Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Packing celery after the harvest at the Ishibashi’s Ranch.

On May 1, 2015, Rachel Mandell will complete the first rotation at CSU Dominguez Hills as the LA as Subject Resident Archivist.  Following the first three months at her home institution, The Autry National Center, Rachel has been working with Greg Williams and Tom Philo in the Archives and Special Collections since February. She will be moving on to the LA Police Museum in Highland Park for the next rotation of her residency.  

During her time at CSUDH, Rachel created digital records for the Ishibashi family collection. This collection contains photographs, documents, and artifacts that span nearly 100 years that the Ishibashis farmed and lived on the Rancho Palos Verdes peninsula. These materials document the everyday activities of the family including, life on the farm and farming practices, family trips, Sunday school and also information pertaining to their incarceration during World War II in Poston, Arizona.  Kumekichi Ishibashi moved to the Portuguese Bend in Palos Verdes from Wakayama, Japan in 1906 and began a vegetable farm.  In 1911 he married Take Hanaoka and the two had five children. Masaichi, the eldest son, eventually took over his father’s business and remained a farmer in Palos Verdes until his died in 2004.  The Ishibashi’s farm and renowned farm stand remained open until 2012.  

The Ishibashi family enjoying themselves at the Palos Verdes Beach.

An older Masaichi Ishibashi selling vegetables at the family stand located near the Torrance Airport.

This Ishibashi collection makes up about 1.5 linear feet of the 300 linear feet of material housed at CSUDH’s archives that relate to Japanese American life in the 20th century.  These collections, along with those  housed at five other CSU campuses will be the focus of a new collaboration called The Japanese American Digitization Planning project. This National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) funded project, written by Greg Williams, aims to create a shared digital archive that will bring together disparate collections and provide access through a single online portal.
 Towards this end, Rachel utilized the help of Matthew ___(last name)___, a student worker, to assist in the digitization of nearly 800 items from the Ishibashi collection using the Epson Expression scanner.  A record was then created for each individual photograph or document.  A record includes descriptive information about the item as well as a digital surrogate of the original material, such that researchers can theoretically use the digital records instead of the original material.  This is advantageous if it is inconvenient for a researcher to travel to the physical location where the archive is held and can also reduce the amount of demand on original, fragile archival material.

As a way of wrapping up her project at CSUDH , Rachel will be giving a presentation about the work she has done. The presentation will be held on Friday, May 1 at 10 am in the reading room of the CSUDH Archives and Special Collections.


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