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Louis Raymond Oral History Interview, June 14, 1990

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LR: Well, I spent a lot of time in Bolivia. I guess I went into practically all the mines in Bolivia- The idea, this was during the war, and they needed white metal for airplanes. They had to increase the supply of tin, so that was my main project.

PH: So, these were existing mines that you went to start up again?

LR: Yes, I made recommendations of the best way to increase production in these mines.

PH: What would you actually do when you first got down there, and there was, say if the mine hadn't been opened for years?

LR: Most of the mines I visited were operating but in a very low capacity. They didn't have much money. They were kind of living from month to month more 00:01:00or less. The price of tin would fluctuate and some of them would have to shut down for a while, and that sort of thing. But I went into the mine, and went underground to find out whether they had reserves, you know, and whether their reserves were fairly rich or not.

PH: How would you go about it? Was it a matter of taking core samples?

LR: Yes, samples. I went into one mine that the Dutch had gone into after WWI and opened it up. It had been an old mine, a rich mine- They abandoned it after WWI. I went down there. Of course, it had been shut down for quite a while. The main tunnel was lined with the sand stone blocks so they were 00:02:00in pretty good shape. I recommended we get a drill, a diamond drill, so we could sample it. The ore had given out above a certain level. But I was lucky that my first hole, I went through 75 feet of very rich ore. From then on, that mine was...I was lucky. Well I had a pure theory as to how the ore was located in certain cross fractures. They were more favorable where the main fracture was intersected by a cross fracture, in that zone, you had rich ore. I had to kind of map the geology of the thing in very fast 00:03:00order. I made just a rough guess that this might be the solution and took a chance. I was lucky.

PH: Would that be the same with other metals like gold? Would you have the same strategy or was that particular to tin?

LR: My background was ore deposits, geology of ore deposits. So that while the different types of metals and different types of origins... it's a little complicated.

PH: Were most of the mines in South America American owned or foreign owned rather that national mines?

LR: A lot of the smaller mines were privately owned. Of course, eventually the government took over the mines. That was 00:04:00unfortunate. They didn't take over the real small mines. They took over the major mines.

PH: The ones that they could make money with?

LR: Yes.

PH: But your career mostly took you to American owned mines, more or less?

LR: No, no. It didn't make any difference. The idea was to get the mines rejuvenated, you know, to get into production as soon as possible.

PH: You talked a little bit as far as Bolivia, there was a Communist uprising at one point in time. That is sort of timely now because right now in the paper there is an article about a mining engineer down in Ecuador that has been kidnapped by guerillas. Is that something that you can relate to? Were you that involved?

LR: Well, we had extremists down there but they didn't kidnap people so I never 00:05:00encountered any bad experiences. As a matter of fact, the men knew me pretty well. They knew I was trying to do something to help the mine, which meant to help them. They were conscious of the fact that these government politicians trying to run these mines were creating a catastrophe and they welcomed my help. So, I had no trouble with men. I was lucky.

PH: I was reading some of your stories and one that stuck in my mind was, I guess it was right before WWII where you talked about a lot of European refugees fleeing Hitler's regime working. Could you just talk about that a little bit, as far as working 00:06:00with different nationalities?

LR: Well, the mining camps were big. The mining camp population could be eight or ten thousand people, but they weren't all working men or miners. But the mines required a big staff of technicians that were bosses. That required a big dining hall and a big building to house them where men were going to make their home, where they could live. So we had a huge dining room. I forget, I guess it was a block long. They had big windows on one side so that a lot of light came in. I remember that because I put in hydroponic boxes to grow tomatoes with 00:07:00the light coming through these windows. A funny thing had happened. You know, a hydroponic box, you have to put in a little fertilizer to keep it going. They grew so...well, the sunlight was so intense, they grew so rapidly that the natives from miles around would come to see the miracle.

PH: Where did you get the seeds?

LR: Well, the thing is they couldn't understand how I could grow these things. You know, they were like trees with all that sunshine. Some of the stems were that big around. I had to leave. I was going to visit another mine. I told the women to take care of the tables and Sulphur. I told her that 00:08:00after so many days, she had to put in so many spoonful's of this fertilizer into this liquid. Before she did that, she had to change the liquid to get the deleterious stuff out of the system. Anyway, the natives would come there. She'd invite them in. She was showing off, you know. This was hers. She decided that if one spoonful was good, that three or four spoonful's would be even much better. So she did that and it killed all the plants, so that she was horrified. Anyway, that's one of the problems you have when you get into things. But 00:09:00getting back to this long dining room, we had a beautiful fireplace. They had a radio so that they got music mainly from Argentina in those days. The music would bring them together. They'd gather around where they could hear the music and that's a common language. Most of them had come from Germany because of the situation there. Even though they hated Germany, but when it came to their nationality they were still Germans. So that when the war came on, 00:10:00they segregated by themselves.

PH: Were they ostracized at all by the other workers when the war broke out?

LR: Now the thing is they had left Germany because of intolerance but once they're German, the nationality, or whatnot is pretty strong. We never had any difficulties over it but the loyalties were there. You could feel it. We had a beautiful dining rooms', and they had good food. They had to have it because the working conditions were pretty tough. I mean, you did a lot of walking. There were miles of underground tunnels.

PH: Were you mostly underground?


LR: It was all underground.

PH: Was it? Did you enjoy working in any particular mine more, or any particular region in South America?

LR: If the minerals were unusual, of course, that gave an added interest in the mine where I was working. Some of the mines had beautiful tourmaline crystals for instance, you know, spectacular. Some of the ore was very rich and that sort of thing. To the south end of Bolivia, they had very rich silver mines. I found out that...I was trying to balance the books you know, and found out that there was a lot of money missing someplace. Somebody was stealing the ore. I found out 00:12:00that one of the bosses in the mine, he was a manager; he was shipping part of this rich ore over to the east coast instead of the west coast where it normally went to comb a smelter. But I found out that even there that they...what they do...The ore would be concentrate, would be in sacks. They're heavy. About 75 pounds a sack. They'd haul them down to the port in Chile and load them on to a ship to the United States where the customs smelter would take out samples and divide them into three parts. The buyer and the seller had one, 00:13:00and they had one, just in case, to check if there was any trouble. I had trained some of the local fellows in asseying the ore. I knew that they were honest kids. They were trying to blame the United States government that they were cheating, and getting millions of dollars, you know, an emotional thing. So I started to examine the situation. The fact is that it became a little dangerous because I was getting close to the culprits. Come to find out that the vice president who was out of the country was part of the deal. Well, the thing is, 00:14:00as an American, I decided that they'd better not blame these asseyors in the United States because I knew they were right. The ambassador there from the United States didn't want me to raise any problem. I said, you S.O.B. I'm an American, and I'm going to show these fellows, show them up as being dishonest, and show them where the money is going. To make a long story short, I found out that they were shipping about one million dollars' worth of silver every year. They had an income of over a million dollars a year. Another group of them was shipping copper concentrates. What they were doing, these 00:15:00sacks would go down to the Chilean dock where they were shipping iron ore. As a result, there was a lot of iron dust all over the place. What they do is bore a little hole in the sack and run out so many pounds of this rich ore then replace it with this iron dust by blowing in iron dust. Of course, when it got to the states, the assey with the iron dust didn't show any tin or silver, so the value went way down. It was a constant thing. This bothered me. I knew there was something wrong. Then I found out what was going on. I put a stop to it, but it shows you what can be.

JL: Different, The lore of rich metals attracts all sorts. So, I know 00:16:00your specialty was opening up mines, reevaluating them. Could you talk about some of the different types of work you did over your career? Besides that. I know you were a superintendent in California your first job. Were there other duties when you were in South American where you did different types of work?

LR: Well, what I was looking for was a new mine for the company I worked for in the states, Mond Copper, Ltd. So I went up to Canada and British Columbia. I got an option on two or three quite rich properties that had not been 00:17:00developed. But the trouble is at that time, the war was coming on and the Mond Copper people, they were based in London. The government wouldn't allow them to export capital out of the country, so that they couldn't put any money into a new mine. So that made my work almost worthless, or at least... and it broke my heart because some of these properties that we should have had turned out to be quite rich, I mean lucrative.

PH: I was going to take a look at the list. You gave us a list of the different mines where you worked and the different years. I might just mention some and you could talk about some of the different areas. In 1945, it looks like you 00:18:00were in Mexico mostly, in lierrida and Tonachee in Sonera. What were you doing at that point in time in Mexico?

LR: Well, in Mexico, during the war there was a shortage of steel. There was an American salesman, a steel salesman, who decided on his own that he would start a steel industry. He got a couple of Mexican politicians interested in it. Of course, they were proud. They wanted this thing. Down in Mexico, he got out a map and he said, there is some iron ore here, and water here, there are markets here. He drew a couple of lines, and this is where we should put the smelter. So 00:19:00they built the place. There was no smelting. You couldn't get new equipment at that time. He came to the United States, and he bought an old iron ore smelter in Pennsylvania, took it apart, and shipped it down to Mexico. They put it up. But the fellow, being a salesman, not a metallurgist, forgot that you needed a lot of water to run a furnace and steel plant. Here they were out on the desert there, not too far from from the ore on the railroad where they can get the ore all right. They were fairly close to where they could 00:20:00get coking coal, so they had everything except when they got this plant running, they were told that they needed water. Well, in the meantime, the government of Mexico had put a lot of money into this, millions of dollars. Private people had put in money. The banks had put money into it, too. So the government of Mexico hired our company to investigate the situation and find out what they should do. So, I was sent down there. Of course, the first thing I had to do was to find water. Fortunately, we drilled a hole about 400 feet, and we hit artesian water. So, that worked out all right. But then they hadn't 00:21:00prepared the coking coal mine. The coal went down at quite a dip. During the revolution, Mexico nationalized the railroad company, the railroads. They owned the coking, you know, the metallurgical coal, so they took the coalmine over. There weren't too many coal mines in Mexico. They took it over and of course, it went bust. The mine went broke, but before it did they didn't have proper supervision. They had a big explosion that killed about sixty men in the coalmine. It was very gassy. The methane was just... you could hear it sizzling 00:22:00out of the coal seam. It was marvelous coal. I was hired to go down there and open the darn thing up and put it in shape so they could operate it. I guess you read about that experience that the fellow, in drilling that hole, hit the methane pocket.

PH: And caused a geyser?

LR: Gave a geyser of mud.

PH: Is that operation open now, or did that never reopen?

LR: The coalmine has been operating ever since.

PH: Talk about methane, and there are a lot of explosives involved in mining work. Did you ever get trapped in a tunnel situation or was your safety ever jeopardized?


LR: No. That's one thing you learn in a good school of mines, to protect your men. I was very conscious of everything that would be involved that might endanger the men underground. I insisted on good ventilation and good safety rules. But some men don't pay attention to things they're told till something nasty occurs. Then they realize the importance of it. So that you had to be careful. I remember when I was supervising these men underground, the explosive company came out with a new cord that was used to 00:24:00light the fuses. You'd put one of these cords in the stick of dynamite, and behind it there would be several sticks. The whole face would be filled with these sticks of dynamite that had these percussion caps in it. This cord is about the size of light cord, but in the center was powder. You'd light it. You'd cut the fuse long enough so that you had one or two minutes to get away, and that was it. This new cord, instead of being just a dull grey cord, was 00:25:00black and white. It looked like a piece of candy. I found out that the fellows were cutting the cord short and using these strips for belts. That was dangerous because I found out that one fellow was knocked down. It was just lucky that he lived. I found out what had been going on, and we stopped that right away, but it shows you what can happen occasionally.

PH: In 1946 you worked at a few different mines in the states here, in Florida, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Bridgeport, Connecticut, and up in Washington. This would be right after the war then. What type of minerals were you looking for at that time?


LR: In Florida, they had large deposits of phosphate. Of course, about that time the requirements for phosphate for fertilizer were quite large. I had to go down there and plot out the reserves. This phosphate was in kind of sandy deposits with a lot of water. The fact is they were dredging some of it. I had to substantiate the reserves because there was a lot of money involved in not only the equipment but the plant that was processing the phosphate. So I had 00:27:00to go down there and make sure they had all the requirements to make an economically successful operation. Of course, later on they found this phosphate ore in Idaho, which is a different type. This was a shale, phosphoric shale. It was an electric furnace product which is a different metallurgy. But I had to go up there and drill out these deposits to make sure we had enough ore, millions of tons to make it worthwhile to put in a railroad and all the mining equipment and so forth. So I started the phosphate deposits in Idaho.


PH: Was that true in most mines that you worked at, that you were sort of the lead man to come in and investigate?

LR: Well, I wrote a report on what to do, and how much it would cost. That was given to the people who were putting their money into it. They had hired a manager and so forth. Then I would go back and check on the estimates and see whether things were going along the way they should. But when they got on their feet, that was the end of my interest in it.

PH: So you were just there in the development part of it?

LR: Yes.

PH: Let's see where else you were at that point in time. Des Moines, Iowa?

LR: I have to think about it.

PH: Or Bridgeport, Connecticut?


LR: Well, I can't... anyway, in Iowa, I would say in the Midwest there was a limestone deposit that was being mined for making lime. They just went in from an outcrop on an incline of a rock, 15 degrees, and the deposit was almost as high as this ceiling. They left big pillars. You might say it was an underground quarry. They had big pillars with openings in between. Somebody got the idea 00:30:00that they could store food products in these openings. In other words, they could take over an abandoned mine and make it a storage shed. I forget what you'd call it, well, cold storage. So I had to go into those mines and check on the safety, the roof situation. In one of the properties, they had put in there a chocolate dip operation. They had about twenty women in their dipping 00:31:00chocolates. This was partway underground. They had big arches about so high. I went in there and I looked at the roof and studied the strata surrounding...

LR: I got back to New York and I called up the mine. I didn't call. My foreman called me in the New York office. He said, you certainly called the shots. He said, the chocolate girls working place caved last night. So, in other words, that saved me any report. The company was so upset over this thing. I arranged 00:32:00to go in there and put up poles and put in steel supports to support the roof. It cost a lot of money, but it made it safe.

PH: So, a lot of times when you went to investigate different mines, were you the only person sent out or did you work with a team?

LR: I had sometimes a colleague- with me. I usually worked with a man on the ground. By the way, these cold storages, they'd bring in box cars filled with pineapple from Honolulu and go right underground with them, and put them in storage. You get some idea of the magnitude of that.

PH: Right. That's interesting.

LR: It became a big industry.

PH: Are they still in use, those underground storages?


LR: Oh, yes.

PH: Let's see. I know the work you did was fairly diverse, but say if you went down to Bolivia to investigate a mine, what sort of a time period as far as when you first looked at it, and how much time did you spend while you were down there? Then you went back to New York to do your paperwork. Could you give us some idea of a timetable as far as how long that whole process took from investigation to when the first ore was finally dug up?

LR: You're getting into something more complex than you would like. In other words, it depended on the mine, the circumstances, and what not. Sometimes I was down there for many months. A lot of things were put into operation before I 00:34:00even left. In other words, I would recommend things. As a matter of fact, in most cases the mine manager was right behind me. He was anxious to have this done, but the company high officials didn't want to spend the money. So that I had to put my foot down on the things.

PH: Was there any one particular type of mine or mineral you would rather work with? Did you like working in a tin mine as opposed to a copper mine? Wasn't there any major differences?

LR: Well, I had worked in practically every type of mine you could think of, from coal mines to cinnabar to copper, lead, zinc and so forth. So that I don't 00:35:00think that that had anything to do with it. I think my greatest pleasure out of some of my work was having it come out so it was really economically feasible, you know, worked out well. That makes a difference. In other words, you're opening up something that didn't exist.

PH: What was the most satisfying experience in your career? Is there anyone you could recall off hand?

LR: Well, that's hard. I think, one thing, as I say that the thing that was satisfying is the fact that I pulled those chocolate 00:36:00girls out of that hole before it caved.

PH: Saved a few lives.

LR: Yes, in other words, here's a case where my recommendations were convincing beyond my expectations. I mean, that's the type of thing that you get involved with. I think that covers it.

PH: Most of your time was spent either in South America or the states here. Could you talk a little bit about the different mines you worked at in the Middle East region, in Israel or Iraq? And how it differed maybe from the other countries you worked in.

LR: Well, I went up to examine the sulfur mines in Iraq. I recognized that as a matter of fact, this Sulphur had been found 00:37:00by the English people drilling for oil and gas in these drill holes. They went through an upper layer of gypsum, which contains Sulphur. There were probably 800 holes drilled over a big area. I had to go and inspect all these drill cores. So that the thing is that here we had a project that...of course, the trouble is that even though the Sulphur was there, the next thing is, could you get it out. In other words, could you use the conventional method of hot water being used in the United States, to pump down 00:38:00hot steam and water to melt the Sulphur and bring it out. Unless you had permeability of that deposit, there's no point in. So this became something you couldn't be sure of. You can make judgments hoping that your judgment is right. You have a pretty wide knowledge of geologic structures working in desert areas as opposed to the high Andes, as opposed to the mid-western U.S... Every time you moved around, you had to put on a new set of shoes almost to figure it out.

It turned out that in Iraq, of course the government had taken over these 00:39:00deposits. I had decided that the uncertainty of, you know, the government taking over. There were private people that wanted to go in there and lease this Sulphur thing. I made a report on it indicating that the reserves were tremendous. There might be some speculation as to whether it could be recovered in certain parts, but certainly, a lot of it could. So that's as far as I could go. But the man that wanted to put his money into it, thought he had better come and talk to me about it personally. So I told him that I was afraid 00:40:00that the Iraq government, at this stage, might offer uncertainties as to as investor. It turned out that I was right, because that deposit was never opened up. Iraq is still...the fact is, I'm glad I'm not back there.

PH: Not a place for Americans, right?

LR: No.

PH: Were most of your relationships with government officials amiable during the course of your career, or did it vary?

LR: Well, it depended. For instance, in Bolivia, the controlobrero, that means the labor leader in the country, really had the president right around the neck. 00:41:00In other words, the president couldn't do much without his permission. So I used to go to meetings with the president and hear this controlobrero, this man, I won't mention his name. I called him the..., not a monkey, but he looked like...He was a big fellow, very, very homely fellow. But he had no ethics. I used to have to sit down and discuss the problems in the mines with the president and the controlobrero there. I had to watch out, not that I didn't 00:42:00have to worry about calling my shots, but I didn't want to get them upset so they wouldn't do anything. I would say, under those conditions, I didn't like it.

PH: Were most of the miners unionized in South America?

LR: Yes.

PH: All over South America? Not just in Bolivia?

LR: Yes, the trouble is they were nationalized mines, so they were a powerful political influence. The fact is when they went on strike, they'd just march into the capital city and take over. They still do.

PH: So the Bolivian government would contract out with Davis and Bakin that you worked with?

LR: Well, the thing is that all we could do is recommend, make recommendations as to what they should do in certain mines to increase the production.


PH: Was it a similar situation in the Middle East where the miners were unionized?

LR: No, no. I opened up the King Solomon mine in the Nigev. A man came into our office in New York City. He was a big, tall, handsome looking fellow. As a matter of fact, he was a general in the Israeli army we found out later. He came in the office, and said, "the Bible- says we've got copper ore down here, " He said, "I want a man, a mining engineer who can go over the-re and tell me if we've got copper ore. If we have, what should we do about it?" So, I went over there and I got off at Haifa, off the airplane. A little fellow came up to me. 00:44:00He shook hands, and said, "I'm your guide." He said, "I'm the mountain climber." Then it dawned on me. As we left, as this visitor left our office in New York City...I had a boss that had a good sense of humor. He walked out to the elevator with this client, and he said, "If you decide to hire Raymond, you want to get a mountain climber to be his guide." He was being facetious because I had the reputation of walking fast and wearing people out, especially helpers, you 00:45:00know, because I climbed mountains all of my life. Well, anyway, as I got off the plane in Haifa, this fellow came up to rue. He was a little, wiry Jewish fellow. He said, "I'm the mountain climber." It just about bowled me over, and then I realized. I didn't say anything. I wanted to make sure I knew him better. As we started to go out to the property, he was telling me about; he got his mountain climbing experience in Switzerland. He had taken up chemical engineering in Switzerland. He learned to climb mountains there. He wanted to impress me that he was the right man. It turned out to be magnificent, because he knew Imara, isn't it? He knew Hebrew. He knew all the 00:46:00ancient languages. He learned to read the Bible upside down. They used to gather around and hold the Bible. They would learn to read it upside down. But, I told him I was interested in these old biblical sites. Oh, he said, "on your day off, I'll take you around." Well, the thing is, it turned out that he knew his Bible, and he knew his old habitat, early biblical habitat sites. He'd get on an old foundation of one of these ancient cities and he'd recite King James. You know, he could recite large parts of the Bible. He had a wonderful mind. We had a great time together. I had to take a lot of samples. This process of extracting 00:47:00the copper out of this ore in the King Solomon mine required acid. So, they had to put acid in the water.

PH: Is that a leaching process of sorts?

LR: Yes. Then they had to pull the copper out of the solution by putting in tin cans. So they went all over the world and bought tin cans that had been thrown into the garbage and sent them to Israel, to this processing plant.

PH: Is that mine still in operation?

LR: No, it was the largest copper mine in the mid-East for twelve years then the price of copper went way down and they couldn't compete. There's a tremendous 00:48:00amount of copper there yet, but it's very low grade and 400 years from now, they'll be mining again.

PH: A lot of these stories you've written about in South America as far as modes of travel, you talk about riding on a mule. Was that your main method of transportation?

LR: Oh, yes. Well, I had a jeep in a lot of the countries, in Bolivia. In Columbia, for instance, I had 24 mules, two, or three we're riding mules and the rest were pack animals. We'd have to ride out to this camp where we were doing drilling, and take provisions out there and so forth. So, I was very fond of these mules before I left.


PH: You talked about the biblical sites in the Middle East. As far as South America, did you get to Machapichu when you were working in Peru?

LR: Oh, yes. I was in Machapichu and I was in one or two of the other Mayan civilizations. I think the early Old Testament cities in the upper Tigress River, I can't think of the names of the cities. Well, Asher is one of them. What's the one where there supposed to have the tower of Babel? Babylon. I was 00:50:00there. There were two or three cities that were mentioned in the Bible that are in the mountains. I had a chance to go by them when I was eating lunch and looking at the remnants of the civilization, but I never really had much time to really look.

PH: As far as the collection that you gave the museum, in some ways it's quite diverse. You have the copper vessels, the textiles, and the beaded work. Did you have any, when you started your career and you started picking up things here 00:51:00and there, did you have any rhyme or reason? What was your method of collecting?

LR: Well, I had in mind, while I collected things, I thought that number one, it was of historical interest, number two, it could be used for teaching. In other words, it had knowledge of the art, and would be useful in teaching. I think that was the main guiding principle. I could take you into the museum here and point out a few, some of these things that have unusual aspects to them. That's the type of thing.

PH: Was there any particular thing you sought after? Did it depend on the situation or the country you were in, as far as when you were 00:52:00in Bolivia, did you mostly focus on the textiles?

LR: The beautiful weaving done in Bolivia in the early period... I always had great respect for artisans. Some of those women had that computer mind. They didn't have a diagram to follow when they were making their designs. To me that's an art of the highest order. Some of those complicated textile weavings that I picked up are just masterful pieces of art. In other words, you have to take your hat off to those women that have that ability, not only the figures, the shapes of the figures and the type of figures, but the colors, the dyes and everything else.


PH: Were they mostly natural dyes then in Bolivia?

LR: Yes, I cover that in my book on spindle whorls. A lot of the early dyes were pulverized minerals. The llama fur, they used it without washing it. They didn't take the oil out of it. As a result, that oil absorbed pulverized mineral coats.

PH: It acted as a binder of sorts?

LR: Right. Then, of course, when cheap textiles started to come in from Japan, 00:54:00the native women just stopped. They didn't want to work hard anymore.

PH: What time period was this, in the fifties?

LR: It was a transition. The Japanese were very active in getting into those countries. There was a large immigration of Japanese in Brazil and Argentina. So, they had salesmen that sold textiles, women's dresses. They would take and study what they knew the women wanted, and make them, and ship them in. They couldn't compete. I picked up in the 00:55:00early period, in the thirties and forties, I picked up some beautifully hand dyed textiles, one that had a brilliant yellow. I went to great length of study to find out where that dye came from. To make a long story short, it came from an area where they had arsenic in the tin ores. The dumps were yellow. Apparently, the women had gotten urine from birds, from an eagle, or some bird 00:56:00that had droppings. That urine along with the arsenic created this beautiful yellow. The trouble is I thought, oh, I can always get one so I gave them away. I don't have a copy now of one of those beautiful yellow hand woven... That's the trouble. I gave a lot of beautiful works away.

PH: You just have the memories. How did you get interested in spindle whorls because you spent quite a bit of time researching them and writing your book. Did it come about through observation?

LR: Well, I think in working in Ecuador, somebody gave me a necklace. They 00:57:00called it a necklace. It had about 55 of these whorls from spindle whorls strung in a necklace, but they were not beads. They were asymmetrical, in other words, they had a hole through them but it was not symmetrical. So that if you strung them, you'd have a smaller diameter at one end than the other. Not only that, but most all of them were incised with symbols, the most outlandish symbols you've ever seen. I got hooked on the symbolism on these whorls. I started to study symbolism but that is a very complex subject. But when you are 00:58:00talking about symbols that have to do with conveying ideas of early, primitive people, it's a different type of thing than political symbolism. There are so many types of symbolism. So I got enamored or hooked on the studying of symbols, as a matter of fact, I'm doing research now. I've written one article where I think that using symbols, I've shown that the early inhabitants of Ecuador in northern Peru knew about these disastrous nino, el ninos, these 00:59:00disastrous rainstorms that flooded the coast of Peru and parts of Ecuador. By using, the symbols that these people had and dating them, I think I convinced myself anyway that using these symbols, these people knew when one of these disastrous things was starting. These things were cycles of weather. They started in by...the water heated up six or seven degrees, which is enough to kill plankton and fish in a certain zone. The natives realized, they experienced these before, that this was a period of doom and gloom. In 01:00:00other words, they knew this was coming on. So they had symbols of doom and gloom. A pelican was one of the main doom and gloom symbols. It's a bird that can fly or swim in the water or underneath the water and so forth. Then the next symbol was death, which was the skeleton of the fish. As these fish died and came up on the shore, they had skeletons all along the beach, so that you had skeletons that came in about the third or fourth year. Then it started to dry up and go back to desert again. They had the symbol of rain. They had 01:01:00these three symbols. I took the ages of these habitat sites that had these symbols and showed when some of them disappeared and when they started again, you know, habitat sites started or disappeared and so forth. It fit right in with these big cycles.

PH: Were many of the other symbols tied to religion in the whorls?

LR: Yes. Practically anything that was a mystery to the early people, who, for instance birth of a child was a mystery. You could call it, what's the symbol 01:02:00...the birth giving position. I forget the name of it but it's a worldwide symbol. That's one of the ones you could call religious.

PH: Part of the exhibit we have here deals with what we call the celebration and the supernatural. You collected a few of the New Mexican fetishes and some of the amulets from the Middle Eastern area. Were you attracted to the other worldly aspects of these different cultures you ran into? What was your attraction to collecting amulets?

LR: Well, they had symbols on them.


[Final twelve minutes of interview are not transcribed]