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Inventory of the San Francisco Oracle Archives, 1966-1991;(1966-1968 bulk)
D-015  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Administrative History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Related collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: San Francisco Oracle Archives,
    Date (inclusive): 1966-1991;
    Date (bulk): (1966-1968 bulk)
    Collection number: D-015
    Creator: San Francisco Oracle
    Extent: 6.20 linear feet
    Repository: University of California, Davis. General Library. Dept. of Special Collections.
    100 North West Quad
    Davis, California, 95616-5292
    Abstract: The San Francisco Oracle, an underground or alternative newspaper, was a worker-owned cooperative paper. It began in September 1966 and after a very short run of only twelve issues, folded in February 1968. The collection contains partial holdings of the articles, essays, original artwork, paste-ups, photomechanical transfers, photographs, poems, and transcripts of interviews and speeches used in the publication of the newspaper. Also included are a small assortment of business records and correspondence. Ten of the newspaper's twelve issues are included in the collection.
    Physical location: Researchers should contact Special Collections to request collections, as many are stored offsite.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information

    Access

    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright is protected by the copyright law, chapter 17 of the U.S. Code. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections, General Library, University of California, Davis as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], San Francisco Oracle Archives, D-015, Department of Special Collections, University of California Library, Davis, California.

    Acquisition Information

    The archives arrived in Special Collections in 1970 with a second installment in 1972.

    Processing Information

    Arranged and described by Pamela Pearl Wilson in 1996. EAD finding aid created by Sara Gunasekara in 2004 with assistance from student employee Renee Therriault.

    Administrative History

    History

    The San Francisco Oracle, a worker-owned cooperative newspaper, began in September 1966 and after a very short run of only twelve issues, folded in February 1968. According to one of its founders and co-editors, Allen Cohen, the paper's circulation peaked at between 100,000 and 125,000.
    The Oracle was one of many underground or alternative newspapers published in large cities, on college campuses, and even in high schools during the 1960s. Many of these newspapers were in response to the mainstream media's control of information regarding the Vietnam War, the anti-war movement, and the cultural changes that were sweeping the United States. The Oracle was a result of months of meetings and debates between leftists who wanted to put out a political, anti-war paper and hippies more interested in social transformation through higher consciousness.
    The issues were filled with colorful graphics and printing with some articles typeset in circles instead of straight, up-and-down columns of conventional newspapers. Cohen and his cohorts discovered that inserting small plates in the inkwells of the big web presses at Howard Quinn (their San Francisco printer) enabled them to run three colors at a time and create additional colors by blending ink - a technique called split-fountain printing. Their imaginative use of color helped make the paper unique, even in the anything goes underground press.
    The Oracle's most memorable piece may have been its 23,000 word record of a wide-ranging rap session with Dr. Timothy Leary, poets Allen Ginsberg and Gary Snyder, and the late Zen philosopher Alan Watts. The paper's staff reportedly helped organize and publicize the first Human Be-In in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, an event designed to unite Berkeley political radicals with the cultural radicals of San Francisco. They also were instrumental in the organization of the famous Summer of Love.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The collection contains partial holdings of the articles, essays, original artwork, paste-ups, photomechanical transfers, photographs, poems, and transcripts of interviews and speeches used in the publication of this newspaper. Also includes are a small assortment of business records and correspondence.
    Poems and essays by such notable writers as Allen Cohen, Philip Lamantia, Steve Levine, Michael McClure, John Montgomery, Gary Snyder, Alan Watts, and Lew Welch are found in either manuscript or typescript form. Transcripts of interviews with Buckminster Fuller, Allen Ginsberg, Herman Kahn, Timothy Leary, Carl Rogers, Gary Snyder, and Alan Watts comprise a section of the archives.
    Ten of the newspaper's twelve issues are included in this collection. For a complete example of all twelve issues, please see The San Francisco Oracle, Facsimile Edition, (1991) edited by Allen Cohen.
    The collection is arranged in four series: 1. Office Records, 2. Essays and Poetry, 3. Original Issues, 4. Publication Materials.

    Related collection

    D-050, The Gary Snyder Papers

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.

    Subjects

    Oracle (San Francisco, Calif. : 1966)--Archives
    Underground periodicals--California--San Francisco
    Haight-Ashbury (San Francisco, Calif.)--Periodicals
    San Francisco (Calif.)--Social life and customs--Periodicals