My name is Kaylee, I’m a recent college graduate and an intern at Cal Poly’s Special Collections and Archives. As a San Luis Obispo local I grew up hearing about William Randolph Hearst and adoring every visit to the stunning Hearst Castle, especially during the holidays when the Castle is bedecked in all its Christmassy vintage glory. Therefore I was quite excited when, as a part of my internship, I was able to begin digitizing the correspondence between William Randolph Hearst and architect Julia Morgan.
The correspondence, which is part of the Julia Morgan Papers, includes approximately 3,700 letters and telegrams between Hearst and Morgan which Morgan kept in her files, dating from 1919 through 1945. Unlike most series of correspondence, wherein you can only see the letters received but not the ones sent, Julia Morgan made copies of every letter and telegram she sent Hearst. The resulting dialogue creates a clear story of the day-to-day planning that went into the construction of “La Cuesta Encantada,” or what is now known as Hearst Castle. Despite conversing through telegram and letter for over twenty years neither client nor architect ever addressed the other as anything less than “Mr. Hearst” or “Miss Morgan,” demonstrating the great professionalism between the first licensed female architect in California and the newspaper mogul.
The majority of the letters and telegrams I’ve read and digitized focus on the specific plans for the use of Spanish columns for one of the guest houses or Mr. Hearst’s preference for Moorish style ceilings, which mean little to a history major whose knowledge of Spain and the Moors has more to do with the brutalities of the Spanish Inquisition than the differences of architecture. However, I read a telegram from Mr. Hearst to Miss Morgan (shown below) which mentioned the impending arrival of a car filled with “four old Venetian paintings” as well as photographs of other friezes he had purchased, and which he hoped Miss Morgan would be able to use to “harmonize with the ceilings.” This telegram inspired me to find photographs of these items. Now I can better understand and imagine the slow process of building and decorating the guest houses which became the beautiful and recognizable Casa del Sol, Casa del Mar, and Casa del Monte.
See what we’ve digitized so far: http://digital.lib.calpoly.edu/islandora/search/010-5-e-?type=dismax
As of last week, Islandora, an entirely open source framework using the Fedora Commons repository platform and the Drupal website management platform, has replaced CONTENTdm as the online discovery platform for the library’s digital archives. With Islandora, we now have a robust, flexible, and dynamic digital asset management system and online discovery platform.
Islandora’s open source technology will allow us to enhance this access and move the library closer to providing in-browser access to born-digital resources like GIS data and email. Here are just a few improvements our users will see immediately:
Another exciting change (at least for us library folks!) is that during the migration from CONTENTdm to Islandora, I crosswalked the archive’s metadata from Dublin Core to MODS, a richer and more granular descriptive metadata schema. Besides Islandora’s ability to make excellent use of this granularity through its built-in Solr index, MODS metadata should put the library in a good position to participate in metadata aggregation initiatives such as the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA).
Islandora’s open source technology will also create the potential to open up the systems’ code base to student programmers and designers. Once we become comfortable with the system, we would like to create specific projects for student groups and courses, invite students to use the system as a sandbox, and sponsor activities like hackathons, all within the library’s digital asset management system. This would not be possible with CONTENTdm.
Thanks to everyone who has helped make this new site possible, especially the members of the iDi Digital Asset Technical Infrastructure Working Group (Carl Hunt, Mike Price, and Russ White), Jessica Holada, Laura Sorvetti, Michele Wyngard, and all the students in Special Collections and Archives; and to Mike Price and Dale Kohler for their guidance and assistance in technology and security matters.
Finally, we also owe thanks to several visionary donors, who have given generously to help support the future of digital scholarship at Cal Poly.
Featured photo: San Luis Obispo, panoramic view from Terrace Hill, 1907 [composite], San Luis Obispo County Regional Photograph Collection, 168-1-b-01-35-06]]>
“Passing” for white has been an issue in America as long as African Americans have lived here. Martin, the main character in this novel, however, started out as a white Jewish man who underwent surgery to become black. Here, he encounters the other main character, Kelly, who is white, and has recently lost his Chinese wife and young daughter in a car accident:
I am looking into the face of a black man, and I’ll be utterly honest, unsurprisingly honest: I don’t know so many black men well enough that I would feel such a strong pull, such a decisive certainty. I know this guy, I’m thinking, yet I’m sure I’ve never seen this face before. Who goes around looking for ghost eyes, for pleading looks of remembrance, in the faces of strangers? Not me. He’s coming closer, and I’m running through all my past at a furious clip, riffling frantically the index cards of my memory for a forgotten slight, a stray remark, a door slammed in a black man’s face, a braying car horn behind me on 83 South. He has his eyes trained on me with a faint smile, a smile that dips at the left corner, and says,
Kelly. I’ll bet you’re wondering why I know your name.
I’m sorry, I say. Do I know you?
Kelly, he says, pursing his lips, it’s Martin.
Martin wants Kelly, who is a former journalist, to write his story, which Kelly agrees to do. From there on out, he’s swept along in a murky current where nothing is clear, from Martin’s motives to how he feels about his own identity. It kept me reading at a fast clip, in a sweat to find out how (or if) the whole thing would resolve.
author photo: Chester Higgins Jr./The New York Times]]>
The main characters are Sten Stenson, retired school principal and Vietnam vet, his wife Carolee, their schizophrenic son Adam, and his much older love interest Sara. Sten, while with a group touring Costa Rica, kills an armed would-be robber, and comes home to be treated like a hero. His son, meanwhile, has come unglued, spending hours roaming the redwoods with a rifle, attempting to grow opium poppies, and channeling John Colter, a long-dead scout for the Lewis and Clark expedition. Adam joins forces with Sara, who refuses to recognize the authority of any government entity, causing her endless run-ins with the police and Animal Control. There’s just enough political common ground and loneliness between these two for them to temporarily overlook their differences and become a couple. Adam has recently come of age, which legally prevents his parents from finding out just how far he’s slipped mentally. Sara becomes his caretaker as well as his lover, but her willful blindness keeps her from seeing how far gone he is. Here’s a sample of their limited communication:
“You going out in the woods?” she asked, though she already knew the answer — and knew too not to pry. He had something out there, a bunker, a fortress — it could have been a treehouse, for all he let on — and it occupied him all day every day. Or maybe he was hiking.. Maybe that was it. Whatever it was, it sure kept him in shape.
He didn’t answer. Didn’t even bother to nod. It was morning and in the morning he didn’t have much to say. They were close at night, in the dark, very close, but what they were doing together didn’t need words. When he’d been drinking, which was a pretty regular thing — daily, that is, and she joined him because why not? — he’d open up to her as much as he was capable of. He wasn’t a talker. That was all right with her. She could talk for two.
Add to the mix multiple clandestine marijuana growing operations in the forest, run by Mexican illegals, and the resulting vigilante sentiment from the white people in town, and you have the makings of a riveting tragedy.
author photo: Karen Robinson]]>
Olsen and Mac Namara co-taught a course in architecture and engineering at Syracuse. After giving a presentation about their experience, Routledge approached them about writing a book. Olsen and Mac Namara agreed and researched 10 case studies from some of the most prominent firms in the world.
“It was so enriching, and gave us so much content, and helped us in our teaching,” Olsen said about writing the book.
“We wanted to demonstrate that innovative work does not happen through just architecture or engineering,” Olsen said. She went on to say that innovative work happens when a lot of different people from different backgrounds work together in a collaborative process.
They also used case studies to highlight the mentorship that some architects and engineers experienced, as one way to illustrate that these professionals did not know how to do everything at first.
“We are trying to teach students that it’s okay not to know something,” Mac Namara said. Olsen and Mac Namara also taught this idea in their class, requiring architecture and engineering students pair up to complete a project. The students learned none of them could complete the project without their teammate.
Olsen and Mac Namara talked about some commonalities they saw in most of the case studies.
“You found that a lot of these people [in the case studies] came from the same background and were mentored by the same people,” Mac Namara said. She also said that most everyone thought that engineering students needed to know how to draw.
They also found that every architect had their story of an engineer who either helped or hurt their design project. Architects can sometimes clash with engineers when they’re too focused on design, and not very focused on the structure.
“I’m in the not-falling-down business. I do not care what it looks like,” Mac Namara joked.
Historically, the architect and engineer was a combined role, not divided like it is today, Mac Namara said. Now, not only has it been split into two jobs, but the people in those roles usually do not collaborate on their designs and projects.
“Now is a good time to look at why we are so separated and teach people about collaborations,” Mac Namara said.
“Collaboration is an important skill to teach,” Olsen added.]]>
When Cal Poly opened as a technical school in 1903, there were only 3 major programs offered: Agriculture, Domestic Science, and Mechanics. When Cal Poly closed its doors to women students in 1930, administrators dropped the domestic science program from all of the course catalogs. This major reappeared as Home Economics in 1956 when women were welcomed back on to campus, and continued on as a program until 1994.
This program is interesting because it reflects the gender norms that have perpetuated American society since the early 18th century. Although the description and function of the program changed over time, the majority of graduates continued to be women. Although this major no longer exists any more, we here at Special Collections and University Archives wanted to feature the Home Economics department because of their contribution to the experience of many Cal Poly women.
The 1903 Course Catalog describes the Domestic Science Program as a program to “help [women] to a more thorough understanding of the many duties required as a housekeeper.” Pictures of women in this program (shown above) reveal the skills that they acquired included sewing, putting out fires, cooking, and how to take care of a household. This transitioned in the early 1920s to allow the program to accommodate “preparatory training for girls who wish to fit themselves for nursing.” Later, in the 1950s and into the 1960s, the Domestic Science program restarted under the title of Home Economics and catered to “persons interested in homemaking, in teaching homemaking in secondary schools, or in occupations closely related to homemaking, and to contribute to the general education of students.” The classes listed for Home Economics majors at this time include home management, textile construction, family planning skills, but also classes related to the Food Science and Nutrition major that we offer today.
I find it interesting that the description of the major in the 1956 Course Catalog explains that the program is designed not only to “increase the employability of the student,” but also to “afford a substantial basis for successful marriage and family life.” Robert E. Kennedy, former president of Cal Poly (1967 – 1979), stated in a speech entitled “The Role of Woman,” that he was Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences during the formation of the program and that it was “designed exclusively for women students.” This information is revealing because it shows the paternalistic attitudes that Cal Poly had towards women students at this time and the gender norms that they reinforced through designing this program only for women and training them for marriage.
Women in the Home Economics Club at Cal Poly from 1968-1973 considered marriage as a way to put their major to practical use. In the Home Economics Club Scrapbook, newspaper clippings of wedding announcements from Cal Poly Home Economics graduates emphasize this trend. One bride, Mrs. Robert Gubser, not only married a Cal Poly man, but she also “made her wedding dress, her going away outfit, her mother’s dress and coat, and the bridesmaids’ dresses.” Another Home Economics graduate, Mrs. Richard Ziegler, “made her own wedding gown, a floor length Italian silk linen A-line trimmed in wide Belgium lace with a matching lace train.” Mrs. Robert Gubser and Mrs. Richard Ziegler were celebrated for their marriages and their supreme sewing skills.
This rigid definition of gender roles is best exemplified by an excerpt from a Home Economics News Bulletin published on April 1, 1970. The bulletin states:
No other choice that you will make during your lifetime will have as much influence on the lifestyle that you will follow, as will your choice of husband. It is the husband’s occupation, regardless of whether or not the wife works, that both prescribes and limits the life style of the family. It’s the husband’s occupation which provides the primary line of financial resources with which to buy the goods and services desired. The second most important choice that you will make will be the planning and spacing of children. Be sure these central choices are not chance-choices, but rather are a true reflection of your long-term values.
The author, Ann D. Rice, proves to be stuck in these rigid gender roles when she identifies herself as “Mrs. Mike Rice” and encourages Cal Poly women to make choices that align with marriage and family planning.
Stay tuned for more information about the Home Economics Department at Cal Poly and its end in 1994. If you were a part of this department, we would love to hear your stories and insights about Home Economics in the comments below. If you know someone who was a part of this department, please share this post with them! We love hearing from all of our Cal Poly Alumni.
 “Plan of Instruction,” in California Polytechnic School First Annual Catalogue, (Sacramento: W.W. Shannon, Superintendent State Printing, 1903), 12.
 The California Polytechnic Bulletin: A State Institution of Agriculture, Mechanics, Engineering, Aeronautics, Printing and Home Making with Junior College Division, (San Luis Obispo: California Polytechnic Print Shop, 1928), 23; 1956-1957 Catalog: California State Polytechnic College Bulletin, (San Luis Obispo: California State Polytechnic College, 1956), 166. Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Catalog 1992-1994, (San Luis Obispo: California Polytechnic State University, 1992), 30.
 “Plan of Instruction,” California Polytechnic School First Annual Catalogue, 12.
 The California Polytechnic Bulletin, 23.
 1956-1957 Catalog, 166.
 Robert E. Kennedy, “The Role of Woman (Community and Education),” Address to the San Luis Obispo Monday Club, April 7, 1969. Robert E. Kennedy Speeches, University Archives, California Polytechnic State University.]]>
Dr. J. Kevin Taylor, Chair, Department of Kinesiology, was recognized in the category of published research for “Learning Design through the Lens of Service: A Qualitative Study,” published in the Journal for Service Learning in Engineering (v. 9 n. 1, Spring 2014). The committee also acknowledged the team of co-authors: Dr. David Hey, Dr. Brian Self, Dr. Lynne Slivovsky, and Dr. James Widmann. The award includes $2,000.
“I am deeply honored by this award and would like to thank the committee for their work in reviewing applications,” Dr. Taylor said. “This award also recognizes my students and faculty colleagues, without whom my work would not have been possible. For me Learn by Doing often involves Learn by Teaching because I learn so much from my students.”
Dr. Steffen Peuker, the James L. Bartlett, Jr. Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering, was recognized in the category of planned and in-progress research for a proposal highlighting three pedagogical innovations: team based learning, service learning, and a challenge to students to design their process for becoming a “world class engineering student.” The committee also acknowledged the collaboration of Dr. Jennifer Mott. The award includes $1,000.
“There are so many colleagues who exemplify outstanding Learn By Doing here at Cal Poly,” said Dr. Peuker. “I am truly honored to be chosen together with my collaborator Dr. Mott. Learn by Doing is more than a motto to me. In my opinion, it is the best approach for student learning and success.”
Faculty were selected by a committee of peers from every college.
“The inaugural award committee was impressed to see how Learn by Doing is interpreted in every discipline across Cal Poly,” said Jeanine Scaramozzino, member of the selection committee and College of Science & Mathematics, School of Education, and Data & GIS Services Librarian. “Faculty are doing incredible work.”
The award was established and funded by members of Information Services’ external advisory board and administered by the Robert E. Kennedy Library.
Read the press release at Cal Poly News. For more information: lib.calpoly.edu/faculty/learn-by-doing/
See additional photos from the reception at the University Art Gallery.
Featured photo (l-r): College of Science and Math Dean Phil Bailey, Dr. J. Kevin Taylor and President Jeffrey Armstrong]]>
Big Brother is no exception. The set-up here is a pair of estranged siblings — Pandora (and I don’t think Shriver chose that name lightly) is a former caterer who has recently been wildly successful at her business of making customized talking dolls. Her brother Edison has always been the cool one, with a solid career as a jazz pianist, but they’ve been out of touch for a few years. Pandora gets a call from one of Edison’s friends, hinting that maybe she should get in touch with him. She extends an open-ended invitation to him to stay with her family (including inflexible health fanatic husband Fletcher, and his two teenagers), opening a (sorry!) Pandora’s box of trouble that’s impossible to close.
Here, she picks him up at the airport:
While passengers threaded from the arrivals hall and clumped around the belt, I loitered from a step back. In front of me, a lanky man in neat khaki slacks — with a tennis racket slung over a shoulder and the remnants of a summer tan — was conversing with a slender brunette…
“I can’t believe they gave him a middle seat,” said the tennis player.
“I was grateful when you offered to switch,” said the woman. “I was totally smashed against the window. But letting him have the aisle didn’t help you much.”…
“What gets me,” the woman grumbled as luggage emerged on the belt “is we all get the same baggage allowances. Our friend in aisle seventeen was packing a quarter ton in carry-on. I swear, next time they try to charge me extra because one pair of shoes has pushed me over twenty-six pounds, I’m going to offer to eat them… Oh, that’s mine…By the way, on the plane with that guy, what I really couldn’t stand? Was the smell.”
I was relieved the woman’s suitcase had arrived, since the pariah whom she and her seatmate had so cruelly disparaged must have been the very large gentleman whom two flight attendants were rolling into baggage claim in an extra-wide wheelchair. A curious glance in the heavy passenger’s direction pierced me with a sympathy so searing I might have been shot. Looking at the man was like falling into a hole, and I had to look away because it was rude to stare, and even ruder to cry.
“Yo, don’t recognize your own brother?”
From here on out, Pandora is running between her brother, trying to figure out what’s happened to him and how to reverse it, and her increasingly pissed off husband, who rapidly gets to the “it’s him or me” stage. Along the way, she has to ask herself some hard questions: what do I owe my brother? is it possible to will him back into caring for himself? who gets priority, my husband or my brother? and who takes care of me in the meantime?
The plot takes a couple of sharp turns towards the end. And I guess I shouldn’t be surprised to learn that Shriver did have a brother who was morbidly obese.
author photo: Steve Forrest for the New York Times]]>
From 1934 to 1988, the election of a Poly Royal Queen was a vital part of the Poly Royal open house celebrations. Because women couldn’t enroll at Cal Poly between 1930 and 1956, the Poly Royal Queen had to be selected from the outside community–first from the county schools and then, by 1941, candidates were selected from co-ed state colleges. This Poly Royal tradition concluded in 1989, when a group of male and female Poly Royal Ambassadors were selected to represent and publicize the Open House event. It is interesting to see how these queens were portrayed in the public media, and how the Poly Royal Queen Contest turned into much more than a “beauty pageant.”
Jane Horton Bailey was named the first “Miss Poly Royal” in 1934. Although we don’t have much information about Miss Bailey’s role as “Miss Poly Royal,” the role of her succeeding queens included publicizing Poly Royal throughout the state, and the coronation ball on Saturday night of Poly Royal weekend when a new queen was crowned each year. As the event grew bigger, queens continued to “reign” over the event and were a part of several publicity stunts (1). In 1952, Poly Royal Queen Geraldine Cox “reigned over” the Poly Royal festivities. Out of all of the Poly Royal Queens, we have the most photographs of her that document what she participated in.
The Poly Royal committee photographed her posing in classrooms, holding farm animals, and being near the men of Cal Poly who were ostensibly teaching her about the “Learn by Doing” philosophy. In several of these photographs she is seen as almost a trophy-like figure or a prop that can be placed anywhere, but is not part of the action. In the photograph below, she looks out of place and in need of help to fix a mechanical engine. This stereotype of women can be seen in photographs of the queen and her court, especially in this 1952 picture of the Poly Royal court “sitting pretty” atop of a plane in the Aeronautical Engineering department. For many Poly Royal queens, their job was to highlight Cal Poly’s “Learn by Doing” accomplishments, but not to actively participate.
In 1957, when women were welcomed back as students on campus, Val DeGeus became Cal Poly’s first queen selected from the student body. As the population of women grew on campus, the duties of the Poly Royal Queen changed. According to Queen Contest history, “The Poly Royal Queen serves as a spokesperson or representative for Cal Poly. As Poly Royal Queen, the woman selected will travel throughout the state representing Cal Poly and promoting Poly Royal” (2).
One of the most famous instances of a Poly Royal Queen acting as a state representative for Poly Royal was in 1967. During the 35th annual Poly Royal, Queen Tee Carter traveled up to the state Capitol Building to meet with Governor Ronald Reagan. This year also marked one of the biggest publicity stunts Poly Royal ever accomplished. Not only did Tee Carter meet with the Governor, but in honor of the Pony Express, they sent off two horseback riders to carry a letter from Reagan in Sacramento all the way to San Luis Obispo. On their route, they passed out brochures and stopped in several towns in order to spread the word about Cal Poly’s annual event. With the help of Poly Royal Queens and a great publicity team, Poly Royal grew into a tradition that would never be forgotten.
By the 1980s, Poly Royal Queens were given much more agency, and women at Cal Poly started to break typical gender roles on campus. In 1982, women at Cal Poly began majoring in horticulture, computer science, aeronautical engineering, and architecture, all male-dominated departments (3). Angela Darnell broke a color barrier in 1985 when she became the first African-American Poly Royal Queen (4). In 1988, the Poly Royal executive planning team decided to replace the Poly Royal Queen with six representatives to publicize and promote the annual event, allowing both men and women to participate in this time-honored tradition. After Poly Royal ended in 1990, Open House continued to use student representatives to plan the event.
To learn more about Poly Royal history and see some interesting historical artifacts, come check out the exhibit When Poly Was Royal: From Farmer’s Picnic to Open House in Special Collections and Archives, Room 409 of Robert E. Kennedy Library. See more digitized Poly Royal items at our online collections!
(1). Lori L. Robinson. “Developmental sketch of Poly Royal.” Liberal Studies Dept., California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, California, 1979.
(2). “The Queen,” Poly Royal Queen Contest 1988, Cal Poly University Archives, Robert E. Kennedy Library, San Luis Obispo.
(3). Sharyn Sears, “Women: the image changes,” Mustang Daily, May 19, 1982.
(4). Sandra Thornburgh, “1985 Poly Royal Queen Crowned on Tuesday,” Mustang Daily, February 7, 1985.]]>
Yun started off his talk by identifying a major problem with maps and historical documents: they are locked away in filing cabinets, inaccessible to most people. In addition to the maps being inaccessible, it’s often very hard to find the information you’re looking for.
“What good is information if no one uses it?” Yun asked.
Yun has a better way to store historical documents and maps using GIS software. In this process, the maps are scanned, GIS layers are created and then saved with location tags. So, if you want to look up maps for a particular location, all you have to do is search that location and the relevant maps come up. This process can be used to digitize any type of map or historical document. Yun teaches this process to his students, and then gives them real world projects to apply what they’ve learned.
In a side by side comparison, we’re able to look at San Luis Obispo maps from 1905, 1950 and 2014 using GIS. Troy Lawson (who started off as Yun’s intern, then went on to be his student and teaching assistant) geo-referenced historical Sanborn maps to analyze the city’s history for his senior project, presenting his work through the city’s GIS and mapping website.
Yun’s other students have also provided GIS data and maps for the city. For example, one student mapped out and created a record of all the surveys taken in SLO. In total, there were about 2,000.
David Yun pictured above with Jeanine Scaramozzino, College of Science & Mathematics, School of Education, and Data & GIS Services Librarian. Learn more about Data Studio Presents.]]>