The Lisa Chickering and Jeanne Porterfield collection is open for research. Please contact the archives for information on availability of access copies of audiovisual recordings. Original audiovisual material in the National Anthropological Film Collection may not be played.
Lisa Chickering and Jeanne Porterfield Collection, National Anthropological Film Collection, Smithsonian Institution
This finding aid was digitized with funds generously provided by the Smithsonian Institution Women’s Committee.
The Doris Holmes Blake papers consist of correspondence, diaries, photographs and related materials documenting in great detail Blake's personal life and, to a lesser
degree, her professional career.
The heavy correspondence she maintained with her mother and daughter, her essays and children's books, and the 70 years' worth of daily journals all attest to her infatuation
with the written word and preoccupation with her inner life. Blake's diaries and family papers stunningly illuminate the contrasts in the daily lives of herself, her mother,
and her daughter.
The papers relating to her professional life are less complete. Although she spent almost 60 years (1919-1978) in association with the entomological staffs of the U. S.
Department of Agriculture and the Smithsonian Institution, published numerous professional papers, produced all of her own illustrations, and illustrated many of her husband's
botanical works as well, this collection contains only a very limited amount of material documenting those activities. The papers do, however, include her extensive correspondence
with fellow entomologists, both in the United States and abroad.
In the course of transferring her husband's papers to the University of Texas, some of Blake's own papers were included as well. They are presently in the collection of
the Humanities Research Center of the University of Texas at Austin and include letters to her parents, 1906-1950; school and college notebooks, papers, essays and drawings;
and clippings, genealogical notes, and miscellaneous family letters and papers.
Doris Holmes (1892-1978) was born in Stoughton, Massachusetts, to a middle-class grocer and his wife. Essentially an only child (two siblings died in early childhood
and infancy), her natural intelligence, stubbornness, and extremely competitive nature were well fostered by her parents, who steadily encouraged and supported her determination
Holmes left Stoughton for Boston University's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in 1909, where she pursued studies in business and the classics, earning her A.B. in
1913. Her business skills led to her association with the Boston Psychopathic Hospital in 1913, initially as a clerk, and later as aide to Dr. Herman Adler. Her interests
in science and psychology led her to an A.M. from Radcliffe College in zoology and psychology in 1917.
After a short time as a researcher at Bedford Hills Reformatory for Women, Holmes married her childhood sweetheart, botanist Sidney Fay Blake. Early in 1919, Doris Blake
found work as a clerk for the Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Entomology under Frank H. Chittenden, and began the entomological studies that would continue for the rest
of her life.
Blake worked her way up to junior entomologist and, when Chittenden retired, continued her work under Eugene A. Schwarz at the United States National Museum. The birth
in 1928 of daughter Doris Sidney (an infant son had died shortly after birth in 1927) was not a sign for her to slow down -- Blake hired a nurse to watch the baby while she
continued to watch beetles. In 1933 her official employment came to an end with the institution of regulations prohibiting more than one member of a family from holding a
government position (Sidney Blake was then working for the Department of Agriculture).
Although no longer on the payroll, Blake continued her taxonomic work on the family Chrysomelides for almost 45 more years, first as a collaborator and then as a research
associate of the Smithsonian Institution. Shortly after her husband's death, Blake traveled to Europe in 1960 on a National Science Foundation grant to revise the genus Neobrotica
Jacoby. She ultimately published 97 papers in various journals (see "Doris Holmes Blake," Froeschner, Froeschner and Cartwright, Proc. Entomol. Soc. Wash., 83(3), 1981, for
a complete bibliography) and continued her active research until shortly before her death on December 3, 1978.
The Sherman Poppen Papers document the snurfer, the predecessor of the snowboard that he invented in 1965. The snurfer, a sled that was ridden while standing up, originally consisted of two skis bound together. Snurfer competitions fueled the development of the snowboard as a piece of sporting equipment. This collection contains material describing the snurfer's place in snowboarding history, and the associated business and legal aspects.
Scope and Contents:
The Sherman Poppen Papers document the invention of the snurfer and its distribution. The collection is arranged into two series. The collection consists of correspondence, product literature, photographs, books, notes, a scrapbook, newsletters, newspaper and magazine articles, and VHS videocassettes documenting the snurfer. The business and legal materials, 1966-2006, contains correspondence, notes, and legal documents.
The collection is divided into two series.
Series 1, History, 1966-2008
Series 2, Business and Legal Materials, 1966-2006
Biographical / Historical:
Sherman Poppen (1930-2019) was born in Muskegon, Michigan. He graduated from Northwestern University in 1952 and served in the United States Navy as a supply office at sea from 1952-1956. He owned an industrial business, Lake Welding Supply Company, which sold gases and welding supplies in Muskegon, Michigan.
On December 25, 1965, Poppen created the snurfer, a predecessor of the snowboard, by binding two children's skis together. His wife, Nancy, was pregnant with their third child and his two restless daughters, Wendy and Laurie, wanted to play on Christmas day. Poppen entertained them by playing outside in the snow. The girls' desire to stand up while riding on a sled and Poppen's vision of snow drifts as waves collided, and the idea for the snurfer was born. Nancy coined "snurf" by combining the words snow and surf. Neighborhood children soon began asking for snurfers of their own. Poppen decided to patent his creation (US Patent #: 3,378,274 --Surf-Type Snow Ski) and trademarked the words snurf and snurfer (US Trademark #: 1,518,101). It was also patented in Canada (Patent #: 819,596). In 1966, he licensed the product to the Brunswick Corporation and worked with them to create a board from the laminated wood used for bowling alley gutters. Brunswick manufactured the snurfer and sold it as a novelty item, not sports equipment, and it gained popularity. From 1968 through the late 1970s, snurfer racing competitions were held in Muskegon at Blockhouse Hill. In 1972, Brunswick discontinued production of the snurfer, but JEM Corporation continued manufacture until the early 1980s. By 1977, Jake Burton Carpenter, an avid competitive snurfer, began developing an improved model without a rope handle and with the addition of rigid bindings for ski boots to the board. As more resorts began allowing snowboards on their ski lifts, the popularity of the snurfer waned.
Poppen took up snowboarding at the age of 67. He received recognition from the snowboarding community as the grandfather of the sport and was inducted into the Snowboarding Hall of Fame in Banff, Canada in 1995 and the Muskegon Area Sports Hall of Fame in 2001.
Materials at the National Museum of American History
The Division of Culture and the Arts holds artifacts related to this collection. See accession #: 2009.0092.
The collection was donated by Sherman Poppen on June 22, 2009.
Collection is open for research but is stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at email@example.com or 202-633-3270.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Northeast: the Hartford Courant, 1988 September 11
Queen, 1965 December 1
The collection is open for research use.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning intellectual property rights. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Virginia "Jimmie" Booth Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.
No restrictions. All requests for duplication and use must be submitted in writing and approved by the Smithsonian Institution Archives. Contact SIA Reference Staff for further information (email firstname.lastname@example.org)
Smithsonian Institution Archives
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