THIS HAS BEEN A LONG, IF PLEASANT, and I want to thank at least some of the people who have eased my way along it. First of all, anyone who fears he is losing faith in humanity should have the pleasure of working with Linda Dols at my university's interlibrary loan. Over the years she and her staff, especially Diane Delp, Kerry Scott, and Mina Parish, fielded my nearly endless requests for documents, submitted sometimes by the dozens, with a grace I admire but am sure I could never attain. On another floor, reference librarian Atifa Rawan must have a secret power all her own, for with a wink she made ‘‘inaccessible’’ documents appear as a result of a long-distance telephone call or two in ways that still leave me bewildered. Over in Special Collections, archivists J. Roger Myers and John Murphy--despite my sometimes oddball requests--remained, with the equanimity of their profession, cheery gentlemen. In nearby rooms, archivists Shan Sutton and Kirsten Jensen helped shepherd the manuscript through the editorial labyrinths. Additionally, Nancy Solomon provided superb design guidance for its publication. Margaret York served as the careful proofreader. I should give special mention to librarian Bonnie Travers. She organized the display at Special Collections, which, together with this bibliography, commemorates the hundredth anniversary of the publication of Van Dyke's most famous book, The Desert. A writer is rarely blessed to work with such people, and I appreciate the happy professionalism of them all.
Out on the Mojave Desert, where research can take on a heightened color far beyond what's usually found in academic settings, Germaine L. Moon, preeminent historian of the region, over the years supplied a generous stream of rare documents. At times also lending a hand were Bill and LaVella Tomlinson and Cliff and Barbara Walker, all of the Mojave River Valley Museum in Barstow. I thank Sir Rodney Hartwell and Sir John Caffey, of The Augustan Society, who smiled even when I appeared all but unannounced at their out-of-the-way mansion. I thank Alan and Kareen Van Dyke Golden. This for more than tours of the old Van Dyke Ranch. I thank Alan for showing me his fire truck, Kareen for her Christmas cakes. Larry Alf's good directions kept me from going too far astray when wandering about the colorful desert labyrinths northwest of Daggett, and Beryl Bell, of the Daggett Museum, always made me feel welcome. I remember a special afternoon with Chris Shovey and her staff at the California Room of the Norman F. Feldheym Library, in San Bernardino. Cheryl and her staff at the Oasis of Eden Inn, a truly unique harbor in one of the world's isolated nooks, offered the home away from home that eases the way for the traveling scholar.
Farther afield, special help came from Nola Crawford, of the New Jersey State Law Library; from Edward Skipworth, of Special Collections at Rutgers' Alexander Library; from Professor William Gillette, in the Department of History at Rutgers University; and from Laurice Niceler, of the New Jersey State Archives. With buoyant spirits, Elizabeth McClintock, Amy Ellis, and Elizabeth Kornhauser, all of the Wadsworth Athenaeum, helped ferret out the story of Van Dyke and Lillie Langtry. After a good deal of chasing around over several days when I'm sure they had more pressing matters at hand, Ann Niewkoop, of the Beardslee Library at the Western Theological Seminary, with the cooperation of several other librarians at nearby institutions, tracked down an errant manuscript copy of Van Dyke's My Golden Age. I was impressed by their help on an issue that came entirely out of the blue. That does not name those dozens of librarians who responded to my less complicated requests as part of their daily routine. Almost always, they did it with grace; to me they are unsung heroes.
Out in the field helping me search for landmarks, my former student, and then research assistant, Laura Howard, endured some dicey moments prowling through desert swamps near the Van Dyke Ranch, where she was convinced that bears and alligators lurked. And, as always, the constancy of Peggy Flyntz for her editorial assistance.