Friday, January 27, 2006

The Shirley Temple Contest

I had a wild question the other day on the desk.

An elderly lady came up to the Desk and said, "I just stopped by to get the pictures of those girls that were in the Shirley Temple contest in 1936 in Winnipeg."

"Um, do we have pictures like that? Where do you think those pictures might be?"

"You girls got those pictures for me before, printed them off, right back there."

[me, sweating a bit] "Were they on the computer? Tell me about the contest."

It turns out that this woman was, at the age of five, the winner of the Shirley Temple contest in Winnipeg, in 1936. We had printed the photos of all the girls in the contest for her before, but they had been lost in a lost luggage incident. My colleague and I spent 45 minutes trying to get the Internet to produce such photos, and then in a further discussion, learned that we printed them for her from the microfilm reader. Ah, different search altogether.

After following many tiny sleuthing threads (my Ellery Queen mystery magazine subscription at the age of 12 obviously served me well), I learned that, in 2002, we ordered two months' worth of microfilm of the 1936 Winnipeg daily paper for her. Phew. She was thrilled, and is eagerly awaiting her films to arrive again.

A wild ride altogether. And an opportunity to meet an interesting human.


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