Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Wild Rice Sauté

(by Heather Hernandez, Technical Services Librarian)

The recipe that follows is on the page following the one for sauce bèarnaise in the Library's copy of  The captain's table : 18 recipes for famous dishes served aboard the S.S. United States and S.S. America.  At the head of the page is a portrait of Mrs. Reed Albee, with the following:
"During a recent trip abroad, I was delighted to find the great tradition in good food continues on board the S.S. United States. So many of their wonderful dishes deserve mention, but this famous spécialité du paquebot is one of my particular favorites." Mrs. Reed Albee, well known in the theatre world, is a regular traveler on United States Lines.
Why not try one of Mrs. Albee's favorites?

Wild Rice Saute
(For Game or Fowl)

Wash well 12 ounces wild rice and cook it in a large quantity of boiling salted water for 40 to 50 minutes, or until it is tender.  Drain the rice well and dry it briefly in a slow oven (300F).  In a skillet saute 4 shallots, finely chopped, in 1/2 cup butter until they just begin to take on color.  Add the rice and saute it over very low heat, stirring it with a fork, for 8 minutes.  Stir in 2 tablespoons red currant jelly and cook the rice, stirring, for 2 minutes, or until the jelly is melted.  Serves 4.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Holiday hours

(by Heather Hernandez, Technical Services Librarian)

The Library will be closed from Thursday, December 20, 2012, through Tuesday, January 1, 2013; regular service will resume on Wednesday, January 2, 2013.

For more information, contact us or see our Plan Your Research Visit site.

(Updated and corrected, December 20, 2012.)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Behind the scenes in Technical Services: Koha serials tweaks we like

(by Heather Hernandez, Technical Services Librarian)

We still feel very new to Koha, the software that powers our Keys Catalog of Library Materials, but we've discovered a few little features that make our serials work much more efficient.

Before I dive in, let me recommend ByWater Solutions' serials tutorials--like all their tutorials, they're great introductions and overviews.  We've found that even if the tutorial is for an earlier version of Koha, a lot of the functionality remains the same.

The first feature we've come to appreciate is the nonpublic note.  This note shows up in the staff client display of the title when the "Subscriptions" tab is selected, right above the table of received issues, for example (this is how it looks in our version of Koha,

We're recording the source of acquisition, any other separately cataloged titles arriving on that subscription, and the mailing address to which the title is sent.

Why is this all useful?

When receiving an issue of a serial, we need to record the source of acquisition in the item record that is then created, but it's not visible anywhere on that screen--putting it in the nonpublic note solves that problem.  For example, here's Sailing in the middle of receipt--after it has been received in the "receipt box" but before any fields have been filled in on the new item record.  Seeing "NPSPURCH" tells us this is a purchased subscription (as opposed to one available gratis, via a donated subscription, etc.):

Eagle-eyed readers will also notice that these two subscriptions are addressed very differently.  Why?  When there is a staff change, or a change in job duties, or for various other reasons, the person actually paying for the subscription renewal can change.  If we have a problem with the subscription it's handy to have the exact address under which it's entered, and also handy when renewing, so we can make changes at that time.

We have also found that entering vendor information, even though we don't use Koha to generate claim letters, has proven very useful.  It's a central location, easily updated, for all the contact information regarding the source of our subscription, and has proven great when claiming (via email, phone, etc.) and renewing our subscriptions.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Site picks and newly available Niantic journals

(by Heather Hernandez, Technical Services Librarian)

We are delighted to announce that the latest issue of our Park's Maritime News, now available online as an Adobe Acrobat .pdf file, contains two articles by Collections Dept. staff members:

  • Reference Librarian Gina Bardi writes as entertainingly as always in her article, "Plumb the Depths with Online Maritime Resources."  The sites included aren't just for hardcore researchers--she includes sites that will entertain and delight as well.
  • Dan Brogden, Archives Specialist, contributes "Vividly-Written Journals Detail Four Voyages of the Niantic," an excerpt of a longer piece, available on the Park's website in its entirety, about exciting additions to our archival collections.  (But be sure to see the Maritime News version for two images not included in the online version.)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Digging for Gold at the Library: Gold Rush Ships

(by Gina Bardi, Reference Librarian)

The reason I am here today and you are reading this blog is Karl Kortum. Karl was the indefatigable visionary who got this museum up and started. He was a collector, historian, sailor, achiever, and all around bulldog of a man, from what I hear. I never met him, but I run into him every day--his records, his notes, his general mark on this collection is ubiquitous. One of my favorite things in the library is something he put together with Harlan Soeten and Albert Harmon, Notes on the Gold Rush Ships.

This large format (it measures 59 x 42 cm) book is a lovely combination of text, images, maps, newspaper clippings and other delights. It’s one of the most engaging resources we have. There’s all sorts of information on arrivals, departures, wharves, buried ships- knowledge enough to entice the novice and excite the pro.
When I first started here, I thought the Gold Rush would be our most popular topic. It is up there in the top 10, but I don’t have as many chances to bring this out as I would like. I've included some photos below to entice you, but please, do me a favor. Come to the library and ask to see this remarkable piece of history.

views of early San Francisco

map of San Francisco in 1848

map and views of San Francisco with table of Gold Rush storeships

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Dollar Steamship collections featured

(by Heather Hernandez, Technical Services Librarian)

Our friends at the National Park Service Museum Collection blog have featured some of our Dollar Steamship collections items, including some of the colorful brochures and a fabulous pith helmet.

Their post links to our online Museum objects catalog and our finding aids in the Online Archive of California, but if you're interested in learning even more, don't miss the Library items on the Dollar Steamship Lines listed in our Keys Catalog of Library materials, many of which are available for lending via interlibrary loan.  (Ask at your local library about borrowing items from us and other libraries around the world via "ILL," or contact us to learn more!)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Holiday hours, Nov. 2012

(by Heather Hernandez, Technical Services Librarian)

Please note that the Library will be closed Wednesday, November 21 through Friday, November 23; regular service resumes Monday, November 26.

See our Plan Your Research Visit site for more information, or contact us to learn more!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Pulp treasure: The Grain Ships

(by Heather Hernandez, Technical Services Librarian)

The Library is fortunate to have a significant holdings of maritime pulp fiction.  These materials, vastly popular when published, are now often scarce due to the materials used in their manufacture: inexpensive papers that are highly acidic, known as "pulp."

Our holdings have currently been enriched through a large number of pulp magazines dating from the late 19th through the 20th centuries, donated as part of the Krummes Collection of Steamship Fiction.  Although we are mourning the recent passing of Dan Krummes, we are proud to preserve and make available these materials that created a love of the sea in so many.

We are cataloging the stories in the pulp magazines individually to make them more accessible;  if you're not able to come in to read them in person, simply contact us to obtain copies.

While cataloging the contents of vol. 3, no. 2 (Nov. 20, 1922) of Sea Stories Magazine, I came across the poem, "The Grain Ships" by Captain Dingle.  It was too good not to digitize as part of our pilot program to digitize library materials--it is now available in multiple formats via the Internet Archive and NPS Focus, and I am delighted to present here this charming poem about San Francisco's grain ships:

Image of The Grain Ships

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Park's Collections Highlights by Subject

(by Heather Hernandez, Technical Services Librarian)

We have a new way to browse highlights of our collections--by subject!  These categories now appear at the bottom of our Museum Collections website:

The Museum Collections website has long encouraged exploration by format (object, archival, library, or small craft collections) but until now a way to browse articles and writings on our collections by subject or theme has been lacking.  Under these subjects you'll find everything from articles on specific collection items to writings using images of our collections as illustrations.

If you're interested in browsing our actual collections records, or accessing our online collections, then see our Collections Catalogs & Finding Aids.  Records for our collections are represented in many catalogs as are our finding aids to archival collections.  Have a question about which catalog is best for your research?  Don't hesitate to contact us--our Reference Staff is available to assist with your maritime research strategy.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Halloween reading

(by Heather Hernandez, Technical Services Librarian)

Are you looking for an eerie novelet where a ghost ship sails endlessly, with its cargo of fated souls?  Then "Till Doomsday" may be just what you're seeking:

Cover of Argosy magazine featuring "Till Doomsday"

Or maybe an anthology of Ghost Ships: Tales of Abandoned, Doomed and Haunted Vessels is more your taste this Halloween?   Or just a frisson from Mysterious Sea Stories?  Maybe you'd rather take a long sail on Frederick Marryat's The Phantom Ship?

However you spend Halloween, be sure to sail On Stranger Tides...

Cover of Tim Powers' On Stranger Tides

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Yacht Idler and the Library collections

(by Heather Hernandez, Technical Services Librarian)

What does the logbook of the yacht Idler in our Archives have to do with the Library collections?  Hint:  the answer lies in the pages below!

The full explanation is now available on the new page on our website written by Archives Specialist Ed LeBlanc, "Logbook of the yacht Idler linked to Library."

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Digging for Gold at the Library: U.S. Coast Survey Report

(by Gina Bardi, Reference Librarian)

I often talk about how walking through the stacks of the library I find gems based on unusual titles or interesting bindings.  Today’s gem has neither of these.  The binding is standard blue library binding and the title, U.S. Coast Survey Report is about as thrilling as a cotton ball. However, I walk past these volumes (it’s a continuing resource which is fancy library talk for “they publish it in volumes” [or maybe that’s fancy librarian talk for continuing resource…which is more fancy?!]) and a few months ago I stopped to take some off the shelf and see exactly what they were and what information they contained.   U.S. Coast Survey Reports are yearly reports from the Superintendent of the Coast Survey to Congress. For the most part, they have coastal maps, charts, tide tables, lists of maps completed or in progress and reports from various field offices which include shore line measurements, soundings, tidal observations, etc. There are also many appendices which give information such as who are the people doing the surveys in each area and a heaping dose of  math Math MATH! So much math!

 These reports are incredible resources for people who want to do in depth coastal research.  As I was flipping through the pages of the 1858 volume, however, I came across an appendix which popped out at me – it wasn’t the more dry scientific measurements, rather it’s statistics about shipping in and out of San Francisco.

The appendix (no.44) entitled “Directory for the Pacific Coast of the United States” is chock full of information which crosses all sorts of information needs.  The appendix is actually an extended report 8 years in the making on San Francisco Bay and port activity.  It has such bits of information such as in the year 1857, 1,328 vessels entered San Francisco from other American ports, 130 that entered were American vessels from foreign ports and 125 were foreign vessels from foreign ports making a total of 1,583 vessels that came to San Francisco that year (349).   Also according to the appendix, “At the end of the fiscal year , June 30, 1855, there were registered, enrolled, and licensed, at the custom-house of San Francisco, owned wholly or in part by citizens of California, 702 steam and sailing vessels engaged in trade upon the Pacific” (348).  The breakdown of that number is as follows: 

There’s more information in this wonderful resource including the average amount of gold shipped out of the state (351), value of exports of California for a three year period (350) and clipper passages times from 1850-1857 (346).

If any of these tidbits excite you, then stop on by the library and check out our U.S. Coast Survey Reports.

U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey. Report of the Superintendent of the Coast Survey, Showing the Progress of the Survey During the year 1858. Washington: William A. Harris, Printer, 1859.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Celebrating the arrival of the USS Missouri's gun

(by Heather Hernandez, Technical Services Librarian)

Our neighbor Park, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, has a new gun for Battery Townsley at Fort Cronkhite.  This exact gun, designated U.S. Navy Mark VII #386, is no stranger to SF Maritime NHP's Library collections--we have several titles on the U.S.S. Missouri, where the gun was mounted on the starboard side of one of the forward turrets.

If you come by the Library, be sure to come see one of our rare books that is of particular interest, covering the career of the ship during World War Two, U.S.S. Missouri published circa 1946.  It is loaded with photographs illustrating the life of the Missouri's crew as well as the more noteworthy moments of her career, including a Presidential visit and hosting Japanese surrender ceremonies.

This particular gun is visible in many of the illustrations in the book, including one of her leaving San Francisco, heading out the Golden Gate (the smaller, bottom photo):

...and of the guns firing:

...as well as an aerial view of the vessel in the Panama Canal:

It's a beautiful copy of the book, and a replica of a plaque that she bears is on the cover--we hope you'll stop by the Library to see this book when you're in the area visiting Battery Townsley.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Adventures of a Historical Detective: the Case of the Gold Watch

(by Diane Cooper, Museum Specialist)

Watch with gold chain (NPS photo)
                Some of the most interesting historical adventures occur while I’m traveling along the road to somewhere else chasing some other historical incident. The other day while working with the Park’s collection on another project, I came across a beautiful gold pocket watch engraved with the initials “RBG” on the back case. A curious inscription on the inside cover caught my attention and my curiosity, sending me on an unexpected journey through history. The inscription read:
Presented by 
the San Francisco Underwriters
 on the steamer “Cricket"
R.B. Goodwin, Chief Engineer
for meritorious services
during the fire at Portland
March 12, 1914

Inscription, inside cover (NPS photo)
                For some reason, I just had to know the whole story behind the watch, the man, the steamer and the incident. My education as a maritime historian and my work as a museum technician piqued the historical detective in me. And so, in words of the famous literary detective Sherlock Holmes, “the game was afoot.”

Before beginning my investigation, I needed to determine exactly what I hoped to discover. I identified four basic research questions I wanted to answer. These were:

1. Who was R. B. Goodwin?
2. How severe was the fire that occurred in Portland, Oregon on March 12, 1914?
3. What did R.B. Goodwin do to save the Cricket from that fire?
4. Even though the fire took place in Portland, how were the watch, R. B. Goodwin, and the Cricket related to San Francisco?

                I decided to try to confine my search to online sources I could view during my lunch hour. First step in my search was to review the Park’s catalog record and file.  The only new clue found in that record was the fact that the Cricket was built locally at an Alameda ship yard in 1913. My visual inspection of the watch had revealed it was made of 19k gold in Switzerland for Shreve & Company, a local San Francisco jeweler established in 1852. 

A quick check of Google turned nothing up on either R.B. Goodwin or the Cricket. At least that was one potential information source I could now rule out. I hoped my next online source would be more fruitful.

With no primary sources readily available, I turned to other sources.  Although Holmes insisted “There is nothing like first-hand evidence,” a great source of information, though one has to be somewhat skeptical of its facts, is the contemporary news reports. I started searching the San Francisco newspapers, a herculean task that use to require days, weeks, even months to complete. But today, that’s no longer true, thanks to the people at UC Riverside and their online California Digital Newspaper Collection.  The search still requires time and patience, but it can be accomplished from your computer and at your convenience.

                Searching on the keywords “fire, Portland, wharf, Cricket” I found numerous articles, most of which did not refer to my topic. Three articles, however, were on the mark. The first article was from the San Francisco Call and described a fire on board the steamer Cricket while docked at Pier 38 in San Francisco on 5 November 1913. Even though this fire was not the one referred to by the watch, it told me that the Cricket had been in San Francisco and was no stranger to fire.

Neither of the next two articles mentioned the Cricket, but they gave me details about the Portland wharf fire of 1914. On 21 March 1914 the Pacific Rural Press, the farmer’s newspaper, reported that approximately 9,000 tons of wheat were destroyed in a dock fire in Portland. The same day the Sausalito News described the Portland fire as “the most devastating conflagration in its history … when two mammoth grain wharves, laden with wheat, were completely destroyed, and two large vessels were ruined almost beyond repair and a dozen buildings were damaged by the driving flames” resulting in an estimated $1,000,000.00 in damages. In addition, one fireman was seriously injured and four others barely escaped death while fighting the blaze

                While this gave me an understanding of just how severe the fire had been, it didn’t tell me about the Cricket or R.B. Goodwin. A second search was required, this time using the key words “fire, Goodwin, Cricket.” And there it was, the only article in the database that included all three of those words and contained the answers to my research questions. In the May 1914 the following article appeared in the American Engineer on page 30:
The Burning of the Steamer “Cricket”
While laying at the dock at Portland, Oregon, on the morning of March  12th, the Cricket took fire from the wharf and at the time was loaded on deck with asphaltum in barrels.
At 4:30 a.m. the first assistant engineer was awakened and heard the crackling of the flames and immediately gave the warning. The three engineers went to the engine-room and got the fire-pump started and started the main engine to attempt to break the lines, thereby getting the steamer clear of the dock. The chief went back on deck and got a fire hose out and began to play a stream on the vessel. As the deck department had left the steamer in a boat it remained for the engineers’ department to do what was possible, but after making a fight for about fifteen minutes they saw that it was time to look out for themselves and called to the police boat to take them off; the fire was now raging so badly that they did not dare come alongside, so those that were left on board jumped overboard and were picked up by a launch. The fire was confined to the upperworks and after the survey was housed over and came to San Francisco under her own steam, and is now being rebuilt at the United Engineering Works.
To show their appreciation for the heroism and attempt made by the engineers to save the steamer, the Board of Underwriters on April 17th, 1914, presented Chief-engineer Roy B. Goodwin with a beautiful gold watch and chain, the case of the watch being engraved to commemorate the purpose for which it was given, also giving him a month’s salary. First assistant engineer H.G. Fowle and second assistant engineer R. F. Blake each received a month’s salary and a letter of recommendation.

                Now I knew what Goodwin did to “save” the Cricket and that the Cricket was almost certainly one of the “two large vessels … ruined almost beyond repair” in that fire. I also knew that Goodwin did not act alone. My next step was to check the U.S. Censuses for 1910 and 1920 to try and learn a bit more about Roy B. Goodwin and his co-workers H.G. Fowle and R. F. Blake. The two sources I used for this search are Ancestry.com (subscription based) and the free databases of Family Search.

                My search of the 1910 census located an entry for the household of Roy B. Goodwin. Included in his family were his wife, Amelia, their two daughters, Helen and Marion, and his older brother, Frank. Frank also worked on steamships as a seaman. The household of Roy and Amelia Goodwin also turned up in the 1920, 1930, and 1940 censuses.

1910 U.S. Cenus entry for the Roy B. Goodwin family and household
I also searched the 1910 census for H.G. Fowle and R.F. Blake. It contained one entry for “H.W. Fowle” and listed him as living in a boarding house at Broadway Wharf and Powell. A North Dakotan, the 25 year old Fowle was employed as a 2nd Engineer on an ocean steamer with what appears to be the entire crew, from the Captain to the bell boy, living in the same boarding house. This might be the Cricket’s H.G. Fowle, but I cannot verify that fact. The census also contained one entry for “R.A. Blake,” a 29 year old 2nd Engineer on the steamer Charles Nelson, which was docked at Pier 16. Again, this could be the Cricket’s R.F. Blake, but I cannot verify that fact. Neither Fowle nor Blake appeared in the 1920 census.

                I made a quick call to our Reference Librarian, Gina Bardi (I know, she’s not really an online source but she’s a really good source), and asked her to see if she could find these three men in a San Francisco directory around 1914. Roy Goodwin, a marine engineer, and his family were in the 1914 directory living at 40 Lloyd Street. Neither Mr. Fowle nor Mr. Blake were listed in the San Francisco directories between 1912 and 1916.

While Gina searched the directories I looked at links I found for a World War II draft registration record, two passenger [crew] lists from 1942, and a death record, dated 18 June 1948, for a Roy Burton Goodwin, born on 25 July 1884. A quick search of the 1900 census yielded a record for Roy B. Goodwin, son of Francis W. Goodwin and younger brother of Francis E. Goodwin, with a birth date of July 1884. Now I knew Roy’s middle name and his death date. I also knew he served in the Merchant Marines during World War II.

                Here my journey, and my lunch hour, ended. But I had discovered (1) who R.B. Goodwin was, (2) how destructive the Portland fire was, (3) what Goodwin did to receive the accolade of “meritorious service” while trying to save the steamer Cricket, and (4) that the steamer Cricket, built in Alameda in 1913, sailed in and out of San Francisco, that Roy B. Goodwin lived in the City from at least 1910 until his death in 1948, and that the watch was purchased from a well-known San Francisco jeweler by the local insurance underwriters who were saved the expense of a ship declared a “total loss” by the actions of the ship’s engineers.

I also learned that Goodwin was bravely assisted by H.G. Fowle and R. F. Blake in his fight to save the Cricket and that all three men received commendations for their actions. While I still don’t know anything definite about Fowle and Blake, I found personal information in the 1910 census about two men who may possibly be those Cricket engineers. 

                As with all good investigative journeys, the answers to my questions merely point me in the direction of new questions I’d like to answer. (Questions like: What cargo did the ships Archbishop Lamy and Elihu Yale carry and what ports did they visit in 1942? Did Roy serve on other merchant vessels during the war? What did Frank do? What did become of H.G. Fowle and R.F. Blake?) Being a historical detective is a never-ending job that allows me glimpses of the past, introduces me to interesting characters, and takes me on exciting journeys, many without ever leaving my computer. You should give it a try.

Cover with initials, "RBG" (NPS photo)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sailing Vessels

(by Heather Hernandez, Technical Services Librarian) 

This week we're offering another instructive rhyme from Nautical Nursery Rhymes by Billy Ringbolt, which resides in the Peterson, Peter H. (Capt.) Papers, (SAFR 18665, HDC 571):

Sailing Vessels

A sailing ship when under sail,
Or being towed must never fail
Her side lights to let others see,
As told by Regulation Three;,
And also, as we all should know,
A masthead light must never show.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sauce Bèarnaise

(by Heather Hernandez, Technical Services Librarian)

The next recipe in the Library's copy of  The captain's table : 18 recipes for famous dishes served aboard the S.S. United States and S.S. America is for another sauce, Bèarnaise. The recipe is prefaced by the statement, "This classic sauce on fish or meat always makes a gourmet treat." How neat!

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan combine 1/4 cup chopped fresh tarragon, 3 tablespoons vinegar, 1 teaspoon chopped shallots, and salt and white pepper to taste. Cook the mixture over high heat until the vinegar is reduced to 1 tablespoon. Cool the liquid slightly and gradually beat in 6 egg yolks. Return the pan to very low heat or transfer to the top of a double boiler. Add gradually 1 pound melted butter and cook the sauce, stirring constantly with a wire whisk, until it is thick and glossy. Rub the sauce through a fine sieve and season it with 1 teaspoon each of chopped fresh tarragon and glace de viande (meat extract) and a pinch of cayenne. Serve the sauce warm. Serves 10 to 12.

What to do with 6 leftover egg whites?  I like adding them to an omelette, whipping a few up to give a little extra lightness and body to a pumpkin pie, or using a couple to make coconut macaroons (my favorite recipe is in the Fannie Farmer Cookbook, which I follow almost exactly as written, with the exception of adding a heaping 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar to the whipped egg whites to add a little bit of body to them).

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Sauce Mornay

(by Heather Hernandez, Technical Services Librarian)

This week we bring you another recipe from the Library's The Captain's Table : 18 recipes for famous dishes served aboard the S.S. United States and S.S. America, the recipe for Sauce Mornay:

Sautè 2 tablespoons finely minced onion in 4 tablespoons butter until it is golden.  Stir in 4 tablespoons flour and gradually add 3 cups milk, heated just to the boiling point.  Cook the sauce, stirring constantly, until it is smooth.

Sautè 1/4 pound (1/2 cup) finely chopped or ground veal in 2 tablespoons butter over very low heat. Season the veal with 1/4 teaspoon salt, a sprig of thyme or a tiny pinch of thyme leaves (powdered thyme will discolor the sauce) and a pinch each of white pepper and freshly grated nutmeg. Cook the veal for 5 minutes, stirring it to prevent browning. Stir the veal into the sauce.

Cook the sauce in the top of a double boiler over hot water for 1 hour, stirring it from time to time. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve. There should be 2 cups. Mix 3 egg yolks, lightly beaten, with 1/2 cup hot light cream and combine with the 2 cups sauce. Cook the sauce, stirring constantly, until it just comes to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons each of butter and grated parmesan or Swiss cheese. Makes 2-1/2 cups sauce.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

New titles in the Library, right from Keys

(by Heather Hernandez, Technical Services Librarian)

Although our new acquisitions are available from our WorldCat.org  profile page, which also provides an rss feed, there is now a way to see them right from the Keys Catalog home page:

Keys Catalog screenshot with red oval over the "new titles" link in the center of the page
Keys Catalog Screenshot

Like just about everything on the Catalog's home page, this link was easily added, and can easily be changed. For folks interested in the "Behind the Scenes" aspect of working with Koha (the software that powers the Keys Catalog), here's how it was done:

Once again, Nicole Engard's post on the ByWater Solutions blog about creating a new items pull-down menu came in handy--from idea's gleaned from Nicole, I was able to create the following search:
Note that "q=acqdate%3D2012-08" searches for records added to the catalog in August, 2012, and "+not+itype%3ALOOSEPER" is knocking out all the "loose periodicals"--I eliminated the loose periodicals added to the database from this search, since I think that this search should highlight the newly acquired books, videos, archives, etc., rather than every issue of every periodical checked in during the following month.  The last component of the search sorts the items by date acquired with the most recent first.  (This, of course, is easily changed on the search results screen--just open the pull down menu on the upper right and change "Acquisition date: Newest to oldest" to any of many other options

Then it was a simple matter of plugging it into our OpacMainUserBlock system preference--it's that simple!  In the coming week, when I've cataloged more items into Keys, I'll change the link so that with one click you can retrieve items cataloged last month, or simply click to see items cataloged this month.

We hope you like this new feature on Keys!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Gold Rush Journal 'Round the Horn : Wildlife, Wind and Rum

Wildlife, wind and rum: sketches and observations after 2 ½ months at sea in 1849.

(by Palma J. You, Archives Technician)

After a stop on Saint Catherine, known today as Santa Catarina, the bark Croton sailed southward towards "Pattigonia on Terra del Fuego" April 3, 1849.  Mr. Chittenden notes "the streights are 15 miles wide & 50 miles long[…]mountains are high with snow upon the tops… land looks high & naked" [...].  There is "very little wood on bushes […] scattered here and thair like the western prairies." "The tide make 85 ft., Stattenland is about 30 x 7 miles. It is high and mountainous."

Mr. Chittenden writes there are "pleanty of seal & many foxes wolves tigers & the polar bair[…] large birds, the Albetrofs Petral Cape Pigion chicks Boobies Ostrich & others to numerous to mention." His sketch below is a view of the "Streights of Lamaire."

April 9th the bark Croton weathers Cape Horn:

"At 12 oclock the wind is increased to a gale, Sun obscured, Topsails reefed close, Ship laid to. It rains & hails, weather cold. Our correct position is not to be had this day. Our course is west by north of the wind […] we shall try & rum off before it."

"This cut represents the Bark Croton as she lay to in a gale off Cape Horn April 9th, 1849."

Earlier ‘Round the Horn journal entries feature a Receipt for Cholera, St. Michael and Saint Catherine.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sailing Alone Across the Pacific: The Boat

(Second in a series of posts celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first person to make a non-stop solo crossing of the Pacific Ocean, leaving Osaka, Japan on May 12, 1962 and arriving in San Francisco on Sunday, August 12, 1962. By Gina Bardi, Reference Librarian.)

Mermaid on exhibit at the Hyde Street Pier, August 2012,
undergoing preservation work (SAFR 8791, NPS photo)

You can have all the determination, grit, pluck, spunk, backbone, nerve, skill and desire to sail solo across the Pacific, but you’re not going to get very far If you don’t have a boat. When 23-year old Kenichi Horie set out to cross the open sea, he needed a partner that would stand up to the challenge. After paying $30 for a set of blue prints. When he asked the designer, Akira Yokoyama, if the boat could make it across the Pacific, Yokoyama replied:

It’s possible…I don’t think it hasn’t got a chance. But remember, a sailboat for a sailor is something like a pair of shoes for a climber. Just getting into Hillary’s shoes doesn’t mean you could climb Everest. And a sailboat alone doesn’t make a sailor out of anyone. (Kodoku, 41-2)

Not quite a pep talk, but then again, Horie didn’t need a pep talk. The one thing he asked of the builder was to change the serial number of the boat. It would be the fourth one of that design built, and the Japanese have a superstition of the number 4. Horie was not willing to tempt fate. Yokoyama agreed to change the number to 5 (42).  He had a boat yard in Osaka build the 19 foot sloop, which he named the Mermaid. There was no special attachment to the mythical creature, rather a company had donated the sail in exchange for the publicity. The company’s logo was a mermaid which was emblazoned on the sail. It seemed natural to name her that.

It will come as no surprise to anyone who owns a boat, that when it was done, Horie was alternately thrilled and disappointed. It was his boat, his very first one, but there were problems. The old saying “A boat is a hole in the water you pour money into” holds true in Japan as well. He’d have a bit more work to do before he could set sail (47). Finally, on May 12th, 1962 Horie started his journey in his little black and whiteboat which would become his constant and stalwart companion for 94 days.

 We’ll be talking more about the actual voyage in later posts, but [spoiler alert] after he returned to Japan, Horie donated the Mermaid to our museum. He also presented us with a commemorative tray on which the following is transcribed:

Tray from Kenichi Horie to SF Maritime (SAFR 3708)

"I would like for you - the people of this beautiful City of San Francisco, the City that I shall remember as the one that made my youth such a colorful event - to accept my most loved one, "The Mermaid." My entire youth was spent in carrying on a conversation with her. She was the one who gave me courage when I was lonely and weak.  She is a lonely heart, too. I tried to encourage her when she was depressed by talking to her about the Golden Gate Bridge that she had longed to see. Both of us were tied together strongly by trusting each other with the impatience of young lovers. The two of us left Nishinomiya Port on the night of May 12, 1962. Putting entire confidence in the strength of this little lover of mine, we set sail into the vast ocean ahead of us...It is unbearable for me, now, to leave her behind in a foreign country. It pains my heart terribly to think that she is left behind alone. You will please be kind to her. Please be kind to my tired lover; please be good to her. Although she may look a bit unpainted and pale, I don't doubt that she is most serenely contented inside. She is injured all over, but she is immersed in the memories of her 94 days on high seas.  Will you please speak to her, this lonely heart, when you are moved to do so. And will you please listen to her talk about the stars, the waves and the skies over the Pacific Ocean. And recall for a short moment, if you will, the deed of a young Japanese, who loved the yacht and the United States of America." (SAFR Catalog 3708)

I would be hard pressed to find a more touching love letter.

See the Mermaid in all her glory on Hyde Street pier in front of the Small Boat Shop. Check back in the coming weeks for more on this incredible voyage.

Horie, Kenichi. Kodoku. Rutland, Vermont: Charles E. Tuttle Company, 1964. Book.

Tray, 1968. SAFR Catalog Number 3708. San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Newly digitized Library materials

(by Heather Hernandez, Technical Services Librarian)

We are delighted to announce that the following titles have been digitized, as part of our pilot Library digitization program.  The links below will take you to to the Keys cataloging records for the titles, from which you can follow the links to the online site(s) hosting the titles.  All are available to read online or download in image formats at NPS Focus, and some are available in multiple other formats at the Internet Archive including: read online, Adobe Acrobat .pdf (searchable if possible), EPUB, Kindle, Daisy, full text, and DjVu, with access and download options.

Want to see all the digital resources from SF Maritime NHP Collections?  Go to NPS Focus and put into the search box:  San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. (As of this writing, we have 373 digital items there!)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Sailing alone across the Pacific: The Anniversary

Signed half-title page from the Library's rare copy of Kodoku

(Second in a series of posts celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first person to make a non-stop solo crossing of the Pacific Ocean, leaving Osaka, Japan on May 12, 1962 and arriving in San Francisco on Sunday, August 12, 1962.  By Heather Hernandez, Technical Services Librarian.)

On Sunday, August 12, 1962, Kenichi Horie arrived in San Francisco on his 19 foot plywood boat, the Mermaid, having spent the previous 94 days sailing alone across the Pacific Ocean--the first person known to have done so.

This is one of many amazing accomplishments in maritime history, a field full of dates, distances, and seemingly impossible achievements.  Why do we note them?  Why do we celebrate them?  What do they mean?

For me, it is about a connection.

Of course, I had long heard about Kenichi Horie's amazing voyages, even read about the more recent ones in the newspaper.  When I visited the Maritime Museum, I could visit the Mermaid on the veranda.  When I came to work here, his book, Kodoku, is one of those titles that is requested and travels from the Stacks to the Reading Room and back, through the Library staff's hands.

But a significant anniversary creates excitement and awareness.  The Mermaid has been moved out to the Hyde Street Pier and is not only on exhibit, but is being cared for by the Small Craft shop.  I went to visit her--to speak to her, as Mr. Horie requested.  They are doing a wonderful job--her stern is looking so spiffy!  (You can see some of their blue painters' tape in this photo.)

 I looked for and found her tag, one of the symbols of how she connects us:

When I have the privilege of visiting her, I am reminded of how lucky I am to work in Collections, and how I can occasionally count myself among those who can touch her--who can lay my hand on this wonderful little yacht that took such care of the young Mr. Horie, and who traveled all that long way from our sister city, Osaka.  Sure, the same water touches our shores, San Francisco's and Osaka's, and many vessels have plied the waters in between, but this one made her journey under sail with only her one sailor to accompany her.

Want to make a connection to Mr. Horie yourself?  Come in to the Library.  Hold in your hands the copy of Kodoku from which the image at the top of this post was taken.  Mr. Horie held and signed this copy of Kodoku, and it resides in our rare vault, but it is accessible to all.  You can hold in your hands something that Mr. Horie held in his.

And on this Sunday, August 12, 2012, join me in honoring Mr. Horie's request to "...recall for a short moment, if you will, the deed of a young Japanese, who loved the yacht and the United States of America."

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Sailing alone across the Pacific: The person

(First in a series of posts celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first person to make a non-stop solo crossing of the Pacific Ocean, leaving Osaka, Japan on May 12, 1962 and arriving in San Francisco on Sunday, August 12, 1962.  By Gina Bardi, Reference Librarian.)

Kenichi Horie, standing on the deck of the MERMAID, arriving in San Francisco in 1962 from http://www.nps.gov/safr/historyculture/kenichihorie.htm

In Kenchi Horie’s book Koduko: sailing alone across the Pacific, he says, "The crew matters the most," (p. 30) so when he set out to cross the Pacific Ocean he chose the best crew he could ... himself. Just himself.  At 23 years old, when most of us were just figuring out how to get to work on time, Kenchie Horie sailed from Japan to San Francisco in a 19 foot sail boat alone. When asked why he did such a thing--and he was asked. Repeatedly. To the point of annoyance, he replied, "Well, I crossed it because I wanted to" (p. 15).  It’s an answer reminiscent of Sir Thomas Mallory’s famous  reason why he climbed Mt. Everest  ("Because it was there") but it is a more confident active response. It’s the sort of response one would expect of a young auto parts salesman who, despite concern from his parents, against the wishes of his government, set out on a ridiculously dangerous 5,300 miles journey to a country where he had no connections, barely spoke the language and no plans on how to get back.  
To me, one of the most interesting things about Horie is that he did not have a life time love affair with the sea.  In fact, he wasn't the least bit interested in sailing until high school when he joined the school's sailing club because "it sounded like fun" (p. 20). There was no deep passion drawing him--he could have just as easily joined the chess team. Things turned for Horie though during his sophomore year, still sailing with the club.  As he described it, "A burning passion for the sea gripped me.  Maybe it was then that the Pacific began to beckon to me, inviting me to dream of a boundless open sea to sail" (p. 21). Once in its grip, Horie was not able to let go. Despite pushback from family and ridicule from friends and worried barks from his dog (p. 79), he went to sail in the boundless open sea.  He said of his goal:

If you make up your mind to do something--if you are determined to do it--there is only one way to go about it.  Work out your own ideas  on the general course you are going to follow and stick to them; stand on those basic ideas and assume responsibility for your actions.  You yourself have to work out what you think is the best plan and carry it out to the end.  You may make mistakes, there may be details in your plan that could have been improved upon by relying on someone else’s advice but basically it has to be your personal responsibility to conceive and carry out the project (p. 51).

Read more about Horie’s boat the Mermaid, the actual voyage, what he packed and the upcoming anniversary in future Full Fathom Five posts.  Until then, if you decide to sail alone across an ocean, maybe you’d like to bring a copy of Koduko along with you--stop by the library and check out a copy (just don't bring it back wet).

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Browse by popular format on Keys

(by Heather Hernandez, Technical Services Librarian)

We've added a new pull down menu to the main page of the Keys Catalog--the ability to browse by popular format:

Screenshot of the Keys Catalog highlighting the new search feature
With this tool you can quickly retrieve all the archives, books, games, maps, musical CDs, musical scores, online resources, videos on DVD or videos on VHS in the Library.

To accomplish this, we moved the links to other catalogs; you'll find them under the "Other catalogs" link on the left side of the screen.

Interested in how we did it?  Keep reading!  Not interested?  Just click over to the Keys Catalog and enjoy the new feature!

Nicole Engard recently posted to the ByWater Solutions blog about creating a new items pull down menu, and for us, a light bulb went off!  As anyone who has gone to our Advanced Search screen has seen, we have a lot of item types.  Why so many?  Because we use the ability to search by item type for back room operations such as preservation surveys--for this, it makes a great deal of difference whether a sea shanty recording is on audio cassette, CD, or a vinyl record.

But the ability to retrieve in one search the most popular formats seemed lost in the huge sea of item types under Advanced Search, until we saw Nicole's blog post.  I was able to easily adapt her HTML to the formats that users ask us about searching the most, and then plug that into the OpacMainUserBlock preference of the OPAC global settings.  Be sure to let us know what you think of the new search tool!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Digging for Gold at the Library: Freak ships

(by Gina Bardi, Reference Librarian)

Who amongst us would have such self-control as to be able to walk past a book called Freak Ships and not take a little look see? Friends, not me.

Freak Ships (1936), written by Stanley Rogers is a book of "naval oddities…which in truth is a side-show in the vast bibliography of sea literature" (ix). Listen to Mr. Roger’s exuberance (and hubris) as he describes this book:
As an assiduous student of maritime history who grows a little weary  of the pedantic solemnity of your true sailor, I hold up my discovery with a shout of glee. Freak ships! What a notion. This will fall like a fire-cracker in the academic halls of nautical learning. Here is a side show to disturb the pedants; a frivolous tome to rub shoulders with treatises on naval architecture and nautical dictionaries” (ix).

What follows however is not really going to blow your mind clean out of your head. The author focuses on ships that were strange or unusual for the time, such as the 7-masted schooner Thomas W. Lawson or The Great Eastern, simply for her size.  I was hoping more for strange terrible ships born from the opiatic nightmares of madmen but I got the Monitor.  I think I was looking for something more in the line of this.

There are some interesting sketches and the designs in Roger's Freak Ships and his heart is certainly in the right place.  I suppose this book will always have a place in my heart for chapter titles such as "Some Victorian Freaks" and "Freak Fore-an-Afters."  Just for that it’s definitely worth a read.

By the way, here’s a librarian time wasting - I mean research tip: using your favorite search engine, do an image search for Steampunk AND ship. Wow. I know, right?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


(by Heather Hernandez, Technical Services Librarian) 

These week we're offering another instructive rhyme from Nautical Nursery Rhymes by Billy Ringbolt,  which resides in the Peterson, Peter H. (Capt.) Papers, (SAFR 18665, HDC 571):


Side lights are colored green and red
They show for two miles right ahead,
And circle round they throw their light
Two points abaft the beam at night;
The masthead light five miles is seen,
Shows round same space as red and green.

A staemer under way at night
On foremast has a masthead light,
On starboard side a light of green,
While on the port the red is seen;
And if she takes a ship in tow,
Two masthead lights she then must show.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Collection spotlight: Ron Cleveland Photograph Collection

(Written by M. Crawford and Amy Croft)

The Ron Cleveland photograph collection (P90-062, SAFR-22583) was recently processed at the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park (SFMNHP) and contains photographs of the construction of ship models built by Ron Cleveland from 1965-1984. One of the models he built was of the KOHALA, a California-built barkentine that played a role in the West Coast lumber and sugar trades during the early 20th century. The model is a product not only of his interest in maritime history but also the result of in-depth archival research.
Ron Cleveland (1912-1987) was a California architect who had a strong interest in maritime history and the construction of 19th century sailing vessels. Ron's interest in maritime history started because his grandfather worked on spritsail barges on the Thames River in England in the late 19th century. Ron's first ship model was of the English spritsail barge KATHLEEN and his second model was of the Norwegian brigantine LEON. In his professional life, Ron worked as a principal architect at Leach, Cleveland and Associates for 36 years, specializing in the design of over 100 Southern California supermarkets. The firm designed some permanent exhibits at the Los Angeles Museum of Science and Industry and was retained in 1968 by the California Museum Foundation as consultants for, and designers of the exhibit "The Queen Mary Story" as part of Jacques Cousteau's Museum of the Sea, on board the QUEEN MARY while she was a museum ship in Long Beach.

Cleveland did extensive research using archival and library resources to ascertain the specifications of the vessels that he created, in order to build them to scale as accurately as possible.  Ron also consulted with other maritime historians and people who had worked or sailed on similar vessels in the past, particularly to ensure that he built the structure and rigging correctly. For example, he interviewed Harlan Gow, who worked as a shipwright in the Bendixen shipyard from 1898-1908, about how they had built the West Coast vessels. Cleveland also interviewed Lester Stone, whose grandfather built one of the first shipyards in San Francisco in 1853, and who later took over the shipyard. Both of these interviews are now in the San Francisco Maritime's collections. Cleveland also relied on the assistance and knowledge of Robert "Bob" Weinstein, Captain Fred Klebingat, and San Francisco Maritime Museum Founder and Chief Curator Karl Kortum. Ron joined the Nautical Research Guild in 1964 and later began a Southern California Chapter with the assistance of Bob Weinstein.
In 1969, Ron began construction of a model of the barkentine KOHALA, which took him nearly 15 years to complete. During this time he wrote a manuscript titled "Rigging of West Coast Barkentines and Schooners" which has details about the construction of his model of the KOHALA. According to Ron, Karl Kortum told him that no one to his knowledge had pursued the study of structure and rigging of West Coast barkentines to the extent that Cleveland had over this 15 year period.
The KOHALA was a four-masted barkentine that was built at Fairhaven, California in 1901 by the Bendixsen Shipbuilding Co. for the management of Hind, Rolph & Co., San Francisco and was first primarily used in the West Coast lumber trade. Later she established herself in the sugar trade on a cargo route to Hawaii from San Francisco, and is named after the North Shore and volcano of the Big Island itself. Her last sail passage was in 1921 and she was later turned into a fishing barge. On December 25, 1941 the KOHALA was mistaken for a possible Japanese submarine and accidentally sunk by American bombers near Redondo Beach!
In 1985, Mr. Cleveland donated the KOHALA model to San Francisco Maritime NHP. The model of the KOHALA is on display in the San Francisco Maritime Museum at 900 Beach Street - come check it out! In addition to this model of a vessel that played a role in 20th century maritime history and commerce, Ron's extensive research and notes are a valuable resource about how the KOHALA was constructed and can be found in his manuscript collection, also held here at the San Francisco Maritime NHP (HDC 1061, SAFR 12782). Although the age of sail has past, Ron's model of the KOHALA literally and figuratively preserves a small piece of that history with remarkable accuracy.

Check out the finding aid on the Online Archive of California to learn more about the nearly 3000 photographs in the Ron Cleveland photograph collection! Some of the photographs have been scanned and can be viewed on NPS Focus (http://npsfocus.nps.gov/npshome.do?searchtype=npshome) by searching for "Ron Cleveland Photographs".
Quote: "If I could shrink my body to one-inch size I could walk up the gangway, go to the wheel house and sail her out to sea," said Captain Fred Klebingat in a Los Angeles Times article published on March 5, 1984. Ron Cleveland (left), Captain Fred Klebingat (right) and KOHALA model. Photograph courtesy of the SFMNHP, Series 1.1, File Unit 40, Item 01.

Quote: Ron constructed each of these figures by hand. According to Ted Miles, Reference Librarian at the San Francisco Maritime Library, most ship models do not have miniature people on them. Photograph courtesy of SFMNHP, Series 1.1, File Unit 43, Item 20.