Sunday, November 4, 2012

Some Interesting Finds

Yesterday, my work at the archive began with assisting the president of the organization edit some material that is to be sent out to donors and members. The letter summarized some of the activities the organization plans to complete as well as a proposal for changing the frequency of newsletters. While working with this it made me realize all the small tasks that are necessary for the larger projects of the organization. I also realized that finding support for all of these projects is more than half the battle of completing them.
Following this task I began working with some of the Arai files again. We still have quite a few items from that collection to store, identify and accession. I started working with some of the photos that do not appear to have any relation to the others. However, I luckily came across a slip with many of the same small photo within it. This small photo also matched a larger version I had found before. It was a candid portait of an older man. I remembered I had seen a picture of Mr. Arai, who appeared to be the same age as the man in this portrait. I returned to the other photo, which showed Mr. Arai with Mrs. Arai and their son Benzo. The faces were identical and I now knew that the portraits were of Mr. Arai.
I continue to look through the Arai files and found more photo slips from the 1950s. Its very interesting to see the old style photo slips from this era. One included photos of Mrs. Arai. Up until then I was unable to find the first name of Mrs. Arai. I had only one document with what might have been her adopted name "Jean". I knew that this was a good insight, but I also knew that many of the Japanese Americans during that time that were also about her age adopted new more americanized first names. For example, my grandmothers real name was Shizuko, but she adopted the name Sue. Anyway, the photo slip that I found with Mrs. Arai's photos also had her name, the date, as well as her address. I finally had all of the pieces to fill her general biography information. I also now knew that likely address in the Rogers Park area of all the other family members, at least for November of 1950. This was a very convenient discover. I am always happy to find documents that are simple and straightforward like this.
My final interesting discovery of the day involved a very large box that whose items we had yet to accession. I looked into the box and discovered many editions of a magazine called Scene. The dates of the editions ranged from 1948 to 1953. This magazine was a Japanese American pictorial magazine. Before finding these I had never known of the publication. I never knew that a magazine marketed specifically for Japanese Americans ever existed during the post - war era. Finding out about something interesting like this is usual done through secondary sources, so I am very lucky to have my first understanding of the magazine through the actual issues. I repackaged the magazines into new plastic slips and began organizing them chronologically. Next week I will accession all of the magazines and hopefully will work with kimono that are being donated to the archive soon.

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