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Finding Aid to the Fang Family San Francisco Examiner Photograph Archive Photographic Print Files, circa 1874-2000 (bulk 1911-2000)
BANC PIC 2006.029--PIC  
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Collection Details
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  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information
  • Background
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: Fang family San Francisco examiner photograph archive photographic print files
    Date (inclusive): circa 1874-2000
    Date (bulk): 1911-2000
    Collection Number: BANC PIC 2006.029--PIC
    Creator: San Francisco Examiner (Firm)
    Extent: 1,075 cartons, 258 oversize boxes (circa 850,000 photographic prints)
    Repository: The Bancroft Library.
    University of California, Berkeley
    Berkeley, CA 94720-6000
    Phone: (510) 642-6481
    Fax: (510) 642-7589
    Email: bancref@library.berkeley.edu
    URL: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/
    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


    Collection is open for research.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Fang family San Francisco examiner photograph archive photographic print files, BANC PIC 2006.029--PIC, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley

    Separated Material

    Received with approximately 3.6 million photographic negatives(BANC PIC 2006.029--NEG), 100 linear feet of publisher's correspondence, microfilmed clippings files (BANC MSS 2006/160), and over 900 volumes of bound copies of the newspaper. A small number of photographic prints related to the Peoples Temple and Jonestown, Guyana, have been cataloged separately (BANC PIC 2006.088).

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog
    San Francisco Bay Area (Calif.)--Pictorial works
    San Francisco (Calif.)--Pictorial works

    Administrative Information

    Acquisition Information

    Gift, in 2006, of the SF Newspaper Company, LLC, in consultation with the Fang family of San Francisco, former owners of the San Francisco Examiner.

    Processing Information

    Arrangement and description were undertaken with the support of a Hidden Collections Grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR), from 2009 through 2012.


    The San Francisco Examiner was acquired by George Hearst in 1880 and given to his son, William Randolph Hearst, in 1887. It was the founding cornerstone of the Hearst media empire, and remained part of the Hearst Corporation’s holdings until it was sold, in 2000, to the Fang family of San Francisco. In 2004 the Examiner was sold again, to Philip Anschutz’s Clarity Media Group.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The San Francisco Examiner photographic print files consist of the news photographs collected by the San Francisco Examiner library. Many are prints from negatives shot by staff photographers, while others originated with wire services or as submissions from individuals or agencies. The photographs encompass the full spectrum of local, national, and international events, including state, local, and national government, politics, military conflicts, society, sports, fashion, the arts, crime, accidents, transportation, urban and suburban development, and human interest stories. While some submitted photographs date to the 19th century, the vast majority are 20th century.
    While national and international news events and personalities are likely to have originated with wire services or other agencies, photographic prints covering local San Francisco Bay Area news were chiefly made by Examiner photographers. The presence of a print in these files suggests the image ran in the newspaper, or was seriously considered for publication. The vast majority of negatives shot by staff photographers were, however, never printed or published. Therefore far more local news images are present among the 3.6 million negatives in the San Francisco examiner photograph archive negative files, described in a separate online finding aid.
    The photographic print files were received in poor condition and disarray and have been returned to their original order, which consists of three series: Location (originally designated as “Places” by the Examiner staff), People, and Subject. Photographs are filed alphabetically within each series. Each envelope heading in the Location and Subject series is listed in this finding aid. Envelope headings for the People series have been recorded only for cartons P001 through P438 (last names A – K); cartons P439 to P865 (last names M – Z) are listed more generally, as an alphabetical range present in the carton. (In other words, no folder-level listing is available for last names M – Z, so carton contents will have to be checked for any given name in this range.)
    Many of the photographs from the early 1970’s through the late 1980’s are stabilization prints, printed rapidly for immediate use. These prints are unstable and tend to have faded with time. Also note that the files are not complete; it is apparent that some topics formerly present are lacking. There are many empty envelopes in the collection. Empty envelopes are listed in this finding aid, and the fact that they are empty is recorded in the “scope and content” note of relevant records.