You are here

Main Content

Quirky and Curious Calendars

Many people enjoy the yearly ritual of choosing a calendar, date book, or planner in which to note their daily activities. These seemingly innocuous notes and scribbles can sometimes reveal interesting details about people's interests, social and professional lives, priorities and goals, and other details that shed light on their lives. While the paper may be plain, an individual’s character or personality can be distinguished by the ways in which they mark events and activities.

The Vahdah Olcott-Bickford Collection includes appointment books kept by Vahdah from 1922-1924. In these appointment books she wrote down when she had appointments with her guitar students, travel plans from New York to California, a reminder to go to Enid and [Bill’s] wedding, and a dentist appointment before a course with another guitar student. Similarly, in the Bonnie Bullough Collection, a planner from 1994 details Bonnie's professional life as a faculty member and a nurse, as well as her activities outside of academia.

In the Aristide J. Laurent collection, we can see that Aristide had fun with wall calendars by writing personal comments and creating illustrations having to do with daily life. Aristide clearly had many friends, cared for a cat, enjoyed local entertainment, and actively dated. In his 1985 calendar, Aristide added a pop of color to the black and white calendar by creating individual tags for each day that had an event, as well as adding a thought bubble to each month’s Colt man.

Julian Nava was a history professor at CSUN from 1957-2000. He was also a member of the Los Angeles Board of Education from 1967-1979, and served as the United States Ambassador to Mexico from 1980-1981. The Julian Nava Collection includes some of Nava's planners in which he noted his activities as the Ambassador for Mexico from morning to night. One example of a busy day can be seen on Saturday, May 24, 1980. This notation describes a drive to Cuernavaca "in 2 cars as usual & it is a bother to always be followed around by 5 guards." Later Nava notes "I asked the guards to eat with me, but we had little to say."

The Rodolfo F. Acuña Collection contains "El Calendario Chicano 1975," a calendar for the purposes of remembrance. Although there are no personal notations or comments on this calendar, it is still an important part of the collection because it details different events in the United States that have made an impact on Chicana/o's. It fills each day with historic events dating between the 18th and 20th centuries.

Monthly wall calendar opened to March 1993 page
Monthly wall calendar opened to March 1993 calendar page
Monthly wall calendar opened to September 1993 with birthday and kitten related notes. Aristide J. Laurent Collection
Monthly wall calendar opened to November 1985 with Colt model, and a speech bubble added by Aristide. Aristide J. Laurent Collection
Monthly wall calendar opened to November 1985 with Aristide’s colorful additions to Thanksgiving and other events. Aristide J. Laurent Collection
Monthly wall calendar opened to March 1985, marking friends' arrival to Los Angeles and several days of sightseeing. Aristide J. Laurent Collection
Bonnie Bullough's daily planner with quickly written event notes. Bonnie Bullough Collection
Julian Nava's edited day page, scratched from May 23 Friday to May 24 Saturday. Julian Nava Collection
Julian Nava’s edited page, scratched from Saturday 24 May to Friday 23 May, where he writes his full schedule starting from 8am to "Home for supper – dead tired." Julian Nava Collection
The cover of El Calendario Chicano 1975. Rodolfo F. Acuña Collection
"Loteria: Tabla Llena" by Carmen Lomas Garza taken from El Calendario Chicano 1975. Rodolfo F. Acuña Collection
Vahdah's pocket-sized appointment books. Vahdah Olcott-Bickford Collection
Vahdah's guitar student appointments for Friday May 4th, 1923. Vahdah Olcott-Bickford Collection
Vahdah's pocket-sized appointment book, listing her guitar appointments for May 24-25, 1923. Vahdah Olcott-Bickford Collection
Vahdah’s appointment book that takes us to the moment on June 24, 1923 where she left for California from New York. Vahdah Olcott-Bickford Collection
Vahdah's appointment book with note, "Riverside to marry Enid off to [Bill] T," on Tuesday August 26, 1924. Vahdah Olcott-Bickford Collection
Vahdah's appointment book with possible student names for Tuesday December 16, 1924. Vahdah Olcott-Bickford Collection
The inside of Vahdah Olcott-Bickford's appointment book, the 1924 calendar, and a reminder about the price of postage. Vahdah Olcott-Bickford Collection

Read more Peek in the Stacks blog entries