Transforming the Wrinkled Hide of Hecuba: Cosmetic Politics in 16th and 17th Century England

William Salmon’s widely popular and multipurpose Polygraphice1 went through several versions by the early 1700s. Salmon included in this practical guide recipes for a wide range of topics including art, cosmetics, and medicinal concoctions along with the principles of alchemy, a scientific practice still held in high regard in the late seventeenth century. His volume focuses, in part, on cosmetics and face painting. In its introduction, Salmon explains:

Though you may look so much like the Image of death, as that your Skins might be taken for your Winding-sheets, yet by our directions you may attain such a rosid colour, and such a lively cheerfulness, as shall not make you look like natures workmanship, but also put admiration into the beholders, and fix them in a belief, that you are the first-fruits of the resurrection. Thus we teach you lipid mortalls to retrace the steps of youthfulness, and to transform the wrinkled hide of Hecuba into the tender skin of the greatest beauties […].

Cosmetics flourished in sixteenth and seventeenth century England. Owing to its popularity among everyday people, Salmon’s Polygraphice did not fall short on keeping up with the latest fashion trends. The popular obsession with cosmetics, both positive and negative, informed the wider societal fear of the deconstruction of racial and class boundaries. Of particular interest in the book are the recipes for skin whitening. These recipes can help us to put early modern conceptions of race and class into perspective.

To make a very good Wash to whiten the skin, and give a good complexion.
            Take Limons, hens eggs boiled, of each twelve, Turpentine eight ounces, distill all in Balneo Mariae, with which wash: when you wash, you may drop into it a drop, two or three of oil of Oranges or Cinnamon, for fragrancy sake (pg. 403).

Skin whitening cosmetics grew in popularity during Queen Elizabeth I’s reign. Art historian Romana Sammern defines 16th and 17th century beauty when she says that wrinkle-free white skin, rouged cheeks, and red lips epitomized beauty standards of the day. The Queen’s unmistakable image of milky-white skin and fiery red hair was, in reality, an attempt to cover small pox scars. However, Elizabeth’s appearance quickly translated into the beauty standard among women in Elizabethan England and subsequent eras.

Illustration of Queen Elizabeth I, Nicholas Hilliard, 1592.
Courtesy WikiArt Visual Art Encyclopedia
(https://www.wikiart.org/en/nicholas-hilliard/elizabeth-i-1592)

A primary ingredient in the Queen’s facial cosmetics, lead (also called ceruse) was the most popular make-up element. Sammern notes that lead substances were easy to apply to the skin and created a smooth, unblemished texture. A fucus – lead-based face paint – was created in various ways; recipes included talc powder, vinegar, chaphire oil, pearls, bull’s galls, and wine spirits. These, in various amalgamations, were boiled and distilled. The resulting white substance was then applied to the face to create a pleasing complexion.

Another excellent Fucus made of Pearl.
Dissolve Pearl in distilled Vinegar; precipitate with oil of Sulphur per Campanam; then sweeten and digest with spirit of wine; abstract the spirit, and you have a magisterial Fucus will melt like Butter. (pg. 397).

Red and white tones had significant societal implications. In one sense, it was believed that the face could be “read” to determine a person’s humoral state.  Humoral medicine tied the four bodily fluids to the four elements which in turn related to four colors: black, yellow, white, and red. A second reason a milky-white skin tone was important was because a white complexion was an indication of a leisurely, upper-class lifestyle while a ruddy or tanned complexion pointed to the working class, laborious lifestyle that men and women of lower ranks endured. During this time, anxieties over class-hopping emerged. Some anti-cosmetic discourse centered on class demarcations and how some women used white make-up to impersonate the upper classes.

While the whiteness of a person’s skin was indicative of health, beauty, and rank, a fair complexion was also a marker of racial superiority among early-modern English people. Cosmetics defined the ‘here’ versus ‘there’ ideology of 16th and 17th century society. Early-modern writers conceptualized that all people, regardless of region of origin, were born “white” but used cosmetics and paints to make their skin appear darker as in the case of North American Indians and African peoples. Thus to the sixteenth and seventeenth century analytical mind, race was something actively done to the body and was not biological.

One must keep in mind the context of this era; colonial explorers were only just beginning to encounter new kinds of people, and the reasons for differences in appearance were widely debated by early-modern thinkers. The use of cosmetics and anti-cosmetic rhetoric informed the larger fundamental fear of the deconstruction of racial boundaries. To value whiteness was to imply the purity of English people as opposed to the “Otherness” of darker toned populations.

William Salmon’s Polygraphice is a valuable source in understanding the early-modern mind that placed race and rank in society above all else. His inclusions of skin whitening recipes can tell us this much. Cosmetics from this era place this kind of demarcation in society in a wider perspective.

1Hunter Collection, uncat., Toppan Rare Books Library.

References consulted:

Poitevin, Kimberly. “Inventing Whiteness: Cosmetics, Race, and Women in Early Modern England.” Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies 11, no. 1 (Spring/Summer 2011): 59-89. https://doi.org/10.1353/jem.2011.0009.

Sammern, Romana. “Red, White and Black: Colors of Beauty, Tints of Health and Cosmetic Materials in Early Modern English Art Writing.” Early Science and Medicine 20, no. 4/6 (2015): 397-427. https://www.jstor.org/stable/24760388.

Post contributed by Toppan Library Intern Emma J. Comstock.

#alwaysarchiving

Posted in Book history, Racial bias, Student projects, Toppan Rare Books Library, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mable Wyoming Cheney Moudy

Mable Wyoming Cheney was born on May 2, 1878, in Atlantic City, near South Pass, Wyoming. Her father, Ervin F. Cheney (1844-1922), came west to Fort Sanders as a soldier after the Civil War. He helped survey the town of Laramie and entered the lumber business there in partnership with John Connor. In the 1870s, he moved to the South Pass area, where he operated a wagon and blacksmith shop. He married Mathilda Jane Henry in 1875, and the couple had four daughters and one son.

Photograph of South Pass City in 1870 taken by William Henry Jackson.
Photo File: South Pass City, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

The family moved to Lander shortly after Mable was born in 1878. She graduated from Lander High School and entered the University of Wyoming in 1897, where she took a normal (teaching) degree in 1900. While Mable was at UW, the sole building was Old Main.

The campus of Wyoming University as it would have appeared to Mable Cheney during her time on campus.
Old Main was the campus!
Elmer F. Lovejoy papers, Collection #176, Box 2, Folder 9, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

She married fellow UW alum Roscoe “Ross” Moudy in 1903, and they settled in Laramie, where Ross taught chemistry at the University of Wyoming and held the appointment of state chemist.

Ross Moudy was one of “The Invincibles” as the University of Wyoming’s football team was known in 1897 and 1898. Mable Cheney Moudy papers, Collection #173, Box 5, Folder 2, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

Because of her family background, Mable took a great interest in the state’s history, and she soon began to collect manuscripts and write stories particularly about the Lander area. She wrote and collected materials about her father’s life, and she wrote an autobiography of her own life, including her childhood in Lander. Chief Washakie was a frequent visitor to the Cheney home, and Mable recalled that she learned Indian words before she learned English and always wore moccasins as a child because they were easier to get than children’s shoes and far more comfortable.

Photograph of Chief Washakie in 1870 taken by William Henry Jackson.
Photo File: Washakie, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

The autobiography also covers the years when Mable Cheney was a UW student and the adventures she had traveling between Laramie and Lander. One of the passengers with whom she traveled was a young priest from Ireland, who expressed amazement that a young woman would travel so far without a chaperone. “I am very well chaperoned,” she replied, citing two other male passengers, the driver, and the priest himself, all of whom she was sure would protect her in any case of difficulty. The other passengers “loaded” the stranger as much as possible with stories of storms, wild animals, and robberies, but the stage reached Lander safely without encountering any of these dangers, although one team of horses ran away after being harnessed and nearly overturned the coach.

According to Wyoming native, author, and museum professional James H. Nottage, Mable told interesting stories to his Laramie Junior High class in 1964. She thrilled the students with stories of her intrepid father who was involved in scrapes with Native Americans who were conducting raids along the newly constructed transcontinental railroad. He later became a friend of the Shoshone and, according to Mable, hunted with them. She also recalled for the students the first motorcycle in Laramie and how she and others cheered as the driver went around and around the block, waving and yelling. It turns out he could not figure out how to stop the beast!

Motorcycles of the day as seen in the interior of a Cheyenne motorcycle shop, ca 1905.
Mark A. Chapman papers, Accession Number 00003, Box 1, Folder 10

Mable was a diligent diarist in her later years, and her annual diaries from 1947 to 1972, the year of her death, form part of her papers at the American Heritage Center. Her papers also contain manuscripts and letters of other early residents of Wyoming. Many of these items were solicited by the Jacques Laramie Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (Laramie, Wyoming) to record the history of the state’s people, and they contain rare first person accounts of late 19th and early 20th century Wyoming.

Post submitted by AHC Simpson Archivist Leslie Waggener.

#alwaysarchiving

Posted in Laramie, Uncategorized, University of Wyoming history, Western history, women's history, Wyoming history | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Flying Saucers – For Real! The Papers of Jack D. Pickett

Jack Dean Pickett was born in Casper, Wyoming in 1926. As a young man, he worked for the Burlington Railroad Roundhouse, where on June 6, 1944, he was responsible for blowing the steam whistles announcing D-Day. He joined the Navy and spent World War II battling the Japanese as a gunner’s mate on destroyers stationed in the South Pacific. Following the war, he owned an advertising and publishing company. It was as the publisher of the MacDill Air Force Base’s noncommissioned officer (NCO) newsletter that he began researching what would become a lifelong passion – disc shaped experimental aircraft.

In 1967, as part of his duties as publisher of Air Force publications, Pickett explained that he was asked to create an issue of the “NCO Club News” that included a feature on experimental aircraft. While on the outskirts of MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, he had seen an amazing sight. There, he professed, were four disc-shaped aircraft resembling flying saucers in the base’s salvage yard. They ranged in size from twenty feet across to more than one hundred feet.

Illustration of the area on MacDill Air Force Base where Jack Pickett saw the disc-shaped aircraft in 1967.
Box 1, Jack D. Pickett papers, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

Pickett had questions. In the Adjutant General’s Office at MacDill Air Force Base, Pickett recalled “An amiable colonel went over to a file cabinet and got out a whole bunch of photographs…I began to see literally hundreds of photographs of all types of flying saucers. I pointedly asked him ‘Are these where the flying saucer stories came from? Is this what they were?’ And he said ‘Yes’.” Pickett continued “The photographs were easily identifiable as Air Force photographs. I was told that these particular aircraft could go fast enough and high enough to actually achieve spaceflight.” When he inquired as to why they had been discontinued, Pickett claimed that he was told the aircraft had maneuverability problems.

Sketches made by Jack D. Pickett of one of the jet disc aircraft he had seen at MacDill Air Force Base.
Box 1, Jack D. Pickett papers, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

Viewing these aircraft and photographs left Pickett convinced that sightings of flying saucers were that of experimental military aircraft. So sure was he that he wrote an article about it, “Flying Saucers – For Real” published in Search Magazine in 1982. Frustrated that the Air Force would not declassify and release photographs and specifications for the aircraft, Pickett launched a nearly two-decade long letter writing campaign to Air Force personnel and government officials.

Letter from MacDill Air Force Base Staff Sergeant Mark C. Goldstein to Jack D. Pickett regarding Pickett’s request for information on “experimental aircraft” he had seen at MacDill Air Force Base, April 1, 1982.
Box 1, Jack D. Pickett papers, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.
Letter from Jack D. Pickett to Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney regarding a request to declassify information about disc wing aircraft, November 27, 1992.
Box 1, Jack D. Pickett papers, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

Pickett’s interest in experimental aircraft extended beyond the boundaries of the United States. He studied the history of Germany’s investment in saucer shaped aircraft research during World War II. The Germans were specifically interested in vertical take-off and landing aircraft (VTOL). German runways had been reduced to rubble by Allied bombing campaigns. They needed planes that could take off without runways.

Pickett also collected articles that explained UFO phenomena in the Soviet Union. In 1967 there were a series of Soviet sightings, all of which coincided with tests of a secret Soviet military vehicle, known as the Fractional Orbit Bombardment System (FOBS). FOBS was designed to be an orbital hydrogen bomb carrier – a type of Soviet weaponry now banned by international treaty.

Although Pickett’s accounts of American disc shaped “experimental aircraft” remained unproven, the U.S. military did indeed contract to have a saucer-shaped aircraft created. At the beginning of the Cold War in 1947, Avro Canada came up with an idea of high-altitude, disc-shaped aircraft that could purportedly dash off at 1,500 mph to bring down a Soviet bomber and return to a vertical landing without the need for a large landing field. The U.S. Air Force was sold on the idea and bankrolled development. They called it “Project Silverbug”.

The resulting “Avrocar” was tested between 1959 and 1961 but proved to be tremendously expensive to build and never able to lift itself more than a few feet off the ground. Pickett was well aware of the “Avrocar” and was sure that the experimental aircraft he believed he had seen were not part of Avro Canada’s program.

Depiction of the Canadian built “Avrocar”.
Box 1, Jack D. Pickett papers, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

Still, when “Project Silverbug” materials were finally declassified in 1997, Pickett wrote letters to the Air Force Magazine hoping to gain the magazine’s assistance in identifying any former pilots or air and ground crew that might have interacted with saucer shaped aircraft from 1945 to 1967. His request yielded little information. By 2003, Pickett, now even more frustrated, teamed up with an illustrator, Michael H. Schratt. Schratt created remarkably lifelike illustrations based on Pickett’s sketches and remembrances.

Illustration of a mock-up of a saucer shaped aircraft, based on Jack Pickett’s description, February 2003.
Box 1, Jack D. Pickett papers, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

Schratt and Pickett published an updated version of “Flying Saucers – For Real” on the UFO Wisconsin website concluding, “The time has come for the U.S.A.F. to fully declassify and release into public domain, the technical details, photos and motion picture/newsreel footage pertaining to these specific aircraft.” Pickett also appeared on a History Channel television special titled “Real UFOs”.

Sadly, Pickett passed away in 2008. His quest to collect military proof of what he had seen at MacDill Air Force Base in 1967 went unfulfilled.

Post contributed by AHC Writer Kathryn Billington.

#alwaysarchiving

Posted in military history, UFO, Uncategorized, Unidentified Flying Objects | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Jack Benny: Accidental Radio Extraordinaire

On March 29th, 1932, Ed Sullivan invited Jack Benny to his radio program, launching a prolific radio and entertainment career. Benny went from a small-time vaudeville performer to a radio host, USO performer, movie man and more. Today, we honor his big moment in history with a brief look at his life in entertainment.

Jack Benny was born Benny Kubelsky in Chicago, Illinois in February 1894. Benny was born to a pair of Jewish immigrants who encouraged their son to play the violin, thus beginning his life of entertainment. Jack showed talent enough to get to the vaudeville stage where he began to craft the type of performer he would become. On the vaudeville circuit he played popular songs, told self-deprecating jokes, and developed a stage personality that was both suave and fragile. From vaudeville he went to Broadway, then on to the silver screen. In 1929 Benny was performing at the Orpheum Theater in Los Angeles where his agent had convinced an MGM executive to come see him, and he went on to sign a five-year contract with them. His first role was in The Hollywood Revue of 1929. This was not a lasting bit of luck and Benny wound up back on Broadway before being approached to do radio, which he didn’t jump on right away, unconvinced about the medium’s viability. But in 1932 Jack gave it a shot and it changed his life.

Jack Benny and the cast of one of his shows, including wife Mary Livingstone (center).
Box 65, Folder 22, Jack Benny papers, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

Jack Benny’s radio show was supported by a star-studded cast that included his wife, Mary Livingstone (Sadya “Sadie” Marcowitz by birth). They first met in 1922 when Jack would walk out halfway through her violin performance. They met for the second time four years later, in 1926, and Benny fell for her instantly. The couple was married in 1927 and Sadie collaborated with Benny for most of his career. The couple only had one child; they adopted their daughter, Joan born in 1934.

Early photograph of Mary Livingstone and Jack Benny.
Box 65, Folder 22, Jack Benny papers, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

The Jack Benny Program ran on NBC from 1932 through 1948 and then moved to CBS where it ran from 1949 through 1955. The program was among the most popular during its long run. The final show of Jack’s program aired on May 22, 1955, twenty-three years after his debut. From 1956 through 1958, CBS also aired repeat episodes titled The Best of Benny. Jack also appeared on USO tours, hosted television programs, was in the movies, and after his radio career ended, performed as a stand-up comedian until the year he died.

Jack Benny and Mary Livingstone arriving to an event, ca. 1950.
Box 65, Folder 22, Jack Benny papers, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

Jack Benny died at home December of 1974 after cancelling a show in Dallas due to feeling unwell (it would later be discovered he had pancreatic cancer). By early December, with no idea what was wrong with him, he was complaining of stomach pains, and on December 22nd, he went into a coma, passing away on the 26th at eighty years old. While in that coma Benny was visited by many of his star-studded friends and colleagues, including then Governor Ronald Reagan, Frank Sinatra, and his best friend of more than fifty years, George Burns. Jack’s wife Mary Livingstone, who received a single long-stemmed rose from her husband every day after his death per his will, died eight and half years after her husband, leaving behind their daughter Joan.

Jack and Mary in Palm Springs, California.
Box 65, Folder 22, Jack Benny papers, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

In Benny’s own words in the book Sunday Nights at Seven: The Jack Benny Story, written by his daughter Joan, he tried to explain his successful life saying, “Everything good that happened to me happened by accident. I was not filled with ambition nor fired by a drive toward a clear-cut goal. I never knew exactly where I was going.”[1] Benny is now a member of both the Television Hall of Fame, the Broadcasting and Cable Halls of Fame, and received three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His induction into the Radio Hall of Fame came posthumously in 1989.

Joan Benny newly wedded to Seth Baker, 1954. Joan and her father were extremely close.
Courtesy Los Angeles Herald Examiner Collection, Los Angeles Public Library.

Polished scripts hammer away on Benny’s portrayal of himself as both stingy and vain, concerned about his hairline and adamant that he was no older than 39; whatever he thought of himself, he lived a life of fame and popularity, bringing laughter to audiences over the radio, on Broadway, in the movies and on TV for more than thirty years. You can see one of Jack Benny’s television programs titled “Shower of Stars” in the video below courtesy of the American Heritage Center, from the Jack Benny papers collection.

Post contributed by AHC Archives Intern Brittany Heye.


[1] Benny, Joan, and Jack Benny, Sunday Nights at Seven: The Jack Benny Story, Warner Books, 1990. ISBN: 978-0-446-51546-7.

Posted in Hollywood history, Motion picture actors and actresses, radio history, television history, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Mary Hayden Burgess: “Doughnut Dolly” of the American Red Cross

March is Red Cross month, proclaimed by its honorary chairman, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in March 1943. The American Red Cross has been supporting the troops since the 1890s.  Its operations, since the attack on Pearl Harbor, expanded in more areas than service to the hospitals.  Services were added to “fulfill the mandates of its 1905 congressional charter requiring that the organization “furnish volunteer aid to the sick and wounded armies in time of war” and to “act in matters of voluntary relief in accord with the military and naval authorities as a medium of communication between the people of the United States of America and their Army and Navy.”[1]The services to the Armed Forces consisted of camp, club, and hospital services. 

Mary Hayden Burgess was part of the Club service, which provided the “service men with food, entertainment, and a “connection home.”[2]

Red Cross portrait of Mary Hayden Burgess.
Box 4, Henry A. and Mary Hayden Burgess papers, Coll. # 12791, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

The Club service included the Clubmobiles, which were converted GMC trucks outfitted so the three women operating each clubmobile, could make donuts, serve coffee, offer cigarettes, gum, candy and first aid kits.  Later they got the nickname “donut dollies” because making donuts was their main task.[3]

Mary with her team.
Box 5, Henry A. and Mary Hayden Burgess papers, Coll. #12791, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.
Mary serving coffee, donuts, and candy.
Box 5, Henry A. and Mary Hayden Burgess papers, Coll. #12791, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.
Mary and her colleague offering the usual goodies.
Box 5, Henry A. and Mary Hayden Burgess papers, coll. #12791, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

Mary was part of Group C and like other groups, it traveled through Great Britain and Europe. After the invasion of Normandy, ten groups of Red Cross Clubmobile girls with eight Clubmobiles per group were sent into France. From then on out, the Clubmobiles traveled with the rear echelon of the Army Corps and received their orders from the Army.”[4]

Map of Group C’s Route.
Box 4, Henry A. and Mary Hayden Burgess papers, Coll. #12791, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

They provided entertainment such as music by playing records with a Victrola.[5] Later they were able to play movies for the service men using the Cinemobiles. When the USO tour (United Service Organizations) came to France, Mary’s team helped organize performances, including the popular singer, Dinah Shore.

Box 5, Henry A. and Mary Hayden Burgess papers, Coll. #12791, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.
Mary taking time to get photographed with her colleague and Dinah Shore.
Box 4, Henry A. and Mary Hayden Burgess papers, Coll. #12791, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

Mary’s experience with the Red Cross also included the privilege to work at the Rainbow Corner, the largest club and the “most famous …Whose doors never shut and where up to 60,000 meals could be served in a single 24-hour period.”[6]

Article relating Mary’s experience with the Red Cross.
Box 4, Henry A. and Mary Hayden Burgess papers, Coll. #12791, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.
Service men gathered in front of the Rainbow Corner.
Box 5, Henry A. and Mary Hayden Burgess papers, Coll. #12797, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

To learn more about the operations of the American Red Cross Clubmobiles, see the Henry A. and Mary Hayden Burgess papers at the American heritage Center.

Post contributed by AHC Processing Archivist Alexandra Cardin.

#alwaysarchiving


[1] American Red Cross. “World War II and the American Red Cross.” American Red Cross, undated, https://www.redcross.org/about-us/who-we-are/history.html.

[2] Wikipedia. “American Red Cross Clubmobile Service”.  American Red Cross Clubmobile Service, 2021, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Red_Cross_Clubmobile_Service#cite_note-1

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] American Red Cross. “World War II and the American Red Cross.” American Red Cross, undated, https://www.redcross.org/about-us/who-we-are/history.html.

Posted in Uncategorized, women's history, World War II | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

American oil exploration and memories of western Venezuela in the early 20th century

My interest in oil narratives stems my own personal experience as a native of one of the most representative oil towns in western Venezuela, Cabimas. I grew up in the shadow of towering oil derricks and gas flares, understanding that so much in extractivist communities is marked by the minerals that help forge these cultures. Petroleum and the industry it built has had a profound effect on the professional and personal lives of the inhabitants of the state of Zulia, western Venezuela, since 1914.

Dr. Oleski Miranda Navarro, AHC 2020 Majewski Fellow

Through the Bernard L. Majewski Fellowship, I was granted the opportunity and support to access the American Heritage Center’s catalog of visual and textual documents created and collected by oil companies, geologists, and their family members, while they lived and worked in Venezuela between 1914 and 1954. The wealth of information I was able to acquire both remotely before arriving in Wyoming (including access to interview a former oil company schoolteacher) and once I arrived in Laramie, has been invaluable to my scholarly research on extractivism, memory and emotion.

Focusing on the early days of the petroleum industry in Venezuela, I concentrated my research on American companies operating in the country between 1914 and 1954, including specialized professionals, like geologists, they contracted. By 1914, geology was a young science whose practitioners were driven by the desperate search for “black gold.” Many of the pioneers who had driven the US oil industry in the late 19th century relied on the knowledge of geologists as they began to seek new horizons. Venezuela was quickly identified as a country that showed incalculable potential for petroleum extraction. This translated into significant amounts of capital investment by large oil companies. The list of geologists and pioneers who came to Venezuela in the early twentieth century includes: Ralph Arnold, John Douglas, John Galey, Max Krueger, and Harper McKee, most of whom had been hired by American companies that wanted a stake in the profit bonanza that British and Dutch companies had already begun receiving.

Oil exploration was a difficult undertaking for foreigners at the time, but little-by-little, important reserves were revealed in the Venezuelan state of Zulia. This made many American explorers and geologists, so-called “wildcats,” turn their gaze toward the country, which until then, had been perceived of as poor and was relatively unknown. As Ralph Arnold, one of the most important pioneers and geologists in the petroleum world at the beginning of the 20th century points out: “The work was done under serious handicaps and difficulties. Only two men spoke Spanish. Maps were almost unknown. Transportation was ox-cart, pack animals, horse and mule back or on foot. A very few automobiles were in use in the larger towns. Not an airplane had ever darkened the country’s sky.”1

Along with the wealth of geological surveys, maps, documents, logs and reports with technical details in the AHC collection, can also be found documents that put a personal and humanistic spin on the vantages of these explorers, who arrived in the isolated region motivated to put their knowledge into practice and enjoy the rewards offered by mineral discovery. For example, John Douglas, who was hired by the Gulf Oil Company, a company founded by John Galey whose collection is also in the AHC, lived in Venezuela between 1925-1926 and accumulated a collection of visual and written documents of his stay that were eventually donated to the AHC. In his correspondence you can see his curiosity toward the local environment and the relationship he was beginning to establish with the tropics. His correspondences with his mother show a young man from Maryland fascinated by nature, wildlife, and the landscape of his exotic new home. For example, in one letter he tells his mother about the beauty of the squirrels he encountered and what it meant to kill one of them, inferring the possibility of not hunting anymore: “April 9 1925, Currie and I went hunting yesterday afternoon. I saw a squirrel and shot at it but missed Currie took a shot and brought it down. We were both sorry we killed it; it was such a pretty little thing. This afternoon we went out again and Currie got another that I pointed out. This time the shot didn’t kill at once and the poor thing was apparently suffering (…) we almost felt like giving up hunting. The squirrels here are twice pretty as ours.”2

On the other hand, reports and letters written home that are in the AHC collections also provide a snapshot of the racial thinking that was predominate at the time. For example, Max Krueger, who was originally from Kansas and would become a prominent petroleum geologist, included insights in his geological reports about the desert Falcon state in northwestern Venezuela, hinting at his vision of the inhabitants: “The “Coriano” as the inhabitants of Falcon are called, are quite energetic and as rule are much better educated and of higher intelligence than the Zuliano or inhabitant of the state of Zulia. Their type is much more purely Spanish, and the main intermingling of races has been with the original Indian inhabitants of the country.”3

John Douglas also responds to his mother’s concern when she voices her regret that he has to mix with “half breeds” or impure people. We are also able to gain insight on attitudes of the period of Douglas’ comments about a Trinidadian worker he looks upon favorably because of the man’s good command of English: “There is a “colored gentleman” from Trinidad working on the rig who is quite interesting to listening to. His English is absolutely faultless, none of our darkies’ dialect at all. On the contrary his pronunciation is most exact. They say all Trinitarians talk that way.”4

These assessments were nothing more than an extension of how the other was viewed differently, as might have been made in the southern United States at the time. However, there are also comments such as those made by Ralph Arnold, considered the pioneer of the oil industry in Venezuela. Despite the adversity of his role, Arnold portrays the people who helped him as his best resource, recognizing that their knowledge made very complex undertakings, despite the lack of infrastructure in remote areas of western Venezuela, possible: “The people were friendly, cooperative and generous. They liked our men and our men liked them.”5

Among the images found during the fellowship period are photographs that show the wildness of spaces inhabited by small populations of fishermen or farmers. Images captured also provide a visual record of areas like the Mene or Punta Iguana on the Eastern Coast of the Lake, which remain undeveloped locations after initial oil exploration. There are also photographs that provide important visual documentation that as early as the mid-20s, there was already a great deal of environmental deterioration due to oil extraction. The images show damage in the areas where oil companies had begun to exploit crude. At the time, there were already reports that highlight the complaints of inhabitants about the destruction and how their lives were being affected by changes to the fresh water sources that would have been used for cultivation and carrying out daily life routines.

It was especially interesting to be able to access documentation at the AHC that depicts how similar experiences of devastation were shared between populations of Texas, Wyoming, and Zulia during the early years of oil exploration.

A burgeoning oil industry undoubtedly drove the development of infrastructure in the remote producing regions, such as roads, basic services and new businesses. However, in the case of Venezuela it was an enclave or focused development. In the beginning, many companies also pushed for segregation by following codes (such as Jim Crow) used in the United States. The development of camps for qualified personnel was also common. The camps provided all of the services and conveniences needed for foreign personnel, while hired local workers lived in deplorable spaces in crowded barracks with minimal sanitary conditions. Many companies such as Standard Oil or Gulf Oil took large concessions from the state. However, there was a struggle between companies and regional governments to comply with regulations, and the big oil companies always managed to tip the balance in their favor.

Research at the AHC also led me to documents that give insight into feelings of fear and caution experienced by those who had come to these regions of Venezuela from abroad. For example, John Douglas talks about how a colleague of English origin had been murdered when he had a problem with an inhabitant of the area where the Gulf Oil camp was located.

As a researcher these stories have offered me a broadened understanding of those who arrived in a distant and exotic place as young professionals. The documents I was able to locate give insight into adventurous young people who managed to maneuver through a country with completely disconnected regions. They also paint a picture of novice explorers who arrived with some prejudices but were also able to expand their visions of a world very different from what they were used to.

Beyond the importance of discovering and immersing myself in the content of documents that pertain to the history of the region where I am from, this investigation has given me the chance to recognize that despite the historical and economic importance of oil exploitation in western Venezuela, the region is devoid of socio-historical studies on the subject. The research I have conducted will allow me to begin developing the subject and contribute content that will enrich not only regional knowledge of the history of oil but also general socio-historical knowledge painted through the narratives that have shaped the identity of a country.

Post contributed by Dr. Oleski Miranda Navarro, Visiting Assistant Professor, World Languages Department, Emory & Henry College and 2020 American Heritage Center Majewski Fellow.

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1Ralph Arnold, “The Pioneer of Venezuela’s Oil Wealth, 1911-1916 with Note on Trinidad” Letter Ralph Arnold.

2John G Douglas Collection Acc #6017 Box 1 John Douglas’s Letters from a Wildcat Well Venezuela, 1924-1924, p.27.

3Max Krueger Box 36, file Lots of Falcon 3,6,7 and 8 a portion of Miranda 8, Falcon Miranda.

4John G Douglas Collection Acc #6017 Box 1 John Douglas’s Letters from a Wildcat Well Venezuela, 1924-1924, p.12.

5Ralph Arnold, “The Pioneer of Venezuela’s Oil Wealth, 1911-1916 with Note on Trinidad” Letter Ralph Arnold.


Examined Collections:

Edwin Noel Pennebaker papers, 1917-1980. Collection No. 04395

Max L. Krueger papers, 1901-1977. Collection No. 05942

John Gray Douglas papers, 1924-1974.  Collection No. 06017

Frederic H. (Frederic Henry) Lahee papers, 1884-1968. Collection No. 05041

William L. Connelly papers, 1904-1964. Collection No. 01722

Verner Jones papers, 1929-1934. Collection No. 03477

John H. Galey and H.T. Galey papers, 1893-1960. Collection No. 05689

Roy L. Williams papers, 1936-1960. Collection No. 09739

Kessack Duke White papers, 1911-1958. Collection No. 02116

Ralph Arnold papers, bulk 1914-1937. Collection No. 11432

H. Harper McKee papers, 1915-1951. Collection No. 05936.

Hennen Jennings papers, 1874-1930. Collection No. 07586

Eben Olcott papers, 1877-1929. Collection No. 01233

Posted in energy resources, environmental history, Extractivism, International Collections, Petroleum history, Racism, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Caroline Lockhart: Cody’s Wild West Woman

In honor of Women’s History Month, let’s explore the life and times of one Caroline Lockhart! Caroline Lockhart, born February 24, 1871, is just one of Wyoming’s many famous women. She moved to Cody, Wyoming, in 1904 and remained there for much of her life – owning the daily newspaper, cattle ranching in the area, and founding the famous “Cody Stampede.” Over the course of her life Caroline was a newspaper publisher, journalist, a western novelist, rancher, and rodeo sponsor. Lockhart also never married, instead she made a name for herself in the West and juggled many boyfriends while doing so! Caroline was not a typical lady- not only was she never married but she enjoyed her alcohol and was not a part of the three-quarters of town that voted for prohibition. Lockhart had wit, passion, gumption, and money enough to see things done!

Lockhart was a mover and a shaker in her adopted town of Cody, Wyoming.
Box 7, Caroline Lockhart papers, Collection No. 177, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

Ms. Lockhart lived a life full of adventure and ambition. She was one of the most famous people in Cody, and after the death of the towns’ namesake, William “Buffalo Bill” Cody, she was the most famous person in town. Her fame reached its peak in 1920, when two of her novels had been turned into movies, and she had traveled to Hollywood to discuss the movie future for a third film. At the same time, Caroline was also writing for the Denver Post.

The year 1920 was also when Lockhart got together with five other prominent figures in Cody to organize a new celebration; something bigger and grander than Cody had seen before. The goal was to draw tourists from the road to Yellowstone Park towards Cody and its local dude ranches. They created and named the Cody Stampede. There was a second goal behind Lockhart’s desire to create the Cody Stampede. She wished to draw attention to the “Old West” and the “Wild West” both of which were dying out in the face of 20th century modernization, even somewhere as remote as Wyoming.

Lockhart’s audacity shocked fellow Cody residents, including her defiance
of and opposition to Prohibition.
Box 7, Caroline Lockhart papers, Collection No. 177, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

Caroline’s friends on this planning committee included: Ernest J. Goppert, Sr., an ambitious young attorney; Irving H. “Larry” Larom, the Princeton-educated owner of a prominent dude ranch; Sid Eldred, editor of the Park County Enterprise, and Clarence Williams and William Loewer, who helped run the town’s small Fourth of July celebrations. These men elected Caroline as president of the organization and set out to raise the needed funds for their celebration, as well as attract rodeo contestant such as one of Lockhart’s many boyfriends Pinky Gist. They created a fundraising ball that turned out to be a great success, especially when Lockhart invited some members of the Crow Nation to appear in battle dress. The ball is still held every fall.

The image of Natives Americans as representative of the “Wild West” in the imagination of white people was not lost on Caroline Lockhart.
Buffalo Bill’s Wild West. Color lithograph, poster. Courtesy of the McCracken Library, Buffalo Bill Historical Center.

A week after being made the president of this new organization, Caroline made her move and hosted another meeting that changed her life – she took control of the Park County Enterprise and began to use it to generate interest in the Stampede. This was a lucrative move for both Caroline and her Stampede which grew quickly in its early years and only increased in popularity during the 1920s, a decade that proved to be a difficult time economically for Wyoming. Suddenly, Lockhart and her friends’ passion for the state’s cowboy heritage didn’t seem so crazy. She and others were fighting against unfettered development in Wyoming, such as what was happening elsewhere in the West, and instead put their focus on the state’s cowboy past with an eye towards capitalizing on it for their future. 

“Bill Stanton on ‘Sandy’ an’ ’88’ That’s All” reads the caption of this photograph turned postcard by Ralph R. Doubleday from 1916. Ralph Doubleday (1881-1958) was most known for his rodeo images.
Box 20, Caroline Lockhart papers, Collection No. 177, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

Caroline Lockhart was a Wyoming woman unafraid to showcase her passions, in any way she deemed necessary, whether that be drinking whiskey with the best of the boys or taking over the town newspaper and creating a legacy for Cody, the state of Wyoming, and even Buffalo Bill. It was Caroline Lockhart who suggested the creation of a statue in his honor, and her who convinced a prominent eastern sculptor to take on both the job and the fundraising for it which led to much of William Cody’s early posthumous fame.

You can learn more about Caroline Lockhart by visiting the American Heritage Center to view the Caroline Lockhart papers.

Lockhart poses on horseback with Buffalo Bill Cody in an undated photo. Although the two were never particularly close, after Buffalo Bill’s death in 1917, Lockhart came to see him as a symbol of the Old West and encouraged people of his namesake town to honor him.
Photo courtesy of Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Jack Price collection, # PN.89.106.21011.20.2

Post contributed by Brittany Heye, American Heritage Center Archives Aile.

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Posted in Rodeo history, Uncategorized, Western history, women's history, Wyoming history | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Studying the Black Power Movement at the AHC 

Researchers looking for information on the Black Freedom Movement can find relevant materials throughout the collections held at the American Heritage Center. These include the papers of Wyoming politician Harriet Byrd, bull rider Abe Morris, African American church records, and Hollywood actress Butterfly McQueen. To close out Black History Month, this post highlights materials in the AHC pertaining to the Black Power Movement.  

One of the most popular topics researched in the AHC’s collection is the Black 14 Protests at the University of Wyoming in October 1969. Fourteen Black members of the UW football team planned to wear black armbands during the football game against BYU. They wanted to show support for the UW Black Student Alliance, who were planning a protest of the game because of the discriminatory policies of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Before the game, the UW football coach Lloyd Eaton kicked the football players off the team. UW students showed their support for the players through protests on campus. Several collections in the AHC relate to and tell the story of the Black 14, the students protests, and the court case. It is also important to note that the AHC is still adding to these collections with a cooperative effort between UW graduate students and the AHC to collect oral history interviews with members of the Black 14 and others involved in the protests. For more information see the topic guide on our website.  

As a bridge between Black History Month and Women’s History Month, this next collection contains valuable information about the Black Power Movement particularly on the role of women in the movement and the rise of the Black Feminist Movement. The Women’s History Research Center Papers (Collection #5879) consists of the records from the center founded by Laura X in Berkeley, California. The center was founded in 1968 and the collection contains subject files, pamphlets, and publications on a host of feminists, scholars, and topical subjects. Included among the papers are subject files devoted to Black feminist organizations and Black women movement leaders, including Shirley Chisholm, Kathleen Cleaver, and Angela Davis. Each subject file varies in its contents, but each offers a wealth of information such as the press releases from Shirley Chisholm’s political campaigns which detail not only Chisholm’s views on the important topics of the times but also rebuttals to her political opponents. These press releases offer a glimpse into the strategies of Chisholm and her campaign workers. Newspaper clippings and fliers, including the one pictured here, detail the “Free Angela Davis and All Political Prisoners” campaign of the early 1970s. The collection also includes a pamphlet Black Woman’s Manifesto, published by the Third World Women’s Alliance, that contains foundational essays including Frances Beal’s “Double Jeopardy: To Be Black and Female.” These pamphlets are especially interesting in thinking about how information on the feminist movement was distributed. Small and inexpensive pamphlets were an efficient and quick way to share ideas and information.

Pamphlet for Shirley Chisholm’s Presidential Campaign, 1968.
Women’s History Research Center resource files, Box 14, Folder “Shirley Chisholm,” Collection #5879. 
A flyer from February 1971 for a meeting of the Bay Area Committee to Free Angela Davis.
Women’s History Research Center resource files, Box 14, Folder “Angela Davis,” Collection #5879.

The WHRC collection also contains numerous files on other aspects of the Black Power Movement including subject files on Malcolm X and the Black Panthers. Also of interest are several publications of the weekly newspaper “The Black Panther” which tell of the social programs the Black Panthers organized including the free breakfast program. One of the issues from July 26, 1969, is of special interest in its coverage of the United Front Against Fascism (UFAF) Conference in Oakland, California which brought together varying organizations including the Black Panthers, the Students for a Democratic Society, and the Young Patriots. 

Another collection of interest to studying the Black Power Movement is the Tom Anderson Papers (Collection #7120) which includes a number of folders focusing on the Black Panthers, Black Manifesto, Black Power, and the Black Guard. Anderson’s subject files offer a differing perspective regarding the Black Power Movement in that they work to show opposition to the work of the Black Panthers and denounce the Black Power Movement. The papers included in this collection show the ways in which the words and messages of many influential Black leaders were reframed and used against their efforts for racial justice.  

An anti-Black Panther Party pamphlet, c. 1969.
Tom Anderson papers, Box 13, Folder “Black Panthers,” Collection #7120. 

Studies of racial inequality and social justice movements are not limited to the social movements of the late 1960s. A great example is the Tom Pugh collection (#11685). Pugh, a journalist, was a member of the US Commission on Civil Rights in the late 1970s. His papers from this time provide information about subjects including housing inequality and efforts for equal employment with particular emphasis on Chicago. For more information on these and other collections at the AHC, check out our website

Post contributed by Mary Beth Brown, Associate Archivist, Toppan Rare Books Librarian.

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Posted in African American history, Political history, Social justice, Uncategorized, women's history | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Grand Teton National Park and the Jackson Hole National Monument Controversy

Grand Teton National Park – one of the most beautiful spots in Wyoming – turns 93 on February 26. It was originally a Native American hunting ground. British and American fur traders were drawn to the area for its exceptionally bountiful populations of beaver. By the mid 1800s, homesteaders had begun to settle in the valley and surveying parties named many of the area’s mountain peaks and lakes.

Photo of the Tetons from the edge of Jackson Lake, June 11, 1941.
Box 1, Merrill J. Mattes papers, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

An act of Congress established Grand Teton National Park on February 26th, 1929. At the time, the 96,000-acre area included the peaks of the Teton Range as well as six lakes at the base of the mountains, the biggest of which was Jenny Lake.

Map with dotted line outline delineating the original border of Grand Teton National Park, March 10, 1942.
Box 1, Merrill J. Mattes papers, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

In the late 1920s, philanthropist John D. Rockefeller visited the area and came away impressed by the breathtaking landscape. He formed the Snake River Land Company, which began to purchase properties in the Jackson Hole area. Rockefeller’s objective was to protect the area from commercial development. He intended to gift his land purchases to the U.S. Government to be managed by the National Park Service. By 1933, the Snake River Land Company had invested $1,500,000 to purchased more than 32,000 acres in Jackson Hole, and cattle ranchers were beginning to raise objections. Wyoming’s two U.S. senators got involved and soon the Senate Committee on Public Lands and Surveys was holding hearings in Jackson to assess whether Rockefeller’s purchases were illegal. The Senate hearings found nothing untoward. Nevertheless, Congress stymied multiple bills that were written to enlarge Grand Teton National Park by incorporating Rockefeller’s holdings into the park.

By 1942, Rockefeller had grown impatient with congressional delays and threatened to sell the Jackson Hole lands he had amassed. He penned a letter expressing his discontent to the Secretary of the Interior, Harold Ickes. Ickes advised President Franklin D. Roosevelt to take action. So, in March of 1943, Roosevelt utilized the Antiquities Act to establish Jackson Hole National Monument. The Antiquities Act had been used since 1906, by seven presidents, both Republican and Democrat, to set aside and preserve land as national monuments.

The new Jackson Hole National Monument was enormous – more than 221,000 acres – and included Rockefeller’s property, Jackson Lake and a substantial swath of what had been known as the Teton National Forest. Many people in Jackson Hole, including members of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association, were vociferously opposed to the monument. They mobilized against what they felt to be overreach of federal government bureaucracy and created the “Committee for the Survival of Teton County”.

Flyer prepared by Jackson Hole citizens in opposition to the Jackson Hole National Monument, 1944.
Box 148, Clifford P. Hansen papers, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

The committee published a booklet titled “For What Do We Fight” stating that “the people of Jackson Hole were being deprived of the land on which they had made their livelihood.” Politicians also mobilized. Wyoming Governor Lester Hunt, Senators J.C. O’Mahoney and E.V. Robertson and Congressman Frank Barrett all made statements against the monument. Barrett took the lead in fighting it, introducing a House of Representatives bill to abolish Jackson Hole National Monument in 1943 just four days after the monument had been created.

Back in Jackson Hole, many ranchers took the “fight” against the monument literally. They armed themselves and led a cattle drive across monument lands. Clifford Hansen, who went on to become a Wyoming Governor and U.S. Senator was one of those ranchers. Hansen and his fellow ranchers’ action made the papers across the West, in part because of the participation of Wallace Beery, a notable movie star at the time. (Beery had a vacation home on the east shore of Jackson Lake.) The armed cattle drive was mostly just a grand gesture – no government officials or employees of the National Park Service protested the ranchers’ presence on monument lands. In fact, ranchers’ rights to drive cattle across the monument were expressly included when the monument was designated.

While the ranchers claimed to speak for the majority of Jackson Hole residents, there were those in the area who approved of the new monument. Olaus J. Murie was among the proponents. Murie was a biologist with the Department of the Interior Fish and Wildlife Service and had long lived in Jackson Hole. He and the conservationists of the Izaak Walton League, an organization which fashioned itself as the “defender or woods, waters and wildlife” spoke out in favor of the monument designation. Murie saw value in protecting habitat areas for elk, moose, and the more than 100 species of birds native to the area.

Partial list of birds found in the Jackson Hole National Monument.
Box 15, Murie Family papers, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

Murie, along with Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes testified before Congress against the Barrett bills to abolish Jackson Hole National Monument. Ranchers testified in favor of the bills. Hyperbole ratcheted up on both sides of the debate. Supporters of the monument warned that “future generations may view the spectacular Teton Mountains from a foreground of billboards, gas stations, beer parlors, hotdog stands and tourist shacks.” In Jackson Hole, tempers flared. The controversy set friend against friend and neighbor against neighbor. Barrett proposed multiple bills to abolish the monument, the last of which was H.R. 1330.

House of Representatives Bill H.R. 1330, July 15, 1947.
Box 147, Clifford P. Hansen papers, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

Still, Congress did not act to abolish the monument. Then, in 1949, the stalemate was finally broken. Former Wyoming governor, Leslie A. Miller brokered a compromise between conservationists and ranchers. The new Grand Teton National Park was created on September 14, 1950. It incorporated most of the 1929 park as well as the land designated as Jackson Hole National Monument, which had included Rockefeller’s 32,117-acre gift. The law designating the park included several concessions. First, existing grazing rights and stock driveways were protected. Second, the federal government agreed to reimburse Teton County for lost tax revenues. And last, there was to be put into place a plan for controlled reduction of the herd of 22,000 elk within the boundaries of the new park by allowing hunters in the “fringe” areas of the park.

Today, visitors from across the world flock to Grand Teton National Park to admire the landscape and view wildlife. The conservationists of the 1930s and 40s had correctly forecast that tourism would far outstrip cattle ranching as the predominant industry in Teton County. The Grand Teton National Park ecosystem supports a wide variety of species including bear, elk, moose and many fur bearing animals including weasels, martens, beavers and otters. Jackson Lake is now included within the park boundaries. And many decades after his opposition to expanding the park, former Governor and Senator Cliff Hansen conceded that the expansion of the park had ultimately been in the public’s best interests after all.

The American Heritage Center houses the collected papers of Clifford P. Hansen, the Murie Family, Frank A. Barrett, and Merrill J. Mattes. They all provide interesting perspectives on the history of the Grand Teton National Park and the Jackson Hole National Monument controversy.

Post contributed by AHC Writer Kathryn Billington.

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Posted in environmental history, National Parks, Political history, Uncategorized, Western history, Wyoming history | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Fall in Love at the American Heritage Center

LOVE LETTERS

Disclosing feelings of love to another can be presented in many ways. These letters of love come written from the hands of those who offered their sentiments on paper.

A letter from Louis B. Schwartz to his wife, Berta dated December 4, 1944.
Louis B. Schwartz papers, Box 53, Folder “Love Letters,” Collection #8272.

Louis B. Schwartz (1913-2003) was an attorney and law professor known for his work on penal code reform and anti-trust laws. He served as an attorney with the Securities and Exchange Commission from 1935-1939, with the U.S. Department of Justice’s general crimes and special projects section from 1939 to 1946, and served two years in the Navy during this time. Schwartz also taught as a visiting professor at Harvard, Columbia, Cambridge, and the Institute for Advanced Legal Studies at London University. He was a member of the Lawyer’s Committee on Civil Rights through Law, served as director of the National Commission on Reform of Federal Criminal Law from 1968-1971. Enjoy sweet sentiments in each letter to his wife.

Morris Bien (1859-1932) was an engineer and government attorney specializing in right of way and irrigation law. From 1879-1893 Bien did topographic field work and mapping for the United States Geological Survey, he was in charge of right of way on public lands 1893-1902, and from 1902-1924 was legal counsel and later assistant director and assistant commissioner of the Reclamation Service. Bien drafted a state irrigation code in 1904 which became the basis for irrigation laws in several Western states. The collection includes love letters between Bien and his future wife, Lilla V. Hart (1884-1886); handwritten reminiscences dictated by Bien to his wife, ca. 1932 (typed transcription available). Review this collection to appreciate the gentle affections of love in the 1800’s.

Mary Jane Irving was a child actress between 1917 and 1926, beginning her film career at the age of two. She worked for Cecil B. DeMille in Patriotism in 1918 and The Godless Girl in 1928. She appeared in 58 films between 1917 and 1938. Her popularity continued until about 1926, but as she entered her teenage years, roles became less frequent. Irving married screenwriter Robert Carson in 1938. Her papers contain love letters from Carson through several decades. “How do I love thee? Let me count the Ways.”

Love does not increase or decrease in response to the world around it. Real love is a steadfast promise that repeats itself endlessly through life and beyond death.

Post submitted by Archives Specialist Vicki Glantz, American Heritage Center Reference Department.

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