Monday, September 30, 2013

Anniversary of San Francisco's Aquatic Park

(by Edward LeBlanc, Archives Specialist)

Dedication of Aquatic Park in 1939 from the Living New Deal website

January 22, 2014 is the 75th anniversary of the dedication of Aquatic Park.  On that day in 1939, the Works Progress Administration formally turned over Aquatic Park to the City of San Francisco in an extravagant public celebration, despite the unfinished Bathhouse and the many proposed structures throughout the Park that were never built. Still, thousands flocked to Aquatic Park to hear speeches and tour the Bathhouse. 

Originally proposed as a public space, the Bathhouse was leased by the City to private concessionaires and became the Aquatic Park Casino, a private restaurant and bar. By 1941 the Bathhouse was taken over by the U.S. military in support of World War II. It became a maritime museum in 1951.

Source: Pioneers, politics, progressand planning: the story of San Francisco’s Aquatic Park by James P. Delgado, Park Historian, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, San Francisco, January 1981.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Parfait Mocha

(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 a frosty cold dessert that can be made well in advance, and sounds like the perfect end to a outdoor meal on a warm afternoon, or while reclining on deck:

Parfait Mocha

Into a cup, spoon 3 tablespoons instant coffee and 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar. Add 2 teaspoons boiling water and mix thoroughly. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, put 2 quarts French vanilla ice cream, 1/2 cup rum or brandy and the coffee-sugar mixture. Blend well but do not let the ice cream melt. Spoon the ice cream into parfait glasses and place in the freezer until ice cream is firm. Parfaits are better if ice cream is allowed to mellow for 24 hours before serving. Just before serving, garnish with whipped cream and candied mocha beans or chocolate curls. Makes 8 to 10 parfaits.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Digging for Gold at the Library: Lloyd's Register online!

(by Gina Bardi, Reference Librarian)

In my reference work, I have what I like to refer to as my “Greatest Hits” these are books I constantly refer to, almost every day. They are the work horses of the library (Greatest Work Horse Hits?). One of these is our collection of Lloyd’s Registers. Lloyd’s Registers are a serial publication which began in the 1760’s in a coffee house of London. Two things you should know about Lloyd’s Registers: 1) They are not affiliated with that other Lloyd’s which also started in the same coffee house and insures things like Betty Grable’s legs and Marlene Dietrich’s voice (although I am going to make a huge tangential leap further down and combine Lloyd’s of London, Lloyd’s Register and Marlene Dietrich in a roundabout sort of way) 2) Lloyd’s Register does not register vessels, despite the name. They classify vessels. But I guess “Lloyd’s Classifieds” didn’t sound as snazzy to those coffee drinking blokes as Lloyd’s Registers. More specifically, Lloyd’s Register was/is a way for merchants and underwriters to get to know the vessels they were insuring, buying or doing business with. Lloyd’s would rate a ship based on a variety of factors giving ones that rated the highest an “A1” rating. As a result, there’s thousands and thousands pages of data about the nitty gritty of thousands and thousands of vessels, which is a very welcome side benefit to researchers, genealogists, model makers and general enthusiasts alike. And now… they’re online! Not all, but from 1764-1874 and some volumes in the 1880’s available here, which also  links to additional registers from 1930 to 1945.

Lloyd’s Registers is for vessels classified in Great Britain. For good ol’ USA vessels, you’ll want to use American Lloyd’s and the Record of American and Foreign Shipping (which we refer to as ABS as it’s produced by the American Board of Shipping). 1859-1900 are available from the Mystic Seaport library. 

Now, here’s where I tie Marlene Dietrich, Lloyd’s of London and Lloyd’s Register together. Let’s say you’re a Marlene Dietrich fan (and if you’re not, you should be). As I mentioned above, it’s been rumored that Lloyd’s of London insured her legs for a million dollars. In 1938, when Marlene Dietrich came back to the United States to become a US Citizen, she was on the SS Normandie. And voila! Here is the Lloyd’s entry for the SS Normandie.  

Now you can write the most complete biography of Marlene Dietrich that is so detailed, it mentions what kind of engines the SS Normandie had (Steam turbines connected to electric motors).

Here’s our record in Keys for Lloyd’s Registers.

Have fun searching!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Tacking ship

(by Heather Hernandez, Technical Services Librarian)

This week we're offering a longer rhyme, "Tacking Ship" (also known as, "Tacking Ship Off Shore") by Walter Mitchell, included in Nautical Nursery Rhymes by Billy Ringbolt, which resides in the Peterson, Peter H. (Capt.) Papers, (SAFR 18665, HDC 571).  With this poem, the verses in the book become  more narrative.

Tacking Ship

The weather leech of the topsail shivers,
The bowlines strain, and the lee shrouds slacken,
The braces are taut, and the little boom quivers,
And the waves with the coming squall-cloud blacken.

Open one point on the weather bow
Is the lighthouse tall on Bonita Head,
There's a shade of doubt on the Captain's brow,
And the pilot watches the heaving lead.

I stand at the wheel and with eager eye 
To sea and to sky and to shore I gaze,
'Till the muttered order of "Full and by!"
Is suddenly changed to "Full for stays!"

The ship bends lower before the breeze,
As her broadside to the blast she lays,
And she swifter springs to the rising sea,
As the pilot calls "Stand by for stays!"

It is silence all as each in his place,
With the gathered coil in his hardened hands,
By tack and bowline, by sheet and brace,
Waiting the watchword impatient stands.

And the light on Bonita Head draws near,
As, trumpet winged the pilot's shout
From his post on the forecastle head I hear,
With the welcome call of "Ready! About!"

No time to spare!  It is touch and go;
And the Captain growls, "Down helm, hard down!"
As my weight on the whirling spokes I throw,
While the heavens grow black with the storm cloud's frown.

High over the knight heads flies the spray
As we meet the shock of the plunging sea,
And my shoulder stiff to the wheel I lay
As I answer, "Ay, ay, sir!  Hard alee!"

With the swerving leap of a startled steed,
The ship flies fast in the eye of the wind.
The dangerous shoals on the lee recede
And the headland white we have left behind.

The topsails flutter, the jibs collapse,
And belly and tug at the groaning cleats;
And spanker slats, and mainsail flaps;
And thunders the order, "Tacks and sheets!"

'Mid the rattle of blocks and the tramp of the crew,
Hisses the rain of the rushing squall;
The sails are aback from clew to clew,
And now is the moment for "Mainsail haul!"

And the heavy yards, like a baby's toy,
By fifty strong arms are swiftly swing;
She holds her sway and I look with joy
For the first white spray over the bulwarks flung.

"Let go, and haul!"  'Tis the last command,
And the head sails fill to the blast once more.
Astern and to leeward lies the land,
With its breakers white on the shingly shore.

What matters the reef, or the rain, or the squall?
I steady the helm for the open sea;
The first mate clamors, "Belay, there all!"
And the Captain's breath once more comes free.

And so off shore let the good ship fly,
Little care I how the gusts may blow,
In my fo'castle bunk in a jacket dry,
Eight bells have struck, and my watch is below.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Frangipane Cream

(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 the first of the desserts, and follows a portrait which is captioned:
"Elegant and fun to make, nothing is more welcome after an ample meal than a frangipane cream.  This delicate dessert makes any dinner party a special occasion.  Here is the recipe for the best frangipane cream I ever tasted," says the incomparable Hildegarde, chanteuse of smart supper clubs in Europe and the United States and frequent passenger on the S.S. America.
The recipe for Frangipane Cream:
Mix together in the top of a double boiler 1-3/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar, 1/2 cup flour, and a pinch of salt.  Blend in 1 whole egg and 4 egg yolks.  Add 1 more egg and 1 egg yolk.  In another pan scald 2 cups milk with a 1-inch piece of vanilla bean and remove the bean.  Stir the milk gradually into the flour-and-egg mixture.  Set the pan over hot water and cook the cream, stirring vigorously, until it has thickened.  Cook the cream, still stirring vigorously, for two minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat and stir in 6 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons dry crushed macaroons.  Chopped blanched almonds may also be added.  Cool the cream, stirring occasionally to prevent a crust from forming.  Place in sherbet glasses edged with ladyfingers.  Serves 6 to 8. 
(For more information on Hildegarde, see the biographical note in Marquette University's Raynor Memorial Libraries' Hildegarde (Loretta Sell) Papers finding aid, and select the "digitized collections" link on the right to search on the term "Hildegarde" to see their many digitized photographs of her.)