Scope and Content of Collection
Title: San Francisco Oracle Archives,
Date (inclusive): 1966-1991;
Date (bulk): (1966-1968 bulk)
Collection number: D-015
San Francisco Oracle
6.20 linear feet
University of California, Davis. General Library.
Dept. of Special Collections.
100 North West Quad
Davis, California, 95616-5292
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.
Collection is open for research.
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.
[Identification of item], San Francisco Oracle Archives, D-015, Department of Special Collections, University
of California Library, Davis, California.
The archives arrived in Special Collections in 1970 with a second installment in 1972.
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.
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
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
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.
D-050, The Gary Snyder Papers
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
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