Hello fellow Blandingites,
It's been a very busy month...lots of great leads.
First of all...after a year of searching, I've finally located the
Dodd, Mead & Co./Blanding contracts. The publisher went out of
business in 1989, and all of their archives were sold to a famous New
York bookseller. He in turn sold them to a bookseller in
Berkeley...who in turn sold them to several parties. Some of the more
famous author files were sold to some universities, such as the
African American authors (Lawrence Dunbar, etc...) to an eastern
university. The Berkeley bookseller looked into his sales records for
me and came up with a midwestern university that he sold the bulk of
the archives to, and I contacted the librarian there. She responded
yesterday and informed me that they had not gone through all of the
thirteen boxes yet, but that she had indeed found files on Blanding,
which contained publishing contracts with DB, and royalty & copyright
agreements from the thirties to the fifties. She cannot photocopy
for us yet, but said that I could come out there and look through
them, or hire a researcher to do so.
Finding those files has been one of the most enjoyable detective
trails I've been on in this whole affair...I've asked the archivist
the Blanding files would be offered for sale, but I kinda doubt it. I
will share copies of everything if and when I can get them.
I've also found a Hawaiian dealer who I think will be a good source
Blanding ephemera. She has sold me two brochures for Chin Chong the
candlemaker, which Blanding designed and illustrated. It has a few of
his poems, including the famous Ching Chong poem from Vagabond's
House. I will put one up for sale on ebay...any takers. She also has
shirt that she believes Blanding designed...but cannot confirm.
Last month I went through microfilm for the 1936-1937 Carmel Pine
Cone, and now I'm going through the 1938-1939 issues. They have
revealed much. For one thing, I can positively state that Blanding
designed his first two patterns for Vernon Kilns in the summer of
1938. He was contracted for two more designs in 1939.
Also, Armine von Tempski wrote the entire 'Born in Paradise' while
and her husband Al were living with Don Blanding in Carmel.
I will post more from the Carmel Pine Cone later.
Say hello to Kay Mallek for me. She has one tile design using a DB
design...please buy one for me, and I'll reimburse you later. Ask her
if she has found her DB letter...she couldn't locate it last time I
talked to her.
Ronn Ronck authored several books on Hawaii in the eighties. He now
lives in Washington, and works for the government in some capacity. I
was referred to him by a fellow biographer friend who is also writing
a biography on another Hawaiian artist. Ronn wrote a column while in
Hawaii, and seems to have some info on Blanding, but has not gotten
back to me. I sent him a complimentary copy of the Malone thesis and
the Pine Cone special edition as a gesture of good will.
He did send me that copy of Blanding's business card from the
twenties...Don Blanding Ideas, Boston Building. Cool drawing on it
I'm busy making changes to my website, and have added several pages,
as well as expanded others. It's probably why I haven't been as vocal
as in the past. The Vagabond's House CDs are selling well...nice to
see DBs voice being heard in the 21st century.