In an earlier entry below, we introduced our efforts to provide researchers with access to unprocessed collections. We will continue to share brief information about recently “exposed” collections here in the “New & Noteworthy Collections” blog.
Isaac J. Frazee Papers (MS-R022) is a small collection, comprised of letters, business correspondence, and ephemera primarily from the 1910s. Included in the collection is a notebook on the Frazee family history, written by William McPherson on May 1, 1937. Also included are a few examples of performance programs from Frazee family productions at the Woreland Castle (or “Old Castle Ranch”) in Valley Center’s Moosa Canyon, in North East San Diego County. Isaac Jenkinson Frazee was an important early California painter, poet and writer. He was also a post master in San Diego County, California. He and his wife moved to Moosa Canyon in 1890 and built a replica of an old Scottish castle, with a distinctive turret that was three stories high. There they raised seven children. In a natural amphitheater below the castle, the family staged various productions. Among the most popular was “Kitshi Manido: The Great Spirit, Pa ‘Moosa’s’ Peace-Pipe Pageant Play” in three acts, which was performed in 1915 and 1916. In the Frazee Papers are newspaper clippings that list visitors to the Castle and the Kitchi Manido production, among those visitors was John Muir. The musical pageants attracted several thousand people to the 160-acre site. By 1921, the fame of these musical pageants had spread, and an art colony in Laguna Beach invited Frazee to reproduce the show to raise funds for a new art gallery. The success of the production may have influenced the idea for the “Festival of the Arts/Pageant of the Masters,” which started in 1932 as a means of drawing people from the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics to Laguna Beach. The Frazees moved to Laguna Beach in 1927, where Isaac Jenkins Frazee died in 1942.