Scope and Content
Materials Removed from Collection
Appendix A List of Members of Administration
Title: Joseph L. Alioto Papers,
Date (inclusive): 1958-1977
Date (bulk): (bulk 1968-1974)
Collection number: SFH 5
Alioto, Joseph L.
Extent: 22.6 cubic ft. (16 boxes),6 scrapbooks, 1 map folder
Abstract: This collection documents the two-term administration of Mayor Joseph L. Alioto during the years of 1967 to 1976, with the
bulk of the collection covering the years 1968 to 1974. The papers provide a broad, policy-level view
of the Alioto years. The collection is rich in housing and redevelopment files.
Physical location: M43:29A, 44B, and Map Drawer; and Photo Room
Collection is open for research. Some housing documents in Box 8, Folder 41 and Box 9, Folders 2, 4, and 5, are restricted
through the year, 2021, with a review to take place in 2006. The names of minors have been redacted
in police reports in Box 16, Folders 12 and 32.
Copyright has been assigned to the San Francisco Public Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts
must be submitted in writing to the City Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the San Francisco Public
Library as the owner of the physical items and the copyright.
[Identification of item], Joseph L. Alioto Papers (SFH 5), San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library, San
Transferred from City Hall.
Joseph Lawrence Alioto was born February 12, 1916 in San Francisco to Giuseppe and Domenica Alioto. His father, a Sicilian
imimgrant, was a successful San Francisco fish wholesaler. Alioto graduated Magna Cum Laude from St. Mary's College, Moraga,
California, in 1937 where he was student body president and valedictorian. In 1940, he graduated Catholic University of America
Law School, Washington D.C. He received honorary Doctor of Law degrees from St. Mary's College, Santa Clara University and
Catholic University of America.
Married to the former Angelina Genaro from 1941 to 1977, he had six children with her. In 1978, he married Kathleen Sullivan
and had two children with her. He was a philanthropist and patron of the opera, symphony, ballet and theatre as well as a
of the 49ers and Giants.
Prior to taking public office, Alioto made a name for himself in antitrust law and was a self-made millionaire. He worked
five years with the antitrust division of the United States Department of Justice before opening his own law firm in San Francisco
in 1945. His practice would establish basic principles for the prosecution of private antitrust suits. In 1959, Alioto took
over the Rice Growers' Association of California and ran it for 16 years. He was also a founding member and Chairman of the
Board of First San Francisco Bank.
Appointed to the San Francisco Board of Education by Mayor Elmer E. Robinson in 1948, Alioto served five years. In 1955,
Robinson appointed Alioto to the Redevelopment Agency which he chaired. By this time, he was active in Democratic Party politics.
In 1956, he helped develop the Food for Peace Program of the U.S. Senate. In 1959, he was appointed by the U.S. Department
of Agriculture to conduct a major survey of farm production and marketing in South America.
After a whirlwind, 56-day campaign, Joseph L. Alioto was elected San Francisco's 33rd Mayor on Nov. 7, 1967 and was inaugurated
Jan. 8, 1968 with much fanfare. (His designation as 33rd mayor changed to that of 36th mayor as a result of official recognition
of three additional administrations.) A moderate Democrat who reflected the tolerance of the city, he was easily re-elected
in November, 1971. At one time considered as Hubert H. Humphrey's vice presidential running mate, Alioto catapulted into
the national spotlight with his nomination of Humphrey as the party's presidential candidate at the 1968 Democratic National
Convention. While serving as mayor, he explored a gubernatorial run in 1969, and ran unsuccessfully for governor of California
in 1974. Alioto was known as charming and commanding, articulate and outspoken, flamboyant and rich in personality.
Alioto's administration spearheaded economic development and jobs including a building boom, an increased police force, and
a mini-park program. Although known for downtown growth, his administration also stopped freeway development, established
the 40-foot height ordinance, and adopted the first urban design plan, which was aimed at protecting views and open spaces.
Elected on a promise of reducing crime and taxes, Alioto took office when racial tensions were high, following the "Summer
of Love." Credited with being a strong advocate of civil rights, he brought minorities into city politics. Alioto called
upon the city's heavyweights of intellect, commerce, and labor to serve as deputies and advisors. He launched charter reform
and mediated numerous major labor disputes, including the police and fire strike of 1975. While he lowered the property tax
rate three years in a row, his years in office were marked by both inflation and recession. Political strife during his tenure
included opposition to redevelopment by low-income housing and anti-high-rise proponents, the strike at San Francisco State
College, hippies occupying the Haight-Ashbury, anti-war demonstrations in the streets, and racial tensions over a series of
killings known as the Zebra murders.
Alioto's political career was affected by federal charges of bribery and mail fraud in 1971, and allegations of Mafia connections
published in Look Magazine in 1969. He claimed the federal Grand Jury investigation into the bribery charges was politically
inspired by those trying to foil his growing prominence. He successfully fought both the civil and criminal bribery charges
regarding a fee kickback, and won his libel suit against the publishers of Look Magazine after seven years of litigation.
In 1975, Alioto lost a conflict-of-interest trial for arranging his family's purchase of Pacific Far East Line, the largest
Upon completing his second term in January 1976, Alioto returned to his private law practice, Alioto & Alioto. In 1992, the
law firm dissolved in a family feud although his daughter, Angela Alioto, continued to practice with him. Joseph L. Alioto
died on January 29, 1998, in San Francisco at the age of 81.
Scope and Content
This collection documents the two-term administration of Mayor Joseph L. Alioto during the years of 1967 to 1976, with the
bulk of the collection covering the years 1968 to 1974. Reflected in the collection is the mayor's trust in his deputies,
which included a former White House fellow, former staff member of the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development,
and a Democratic Party operative, as well as in other key strategists and advisors including business, labor and community
Materials include internal correspondence, reports, surveys, minutes, strategy and policy memoranda and notes, speeches and
drafts, press releases, campaign ephemera, and reference material. Subjects include the Black Panthers, building a downtown
stadium, San Francisco State University unrest, the 1975 police and fire strike, school busing, taxes, salary standardization,
and revenue sharing. The collection provides a broad, policy-level view of the Alioto years. The collection is rich in housing
and redevelopment files, reflecting the federal subsidies received while Lyndon B. Johnson was in the White House, as well
as community resistance to redevelopment.
The Legislative and Issue Files series is organized by staff member. Staff included four deputies (Executive Secretary, Press/Confidential
Secretary, Development, and Social Programs), a Public Service Director, assistant deputies (Development and Social Programs),
and a Special Assistant. At least two staffers left City Hall to work on Alioto's 1971 re-election and 1974 gubernatorial
campaigns, with one of them later returning to his administration. See
for a list of administration members and dates of their employment.
Some gaps exist in the collection. There are few records documenting the final two years of Alioto's administration. There
is little relating to Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), which saw completion of the transbay tube in 1974; the 1972 Market Street
facelift; the 40-foot height limit ordinance; and the Urban Design Study and Plan.
Some items without specific reference to San Francisco have been removed. Researchers are encouraged to see also the History
Center's biographical and subject files, such as Poetry, Sister Cities, Strikes--City Employees, and Pigeons; as well as other
mayoral papers, as some Alioto-related materials are housed there.
The Legislative and Issues Files series has been further organized into subseries by staff member. The Press and Speeches
series has been organized into subseries by format.
The collection is arranged alphabetically by subject with a few exceptions. The Legislative and Issue Files series is arranged
by staff member, then alphabetically by subject. The Schedule series and the News Clippings subseries within Press are arranged
chronologically. Folders are in alphabetical order by folder title, and then by date. Within folders, materials are filed
either chronologically or by sub-topic.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Alioto, Joseph L.
Alioto, Joseph L.--Archives.
City planning--California--San Francisco.
City planning districts--California--San Francisco.
Urban policy--California--San Francisco.
Housing policy--California--San Francisco.
Labor unions--California--San Francisco.
Labor disputes--California--San Francisco.
San Francisco (Calif.)--Politics and government--20th century.
Black Panther Party.
San Francisco State College--History.
San Francisco State University--History.
Researchers are encouraged to see also the San Francisco History Center's subject and biographical files, other mayoral collections,
and the Historical Photograph Collection, and to check the catalog holdings of the San Francisco Public Library for related
During processing, the entire collection was refoldered and re-housed in acid-free folders and boxes. Some metal staples
remain. Some documents on acidic or thermal paper were photocopied onto Permalife bond paper. After this process, originals
were discarded. Other documents on acidic paper were kept in their original state and separated with either Permalife bond
or Apollo buffered paper. Fabric items were wrapped in buffered tissue.
Removed or Separated Material
Materials Removed from Collection
Approximately twenty 19th-century letters and invoices or ledger sheets, belonging to a John Joseph Martone and originally
belonging to a Malcom McNeill of Christian County, Kentucky, were transferred to Special Collections and Archives, University
List of Members of Administration
Administration members and approximate dates of service, compiled from Directory of City and County Officers, May 1968-April
John A. De Luca, Executive Secretary (1968-1976)
Hadley R. Roff, Press Secretary/Confidential Secretary to Mayor (1968-1971)
- Thomas G. Flynn, Confidential Secretary/Director of Information (1971-1974 and 1974-?)
- William E. O'Brien, Interim Director of Information/Interim Director of Public Services (1974 and 1974-1976?)
- James B. Burleson, Executive Aide (1973-?)
William C. Roddy, Public Service Director (1968-1974) and Special Assistant (1974-1976)
Wesley Slade, Special Assistant, Housing and Relocation (1968-1975) and Director, Office of Special Projects and Rent Supplement,
John H. Tolan, Jr, Deputy for Development (1968-1976)
John H. Anderson, Assistant Deputy for Development (1968-1973)
- Stanley R. Larsen Assistant Deputy for Development (1973-1976)
Revels H. Cayton, Deputy for Social Programs (1968-1973?)
- Patricia M. Kimball, Assistant Deputy for Social Programs (1971)
- Joseph A. Meza, Assistant Deputy for Social Programs (1972-1973?) and Deputy for Social Programs (1973-1976)
- Joseph Johnson, Assistant Deputy for Social Programs (1973) and Deputy for Neighborhood Development (1974-1976)
Roff became Alioto's Re-election Campaign Consultant in 1971.
Flynn served as Director of Information for the Alioto for Governor campaign in 1974.
- John L. Mootz, Administrative Assistant (1968-1971)
- John C. Farrell, Administrative Assistant (1971-1972)
- George J. Grubb, Administrative Assistant (1972-1974
- Michael McCone, Appointment Secretary (1968-1969)
- Ann H. Racich, Personal Secretary (1968-1974)
Selected program and agency staff
- Michael McCone, Director, Model Cities (1972)
- Charles E. Countee, Director, Model Cities (1973)
- John Watts, Executive Director, Model Cities, (1974-1976)
- Dean Macris, Director, Community Development, (1973-1974) and Director of Planning, City Planning Commission (1975-1976)
- James Jacquet, Director, Community Development, (1974-1975)
- Mark Buell, Director, Economic Development, (1975-1976)
- Eunice Elton, Director, Manpower Planning and Research (1972-1976)
- Nathan B. Cooper, Controller (1968-1974)
- John C. Farrell, Controller (1975-1976)
- Thomas J. Mellon, Chief Administrative Officer (1968-1976)
- Eneas J. Kane, Exectuve Director, Housing Authority (1968-1976)
- M. Justin Herman, Executive Director, Redevelopment Agency (1968-1971)
- Robert L. Rumsey, Executive Director, Redevelopment Agency (1972-1974)
- Arthur F. Evans, Executive Director, Redevelopment Agency (1974-1976)
- Allan B. Jacobs, Director of Planning, City Planning Commission (1968-1974
- Bernard F. Schussel, Director, Office of/Commission on Aging (1972-1974?)
Legislative Representative, Federal
- Stanford Research Institute/Virginia, 1968-70
- Robert E. Josten/D.C., 1971-74
- James A. Lyons, Jr./D.C.,1975
Legislative Advocate, State
- John F. Shelley, 1986-1974
- McMorris M. Dow, 1975
Photographs Separated from Alioto Papers
Housed in San Francisco Photograph Collection, Alioto Box 20