This month I’ll drop the sanctimonious tone of last month’s column, and tackle a relatively safe topic. It has been my observation that the CSEG has not been very good at documenting and archiving its affairs. Some societies can go overboard in that respect, but believe me, the CSEG runs no risk of that! Every committee I’ve served on has a very patchy record when it comes to documenting and storing details of its activities.
As everyone now knows, the CSEG will be moving into new offices in the summer of 2006. Within this office we’re going to try to introduce more elements honouring the history and past achievements of the CSEG. Over the last couple of years my office has informally become a repository for some appropriate material.
Three years ago Tim Portwood, the son of now-deceased long time CSEG member Tom Portwood, shipped various Doodlebug trophies and memorabilia up from California. He and his siblings felt the CSEG would appreciate these items from a historical point of view, and it was their way of respecting their late father and the importance he placed on the Doodlebug tournament and the deep friendships he cultivated within the CSEG over the years. Some of these trophies go back as far as the early 70s. There is one, a “Closest to the Hole” award from 1970, which I particularly like – it’s a ceramic ashtray modeled on Banff’s famous par three, “The Cauldron”. Back then smoking was socially acceptable. Heck, they even gave out ashtrays as prizes!
More recently, John Hodgkinson, CSEG President 1966, donated six original T.H. (Harold) “Chief” Edwards cartoons depicting seismic field workers (Doodlebuggers) from the 1940s and 50s. This was most coincidental, as I had been working on an article (printed in this issue) on Chief Edwards.
His daughter, Melody, had been in touch with the CSEG office, and this triggered the idea of doing an article on him. She was twelve when her parents separated, and as a result of the split never really got to know her father. In recent years she has been trying to track down her father’s artistic legacy, and in the process learn more about her father. I’m hoping to find the funds in our budget to scan the six works donated by John Hodgkinson, and create nicely framed reproductions for Melody to give to Chief Edwards’ grandchildren. And if there a re any members out there with leads for Melody, please contact me and I’ll get you in touch with her.
While I don’t believe living in the past is healthy, it is generally accepted that the healthiest cultures and organizations are those that have a good understanding and respect for their past, and an equally firm idea of where they are going. So in tune with this thinking, I’d like to see all the various CSEG committees – social, technical, educational, bureaucratic, organizational – put a better effort into recording and archiving their activities, and I’d like to see the office play the role of central archive. Especially today with the ease of storing digital files, this shouldn’t be a problem. We all tend to focus so much on the day-to-day challenges of our lives, that it’s easy to allow the years to slip by. Then when we inevitably get nostalgic with age, there aren’t very good records of the events we’re trying to remember.
To conclude, I would like to put a call out to all CSEG members for the donation or loan of any geophysically related items suitable for display in our new offices. It would be fantastic if we could get some vintage geophones or similar pieces of equipment. Let’s make these new offices reflect the rich history of our society, and the fascinating industry of exploration geophysics. We’ve got a great start with the donations from John Hodgkinson and Tim Portwood, and I expect this column will generate further donations.