Bonfire of the vanities

Hi Readers:

I’ve got this box of US Archives microfilm of all the US Army Civil War correspondence for the Department of New Mexico and Arizona staring at me.  Wasted a phone call to the  Arizona State Archives, talked to a clerk who’d have her boss get back to me if they wanted them.

Microfilm of Yankee Army Civil War correspondence

No joy.  I suppose I might yet find a university, or the NM or Texans might want them for their State Archives.  It’s got the California Volunteers activities, and the Union perspectives on what all those Texas troops were doing raising hell up the Rio Grande.  Nice description of how, when the last Texans had retreated to Fort Davis, left their wounded in the hospital there for the Union to treat when they arrived.

Apache got there between the exit of the Texans and the arrival of the Union troops.  Slaughtered them all in their beds, mutilated the corpses.

We’re talking good stuff here.  Somebody sure as hell ought to want it.

Maybe I can swing up by Ruidoso and blackmail the Mescalero with it.

Or maybe it’s time for all that stuff to go into the burn pile.

Old Jules

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16 responses to “Bonfire of the vanities

  1. Please don’t burn it, Jules. It may be easier to upload it all to an Internet Web site, so anyone can have access to it than to find a fund-starved public library or institutions to house it,at least in the current climate. I still think it’s valuable.

  2. Please don’t burn it, Jules. I know it’s a hassle to keep it, and I’m sure that most fund-starved public libraries are hesitant to take more stuff they’re not sure themselves they’ll be able to hold. But I think that there’s value in this material. Perhaps uploading it to a Web site may be easier to do, at least for now, so people can have access to it. Unbelievable that private universities, which charge an arm and a leg and the other arm and leg too from students, and effectively enslave them in debt for most of their productive lives, are not willing to have this material in their archives. Best. Wesley

    • Hi Wesley. And thanks. I looked into digitizing it a few years ago. Price of doing it might have gone down since then. Truthfully if it were digitized it would probably be useful on the Web. But poring over photos of old documents trying to decypher words and sentences from pictures of papers carried around in the pockets of couriers and unit commanders probably isn’t something gets done much these days. The documents in question are a lot more difficult to read than the microfilm of newspapers, for instance.

      I’ll probably hang on to them a while, maybe put them in storage until sometime I can find someone capable of converting microfilm spools to digital. Provided I can’t find someone somewhere who wants them.

      I’m getting long in the tooth, though. If I die and those spools are in storage they’ll probably end up being auctioned out of a storage locker. End up at a flea market or garage sale.

      Gracias, Jack

      • I’m sorry, it really sounds like a massive undertaking. I’ll keep my eyes open to any possibility that may work out for you. Thanks Jules

        Wesley

        • Daunting’s the word, Wesley. I went online yesterday looking for services to digitize microwave spools. Even though the technology’s fairly mature by now, I’d think, it costs about $150 per spool. I’m not going to burn these spools of microfilm, but I’ve sneaked around wishing I’d bought the spool-reading portable [about the size of a large briefcase] microfilm reader I saw on EBay several years ago for $100. I think I might have spent the last several years going over all those documents, might spend the next several. It’s been 10-15 years since I rolled through them all going blind. Gracias, Jack

  3. I asked a friend in the history business, his reply.

    “Concerning the microfilm, I can take them and make sure they get to the proper museum for curation. I am in charge of curation and collections management for our local county historical society museums.”

    He is in Lake county CA & that would be a better place than the burn pile.
    Contact me p-mail if you would & we can talk about getting them sent to him.

    • Thanks Rob. I’ve still got emails off to the New Mexico and Texas State historians and archives I’ve not heard back from. If something doesn’t arrive from them in a couple of days I’ll probably be in touch with you. The CA State Archives has a lot of good California Volunteers material I used to peruse, hadn’t actually considered them. And there are some collections at Berkely and a few other CA universities of personal correspondence I’d have loved to delve into, but required personal visits.

      I’m obliged to you and maybe you’ll turn out to be the solution. Gracias, Jack

  4. Tried and trying to think of someone who might want them . Don’t know contents, but how about a Louis Lamour type who is a writer in need of inspiration or perhaps a historian. When my dad died we had s get together of some of the folks at a neighbor home and the guy was the one who wrote the Civil War articles for National Geographic for about 50 years. Maybe someone like that. Couldn’t get a phone number yet.
    Good luck with that. There has to be someone who would love those.

    • Hi Chuck. I coveted them once enough to pay $400-500 for them in 1995ish dollars. But I don’t think there’s much original research of that sort going on these days. Mostly people writing books on historical events quoting other people who wrote books on historical events. Everyone assuming back there somewhere someone actually went to original source material and ferreted it out. But I hope you’re right. Jack

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