Jack and Charmian’s National Park Adventures

In commemoration of the centennial of the creation of the National Park Service, The Huntington is mounting two related exhibitions. The first part, “Geographies of Wonder: Origin Stories of America’s National Parks, 1872–1933,” is on view through Sept. 5, 2016. A second exhibition, “Geographies of Wonder: Evolution of the National Park Idea, 1933–2016,” runs from Oct. 22, 2016 to Feb. 13, 2017. We also celebrate the writer Jack London, whose papers reside at The Huntington and who was no stranger to the wonders of our nation’s natural beauty. (Please note that the images in this blog post are not on view in the “Geographies of Wonder” exhibition.)

Snark, the vessel on which the Londons and their crew attempted an around-the-world trip, at anchor in Apia, Samoa, 1908. Photo by Jack London. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

Snark, the vessel on which the Londons and their crew attempted an around-the-world trip, at anchor in Apia, Samoa, 1908. Photo by Jack London. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

Author Jack London (1876–1916) is best known for adventures in the Klondike, especially as seen through the canine eyes of Buck, hero of his novel The Call of the Wild. But while London traversed the Klondike in search of gold in 1897, it was not his only adventure. London and his wife, Charmian Kittredge London, visited eight of today’s national parks, most of them together.

London traveled to Yosemite in 1895 at the age of 19, climbing from the valley to the rim near the monolithic El Capitan with five friends. His short story “Dutch Courage” chronicles an attempted ascent of Yosemite’s famous Half Dome.

Charmian Kittredge had visited Yosemite even earlier, in 1890, before she was married to London. A college graduate working as a secretary, Kittredge had her own income and was extremely independent for a woman of her day. An avid horseback rider, she was one of the first women in the Bay Area to ride—scandalously—astride! She would become the perfect companion for London. As far as we know, her regular diary keeping didn’t begin until 1900, but she did bring back photographs of her Sierra trip.

Charmian London and Jack London (third and fourth from the left) on a guided mule trip into the Grand Canyon. Photographer unknown, 1909. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

Charmian London and Jack London (third and fourth from the left) on a guided mule trip into the Grand Canyon. Photographer unknown, 1909. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

London himself would become a phenomenal photographer, documenting the places he visited and the people he met all over the world.

In 1907, the Londons set off on one of their greatest adventures, a seven-year sailing trip around the world in their new yacht, the Snark. Ill health and a number of other difficulties forced them to abandon the circumnavigation after less than two years, but not before they and their crew had sailed to Hawai’i and the South Pacific. Their travels took them to three future parks.

In Hawai’i, the Londons visited the “House of the Sun,” the great crater of Haleakalā on Maui, which celebrates its centennial as a national park this year. Charmian later described the sight:

“More than twenty miles around its age-sculptured brim the titantic [sic] rosy bowl lay beneath; seven miles across the incredible hollow our gaze traveled to the glowing mountain-line that bounds the other side, and still above . . . we could not believe our sight that was unprepared for such ravishment of beauty.”

Yosemite Valley as photographed by Charmian Kittredge, 1890. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

Yosemite Valley as photographed by Charmian Kittredge, 1890. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

On the Big Island, the Londons hiked Mauna Kea and Kilauea, the great volcanoes of Volcanoes National Park. Staying at the famous Volcano House, London commented in the register, “It is the pit of Hell.” Nonetheless, the Londons returned at least two more times on future visits to the island. Hawai’i would become one of their favorite places, which Charmian would recall in her book Our Hawai’i.

Sailing from Hawai’i, the Snark crossed the equator and stopped at numerous islands in the South Pacific. On April 29, 1908, the Londons anchored off the island of Manua, in American Samoa, and stayed in the area for a week. They watched a woman making tapa cloth (a decorative cloth made from bark) and visited the grave of Robert Louis Stevenson. The National Park of American Samoa includes the islands of Tutuila, Ta’u, and Ofu—designated a national park in 1988. At almost 5,000 miles from the mainland, it’s one of the least visited parks in the nation, not quite topping 14,000 visitors last year. Of Ta’u, Charmian wrote: “Our Carmel never flaunted more brilliant turquoise and emerald than do the glorious breakers of Ta’u.”

Clouds over the crater of Haleakalā, Maui, 1908. Photo by Jack London. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

Clouds over the crater of Haleakalā, Maui, 1908. Photo by Jack London. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

By the time the Londons reached the Solomon Islands, they were weary and in poor health, and decided to cut short their sailing adventure. They returned from the South Seas by steamer to New Orleans in 1909 and then took the train back to California. Along the way, they stopped to see the great wonder of the Southwest, the Grand Canyon. They rode down into the Canyon on mule, stopping for the signature trail photograph. Afterward, they spent the night on the South Rim at the luxurious El Tovar Hotel and then boarded the train to resume their journey home. The Grand Canyon became the 15th national park in 1919.

Throughout their time together, the Londons enjoyed a life of adventure. They explored Mount Desert Island in Maine in 1905, home to the future Acadia National Park; Death Valley in 1907; and Crater Lake, the only location that was already a park when they visited, in 1911. (Crater Lake National Park was created in 1902). At Crater Lake, they slept in a tent at Camp Arant, the headquarters for the park. In her diary, Charmian compared the crater to Haleakala: “. . . like a wet Haleakala, was way ahead of all expectation and indescribable. Such blue, such rosy and golden rim.”

London’s peregrinations would inspire him to write some of the great novels and short stories in American literature. One hundred years after London’s death, national parks continue to inspire wonder, hosting more than a quarter of a billion people each year and providing visitors with memories that fuel their own special stories.

Jack London in Samoa, wearing a straw hat. Photo attributed to Charmian London, 1908. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

Jack London in Samoa, wearing a straw hat. Photo attributed to Charmian London, 1908. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

Related content on Verso:
Jack London and the Rose Parade (Jan. 1, 2016)
Jack London, Public Intellectual (Sept. 22, 2015)
To Build a Fire (Jan. 10, 2014)
The Star Rover (Jan. 12, 2012)
A Friend to Jack London (Sept. 15, 2011)

Natalie Russell is The Huntington’s assistant curator of literary manuscripts.

Pokémon GOing Places

People are using their smartphones to play the popular augmented-reality game Pokémon GO at The Huntington. Pictured is a Pokémon gym located at the Lily Ponds. Image by Kate Lain.

People are using their smartphones to play the popular augmented-reality game Pokémon GO at The Huntington. Pictured is a Pokémon gym located at the Lily Ponds. Image by Kate Lain.

Summertime bustles at The Huntington. Researchers fill the Library, and throngs of visitors arrive to take in the latest exhibitions and meander in the gardens. But this year a different sort of traveler is on site: people using their smartphones to play the wildly popular augmented-reality game Pokémon GO.

Groups of players, referred to as trainers in the game, are roaming the grounds looking for Eevees, Growlithes, and other Pokémon characters they can “catch” on their phones.

Trainers visiting The Huntington may look to test their skills at one of four Pokémon “gyms” located on the grounds. Trainers might take a moment away from the game to learn a few tidbits about the real-life attractions they’re viewing and boost their own mental health points in the process.

The fountain in the Avery and Andy Barth Family Grove. Photo by Kate Lain.

The fountain in the Avery and Andy Barth Family Grove. Photo by Kate Lain.

1. Pokémon GO gym name: “HLAG Entrance Fountain”
Location: the courtyard near the Admissions area, called the Avery and Andy Barth Family Grove

This fountain has become a popular gathering spot. Constructed in 2015 for the opening of the Steven S. Koblik Education and Visitor Center, the fountain has been luring visitors with its soothing sound and wide rim made for perching. The fountain’s proximity to the graceful shade of four podocarpus trees and the Coffee Shop makes it an ideal place to rest pre- or post-battle!

Georg Kolbe (1877–1947), Junge Frau (Young Woman), conceived 1926, cast ca. 1938, bronze. The Family of Sidney and Frances Brody. Photo by Kate Lain.

Georg Kolbe (1877–1947), Junge Frau (Young Woman), conceived 1926, cast ca. 1938, bronze. The Family of Sidney and Frances Brody. Photo by Kate Lain.

2. Pokémon GO gym name: “Junge Frau”
Location: Lily Ponds

The work of German sculptor Georg Kolbe (1877-1947), Junge Frau (Young Woman) rises delicately from the water and beckons visitors down to the Lily Ponds. As one of the oldest parts of the gardens (established in 1904), the Lily Ponds evoke the tranquility of The Huntington’s early days as a ranch. Be sure to take a break from battling to enjoy your surroundings.

Viewing stones in the Harry Hirao Suiseki Court, located in the Japanese Garden. Photo by Kate Lain.

Viewing stones in the Harry Hirao Suiseki Court, located in the Japanese Garden. Photo by Kate Lain.

3. Pokémon GO gym name: “HLAG Hirao Viewing Stone”
Location: The Harry Hirao Suiseki Court is located between the two bonsai courts in the upper part of the Japanese Garden

The seven smooth stones in this display are examples of suiseki, or viewing stones (expressive stones of special shape, color, and texture), an ancient Japanese art form. These jade stones were found in the Eel River in northern California and appear here unaltered from their original form. Feel free to rub your hand across their surfaces to appreciate their cool touch and smoothness (and to help keep them polished!).

The Huntington's founders, Henry and Arabella Huntington, are interred under the Mausoleum, designed by John Russell Pope (1874–1937). Photo by Kate Lain.

The Huntington’s founders, Henry and Arabella Huntington, are interred under the Mausoleum, designed by John Russell Pope (1874–1937). Photo by Kate Lain.

4. Pokémon GO gym name: “The Crypt at the Huntington”
Location: Mausoleum

The remotest gym on the grounds is also the most spectacular. The Mausoleum, most easily reached by a path behind the Children’s Garden leading through the orange groves, was designed by John Russell Pope (1874–1937). He went on to design the Jefferson Memorial in Washington D.C., modeled after the Pantheon in Rome. Our founders, Henry and Arabella Huntington, are interred under the magnificent Mausoleum, made from Colorado Yule marble.

In addition to The Huntington’s four gyms, there are more than 60 PokéStops on the property—some located in lesser-known areas with some surprising history. If you think it’s your destiny to collect all the Pokémon, then extend your reach into our gardens—and take a look at our library and art collections along the way.

Christine Quach is a web editor at The Huntington.

Artful Opportunism

Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890), Hospital at Saint-Rémy, 1889, oil on canvas, 36 5/16 x 28 in. The Armand Hammer Collection, gift of the Armand Hammer Foundation. Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.

Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890), Hospital at Saint-Rémy, 1889, oil on canvas, 36 5/16 x 28 in. The Armand Hammer Collection, gift of the Armand Hammer Foundation. Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.

One of the remarkable and exciting things about The Huntington—aside from its glorious collections—is its relative lack of bureaucracy and, as a result, its ability to move quickly. We are, in a word, nimble. And we love to jump on an opportunity whenever it presents itself. So . . . this just in: on Saturday, July 16, we open not one, but two exquisite little exhibitions for the next several months.

First up: a loan of 15 spectacular paintings from the Hammer Museum’s permanent collection. The museum is closing its permanent galleries for four months for renovation, and when they asked recently if we would be interested in borrowing a painting by John Singer Sargent for display, we said not only, “Yes,” but, “Yes and might there be anything else you’d be willing to loan?” The Hammer responded with a generous list. And so, we are mounting a lovely and carefully selected display of Impressionist works by van Gogh, Gauguin, Pissarro, Monet, Cezanne, and Toulouse-Lautrec, among others.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864–1901), Touc, Seated on a Table, ca. 1879–1881, oil on panel, 9 1/4 x 5 9/16 in. The Armand Hammer Collection, gift of the Armand Hammer Foundation. Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864–1901), Touc, Seated on a Table, ca. 1879–1881, oil on panel, 9 1/4 x 5 9/16 in. The Armand Hammer Collection, gift of the Armand Hammer Foundation. Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.

Installed in the Huntington Art Gallery, “Van Gogh & Friends: Masterpieces of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism from the Hammer Museum” presents not only key works of modern painting to be relished on their own, but also works that resonate with our own collection of British art. It was, in fact, John Constable’s innovative landscapes, replete with shimmering light and shadow, that inspired French artists to bring a particularly vivid and radical form of his plein air painting into the modern era. (If you do plan to come, slip over to the west side of the gallery while you’re here and take in Constable’s View on the Stour near Dedham to get a feel for what burgeoning Impressionists were seeing in those dramatically expressive brushstrokes.)

On view will be a range of works, including van Gogh’s renowned Hospital at Saint-Rémy (1889) and The Sower (1888); Toulouse-Lautrec’s Touc, Seated on a Table (ca. 1879–1881) and Study for “In the Salon on the Rue des Moulins” (1894); Cezanne’s Boy Resting (ca. 1887); and Monet’s View of Bordighera (1884). The exhibition runs through Jan. 2, 2017.

John Singer Sargent (1856–1925), Dr. Pozzi at Home, 1881, oil on canvas, 79 3/8 x 40 1/4 in. The Armand Hammer Collection, gift of the Armand Hammer Foundation. Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.

John Singer Sargent (1856–1925), Dr. Pozzi at Home, 1881, oil on canvas, 79 3/8 x 40 1/4 in. The Armand Hammer Collection, gift of the Armand Hammer Foundation. Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.

Separately, The Huntington is displaying Dr. Pozzi at Home, the great John Singer Sargent painting also on loan from the Hammer, in its Thornton Portrait Gallery. Dr. Pozzi will occupy a spot in the gallery among The Huntington’s famed Grand Manner paintings, including Blue Boy.

Simultaneously, also in the Huntington Art Gallery and also on July 16, we open a new focused exhibition of 20th-century British paintings. “Blast! Modernist Painting in Britain, 1900–1940” celebrates the recent acquisition of three important works of 20th-century British art—Mark Gertler’s striking 1912 portrait of a fellow artist, Dora Carrington; Duncan Grant’s Cubist-inspired still life, Vase of Flowers with Lemon (1913); and David Bomberg’s powerful depiction of the landscape of northern Spain, The Slopes of Navao, Picos de Europa (1935). The exhibition’s title derives from the eponymous, short-lived, avant-garde magazine founded by artist Percy Wyndham Lewis and poet Ezra Pound in 1914, which championed modern aesthetics.

Mark Gertler (1891–1939), Portrait of Dora Carrington, 1912, oil and tempera on canvas, 20 x 16 in. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

Mark Gertler (1891–1939), Portrait of Dora Carrington, 1912, oil and tempera on canvas, 20 x 16 in. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

It was our great fortune to receive a loan from a local collector of significant works that beautifully supplement the display—including paintings by Walter Sickert, Stanley Spencer, Gwen John, David Bomberg, Wyndham Lewis, and Samuel Peploe. The exhibition is on view through Nov. 14, 2016.

Check out the Hammer Museum’s blog post on the visiting paintings.

Related content on Verso:
Dazzling in the Midst of War (July 31, 2015)

Susan Turner-Lowe is vice president for communications and marketing at The Huntington.

‘A Virtuous Circle’

USC and The Huntington have re-affirmed, in an affiliation agreement, their commitment to their two jointly run advanced research enterprises.

USC and The Huntington have re-affirmed, in an affiliation agreement, their commitment to their two jointly run advanced research enterprises.

Seeking to further encourage and support research and teaching in the humanities, USC and The Huntington have re-affirmed, in an affiliation agreement, their commitment to the Early Modern Studies Institute (EMSI) and the Institute on California and the West (ICW), their two jointly run advanced research enterprises.

Laura Skandera Trombley, president of The Huntington, describes the continued alliance with the university as underscoring a deep mutual commitment to promoting innovative scholarly research that allows us to better understand our past, present, and future.

Established in 2003, EMSI focuses on advancing knowledge of human societies—across the globe—as they developed between 1450 and 1850. Peter Cooper Mancall, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of the Humanities and vice dean for the humanities and social sciences in USC Dornsife, and Linda and Harlan Martens Director of the EMSI, has led the institute since its inception.

Similarly, William Deverell, professor of history at USC Dornsife, has directed ICW since its founding, one year later, in 2004. The institute supports research, teaching and public outreach programs focused on the history and culture of the American West.

Below, these three leaders—Trombley, Mancall, and Deverell—discuss the excitement around and goals of their renewed partnership.

Left: Laura Skandera Trombley, president of The Huntingon. Photo by Meeno. Middle: Peter Mancall, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Humanities and vice dean for the humanities and sciences at USC Dornsife, and Linda and Harlan Martens Director of the of EMSI. Photo by Peter Zhaoyu Zhou. Right: William Deverell, professor of history at USC Dornsife and director of ICW. Photo by Peter Zhaoyu Zhou.

Left: Laura Skandera Trombley, president of The Huntingon. Photo by Meeno. Middle: Peter Mancall, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Humanities and vice dean for the humanities and sciences at USC Dornsife, and Linda and Harlan Martens Director of the of EMSI. Photo by Peter Zhaoyu Zhou. Right: William Deverell, professor of history at USC Dornsife and director of ICW. Photo by Peter Zhaoyu Zhou.

Laura Skandera Trombley: This collaboration represents a most extraordinary pairing: USC has the faculty and the students, and The Huntington has the collections and the curators. It’s been a magical combination that over the years has led to a tremendous range of scholarly output.

USC doctoral candidates have completed their dissertations, and USC faculty have published books, articles and essays, all of them based on rare books and manuscripts held here at the Huntington. Careers have been established and enhanced by way of the two institutes, and together we have produced and disseminated humanities research to ever wider and more engaged audiences.

William Deverell: For ICW, I’d point to the success of the Aerospace History Project. Working closely with The Huntington, and especially with senior manuscripts curator Dan Lewis and our project director Peter Westwick, we launched a multi-year effort to collect and study the documentary legacies of the aerospace industry in Cold War Southern California.

The project yielded a major conference and book; led to the launching of two careers out of funded postdoctoral appointments; garnered a major National Science Foundation grant; brought in magnificent collections to The Huntington; generated dozens of oral histories from aerospace workers and executives; and established a center of gravity for continued research on this most critical theme of our region’s recent past. It has been a great project, and we would like to re-energize it with what we call Aerospace 2.0.

Peter Cooper Mancall: While ICW has played a major role in collections development at The Huntington, EMSI has focused more explicitly not only supporting the Huntington-based research of Ph.D. students and postdoctoral fellows but also on fostering partnerships with the Omohundro Institute for Early American History and Culture and with the University of Pennsylvania Press.

Every post-doc EMSI has had has gone onto a tenure-track or tenured position, itself a sign of the great use they have made of their time in Los Angeles, notably in their extended access to the resources at The Huntington. And our graduate students have benefited just as much. One is now a postdoctoral fellow at Caltech, and Yale University Press will publish the revised dissertation of another. In both cases, materials at The Huntington relating to the early modern world have played a direct role in their success.

LST: Exactly, together, we have helped a whole cadre of humanities scholars launch and hone their careers. What started as something of an experiment more than a decade ago has evolved into much more. So we all recognized that it makes sense at this juncture to formalize an agreement and make a renewed commitment to it.

The tail section of the Constitution, an aircraft under construction at Lockheed Aircraft Co., Burbank, 1946. Harvey Christen collection. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

The tail section of the Constitution, an aircraft under construction at Lockheed Aircraft Co., Burbank, 1946. Harvey Christen collection. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

PCM: And, Laura, you have deep experience in both camps — aside from serving as the Huntington president, you’re also a USC Dornsife alumna as well as a Huntington reader. Given your perspective, how do you believe our partnership enriches both institutions?

LST: I can say from my own experience that coming to The Huntington as a young Ph.D. candidate proved critically important to my research and, ultimately, to my career.

When you take the world-class scholars of a place like USC and provide them with access to the vast primary sources that exist at The Huntington, you end up creating an intellectual phenomenon that is more powerful than the sum of its parts. We benefit from having the brightest minds here, essentially in residence, interacting with our curators, our staff, our community more broadly. It really is a virtuous circle.

WD: As director of ICW, I would add that, along with EMSI, we have been extremely productive institutes. As we know, not all academic collaborations are successful or sustainable. What has made these two institutes so successful over the last decade-plus is the spirit of collaboration and mutual institutional curiosity that has developed around the themes that we have investigated.

LST: I couldn’t agree more. Successful collaborations depend heavily on the people engaged in them, and from The Huntington’s perspective, you’ll not find a more committed pair than you two.

You’ve devoted countless hours and astonishing energy toward assembling a spectacular array of institute-sponsored lectures, workshops, conferences and related projects over the years. You love what you do. And as a bonus, you love The Huntington and have a deep, deep regard for the collections and the people who steward them. You are completely aligned with this institution and us with you. And so that’s what it takes — an ongoing commitment to the same goals and values, and the belief that what we’re doing, together, makes a difference.

Detail from the title page of Itinerario, voyage ofte schipvaert, 1596, Jan Huygen van Linschoten. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

Detail from the title page of Itinerario, voyage ofte schipvaert, 1596, Jan Huygen van Linschoten. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

PCM: This has been an ideal partnership, a marriage between a world-class archive that is strong in many aspects of the early modern era and a vibrant community of faculty and Ph.D. students at USC whose work concentrates on this period. In an age when much of our past is being digitized, The Huntington is that ever-rarer place where scholars can have direct access to the material substance of the past.

Seeing a 17th-century text on the screen is fine, to a point, but it will never replace the experience of holding a book or manuscript in your hands, knowing that you as a scholar are in direct contact with the materials that were part of the birth of the modern world as we know it. The Huntington, for example, has phenomenal materials relating to the history of navigation and exploration, which was ideal for a conference we held this past year on the resurgent field of maritime history. As it turned out, many of the scholars who presented their work there had done archival work at The Huntington.

LST: I believe this is precisely the kind of thing Henry Huntington would have applauded: using his collections in a very specific way to promote research and education. With a formal arrangement, we put in place a stability and strategy that’s forward-looking.

We love the idea that this formal partnership is being re-affirmed just ahead of The Huntington’s centennial, which happens in 2019. But, specifically, if I could choose one area I’d like to further develop in the short term, I think we can do more to broaden the audience we reach with institute activities through audio and video; I’d like to see those avenues explored more expressly.

WD: As would we. One aim of the institutes from the get-go has been that we can and should serve multiple audiences: scholars who come to The Huntington to further their research; members of the loyal and ever-curious public who know and love The Huntington; the K–12 educational community of students and teachers. But that’s only a fraction of those we think we can, and are obligated to, reach.

So moving into digital distribution of text, words and images only makes sense — over the years we’ve built the foundation of what we do. It’s time now to think bigger and bolder about our work. We should reach beyond traditional venues, and, as we do, we will find that new dialogues with new publics will only invigorate our questions and our findings.

This post is co-published with USC Dornsife.

Save

Save

Better than Bacon

Back cover of William Martyn’s Historie, and Lives, of the Kings of England. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

Back cover of William Martyn’s Historie, and Lives, of the Kings of England. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

Last February, a bookseller contacted me about a book he had taken on consignment. Its owner believed it came from the library of Sir Francis Bacon (1561–1626), the statesman, scientist, and (for a time) alleged author of the Shakespearean plays. My colleague and I agreed to meet at an upcoming book fair for a joint examination.

The book turned out to be common enough: William Martyn’s Historie, and Lives, of the Kings of England (1615), of which The Huntington already has two copies. But this one was indeed special, with ornately tooled brown morocco leather covers from the early 17th century and gilt page edges—a luxury-grade custom binding for a person of status. In the middle of the covers were the gold initials “FB,” and inside the front cover was the contemporary signature “Frances.” These features certainly hinted at Bacon, but I felt pretty sure that he wasn’t the owner. Then, as now, “Frances” was the feminine spelling, and Bacon wouldn’t have signed only his first name. The book seemed a bit middlebrow for an intellectual citizen of the world—who probably read more Latin than English—to honor with a top-of-the-line binding. And if it was a presentation copy from the author, why hadn’t the author inscribed it?

Signatures in William Martyn’s Historie, and Lives, of the Kings of England. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

Signatures in William Martyn’s Historie, and Lives, of the Kings of England. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

So I explained these and other problems to the bookseller, who had his own doubts about the identification and was satisfied with my analysis. I went on to say that The Huntington might want to purchase the book simply for its attractive binding, and I named a figure. The bookseller relayed my message, and to my surprise the owner agreed to the price. A couple of weeks later, the bookseller returned with the volume, and we completed the transaction in the lobby of the Munger Research Center.

But as I walked back to my office with the new acquisition, a thought stopped me in the middle of the hallway. I opened the front cover and looked again at the “Frances.” I turned to the back and read an inscription on the paste-down that I hadn’t tried to decipher earlier: “The yeare of our Lorde .1623. I did make at ashridge .3. od fine pelobeares .3. pare of a courcer sorte, and seuen pare of a corsser sort, all made at a time.” I didn’t yet know that “pelobeares” meant “pillow-cases,” but when I saw the word “ashridge,” a little current of electricity went up the back of my scalp. No, this was not Francis Bacon’s book; it belonged to Frances Stanley Egerton, Countess of Bridgewater.

Frances Stanley Egerton, Countess of Bridgewater. Oil painting, possibly by Paul van Somer. Private collection at Ashridge House.

Frances Stanley Egerton, Countess of Bridgewater. Oil painting, possibly by Paul van Somer. Private collection at Ashridge House.

The Bridgewater library forms the core of The Huntington’s early English book collection. Growing to 4,400 printed books and 12–14,000 manuscripts during continuous family ownership over three centuries, it was bought en bloc by Henry Huntington in 1917 for a million dollars. Its most illustrious volume, the Ellesmere Chaucer, can be seen today in the Library’s Main Hall exhibition, “Remarkable Works, Remarkable Times.”

The founder of the Bridgewater line, Sir Thomas Egerton (1541?–1617), served as Lord Chancellor under King James I, gave financial support to the major authors of his time, and played a crucial role in advancing the professional career of . . . Francis Bacon. In 1600, Egerton married Alice Spencer, the widow of Ferdinando Stanley, Earl of Derby, who had sponsored a theater company when Shakespeare was starting his career. Sir Thomas’s new wife had a daughter from the earlier marriage, whose name was Frances.

Heidi Brayman Hackel’s reconstruction of Frances Stanley Egerton’s collection. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

Heidi Brayman Hackel’s reconstruction of Frances Stanley Egerton’s collection. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

In a typical act of dynastic consolidation, the couple arranged for Frances to marry Sir Thomas’s son John by his previous marriage. In 1604, father and son acquired a country estate in Hertfordshire. That is the “Ashridge” in our book’s inscription. In 1617, after the death of his father, John Egerton became the first Earl of Bridgewater, making Frances the Countess of Bridgewater. That is the “FB” on our book’s covers, and that is her autograph inside.

The Countess has star status in the history of books and reading because a contemporary handwritten catalog of her books survives, compiled in 1627–32 and titled “A catalogue of my Ladies Bookes at London.” Lists of women’s libraries are like gold nuggets in the historical record; only five others prior to 1627 have been located, and the Countess’s collection, numbering 241 titles, evidently outstripped all of these. Our new copy of Martyn’s Historie appears as the 16th item in that inventory. For some reason, many of her books were apparently dispersed before Huntington bought the family library. In 2005, Heidi Brayman Hackel, associate professor of English at UC Riverside and a reader at The Huntington, created a physical reconstruction of Frances Stanley’s collection, using the Countess’s known copies where possible and otherwise substituting Bridgewater family or other copies.

Annotations in William Martyn’s Historie, and Lives, of the Kings of England. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

Annotations in William Martyn’s Historie, and Lives, of the Kings of England. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

Disappointingly, most of the Countess’s books that have been identified bear no annotations to show how they were used. Our new book is an exception. Martyn’s Historie concludes with a 70-page list of dukes and earls with brief biographies. In the Countess’s copy, an early reader has annotated this section with additional facts, highlighting the individuals who met sticky ends with asterisks for “slaine” and crosses for “beheded.” Who had this morbid interest? Was one of the Bridgewater clan contemplating the hazards of nobility? Other annotations in the book, most of undetermined authorship as yet, will attract scholars studying readership in the early modern period.

After a two-century walkabout, Frances Stanley’s book has rejoined the Bridgewater family library. The first thing I did after that tingling realization was to email Heidi Hackel. She came to my office, saw the book on the table, and cried, “Frances, you’ve come home!” Indeed, considering the importance of the Bridgewater library to The Huntington’s collections, this book’s provenance is better than Bacon.

Editor’s note: In response to a couple of inquiries that came in after this post was published, we want to note that the curator did inform both the dealer and the seller of his findings, and he offered to increase the purchase price substantially based on the new identification. (His offer was gratefully accepted!)

Stephen Tabor is curator of early printed books at The Huntington.

When Baseball Was Square

Home Run Polka. Sheet music, 1867. Printed by L. N. Rosenthal, Philadelphia, Pa., color lithograph on paper, 13½” x 10½”. This illustrated cover shows a loose interpretation of the Massachusetts Game rules for laying out the grounds. Two key features are depicted: a square field and stakes for bases. Gift of Jay T. Last. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

Home Run Polka. Sheet music, 1867. Printed by L. N. Rosenthal, Philadelphia, Pa., color lithograph on paper, 13½” x 10½”. This illustrated cover shows a loose interpretation of the Massachusetts Game rules for laying out the grounds. Two key features are depicted: a square field and stakes for bases. Gift of Jay T. Last. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

The Fourth of July conjures up images of parades, backyard barbecues, fireworks—and, for some folks, baseball. The sound of “Play ball!” recently encouraged a few Huntington curators to explore our collections for items centered around the sport. What we found just might change what you know about the history of the game.

Baseball has helped shape U.S. culture since the 1850s, when amateur clubs first formed in the northeastern states. Clubs played rousing “matches,” as games were then called, cheered by spectators and reported in public journals. Baseball is an “exciting sport and healthful exercise at a trifling expense,” wrote one New Englander in 1858.

The Base Ball Quadrille. Sheet music, 1867. Printed by John H. Bufford’s Lith., Boston, Mass., color lithograph on paper, 13¾” x 10½”. Composer Henry Von Gudera “respectfully dedicated” this musical composition to the Tri-Mountain Base Ball Club of Boston. Curiously, the Tri-Mountains would become the first of the organized clubs playing the Massachusetts Game to abandon it in favor of the New York Game. Bases, similar to today, appear in the foreground and background of the image, indicating the New York-style rules. By contrast, the Massachusetts Game used stakes to mark bases. Gift of Jay T. Last. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

The Base Ball Quadrille. Sheet music, 1867. Printed by John H. Bufford’s Lith., Boston, Mass., color lithograph on paper, 13¾” x 10½”. Composer Henry Von Gudera “respectfully dedicated” this musical composition to the Tri-Mountain Base Ball Club of Boston. Curiously, the Tri-Mountains would become the first of the organized clubs playing the Massachusetts Game to abandon it in favor of the New York Game. Bases, similar to today, appear in the foreground and background of the image, indicating the New York-style rules. By contrast, the Massachusetts Game used stakes to mark bases. Gift of Jay T. Last. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

Regional interest grew, aided by publicity. Promoters posted broadsides in neighboring towns to announce upcoming matches, and newspaper publishers spread the word by printing game summaries for their readers. By the 1860s, baseball had inspired such popular tunes as “Home Run Polka,” “Catch It on the Fly,” and “The Base Ball Quadrille,” which families could play at home on their parlor pianos. These lively sheet music melodies, enhanced with illustrated covers, got everyone into the spirit of the game.

The first professional baseball league was launched in 1871, and the game of baseball became wildly popular. Teams from as far west as Cleveland, St. Louis, Fort Wayne, Rockford, and Chicago banded together with their eastern rivals in 10 cities, extending from Boston to Washington, D.C. Meanwhile, the public crowned baseball the champion of outdoor sports. “The fascination of the game has seized upon the American people, irrespective of age, sex or other conditions,” claimed Harpers’ Weekly in 1886. One year later, Walt Whitman dubbed the sport “America’s game.”

Diagram of the Massachusetts Game square from The Base Ball Player’s Pocket Companion, 1859, published by Mayhew & Baker, Boston, Mass. Rules for laying out this field included bases spaced 60 feet apart and a pitching distance of 30 feet between the thrower and the striker. Both dimensions were smaller than those used for the New York-style diamond field. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

Diagram of the Massachusetts Game square from The Base Ball Player’s Pocket Companion, 1859, published by Mayhew & Baker, Boston, Mass. Rules for laying out this field included bases spaced 60 feet apart and a pitching distance of 30 feet between the thrower and the striker. Both dimensions were smaller than those used for the New York-style diamond field. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

But here’s the real eye-opener. A volume from The Huntington’s collection of rare books reveals that there were two very different styles of playing the game in the antebellum U.S. In 1859, Boston publishers Mayhew & Baker issued a 36-page illustrated guide, The Base Ball Player’s Pocket Companion. This miniature bible of sorts cites rules and regulations for forming clubs, as well as directions for playing the “New York Game” on a diamond, as it is today; and the “Massachusetts Game,” played on a square!

The Massachusetts Game, as adopted by the Massachusetts Association of Base Ball Players on May 13, 1858, was considered the favorite and principal game played throughout New England. By 1859, 20 clubs from across Massachusetts belonged to the association. According to the Pocket Companion, the only essential equipment they needed to play a game (besides a ball) was “a bat-stick, and four wooden stakes for bases. The game is commenced by staking off a square of 60 feet for the bases, and measuring the distance of 30 feet from the thrower’s to the striker’s stand.”

Diagram of the New York Game diamond from The Base Ball Player’s Pocket Companion, frontispiece, 1859, published by Mayhew & Baker, Boston, Mass. This layout called for larger dimensions than the Massachusetts-style square field. Bases were 30 yards apart, as they are today, and the pitching distance stretched to 45 feet. Not until the 1890s would this distance extend to 60 feet 6 inches, the current standard. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

Diagram of the New York Game diamond from The Base Ball Player’s Pocket Companion, frontispiece, 1859, published by Mayhew & Baker, Boston, Mass. This layout called for larger dimensions than the Massachusetts-style square field. Bases were 30 yards apart, as they are today, and the pitching distance stretched to 45 feet. Not until the 1890s would this distance extend to 60 feet 6 inches, the current standard. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

On March 19, 1859, the National Association of Base Ball Players convened in New York to adopt its latest rules and regulations. The Pocket Companion described the field for the New York Game in a way that closely resembles today’s diamond: “. . . the bases must be four in number, placed at equal distances from each other, and securely fastened upon the four corners [of the field], whose sides are respectively thirty yards. The first, second and third bases shall be canvass bags painted white, and filled with sand or saw-dust; the home base . . . to be marked by a flat circular iron plate, painted or enameled white.”

Each of the two styles had its adherents. Fans of the Massachusetts Game claimed that their version was more exciting to play and watch because it created a constant supply of base runners and plenty of scoring. Foul territory did not exist, encouraging strikers to hit the ball in any direction, and first base was just 30 feet away from a striker, who stood halfway between it and “home.” Ultimately, however, the New York style of play was adopted as our national game and became the forerunner of modern baseball. The square field of the Massachusetts Game remains a curious relic of our popular culture.

Base Tender. From The Base Ball Player’s Pocket Companion, 1859. Published by Mayhew & Baker, Boston, Mass. 5½” x 3¾”. One of four woodcut illustrations of Massachusetts Game players; the others are titled The Thrower, The Striker, and The Catcher. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

Base Tender. From The Base Ball Player’s Pocket Companion, 1859. Published by Mayhew & Baker, Boston, Mass. 5½” x 3¾”. One of four woodcut illustrations of Massachusetts Game players; the others are titled The Thrower, The Striker, and The Catcher. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

David Mihaly is the Jay T. Last Curator of Graphic Arts and Social History at The Huntington.

Welcoming New Research Fellows

The Ahmanson Reading Room, where researchers from across the country and around the world come to delve into The Huntington’s extraordinary collections. Photo by Martha Benedict.

The Ahmanson Reading Room, where researchers from across the country and around the world come to delve into The Huntington’s extraordinary collections. Photo by Martha Benedict.

Summer is a busy time for The Huntington’s research program. As the academic year draws to a close, it’s time for a changing of the guard. The fellowship selection process for the 2016–17 program is complete, and a new roster of candidates has accepted The Huntington’s offers of research grants. The first few recipients are already starting to take their places in the Ahmanson Reading Room. Each day, a steady stream of new fellows pours in.

Choosing which candidates will receive research grants is a rigorous and robust process, including external peer review. This year our committees made 11 awards of long-term fellowships for grantees who will be in residence for the full academic year; and 128 awards of short-term fellowships for scholars who will conduct their research for between one and five months.

Tiffany Jo Werth, associate professor of English at Simon Fraser University, is the 2016–17 Mellon Fellow at The Huntington. Photo by George Ketsios.

Tiffany Jo Werth, associate professor of English at Simon Fraser University, is the 2016–17 Mellon Fellow at The Huntington. Photo by George Ketsios.

In total, the program received 500 applications for fellowships, translating into an acceptance rate of 39 percent for those who applied for a short-term award and only nine percent for those who applied for a long-term award. One of those fortunate few who will be in residence for the full academic year is Tiffany Jo Werth, an associate professor of English at Simon Fraser University. As the 2016–17 Mellon Fellow at The Huntington, she will be researching her second book, tentatively titled “The English Lithic Imagination from More to Milton.” This builds on her previous book, The Fabulous Dark Cloister: Romance in England after the Reformation, which explored the English Reformation’s effect on one of the period’s most controversial genres: the romance.

“I was doing research at The Huntington a few years ago and became intrigued by how reformers imagined nonbelievers as stone-like,” says Werth. “Drawing on my knowledge of early modern English religious history, I argue that religious doubt, triggered by the long Reformation’s crisis of faith and authority, upended the hierarchies of life espoused by Christian theology. Doubt led polemicists to allege that the ungodly possessed hearts of stone, not flesh.” For the new book, Werth is looking forward to digging into The Huntington’s rich collection of medical anatomy manuals and alchemical treatises, as well as its substantial holdings of early modern prose romances.

“It’s a great pleasure to spend time in The Huntington’s collections and to join the extraordinary scholarly community for which this place is renowned,” says Werth, whose home institution is located in Canada.

Researchers at work in the Huntington Library’s Rothenberg Reading Room. Photo by Martha Benedict.

Researchers at work in the Huntington Library’s Rothenberg Reading Room. Photo by Martha Benedict.

Werth is not the only one coming to The Huntington from abroad. Almost one-third of our grantees come from outside the United States. Perhaps even more strikingly, one-third of those who were awarded fellowships were graduate students at the dissertation stage. As these ratios suggest, the program is highly competitive, and it recruits in a global academic marketplace, but it is also committed to funding doctoral as well as post-doctoral research.

As director of research, it is my pleasure to invite five senior scholars to spend the year as Distinguished Fellows in Residence. Taking up the position of the 2016–17 Robert C. Ritchie Distinguished Fellow in Early American History at The Huntington is award-winning social historian John Demos, the Samuel Knight Professor Emeritus of History at Yale University. He is the author of several books, including The Unredeemed Captive: A Family Story from Early America; The Enemy Within: 2,000 Years of Witch-Hunting in the Western World; and Entertaining Satan: Witchcraft and the Culture of Early New England, winner of the prestigious Bancroft Prize in American History. His most recent book, The Heathen School: A Story of Hope and Betrayal in the Age of the Early Republic, tells the story of a school for indigenous and foreign youth established in 1817 in Connecticut.

John Demos, the Samuel Knight Professor Emeritus of History at Yale University, is the 2016–17 Robert C. Ritchie Distinguished Fellow at The Huntington. Photo by Michael Marsland/Yale University.

John Demos, the Samuel Knight Professor Emeritus of History at Yale University, is the 2016–17 Robert C. Ritchie Distinguished Fellow at The Huntington. Photo by Michael Marsland/Yale University.

His new book project, “‘I am Rich Potosí’: A Crucible of the Early Modern World,” will chronicle the rise and fall of Potosí, a mining boomtown located at the foot of a once silver-rich Andean mountain in what is now southern Bolivia. “Potosí is nothing less than a place that redirected—and cruelly foreshortened—countless lives, reorganized (or destroyed) whole cultures, financed a vast empire, transformed economies, energized America, and changed the world,” says Demos. During the academic year, Demos and the other Distinguished Fellows will each give a free, public lecture in Rothenberg Hall. (You can listen to lectures by several past Distinguished Fellows on iTunes U.)

The Huntington also appoints researchers jointly with Caltech, Occidental College, and UC Riverside. Considering those appointments, together with the 10 doctoral students funded by the United Kingdom Arts and Humanities Research Council, we will be welcoming almost 200 research fellows in residence over the course of the next academic year. It will be a busy time indeed.


You can see the complete list of 2016-17 awarded fellowships on The Huntington’s website.

Steve Hindle is the W.M. Keck Foundation Director of Research at The Huntington.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Greene & Greene in Context

The newly installed permanent exhibition of Greene & Greene architecture and design in the Dorothy Collis Brown Wing. A black walnut and ebony chiffonier and matching chair from the master bedroom of the 1908 Gamble House take center stage.

The newly installed permanent exhibition of Greene & Greene architecture and design in the Dorothy Collis Brown Wing. A black walnut and ebony chiffonier and matching chair from the master bedroom of the 1908 Gamble House take center stage.

Some people may remember the exquisite furniture in The Huntington’s permanent exhibition about Arts and Crafts masters Charles Sumner Greene and Henry Mather Greene. The space was just reinstalled and the take-home message is clear: The Greenes did much more than simply produce gorgeous furniture.

Arriving in Pasadena, Calif., in 1893, the brothers designed residential projects of incomparable beauty (the most famous one being the 1908 Gamble House in Pasadena), which forged a new path for American architecture. And as they refined their vision and collaborated with highly skilled craftspeople and artists, they increasingly designed entire environments—including landscapes, furnishings, lighting fixtures, and windows.

“We want to present the great breadth of the Greenes’ work,” says architect Kelly Sutherlin McLeod, FAIA, who conserved the Gamble House and other Greene brother constructions over the past three decades. “They were master architects and brilliant artists who also designed landscapes, furniture, metalwork, textiles, and leaded glass,” she says. McLeod worked with architecture historian Edward R. Bosley, the James N. Gamble director of the Gamble House, to tell this broader story.

The dining room from the 1906 Robinson house now physically and visually connects with the Chandler Wing at the end of the hallway.

The dining room from the 1906 Robinson house now physically and visually connects with the Chandler Wing at the end of the hallway.

Visitors to the previous display may recall the re-created dining room of the 1906 Laurabelle A. Robinson house. The lovely table, chairs, two sideboards, and chandelier were the first results of a fruitful partnership between the Greenes and another pair of brothers, furniture makers Peter and John Hall. The Halls’ artistry boosted the sophistication of the Greenes’ furniture to new heights. That dining room is still on view in the new exhibition, along with the reassembled stairway from the 1905 Arthur A. Libby house.

But the rest of the large gallery has been transformed. The objects have been regrouped to give a better a sense of the Greenes’ artistic progression, and two scrims break up the space and frame the scene with large images by Leroy Hulbert, the photographer the Greenes hired to document their work. The first scrim shows the exterior of the Gamble House. In front of the photo are a few precious items borrowed from within the house itself.

 The sideboard and side chair from the 1909 Thorsen house in Berkeley, Calif. with above them two wall lanterns made for the 1902 James A. Culbertson house.


The sideboard and side chair from the 1909 Thorsen house in Berkeley, Calif. with above them two wall lanterns made for the 1902 James A. Culbertson house.

A 1909 chiffonier has been brought out from a dark corner of the Gamble’s master bedroom to The Huntington to better showcase its luminous black walnut and ebony finish, inlaid with fruitwood and semi-precious stones. This single piece set the Gambles back more than $850—a price that would have paid for a small cottage in 1909 dollars. (That figure appears on a list contained within the Greene & Greene Archives, which is housed at The Huntington and owned and administered by the Gamble House, USC.)

Curators chose to display the chiffonier, and a few other objects, at an angle—so that visitors could better examine the chiffonier’s superior craftsmanship from all sides. There is also a chair from the Gamble’s master bedroom with the same motif.

The other large photographic scrim shows the dining room of the 1909 William R. Thorsen house in Berkeley, Calif. A spectacular sideboard appears in the 1915 image, and the real object stands just a few feet away from it. Look closely to see the periwinkle design made from abalone, vermillion, and ebony. Vinca minor grows abundantly in Southern California, and Bosley imagines that Charles Greene pulled a piece of the vine out of his yard one day and placed it on his drafting table. Voilá—his new motif.

An image of the dining room of the Thorsen house appears on the left with examples of the Greene’s metalwork in front of it. In the background is the recreated fragment of a pergola from the 1903 Arturo and Helen Bandini house.

An image of the dining room of the Thorsen house appears on the left with examples of the Greene’s metalwork in front of it. In the background is the recreated fragment of a pergola from the 1903 Arturo and Helen Bandini house.

Another object of particular interest is a re-created fragment of a pergola from one of the Greenes’ earlier commissions, the Arturo and Helen Bandini house (1903). This was a pivotal moment in the architectural development of the Greenes, who had arrived in Pasadena 10 years before and, with this project, truly began designing for the California climate and lifestyle. (McLeod and Bosley created the pergola for the 2009 exhibition “A ‘New and Native’ Beauty: The Art and Craft of Greene & Greene” and brought it back for this installation.)

To give a sense of the breadth of the Greenes’ artistic vision, the installation displays stained- glass windows, lanterns, sconces, lamps, chandeliers, rugs, and andirons, as well as a treasure trove of furnishings, some brought out of storage and some on long-term loan from collectors. The objects hail from more than half a dozen homes (most in Southern California) that the Greenes designed for clients James Culbertson (1902), Jennie Reeve (1903), Adelaide Tichenor (1904), Freeman A. Ford (1906), William T. Bolton (1906), Robert R. Blacker (1907), and others.

The Greenes’ attention to detail is legendary. This table lamp, made for the den of the Laurabelle A. Robinson house, is crafted from red oak and silk.

The Greenes’ attention to detail is legendary. This table lamp, made for the den of the Laurabelle A. Robinson house, is crafted from red oak and silk.

Objects new to the installation include a dining room side chair from the Bolton house and a dazzling fire-screen from the Thorsen house made of steel and with repoussé detailing. An object prized both for its beauty and its provenance is a corner cabinet with glass panels that Charles Greene designed for his own house. It is filled with items from his collection of Japanese Imari ceramic ware.

The hallway between the Robinson dining room and the Libby staircase now offers additional display space. Curators will present more light-sensitive objects here, such as plans, prints, and photographs, on a temporary basis. On view now are two ink-on-linen drawings for the Charles Millard Pratt House in Ojai, Calif.

Curators are pleased about the reworked entrance to the installation. The recent reconfiguration of the American galleries created a long, wide hallway that visually and physically connects the Greene & Greene exhibition in the Dorothy Collis Brown Wing at one end with the Susan and Stephen Chandler Wing at the other. (Be sure to visit the Chandler Wing to see the exhibition “Yasuhiro Ishimoto: Bilingual Photography and the Architecture of Greene & Greene.”) You now enter the Greene & Greene exhibition through a foyer space made up of a bench built for the Freeman Ford house, a lantern from the front entry porch of the Jennie Reeve house, and three of five casement windows from the Adelaide Tichenor house. The once hidden Greene & Greene collection is now hard to miss.

A bench, art glass window, and porch lantern in the entry foyer make it hard to miss the Greene & Greene collection.

A bench, art glass window, and porch lantern in the entry foyer make it hard to miss the Greene & Greene collection.

Overall, the curators hope that they have succeeded in giving a feel for the Greenes’ artistic process over time. It was a progression that moved quickly, says McLeod. “The development between the simple rustic pergola from the 1903 Bandini house and the refined sophisticated design of the Gamble House, just five years later, is incredible,” she says.

In 1952, the American Institute of Architects honored the Greenes for their “contributions to the design of the American home.” If you want to better understand this accolade, then The Huntington’s new Greene & Greene exhibition is a great place to start.

“Greene & Greene” is on permanent display in the Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art. Just down the hall is “Yasuhiro Ishimoto: Bilingual Photography and the Architecture of Greene & Greene,” on view through Oct. 3, 2016.

In the Fall/Winter 2008 issue of Huntington Frontiers, you can read an article by Ann Scheid about the images photographer William Current took of Greene & Greene works, which are part of the Greene & Greene Archives. (Click here for pdf.)

Related content on Verso:
Found in Translation (June 16, 2016)

Diana W. Thompson is senior writer in the office of communications and marketing at The Huntington.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Decoding the Civil War

Today The Huntington announces the launch of a crowdsourcing project to transcribe and decode U.S. Civil War telegrams from its collection. What follows is the text of the press release about the project’s launch.

Crowdsourcing project "Decoding the Civil War" launches today.

Crowdsourcing project “Decoding the Civil War” launches today.

In a move to gain new insights into the U.S. Civil War, The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens announced today the public launch of an innovative crowdsourcing project to transcribe and decipher a collection of nearly 16,000 Civil War telegrams between Abraham Lincoln, his Cabinet, and officers of the Union Army. Roughly one-third of the messages were written in code.

The Huntington is collaborating on the “Decoding the Civil War” project with Zooniverse (the largest online platform for collaborative volunteer research), North Carolina State University’s Digital History and Pedagogy Project, and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

“The Huntington and its partners are delighted to make this historic collection accessible to the public in a way that will help improve our understanding of this critically important period in our nation’s history,” said David Zeidberg, Avery Director of the Library at The Huntington. “This is a digital humanities project that holds the potential to transform our engagement with the past, inspire further research, and help students everywhere gain a better understanding of U.S. history, digital literacy, and the power of collaboration.”

Example of a coded telegram, Thomas T. Eckert Papers. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

Example of a coded telegram, Thomas T. Eckert Papers. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

The Huntington acquired the exceptionally rare collection of telegrams in 2012, composed of a nearly complete archive of Thomas T. Eckert, the head of the military telegraph office of the War Department under Lincoln. The archive was thought to have been destroyed after the war and includes crucial correspondence that has never been published. Among the materials are 35 manuscript ledger books of telegrams sent and received by the War Department, including more than 100 communiques from Lincoln himself. Also included are top-secret cipher books revealing the complex coding system used to encrypt and decipher messages. The Confederate Army never cracked the Union Army’s code.

The “Decoding the Civil War” project provides public access to digitized images of the telegrams and code books through the Huntington Digital Library. In addition, the project’s crowdsourcing website on Zooniverse engages “citizen archivists” in the deciphering of the telegrams with greater efficiency and accuracy than could be accomplished by staff members at the partnering institutions.

“Crowdsourced digital projects involving transcription have begun to provide a tremendous opportunity for both institutions and interested citizens,” said Dan Lewis, chief curator of manuscripts at The Huntington. “The Smithsonian and the Library of Congress both have implemented projects that let ‘digital volunteers’ help make historical documents more accessible, to the benefit of the world beyond their walls. We expect this project to be similarly engaging for anyone interested in the history of the Civil War—and it’s accessible through just a few computer clicks.”

Title page of “Cipher for Telegraphic Correspondence,” Anson Stager, Washington, D.C., 1861–62, Thomas T. Eckert Papers. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

Title page of “Cipher for Telegraphic Correspondence,” Anson Stager, Washington, D.C., 1861–62, Thomas T. Eckert Papers. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

The project also provides a decoding activity for classroom students and museum-goers that is connected to Civil War milestones and provides inquiry-based educational modules that can be used to bring history alive. Through The Huntington’s partnerships with multiple Los Angeles area school districts and with North Carolina State University’s Digital History and Pedagogy Project, the educational modules will be integrated into teacher workshops reaching more than 1,000 teachers of at-risk students.

Built and managed by the University of Minnesota’s Zooniverse team, the crowdsourcing project itself has three phases. “In the first phase, underway now, interested volunteers go online to transcribe the nearly 16,000 telegrams line by line, creating an extraordinarily rich database,” said Mario Einaudi, Kemble Digital Projects Librarian at The Huntington. In the second phase, volunteers will comb the database to identify significant people, dates, and times, enabling the creation of a robust search function. In the final phase, code books in the archive will be used to decipher the encoded telegrams, potentially providing fresh insights into the history of the Civil War.

There are nearly 16,000 telegrams for volunteers to decode, line by line, on the "Decoding the Civil War" site on Zooniverse.

There are nearly 16,000 telegrams for volunteers to decode, line by line, on the “Decoding the Civil War” site on Zooniverse.

People interested in participating in the project can go to its Zooniverse website, “Decoding the Civil War,” take a brief tutorial that explains the process for transcribing a telegram, and find further information on the project. If participants are interested in joining discussions on particular telegrams, then they will need to create a user name and password by registering with Zooniverse.

The transcribed telegrams will be openly available to scholars and others interested in telegraphy, cryptography, wartime communications, technology, civilian-military relations, and many other aspects of the U.S. Civil War or American history more generally.

The project is partially funded by a two-year federal grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Read more about the project on the “Decoding the Civil War” blog.

Kevin Durkin is editor of Verso and managing editor in the office of communications and marketing at The Huntington.

Found in Translation

Yasuhiro Ishimoto, Stepping-stones from the Imperial Carriage Stop to the Gepparo, Katsura Imperial Villa, 1954, gelatin silver print © Kochi Prefecture, Ishimoto Yasuhiro Photo Center.

Yasuhiro Ishimoto, Stepping-stones from the Imperial Carriage Stop to the Gepparo, Katsura Imperial Villa, 1954, gelatin silver print © Kochi Prefecture, Ishimoto Yasuhiro Photo Center.

What does the 20th-century Arts and Crafts architecture of Americans Charles and Henry Greene have to do with the 17th-century Katsura Imperial Villa outside of Kyoto, Japan? For admirers of the work of Japanese-American photographer Yasuhiro Ishimoto (1921–2012), it turns out, quite a bit.

With the opening of the exhibition “Yasuhiro Ishimoto: Bilingual Photography and the Architecture of Greene & Greene,” visitors will be able to see how the photographer captured similar elements in both. The exhibition features 40 sumptuous black-and-white photographs of houses designed by Greene & Greene and another six of Katsura, an imperial palace considered one of the greatest achievements of Japanese architecture.

Ishimoto was born in San Francisco in 1921, lived in his parents’ native Japan as a child, and then returned to the United States in 1938. He ultimately became a naturalized citizen of Japan, where he enjoyed a successful career as an architectural photographer.

Yasuhiro Ishimoto, David B. Gamble house, kitchen yard gate and stepping-stones, 1974, gelatin silver print, © Kochi Prefecture, Ishimoto Yasuhiro Photo Center.

Yasuhiro Ishimoto, David B. Gamble house, kitchen yard gate and stepping-stones, 1974, gelatin silver print, © Kochi Prefecture, Ishimoto Yasuhiro Photo Center.

In 1954, Ishimoto shot hundreds of images of Katsura Imperial Villa, founded by Prince Hachijō Toshihito in the 17th century. As his images reveal, Ishimoto was captivated by the spare post-and-beam structure of the buildings and their thoughtful integration with the landscape. He also explored the juxtaposition of textures and materials—training his lens on a row of stepping-stones or carefully framing details of the villa’s exterior to highlight pattern versus structure.

And 20 years later, he would elevate these same themes when he photographed the work of Charles and Henry Greene for the Japanese design magazine Approach. He took nearly 1,000 photographs of 12 houses designed by the Greene brothers. Most of them were of the Gamble House, a building the Greenes constructed in 1908 for David B. Gamble of the Procter and Gamble Co. Ishimoto snapped more than 600 photographs of the Gamble House alone—more than he had taken of Katsura.

Comparing the two sets of photos makes clear the influence of Japanese architecture on the design aesthetic of the Greene brothers. One can also see how, in both cases, Ishimoto’s photographs honor the intentions of the original craftsmen.

Yasuhiro Ishimoto, The New Palace and the veranda of the Music Room from the Middle Shoin, Katsura Imperial Villa, 1954, gelatin silver print, © Kochi Prefecture, Ishimoto Yasuhiro Photo Center.

Yasuhiro Ishimoto, The New Palace and the veranda of the Music Room from the Middle Shoin, Katsura Imperial Villa, 1954, gelatin silver print, © Kochi Prefecture, Ishimoto Yasuhiro Photo Center.

“Ishimoto’s images don’t set the works of architecture apart from the viewer, nor do they put them on a pedestal,” says Anne E. Mallek, former curator of the Gamble House, who curated the photography exhibition along with Edward R. “Ted” Bosley, the current Gamble House director. “One is pulled in,” she says, “as if to observe the details that only the architects and craftsmen may have cared about.”

In the postwar period in both the United States and Japan, architects were examining the past as a resource for a national style. Ishimoto’s photos became key illustrations for a new approach to architecture in Japan in the 1950s and 60s. Likewise, the Greene brothers forged a new American style, going on to receive a special citation from the American Institute of Architects for a “new and native architecture.”

Down the hall from the Ishimoto exhibition is a refreshed installation of The Huntington’s permanent display of Greene & Greene architecture and design. Some of their finest examples of hand-crafted furniture are on view, reinstalled to provide greater context. There are also several new pieces on display that were brought out of dimly lit corners of the Gamble House so that they could be given the visual prominence they deserve. The showstopper is a 1909 chiffonier made from walnut, oak, and ebony, and inlaid with lapis lazuli, turquoise, and malachite.

Thanks to a recent reconfiguration of the Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art, these two exhibitions now sit at opposite ends of a single, long hallway. The works by Ishimoto look out toward those of the Greene brothers and vice versa, as if acknowledging how two very different cultures continue to inform each other, illustrated through the lenses of architecture, design, and photography.

Yasuhiro Ishimoto, David B. Gamble house, west elevation detail, 1974, gelatin silver print, © Kochi Prefecture, Ishimoto Yasuhiro Photo Center.

Yasuhiro Ishimoto, David B. Gamble house, west elevation detail, 1974, gelatin silver print, © Kochi Prefecture, Ishimoto Yasuhiro Photo Center.

“Yasuhiro Ishimoto: Bilingual Photography and the Architecture of Greene & Greene” is on view June 18–Oct. 3, 2016, in the Susan and Stephen Chandler Wing of the Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art. Reopening at the same time is The Huntington’s permanent display of Greene & Greene architecture and design, organized in collaboration with the Gamble House/USC.

Diana W. Thompson is senior writer for the office of communications and marketing at The Huntington.