Saturday, January 10, 2015

Search for the ARTIFACT, Part 6 --redefining the objective

Posted: Saturday, 10 January 2015
Updated: Thursday, 22 Jan 15

Ah, help at last!
After posting Part 5 earlier this morning (Saturday, 10 Jan 15), I came across a misplaced first email from Taylor Ouimette, the young university student assigned to this search. 

On December 19, 2014, Taylor wrote:
"...I am a manuscripts processor in the Manuscripts Division of the J Willard Marriott Library, and I have been assigned to find the document you requested from Liz Rogers. I understand that they are in your own collection, I was wondering if you knew, or even could guess, which box they would be in to aid my search in finding the document for you..."

On January 10, 2015, 2:12 PM I replied: 
I just found your original email!

Although it is moot by now (since we have talked), the ultimate objective is to locate an original document (or mention of it), which I wrote on July 25, 1965, and to move it to my collection in your archives, where it now belongs. I do not know where it is at present, if it even still exists, but I do have some strong ideas about where to look. The first place to look is in the U of U files of former LDS Church president David O. McKay.

That is what we will get clear when we talk next, hopefully early next week. I have already sent a search strategy to you in a previous email, but we can review it when next we talk.

Thank you for joining this search.
On Friday, 16 Jan, Taylor wrote:

Mr Kovalenko,

The section about the particular Sunday McKay was in Laguna Beach reads as follows:
We attended Sunday School at the Laguna Beach Ward. The meeting was very well conducted. I spoke to the congregation, and also to the children who joined in the closing exercises.

We rested Sunday at our home at Laguna Beach during the afternoon in anticipation of a visit from our son David Lawrence and his two daughters who had visited Teddy Lynn, another Daughter, in San Diego. Lawrence was in California to attend a Sunday School Convention in Los Angeles. However, they failed to make connections as Katherine, Lawrence's daughter, had to return to her school in some city north of Los Angeles.

End quote. [ENK note: these diary entries were verbally recorded by McKay, from which Clare Middlemiss made print entries.]

It goes on to say on other days that he did more resting and attends Disneyland. But that all happened later in the week. It also mentions that he sent books to a waiter and waitress that paid for his meals on two occasions, against his will, to make some sort of payment to them.

As for Claire Middlemiss, I doubt that we as a University have her collection, we just have the diaries maintained by her. I could not find a record of her collection anywhere, even on the libraries private files, listing the locations of every collection we own.

Hope this helps.

On 20 Jan, I replied:
Thanks for this, Taylor,

Will you give me the date of that "particular Sunday"? From what you say, it looks like I will have to contact Middlemiss nephew, Wm. Robert Wright, for any of her personal diary entries beyond what she included for McKay. That's important information all by itself. Also, it looks like I will have to contact Ferren Christensen's family for any diary references Christensen may have made, all of which makes this search a bit more complicated.

I'll get back to you soon for next steps…

Later that day Taylor replied:

The day was the 21st of July, 1957. I apologize that I forgot to clarify this earlier.

On 22 Jan, I wrote to Taylor:
Thanks for the date. It confirms my memory that my introduction to Pres. McKay in Laguna Beach preceded the birth of my oldest son, Nick, by only a couple of weeks. Ironically, Nick has currently taken a special interest in this search project and probably understands its implications better than anyone. I have invited him to ask pertinent questions or make suggestions.

Next step:
Let's now focus on the period mid-to-late January, 1965. This is where my own pocket (3x5") journals kick in, which are in my library collection.

[Note: these pocket journal tablets were originally metal spiral bound, but for some odd reason, I removed the metal spirals from the first several months (if not years) of those individual pocket journals and replaced the spiral bindings with large foldback binder clips. There are at least two of these large binder clip consolidations in my collection. After a while I wished I had not done this and gave up that approach. The clips are probably rusty.]

First question: is there any mention of my phone call to Pres. McKay during that January '65 period about an "Eyes Only" package containing an urgent national security issue that had come to him special delivery?  It would have come from "Dr. Eugene N. Kovalenko" at General Atomic Corporation. It was because of the importance of the material in that package that I began to keep those pocket journals so I could keep track of events that were beginning to happen too fast to keep accurately in memory. So, those little journals will be a prime source for much of this search from now on.

Comment: This is where the story begins to get dicey and I believe Clare Middlemiss made a serious mistake. To give her slack, I was distracted at the time from the US political situation and ignorant of the personal relationship between McKay and newly elected US President Lyndon Johnson. Obviously there were far more pressing national and ecclesiastical pressures on McKay than I was aware of or could allow for.

The mistake was this: Middlemiss did not follow the directions that McKay gave her as she described to me during that phone call. When I asked her if McKay had received my package, she said that she had personally read my cover letter to him. When I asked for his response, she quoted him as saying: "I don't have the strength to go into it now. Have him bring it to [through?] one of my counselors."  

THAT she did not do. Rather than bring it to the attention of one of the two First Presidency counselors, as McKay had directed, she unilaterally and amazingly ignored this direction and the sensitivity of the issue and sent that package (containing confidential backup information meant only for McKay's eyes), to my San Diego stake president Barry Knudsen.  As if that was not enough, she failed to include directions or explanation of any kind from Pres. McKay. It was the worst decision I could think of that she could have made.

Second question: can you find mention of any of this in my pocket journals for this January '65 timeframe? If so, will you scan those pages and send them to me?

Looking forward to your reply,




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