Friday, December 6, 2013
The Archives and Special Collections Department in the Library at CSU Dominguez Hills has received a generous donation of a collection relating to author Upton Sinclair (1878-1968). One of the most prolific authors of the 20th century, Sinclair saw “The Jungle”, his muckraking novel exposing the meat packing industry, lead directly to food and drug reforms following its sensational reception in 1906. The Jungle is still taught in classes all over the world.
John Ahouse, a Sinclair bibliographer, scholar, collector and enthusiast has donated at least 320 books (consisting of multiple editions of nearly every Sinclair title), about 100 pamphlets, over 80 flyers, original magazine articles, tapes, manuscripts by Sinclair as well as by various biographers, newspaper clippings and entire issues of periodicals with Sinclair’s work and 14 boxes of research material. Included in the research materials are newspapers from Sinclair’s EPIC or End Poverty in California campaign for governor in 1934.
The collection also consists of first editions, rare editions, hardcover, paperbacks, serialized novels, magazine copies and later popular and academic editions of most of the nearly 100 titles Sinclair published in his lifetime. In addition there are books with introductions by Sinclair, books by his wife, biographies and foreign language editions.
“This is wonderful and generous gift for CSU Dominguez Hills,” said CSUDH Library Dean, Sandra Parham. “The potential for scholarship both for faculty and students is enormous. There are many opportunities public programming as well as for CSUDH students to do research.”
Ahouse, a former archivist at CSU Long Beach and librarian at USC brought the collection to CSUDH because of its state of the art archival facilities as well as the interest expressed by faculty and staff. Ahouse’s book, Upton Sinclair, A Descriptive, Annotated Bibliography, Mercer & Aitchison, 1994 is used by librarians and booksellers throughout the world.
“Learning about the modern library facilities at CSUDH, and making the acquaintance of your very knowledgeable archivist, the thought began to grow of placing the collection where I know it will be used,” Ahouse said.
“It's exciting to have a unique collection of Upton Sinclair publications, newspapers, flyers, letters, posters and other ephemera come to the Special Collections at the CSUDH University Library. Visitors to the collection will find it fascinating to see the broad spectrum of Sinclair's interests--from the oil and meatpacking industries to marriage and mental telepathy, and of course his political campaign to end poverty,” said Dr. Vivian Price, Associate Professor, Interdisciplinary Studies PACE and coordinator of Labor Studies. “So much of these materials are revealing for their content as well as what they represent as primary sources or historical artifacts,”
Asked about his interest in Sinclair, Ahouse recalled: “Although it would be difficult not to have heard of Upton Sinclair in high school or college, thanks to the evergreen status of “The Jungle”, I arrived in 1978 in Los Angeles because of a career move from New York with no awareness that “Uppie” had ever become a Californian, had even run for Governor of the state, or had launched a broadly-scoped series of historical novels, the “Lanny Budds”, from a reclusive residence in nearby Monrovia. What’s more, Sinclair had lived for a time in Long Beach, where I made my home for the next thirty-five years. I needed to know more about this congenial ‘democratic socialist’, and the Sinclair collection was the result.”
Ahouse notes in the introduction to his bibliography that “Sinclair the publicist and reformer had written uninterruptedly through three generations of social turmoil in America; few were the years between 1901 and 1962 without a new book—often two—from Upton Sinclair. Larger works were interspersed with minor publishing, from chiding letters-to-the-editor to the crusading pamphlets and book-length essays that made him a fixture of the political Left and the irrepressible gadfly among American writers in the first half of this century.”
Sinclair’s manuscripts, correspondence and archival collection are located at Indiana University. A handful of academic libraries such as Occidental in Los Angeles and the John Rylands Library in Manchester England have important Sinclair book collections. The Claremont Colleges have a smaller manuscript collection.
“The collection increases the depth of our early 20th century literature holdings in our Rare Book collection,” said Greg Williams, Director of Archives and Special Collections. “It is complementary to our California history collections, early 20th century bestseller collection as well as the collection of books published by one of Sinclair’s publishers, Boni & Liveright. Students focused on the Humanities, History, English, Political Science, Labor Studies and many other disciplines will be able to take advantage of this research collection.”
The Ahouse/Sinclair collection is fascinating in its depth, potential for scholarship and its revelations about 20th century literature, politics and social activism. Sinclair’s scope of work is not only national and international but also brings a good deal of material about California and the Los Angeles area including Long Beach, Signal Hill, Pasadena and Monrovia. His novel, Oil!, is the basis for the film There Will Be Blood. His only children’s book resulted in the Disney film, The Gnome Mobile.
“The Jungle passed the century mark in 2006, and a colleague of mine at CSU Northridge, Prof. Anthony Arthur, was under contract from Random House to write an up-to-date biography of the famous writer, “ Ahouse said. “We teamed up on the research end, and when the book duly appeared for the anniversary, I couldn’t help feeling that my collection had fulfilled much of its purpose.”
Titles include: The Jungle (1906 meatpacking industry); The Moneychangers (1908, high finance); Good Health and How We Won It (1909, healthy diet); Prince Hagen, A Drama in Four Acts (1909, finance); Love’s Pilgrimage (1911 marriage); King Coal (1917, Ludlow Massacre of 1914); The Profits of Religion (1918 organized religion); The Brass Check (1920, newspaper business); Money Writes! 1927, publishing); Oil! (1927, oil industry); Boston (1928, Sacco and Vanzetti novelization); Mental Radio (1930, telepathy); Upton Sinclair Presents William Fox (1933, film industry), I, Governor Of California And How I Ended Poverty (1934 End Poverty in California campaign for Governor); I, Candidate for Governor and How I Got Licked (1935 losing the Governor’s race); The Gnomobile (1936 his only children’s book); Wally For Queen! (1936 British Monarchy); No Pasaran! (1937 Spanish Civil War); The Flivver King (Henry Ford/auto industry); Little Steel (1938 Steel labor issues); 11 World’s End novels (1940-1948) with hero Lanny Budd.
The collection also includes a great deal of books associated with Sinclair. These include biographies, forwards, introductions, and titles authored or edited by people who were associated with Sinclair. These include a set of small books by Altadena heiress, millionaire and “parlor provocateur” Mrs. Kate Crane-Gartz. The books, edited by Sinclair’s wife, Mary Craig Sinclair, often consisted of letters written to prominent people such as President Warren G. Harding and Eugene Debs. Another set of books variously titled Out of the Frying Pan, Ham and Eggs for Californians, and Highway to Prosperity focus on the needs for old-age pensions during the 1930s. There are also books by poet and Sinclair friend, George Sterling; books by poet and lover of Sinclair’s first wife, Harry Kemp; a couple of books owned by Mary Craig Sinclair; a copy of The Packers, The Private Car Lines, and the People ghost written for J. Ogden Armour, the owner of the meatpacking company Sinclair exposed in The Jungle; and a copy of I Was Hitler’s Doctor by Dr. Kurt Krueger
Also included in the collection are copies of original magazines such as Argosy, the American Mercury, The Bookman, Labor Defender, Literary Digest, Time (cover story on Sinclair), Helios, Liberty Magazine, and Haldeman-Julius Quarterly, in which Sinclair’s work appeared; other periodicals with views of Sinclair or his work; Upton Sinclair’s magazine; news clipping about Sinclair’s work or his social activism; sheet music from Sinclair’s campaign for Governor in 1934; various manuscripts or excerpts from theses or other studies on Sinclair; issues of The Epic News (1939-1941); a Sinclair manuscript entitled, “Zillions of Dollars: A Truth Story,” 1953; another manuscript entitled “Doctor Fist,” 1955; articles on Sinclair by CSUDH Emeriti History Professor Dr. Judson Grenier (the Archives has an interview between Grenier and Sinclair from the early 1960s); manuscripts of plays about Sinclair, book catalogs, and audio and video tapes
Subject files include materials on Sinclair as well as researchers interests. Included are files on the ACLU, biographer Lauren Coodley, Robert Hahn, filmmaker Julian “Bud” Lesser, author Greg Mitchell, David and Jean Sinclair, Irving Stone, the End Poverty in California (EPIC) campaign, homes of Sinclair, copies of and original letters, Liberty Hill, Long Beach, movies, obituaries, the Upton Sinclair Quarterly, Signal Hill, Oil, Theater, Upton Sinclair newsletters, World’s End and manuscript drafts of Radical Innocent: Upton Sinclair, the 2006 biography of Sinclair (dedicated to John Ahouse), by Anthony Arthur.
A collection finding aid will be created in the next year. Each book will be cataloged and included in the CSUDH library catalog. Students and faculty are invited to view or use open parts of the collection as well as tour the Archives and Special Collections Department. Classes are invited to the Archives for instruction on use of rare and primary materials.
Friday, August 30, 2013
Friday, September 14, 2012
Thursday, December 1, 2011
A new permanent exhibition of antique maps has just opened on the second floor of the CSU Dominguez Hills University Library. Entitled "Where Are You From?" the exhibition documents the vast information that be gleaned from maps. Looking for New Granada? Since it is now the country of Columbia you probably can't readily find it on MapQuest, although it is represented on a map now on display in the library. Need to find where Russian Tartary or "Hindoostan" was? You can find them in the exhibition. With 15 maps dating from 1747 to 1946, the exhibition covers the entire world. These maps show how the world was viewed throughout the last 250 years and surprise the viewer with accuracy as well as inaccuracy and whimsy. They invite praise for their art and design, confusion when a familiar place is named something else and serve as a gateway for critical thinking.
The exhibition features one 1847 map that shows the Mexican border reaching Oregon while another 100 years earlier is unable to show Northern Canada and Alaska because the map stated that they haven't been discovered yet. Many of the maps focus on Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, while others focus on California and Los Angeles. One 1788 map shows the Philippines and Borneo. While many of the maps were used to chart courses, others were created for fun and education(Jo Mora's California, 1945) and others were published to promote California tourism (Roads to Romance) or industrial locations (Unique Map of California). Some maps published before automobiles and without any need to chart a ship, were created for an atlas to teach physical geography.
One 1796 map has the longest title: “A general chart, on Mercator's projection, to shew the track of the Lion and Hindostan from England to the Gulph of Pekin in China, and of their return to England: with the daily statement of the barometer and thermometer as observed at noon: containing also the limits of the Chinese Empire as extended by the conquests of the present Emperor Tchien-Lung.”
Another map is entitled: “A New and Accurate Map of America drawn from the most approved modern Maps and Charts and adjusted by Astronomical Observations. Exhibiting the Course of Trade Winds both in the Atlantic & Pacific Oceans,” 1747.
The maps are part of the Library's Archives and Special Collections Map Collection. Additional maps are on display in the on the fifth floor. The Library collaborated with the Promoting Excellence in Graduate Studies Program (PEGS)to put the exhibition together. The maps can viewed during regular library hours.
On November 29, 2011 Dr. Donald Hata, professor emeritus of history addressed the largest group of students ever assembled in CSUDH's Archives Reading Room. Hata spoke on Japanese American incarceration during World War II and issues raised by the Archives current exhibition entitled "Building Evidence."
For more than 40 years, historians and archivists at California State University, Dominguez Hills have been gathering materials documenting the lives of Japanese Americans in the South Bay and Los Angeles. Consisting of photographs, yearbooks, and artwork, as well as documents such as letters and property leases, “Building Evidence: Japanese Americans in Southern California During Mid-Century – 40 Years of Collecting, An Exhibition” —on view now through March 2012—focuses on the lives and obstacles faced by Japanese Americans in the South Bay and Los Angeles prior to, during, and after World War II.
Topics covered in the materials collected include the location of Japanese American tenant farmer families on Dominguez/Rancho San Pedro lands before World War II and the removal of those families after Pearl Harbor; the mass evacuation of citizens and incarceration in concentration camps such as at Manzanar in California and Granada, Colorado; and letters from various Japanese Americans searching for jobs and places to live after the camps were closed. Several of the recently rescued Ninomiya Studio photographs show Japanese American life in the 1950s. In addition, the exhibition features the artwork of Mary Higuchi, Henry Fukahara, and H. Takata, as well as a scale model of a camp barracks made by former Torrance resident Min Sueda.
There are two talks related to the World War II component of “Building Evidence.” On Nov. 29, emeritus professor of history Donald T. Hata will speak on the issues surrounding the incarceration of Japanese Americans in the exhibition and in the fourth edition of his book, “Japanese Americans and World War II — Mass Removal, Imprisonment, and Redress” (with Nadine Ishitani Hata). He will speak on Nov. 29 at 4 p.m. Mitch Maki, acting provost and vice president of Academic Affairs, will speak on the Japanese American redress movement and its meaning for all Americans on Feb. 16, 2012, at 3 p.m. Both events will take place at the Archives and Special Collections Reading Room on the fifth floor of the south wing of the University Library.
A lease for 17 acres of the Rancho San Pedro between Ichiro Haijima and Carson Estate Company contains the notation, "Tenant Evacuated by U.S. Gov't 3-1-42." Courtesy of University Archives and Special Collections
Greg Williams, director of Archives and Special Collections at CSU Dominguez Hills, says that the exhibition connects the national injustice of Japanese American incarceration during WWII to events of similar outrage that took place locally.
“Many South Bay families were kicked off Rancho San Pedro lands that they had cultivated for a generation,” he says. “Our research has been able to map out where specific families lived on Rancho lands in the 1930s.
“The preservation of newsletters, photographs, and recently donated letters ensures that students will have access to new sources for today’s students to study from their own generational point of view,” Williams continues. “While the exhibition documents an enormous outrage against the rights of Japanese American citizens, it can also be viewed in the context of civil rights after 9-11 and the most recent laws against immigration in Arizona and Alabama. The purpose of this exhibition is to show students the relationship of the past to the present and how democratic principles are always at risk.”
Photographs appear courtesy of Mike Risner from the Ninomiya Collection.