California Missions Rare-book Monograph
I returned invigorated from the annual California Mission Studies Association Conference, held this year at Mission San Antonio de Padua. I stayed four nights at the Mission, which is over 20 miles remote from the nearest town. The Mission is at the base of the Santa Lucia Mountains, which contains the highest peak in Monterey County, aptly named Junípero Serra Peak in 1906, rising 5,857 feet. The Milky Way makes a regular appearance there. No TV. No phone. What a joy to be awoken at dawn each day by the calling of local birds. And what a joy to continue friendships with those who share my feelings for the California Missions.
Progress continues on my monograph. Like many major projects, until you really start putting everything together, you don’t know all the questions you’ll need to resolve. I call this the “you don’t know what you don’t know” stage. For instance, after struggling to find the right words to go with each of the 21 images, I came to the realization that was not my forte. For this part of the endeavor, I am very fortunate to have found a partner in a well-known California Missions historian. We have just begun the collaboration, but the first few passages she has suggested have been stellar. While the text selection is going on, I am busy in the darkroom making the best platinum print I can of each trial image, to find the ones that best fit each Mission.