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Finding Aid to the Regional Service Committee Records, 1938-1978 (bulk 1939-1950)
SFH 54  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Provenance
  • Preferred Citation
  • Related Materials
  • Historical note
  • Scope and Contents
  • Arrangement

  • Title: Regional Service Committee Records
    Date (inclusive): 1938-1978
    Date (bulk): 1939-1950
    Collection Identifier: SFH 54
    Creator: San Francisco (Calif.). Regional Service Committee.
    Physical Description: 8 boxes, 1 flat box (7.25 cubic feet)
    Contributing Institution: San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library
    100 Larkin Street
    San Francisco, CA, 94102
    (415) 557-4567
    info@sfpl.org
    Physical Location: The collection is stored onsite.
    Language of Materials: Collection materials are in English.
    Abstract: The collection contains material on the activities of the Regional Service Committee of San Francisco, which was established in 1939 in response to the anti-San Francisco attitude of many California and Oregon counties. The Commitee's function was to promote San Francisco and re-establish a positive image in the eyes of the outlying agricultural and trade communities.

    Access

    The collection is open for research. Please call the San Francisco History Center for hours and information at 415-557-4567.

    Publication Rights

    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.

    Provenance

    No information is available on the provenance of this collection. A bound volume with minutes and agendas (1974-1978) for the Regional Service Committee was transferred from the Government Information Center of the San Francisco Public Library in January 2011.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Regional Service Committee Records (SFH 54), San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library.

    Related Materials

    Researchers are encouraged to see also the William Jackson Losh Collection (15 boxes), 1908-1973 at the California State Library (CSL). The collection contains correspondence, advertising, employee records, legal materials. Losh was Manager of California Stelos Company, a reporter for The San Francisco Examiner, a member of the San Francisco Mayor's United Nations Conference Commission, an executive secretary for San Francisco Mayor's Japanese Peace Conference Committee, and an executive secretary of the Trustees for Conservation.
    In addition, CSL has a collection of material produced by Lee & Losh in the 1950s. The subjects of these items include California county supervisors, their affiliations and lengths of service, publicity for the years 1939-1942, and promotion of Western beef.

    Historical note

    The Advisory Committee on Regional Service (ACRS) was created by resolution of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors on August 7, 1939. Board President Warren Shannon's resolution described a plan to improve San Francisco's cooperation, business relations and public image with the surrounding counties in Northern and Central California. The San Francisco Examiner of July 29, 1939 noted that the "functions of the proposed agency, under Shannon's plan, would include public relations, development of a service program to help communities in San Francisco's trade area and long range planning to stimulate the city's commercial relations with the rest of the State." The resolution was passed by unanimous vote. As a result of the Committee's publications and press releases, it was more commonly known as the Regional Service Committee (RSC).
    The original 10 members of the RSC were: Mayor Angelo Rossi, City Controller Harold J. Boyd, Warren Shannon, the chairmen of the supervisors' finance and streets committees, the City's chief administrative officer, the county agricultural commissioner, the manager of utilities, the city attorney and the director of public health. The charge of the group was to formulate a program to dissipate existing 'misunderstanding' with agricultural areas of the State. ( The San Francisco Examiner, August 8, 1939). The committee's first chairman was Harold J. Boyd until his death in 1945, when he was succeeded by Thomas A. Brooks.
    The RSC was created in response to two events in 1939. The first was a survey by Agricultural Trade Relations, Inc. of the area between the Tehachipis and the Oregon State line. The survey revealed that "agriculturists, industrialists, businessmen, educators and many others had a low regard for 'The City' for a variety of reasons. Most frequently mentioned were labor troubles and San Francisco's apparent lack of concern for anything but San Francisco. The second event was the severe drubbing given the perennial San Francisco-sponsored 'Harbor Bill' by the rural elements of the State Legislature." ( California-Magazine of the Pacific, September 1949)
    In September 1939 the Regional Service Committee contracted with the firm of John C. Lee and William J. Losh for promotion and establishment of better feeling in the hinterland. The contract specifically identified three areas of focus: 1) establish and maintain better relationships between San Francisco and the rural, neighboring metropolitan and suburban areas which constitute the city's trade area; 2) improve the services rendered by San Francisco to the trade area, enlisting co-operation of San Francisco citizens in the discharge of the city's obligations in the region; and 3) inaugurate or participate in activities designed to contribute to the prosperity of the entire region. (San Francisco Call, Sept. 21, 1939) The contract with Lee and Losh was renewed in September 1940 and Losh remained the primary contact through the 1950s. The $12,000 annual budget for the firm was paid out of the City's publicity and advertising fund.
    Early activities of the RSC included publicizing food surplus within the state to reduce the negative impact on the growers. Surplus problems included: the 1939 apple surplus in Watsonville, spring lamb and Delta potatoes in 1943, and the Gravenstein Apple sale of 1949. Other activities involved smoothing out misunderstandings that threatened to deprive San Francisco of business; often these situations were handled without fanfare or publicity. During the war years, the labor needed to harvest crops was decimated due to military service and the removal of Japanese workers. The RSC worked with the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce to form the Wartime Harvest Council to coordinate the many volunteers who participated in harvesting the crops in the surrounding counties. The RSC also cooperated with agriculture through the creation of San Francisco Farmers' Free Market. In addition, the RSC also spent time publicizing the City's traffic and parking regulations to help non-San Franciscans from being ticketed or fined for infractions. ( San Francisco Call, Sept. 21, 1939) ( California-Magazine of the Pacific, September 1949)
    Throughout the 1940s the RSC was involved with 4-H Club tours, speaking engagements, annual livestock events at the Cow Palace, and timber and mining issues in the state. Its Regional News Service, a weekly clip sheet, was distributed to some 300 newspapers in Northern and Central California to keep the rural press informed of news and developments in San Francisco.
    In 1956, it was reported that the committee had not met for 10 years. Supervisor Eugene McAteer asked for a full report of RSC activities. Mayor George Christopher required that the RSC meet every two months and that William Losh give a monthly report of its progress. There was continued scrutiny in 1958 as Dick Nolan reported in The San Francisco Examiner that the Committee had not met in 10 years, but Losh, a publicist, drew the $15,000 fee for each year. That same year, the RSC met for the first time in 2 years, called by its chairman Chief Administrative Officer Chester MacPhee. The committee developed a plan of work, but no one volunteered to do it. The committee's budget had been $15,000, and was cut to $10,000 for the coming year.
    In December 1958, the Board of Supervisors voted to rescind the 1939 legislation establishing the Advisory Committee on Regional Service (aka Regional Services Committee). It immediately adopted a new measure, reconstituting the Advisory Committee on Regional Service (ACRS). Its composition, purpose and powers are described in San Francisco Administrative Code (1987) sections 5.2, 5.3 and 5.4.
    A San Francisco Examiner article in 1961 noted that the committee had not met in 3 years, but that the Chief Administrative Officer Sherman Duckel would have it now meet every 3 months, and that the director William Losh had been doing a "bang-up" job. Then in 1964, The San Francisco Examiner noted that the agency is as anonymous as the CIA, and that its job is two-fold: "to pay its director and to promote vague good will toward San Francisco by sending Christmas cards."
    On September 8, 1987 the Board of Supervisors repealed the sections of the Administrative Code that established the ACRS.
    CHRONOLOGY
    August 7, 1939 Resolution No. 461 passed by San Francisco Board of Supervisors to establish the Advisory Committee on Regional Service (aka Regional Service Committee).
    December 1958 Resolution No. 461 repealed; Resolution No. 1106-58 passed to establish Advisory Committee on Regional Service. ( Board of Supervisors Journal of Proceedings (1958), p.818.)
    September 8, 1987 Ordinance amending Administrative Code, by repealing various sections regarding the Advisory Committee on Regional Services. (Supervisor Walker) File 97-97-50 Ordinance No. 369-87. Repeals Sections 5.2, 5.3, 5.4. Finally passed." ( Board of Supervisors Journal of Proceedings, Tuesday September 8, 1987, page 1058)

    Scope and Contents

    The collection contains material on the activities of the Regional Service Committee of San Francisco. The bulk of the material is from 1939 through 1950. A few reports from 1938 and 1939 describe the anti-San Francisco attitude of the California and Oregon counties and delineate plans to ameliorate the situation. In the wake of the 1934 general strike and later labor problems, San Francisco needed to re-establish a positive image in the eyes of the outlying agricultural and trade communities. At the same time, the Golden Gate International Exposition on Treasure Island of 1939-1940 increased the City's visibility.
    In the early 1940s, World War II negatively affected the labor available to harvest agricultural products. The RSC Records contain material on San Francisco's response during the war years-before during and after-including the handling of surplus foodstuffs, the lack of labor (Wartime Harvest Council), Mexican labor, and the promotion of milk and dairy cows.
    There is some material from the 1950s when the RSC was exploring new ways to promote the City and trade. School visits and visiting speakers are some of the files that have material after 1950. The Regional News Service and Digests were regularly printed and distributed into 1972.

    Arrangement

    The collection is arranged in 3 series: Series 1: Administrative Files; Series 2. Reports and Agendas; Series 3. Publications, Promotional Materials, Clippings and Scrapbooks.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Cow Palace (San Francisco, Calif.).
    Lee & Losh (firm).
    Lee, John Carleton, 1907-1964
    Losh, William Jackson, 1896-1973
    San Francisco (Calif.). Advisory Committee on Regional Service. -- Archives
    San Francisco (Calif.). Regional Service Committee. -- Archives
    San Francisco Chamber of Commerce.
    Wartime Harvest Council.
    Western Mining Council.
    California, Northern--Commerce
    City promotion--California--San Francisco
    Labor supply--California
    Labor--California--San Francisco--History
    San Francisco (Calif.)--History--20th century
    World War, 1939-1945--California--San Francisco
    World War, 1939-1945--Food supply--United States