Tag Archives: creative

Montana Mine Correspondence

22 Nov
I love the letterhead symbol on this one. As always, if you would like to use any of the photos seen here on the blog please contact ahsref@azhs.gov for information on image reproduction.

Honestly, I just love the letterhead symbol on this one. If you look closely you can see parts of a tank. As always, if you would like to use any of the photos seen here on the blog please contact ahsref@azhs.gov for information on image reproduction.

Lately I’ve been working my way through the correspondence series of the Montana Mine Collection. The majority of the correspondence, outside of that which is related to the financial business of the mine, is actually from a later period of the mine’s existence, when it was owned by a Mr. Hugo Miller. Most of this is the Miller family’s personal correspondence, offering an interesting insight into the lives of this entrepreneurial southern Arizona family.

As always, if you would like to use any of the photos seen here on the blog please contact ahsref@azhs.gov for information on image reproduction.

Living with a miner is never easy! As always, if you would like to use any of the photos seen here on the blog please contact ahsref@azhs.gov for information on image reproduction.

Miller owned an assay office in Nogales and mined on the side. It was not uncommon in the past for men and women with minds for business and an eye for good opportunities to work a mining claim into their business investments. Even now it’s not unusual for private citizens here in Arizona to have ownership of a small mine in the area that they work on periodically as they have free time. The letter you see below is an excerpt from a letter from Mrs. Gladys Miller to a friend and mentions the reality of living with the sort of jack-of-all-trades entrepreneur of a man that Mr. Miller was. From the excerpt you can tell that the Millers had great business acumen, even taking  boarders in their house to make some extra money. This correspondence suggests that the Miller family was a hard working one.

The letter below was interesting because of the context of the attached newspaper clipping. Again, this is a rare glimpse into the daily realities of living in past times. In this case, wartime rationing takes center stage as a friend, Edna, writes to ask whether the newspaper article is true and then asks her friend, Gladys, to purchase extra Nylons for her! Rationing during wartime meant people had to get creative in their daily lives to continue on as normally as possible. Having a friend who could easily get across the border to purchase stockings in Mexico definitely would have been an advantage. This is just another example of how people worked together and created good relationships during times of hardship.

As always, if you would like to use any of the photos seen here on the blog please contact ahsref@azhs.gov for information on image reproduction.

A clever way to circumvent wartime rationing. As always, if you would like to use any of the photos seen here on the blog please contact ahsref@azhs.gov for information on image reproduction.

These letters are all great examples of how the correspondence in a collection can yield really interesting insights into the past. Whether it’s fun snippets such as these I’ve shared above or more serious historical connections, correspondence is always a treasure trove of historical moments.

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Photo Friday: One Gila of a Workout

16 Aug

It’s not easy being a Gila Monster.

Buehman-Subjects-Animals-BN205186. As always, if you would like to use any of the photos seen here on the blog please contact ahsref@azhs.gov for information on image reproduction.

Buehman-Subjects-Animals-BN205186. As always, if you would like to use any of the photos seen here on the blog please contact ahsref@azhs.gov for information on image reproduction.

 

This photo from the Arizona Historical Society’s Buehman photograph collection, catches a Gila Monster in a gem of a moment, trying to keep his balance and stay on this long pole. Is he doing pull-ups or trying out for the next Olympic gymnastics team? The Gila Monster is particularly special to the Southwest as it is native to this region. It seems that more than a few Tucsonans have a good Gila Monster story.

It’s hard to imagine a lizard more suited to good stories than a Gila Monster. They just seem destined for fiction, and they appear in it often. One of my beloved books as a kid in Ohio was “Gila Monsters Meet you at the Airport” by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat (which we do happen to have here in the archives and which can also probably be found at your local library). This book was also once featured on the television program “Reading Rainbow,” for those of you who want to get a little nostalgic for good PBS programs encouraging reading.

Monsoon season is a prime moment to catch elusive animals like the Gila Monster out in the open enjoying the wave of cool and lovely puddles after the rain. It’s a good moment to take advantage of if you have kids. Take them on a special creative hike. Bring some paper and pens or crayons along and something sturdy to write on. When they see something neat let them stop and write about the experience or take a few minutes to draw what they see. You may not make swift progress up a hill, but you will get some good drawings or writing to put on your fridge and your kids will have something fun to talk about when they return to school. And just because you don’t have kids doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the same kind of activity. Take some colored pencils with you on your next hike. Take some paper and a pen. Write things down. Sketch. You may find yourself having more fun than you first imagined. And you may find yourself face to face with a Gila Monster.