In November of 2002, I was in graduate school, earning my MLIS to become a librarian while working a full time job as an Executive Secretary at the Ralphs Grocery Co. main office in Compton. I had been collecting on Ann Dvorak for around five years and had proclaimed myself to be her biographer even though I had no idea how to research and write a book. What I had done at some point was purchase the domain “anndvorak.com.” Even though I knew as much about website design as I did biography writing, I was determined to launch the world’s first website devoted to Ann Dvorak.
My computer had Microsoft FrontPage on it, so I stumbled around and managed to design a semi-coherent site devoted to the Divine Ms. Dvorak. Was it elegant? No. But I loved the Thistle-colored background and Georgia font. I amazed myself by getting the site launched in November 2002. What was even more amazing is that I was so damn proud of the site that I overcame my severe social anxiety in order to promote it. I found that I believed so strongly in Ann and wanted people to know about her, that I could promote the website to anyone, even if they were a complete stranger. And you know what? Most people were actually interested in hearing about her and my little site. Because of her, I found my voice. I even printed out AnnDvorak.com business cards and handed them out.
Fast forward a handful of years and the site, while still a treasure trove of Ann, was pretty dated. When I first met my husband in 2006, I eagerly asked him what he thought of my site. “It’s looks like a website designed in Microsoft FrontPage circa 2002,” was the reply. Fair enough. A year later he helped me migrate the site onto WordPress where I could actually post updates on a regular basis via the blog feature. This ended up being key to promoting my Ann Dvorak biography via the “Year of Ann Dvorak,” where I did a fairly in-depth post for 365 days straight in 2013. Not my smartest idea!
After the book came out, other writing projects sprung up, along with parenting, so there was less time to post updates. So, in 2017 I decided the site needed a fresh look with less emphasis on the posts, so that’s where we are with the current design. Even though I don’t post like I used to, I’m still mad about Ann and continue to collect on her. It’s rather stunning that the site has been up for a full two decades and even though how it’s personally functioned for me over the years has changed, it will always serve its primary function – to celebrate the fabulous Ann Dvorak!