Saturday, March 31, 2012

Great expectations and agreements in principal

Tuesday, May 04, 2010 08:55AM John Van de Graaff replies with a brief e-mail but promising more information after his presentation on the 10th. The first half of August would “work well in principal for a visit, fortunately” and indicates it is a busy summer in part due to moving house in September. John gives an indication of what materials are on hand and what I may due with them: “There are not a lot of materials--mainly personal files, and probably not much more than a couple of file drawers. I would be reluctant for anything to leave here--best probably would be to plan to photograph what you need, and that should go fairly quickly” - which is what I had in mind anyway. 

Although it would be better and handier to take the materials home and record them at a more leisurely pace, it is perfectly understandable to not give them to a stranger – even a well-meaning scholar like me. Given that John was to move soon, he says “[...] it will behoove me [...] to get everything ready for you [...] No one else has looked at the materials. A former associate of my father did some work on him several years ago; he wrote a few pages which I can show you [...], and then he faded from view.” This is interesting and I would have to come back to this later and see what developed from that, if anything. 
John continues, “I'd be delighted to talk with you (on tape if you wish), but I'm not expert on his work. My brother Bill (3 years younger) would be a better source, probably [...] I'm delighted that you're interested and look forward to working with you. To be continued! John”
John's delighted. I'm ecstatic! We are off to a good start. 
His e-mail signature block contains links to his bird photography website and photoblog: and
Have a look. He takes wonderful photographs and is very happy to talk about them.

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