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.