February 11, 2019 – “Cake and Illinois”

Hello, everyone!

As another week begins, I knew what my responsibilities for the week entailed. Certainly, the guaranteed expectations include my weekly cleaning duty on Mondays and the continued review of the Home Movie Collection. Occasionally, I am pleasantly surprised with a treat or an unexpected task presents itself and I am “recruited” to help accomplish it. Both of these things happened today: Mr. Benjamin brought a strawberry-frosted chocolate cake for all the staff enjoy and the very large record books from the Sandford Municipal Courts needed to be moved into the stacks. Breaking the monotony of routine refreshes the archival experience!

Of course, my Monday experience started with cleaning the fifth-floor study hall as always. Thankfully, the desks did not have a lot of filth on them today. The only disgusting encounter happened I lifted an armrest to reveal a wad of gum underneath it. Fortunately, whoever placed the gum underneath the armrest did so very recently and the gum did not harden, yet. Other than that, cleaning the rest of the hall went smoothly.

After returning the cleaning supplies, I retrieved the Home Movie Collection from the stacks. I soon resumed watching the footage I started last week. Apparently, Mr. Richter visited Springfield, Illinois in 1959. He managed to film his visit to the state capitol building, give a glimpse of the city of Springfield, and visit the tomb of Abraham Lincoln. In the next group of footage, he visited Chicago, Illinois in the span between 1962 and 1964.

The next footage came from the Roosevelt Theater in Chicago during 1962. The event featured many guest stars and exotic sights. A woman brought a large that I initially thought was a cougar due to its cat-like features. A colleague of mine suggested that the animal was a large dog, which caused me to replay footage several times to identify the creature. Due to the bad lighting in the footage (I’m not sure if Richter was filming live at the location or not), I did not notice until maybe the sixth replay that the animal had spots on its fur.

By noticing the spots, I positively identified the creature as a cheetah! Not surprising since cheetahs can be more easily tamed than cougars. Surprisingly, some people actually do have pet cougars. While the cheetah certainly caught my attention, the most amazing part of the footage included an appearance by the “Duke” himself: John Wayne! A very surprising turn of events!

The rest of the film file included footage from 1964. Mr. Richter attended a variety of sports events that year: a baseball game between the Chicago White Sox and the Baltimore Orioles, a football game between Highland High School Trojans and Donald E. Gavit Jr./Sr. School (Gavit) Gladiators, and a tradition-laden football game between the Thornton Fractional South Rebels and the Thornton Fractional North Meteors. While these games dominated the footage, Richter captured another historic moment: the Beatles’ appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show! Additionally, he noted the Beatles’ film, A Hard Day’s Night, showing in theaters along with The Unsinkable Molly Brown (starring Debbie Reynolds and Harve Presnell).

While watching Richter’s exploits in Illinois, Mr. Benjamin asked for assistance in shuffling the very large and heavy records recently donated by the Sandford Municipal Courts. Dating back to the early decades of the twentieth century, these books needed to be temporarily placed in one of the study rooms on the fourth-floor due to lack of space. The time finally came to move the books into the stacks, so I helped Mr. Benjamin and Mr. Ogreten with this task. After three or four trips, we finally moved everything into the back area of the stacks.

Almost as a reward, Mr. Benjamin treated the staff to a homemade strawberry-frosted chocolate cake. The cake consisted of two chocolate layers with a strawberry frosting filler and coat, topped with fresh strawberries to complete the delicious design. I enjoyed the cake so much I ate two slices!

Eventually, my shift came to end. I packed the hard drive after I saved my work and returned all collection materials to the stacks. Afterward, I bid farewell to the staff and left for the day.

In review, I cleaned the fifth-floor study hall, continued to watch more footage from the Home Movie collection, and ate some delicious cake. Tomorrow, I think I might finish Barron Richter’s footage.Until then, enjoy the evening and stay safe! Bye!


Author: 57r3l574d

I am currently a Graduate Student at the University of Central Florida and simultaneously employed by the university library's Special Collections and University Archives as a Other Personnel Service (OPS) Student. Expected to graduate in 2019 with a History MA - Public History Track.

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