SOMEWHERE I’LL FIND YOU, OR, PUBLISHERS’ DECORATIVE BINDINGS ON THE PHILIPPINES FROM THE WOLFSONIAN-FIU LIBRARY

Today’s blog post comes to you courtesy of Sharf Associate Librarian Rochelle Pienn. Ms. Pienn has been working to catalog and digitize the Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Collection at The Wolfsonian-FIU. This collection is a treasure trove of rare books and often unique diaries, journals, and photograph albums documenting colonial enterprises in the Middle East and Africa, and military conflicts in the Far East. With the Philippines and China Sea controversies in the news of late, Rochelle has provided us with some materials from this region.

China’s recent creation of military outposts not far from the Philippines prompted the United States and Japan to protectively conduct naval maneuvers nearby. Ironically, almost seventy-five years ago, the Japanese occupied the Philippines in a hostile siege during the Second World War. In the vault of cinematic classics, the romantic film, Somewhere I’ll Find You, reunites its starring couple in Manila right as the Unites States is called to war.

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COPYRIGHT MGM STUDIOS

The movie’s leading man, the legendary Clark Gable, began filming right after his third wife, Carole Lombard, died in a plane crash. Upon its completion, Gable enlisted in the Army to fight against the Axis.

Looking even further back in history reveals a time when the United States and the Philippines were at war. Gifted to the U.S. by Spain after the Spanish-American War, the Philippines rumbled with unrest. Filipino natives became unwilling subjects of our republic and began a revolution. The Jean S. and Frederic Sharf Collection at the Wolfsonian-FIU library contains period rare books from the Philippine-American War (1899-1902), documenting this critical episode in the region.

Karl Irving Faust wrote Campaigning in the Philippines in 1899. His family’s American military roots stretched as far back as the Patriot War of 1837 on the U.S.-Canadian border. The cover is embellished with gilt-stamped decorations, including the emblem of the Second Oregon Infantry of San Francisco. The volunteer regiment secured Manila before fighting the Filipinos.

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GIFT OF JEAN S. AND FREDERIC A. SHARF

A year later, Charles R. Mabey, Sergeant of Light Battery A Utah Volunteer Artillery, wrote The Utah Batteries: a History. The red cloth cover is stamped with a crude cutout illustration of an Army volunteer. Passages contain unapologetic racial slurs.

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GIFT OF JEAN S. AND FREDERIC A. SHARF

Stephen Bonsal’s book of fiction, published in 1900, masquerades as an actual collection of military correspondence. The officers enter the Philippines feeling overconfident, only to find a violent rebellion that threatens to overpower them. The golden horseshoe pictured on the cover is a visual representation of a literary metaphor, referring back to the Spotwood Tramontane Expedition in the early 1700s. Apparently the shiny souvenirs were promised to those who trekked through the Blue Ridge Mountains with then-governor Spotwood to signify their long and arduous journeys on horseback.

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GIFT OF JEAN S. AND FREDERIC A. SHARF

Hancock’s 1900 adventure novel traces the exploits of his fictional hero, Dick Carlson, pictured on the cover with his Filipino captors.

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A similar theme is explored in the 1906 imprint, Captured: the Story of Sandy Ray. The khaki-colored cover and the paste-down illustration of the story’s hero emphasize the military basis of the story. However, this work of fiction contains a romantic element as well, which is perhaps why the protagonist appears more portrait-ready than trenches-ready.

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This 1898 volume provides a more panoramic perspective of the Philippines from the point of view of a female journalist. Margherita Arlina Hamm may have been the first American war correspondent. She traveled extensively, covered the Spanish-American War, and wrote prolifically. This book is illustrated plentifully with photographs, and contains Hamm’s observations of race, industry, architecture, and social customs in the country.

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GIFT OF JEAN S. AND FREDERIC A. SHARF

Finally, Joseph Earle Stevens provides this somewhat precious account of living in post-war Manila. While he seems to enjoy the novelty of his surroundings, Stevens expresses polite impatience and distaste with the general lack of sophistication of his Philippine lifestyle. Before page 50, he employs an entire Filipino family to clean and choose his daily outfits.

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Explore The Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Collection at the Wolfsonian-FIU library for other fascinating tomes on the Philippines.

 

 

~ by "The Chief" on June 22, 2015.

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