Finding aid for the Jesse Fuller Collection

Christopher Armstrong
African American Museum & Library at Oakland
659 14th Street
Oakland, California 94612
Phone: (510) 637-0198
Fax: (510) 637-0204
Email: aamlo@oaklandlibrary.org
URL: http://www.oaklandlibrary.org/locations/african-american-museum-library-oakland
© 2013
African American Museum & Library at Oakland. All rights reserved.

Finding aid for the Jesse Fuller Collection

Collection number: MS193

African American Museum & Library at Oakland

Oakland, California
Processed by:
Christopher Armstrong
Date Completed:
2016-02-26
Encoded by:
Christopher Armstrong
© 2013 African American Museum & Library at Oakland. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Jesse Fuller collection
Dates: 1971-1976
Collection number: MS193
Creator: Fuller, Jesse
Creator: Dobrin, Michael
Collection Size: .25 linear feet (1 box)
Repository: African American Museum & Library at Oakland (Oakland, Calif.)
Oakland, CA 94612
Abstract: Jesse Fuller (1896-1976) was born on Jonesboro, Georgia in March 12, 1896. In 1954 Fuller recorded his most notable song, "San Francisco Bay Blues", and by 1960 Fuller booked a European tour, and devoted himself full time to music. Jesse Fuller Records consists of newspaper clippings, photographs, and audio recordings.
Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English

Access

No access restrictions. Collection is open to the public.

Access Restrictions

Materials are for use in-library only, non-circulating.

Publication Rights

Permission to publish from the Jesse Fuller Collection must be obtained from the African American Museum & Library at Oakland.

Preferred Citation

Jesse Fuller collection, MS193, African American Museum & Library at Oakland, Oakland Public Library. Oakland, California.

Acquisition Information

Donated to African American Museum & Library on 11/27/2015 by Michael Dobrin.

Processing Information

Processed by Christopher Armstrong, 02/26/2016.

Biography / Administrative History

Jesse Fuller (1896-1976) was born in Jonesboro, Georgia on March 12, 1896. As a young man he found his way to Los Angeles, California, where he worked as an extra in films such as The Thief of Bagdad (1924) and East of Suez (1925). By 1929, Fuller moved to Oakland, California where he married Gertrude Fuller and worked for the Southern Pacific Railroad. In the 1950s, Fuller started to focus on music, preforming as a one man band and calling himself "Lone Cat." On stage Fuller performed with his guitar, harmonic, kazoo, high hat and a six string bass of his own invention, which he played with his foot. Fuller called this instrument a "fotdella."
In 1954 Fuller recorded his most notable song, "San Francisco Bay Blues", and by 1960 Fuller booked a European tour, and devoted himself full time to music. At this time, Fuller played shows alongside rock bands at The Fillmore Auditorium. The first track off of Bob Dylan's first self-titled release featured a song written by Fuller, "You're No Good." The Grateful Dead's first album, released in 1967, also featured a song written by Fuller, "Beat it on Down the Line". Fuller was honored with a performance and exhibit at the Oakland Museum in 1971 before his death in 1976.

Scope and Content of Collection

The Jesse Fuller Collection consists of newspaper clippings, photographs, negatives, and audio recordings. The newspaper clippings document a concert Fuller preformed at the Oakland Museum’s History’s Department in 1971. The three audio tapes are interviews recorded by Oakland Museum staff at the home of Jesse Fuller discussing his life and recollections, as well contact sheets and negatives taken during the preparation for Fuller's performance at the Oakland Museum.

Arrangement

Series I: Oral history interviews. Series II: Photographs. Series III: Newspaper Clippings.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Blues musicians next hit --Interviews.
Blues previous hit musicians next hit --California--Oakland--Interviews.
Blues previous hit musicians next hit --United States—Biography.
Blues (Music)--California--San Francisco Bay Area.
Fuller, Jesse.

Bibliography

Selvin, Joel, “Jesse Fuller: Arts Heroes of Black History,” San Francisco Chronicle, January 27, 2008, Accessed on 02/26/2016.

Related Material

https://diva.sfsu.edu/collections/sfbatv/bundles/191357

Collection Contents

 

Oral history interviews

Physical Description: 2 reel-to-reel tapes and 1 cassette tape

Series Scope and Content Summary

Three oral history interviews conducted with previous hit musician next hit Jesse Fuller.

Arrangement

Arranged by format.
Box 1:1

Interview with blues previous hit musician next hit Jesse Fuller, Part I, Side A 1971

Physical Description: Cassette tape
Physical Description: Run Time: 30 (min): 13 (s)

Description

Side A: Silence [00:00]; Inaudible [00:06]; Meeting fan in Piccadilly Circus [01:50]; Working with Douglas Fairbanks [03:10]; Girlfriend [04:25]; Copies of his photographs for museum, Hank movie dog [07:46]; Hank the movie dog [09:45]; Jack and Mary Pickford [10:20]; Movie set concession stand and shoeshining [11:03]; Buck Jones [11:17]; William Farnum and Dustin Farnum [11:39]; Working with Douglas Fairbanks [13:04]; William Farnum, trainhopping to California[14:08]; Fodella and his basement workshop [16:05]; William Farnum [16:44]; William S. Hart in Tumbleweeds (1925) [18:37]; Performing for Douglas Fairbanks[21:19]; Living in Los Angeles [22:53]; Cleaning restaurant in exchange for room and board [23:45]; Selling whittled wooden snakes for money [24:02]; Fight with roomer from Nova Scotia calling him "nigger"[26:23]; Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey [27:41]; Dancing the chicken wheel dance for Douglas Fairbanks [28:18]
Box 1:1

Interview with blues previous hit musician next hit Jesse Fuller, Part I, Side B 1971

Physical Description: Cassette tape
Physical Description: Run Time: 31 (min): 32 (s)

Description

Side B: Silence [00:00]; Mental abilities since his stroke [00:12]; William Farnum and Dustin Farnum [01:39]; Poster for Jesse Fuller event at the Oakland Museum [04:00]; Charlie Chaplin [05:30]; Mary Wilma [?] photograph [07:09]; Copyright to song [08:11]; Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry [09:57];Leadbelly and Billie Holiday [10:26]; Reverand Gary Davis and Merle Travis [11:47]; Health issues and stroke [13:55]; Railroad watch [14:25]; Magazine articles about Jesse [18:01]; Playing vinyl record, "Drop out song," previous hit musicians next hit Jesse likes and dislikes [19:36]; Paid $50 to go to jail for another man [29:40]
Box 1:2

Interview with blues previous hit musician next hit Jesse Fuller, Part II 1971

Box 1:3

Interview with blues previous hit musician next hit Jesse Fuller, Part III 1971

 

Photographs 1971

Physical Description: 69 images

Series Scope and Content Summary

69 images (photographs, negatives, and contact sheets) of Jesse Fuller leading up to and after the time of Jesse Fuller's Oakland Museum concert in May 1971.

Arrangement

Arranged by photo identification number.
Box 1:6

Jesse Fuller in his basement preparing to play the fodella [001] 1971

Box 1:6

Jesse Fuller in front of his home in West Oakland [002] 1971

Box 1:6

Jesse Fuller speaking with man and woman in front of his home in West Oakland [003] 1971

Box 1:6

Jesse Fuller opening door to his house at 1679 11th St, Oakland, California [004] 1971

Box 1:6

Jesse Fuller entering his house at 1679 11th St, Oakland, California [005] 1971

Box 1:6

Parts on work table in Jesse Fuller's workshop [blurred][006] 1971

Box 1:6

Blues previous hit musician next hit Jesse Fuller preparing to play the fodella in his basement [007] 1971

Box 1:6

Blues previous hit musician next hit Jesse Fuller playing guitar in his basement [008] 1971

Box 1:6

Blues previous hit musician next hit Jesse Fuller playing guitar in his basement [009] 1971

Box 1:6

Jesse Fuller playing a vinyl record in his living room [010] 1971

Box 1:6

Jesse Fuller playing a vinyl record in his living room [blurred][011] 1971

Box 1:6

[blurred][012] 1971

Box 1:6

Jesse Fuller looking through papers on the floor in his living room [013] 1971

Box 1:6

Jesse Fuller standing on front porch of his house at 1679 11th St, Oakland, California [014] 1971

Box 1:6

Jesse Fuller playing a vinyl record in his living room [015] 1971

Box 1:6

Jesse Fuller playing a vinyl record in his living room [016] 1971

Box 1:6

Fireplace mantel in the home of Jesse Fuller [017] 1971

Box 1:6

Blues previous hit musician next hit Jesse Fuller in his home [018] 1971

Box 1:6

Jesse Fuller playing a vinyl record in his living room [019] 1971

Box 1:6

Blues previous hit musician next hit Jesse Fuller playing the fodella in his basement [020] 1971

Box 1:6

Blues previous hit musician next hit Jesse Fuller preparing to play the fodella in his basement [021] 1971

Box 1:6

Blues previous hit musician next hit Jesse Fuller preparing to play the fodella in his basement [022] 1971

Box 1:6

Blues previous hit musician next hit Jesse Fuller preparing to play the fodella in his basement [023] 1971

Box 1:6

Sheet music for "Drop out song" [024] 1971

Box 1:6

Blues previous hit musician next hit Jesse Fuller playing the fodella in his basement [025] 1971

Box 1:6

Blues previous hit musician next hit Jesse Fuller playing the fodella in his basement [026] 1971

Box 1:6

Blues previous hit musician next hit Jesse Fuller playing the fodella in his basement [027] 1971

Box 1:6

Jesse Fuller [blurred][028] 1971

Box 1:6

Jesse Fuller reading book [029] 1971

Box 1:6

Jesse Fuller sitting on sofa reading book [030] 1971

Box 1:6

Jesse Fuller sitting on sofa [031] 1971

Box 1:6

Jesse Fuller sitting on sofa [032] 1971

Box 1:6

Jesse Fuller sitting on sofa [033] 1971

Box 1:6

Jesse Fuller sitting on sofa [034] 1971

Box 1:6

Jesse Fuller sitting on sofa smiling [035] 1971

Box 1:6

Jesse Fuller sitting on sofa [036] 1971

Box 1:6

Jesse Fuller speaking with tv host and newsman Ray Taliaferro (right) and unidentified man after his concert at the Oakland Museum [037] 1971

Box 1:6

Jesse Fuller speaking with tv host and newsman Ray Taliaferro (left) and unidentified man after his concert at the Oakland Museum [038] 1971

Box 1:6

Jesse Fuller speaking with tv host and newsman Ray Taliaferro (right) after his concert at the Oakland Museum [039] 1971

Box 1:6

KPIX general manager Al Constant (left) and former museum director John Peetz speaking at Jesse Fuller concert at the Oakland Museum [040] 1971

Box 1:6

KPIX general manager Al Constant (left) and former museum director John Peetz speaking at Jesse Fuller concert at the Oakland Museum [041] 1971

Box 1:6

Blues previous hit musician next hit Jesse Fuller laughing with KPIX general manager Al Constant (left) and former museum director John Peetz during concert at the Oakland Museum [042] 1971

Box 1:6

Blues previous hit musician next hit Jesse Fuller speaking with KPIX general manager Al Constant (left) and former museum director John Peetz during concert at the Oakland Museum [043] 1971

Box 1:6

Blues previous hit musician next hit Jesse Fuller speaking with KPIX general manager Al Constant (left) and former museum director John Peetz during concert at the Oakland Museum [044] 1971

Box 1:6

Blues previous hit musician next hit Jesse Fuller speaking with KPIX general manager Al Constant (left) and former museum director John Peetz during concert at the Oakland Museum [045] 1971

Box 1:6

Blues previous hit musician next hit Jesse Fuller speaking with KPIX general manager Al Constant (left) and former museum director John Peetz during concert at the Oakland Museum [046] 1971

Box 1:6

Blues previous hit musician next hit Jesse Fuller standing with KPIX general manager Al Constant (left) and former museum director John Peetz during concert at the Oakland Museum [047] 1971

Box 1:6

KPIX general manager Al Constant (left) and former museum director John Peetz presenting Jesse Fuller with film "Jesse Fuller: Portrait" during concert at the Oakland Museum [048] 1971

Box 1:6

KPIX general manager Al Constant (left) and former museum director John Peetz presenting Jesse Fuller with film "Jesse Fuller: Portrait" during concert at the Oakland Museum [049] 1971

Box 1:6

Former museum director John Peetz (left) presenting Jesse Fuller with film "Jesse Fuller: Portrait" during concert at the Oakland Museum [050] 1971

Box 1:6

KPIX general manager Al Constant (left) speaking with blues previous hit musician next hit Jesse Fuller after concert at the Oakland Museum [051] 1971

Box 1:6

Unidentified man standing at parking garage attendant booth [052] 1971

Box 1:6

Underground parking garage [053] 1971

Box 1:6

Woman paying at parking garage attendant booth [054] 1971

Box 1:6

Parking garage attentant reading newspaper [055] 1971

Box 1:6

Blues previous hit musician next hit Jesse Fuller before his last concert at the Oakland Museum [056] 1971

Box 1:6

Blues previous hit musician next hit Jesse Fuller before his last concert at the Oakland Museum [057] 1971

Box 1:6

Blues previous hit musician next hit Jesse Fuller in his home [058] 1971

Box 1:6

Blues previous hit musician next hit Jesse Fuller in his home [059] 1971

Box 1:6

Blues previous hit musician next hit Jesse Fuller in his home [060] 1971

Box 1:6

Blues previous hit musician next hit Jesse Fuller in his home [061] 1971

Box 1:6

Blues previous hit musician next hit Jesse Fuller in his home [062] 1971

Box 1:6

Blues previous hit musician next hit Jesse Fuller in his home [063] 1971

Box 1:6

Blues previous hit musician next hit Jesse Fuller in his home [064] 1971

Box 1:6

Blues previous hit musician next hit Jesse Fuller in his home [065] 1971

Box 1:6

Blues previous hit musician next hit Jesse Fuller in his home [066] 1971

Box 1:6

Blues previous hit musician Jesse Fuller in his home [067] 1971

Box 1:6

Sheet music for "Drop out song" [068] 1971

Box 1:6

Jesse Fuller (right) standing with unidentified man in front of his house [069] 1971

 

Newspaper clippings 1971, 1976

Physical Description: 3 newspaper clippings

Series Scope and Content Summary

Three articles about Jesse Fuller.

Arrangement

Arranged by date.
Box 1:5

"A Rare Chance to Hear 'Lone Cat'"; San Francisco Chronicle [reproduction] Undated

Box 1:5

"Lone Cat Jesse Fuller Dies, 79" Oakland Tribune January 30, 1976

 

“A Double Loss for the Blues" undated