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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Provenance
  • Restrictions on Access
  • Restrictions on Use and Reproduction
  • Preferred Citation
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content Note
  • Funding
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Enrico Bongio Papers
    Date (inclusive): 1952-1993
    Date (bulk): (bulk 1983)
    Collection number: MS0124
    Creator: Bongio, Enrico, 1922-
    Extent: 2 Hollinger boxes

    Repository: Special Collections, Robert E. Kennedy Library
    California Polytechnic State University
    San Luis Obispo, California 93407-0605
    On deposit from:
    The Environmental Archives of San Luis Obispo County
    PO Box 8106
    San Luis Obispo, CA 93403-8106
    Abstract: This collection contains papers and photographs relating to the environmental activism of San Luis Obispo resident Enrico Bongio. The collection contains correspondence with state and federal agencies, and local environmentalists, minutes and agendas of local non-profit environmental groups; articles and newspaper clippings; photographs and slides of the Eastern portion of San Luis Obispo county Kern County adjacent.


    In 1995, Enrico Bongio donated his papers to the Environmental Archives of San Luis Obispo County, which was founded at Cuesta College in the summer of 1992. The collection is housed in and administered by Special Collections at Cal Poly under the terms of a depository agreement.

    Restrictions on Access

    Collection is open to researchers by appointment. For more information on visiting, access policies, and reproduction requests, please visit our Reference Services page online at http://lib.calpoly.edu/search-and-find/collections-and-archives/reference-services/.

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    The materials from this collection are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright law. Photocopying of material is permitted at staff discretion and provided on a fee basis. Photocopies are not to be used for any purpose other than for private study, scholarship, or research. Special Collections staff reserves the right to limit photocopying and deny access or reproduction in cases when, in the opinion of staff, the original materials would be harmed.
    For use other than private study, scholarship, or research, including permission to reproduce, publish, broadcast, exhibit, and/or quote from this collection, researchers must submit a written request and obtain permission from Special Collections as the owner of the physical collection. Researchers should also consult with an appropriate staff member regarding specific literary or other intellectual property rights pertaining to this collection. The researcher assumes full responsibility for any use of the materials. Permission to reproduce, publish, broadcast, or exhibit is granted by separate licensing agreement on a fee basis.

    Preferred Citation

    Enrico Bongio Papers, San Luis Obispo County Environmental Archives, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Calif.

    Biographical Note

    Enrico Bongio was born to Vincenzo and Maria Bongio on March 23, 1922, in Shively, Humboldt County, California. He attended Fortuna Union High School and graduated in the class of 1939. By this time, fishing and hunting and conservation of our natural resources had become an important part of his way of life.
    Majoring in Industrial Arts Instruction, Bongio enrolled at Humboldt State College in Arcata, California. World War II interrupted his college career when he was drafted for the U.S. Army and inducted on January 5, 1943. He was trained as a radio operator and was a member of the 321st Signal Company Wing, providing communications for three fighter plane groups, starting with the invasion of Normandy and ending the war located in Konegstein, Germany. He was discharged as a sergeant on October 23, 1945.
    Following the war, he returned to Humboldt State College for one semester before transferring to Chico State College where he graduated in December of 1947. His first teaching assignment was in the Industrial Arts Department of Sonoma Union High School, Sonoma, California.
    While at Sonoma, he was recruited by Elgin Knott, head of Industrial Division at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Bongio started teaching Welding Technology courses at Cal Poly in September 1948, while maintaining ties to the welding industry through a variety of jobs.
    Bongio's environmental activism began when he joined the San Luis Obispo Sportsmen's Association in 1951. Shortly after joining he Sportsmen's Association, he started attending meetings relating to Fish and Game conservation and it was there that he met Ian and Eben McMillan of Shandon, California. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Bongio served on the Sportsmen's Council of Central California, comprised of clubs in thirteen California counties.
    During this time, he also became involved with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and what he perceived as the mismanagement of the vast Temblor –Carrizo Plain–Caliente Area in the eastern part of San Luis Obispo County.
    Bongio was especially concerned about the condition of the range and the resulting effects on the quail and chukar partridge populations. After the Bureau of Land Management allowed a major sheep rancher to graze thousands of head of cattle and sheep grazing the area through expand stock –watering troughs, range conditions rapidly deteriorated. Bongio and Ian McMillan battled the Bureau of Land Management's Bakersfield office, using newspaper advocacy and the sportsmen's associations to lobby the local congressman and the Bureau of Land Management in Washington. Bongio and his colleagues were successful: the San Luis Obispo County Supervisors provided funding for fenced test plots in two areas in the Temblor Range.
    Because of his interest and activism, Bongio was asked to serve on an advisory committee of the Bakersfield Bureau of Land Management, although he was disappointed to see how slowly the Bureau of Land Management and the California Fish and Game Department moved to improve the condition of this range. Bongio recalled, "Eventually, improvements were made and the range conditions of today are at last a little better than in those days of total disregard and destruction."
    Throughout his years of activism, Bongio used a 35mm Argus Camera to produce the colored slides in this collection.
    Bongio retired from the Industrial Engineering Department of Cal Poly in the spring of 1992.
    Enrico Bongio, 2005

    Scope and Content Note

    This collection contains papers and photographs relating to the environmental activism of San Luis Obispo resident Enrico Bongio. The collection contains correspondence with state and federal agencies and local environmentalists, minutes and agendas of local non-profit environmental groups; articles and newspaper clippings; photographs and slides of the San Luis Obispo area.,
    The original order of the collection, which was roughly chronological, has been preserved according to the binders in which the collection was donated. The collection is organized into three series:
    1. Activism — Grazing on Public Lands, 1959-1994
    2. Access to Caliente Mountain, Carrizo Plain National Monument, 1985-87
    3. Litigation — Rudnick v. McMillan, 1993
    Geographical locations noted in this guide are assumed to be in California unless noted otherwise


    A generous gift from Harold Miossi funded the arrangement and description of this collection.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    Bongio, Enrico, 1922-
    Carrizo Plain National Monument
    Cholame Township Sportsmen's Association
    Land use--Environmental aspects--California--San Luis Obispo County--History
    McMillan, Ian I., 1905--1991--Correspondence
    Natural history--California--San Luis Obispo County
    San Luis Obispo County (Calif.)--History
    San Luis Obispo County (Calif.)--Biography
    San Luis Obispo Sportsmen's Association
    Sportsmens Council of Central California

    Genre Forms of Materials

    Research notes
    35mm slides
    Newspaper clippings

    Related Material

    Related Collections
    Special Collections, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo:
    Kathleen Goddard Jones Papers, 1933-2001 (MS 119)
    Harold Miossi Papers, 1942-1990 (MS 112)
    Ian McMillan Papers, 1925-1990 (MS 111)
    Lee Wilson Papers, 1956-1989 (MS 113)
    The Environmental Archives of San Luis Obispo County was founded in the summer of 1992 when environmental activist Harold Miossi invited leaders in local environmental causes to gather and discuss how best to preserve "the letters, writings, photos, publications, and thinking of ... prominent [local] conservationists for present students and for posterity." Miossi further proposed that the archives be established at Cuesta College, as "a fitting repository since the College District embraces all of San Luis Obispo County." Cuesta College president Grace Mitchell approved the project, stating, "Cuesta College is proud to make this contribution to our county's future." The Cuesta College Foundation agreed to sponsor the project, and Miossi contributed the first major gift to the Cuesta College Foundation for the new archives.
    The principal mission of the Environmental Archives of San Luis Obispo County is as follows: "To collect, preserve and make available for research the writings, documents, and photographs dealing with the history and development of the environmental movement in San Luis Obispo County." The archives include the papers of five local activists: Harold Miossi, Ian McMillan, Lee Wilson, Enrico Bongio, and Kathleen Goddard Jones.