More Mystery Dates (and People)

Member of the Reed family? Unidentified photograph from Reed Family Papers (UAF-1968-21-CO), Alaska & Polar Regions, Elmer E. Rasmuson Library, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Could this be a photograph of  Ida McKenny Reed?  She was a member of a pioneer family from Thurston County, Washington who penned a short piece about the land that became Olympia’s Point Priest Park, as well as some other stories for magazines.

Maybe it’s because SAA is around the corner, but in the spirit of MPLP and “progressive bibliography,” I decided that we should try to do a little less work on (re)cataloging material from the NPam shelves, while still getting some work done.  A quick pass through that section in search of titles that would provide some good practice in assigning LC classification yielded some curious finds.  Among the most intriguing was a pamphlet entitled, Damask Roses: A Tale of Point Priest Park and the Legend of Ellis Cove by a certain “Ida McK. Reed.”  Although there was already a record in OCLC suitable for copy cataloging purposes, it gave a publication date of 19–?.   I came tantalizingly close to nailing down a more definite date of publication, but decided to leave the rest of the fun to future catalogers.

A quick online search turned up the Constance Reed Haller papers at the Washington State Library, which identified Ida McKenny Reed as the mother of Constance and the wife of Thomas Milburne Reed, Jr. in its catalog record.  Another hit sent me to the Alaska Digital Archives, which contained a link to a collection level record for the Reed family papers at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, along with a number of digitized photographs.  While the description for the papers gave a brief rundown of Thomas Milburne Reed’s career in Alaska, as well as the activities of other family members, Ida McKenny Reed was somewhat absent.  Did she also  go to Alaska?  And was she in any of these photographs?

I chose this picture as a possible Ida because the woman is smiling, but there are a few other images of another (different) older woman who also may be a likely candidate.

Oh, and in another bit of scariness, I discovered that UAF also holds the Don Draper papers.  But it’s definitely another Don Draper.


“Twelve Stories of Solid Comfort”

Advertising brochure for Hotel Savoy, Seattle, Washington (circa 1908)

I’m not much of a fan of puns, but I do enjoy some forms of wordplay.  Recently I was trying to supply a date for yet another lovely piece of ephemera I had to catalog.  The item in question (back cover panel pictured above) was an advertising brochure for Seattle’s Hotel Savoy, which boasted of that lodging as being the perfect place to stay while taking in the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition (remember that?).  Clearly, the brochure must have been distributed some time around 1909, although the language of the announcement, which still made the AYPE seem a future prospect, made a slightly earlier date of “publication” a possibility.  I decided to double check quickly to see if the Hotel Savoy predated the fair.  I soon came across a handy publication entitled, The Heritage of Seattle Hotels, which included the following information:

Nothing approached the Rainier-Grand’s bon vivant popularity until THE SAVOY HOTEL opened in 1906.  Not pretentious by any means, advertised as “12 stories of solid comfort,” there happened to be elaborate French-period accommodations on the top floor…jokingly dubbed, by men-about-town, as “the vice-Presidential Suite.

For some reason, that passage immediately made me think of the television series, Mad Men.  Were those bon vivants who patronized the Savoy the “mad men” of their day?  Then I realized that one of the running jokes from the show’s season premiere had been the numerous references to “floors” made throughout the episode, culminating in Don Draper’s proposed slogan for a swimsuit ad campaign: “So well built, we can’t show you the second floor.”  Scary coincidence?  Even more strange was that the fictional client in the show was real life Northwest company, Jantzen (currently celebrating a centenary).

Floors?  Stories?  Get it?

The date I decided to use for the brochure in the catalog record was 1908 — as good as truth or fiction.  I’ll leave you all to decode the deeper meanings of Mad Men for yourselves.

Image credit: Washington State Historical Society Digital Collections Accession ID No. 2004.24.1