By Eden Robins, ADNP project manager
“Change is inevitable. Progress is optional.” ~Tony Robbins
Once again I visited our nation’s capital to attend the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) awardee conference. This year, however, was a little different. As I arrived at my hotel, I saw that the capitol dome I had so admired during my last visit was surrounded by scaffolding; clearly in the midst of a major renovation. When I researched what was happening, I learned that the renovation was for the purpose of stopping the current level of deterioration in the dome’s cast iron. Doing so would protect and preserve the interior of the dome and the rotunda for the future.
During one of my walks around the city, I took a closer look and could still see the original dome beneath all of the scaffolding. It appeared strong and enduring, despite the work being done. As I noted this, I considered what renovations were being done and how that might change the dome. Would it look different, would it look exactly the same? Would it be stronger, better or more beautiful?
What’s going to happen is unknown, but regardless of this, I know one thing for certain. Change is on its way.
It was more than the dome, however, that was different this year. In addition to my regular conference, I attended a preconference entitled, Beyond NDNP, to discuss what states around the country were going to do once their digital newspaper grant work for the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Library of Congress and Chronicling America had finished. For Arizona, that was coming up fast. At the end of 2014, Arizona’s funding to contribute newspaper content to the National Digital Newspaper Program would end.
Then what? How might things change? How would Arizona continue to document and preserve its history through digitized newspapers? Would things be completely different or look exactly the same? Would a program develop that was stronger, better or more comprehensive?
What’s going to happen is unknown, but regardless of this, I know one thing for certain:Change is on its way.
And that’s exactly what the Beyond NDNP two day forum was all about. Nationwide, states creating these digital newspapers for public access were facing the same questions as Arizona, and trying to come up with solutions. So, in an effort to address change, transition and progress, about twenty five states met for the first time to discuss and think about how we might move forward together beyond the NDNP grant. In addition, representatives from organizations who understand the importance and historic relevance of the newspaper digitization work being done were there to offer their support.
The two day preconference meeting took place in the office complex of the historic Willard Intercontinental Hotel in DC, overlooking the National Mall. This hotel, which dates back to 1818 has seen everything from Charles Dickens staying there in 1842 (and again in 1887), the Peace Convention being held there in 1861, Franklin D Roosevelt’s inauguration there in 1937, Martin Luther King, Jr. finishing his I Have a Dream speech while staying there in 1963, to the George Bush Sr. Inauguration in 1989.
Despite its long and historic heritage, this iconic landmark is now transformed into one of the most eco-friendly hotels in DC and was, in fact, the first hotel in the city to be 100% wind powered. In light of that, it seemed fitting that our Beyond NDNP group had our inaugural forum there.
What’s going to happen is unknown, but regardless of this, I know one thing for certain. Change is on its way.
Just as I’m hopeful that the capitol dome will transition from its renovated state into something stronger and better, I too hope that our Beyond NDNP group will weather this change as the Willard Intercontinental has done, emerging into an era of newspaper digitization, preservation and public access that becomes a force which is both enduring and innovative.
We recently received an amazing collection of mid-century architectural renderings done by Ms. Jane Karl (pretty unusual for that period!), and we wanted to give you a preview of the collection! (Please click on the image below to view in greater detail).
This scan was taken from an oversized drawing, and was made possible with our new scanner.
Like many archives, we rely on volunteers and interns to make our repository a more exciting and productive place. This week, we took a little bit of time to capture Donovan Wood on camera, and chat with him about how he found his way to the Archives, what he’s been up to, and where he hopes to take his history background in the future. Thank you, Donovan!!
- Tell us a little about yourself
I had the privilege to grow up among the redwoods and vineyards of California’s Russian River wine country. As beautiful as the area is, when I first visited Arizona in 1988, I resolved that one day I would make it my home. After time spent in El Paso, Texas, and Lafayette, Louisiana, in 2005, I was accepted to Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, where I remained until I moved to Phoenix in 2011. I have two grown sons. My oldest, Zack, is a police officer in Arnaudville, Louisiana. My youngest, Eric, is a chef at Brix restaurant in Flagstaff. I have a passion for classic automobiles and am always on the lookout for an unexplored highway.
- What is your educational background? What was your research focus?
I hold a B.A. and M.A. in History from NAU. My graduate research focused on the emerging field of U.S. Borderlands history, 20th century cultural and labor history, and gender studies. What brought me to NAU in the first place was their Department of Applied Indigenous Studies. I especially wanted to be at an institution that offered a solid cross-disciplinary perspective of Native American topics. That, coupled with explorations of Chicano/a history, have provided me with a rich understanding of the region across time, space, and place.
- How did you become interested in history?
I’ve been interested in History since I was old enough to be interested in anything! In the third grade, I was fascinated (some family members might have thought obsessed) with the history of the U.S. Presidency. I could name them all in order, memorized the years they served and their birth and death years. After a visit to Ellis Island some years ago, I considered compiling a history of passenger steamship service full of arcane statistical data on age, gender, ethnicity, country of origin, etc. Pretty nerdy stuff! I’ve also been known to geek out on the history of regional urban development — roads, highways, neighborhoods, ethnic enclaves, etc. In addition to exploring broad, macrohistorical historical themes, I can also get downright microhistorical about investigating, say, the history of the eight-unit apartment complex I live in.
- Why did you want to come volunteer at the Archives?
My first visit to the archives was while I was still in grad school researching my thesis. While there, it began to occur to me that what I seemed to most enjoy about “doing history” was the hunt for evidence, while I found the actual production of history (the analysis and writing) quite frustrating. When I decided that I would forgo a Ph.D, I began to consider applying my education in the area of historical inquiry that I knew I had an interest in. To have marketable skills as an archivist, however, would mean more education. Before making that commitment, I wanted to spend more time in the professional environment of archivists to see if it really was a path I wanted to pursue.
- What is your favorite part of working with archival materials?
Archival materials are the tangible evidence of our past. They take my imagination places it can’t otherwise go. Like bibliophiles love the smell of an old book, I feel a very real connection to the past by handling these materials. It’s very similar to what so many find fascinating about coin or stamp collecting — that question of what an object might have been “witness” to. I also feel a great sense of satisfaction from being part of a process that makes the past accessible to future generations by providing a context for interpretation as well as an environment conducive to responsible preservation.
- What are you currently working on?
Currently, I am working on inventorying an engaging collection of materials that scratches my itch for urban history. These materials were donated by the family of a woman who was in high demand as a commercial artist producing architectural renderings for several major real estate developers in the Valley. Once the material is processed, patrons and researchers will have a rich resource from which to learn about the mid-century development of the metro area. It’s also a chance to appreciate some first rate technical drawings purely for their artistic merit!
- What is your dream job?
I’ve come to value the role of a support player — someone who works behind the scenes on details that make others shine. As someone with significant research experience, I understand the value of having accessible archival materials. In this field, my dream job would surely involve the continuing development and population of virtual repositories that enable the broadest access possible. Of course, with my appreciation for strong historical analysis and interpretation, this would certainly include digital curation of exhibits. Or I could drive a truck.
by Libby Coyner
A year ago, I was invited to join the National Park Service Route 66 Archives and Research Collaborative. (Yes, it’s a mouthful!) Last week, I had the enormous privilege of joining my colleagues on this project for our annual meeting at the Autry Museum in Los Angeles. It was an incredible week of collaboration, strategic planning, and archives fun! Our colleagues at the Autry showed us a fantastic time, and I couldn’t wait to come home and share what I learned.
The Route 66 group is different from other archives projects I’ve worked on because it is oriented around a specific iconic piece of Americana. Route 66 has a powerful pop culture appeal, and thus offers us an opportunity to market our collections to new audiences. It also enables us to get out of our sometimes provenance-based bubble, and to actually curate our collections to tell the stories of the road. (If you didn’t read my post last year, here are some of the stories we were able to tell from Route 66: Route 66 Revisited and the Nefarious Granville Johnson).
One of my very favorite aspects of the Route 66 project is that we do spend some time traveling on the road as part of our conference. This time, my colleague Sean Evans (Cline Library, Northern Arizona University) and I traveled along large swaths of Route 66 to get to L.A., logging a staggering 14-hour day each time we traveled. We spend time shooting photographs (which have been added to archival collections), doing creative outreach and reference with people we meet along the road, and making contacts that have resulted in visits to our institutions, oral histories, and donations to the archives. On our first day, we hit Roy’s Motel in Amboy, California. Roy’s boasted some fantastic mid-century modern architecture, as well as a fabulous sign! We stopped in and spoke with a gentleman tending the front desk (Roy’s still sells gasoline and a few kitschy souvenirs), but didn’t get the impression that there’s a ton of work being done in terms of restoration. This article from 2007 suggest that Roy’s may be revived one of these days – we hope so!
Once we were settled in Los Angeles, we gathered at the Autry Museum to get to work. There were several updates since last year, including a report on a meeting related to the Route 66 World Monument Fund. The project promises to provide funding and attention for preservation of old Route 66, as well as garner support from stakeholders along the road.
We also worked on assessing the design and content of our website, which will be going live within the next few months! I’ll omit some of the details of the strategic planning as it isn’t wildly exciting, but I’ll share the products of our work as they emerge!
On Sunday, we were treated to a very special tour of the Autry’s brand new “Route 66: the Road and the Romance” exhibit by the exhibit curator, Jeffrey Richardson, Gamble Curator of Western History, Popular Culture, and Firearms. This exhibit brings together some of the finest documents, artifacts, and ephemera related to Route 66. Among the materials on display were Jack Kerouac’s original 120-foot manuscript of On the Road, Woody Guthrie’s guitar, a page from John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath, what is considered the finest print in existence of Dorothea Lange’s “Migrant Mother,” and a copy of a Green Book guide to African American travel. (If you’re not familiar with the Green Book, here is a bit of
background information on some of the road’s civil rights history).
Later on Sunday, we took to the road to talk to some community activists who have become involved in historic preservation along the road, and who are allies that help us share our collections with the world. Amy Inouye is an artist who fell in love with the delightfully kitschy “Chicken Boy” statue years ago when she first moved to Los Angeles. Amy is a designer who dedicated a lot of her own time and money to preserving Chicken Boy, and even moved him to the site of her new studio in Highland Park, where he can continue to watch over Route 66. She integrates historic images of Chicken Boy into her products, including books, postcards, mugs, etc. She works closely with the Highland Park Conservancy to ensure that the history of Route 66 is preserved, including restoration of original neon signs, preservation of buildings, and public art projects including murals and mosaics that present the history of the place to everyone who passes. Amy is a great example of how community members and history-oriented folks can work together to share the history of Route 66 with a new generation!
On Monday, we were treated to another surprise when we got to visit the Disney Imagineering Archives, and meet one of the artists who created Cars Land (based on the Route 66 Disney Pixar film, Cars). Perhaps the piece that attracted the most attention was the original drawing of Disneyland that was taken to New York to pitch the idea to the banks. We also saw the second drawing of Disneyland, which was painted with black light paint to show off how the theme park would look at night!!
On Tuesday, Sean and I hit the road back to Arizona, but made sure to do some sight-seeing along Route 66! We drove through Kingman, Seligman, and even took a tour of Oatman to see some of the scenery that is visible in Disney’s Cars. We even made some new friends!
This morning, lots of bicycle commuters in Phoenix enjoyed a commute to work in the lovely 75 degree weather! Among them were several ladies in dresses on bikes. But ladies on bikes is not a new phenomenon in Arizona! We dug into our photograph collections and discovered that 120 years ago, Gertrude Hughes, daughter of Territorial Governor L.C. Hughes, had this photo taken with her bicycle. Gertrude was a professor of English at the University of Arizona. She learned to ride her Columbia Bicycle at the Columbia Bicycle Riding School in Boston, Massachusetts. Way to go, Gertrude!
Arizona Digital Newspaper Program (ADNP) – History at Your Fingertips
-Guest Post from Christopher Sloan of the ADNP
The Arizona Digital Newspaper Program (ADNP) is endeavoring to bring the colorful and highly informative historic Arizona newspapers and their relationship to Territorial politics to an interactive exhibit in the Arizona Capitol Museum. The exhibit, which opens April 26, 2014, will provide users with the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the resources provided through the ADNP website and get a deeper look at the political lives of some of the Territorial Governors.
Newspapers and politics were nearly inseparable in Territorial Arizona. If newspapersweren’t out-and-out owned by a political actor, they were often owned by a close associate and had a clear, partisan bent. They did not just endorse candidates for office; newspapers could be the key to making or breaking a politician’s career. Despite their sometimes libelous content, they were the only sources for information on the workings of their government that Arizonans had. They carried news on legislation, speeches and proclamations, and the comings and goings of elected officials as they traveled the territory…
Richard Elihu Sloan was the final Territorial Governor of Arizona, relinquishing control to George W.P. Hunt on Valentine’s Day, 1912 – when Arizona was accepted as the 48th State. Sloan was born in Morning Sun Ohio, lived for a period of time in Colorado, and finally moved to Phoenix in 1884, where he practiced law and became an active member of the Republican Party. His legal and political careers took off soon afterwards, serving as the County Attorney for Pinal County, delegate to the Republican National Convention, and member of the Council of the fifteenth Territorial Legislature. By 1890, Sloan had been appointed Associate Justice of the Arizona Territorial Supreme Court, serving on the federal bench longer than any other judge in the Territory.
Sloan was appointed as Territorial Governor in 1909 by President William H. Taft. At this point, statehood was expected and in 1910, no Territorial Legislature was elected. The Enabling Act (enabling Arizona to become a state) was signed by President Taft in June of 1910, and Governor Sloan immediately moved to create an Arizona Constitutional Convention made up of fifty-two elected delegates. Governor Sloan saw the potential problems that the majority-Democratic Constitutional Convention could encounter and warned delegates that they “must exercise extreme caution, especially when it came to initiative and referendum… emphasizing that either could cause Congress or the president to reject Arizona’s state constitution.” The Arizona Constitutional Convention met from October 10 until December 9, 1910 and the Constitution they created was voted up by the people of the Territory on February 9, 1911.
As Governor Sloan had predicted, Congress and the President refused to ratify Arizona’s new Constitution until a provision allowing for the recall of judges was removed. This unusual delay in statehood caused Sloan to be granted the legislative powers to make appropriations and to levy taxes. The provision was finally removed and the Constitution was approved August 22, 1911.
Governor Sloan then called a special election, and on February 14, 1912 he left the office to the Governor of the new State of Arizona, George Wylie Paul Hunt – the wildly popular (and populist) Democrat who would be re-elected to six additional terms in office.
Though he was respected enough by a number of elected officials, from Presidents to Governors, he was not popular with all of them. He quarreled famously with Governor Lewis Wolfley over the appointment of one of Wolfley’s enemies to clerk of the court and later ruled against Wolfley’s business interests. Wolfley, in turn, went against popular sentiment and opposed Sloan’s appointment as a circuit judge.
Governor Sloan pursued his legal career after his governorship ended, being nominated by President Taft to be the first U.S. District Court Judge for the State of Arizona and continuing to practice law, and representing Arizona at the Colorado River Compact in 1922. Governor Sloan’s other passion was history and his greatest accomplishment as an amateur historian was as supervisory editor of the four-volume History of Arizona in 1930. Governor Sloan passed away in Phoenix, now capital of the State of Arizona, on December 14, 1933.
Special thanks to the Arizona Memory Project for use of material from the collection of Territorial Governor Portraits by William Besser (http://azmemory.azlibrary.gov/cdm/landingpage/collection/acmterr) For more information about Arizona’s territorial governors and much, much more, please visit: Arizona Digital Newspaper Program (ADNP) http://adnp.azlibrary.gov/
 Hayostek, Cindy. “Douglas Delegates to the 1910 Constitutional Convention and Arizona’s Progressive Heritage”
The Journal of Arizona History, Vol. 47, No. 4 (winter 2006) p. 352.