Saturday, August 23, 2008

Friday, the Day of Good & Bad

We got to the archives (just eight blocks from the hotel) around 9 am and made it through the security check, getting id cards, and so forth within an hour. The material I reviewed during the morning (about 8 boxes) had some interesting stuff—not particularly what I was hoping for—but it will still be really useful for adding empirical evidence and citations. Here’s one of the documents that made me want to LOL. Check out the name of this group.

(Click to enlarge & enjoy)
Now seriously, if I was writing a farce or novel or something about missionary efforts in this period, I might make up a name like that as a kind of caricature of the prevailing attitudes.

TH turned out to be a great research assistant. He made photo-copies for me on both Friday and Saturday and just surfed the net or answered emails on his iPhone when I didn’t need him—it was great. Around 12:30, I was able to talk with an archivist who works more closely with my record group and she recommended I pull some different files, so I ordered those before leaving for lunch (it takes a looong time for them to pull materials). Around 1:30 we headed out to the streets, the sunshine and the fresh air. We found a tapas restaurant called Jaleos Café pretty quickly. The first course we ordered was gazpacho flights. The variations, left to right, and to the extent that I can remember them--are: 1) pear and pinenuts, 2) cantaloupe, 3) apple and tomato, and 4) watermelon.

We also ordered 3 other plates: scallops w/yellow heirloom tomatoes and marinated onions (yum), gambas y aeoli, and sautéed spinach (w/all kinds of goodies inside: pineapple, pine nuts, garlic, etc.).

The spinach was wonderful.

This little doggie was at the table next to us. (I had to take his photo for MP2; isn't it cute?)

After lunch, we headed back to the archives so I could begin going through another 24 boxes. This material was a grab bag of really early files. Most dated to the first decade of the 20th century, with occasional older stuff mixed in. I made it through about one-third of the boxes before a fire alarm and emergency evacuation (a “fire incident”) forced us to leave the building. Orderly chaos ensued. An armored truck pulled up within minutes—I presume this is standard protocol and all about taking the Constitution and Declaration of Independence out the door/to an off-site vault, in case of a major fire.

The guards talked for a while and turned them away. There is scaffolding on the outside of the building (restoration, maybe?) so I think this might have been a construction -related incident. Of course they wouldn’t tell us—EVEN though we had to stand in the sun for 45 minutes (wasting valuable research time!!) before the security guards allowed us all back in the building.

Here was the order of reentry: the suits, the research and museum staff, the volunteers and general staff, researchers. The reference room is open until 9pm on Friday, so we stayed until about 6:00, checked my boxes back in for Saturday morning return, and then headed over to the Spy Museum, which closes at 7pm (TH’s dad really wanted us to see this). Unfortunately, when we got there at 6:15, they wouldn’t sell us tickets (it’s one of those damned “experience museums,” and they quit selling tickets an hour before closing. Grrrr). We bought tickets for 5 pm the next day and then went across the street to the National Portrait Gallery, which closes at 7. After picking up a flyer, we decided we’d come back to that on Saturday, too and headed off to the hotel. Exhausted. After recovering from archives-overload, we headed out for a walk around the White House and Washington Monument and then back to the Willard Hotel, where we had dinner al fresco. Here’s a photo (looking down Pennsylvania Avenue) of the Capitol at night.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

don't you love it when people caricature themselves? Saves you the trouble. :)