Received your packet of information on Ted Wassmer, Kay Mallek and Ronn
Ronck. Many thanks!!
Ted still is living a very interesting life at 91. Have you been able to
talk with him by phone and get more details on dates? I found no mention of
his visit to Carmel and wondered if he remembered any more.
Just got off the phone with Kay Mallek, lovely lady. Hal and I will visit
her in her studio next Mon. We will take her picture and that of the studio
and gallery. If you have any questions let me know by this Thurs. , as we
leave Fri for AZ.
What is the store with Ronn Ronck ..guess I missed that one.
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- 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.
- Hello to all,.
We just returned from a busy 3 days in Arizona. Our grandson ,Aidan had his
1st birthday party. Our son, Kevin and his Newport
Masters Water Polo team came in 3rd in the Tournament. Team one and two are
ex-Olympic water polo team members and the national water polo team so our
team did pretty good.
Mon. we went from Tempe to Tucson to meet with Kay Mallek in her studio on
Swan St. in Tucson. She told us she was 88 and had first learned of DB when
she lived at the Geronimo Hotel while going to the U of A taking art classes.
DBs relative was manager of the hotel while studying snakes ..until his
snakes got loose and he was fired. She couldnt remember the year, sometime
between 1931 when she came to Tucson and 39 when the war started. The
relative gave her, her first DB book. She has 7 of them and Don gave her
some, she thinks.
It was very hard to get information from her and I had the feeling she didn
t want to say much, but maybe at 88 she could not recall details. She said
she meet DB in Tucson and Calif. many times through friends. He had never
come to visit her. She mentioned talking to DB about traveling and having
to pack but that didnt bother DB as he threw every thing in his Ditty Bag
and off he went. I had not heard the term Ditty Bag since I was a Navy Nurse.
Kay also mentioned that DB was a simple man and did not live the high life. I
had asked if he stayed at the posh Arizona Inn when he came and she said it
was not his style. She didnt know if he saw his relative at the Geronimo
Hotel, or if he ever stayed there.
Kay said she meet her because she was friends with everyone and that is how
Mary meet DB. She said everyone told Mary everything, but she did not
elaborate on that. Hal and I sensed she avoided talking about people.
Yes Kay knew him. One of the gals that worked for me called him
Bullstone Fairchild------he tried to impress people with his artwork. She
added that he did have some good pieces of work. That was about all she had
to say about him.
Arizona Historical Society
Now this was a find, however, we didnt have enough time left to stay very
long. If Kay was right, that DB had been to Tucson often, this would be the
place to go to. Hal and I hope to return and visit again just to see the
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