Finding Aid to the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake Collection 1989-1990 SFH 455

Finding aid prepared by Katherine Ets-Hokin
San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library
December 7, 2016
100 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA 94102

Title: Collection on the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake
Date (inclusive): 1989-1990
Identifier/Call Number: SFH 455
Physical Description: 6 cartons, 1 pamphlet box. Includes one audio tape. (6.25 Cubic Feet)
Contributing Institution: San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library
100 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 557-4567
Abstract: The collection includes personal accounts of Bay Area residents during and after the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake, along with original and photocopied ephemera. It also includes newspaper articles from the days and months following the earthquake.
Physical Location: The collection is stored onsite.
Language of Materials: Collection materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is available for use during San Francisco History Center hours, with photographs available during Photo Desk hours. Collections that are stored offsite should be requested 48 hours in advance.

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.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Collection on the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake (SFH 455), San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library.


The collection was amassed by the San Francisco History Center between 1989 and 1990.

Related Materials

Researchers are encouraged to see also the San Francisco History Center's Subject and Biographical Files and to check the catalog holdings of the San Francisco Public Library for related materials.

Conservation Note

During processing, part of the collection was re-foldered and re-housed in acid-free folders and boxes. Some original folders remain. Duplicate materials were removed when possible.

Administrative History

While serving as the City Archivist for the San Francisco Public Library at the time of the 1989 earthquake, Gladys Hansen called for the public to donate their personal accounts to what she called the “1989 Earthquake Project”. Residents submitted their personal accounts along with newspaper clippings, flyers, and various other materials. Library staff and volunteers also contributed to the collection. At the time of the project Hansen had written a book about the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake titled "Who perished: a list of persons who died as a result of the great earthquake and fire in San Francisco on April 18, 1906" which is often referred to in the collection.

Scope and Contents

The collection includes personal accounts of Bay Area residents during and after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Accounts are from the perspective of both children and adults and are generally unpublished. Personal accounts were submitted individually or as a class project by schools. Accounts submitted by schools include the name of the student as well as the school, teacher and grade level. Individual accounts are filed alphabetically by last name. Accounts submitted by class group are filed separately by school name. Accounts may be hand written, printed from computers files, or photocopies. The collection includes original ephemera and photocopies from the earthquake, newspaper articles from the days and months following the earthquake, and resource materials relating to earthquake preparedness, relief and response.


The collection is arranged in five series: Series 1: Personal Accounts; Series 2: School Project - Personal Accounts; Series 3: Subject Files; Series 4: Newspaper Clippings; Series 5: Loma Prieta Earthquake Resource Materials

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Loma Prieta Earthquake, Calif., 1989.
Earthquakes -- California, Northern.


Series 1 Personal Accounts 1989-1990

Physical Description: 2 Cubic Feet


Personal accounts are arranged alphabetically.

Scope and Contents

This series contains the personal accounts of bay area residents following the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Gladys Hansen and staff campaigned (through television and print addvertisements) for the general public to submit their stories to the San Francisco History Center. Accounts include narratives from the greater bay area, including Santa Cruz.
box 1, folder A-L

Personal Accounts, A-L

box 2, folder M-Z

Personal Accounts, M-Z


Series 2 Classroom Project Personal Accounts 1989-1990

Physical Description: 1 Cubic Feet


The series is arranged alphabetically by school name.

Scope and Contents

Student's personal accounts are described by classroom, class level and school name. Students range from kindergarten to college. Essays appear to be collected directly from the school or possibly through the mayor's essay competition.
box 3, folder 1

A.P. Giannini Middle School

box 3, folder 2

Alemany Community College Center

box 3, folder 3

Anthony Chabot Elementary School

box 3, folder 4

Ben Franklin Middle School

box 3, folder 5

Cabrillo College

box 3, folder 6

Carson School

box 3, folder 7

Claire Liliethal School

box 3, folder 8

Commodore Sloat School

box 3, folder 9

Convent of the Sacred Heart High School

box 3, folder 10

Cornerstone Academy

box 3, folder 11

Corpus Christi School

box 3, folder 12

Country Club Elementary School

box 3, folder 13

Doeleger Center Creative Writing Class

box 3, folder 14

Everett Middle School

box 3, folder 15

Francisco Middle School

box 3, folder 16-17

Galileo High School

box 3, folder 18-19

George Washington High School

box 3, folder 20

Grattan School

box 3, folder 21

Herbert Hoover Middle School

box 3, folder 22

Hoover School

box 3, folder 23

Horace Mann Academic Middle School

box 3, folder 24-25

Immaculate Conception Academy

box 3, folder 26

Independence High School

box 3, folder 27

International Studies Academy

box 3, folder 28-29

J Eugene McAteer High School

box 3, folder 30

James Denman Middle School

box 3, folder 31

Jefferson Elementary School

box 3, folder 32

Lick-Wilmerding High School

box 3, folder 33

Live Oak School

box 3, folder 34-35

Lowell High School

box 3, folder 36

Marina Middle School

box 3, folder 37

Martin Luther King School

box 3, folder 38-39

Mintie White School

box 3, folder 40

Noe Valley Nursery School

box 3, folder 41

Noriega Children's Center

box 3, folder 42

Palo Alto Senior High School

box 3, folder 43

Paul Revere School

box 3, folder 44

Phillip Burton High School

box 3, folder 45

Pittsburg High School

box 3, folder 46

Ponderosa School

box 3, folder 47

Presentation High School

box 3, folder 48

Presidio Hill School

box 3, folder 49

Presidio Middle School

box 3, folder 50

Ralston School

box 3, folder 51

Raoul Wallenberg High School

box 3, folder 52

Saint Cecilia's School

box 3, folder 53

Saint Charles School

box 3, folder 54

Saint Elizabeth School

box 3, folder 55

Saint Gabriel's School

box 3, folder 56

Saint James School

box 3, folder 57

Saint Rose Academy

box 3, folder 58

Saint Thomas the Apostle School

box 3, folder 59-60

San Francisco Day School

box 3, folder 61

San Francisco State University

box 3, folder 62

Star of the Sea School

box 3, folder 63

Town School

box 3, folder 64

Treasure Island School

box 3, folder 65

Urban High School

box 3, folder 66

Valley High School

box 3, folder 67

Vista Grande School

box 3, folder 68

Walter Hays School

box 3, folder 69-70

West Portal School

box 3, folder 71-73

William R. De Avila School

box 3, folder 74

Woodside Priory School

box 3, folder 75

Woodrow Wilson High School


Series 3 Subject Files 1989-1990

Physical Description: 1 Cubic Feet
box 4, folder 1

1989 Earthquake Project Outreach 1989

box 4, folder 2

Association of Bay Area Governments

box 4, folder 3


box 4, folder 4

BART. Newsrelease

box 4, folder 5

Bluxome Street Victims

box 4, folder 6

Board of Supervisors

box 4, folder 7

California Academy of Sciences

box 4, folder 8

Clean Water Program: Earthquake Stories of Personnel

box 4, folder 9


box 4, folder 10

Cost Plus Stores

box 4, folder 11

Department of the Army, Presidio of San Francisco

box 4, folder 12

Earthquake Preparedness

box 4, folder 13

Earthquake Preparedness, Governor's Office of Emergency Preparedness. Beat the Quake!

box 4, folder 14

Earthquake Relief Resources

box 4, folder 15

Emergency Response

box 4, folder 16

F.E.M.A. / California Office Emergency Services

box 4, folder 17

Feminist Bookstore News Publication

box 4, folder 18

Fire Department, Berkeley & Albany

box 4, folder 19

Fire Department, San Francisco

box 4, folder 20


box 4, folder 21

Magazine Articles 1989

box 4, folder 22

Magazine Articles 1990

box 4, folder 23

Manuscript Society News

box 4, folder 24

Marina District

box 4, folder 25


box 4, folder 26


box 4, folder 27

News Service Reports

box 4, folder 28


box 4, folder 29


box 4, folder 30

Office Emergency Services

box 4, folder 31

PG & E

box 4, folder 32

Post Earthquake Response, Businesses

box 4, folder 33

Post Office

box 4, folder 34

Reports. Earthquake & Hazardous Substances

box 4, folder 35

Reports. Earthquake Emergency Preparedness & Response

box 4, folder 36

Reports. Earthquake Performance of the San Francisco Water Supply

box 4, folder 37

Reports. Emergency Operations Board

box 4, folder 38

Reports. Incident Report San Francisco Sheriff's Department

box 4, folder 39

Reports. List of Damaged Buildings

box 4, folder 40

Reports. Loma Prieta Earthquake of October 17, 1989

box 4, folder 41

Reports. Loma Prieta in Print

box 4, folder 42

Reports. Morbitity and Mortality Weekly Report Earthquake Associated Deaths

box 4, folder 43

Reports. October 17, 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake

box 4, folder 44

Reports. Media Coverage of the 1989 San Francisco Earthquake

box 4, folder 45

Reports. Memo to Central U.S. Earthquake Consortium

box 4, folder 46

Reports. Police, Oakland. Bureau of Field Operations

box 4, folder 47

Reports. Post Quake Condition Inspection Report Form, Office of Historic Preservation


Buildings Listed: Hamms Brewery (465 Folsom). St. Rose Academy (2507 Pine). Williams Building (693 Mission). 757 Jackson. 1475 Folsom. 415 Geary. 917 Kearny. 152 Church. 167 Bluxome. 235 Front. 848 Stockton. McLaren Lodge (Stanyan at Fell). Women's Building (3543 18th Street) Shotwell Street Houses (100 Block Shotwell). SF Public Library (200 Larkin). Old Federal Building (55 United Nations Plaza). City Hall. Old Customs Building (555 Battery) Belli Buiding (722 Montgomery). Spreckles Temple of Music. Agriculture Building (Embarcadero). Post Office (7th and Market). Saint Dominic Church(Bush Street).
box 4, folder 48

Reports. San Francisco Fire Department. Basic Operating Procedures

box 4, folder 49

Reports. San Francisco Police

box 4, folder 50

Reports. San Francisco State University

box 4, folder 51

Reports. United States Geological Survey

box 4, folder 52

Reuters Reports

box 4, folder 53

Salvation Army, Earthquake Services and updates

box 4, folder 54

San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau San Francisco News

box 4, folder 55

San Francisco Public Library

box 4, folder 56

San Francisco Public Library, Branches

box 4, folder 57

San Francisco Public Library, Main

box 4, folder 58

School Publications

box 4, folder 59

Shanti Project

box 4, folder 60

United States Department of Agriculture

box 4, folder 61

Water Pollution Control Federation

box 4, folder 62

Weather Service

box 4, folder 63

Weekly Earthquake Report

box 4, folder 64

"15 Seconds in October" (Audio Tape)


Series 4 Newspaper Clippings

box 5, folder 1-19

San Francisco Chronicle October 18, 1998-December 13, 1990

box 5, folder 20-35

San Francisco Examiner October 18, 1989-December 21, 1990

box 6, folder 1-18

Newspaper Clippings from Various Newspapers Covering the Loma Prieta Earthquake 1989-1990


Series 5 Loma Prieta Earthquake Resource Materials

Scope and Contents

This series was housed in white binders and contains photocopies of information relating to the San Andreas Fault, emergency services and response, and FEMA. Materials relating to the Loma Prieta Earthquake were rehoused and added to the collection. Materials that did not relate to San Francisco or the Bay Area were removed. This series may have been donated to the library by David Fowler, who worked as a Bay Area broadcast news reporter and later served on a statewide earthquake preparedness task force. The series may be photocopies of Fowler's records.
box 7, folder 1

Earthquake Research Materials

box 7, folder 2

Earthquake Research Materials: News Transcripts, Newswire Articles

box 7, folder 3-4

Earthquake Resource Materials

box 7, folder 5-6

Earthquake Resource Materials about Loma Prieta

box 7, folder 7-8

Earthquake Spectra: Loma Prieta Earthquake Reconnaissance Report

box 7, folder 9-10

Law Enforcement Emergency Operations Report: Loma Prieta Earthquake

box 7, folder 11-12

Loma Prieta Earthquake Unmet Needs Action Plan

box 7, folder 13

Post-Quake Restoration of General Fund City Buildings

box 7, folder 14

Preliminary Report of Chief of Department on Earthquake and Fire, October 17, 1989

box 7, folder 15

Santa Cruz County 9-1-1 Recording Transcription, October 17, 1989. Beginning at 5:04

box 7, folder 16

Technical Seismic and Engineering Information. Appendix A.