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Susie Baker Fountain Papers - Microfilm of the Collection

The user should note that there are some esthetic problems with the microfilm that arose either from the nature of the original materials or from the microfilming process. The mixed nature of the originals made filming difficult, and the requirement to maintain the arrangement of the photocopied volumes exacerbated these difficulties. Parts of the film are underexposed, leading to less than optimal contrast levels and in some cases to bleedthrough of images from the other side of the paper. Often more than one exposure of a page was done to minimize this tendency, but with some volumes this was not always done. In addition, some of the reels have very fine, horizontal scratches which were not discovered until the microfilming process was completed. Some of the originals have holes, tears, blotches and bleedthrough that could not be fully repaired. In some cases pages missing from the original materials were filmed from the bound volumes and reflect the fading and exposure problems of the bound volumes.

In the process of preparing the collection we discovered substantial additional original materials that were never included in the bound volumes. Some of these represent Mrs. Fountain's own collection of her writing with annotations, both columns in series and columns on a variety of special topics. The omitted sections include her later columns with her notes, in which she interpreted much of her knowledge of local history. Only her early columns are presently represented in the collection as it is available to the public. These additional materials also include her hand-drawn maps, on which she synthesized by location the multiple layers of information she had collected over the years. There are also 44 subject notebooks and the materials in Volume 120, which was added to the bound volumes at a later date and exists only at the Humboldt County Library.

We recently (October, 2000) went to Vallejo and interviewed Mrs. Fountain's son, Matthew Fountain, who was able to fill in many of the gaps in our knowledge of Mrs. Fountain's personal history and the history of her work. He also gave us two large newsprint sketchpads, probably left out of the original collection because of their large size. They contain a set of her columns that were not present elsewhere in the collection. These pads are referred to in some of the notebooks of her columns, but we were never able to understand these references until we saw the sketchpads. Thus we came to understand that ironically Mrs. Fountain's own writing has never been adequately represented in the Fountain Collection, given that all of her later, interpretive writings have been left out. These additional materials are currently being processed for microfilming in the future.

Jean Perry
March 2001