Texas.
This photograph was compiled by the Branch of Astrogeology in a series called “Astronaut Geology Education Files, 1962 - 1974.” It was recently identified during archival processing along with many other interesting items. The National Archives at Riverside maintains 76 cubic feet of archival materials generated and compiled by the Branch of Astrogeology in Record Group 57 – Records of the United States Geological Survey. For more information on our holdings, please feel free to contact us. We have many cool and historically significant records relating to astrogeology and lunar exploration!
Howard the Duck
Released in 1986, the movie Howard the Duck bombed at the box office and received equally scathing reviews from critics. Yet the character Howard the Duck first appeared in writer Stephen Gerber’s Adventure into Fear: Man-Thing (#19) comic book series published by Marvel comics in December 1973 as an ancillary figure to the featured Man-Thing. In 1975, Gerber further developed the character of Howard the Duck into a “cigarsmoking, Kirkegaard-quoting duck who fights evil in fantasy worlds” for a comic book of the same name which ran from 1976 through 1979. Throughout the years, Howard fought villains ranging from the Savage Dragon to the Kidney Lady and even ran for president as part of the fictitious All-Night Party in 1976.
In 1978, Marvel removed Gerber from the series citing creative differences. Two years later, Gerber responded by suing the Marvel Corporation and its parent company Cadence Industries, Stan Lee and the writers associated with the series for copyright infringement in civil case 80-3840 tried in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California (Los Angeles). On November 5, 1982, Judge David V. Kenyon ruled in favor of the defendant stating that Gerber created Howard the Duck as part of “work for hire” agreement with Cadence Industries and as such, “Cadence owns all right, title and interest in and to the Character and the Works, including copyrights, trademarks, goodwill and the property rights pertaining thereto.” The two parties later reached a confidential settlement outside of court wherein Marvel retained its ownership of the character.
Today, the lawsuit serves as one of the first publicized legal battles over creator ownership. It helped spur the creation of the Creator’s Bill of Rights aimed at guarding creators against large corporations’ exploitative “work for hire” practices. The Bill of Rights and its stress on creator ownership in the 1980s influenced comic book creators such as Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman, creators of the widely-successful Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise, to self-publish comics rather than share their works with companies like Marvel.
The National Archives at Riverside holds this case among thousands of civil and criminal case files from southern California, Arizona, and Clark County, Nevada. We welcome you to explore these records and the many other series and subjects within our holdings.
From the holdings of the National Archives at Riverside, Records of the U.S. District Courts (RG 21)
THE RIGHT TO COMEDIC EXPRESSION?
This week is the 45th Anniversary of the termination of Tom and Dick Smothers from CBS. According to court documents, on April 3, 1969, CBS terminated their contract with Smothers Brothers, ending the successful run of the Smothers Brothers’ Comedy Hour. The Brothers responded by filing suit in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, California, complaining that CBS’s “purpose and intent…was to impose a censorship over the content of the material in the programs…although [they] knew that the content was expression entitled to protection under the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.”
Their case was not universally supported, as evidenced by a letter from Maude Lobdell of Loma Linda, California, filed in the case. ”I hope you lose all suits…Your show needed to be censored,” she complained, “You offend.”
The Brothers won their legal battle, and opened the door for contemporary political comedians such as John Stewart and Stephen Colbert.
This case is held by the National Archives at Riverside in our holdings of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California (Los Angeles).
Last week, were happy to host the recipient of the 2013 Research Fellow, sponsored by the Foundation for the National Archives. Dr. Melanie Sturgeon visited us to utilize our holdings of Arizona Territorial Court records. She is researching the business of prostitution in the Territory. Dr. Sturgeon found lots of useful material, including this permit, issued by the City of Globe to local prostitute, Bertha Reed.
Over the past several decades two federal agencies, the U.S. Navy and and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have shipped over 1,000 cubic feet of maps and drawings to our facility. These items came to our facility rolled, undescribed, and in poor containers. Over the past several years we have begun to flatten, described, and properly store these maps and drawings.
How do we do it? We pull a roll of tightly wound drawings from their original containers and check the condition of the items. The drawings are then placed in one of two humidification chambers. These chambers trap humidity, which allows a slight raise in the moisture content of the maps and drawings. The items are then removed from the humidification chambers and placed between wool felt, and spun polyester. A plexiglass cover and weights are placed on top. This allows the moisture to evaporate, keeps the items separated, and helps keep them flat. Once they are flat, they are put in large map folders, listed in our inventory database, and placed in a map cabinet in the temperature and humidity controlled archival storage area.
Some of these drawings document the development of flood control in southern California and Arizona. Some of them document military sites such as the old El Toro base in Orange County, California. All of them are unique and contribute to the history of our area.
Happy Thanksgiving from the National Archives at Riverside!
Happy Birthday to Mickey Mouse!
Soon after his debut in Steamboat Willie on November 18, 1928, Mickey Mouse and his creator, Walt Disney, were in court. This exhibit can be found in the infringement of trademark case, Walt Disney v. Pathe Exchange, etal, filed by Disney’s lawyers on March 30, 1931. The Walt Disney company won this case (and many others).
We love this document because Mickey and Minnie can stay so positive, even as their fate is being litigated!
From the holdings of the National Archives at Riverside, Records of District Courts of the United States (RG 21).
These poems were found in a manuscript of poems created in the Navajo and English language by Navajo students at the Phoenix Indian School around 1940. The project was entitled, Littler Herder in Autumn.
The photograph was taken of a family residence ca. 1930. This traditional Navajo residence, known as a hogan, is the type of home that the student was describing.
In celebration of Native American Heritage Month, we would like to share just some of the remarkable pieces of Native American history of tribes in southern California and Arizona. All of these records come from our holdings of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (RG 75).
Happy Veteran’s Day!
Today our Nation recognizes the service and sacrifice of the men and women of the American armed forces. Here at the National Archives at Riverside we say, “thank you” for the incredible historic record that we are proud to preserve. In our records, we find evidence of the duty and service from every branch and from every corner of the United States (and even from around the world)!