Much has changed--including being much better prepared for the next earthquake--but one thing is the same: the Giants are in the World Series!!
1 October 2014: In the fall of 1964, the Berkeley campus of the University of California was rocked by the Free Speech Movement (FSM). These interviews recount the experiences of a cross section of participants in or witness to the events, including: student leaders and the lawyers who defended those disciplined and arrested; faculty who were in favor of and others who vehemently opposed FSM; ordinary students who as one freshman noted, were “trying to figure out what was going on. People were really caught by how important this was and trying to sort out the adult world response to it. You knew that this was a big deal.” Because of repeated massive demonstrations —10,000 students surrounding a police car in the middle of Sproul Plaza; 800 people occupying the central administration building— Berkeley drew national attention. In the words of one interviewee, a journalist who covered the FSM for the nation- wide Collegiate Press News Service: “FSM opened up everything—just blew out the tubes of being able to move large amounts of information across the country. It wasn’t exactly that Berkeley was the first place where this mechanism kicked in [political protest] but it was the place where it went critical.”
30 September 2014: We learned of the passing of Dr. Morris Collen last weekend at the age of 100. Collen was the last living link to the first generation of doctors who established Kaiser Permanente, and a world-renowned expert in medical informatics. We interviewed Dr. Collen not once, but twice.
Please see our extensive interview with Professor Ullman, conducted in 2011. Dr. Ulman framed the interview as a series of what he termed “postcards to posterity.” These postcards were issued as an extended meditation on questions that had animated his career as a labor economist: the expansion and contraction of union membership, the relationship of wages to productivity, the economic stagnation of the middle class.
Lloyd Ulman, photo courtesy of
Institute for Research on Labor and Employment
The full transcript is available online, with an introduction by interviewer Suzanne Riess, as well as audio excerpts from the interview, preserved and digitized through our partnership with the California Audiovisual Preservation Project.
Photo of Dorothea Lange in 1956
Copyright 1968 by Rondal Partridge
25 August 2014: Just released, Jimmy McCracklin: West Coast Bluesman, Prolific Songwriter, Pianist and Singer. Bluesman Jimmy McCracklin was one of the most prolific songwriters on the West Coast from the 1940s until his death in 2010. His first hit, “The Walk,” was recorded by his band the Blues Blasters on Checker Records in 1958, and was later covered by the Beatles in their Let It Be sessions. Other hits followed, such as “Think,” “Just Got to Know,” and “Shame, Shame, Shame,” and McCracklin was soon booked on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand.
See also Caroline Crawford's 2004 documentary Jimmy Sings The Blues, based on Jimmy McCracklin's oral history.
18 August 2014: Thanks to all of our oral history scholars from around the world for an engaging week at our Oral History Summer Institute. We look forward to updates on all of your compelling oral history projects! #OHSI2014
26 June 2014: Please join us for a fundraiser in support of the West Coast Cocktail Oral History Project at Bar Agricole on July 1, 2014 from 6-9pm.
We'll be holding a silent auction and a raffle with prizes like books, bitters kits, a distillery tour at St. George Spirits, a spirit seminar with Thad Vogler, and a sherry cocktail class with Talia Baiocchi.
This event is open to the public, so please feel free to bring anyone and everyone.
Tuesday, July 1
355 11th Street
San Francisco, CA
25 June 2014: For six weeks during the spring of 1985 UC Berkeley saw huge protests by thousands pushing for University of California divestment of financial holdings in companies doing business with South Africa. In these interviews, Chancellor Heyman and many of his staff tell how the campus administration handled the anti-apartheid sit-ins, sleep-ins, and other forms of protest that took place during April and May of 1985.
Special thanks to volunteers Mary Lavender and Mark Westlye for their extensive work in helping bring this project online.Thanks also to Julie Shearer and Gabrielle Morris, who conducted all of the project interviews.
We recently had an event to celebrate the exhibit and proejct with all of the living interviewees. The article includes some photos from that remarkable evening, as well as slides of the exhibit, which you can visit in the Rowell Cases, located in the Bancroft-Doe corridor, through August.
The oral histories are available in The Bancroft Library and online on our project website.
Please join us for the project kick-off party today, Tuesday, June 3, from 5:30 - 7:30pm, at the East Bay Spice Company, located just across from the UC Berkeley campus at 2134 Oxford at Center Street.
A celebrated teacher and scholar of the history of the American people and of the African American experience, Leon Litwack has been a Berkeley campus fixture and self-described “disturber of the peace” for most of the sixty-six years since he arrived as an undergraduate in 1948. His oral history documents and reflects on his personal background, education, teaching, and research and writing. It explores his lifelong quest to uncover and to teach the history of race relations in America and the experiences of people long absent from the historical narrative.
The exhibition highlights the Regional Oral History Office (ROHO)'s recently completed project to conduct interviews with 18 pioneering African American faculty and senior administrators who joined Berkeley before the advent of affirmative action policies in the 1970s. By their example, achievements, and professional work these leaders helped lay the groundwork for diversity and access at the university, opening doors of opportunity and economic uplift for all traditionally disadvantaged and underrepresented groups in the state. To view the interviews that inspired this exhibit, please visit our African American Faculty and Senior Staff Oral History project.
4 May 2014: The Daniel E. Koshland, Jr. Oral History Retrospective documents the scientific, philanthropic, and academic service activities of a scientist with deep and broad ties to the University of California, Berkeley and the wider scientific and philanthropic communities. The videotaped interviews with family members, scientific colleagues, and university personnel focus on the last years of his life, before his death in 2007. They provide perspectives on his diverse activities, his personality traits, and help to bring up-to-date the lengthy oral history with Dr. Koshland himself, which concluded in 1999.
This project, conceived and generously supported by his widow Yvonne Koshland, highlights the years 1999-2007, but also includes flashbacks to Dr. Koshland’s earlier activities. The Retrospective thus constitutes an amplification and extension of the earlier oral history but also stands as an unabashed tribute to a man whom the interviewees held in high esteem.
In his career as a teacher and administrator in Berkeley and Oakland schools, Dr. Wong established a unique combination of science and jazz in the curriculum by bringing jazz into the elementary school classroom. He taught environmental concepts through music, and at his invitation such legendary musicians as Oscar Peterson, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, and Phil Woods agreed to perform for his students. He also persuaded Duke Ellington to take the time from a booking in Las Vegas to give a concert in Berkeley and attend a jazz band rehearsal and a Black Student Union reception at Berkeley High School. A lifelong jazz aficionado, Dr. Wong has served as critic, adjudicator, lecturer, record producer (he was president of Palo Alto Records and Black Hawk Records),hosted KJAZ programs for decades and has written hundreds of liner notes for recordings.
Stephen Arditti served the University of California for forty years. During his time at the Office of State Governmental Relations in Sacramento, Arditti represented UC to the state legislature and the governor. He worked to defend and secure the University’s future during political and social change. In 1995 he was awarded the Marvin D. “Swede” Johnson Award for Excellent in University State Governmental Relations.
Jay Michael was Vice President of the University of California, and chief lobbyist in Sacramento. He was Director of the Office of State Governmental Relations from 1966 to 1976.
9 April 2014: We are pleased to announce the release of the transcript of the 2013 "Class of '31" oral history interview in university history with Professor of Anthropology Laura Nader.
Professor Nader was the first tenured woman in her department. She has taught thousands of undergraduates in popular courses such as Anthropology of the Law, Cultural Anthropology and Energy, Culture and Society and Controlling Processes. She has supervised more than a hundred PhD students, many of whom now teach or work in prestigious institutions. She has published research papers and co-edited books with several of her former students. Professor Nader has served on numerous department and campus committees and has taken principled public positions on many of the controversies that have arisen at Cal. And as a scholar, with ten books and close to 290 publications, her breathtaking range of interests and expertise have led her to be a visiting scholar at Yale, Harvard and Stanford, among other institutions, and a sought-after speaker, consultant and advisor for prominent national and international organizations. As such, Laura Nader is an outstanding ambassador for UC Berkeley.
9 April 2014: For the 2014 "Class of '31" oral history interview in university history, ROHO has selected Edith Kramer, Emeritus Senior Film Curator and Director Pacific Film Archive. Kramer has been associated with the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive since 1975 when she joined the staff as Assistant Film Curator. During her tenure at the Pacific Film Archive, she was named Officier dans l'Ordre des Artes et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication, and Member First Class of the Royal Order of the Polar Star by His Majesty Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, in recognition of her contribution to French and Swedish culture, respectively.
In June 2003, the University of California, Berkeley, awarded Ms. Kramer The Chancellor's Distinguished Service Award. Ms. Kramer holds an M.A. in Art History from Harvard University, and a B.A. in Art History from the University of Michigan. She was Assistant Professor of Art History at the University of Oregon, Eugene 1962-66, during which time she initiated film history courses in the curriculum. Subsequently, she taught film history at UC Davis and the San Francisco Art Institute. Upon arriving in the Bay Area in 1967, she managed Canyon Cinema Cooperative and was instrumental in the founding of Canyon Cinematheque (now the San Francisco Cinematheque); and between 1970-73, she served as Film Curator of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
2 April 2014: Starting off our month of music oral history on ROHOucb SoundCloud with excerpts from Dave Brubeck, Jimmy McCracklin, David Harrington of Kronos Quartet, and more! Visit our Music and Dance page for completed transcripts from Caroline Crawford's projects with American Composers, Blues/Jazz
in The Bay Area, Opera, and more!
Visit our SoundCloud page later this month for additional music interview excerpts!
24 March 2014:
Join ROHO and The National Park Service for this event March 24th at 3pm: Seeking WWII Civilian LGBT Hidden History with keynote speaker Theresa Ambrosi Smith, author of "Wax," a fictional account of two lesbian shipyard workers in the Richmond Kaiser Shipyards.
Rossmoor Senior Community
Creekside, Room C
1010 Stanley Dollar Drive
Walnut Creek, CA 94595
Monday, March 24th at 3pm
Please call this number if you have any information about Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgender civilian life in the 1940s on the American Home Front. A confidential phone line has been set up: 510.232.5050 x6631. Rosie The Riveter / WWII Home Front National Park.
18 March 2014:
Now available online: Moshe Alafi: Biotech Pioneer and Entrepreneur. Moshe Alafi has been called one of the founders of biotechnology, as he was one of the first venture capitalists to see the exciting potential in biotechnology. He has been an active investor for over 25 years, and was a seed investor in Cetus, Biogen, Applied Biosystems, and Amgen, among other start-ups. He has founded over 60 companies throughout his career. See our Venture Capitalists Oral History Project and Biotechnology Series for related oral histories.
7 March 2014:
Now available online: An Oral History with Elizabeth Rauscher. Dr. Elizabeth A. Rauscher received a B.S. degree in physics and chemistry, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in astrophysics, nuclear physics and engineering, all from UC Berkeley. Dr. Rauscher has been on the research staff at Lawrence Berkeley and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories and SRI International, and a research consultant to the SLAC National Linear Accelerator Laboratory and NASA.
5 March 2014:
Now available online: Carlos Muñoz: Latino Leader and Scholar. Dr. Carlos Muñoz, Jr. is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Ethnic Studies, University of California, Berkeley. After 44 years of teaching in higher education, he has gained international prominence as political scientist, historian, journalist, and public intellectual. Dr. Muñoz was the founding chair of the first Chicano Studies department in the nation in 1968 at the California State University at Los Angeles and the founding chair of the National Association of Chicana & Chicano Studies (NACCS). He is a pioneer in the creation of undergraduate and graduate curricula in the disciplines of Chicano/Latino & Ethnic Studies. He is the author of numerous pioneering works on the Mexican American political experience and on African American and Latino political coalitions. His book, Youth, Identity, Power: The Chicano Movement won the Gustavus Myers Book Award for "outstanding scholarship in the study of human rights in the United States.” The book was a major resource for the PBS television series Chicano! History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement. Dr. Muñoz was the senior consultant for the project and was also featured in the series. The HBO movie, "Walkout" was based on that series.
3 March 2014:
Join us for The Bancroft Library Open House, open to the public on March 26th! Explore the library collections and see magnificent displays of dynamic compendia. Discover our museum for a day through astonishing exhibits, amazing staff illumination, and riveting demonstrations with your friends and family.
You might even be interviewed--or conduct an interview!!
1 March 2014:
We've got new clips from our Food and Wine series up on our SoundCloud channel. Segments from our interviews with Narsai David and Cecilia Chiang are currently up but stayed tuned for more additions!
This interview was conducted on October 29, 2013 in order to provide a coda to all of the previous work on the Western Mining in the Twentieth Century project, and to orient new research and interviews in this ongoing project. Mrs. Swent organized the series together with Willa Baum, Langan Swent, and Douglas Fuerstenau and many others in the mid-1980s. By 2013, over 106 interviews have been recorded and made available to the public through this project. Thanks in part to her efforts as well, the endowment for the project will ensure that the series will continue long into the future.
The museum is the largest single museum devoted to Asian art in the United States and it holds one of the most significant collections of its kind in the world. The museum celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2016.
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16 December 2013: 2013 has been a banner year for ROHO with two new historians on staff and, now, a $100,000 donation from Sharon and Barclay Simpson, longtime supporters of the University of California (Barclay was a recent ROHO interviewee: read his transcript). Because ROHO receives precious little funding from the university or the state, we survive largely on grants, contracts, and donations from individuals and corporations. This major gift from Mr. Simpson will allow us to jump-start a long-planned major overhaul of the ROHO website. Not only will the look-and-feel of our website change, but, even more importantly, the search functionality will be greatly improved -- thus making ROHO's vast archive of transcripts much more accessible to thousands of students, scholars, journalists, and everyday people who read and learn from them. This overhaul will take time (and additional funds), so stayed tuned as we share new developments!
15 November 2013: Check out today's front page of the San Francisco Chronicle and this San Jose Mercury News article with takea on the recent paper and presentation by John Cummins and Kirsten Hextrum: The Management of Intercollegiate Athletics at UC Berkeley: Turning Points and Consequences. This white paper is based on a larger project being conducted with the Regional Oral History Office at the Bancroft Library. The purpose of the research is to explore the history of the management of Intercollegiate Athletics at UC Berkeley from the 1960s to the present. The project began in 2009 and will include, when completed, approximately 70 oral history interviews of individuals who played key roles in the management of intercollegiate athletics over that period of time – Chancellors, Athletic Directors, senior administrators, Faculty Athletic Representatives, other key faculty members, directors of the Recreational Sports Program, alumni/donors, administrators in the Athletic Study Center and others. The interviews are conducted by John Cummins, Associate Chancellor -- Chief of Staff, Emeritus who worked under Chancellors Heyman, Tien, Berdahl and Birgeneau from 1984 - 2008. Intercollegiate Athletics reported to him from 2004 - 2006.
5 November 2013: ROHO is pleased to announce the release of An Oral History with Lloyd Ulman. Lloyd Ulman is known to the Berkeley community as professor emeritus in the Economics Department and as the past director (1963-1981) of the Institute of Industrial Relations (IIR). In 1961, leading economist Walter Heller asked Dr. Ulman to serve as a Senior Labor Economist to the Council of Economic Advisers under President Kennedy. In this interview, Dr. Ulman provides important background to policy debates on wage and price guidelines within the Kennedy administration. His account highlights the growing consensus among economists that union wage demands were a proximate cause of inflation. He is the author of numerous influential books in labor economics, including: The Rise of the National Trade Union (1955), The Government of the Steel Workers (1962), and several books focusing on global issues such as Unionism, Economic Stabilization, and Incomes Policies: European Experience (1983). In addition to delving deeply into his work as an economist, Ullman discusses life on the Berkeley campus, including his participation on the Heyman Committee, which reported unfavorably on the role of the campus administration in managing student protests of the mid-1960s. An accomplished raconteur, Dr. Ulman has framed the interview as a series of what he terms “postcards to posterity.” These postcards are issued as an extended meditation on questions that had animated his career as a labor economist: the expansion and contraction of union membership, the relationship of wages to productivity, the economic stagnation of the middle class.
Lloyd Ulman, photo courtesy of Institute for Research on Labor and Employment
In this interview, Madeleine Haas Russell discusses her philanthropic work with the Columbia Foundation and her considerable political work, including supporting Helen Gahagan Douglas, the McGovern Reforms, working with public television and the KQED Board, the Democratic National Committee, and the Peace Movement.
15 October 2013: ROHO is pleased to announce the release of Warren Hinckle: Journalist, Editor, Publisher, Iconoclast. The dean of California historians, Kevin Starr, calls this 43-hour interview with journalist and iconoclast Warren Hinckle "rambling, discursive, opinionated, outrageous"—not surprising words given the reputation of the interviewee. Starr also recognizes this interview as a "brilliant first-person evocation of the life and times" of Hinckle—also not surprising given the broad range of topics discussed at sometimes great length and with often profound erudition in this interview.
Conducted between 2009 and 2012 by ROHO's senior interviewer, Lisa Rubens, this interview covers the full swath of Hinckle’s life and his countless projects. The cast of characters that appear in this interview is just mesmerizing: from Vivian Vance to Hunter S. Thompson, from Marshall McLuhan to the Mitchell Brothers, from Roy Cohn to Eldridge Cleaver—not to mention just about every major and minor actor to cross the stage of San Francisco politics since the 1950s. Hinckle, of course, also sets the record straight about just how and when gonzo journalism got its start.
14 October 2013: ROHO is pleased to announce the release of C. Judson King: A Career in Chemical Engineering and University Administration, 1963 – 2013. Jud King is a distinguished chemical engineer, holding 14 patents, who brought an engineer’s creative and problem-solving abilities to a succession of academic and administrative positions—including Provost and Senior Vice-President of the UC system. This wide-ranging and richly detailed interview takes us from King's pioneering research and the growth of his discipline, to the governance, decision-making process, political constraints and the personalities at Berkeley and the University of California system-wide over the last half-century.
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11 October 2013: It is with a heavy heart that we share the news that Cheryl Marie Wade, “Sassy Girl” and “Queen Mother of Gnarly”, passed away on August 21, 2013. Wade was internationally renowned as a playwright, poet, performer, filmmaker, and disability activist. Her oral history transcript and video excerpts are available in our Disability Rights and Independent Living Movement Project, and she was an inspiration for the Artists with Disabilities Oral History Project. On Sunday October 13, 2-5 at Alumni House, UC Berkeley, there will be a tribute to the life and work of Cheryl Marie Wade. For further information please contact CDT at email@example.com or Susan Schweik at firstname.lastname@example.org.
10 October 2013: Congratulations to UC Berkeley's newest Nobel Prize winner, Dr. Randy Schekman. Dr. Schekman, professor of molecular and cell biology, won the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his role in revealing the machinery that regulates the transport and secretion of proteins in our cells. He shares the prize with James E. Rothman of Yale University and Thomas C. Südhof of Stanford University. Preview an excerpt from Dr. Schekman's upcoming oral history transcript, interviewed by ROHO's Sally Smith Hughes for the Daniel Koshland Retrospective. Check back in 2013 for complete transcript or join our eNews for future updates.
8 October 2013: The Regional Oral History Office is pleased to announce the publication of the oral history of Barclay Simpson, engineering innovator, art collector, elected public official, and noted philanthropist. Barclay Simpson is a Bay Area native who founded one of the world's most successful engineering firms, Simpson Manufacturing, the maker of structural connectors used in housing and commercial construction that have become an industry standard around the world. Founded in 1956, the firm grew when Simpson took over his father's small window screen business based in Oakland. Last year the now publicly-traded company recorded more than $700,000,000 in sales. An innovator and entrepreneur, Simpson saw action in World War II as a dive bomber in the Pacific in the Army Air Corps, and as on hand in Tokyo during the Japanese surrender in 1945. - more -
7 October 2013: Congratulations to ROHO's Associate Director Martin Meeker on two awards received for his 2012 article "The Queerly Disadvantaged and the Making of San Francisco's War on Poverty, 1964-1967." The article received the Society for American City and Regional Planning History's 2013 Catherine Bauer Wurster Prize for best scholarly article on American planning history published in the past two years; and the 2012 Urban History Association Best Essay Award.
1 October 2013: Please join ROHO for "A Reflection on the Life and Work of Willa K. Baum: The Personal Papers of a Pioneer in Oral History," a talk by Crystal Miles of the Bancroft Library. Crystal has spent several months processing the papers of Willa Baum, the woman who made ROHO into what it is today. The talk is open to the public and will be at 2pm on October 2nd in the Krouzian Seminar Room (371) of the Bancroft Library. You may also read Conversations with Willa Baum, Director of the Regional Oral History Office, UC Berkeley, 1958-2000, as well as hear and watch excerpts from her oral history and memorial tributes from her colleagues.
25 September 2013: Just released: Richard Greene: Distinguished Tax Attorney, Estate Planner, and Leader in the Arts, Philanthropic, and University Communities. From explaining complex tax policy to advising rock impresario Bill Graham, from serving as President of the Board of Trustees of San Francisco's Museum of Modern Art to becoming a self-proclaimed sports nut who uses his bargaining skills to get front row seats at Olympiads and Super Bowls, Green's career encompasses a wide range of local, regional and national history of, business, philanthropy, arts, and culture and the practice of law. This oral history provides compelling insights into the art of working with forceful personalities, reconciling competing interests, and making deals.
18 September 2013: Now available, an oral history with Lynn A. Hunt, historian of France and modern Europe and a leading figure in the field of the “new cultural history.” A professor of history at Berkeley from 1974, when she was one of only four women in the department, until 1987, Hunt describes the multiple influences in her formative years as a historian and the trajectory of her historical work as shaped by her years at Berkeley. She recounts the founding, in 1980, and the early years of the journal Representations, which brought together and provided “a fantastic level of intellectual exchange” for an interdisciplinary group of Berkeley scholars with a strong interest in theory. She discusses the growth of her interest in cultural history and examines the genesis and evolution of the field and its recent critiques. She reflects on the influence of gender, sexuality, and personal issues in her career at Berkeley and in the teaching and writing of history. Finally, she discusses leaving Berkeley for the University of Pennsylvania and her subsequent move to UCLA, where she has recently retired.
The oral history was video-recorded at the Bancroft Library on October 4 and 5, 2012. It is the newest of twenty in-depth oral histories in a series on the Department of History at Berkeley. Watch a video excerpt from the interview.
Robert Day and wife Dorothy, UCSF School of Pharmacy Commencement, 1958.
22 August 2013: New to our Medicine and Public Health and University History Series, Bob Day: Associate Dean of the School of Pharmacy, UCSF. Bob Day is a born raconteur and in this fascinating, rollicking interview, Dr. Day turns the story of the transformation of the pharmacy profession into a remarkably good story, well told. One of the earliest pharmacists to earn a doctorate of pharmacy (1958), Dr. Day went on to assist with the emergence of clinical pharmacy practice in the 1960s and then play a key leadership role at UCSF as Associate Dean of the School of Pharmacy until his retirement in 2012.
Photo of Robert Day as a student, in a UCSF School of Pharmacy lab, 1957
Photo courtesy of UCSF.
21 August 2013: We are back on 91.7FM KALW Crosscurrents tonight at 5pm with excerpts from our Bridges Oral History Project. Check back this time next week also for information about the Bridges Project website and Oakland Museum exhibit!
Also visit our Rosie The Riveter / WWII Home Front project page for transcripts with key participants from the child development centers in Richmond, including: O'Neill Dillon, Sharon Fogelson, Ruth Hoffman, Valvia Jefferson, Margaret Loverde, Tom Powers, Mary Hall Prout, and Patrica Wilson.
31 July 2013: Mattie Jackson: Labor Leader, Businesswoman, Public Servant, and Activist, new to our Organized Labor Series. In the 1970s, Jackson became the first African American woman to hold an executive office as international vice president on the General Executive Board of the ILGWU. Ms. Jackson was a successful businesswoman and activist who went on to hold numerous positions in San Francisco politics, including the Human Rights Commission and the Board of Permit of Appeals.
Mattie Jackson 1977
Photo by Vincent Maggiora, The Chronicle File
12 July 2013: SFMOMA may be closed for renovations, but they are as busy as ever--as evidenced by the exciting new Rauschenberg Research Project. Experience online artwork by Robert Rauschenberg, as well as related interviews, essays, and much more. Included in the site is ROHO's 2009 interview with Rauschenberg Studio curator David White. Visit SFMOMA Oral History Project for more SFMOMA interviews.
In seven interview sessions in 2003 with Suzanne Riess, Miller discusses his distinguished careers in photography and environmentalism. He joined Edward Steichen’s World War II Naval Photographic Unit where he saw and shot plenty of “action” and photographed the aftermath of Hiroshima. In 1946 he was back in his hometown of Chicago, and used two successive Guggenheim Foundation grants to take a close look at Chicago’s black population, a project re-published as Chicago’s South Side: 1946-1948. He went on to document childhood and family in The World is Young. Miller was President of Magnum Photos from 1962-1968, and began working with the National Park Service in the late 1960s.
Margaret Wilkerson came to UC Berkeley in 1968 as a PhD student in the drama department. Upon completing her dissertation on the topic of black theater groups on the West Coast, she began teaching at UC Berkeley. Over the course of thirty years at Berkeley, Wilkerson taught in and chaired both the Dramatic Arts and African American Studies departments and served as the Director of the Center for the Study, Education and Advancement of Women, before retiring and taking up her current post as the Director of the Ford Foundation’s Media, Arts, and Culture Program. This interview contains her reflections on the times in which she came of age, her research—black theater and the life of Lorraine Hansberry, and UC Berkeley, which she had the opportunity to experience from a few different vantage points, as a professor with multiple affiliations and as a student.
Chiang revolutionized Chinese cooking in the United States. After fleeing the aristocratic life of Beijing, first from the Japanese invasion and then from the Communists, Chiang brought traditional Chinese foods to her San Francisco Mandarin Restaurant. Over a forty-year period she educated American palates to fine Chinese cuisine and served as a consultant to new restaurants, educated chefs and food lovers with her cooking classes, and mentored many of the early Bay Area food pioneers.
17 May 2013: Caring for Rosie's and California's Children: Talk by Dr. Natalie Fousekis and preview video screening by UC Berkeley Regional Oral History Office, excerpted from our Rosie the Riveter WW II Home Front Oral History Project, now with over 160 oral history transcripts available online.
Join us Saturday May 18 at 2:00pm at the Maritime Center in Richmond. The National Park Service will show excerpts of our video of interviews with teachers former students of the Richmond child development centers, which started during World War II. Following the film, Dr. Natalie Fousekis, author of Demanding Child Care, will discuss the cross-class and cross-race groups of women who saved public childcare in California from WWII to the 1970s.
14 May 2013: New to our Portuguese in California Oral History Project, an Oral History with Tony G. Brazil. Don Warrin interviewed Tony at his ranch home in Petaluma. Tony was born in Sausalito in 1926 and graduated from high school in 1945. Raised on the family dairy in Muir Woods, he describes in detail the functioning of a dairy in the first half of the 20th century, as well as naming all the many other Portuguese dairies in the area. After he grew up he took over the dairy. Subsequently Tony and his brother went into the cattle business and Tony then purchased the Petaluma Livestock Auction Yard. To this day he continues to auction livestock and gives us a brief sample of how it sounds. In the second session Tony speaks of his long experience with the Holy Ghost societies and of his years as president of the IDESST of Sausalito during the 1980s. He also speaks of his charity work, in particular his activities with the Petaluma Little League.
9 May 2013: New to our Sierra Club Series, an oral history with Doug Scott, former associate executive director of the Sierra Club and mastermind of a multitude of complex environmental campaigns in Washington DC from 1968 through the 1980s. The oral history, recorded in the early 1990s, recalls in vivid detail Scott’s introduction to legislative lobbying as a college student working to create the Sleeping Dunes National Lakeshore. It was then that he caught “Potomac fever,” studied the lessons from the passage of the Wilderness Act of 1964, helped to launch the first Earth Day, and embarked on a career as an environmental advocate. Over the next decade, he developed close relationships with key congressmen as he pursued groundbreaking wilderness legislation, working for both the Wilderness Society and the Sierra Club. As lobbying coordinator for the Alaska Coalition, 1978-1980, he and his colleagues developed and carried out an innovative, comprehensive campaign strategy, drawing on insider knowledge of Congress and an unprecedented mobilizing of targeted grass-roots support, resulting in the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980.
Moving to San Francisco in his position as director of federal affairs for the Sierra Club, Scott applied this sophisticated campaign technology to the broader environmental issues that the club was increasingly engaging: the 1984/5 farm bill campaign, clean air and water efforts, and the Superfund campaign. His account gives a lively and detailed picture of environmental lobbying in an era of can-do congressmen and positive public sympathies, guided by Doug’s strategies and his energetic orchestration of grass-roots citizen movements—all without the benefit of fax machines, email, Facebook, and Twitter.
The Doug Scott oral history joins our history of the Sierra Club, with more than one hundred oral histories of club volunteer leaders and key staff members recorded since the project’s beginning in 1972. Research in the fields of natural resources, land use, and the environmental movement has been a major focus of the Regional Oral History Office since its inception.
Gaby was ROHO’s specialist in state government history. Coming to the office in 1970 to interview for the Earl Warren gubernatorial oral history project, she later planned and directed major projects on the gubernatorial administrations of Edmund Brown, Sr., Goodwin Knight, and Ronald Reagan. Her legacy in this area includes well over two hundred in-depth oral histories documenting critical aspects of government administration and policy, from fiscal management, to land use and water resources, to health, education, and welfare issues. Gaby’s other subject area at ROHO was social and community history. She was responsible for a remarkable series of forty oral histories examining the development and impact of Bay Area philanthropic foundations, from 1936 to 1980, as well as a number of memoirs of volunteer community leaders.
Gabrielle Morris with Willa Baum
Regional Oral History Office, 1976
1 May 2013: The Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream Oral History Project tells the story of the transformation of a regional company into America’s most popular brand of ice cream. The twenty eight interviewees of this project include the company’s former owners, investors, and employees discussing everything from the development of Dreyer’s market-changing “slow-churned” ice cream to the company’s unique business philosophy.
17 April 2013:
One of the final interviews ROHO’s former associate director Vic Geraci conducted before his retirement last year was with Bay Area food and wine impresario Narsai David. This rollicking, wide-ranging interview will have your stomach growling and your palate craving a fine wine in no time. Narsai David is a restaurateur, caterer, specialty food purveyor, vintner, food and wine critic, author, radio and TV chef, early pioneer of California cuisine, and an advocate for the Berkeley Repertory Theater, the Assyrian Aid Society, and numerous other causes.
16 April 2013:
ROHO is pleased to announce the selection of
Professor Laura Nader as the recipient of the 2013 Class of 1931 Annual Oral History Interview on University History. Nader has been a part of the Department of Anthropology since 1960 when she was the first woman to receive a tenure-track position in the department. She is a beloved teacher and recipient of Berkeley's Distinguished Teaching Award; thousands of students have taken her popular course on "Controlling Processes" and remark that its emphasis on critical thinking changed their lives.
Nader earned her PhD at Harvard, under the direction of Clyde Kluckhohn. Her own scholarship focuses on a wide range of topics including: comparative ethnography; the role of law and culture in conflict resolution; and health, science, and energy policy in the United States. She was written over 250 books, co-edited volumes, and articles. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has served on the Social Science Research Council, The National Academy of Science Commission of Nuclear and Alternate Energy Systems, and the Editorial Committee of Law and Society Review -to name just a few of her many professional engagements. She has been a visiting professor in the schools of law at Stanford, Yale, and Harvard. The interview will focus on: Nader's background in Connecticut, the child of Lebanese immigrants; her scholarship, its reception and influence; the development in the field of anthropology, and Nader's place in it, and observations on the history of UC Berkeley since 1960. The interviews will be videotaped, transcribed, and made available on ROHO's website at the end of this year.
Professor Laura Nader, 1962
Photograph by G. Paul Bishop
15 April 2013: Read the newest addition to the Disability Rights and Independent Living Movement oral history collection, an interview with Luis Calderon, advocate for consumers of in-home support services. Born in Bolivia and raised in Honduras, he moved with his family to San Francisco for rehabilitation and treatment after a spinal cord injury as a teenager. Since the 1990s, he has played an important role in shaping California's personal assistance consumers' movement. Both as an advocate and as an administrator for the San Francisco In-Home Supportive Services [IHSS] Public Authority, Calderon has ensured that consumers' voices were heard in key development, such as the unionization of home care workers, the growth of the public authorities, and the fight against proposed cuts to the IHSS program—essential support services to enable people with disabilities to live independently in their communities.
The interview with Luis Calderon is one of four oral histories conducted for ROHO by Laura Hershey, as part of her work towards a master’s degree from Antioch University. Laura, who passed away in 2010, was a writer and activist for social and economic justice and disability rights. See also her other interviews, with Eleanor Smith, John Kelly, and Alana Theriault.
8 April 2013: Just released, An Oral History with Midge Wilson, new to our Community History series. Midge Wilson is the founder of the Bay Area Women’s and Children’s Center. Beginning in 1980 when she moved to the Tenderloin she has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of San Francisco women and children by bringing schools and resources to this community.
3 April 2013: Just released, An Oral History with Ronald Wornick, newest addition to Business History and Food and Food Ways. Wornick is a businessman, food scientist, philanthropist, and wine-maker. In his interview Mr. Wornick discusses developing the MRE (Meal, Ready to Eat), rediscovering his Jewish identity, and his and wife Anita’s art collection.
22 March 2013:
New to the Portuguese in California Oral History Project, an Oral History with Shirley Larkins. In January of 2012 Lissa McKee and Don Warrin sat down with Shirley Dias Larkins to talk about her life, which began on her father’s dairy at the Marin Headlands. Three of her grandparents had emigrated from the island of Sao Jorge in the Azores and became involved in the dairy industry of Marin beginning in the late 19th century. She speaks about the typical roles of men, women, and children in everyday life on a dairy. We learn of her grandfather’s intense interest in his children’s education, and we follow as well her own educational process and her later career.
18 March 2013: Now available, the oral history of Arlene Mayerson, directing attorney for the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, a national disability law and policy center. Mayerson provides a lively insider’s account of the legal thinking, legislative processes, and political action behind key disability rights legislation of the 1980s, culminating in the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990. She also discusses subsequent actions to implement, enforce, and defend civil rights legislation for people with disabilities. Conducted by her colleague Mary Lou Breslin, founder and past director of DREDF, the interviews engage key strategic and legal issues and provide insights into behind-the-scenes decision making in Congress and within the disability community.
The Mayerson oral history joins more than 120 others in ROHO’s Disability Rights and Independent Living Movement collection. The Bancroft Library also holds archival records of major disability organizations, including DREDF, and personal papers of key disability community leaders.
13 March 2013:
New to the Portuguese in California Oral History Project, an Oral History with Joseph Avella. Don Warrin interviewed Joe at his home in Novato in May of 2012. He spoke about his family origins in the Azores, his father’s immigration experience and eventual ownership of the 1,000-acre Hilarita Dairy in Tiburon. We learn what life was like for family and hired hands on the ranch. He describes, as well, life in working-class Tiburon at the time and also names several other Portuguese dairies in the vicinity.
On the second tape, Joe describes his educational experience, his service in Korea, and his family life. He finishes by speaking of local Portuguese community activities such as the Holy Ghost festivals and the IDESST.
Donald Glaser in 1960, the year he won theNobel Prize in Physics, posing with a bubble chamber. LBNL photo.
25 February 2013: The Regional Oral History Office of the Bancroft Library has decided to postpone this summer's "Advanced Oral History Institute." Since this fall, our office has been engaged in an exciting study of new recording, editing, and presentation technologies. This has led our historians to rethink the content and structure of our institute so that it will continue to be at the forefront of oral history theory and practice for years to come. The ROHO "Advanced Oral History Institute" will return in 2014 with a fresh, engaging, and timely new program. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, and we welcome comments and suggestions as we look ahead to 2014. To stay in touch with the latest ROHO News, including announcements regarding the 2014 Summer Institute, please subscribe to the ROHO quarterly email newsletter.
13 February 2013:
Just released: Robert Kerley: Vice Chancellor of Administration, University of California 1970-1982. The Regional Oral History Office has for nearly sixty years been recording and collecting interviews on the history of the University of California. An “old Blue,” Bob Kerley served this campus well in many capacities—from student jobs as lab assistant/cowboy for the Veterinary Sciences Department to assistant business manager for the campus under Chancellors Clark Kerr and Glenn Seaborg (1951-1964) to Vice Chancellor-Administration under Chancellors Bowker and Heyman (1970-1980). One of his innovations was the employment of student interns—one of their responsibilities was to take him to lunch once a week for discussion. These students, now middle-aged, have remained Bob’s friends, and credit their time under his guidance as influential in their own careers.
5 February 2013: WASP final flight - remembering Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front narrator Maggie Gee, who passed away February 1, 2013. Beginning in March 2003, a team of ROHO interviewers conducted a series of four interviews with Berkeley resident Maggie Gee. The team consisted of Robin Li, Leah McGarrigle, and Kathryn Stine. Gee was chosen by ROHO and the Rosie Project for a number of reasons. Her stories represent two generations of "Rosies" -- her mother, Ah Yoke Gee, had worked as a welder in the Richmond wartime factories. Maggie herself also worked in the factories, as a draftswoman at Mare Island, and also flew with the WASPs, testing planes and flying transport missions. Since that period, she has maintained an active presence in local Democratic politics, and is able to provide long-term perspectives on Berkeley politics and Chinese Americans in the Berkeley area. The interview provides much-needed perspectives on extra-Chinatown Chinese American communities, interracial community-building in Berkeley, and women in the workforce and local politics. Maggie Gee also shares amazing stories of her love of flight, training to become a pilot, and what the experience meant to her in terms of class, gender, and politics.
1 February 2013:
ROHO is pleased to announce Neil Smelser's oral history: Distinguished Sociologist, University Professor and Servant to the Public, the newest addition to our University History series. Smelser is a towering mind in the field of Sociology, whose prodigious publications and numerous PhD students have had profound impact on scholarship. Similarly, his role as an administrator, at the University of California, the Center for the Advanced Study in the Behavioral and Social Sciences, and the National Academies--to name a few institutions--has shaped the course of American public policy. These interviews afford the reader a clear understanding of the evolution and structure of Smelser's thought and an inside account of the personalities and workings of major organizations. Smelser's warmth and humor suffuses the accounts.
29 January 2013: ROHO is thrilled to announce the oral history with Watson 'Mac' Laetsch:
Botanist, UC Berkeley Administrator and Fundraiser, Partner in
International Development. In addition to being an outstanding scholar
and professor at UCB since 1962, Mac has held more titles than anyone
on campus: Director of the Botanical Garden, Lawrence Hall of Science,
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Development, to name a few.
Highlights of this oral history include critical details on the inner
workings of a great university, a national and international
network of science museums, and great treks in the Sierra Nevada
Mountains and Bhutan.
23 January 2013: New to our African American Faculty and Senior Staff Oral History Series, An Oral History with William "Bil" Banks. Professor Banks joined UC Berkeley’s faculty in 1971 in what was then called the Afro American Studies Program. The Program, as part of the Third World College, had been created in response to the Third World Strike of 1969 specifically, and generally, the social movements that defined the 1960’s. Banks played a pivotal, and controversial, role in the direction that the Program took as he became its first ladder rank faculty person, then Director of the Program, and guided the program to departmental status in the College of Letters and Science. He was named chair of the department in 1974. In this interview he shares his perspectives on the birth and the evolution of the African American Studies Department, the culture of UC Berkeley as an institution, the social movements of the 1960’s and seventies, and higher education in the United States.
18 January 2013: New to our University Office of the President Series, An Oral History with Lawrence C. Hershman: University of California Vice President; Director of the Budget, 1978-2007. Interviewed shortly after his retirement in 2008, Hershman gives a detailed account of how the university has negotiated its statewide budget with governors and the legislature over the years. He assesses the challenges and contributions of the five university presidents he has worked with—Presidents Saxon, Gardner, Peltason, Atkinson, and Dynes—and reflects on the crucial decisions he believes have enabled the growth and greatness of the system. He provides an insider’s perspective on difficult governance issues, including the regental vote to end affirmative action policies, executive compensation controversies, budget allocations to campuses, the siting of the Merced campus, and collective bargaining struggles. The Hershman oral history joins eighty-five others in ROHO’s series on the University of California Office of the President. The earliest in this series records the recollections of Frank Stevens, secretary to Presidents Wheeler, Barrows, Campbell, and Sproul, 1905-1945.
15 January 2013: Listen to a preview of our Bay Bridge Oral History Project with ROHO's Sam Redman on 91.7 KALW Crosscurrents.
14 January 2013: Just released, Margaret Liu Collins: An Oral History. Businesswoman Margaret Liu Collins: from China to California, a life of faith, family, and hard work in California real estate. Margaret Liu Collins was born in 1941 in Chongqing, China and traveled to California to attend college in 1959. Margaret details her childhood in war-time China, her family’s Shanghai roots, and their move to Hong Kong in 1948. At age 13, at the encouragement of a neighbor, Margaret became a Christian and since then her faith has served as a primary source of guidance and comfort. Margaret discusses motherhood to children Magdalene and Sam, the dissolution of her first marriage, and her decision to leave teaching for real estate in 1975. After a hardscrabble start Margaret’s career took off and she quickly established herself as a successful commercial real estate agent for important investors in Hong Kong. In 1978 she met her future husband, attorney Ted Collins, through a real estate deal. Margaret describes her son’s 1979 car accident, her courtship with and later marriage to Ted Collins, their blended family, and their joint business ventures. The interview closes with a discussion of Margaret’s many philanthropic contributions including her relationship to UC Berkeley and the San Francisco Symphony. Following Margaret’s interview are short interviews with her husband Ted Collins and her stepdaughter Blair Maus.
Designed for graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, college faculty, and independent scholars, the institute is also open to museum and community-based historians who are engaged in oral history work. Institute presentations by ROHO faculty and invited specialists will cover: project planning; preparation for interviewing and interview techniques; engaging oral histories with other kinds of archival documents; interview analysis; legal and ethical responsibilities such as copyright and human subject protection requirements. We will devote particular attention to how oral history interviews can broaden and deepen historical interpretation situated within contemporary discussions of history, subjectivity, memory, and memoir.
ROHO interviewer and project director Ann Lage retired in 2011. Ann joined the ROHO staff in 1978 and has been responsible for so many interviews in the ROHO collection, as an interviewer and as a project director, that it would be impossible to overstate the importance of her contribution to oral history in general and to the Regional Oral History Office and The Bancroft Library in particular.
Among other things, she organized a pioneering project on the disability rights and independent living movement, which had Berkeley as one of its epicenters but quickly spread around the globe. This series of interviews provided the prototype for ROHO’s use of the web as an oral history resource for students, scholars, and activists. She also organized a project documenting the history of the Sierra Club.
10 December 2012: Today ROHO says goodbye to San Francisco's Walter Newman. "Mr. Newman
was a prince among interviewees: gracious, thoughtful, and entertaining," recalls Martin Meeker, who along with Julie Stein, interviewed him in 2010.
Watch a short clip from the interview, browse the transcript, or read
6 December 2012: Senate fails to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, forgetting the history of U.S. leadership on disability rights. Discover the personal accounts of how Americans with disabilities gained their civil rights.
30 November 2012: Phil Pister was recognized at the 44th Annual Desert Fishes Council Meeting with the W. L. Minckley Conservation Award for his dedication and service to Desert Fishes Council and his devoted focus on conservation of desert aquatic ecosystems and their native biota that spans over 60 years. Read his oral history transcript or watch video excerpts.
21 November 2012: Senator Warren Rudman (R-NH) passed away this week at the age of 82. Rudman was best known as the co-author of a 1985 piece of legislation that attempted to address the mounting budget deficits of the Reagan Era. The law created a "fiscal cliff," in current parlance, which forced legislators on both sides of the aisle to budget negotiations. See the 2010 ROHO interview with the senator from the project Slaying the Dragon of Debt: Fiscal Politics and Policy from the 1970s to the Present.
17 November 2012:
Friends, family, and colleagues of David R. Brower joined the Bancroft Library and its Regional Oral History Office on November 2 to celebrate the centennial of David Brower’s birth. Attendees at the Morrison Room reception viewed the library’s ongoing exhibition on Brower, "A Force for Nature," curated by Susan Snyder and Theresa Salazar. ROHO interviewer Ann Lage presented the Brower family with copies of his recently released oral history, Reflections on the Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, and Earth Island Institute. Recorded in the year before his death in 2000, the oral history shows Brower in a reflective mood, musing on old friendships and current projects; the importance of humor and the need for boldness; the meaning of wilderness and the wildness within; and his wide-ranging concerns about the fate of the Earth. ROHO’s earlier biographical interview with Brower, recorded in 1974-1975 is entitled David R. Brower Environmental Activist, Publicist, and Prophet.
9 November 2012: The New York Times recently published an article on the new documentary on former California Governor Pat Brown. The film, "California State of Mind: The Legacy of Pat Brown," features extensive selections from ROHO interviews conducted with Brown between 1977 and 1981.
5 October 2012: Preview excerpts of Warren Hellman, San Francisco financier and philanthropist, on the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival: "I love people enjoying each other." A transcript of Hellman's complete life history will be available on this website in Spring, 2013.
Experience the joy of Hardly Strictly Bluegrass this weekend!
13 September 2012: ROHO is pleased to announce the release of An Oral History with Troy Duster. Emeritus Professor of Sociology and Chancellor’s Professor Troy Duster was interviewed as part of the African American Faculty and Senior Staff Oral History Series. This series of interviews explores the experiences of African American faculty and senior staff at UC Berkeley as part of the broader history of the University of California and its commitment to access and diversity.
7 September 2012: The Regional Oral History Office of The Bancroft Library is thrilled to announce the appointment of Neil Henry as the new Acting Director of the office. Professor Henry comes to ROHO from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, where he served as dean between 2007 and 2011. Henry worked for 16 years as a staff writer for The Washington Post and Newsweek magazine prior to joining the Berkeley faculty in 1993. A former national correspondent and Africa Bureau Chief for The Washington Post, Professor Henry has won awards from the Knight Foundation, Associated Press, and Robert F. Kennedy Memorial for his reporting and writing. He is the author of a 2002 racial memoir, Pearl's Secret. His second book, American Carnival, which examines the news industry's adjustments to the digital age, was published in 2007. While serving as dean of the Graduate School of Journalism, Professor Henry attracted three endowed chairs under the Hewlett Challenge and hastened the School's curricular transition to incorporate digital skills training. A graduate in Politics from Princeton University, Professor Henry earned his Master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.