Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Poulet en Cocotte a la Paysanne

(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 poulet en cocotte √† la Paysanne:

Rub the cavity of a 4-pound roasting chicken with salt and pepper and truss it. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large flameproof casserole and in it saut√© the chicken over moderate heat, turning it to brown all sides. Remove the chicken to an earthenware casserole. To the juices remaining in the cocotte add 1/2 cup each of white wine and chicken stock and stir in 2 or 3 tablespoons rich veal juice or demi-glace sauce (or any good-quality meat extract). Reduce the mixture over high heat by one half. Coat the chicken with the sauce and surround it with 2/3 cup each of sliced carrots and turnips, which have been steamed in butter in another pan with a little sugar and salt, 12 small onions, glazed, 12 potato balls browned in butter and 1/2 cup diced bacon, browned. Cover the chicken with a piece of buttered paper. Cover the casserole and roast the chicken in a hot oven (400° F) for 30 minutes. Remove the chicken to a warm platter and carve it into serving pieces. Return the pieces to the casserole and place it on a plate. Bring it to the table covered with a napkin. Serves 6.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Union Iron Works project featured on The Signal

(by Heather Hernandez, Technical Services Librarian)

One of our projects, to create the online Union Iron Works Employee Card Collection, has been mentioned with other fascinating NPS digitization initiatives on the Library of Congress' blog, The Signal:  "Content Matters: An Interview with Staff from the National Park Service."

So far, through the efforts of staff, interns, and volunteers, over 400 cards for employees of the Union Iron Works shipyard in the 1910s have been digitized and are available online via NPS Focus (just enter these search terms: union iron works).  The hardcopy collection contains somewhere between 30,000 to 57,000 cards--we believe there is at least one card for every employee of the shipyard during this time period.  In addition to names, home addresses, occupation, they sometimes include age or year of birth, and country of origin--there is a wealth of data about an entire workforce during the WWI shipbuilding years in San Francisco, waiting to become more accessible.

In addition to full color scans of both sides of cards such as these:

Rich metadata records are being created to accompany the images, allowing them to be searched and retrieved by multiple terms including name, address (historic and current, if different and identifiable), occupation, and nationality.

In progress is a transcription database that will eventually make the entire dataset available to researchers on demand, in multiple formats.

Want to learn more?  There is a presentation available for viewing, and we'd love to hear from anyone interested in conducting research in the online or hardcopy collection, or in becoming involved in the project.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Digging for Gold at the Library: Abandon ship!

(by Gina Bardi, Reference Librarian)

Books can save your life. I don’t just mean those YouTube videos showing how to use a book as a weapon of self-defense (Helpful hint- a book spine can break a nose).  That’s a pretty concrete example. I’m thinking of books that are written to help you survive an extreme situation.  Are you wondering if we have an example in our collection? Has your eye already caught the book jacket pictured below? Well then let’s get to it.  This is a gem from our collection, How to Abandon Ship by Phil Richards and John J Banigan.

Cover of the book, Abandon Ship

Published by Cornell Maritime Press in 1942 and reprinted by the Infantry Journal in 1943, this slim, thin beauty of a book gives concise advice on how to survive a shipwreck, most likely a ship being torpedoed.  Banigan, a naval officer, was a victim of a shipwreck and managed to bring his crew of ten safely home after 19 grueling days at sea. The book includes information on what to do before, during and after an accident, how you prepare yourself the minute you step aboard ship from drills to becoming familiar with life boats, making sure adequate supplies are on hand, what to do once you are hit (Don’t panic. Easier said than done, yes?) The strongest part of the book is what to do once you are in a lifeboat, including information on keeping morale up and rationing.   For instance, I found this advice on how to divide rations called formally enough “Who is to have this” most illuminating:

One person turns his back on the object that is to be divided; another then points separately to the portions, at each of them asking aloud ‘Who shall have this?” to which the first answers by naming somebody. This impartial method of divisions gives every man equal chance at the best share (105).

I’ll be sure to use this method next time there’s a birthday cake. We’ll let fairness decides who gets the corner pieces.   The book also includes chapters on medical advice, issues with food and hunger, water and thirst and weather.  I sincerely hope you never need to rely on anything in this book, but it’s good information to have (and there are some interesting recipes).

If you’d like to see this book or any of the others we have on survival, safety or harrowing tales of shipwreck survivors and the not so fortunate, come into the library. If I’m not eating a corner piece of cake, I’ll be happy to help.

Richards, Phil and John J Banigan. How to Abandon Ship. New York: Cornell Maritime Press, 1942. Print.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Ships by John Masefield

(by Ted Miles, Assistant Reference Librarian)

Black and white photo of vessel on the water
Wanderer of Liverpool at anchor in San Francisco Bay, circa July 1892.
Photo by Thomas H. Wilton (B6 40,027nl)

John Masefield  ( 1878-1967) started by joining the Training Ship Conway intending to be an officer in the British Merchant Navy at that time the largest in the world. After completing his schooling in 1894, he went to sea as an Apprentice in the Gilcruix (iron 4 mast ship, built 1883) and several other vessels; he had seen the famous and beautiful Wanderer (steel 4 mast bark, built 1890). He wrote a detailed biography of the vessel. But he had to abandon his sea career due to poor health. After a period of odd jobs he settled into a successful career of writing and lecturing in England and the United States.

But his early life at sea provided the creativity that produced Salt Water Ballads in 1902. And many of his sea poems also appeared in his Collected Poems in 1922 which sold over 80,000 copies.

The poem is a tribute to the Port of Liverpool and to the vast fleet of ocean going square riggers that once crowded its harbor and wet docks. From it comes:

Lochs, Counties, Shires, Drums, the countless lines
Whose house-flags were all once familiar signs
at high main-trucks on Mersey’s windy days
When sunlight made the wind-white water blaze.
Their names bring back old mornings, when the docks
Shone in their house-flags and their painted blocks,
Their raking masts below the Custom house
And all the marvelous beauty of their bows….
That nobleness and grandeur, all that beauty
Born of a manly life and bitter duty,
That splendor of fine bows which yet could stand
The shock of rollers never checked by land.
That art of masts, sail crowded, fit to break,
Yet stayed to strength and backstayed into rake,
the life demanded by that art, the keen
Eye-puckered, hard-case seamen, silent lean,--
They are grander things than all the art of towns,
Their tests are tempests and the sea that drowns,
They are my country’s line, her great art done
By strong brains laboring on the thought unwon,
They mark our passage as a race of men,
Earth shall not see such ships as these again.

This last couple of lines is the most often quoted of Masefield’s poetry. The poet became Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom in 1930 and was given an honorary doctorate from Cambridge University in 1931. That is a pretty successful effort for a boy who liked to read and expected to go to sea in a square-rigged sailing vessel.   

The Poems and Plays of John Masefield (Volume One Poems) by John Masefield, (New York: The MacMillan Company) 1922. Pages 68, 69, 70 and 71. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Holiday hours this week

(by Heather Hernandez, Technical Services Librarian)

Update:  The Library will also be closing at 2:30 pm on Wednesday, July 3.

Reminder:  the Library will be closed for the federal holiday this Thursday, July 4 and also closed on Friday, July 5.  We will resume our normal hours on Monday, July 8, 3013.