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Sandoval (Judith) Visitacion Valley Gift of Stories Collection
SFP 94  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Preferred Citation
  • Provenance
  • Conservation note
  • Biographical / Historical
  • Scope and Contents
  • Arrangement

  • Title: Judith Sandoval Visitacion Valley Gift of Stories Collection
    Date (bulk): 1995-2009
    Identifier/Call Number: SFP 94
    Creator: Sandoval, Judith
    Physical Description: 1 carton, 3 pamphlet boxes and 1 flat box (3.5 Linear Feet)
    Contributing Institution: San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library
    100 Larkin Street
    San Francisco, CA 94102
    (415) 557-4567
    Abstract: The Judith Sandoval Visitacion Valley Gift of Stories Collection consists of over 4,000 black and white photographs of varying sizes, contact sheets, negatives and images on CDs of the Visitacion Valley community between 1998 and 2005.
    Physical Location: The collection is stored onsite.
    Language of Materials: Collection materials are in English with some materials bilingual in Chinese and English.

    Conditions Governing Access

    The collection is available for use during San Francisco History Center's Photo Desk hours.

    Conditions Governing Use

    All requests for permission to publish of photographs must be submitted in writing to the Photo Curator. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the San Francisco Public Library as the owner of the physical items.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Judith Sandoval Visitacion Valley Gift of Stories Collection (SFP 94), San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library.



    Conservation note

    During processing, the entire collection was re-foldered and re-housed in acid-free folders and boxes.

    Biographical / Historical

    Judith Sandoval is a local community activist with over fifty years of community organizing experience and photographer. Sandoval has a BA and JD and came into photography later in life at the age of 63 when she began working with the Visitacion Valley community in San Francisco. Sandoval was born in 1937 in San Francisco, raised in a multi-ethnic country town of 600, but returned to San Francisco for last 60 years. In Visitacion Valley, she was Program Director of Camp Fire Boys and Girls City Kids, Executive Director of Geneva Valley Development Corporation and Program Coordinator of The Village. Sandoval dedicates this Visitacion Valley Gift of Stories Collection to the Geneva Towers' Families and four strong Valley Leaders, whose lives were intimately connected with the Valley: Brenda Lopez, Lela Jones, Evelyn Hill, and Missy Raglin.

    Scope and Contents

    The Judith Sandoval Visitacion Valley Gift of Stories Collection consists of over 4,000 black and white photographs of varying sizes, contact sheets, negatives and images on CDs of the Visitacion Valley community between 1998 and 2005. This Collection represents the work of local Visitacion Valley community activist and photographer Judith Sandoval, who, through her photography, documented the social, political and cultural events in the Valley during that time.
    In the 1800's, Visitation Valley was known as the Valley of the Windmills. In 1964, Geneva Towers, two twenty-story towers, was built for 400 families. By 1991, US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) foreclosed on the private owners of Geneva Towers. The Towers had declined into an unhealthy and dangerous place, a place the San Francisco Chronicle called the "High-rise from Hell." By 1995, the Geneva Valley Residents Council, Geneva Valley Development Corporation (GVDC), Visitation Valley Task Force, HUD and City and County of San Francisco entered into a Memorandum of Understanding to revitalize the Valley by destroying the Towers public housing, but guaranteeing original Towers' families the right of first refusal. The residents had to agree to destroy their home, but had the choice of how to destroy it. Because of lead and asbestos in the Towers, they were not imploded until 1998. It only took 10 seconds to destroy the home of 400 Towers' families. GVDC assisted with the construction of the new housing and a multi-service community center called The Village. GVDC’s achievements included its role in the replacement of Geneva Towers with affordable, family housing in partnership with Mercy Housing California that includes Heritage Homes (of which GVDC is co-owner), Britton Courts and John King Senior Community. The photographs document the community events while representing the significant needs of the community which are economic opportunity and development and education. The residents created the Visitacion Valley Jobs, Education and Training Project (VVJET). Additionally, the local council formed a partnership with San Francisco State University Urban Institute which helped link to a variety of institutions. This facilitated more programs for the community including Village Dancers. The Village Dancers was a partnership program with San Francisco State University's School of Music and Dance and offered free dance classes taught by Dr. Albirda Rose and SFSU students. The Village Dancers had a yearly concert at SFSU campus. The history of the community was also documented through a California Council for the Humanities grant project, Stories of Valley: Circle of Elders. GVDC became Visitacion Valley Community Development Corporation maintaining as a non-profit organization focusing on strengthening the social, physical, educational and economic well-being of the Visiatacion Valley neighborhood. This Collection tells the stories, both creative and painful, of the journey of Heritage Homes families, from 1998 to 2005.


    The collection is arranged into three series: Series 1. Photographs; Series 2. Correspondence, clippings and ephemera and Series 3. Audiovisual.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Visitacion Valley (San Francisco, Calif.)
    Photographic prints--1990-2000.
    Photographic prints--2000-2010.
    Visitacion Valley (San Francisco, Calif.)--Buildings, structures, etc.
    Sandoval , Judith