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Finding Aid to the William Bronston Papers, 1961-2008
BANC MSS 2002/227c  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Information
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: William Bronston papers
    Date (inclusive): 1961-2008
    Collection Number: BANC MSS 2002/227c
    Creators : Bronston, William
    Extent: Number of containers: 68 cartons, 2 oversize boxes, 5 oversize folders Linear feet: 88.4
    Repository: The Bancroft Library
    University of California, Berkeley
    Berkeley, California, 94720-6000
    Phone: (510) 642-6481
    Fax: (510) 642-7589
    Email: bancref@library.berkeley.edu
    URL: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/
    Abstract: The William Bronston papers, 1961-2008, reflect Bronston's active role in the movements for human and disability rights, most notably exposing violations of treatment and care at Willowbrook State School in Staten Island, New York (1970s) and advocacy for Sandra Jensen's equal right as a person with disabilities to receive an organ transplant (1994-1997). The majority of the collection relates to Bronston's professional activities starting as the founder of the Student Health Organization (SHO) while attending medical school at the University of Southern California, his participation in numerous events in support of disability rights, and his creation of projects to provide youth leadership programs such as Project Interdependence and The Tower of Youth. There are also records of Bronston's employment with the California State Departments of Health (DOH), Developmental Services (DDS), and Rehabilitation (DOR). The collection consists of correspondence, organization records, speeches, writings, testimonies, legal documents, biographical information, publicity materials, personal papers, photographs, posters, and audio/visual materials.
    Languages Represented: Collection materials are in English
    Physical Location: Many of the Bancroft Library collections are stored offsite and advance notice may be required for use. For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

    Information for Researchers

    Access

    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 94720-6000. Consent is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission from the copyright owner. Such permission must be obtained from the copyright owner. See: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/reference/permissions.html. 
    Restrictions also apply to digital representations of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], William Bronston Papers, BANC MSS 2002/227c, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Alternate Forms Available

    There are no alternate forms of this collection.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Willowbrook State School
    People with disabilities--Civil rights--United States
    People with disabilities--Deinstitutionalization--United States
    People with disabilities--Rehabilitation
    Discrimination against people with disabilities
    Health services accessibility--California
    Youth--California
    Performing arts and youth
    Transplantation of organs, tissues, etc.--California
    Project Interdependence (Calif.)

    Administrative Information

    Acquisition Information

    The William Bronston Papers were given to The Bancroft Library by William Bronston on July 29, 2002. Additions were made on August 21, 2006.

    Accruals

    Future additions are expected.

    System of Arrangement

    Arranged to the folder level.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Janice Otani in 2008.

    Biographical Information

    Born and educated in Los Angeles, California, William Bronston received his Medical Degree at the University of Southern California School of Medicine, completed an Internship in Pediatrics at Los Angeles Children's Hospital, and was a resident in psychiatry at Menninger's in Topeka, Kansas.
    While a Senior in Medical School, Bronston founded the Student Health Organization in 1964, a nationwide graduate health science student movement dedicated to promoting universal health care as a human right, overcoming racism, sexism and physician elitism in the health system and addressing issues of war and poverty as the greatest health and medical challenges facing the health profession and the public in general. In 1968, Bronston moved from Kansas to New York where he was a leader in a range of human rights and labor issues in the health care field, a career pursuit which has continued to the present day.
    Deeply concerned about the plight of children with mental retardation and other disabilities, Bronston spent three years as a staff physician in the infamous Willowbrook State School in Staten Island. As a public advocate, he helped architect the 1971 Class Action Law Suit against New York State for Constitutional violations of due process, right to treatment and decent care aimed to close its dehumanizing State Institutions.
    After a Post Doctoral Fellowship at Syracuse University in the Department of Education, Bronston returned to California in 1975, where he was appointed as the senior clinical consultant to the Director of the California Department of Health in the field of developmental disabilities. He was then appointed Medical Director of the State Department of Developmental Services, served as medical consultant to the Secretary of Health and Welfare, and then became Medical Director to the State Department of Rehabilitation.
    Bronston administered Project Interdependence, a multi-state grant of national significance to promote youth leadership development among multicultural youth with and without disabilities from his non profit foundation, the World Interdependence Fund. This project included a national "Best Practices" search among the leading youth training projects across the country, offering technical assistance and consultation and contributing to the creation of a national network whose collective vision is a better sustainable life, meaningful integration and inclusion, political empowerment, mutual caring and justice among all peoples.
    In 1995, Bronston's founded his most recent venture, The Tower of Youth, a model telecommunications, media and performing arts youth career and leadership project, and Theatron Media Arts Training Academy. The unique regional Sacramento Valley and Sierra foothill all teenage organization has gathered over 1500 youth each year and produced annual events in state of the art digital graphic movie making at The Teen Digital Reel Showcase and Awards, performing arts at The Lenaea Theater Festival, and television and film production at The All Youth Film and Education Day held in Sacramento.
    (from the collection)

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The William Bronston papers, 1961-2008, reflect Bronston's active role in the movements for human and disability rights, most notably exposing violations of treatment and care at Willowbrook State School in Staten Island, New York (1970s) and advocacy for Sandra Jensen's equal right as a person with disabilities to receive an organ transplant (1994-1997). The majority of the collection relates to Bronston's professional activities starting as the founder of the Student Health Organization (SHO) while attending medical school at the University of Southern California, his participation in numerous events in support of disability rights, and his creation of projects to provide youth leadership programs such as Project Interdependence and The Tower of Youth. There are also records of Bronston's employment with the California State Departments of Health (DOH), Developmental Services (DDS), and Rehabilitation (DOR). The collection consists of correspondence, organization records, speeches, writings, testimonies, legal documents, biographical information, publicity materials, personal papers, photographs, posters, and audio/visual materials.
    The Willowbrook materials include correspondence; doctor's rounds notebooks; materials from organizations such as Benevolent Society for Retarded Children, Citizen Committee for Better Staten Island Health Care, The Policy and Action Conference on the Handicapped (PAC), The Staten Island Coalition for a Family Hospital; and scrapbooks of newspaper clipping documenting issues concerning Willowbrook.
    Materials documenting Sandra Jensen's struggle to obtain an organ transplant include videos; legal documents; articles; and publicity, in particular, the "Fill the Need" campaign; and information of other related cases. There are also papers, articles and conference materials relating to Down's syndrome and patient selection for organ transplants.
    The collection shows Bronston's involvement with numerous disability rights organizations and agencies such as the California Institute on Human Services (CIHS); Minnesota State Planning Agency, Governor's Planning Council of Developmental Disabilities; and The Association for Persons with Severe Handicaps (TASH), as well as his active support of legislative measures, Americans with Disabilities Act (1990), Reauthorization of the Rehabilitation Act (1991), and the single-payer initiative, the California Health Security Act (Proposition 186).
    The youth programs include information on workshops through Project Interdependence; Discover Interdependence; the World Interdependence Forum of New Mexico; and Tower of Youth's media and performing arts activities, particularly their Teen Digital Reel Showcase and Awards and all Youth Film and Education Day events held annually.
    The majority of the collection is arranged chronologically, including Bronston's education, employment and professional activities. Organization and agency files relating to specific employment positions or activities are filed with these sections. Correspondence found in individual files for particular activities were kept in original locations. Bronston compiled separate filing systems for yearly chronological correspondence and monthly chronological logs of telephone and correspondence contacts. These have been maintained in original order and found at the end of the professional chronology along with alphabetically arranged people files and subject files.
    The collection also contains some personal papers which consist of interviews of Bronston; writings, including a draft of Public Hostage/Public Ransom; speeches; and interviews. Bronston also compiled yearly personal files containing correspondence with family and friends, appointment books, various materials for significant events of the year, photographs, and ephemera.
    Some folders in the collection are restricted.