Living the Good Life, Episode 14 (July 29, 2016): Adventures in the Archives (ALWAYS BET ON DUKE)

Hooooo boy, what a week. I’ve spent most of it in Durham, North Carolina, at the Rubenstein Library at Duke University (thus the name of this entry XD) Didn’t watch any anime cause I didn’t want to torrent on someone else’s (public hotel) connection), and didn’t play much except grind on Vindictus. This entry will be all about my experiences traveling and researching.

So, first: The actual plane trip to Durham: Not too bad. I first had to fly to Boston, which was uneventful, spent about 20 minutes at the Boston airport, which was also uneventful, and then 2 hours from Boston to Durham, which…would have been uneventful, except for one thing.

As the plane took off, I heard this loud, annoying squeaking noise. I thought it was just something mechanical and didn’t think much of it; the plane was in the air so if it was something serious there was nothing I could do except notify a flight attendant. When I heard the noise again, however, I noticed it didn’t seem to be coming from the plane itself, but rather from a seat in front of me. It was even louder and more annoying, but I couldn’t discern what it actually was, only its general direction. Now I was getting irritated, since it no longer seemed like a mechanical problem to dread. The noise came again and again, and I found myself getting angry; it was playing havoc on my ears.

So I leaned out of my aisle seat see to get a better look at what was causing that infernal clamor, and I noticed a bag moving–on its own–under the seat of a woman across the aisle and a little closer to the cockpit than I was. The sound seemed to be coming from that curiously rustling bag. What the hell was inside? I considered calling a flight attendant to tell him or her that a suspicious bag was making weird noises, but then the lady opened it and took out its contents, and I saw…

A small, cute, fluffy doggy!

Apparently, the woman had brought her pet with her on whatever trip she was taking, and I guess the air pressure did a number on its lungs. I never heard a dog bark like that before; as I mentioned, it sounded more like a hoarse squeaking or squealing than an actual bark. The dog was small, like a Pomeranian or something (I didn’t get a clear look at it), but I’d never heard even small breeds of dogs make noises like that, so I assumed being high up in thin air messed up its voice.

But anyways, after I figured out it was a cute little doggy, I couldn’t stay angry. Even though it spent most of the rest of that 2-hour flight crying its little heart out with that horrendous squeal, every time I heard it I couldn’t help but break into a goofy smile and say, “Hi pupper!”

Of course, my good humor probably wouldn’t have lasted as long if the flight had lasted more than 2 hours…a longer one, not to mention an international one, might have broken my patience entirely XD Still, it wasn’t, and all was well that ended well, and I got to Durham safely.

Speaking of Durham, I guess what they say about the South is right…it’s *muggy.* My hometown is respectably hot this summer, but North Carolina was even hotter, *and* more humid, which really killed me D: I thus spent most of the day (after getting a cab to take me to my hotel from the Raleigh-Durham airport) in my airconditioned room. That was on Sunday…on Monday, I began my research quest!

The short version: My brief stay (just 3 days) was reasonably productive, and I’m pretty satisfied; certainly don’t feel as if I wasted my time and money.

Long version: Hoo boy.

So I went to Duke to look at its archival material related to George Fitzhugh, as Harvey Wish’s biography of the man said it had a lot of stuff on him. The letters to George Frederick Holmes fitzhugh had wrote were there in Holme’s letterbook (on microfilm), so I ordered reproductions of those, but I also found a letter apparently addressed to his daughter Augusta in a totally unexpected archive–the Clopton family papers (the Cloptons were some relatively well to do Virginians living near the area Fitzhugh did during the 19th century). The thing is, while the letter apparently really was from Fitzhugh (I recognized his signature), the genealogists weren’t sure if Augusta married into the Cloptons, or if she was just visiting or something! Who knows, it may be possible Fitzhugh’s letter ended up there because of an archiving mistake or something. So the letter itself might be kinda useful–it didn’t say much, at least where it was legible, just Fitzhugh talking about a guy named Henry recovering from a wound, but it illustrates that Fitzhugh at least had a friendly relationship with that daughter–but I’d like to know a little more about its provenance before I use it. Even the archivist at Duke called it a mystery!

Aside from that, I came to Duke to get more issues of the magazine Fitzhugh wrote for, De Bow’s Review. See, I had been looking at the digital copies on hathitrust:


and as you could tell from the list there, several issues were missing (vols. 18, 20, 28, new series 1-3, etc) and I wanted to see the missing ones at Duke. However, when I got there, on a whim I looked up De Bow’s Review on Wikipedia and found that the whole thing had been put online by the University of Michigan, including the stuff that had been absent from the Hathitrust digital archive! XD

One last thing: I did find something I wasn’t expecting…a letter from James Henry Hammond to De Bow! Again, nothing incredible,just a compliment on De Bow’s “work for the south,” but it was a nice tidbit, and who knows, maybe I can use it. ;D

Aside from that, I sent an email to my profs telling them what I’ve been up to. Hope they respond to me soon…and, that about does it for this week, next week I’ll be reviewing Macross Delta 17 and 18, Jojo 17 and 18, Berserk 4 and 5, and OPM dub 2 and 3. I’ll also tell y’all how my computer’s been doing since I got it repaired.


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