Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Finding Aid to the Art Agnos Papers, 1977-2002 (bulk 1984-1991)
SFH 46  
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (223.91 Kb) HTML [55 hits]
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Provenance
  • Related Material
  • Material Transferred
  • Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements
  • Processing Information
  • Biography of Art Agnos
  • Biography of Larry Bush
  • Scope and Contents
  • Arrangement

  • Title: Art Agnos next hit papers
    Date (inclusive): 1977-2002
    Date (bulk): 1984-1991
    Collection Identifier: SFH 46
    Creator: previous hit Agnos, Art next hit , 1938-
    Creator: Bush, Larry, 1946-
    Physical Description: 76 boxes (73.8 cubic feet)
    Contributing Institution: San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library
    100 Larkin Street
    San Francisco, CA 94102
    (415) 557-4567
    Abstract: This collection documents the political career of previous hit Art Agnos next hit , who represented the 16th district in the California Assembly from 1976 to 1988 and was mayor of San Francisco from 1988-1992.
    Physical Location: The collection is stored off-site.
    Language of Materials: Collection materials are mainly in English. Some press clippings are in Greek.


    The collection is open for research. A minimum of two working days' notice is required for use. Photographs can be viewed during the Photograph Desk hours. Call the San Francisco History Center for hours and information at 415-557-4567

    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], previous hit Art Agnos next hit Papers (SFH 46), San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library.


    Transferred from City Hall following Agnos' mayoral term. Additional accessions were received from City Hall in 2004, and from previous hit Art Agnos next hit and Larry Bush in 2006.

    Related Material

    The History Center has two related collections, the Jerry Davis Papers (SFH 52) and the Larry Bush Papers. As a staff member of the Human Rights Commission under Agnos, Jerry Davis authored the Family Policy Task Force final report which led to successful domestic partners health benefits legislation. Larry Bush was a legislative aide to Agnos, both on the assemblyman's and mayor's staffs, and continued to work with Agnos after both left City Hall. Researchers are encouraged to see also the History Center's Historical Photograph collection as well as biographical, subject, and card files. Users should also search the library catalog for related material including the thesis, The Politics of Homelessness, Daniel Tafner McGarry, 2008.

    Material Transferred

    Photographs have been transferred to the San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection.
    Items transferred to the History Center's subject files:
    Annual reports of: Public Library, 1988-1989; Recreation & Park Department, 1988-1989; Asian Art Museum, 1989; Commission on Aging, 1990-1991; District Attorney's Office, 1988-1989; and Housing Authority, 1987.
    5 cubic feet of records (1980-1992) were transferred to the Jerry Davis papers (SFH 52).
    8.25 cubic feet of records of Mayor Dianne Feinstein (1980-1987) will be transferred to the Department of Special Collections, Stanford University.

    Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

    A VHS videocassette and five audiocassettes are included in the collection.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Tami J. Suzuki with preliminary container listing prepared by Daniel T. McGarry (intern, 2006.)

    Biography of previous hit Art Agnos next hit

    previous hit Art Agnos next hit , 1938- , is a former politician and government administrator.
    Agnos was born Arthur Christ Agnos on Sept. 1, 1938 in Springfield, Massachusetts. Described as gregarious by some, abrasive by others, he is best known for his political work as California assemblyman, 1976-1988, and as San Francisco mayor, 1988-1992.
    He earned a Master of Social Work degree and worked in the south during the segregation era before moving to San Francisco in 1966 to work for the public housing agency. He was an aide to California State Assemblyman Leo McCarthy from 1968 to 1976, becoming Chief of Staff in 1974. He survived a shooting in 1973 during a wave of attacks that became known as the Zebra murders. He would look back on this with "an appreciation for life." He was elected to the Assembly in 1976 in a hard-fought battle against Harvey Milk. Endorsed by Willie L. Brown, Phillip and John Burton, and George Moscone, Agnos won the seat by 4,000 votes. During his six terms representing District 16, the assemblyman served as the chair of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee and of the Health and Welfare Subcommittee of the Assembly Ways and Means Committee. Agnos also served as vice chair of the Joint Committee on Refugee Resettlement and Immigration. He authored over 90 bills including work-for-welfare legislation and landmark Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) bills.
    Agnos was elected San Francisco's 39th mayor in 1987 with 70 percent of the vote in the runoff against Supervisor John Molinari. Facing budget problems and homelessness, he immediately set to work to produce a balanced budget. He created the Beyond Shelter plan, the city’s first comprehensive approach to homelessness. A 1989 downtown baseball stadium measure that he supported narrowly lost; he called this his biggest disappointment. He was credited with strong leadership in handling the recovery from the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake. Against significant opposition, he led efforts to demolish the quake-damaged Embarcadero Freeway. Leaving office, he said his proudest moment was the way San Franciscans responded following the earthquake.
    He became the city's first mayor to ride in the Gay Freedom Day parade, in 1988. Agnos signed domestic partner legislation in June 1989 which was narrowly repealed by voters that fall. The same year, he established the Family Policy Task Force to study the inclusion of extended family members and partners of gays and lesbians as dependents on the city health plan. As a result, the city adopted domestic partner benefits in 1991. He was defeated in his re-election bid by former Police Chief Frank Jordan, 52 to 48 percent.
    After leaving City Hall, Agnos worked as Regional Director of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. In 2007, he was appointed receiver of the San Francisco Housing Authority. In a [1993?] television interview, he said:
    "I liked being mayor best of all because you have unparalleled power to pick up the phone on any issue you wanted to get into, and I love to get into issues, and I love to gather people around me who had what I call 'Peace Corps hearts and linebacker eyes,' who wanted to get into issues and fight 'em. It was an extraordinary kind of time." (Interview with Evan White, Bay TV Live, [1993?]).

    Biography of Larry Bush

    Larry Bush, 1946- , is a journalist and former political aide and government administrator.
    Bush was the Washington D.C. correspondent for The Advocate. He published several articles in both gay and straight publications, conducted interviews, gave speeches, and published the Bush Report, which was concerned with gay political and cultural issues. He was also the Washington liaison for the National Gay Task Force.
    Bush served as a legislative aide to and speech writer for previous hit Art Agnos next hit , both on the assemblyman's and mayor's staffs. He continued to work with Agnos at HUD and edited CitiReport, a San Francisco political newsletter.

    Scope and Contents

    This collection documents the political career of previous hit Art Agnos next hit , who served in the California State Assembly from 1976 to 1987, and as Mayor of San Francisco from 1988 to 1992.
    Materials include bill files, subject files, administrative files, strategy and policy memoranda, constituent correspondence, notes, speeches, newsletters, reports, newspaper clippings, press releases, reference material and some photographs. The collection includes papers of his aide and speechwriter, Larry Bush. Subjects include welfare reform, gays and gay rights, AIDS, domestic partners, homelessness, Soviet Jewry, 1989 earthquake, Embarcadero Freeway, homeporting of the USS Missouri, integration of the Fire Department, Mission Bay and Yerba Buena Gardens development, downtown baseball stadium, Loma Prieta earthquake, and Agnos' 1987 mayoral and 1991 re-election campaigns. A small number of photographs depict an inauguration day gathering, the mayor riding in the city’s Gay Rights Parade, Mother Theresa visiting City Hall, and Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev's visit. Also included is a post-mayoral television interview in which Agnos reflects upon his political work.


    The collection is arranged in two record groups, Assembly and Mayoral. Record Group 1: Assembly is divided into four series: Series 1: Legislation and Research; Series 2: Larry Bush Legislation and Research; Series 3: Speeches; and Series 4: Campaigns. Record Group 2: Mayoral is divided into eight series: Series 5: Legislation and Research; Series 6: Larry Bush Legislation and Research; Series 7: Budget; Series 8: Speeches; Series 9: Campaigns; Series 10: Correspondence; Series 11: Press Releases; and Series 12: Press Clippings.
    Four boxes of Larry Bush records marked "Book1," "Book 2," "Book 3," and "Book 4" were incorporated into the Larry Bush Legislation and Research series, mainly into the Mayoral record group. Numerous loose papers were included in appropriate folders and series.
    All types of documents and subjects can be found in most other series. For example, Speeches can contain correspondence, memoranda, press clippings, and press releases.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    previous hit Agnos, Art next hit , 1938-
    Bush, Larry, 1946-
    AIDS (Disease) -- Law and legislation -- California.
    AIDS (Disease) -- Law and legislation -- California -- San Francisco.
    City planning--California--San Francisco.
    Family policy -- California -- San Francisco.
    Gay rights -- California -- San Francisco.
    Homelessness -- Government policy -- California -- San Francisco.
    Mayors -- California -- San Francisco.
    California -- Legislature -- Assembly.
    San Francisco (Calif.) -- Politics and government -- 20th century.
    Urban policy -- California -- San Francisco.