Welcome to the new year, everyone!
Though the new semester does not start until next week, my duties at the archives have resumed. Before the break, Mr. Benjamin had set aside a task for me to complete and that included making a list of the publications collected by Fred Rogers and Dr. Martin, Jr. This list ranged from 34 volumes of the American Cage Bird Magazine to 43 rare editions of literary classics such as Adventures of Tom Sawyer. As a result, the list became my main priority for today.
I resumed my assignment by searching through the remaining volumes of the American Cage Bird Magazine for any typos or anything of interest to note. Aside from one volume that contained two issues that were released in February (a peculiar instance to be sure), nothing out of the ordinary could be noted from the majority of the volumes. When I finished scouring the final volume, a sense of relief came over me.
Once I finished the magazine volumes, I turned my attention to the books. As previously mentioned, I noted Adventures of Tom Sawyer (two different published editions), Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and several editions of Joel Chandler Harris’ Uncle Remus folktales among the books. Additionally, a few books on canary care graced could be found among the collection. Aside from the smell of tobacco still lingering from the books, I noticed a pattern with the books.
A good number of the books contained illustrations created by Edward Windsor Kemble (January 18, 1861 – September 19, 1933). Kemble worked for Life magazine, from which his illustrations from the Thompson Street Poker Club later derived from. The two donors collected sketchbooks published by Kemble and other books Kemble drew illustrations for. These illustrations included depictions of African-Americans that doubtlessly could stir some controversy.
I came across a book regarding the history of California from 1846 to 1849 that was written by Edward Kemble and re-released by the California Historical Society with Fred Rogers as the editor in 1963. I thought this Kemble was the same as the illustrator until I saw his middle name. Edward Cleveland Kemble was a journalist in the nineteenth century who served in the Mexican-American War under John C. Fremont and participated in the Bear Flag Revolt of 1846. He later served as a war correspondent in the Civil War and became the Inspector of Indian Affairs under the Grant Administration.
Joe, one of my few colleagues present today, suggested the donors collected books and hoped to capitalize on an investment. Joe informed me that he also did the same. Whether this is the case or not is unknown, but it does open avenues of discussion of motivations behind the collections.
Eventually, I managed to finish noting all the books in the collection. The only items left in the collection to note are some artwork and I felt I needed clarification by Mr. Benjamin regarding them. As such, I placed any further progress on hold. I took the remainder of my time to update the timesheets to reflect the 2019 holiday schedule. When the intercomm announced the library would be closing in five minutes, I returned the cart and bid farewell to the staff as I left for the day.
In review, I finished listing all the magazine volumes and books in the Rogers and Martin, Jr. Collection. Depending if Mr. Benjamin returns tomorrow depends on whether or not I will finish the collection or return to the Democratic Women’s Club of Florida’s Scrapbooks. Until then, enjoy the evening and stay safe! Bye!