The Mangasers Come to America

As part of the first generation born in America in my family of Philippine immigrants, I have much to be thankful for. I can’t imagine how much more different my life would be if I had grown up in Manila, where my parents came from. My mom’s side, the Villenas, are from Manila, and my dad’s side, the Mangaser side, is from a small town called Tayug in a province called Pangasinan, which is three hours outside of Manila.

Born in 1964 to my grandpa Benjamin and grandma Flora, my dad, Victor Bravo Ferdinand Mangaser (long name, I know) is the youngest kid out of ten children. My mom, Luzviminda Villena, was born a year later, and is the oldest kid out of five from my grandpa Rudy and my grandma Mila.

The Mangasers lived in Pangasinan for a while before moving to P. Halili Street in Manila, coincidentally the same street as my mom’s family. I thought it was significant to mention the street where they came from, because they both still have family that live on the same street, in the same homes. My parents tell me that my mom didn’t like my dad at first, because my dad was apparently in a band so they played music all the time, and my mom didn’t like that. Same as usual, my dad also always teased her.

When they got married, one of my (many) uncles on the Mangaser side, Uncle Ben, had moved to New Jersey and petitioned all of the Mangasers to come to the United States in the 1980s. At around the same time, my dad had joined the United States Navy and my mom was in the process of gaining citizenship, which took around 10 years and two rejections, despite having a U.S. military spouse. I can’t imagine why it took so long, to be honest.

Eventually, I came to be in October of 1998, when my dad was stationed in California. From there, we made our way up to a small town north of Seattle called Lake Stevens. In 2004, my grandma Mila was able to come to the United States and gained citizenship three years later. You’d think that the rest of the Villena family came along too. Though my grandma petitioned the remaining Villenas living in Manila (long ago, I might add), their applications haven’t been accepted (yet?).

I am proud of where I come from as a Filipino-American. Granted, I’m definitely more Americanized as I can’t speak Tagalog or Ilocano (my dad’s native dialect), and growing up I used to be embarrassed to show common Filipino signs of respect, like adding po to the end of every sentence, or performing mano to elders. And growing up in America with parents who grew up in Asia, was (and still can be) difficult. Nonetheless, my family coming to America for a better life for their kids, my sister and I, has always meant a lot to me. It meant a lot of hard work, learning, and adjusting to a new way of life, something I couldn’t imagine doing in my late 20s.

All, all, are sleeping on the hill.

“The Hill”

WHERE are Elmer, Herman, Bert, Tom and Charley,
The weak of will, the strong of arm, the clown, the boozer, the fighter?
All, all, are sleeping on the hill.

One passed in a fever,
One was burned in a mine, 
One was killed in a brawl,
One died in a jail,
One fell from a bridge toiling for children and wife—
All, all are sleeping, sleeping, sleeping on the hill.

Where are Ella, Kate, Mag, Lizzie and Edith, 
The tender heart, the simple soul, the loud, the proud, the happy one?—
All, all, are sleeping on the hill.

One died in shameful child-birth,
One of a thwarted love,
One at the hands of a brute in a brothel, 
One of a broken pride, in the search for heart’s desire,
One after life in far-away London and Paris
Was brought to her little space by Ella and Kate and Mag—
All, all are sleeping, sleeping, sleeping on the hill.

Where are Uncle Isaac and Aunt Emily, 
And old Towny Kincaid and Sevigne Houghton,
And Major Walker who had talked
With venerable men of the revolution?—
All, all, are sleeping on the hill.

They brought them dead sons from the war, 
And daughters whom life had crushed,
And their children fatherless, crying—
All, all are sleeping, sleeping, sleeping on the hill.

Where is Old Fiddler Jones
Who played with life all his ninety years, 
Braving the sleet with bared breast,
Drinking, rioting, thinking neither of wife nor kin,
Nor gold, nor love, nor heaven?
Lo! he babbles of the fish-frys of long ago,
Of the horse-races of long ago at Clary’s Grove, 
Of what Abe Lincoln said
One time at Springfield.

Edgar Lee Masters (1868–1950), Spoon River Anthology. 1916.

 

For this assignment, my group and I were assigned section 1 of the Cemetery, ” Saint Gabriel”. We distributed the area between the different members of the group, and I was happy of realizing that I had been destined to observe some of the oldest gravestones.

Out of the 16- 20 that I studied, I paid close attention to the material and decoration elements  throughout the decades from the 1870’s all the way until few of the most recent ones, from 1997 until 2015; And I did observe, indeed, that as years passed we seem to have less “monumental” style graves (where personalized sculptures are present, such as lambs for children, angels and columns made out of limestone or hand-cult marble) and gravestones become more uniformed, with similar polished marble, and smaller inscribed decorations.

Some of the  earliest graves belong to very young people as well; Then it seems as if people’s lives stabilize as  the new settler colony establishes it’s roots in the environment. Marie Dizard, passed away in 1904 at 41. Ira S. Mehegan passed away in 1908 at 42. Stella Schoenerr in 1910 at 11 years old, and C.M Columbus at 1916 as an infant. As I stated before in other assignments, it could be due the fact that they were the first or second generation of settler colonials living of this land, in possibly very harsh conditions and not too many resources. Then as we move on through the decades, we could say that the economic crack of 1929 didn’t have any good effect on the health of people, and especially from 1918 – 1919 we have the Spanish Flu pandemic that claimed almost 2,000 lives in a short period of time.

Soldiers coming home from 1st world war had a great impact in everyone’s lives, directly and in an indirect way, bringing diseases that their immune systems couldn’t combat.

When it comes to gender and what kind of gender roles must have been played in those years according to the existence of epitaph, and the kind of vocabulary that is left behind for people to perceive  who they were, I see an overall very strong patriarchal dominance in words: If graves are shared by husband and wife, the husband’s name always goes on top of the wife, and her family name is not noted. Even though I might have found slightly more personalized epitaphs of men versus womxn, I still found a pretty evenly distributed adjectives of each individual playing a role in each family: Wife, brother, husband, mother, grandmother, grandfather.

Mysterious Owl Bottle

The past couple of weeks our class has been working on identifying glass bottles found at archaeological sites by examining an assemblage recovered from the former tidelands off of the former 6th Ave South viaduct in Seattle. Most of the bottles are exactly what you’d expect: beer bottles, medicine, condiments, that kind of thing. But a couple of the bottles present more of a mystery.

One such bottle is the one I’ve just been calling the “owl bottle.” For the most part it’s not a very exciting bottle, it’s tall, clear, and cylindrical with a wide opening and some light patination, but on the base of the bottle is an owl perched on a crescent moon and the word “trademark” is embossed within the moon. When I first saw this mark I got excited, partly because it’s pretty, but mostly because I figured it would make the bottle really easy to identify. I was very wrong.

The closest I came to identifying this mark was a reference to the logo for Gillet’s High Grade Extract, a company that does indeed use an owl on a crescent moon for its logo. Unfortunately the owl is slightly different, the word trademark is not present within the moon (at least not on any pictures I could find), and the owl is shown on the side of the Gillet bottles rather than the base. I thought maybe that it was a one-off that they had manufactured beforing changing their minds about which direction to go with the logo but there are so many differences that there’s just no way for me to be sure. One thing I do know is I’m going to be looking oddly closely at any bottles with owls I see in the future and maybe someday I’ll know the answer!

The Average Joe Bottle

For this week, our class analyzed glass bottles from a dump, and see how they were manufactured, and what they could have possibly been used for. I never realized the differences between bottles and how their shapes and finishes could reveal how they were used. It’s clear a champagne bottle is used for champagne, and a soda bottle for soda, but I never realized why.

Then we characterized the age of all the bottles from the class data, and find the average age of each type of bottle. For example, the median age of beer and ale bottles was 1896 out of 12 dateable bottles. The median age of food containers was around 1900, but out of the nine bottles, only six were dateable. From these ages, we determined the lag by subtracting the average from the year the dump was sealed off, which was in 1929. So the lag between the year it closed and the age of the beer bottles is 33 years.

Then, we were to choose a bottle ourselves and describe what it was used for. As seen below, the bottle seems to be a soda/mineral bottle. It has a crown finish, and possibly had a paper label. However, when and where the item was manufactured remains a mystery as there is no manufacturer’s date or label. Being a soda bottle, it was probably used by an average Joe who decided to drink some soda on a hot day (or a mild day, it’s Seattle).

On the Origins of Ordinary

When you think of a beer bottle, this is what comes to mind. It’s amber, cylindrical, long necked… Nothing about it should strike you as bizarre. It’s just a normal bottle. But that in and of itself is interesting, isn’t it? Why is this bottle the bottle? This particular example is from a time when this type of bottle was becoming the commonplace style. It is one of the first fully automatic machine made glass bottles. Based on the embossed mark on the bottom of this bottle, it was made my the F. E. Reed glass company, headquartered in Rochester NY, between 1924 and 1929. This is not to say that the bottle was manufactured in Western NY, though that would be a fun coincidence,

The bottom of the bottle reveals an Owen’s Scar- a telltale mark left by the machine that made it

as the F. E. Reed company had manufacturing plants throughout the United States, supplying breweries nationwide with bottles for their beers. The advent of the fully automatic Owen’s Machine likely helped perpetuate this style of bottle as the dominant beer bottle design, as the same exact bottle could be mass produced at each plant throughout the country. Just like beer bottles of today, the only difference between bottles around the country would be the label that was glued upon them, as time has torn away the label that was once affixed to this particular bottle, there is no way of knowing its true origin, but the magic of this bottle is not in its uniqueness but in its ubiquity.

Unsurpassed when it comes to Constipation and Historical Insight

Dark olive green with a blob top and only remnants of a color paper label, this historic glass bottle was once a common household product in the US. The remains of the label and the boldly embossed base identify the bottle as a Hunyadi Janos brand Bitterquelle (aperient water), produced by the Andreas Saxlehner Mineral Spring Water Company out of Budapest, Hungary. Saxlehner used the name of the storied 15th century Hungarian general Hunyadi Janos to market his all-curing water, advertised as “unsurpassed” when it comes to “constipation, dyspepsia, biliousness, and headache arising from overloading the stomach.”


Base and Label details for Artifact 45K1765/P17-1 from Burke Museum’s collections.

Though this type of soda bottle also resembles what the Illinois Glass Company referred to as a druggist’s packing bottle, the trademarked Hunyadi Janos product was so popular that the bottle shape became synonymous with the brand. The Illinois Glass Company actually offered the “Hunyadi Janos” style bottle for sale in its catalog in 1906. Primarily imported from Hungary to the US from about the 1870s to 1920s, the Bitterquelle’s success inspired a variety of copycat products. At a time when copyright and intellectual property were flagrantly ignored, the Saxlehner Company took its trademark infringement lawsuits all the way to the US Supreme Court in 1900 and won.

Saxlehner’s Hunyadi Janos Bitterquelle advertisement
(image from Society for Historical Archaeology’s Historic Glass Bottle Guide)

Though ubiquitous in American homes at the turn of the century, Saxlehner’s Hunyadi Janos Bitterquelle faded from popular consumption by the time the the Great Depression took hold. Back in Hungary where the product had been manufactured, growing political unrest before WWII compelled the Saxlehner family to emigrate in 1938. Documentary evidence like advertisements, manufacturer catalogs, and legal records shed light on the historical contexts surrounding the material record.

More than just an old green bottle, this artifact reflects cultural, social, economic, and international political scenes of the early 1900s.

Read more:
Society for Historical Archaeology’s Guide to Bottle Typing

Dating Bottles Based Upon Building History

In examining my bottle, the first inclination was to examine the bottle for a makers mark.

This was somewhat helpful.  From the makers mark, I was able to determine this was a Whitall and Company bottle produced somewhere between 1901 and 1924.  Whittal and Company made this pharmacy bottle for pharmacies across the United States and opperated between 1806-1938 in Millville, New Jersey  The real clue to the bottles age however was the embossing on the side of the bottle.  The side of the bottle reads, “Lee’s Parmacy Alaska Building Seattle Wash.”. Subsequent investigations led me to conclude the Mr. Lee operated his pharmacy from 1889 to 1914.

So that led me to investigate the Alaska Building.  The Alaska Building was Seattle’s first skyscraper.  At the time of it’s construction, it was Seattle’s first steel framed building and opened in the year 1904.  The Alaska Building was constructed around the Seattle boom around the time of the gold rush in Alaska.  The building can be directly tied to the Seattle gold rush, which makes this bottle an important object from this period in time.

Photo by Asahel Curtis of the Alaska Building 1908

Taking this into account, this bottle was then ordered either before the pharmacy’s opening in the Alaska Building… say an early date of 1903, to the closing of the pharmacy in 1914.  I have thus narrowed the dating of the bottle from a 23 year period to an 11 year period taking into account the multiple lines of evidence that this bottle has to offer.

 

 

Historical Archaeology: American Bottling Company

Bottle typology is really interesting, I had no idea how accurately you could date a bottle, and how much information is embedded in it’s manufacturing. The bottle I studied was made by the American Bottling Company. It is an aqua colored beer bottle, made in the export style, which was popular during the late 19th and early 20th century for alcoholic beverages. Export style dates back to the 1870s, and is characterized by a bulge in the neck, a body length that is equal or just a little taller than the height of shoulder, neck and finish all combined, and the shoulder is also short and sharp angled.

This beer bottle is also a 2-piece post mold, and the base has a pontil mark, and is embossed with, “A.B. Co C 6.” Originally, based on it’s shape, color, finish and style, I dated the bottle from 1870s-1890s. However, after doing a little more digging, I found out the C 6 is supposed to have to do with a more specific timeframe in which it was manufactured, but I could not find any more information as to what timeframe that would be for the specific label. I did find however that American Bottling Company changed their labels pretty often, either how they presented their name, including or not including the location where it was manufactured, the location of the label itself on the bottle, having an ‘X’ symbol, and even combining the ‘A’ and ‘B’ into a single symbol. American Bottling Company was represented on this bottle as “A. B. Co C6”. “A. B. Co” as a base mark means that this bottle was manufactured between the dates of 1905-1914.

Garbology as a first introduction to hands-on archaeological analysis of material remains

 

I was first introduced to the concept of “garbology” on my first year of college, at my Anthropology 101 class in Bellevue College. We read an article of a professor in Arizona who was trying to paint a more complete picture of the population that was crossing the U.S Border at the desert, by analyzing all the items that had been left behind in the bushes, and it immediately opened my eyes to the immense  treasure that our disposal means for anybody trying to construct a context of who you are without your presence itself, only through your trail of used materials.

This is what Archaeology really seems to aim at, right? Building a strong context with the multiple layers of realities that compose our human existences. And this is what I’ve seen during this lab exercise. When I started seeing patterns emerging beyond the apparent frenetic disposal of random objects of the individual the case that I analyzed, it really motivated me to keep on trying to discern the micro-fibers of this complex tapestry:

Could I tell if the person was going through more unstable mental periods because of the rate of food disposal and the types of food been consumed? Could I tell if the person is experiencing the collapse of the middle class by the fact that instead of buying food in bulks they had kept buying them individually, even though the number of household members was great enough to qualify for deals found in larger purchases?

This is definitely something I will bring with me, into my practical analysis of material data. That is why it’s so important to seek inter-sectional approaches to such data!