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Guide to the The San Francisco News-Call Bulletin newspaper photograph archive and newsclipping files, ca. 1915-September, 1965
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information
  • Historical Note
  • Scope and Content
  • Arrangement

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: The San Francisco News-Call Bulletin newspaper photograph archive and newsclipping files,
    Date (inclusive): ca. 1915-September, 1965
    Creator: News-Call Bulletin
    Extent: ca. 365,000 negatives, ca. 1.2 million photographic prints, and ca. 4.5 million newsclippings.
    Repositories: The Bancroft Library
    Berkeley, California 94720-6000
    San Francisco History Center
    San Francisco Public Library
    San Francisco, California 94102
    J. Porter Shaw Library
    San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park
    San Francisco, California 94102
    National Maritime Museum Association
    USS Pampanito
    San Francisco, California 94147-0310
    US Navy Museum at Treasure Island
    Abstract: The San Francisco News-Call Bulletin newspaper photograph archive consists of the twentieth century photographic files of The News-Call Bulletin (1959-1965) and its predecessors publications; The Call (ca. 1915-1929) and The Call Bulletin (1929-1959). The bulk of the collection as it exists today is divided between The Bancroft Library of the University of California at Berkeley, and the History Room of the San Francisco Public Library. Additional dispersals of photographic prints and newsclippings relating to shipping and the US Navy have also been made, resulting in related holdings at the San Francisco Maritime Museum, the San Francisco Maritime Museum Association, and the Treasure Island Museum of the US Navy. Virtually all photographic negative files and a relatively small series of photographic prints are held by The Bancroft Library, and the majority of photographic print files are held by the San Francisco Public Library. The newsclipping files maintained by the newspaper are also held by the San Francisco Public library. Maritime-related clippings files were given to the J. Porter Shaw Library of the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park.
    Languages Represented: English

    Information for Researchers


    Access procedures and restrictions vary by repository. In most cases advance notice or an appointment are required for use. For more information, see each repository's finding aid, or contact the institution directly.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not necessarily been assigned to the holding repository. All requests for permission to publish pictorial materials must be submitted in writing to the institution that holds the desired image. Any permission for publication granted is given on behalf of the holding institution as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the user.

    Administrative Information

    Acquisition Information

    The San Francisco News-Call Bulletin photograph archive and clipping files were initially given jointly to The Bancroft Library of the University of California at Berkeley and to the San Francisco Public Library.
    A gift of approximately 50,000 negatives was made by The News-Call Bulletin to The Bancroft Library in 1959-1960. These negatives, dating from about 1915-1939 were given at the time that The News and The Call Bulletin merged to form The News-Call Bulletin. ( See Historical Note.)
    With the merging of The News-Call Bulletin with The San Francisco Examiner in September of 1965, the Hearst Corporation made a gift of all subsequent files of The News-Call Bulletin. Negative files of The Call Bulletin and News-Call Bulletin (from 1939-1965) were donated to The Bancroft Library in 1966, and photographic print files and newsclipping files of both The San Francisco News and The News-Call Bulletin were donated to the San Francisco Public Library in installments between 1966 and 1969.
    The San Francisco Public Library gave the maritime portions of the photographic print and newsclipping files, as well as 251 related negatives, to the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park in February 1982. Subsequently, some of these maritime files were further dispersed as gifts of Navy-related images to the US Navy Museum at Treasure Island and of submarine images to the National Maritime Museum Association, which maintains the historic submarine USS Pampanito in San Francisco. All of these maritime files are composed chiefly of news agency, wire service, and US Navy photographs, with very few original images by newspaper staff present.
    The disposition of negatives from The Bulletin prior to its 1929 merger with The Call is not known. Also, the negative files of The News prior to its merger with The Call Bulletin in 1959 have not been located. Neither of these series of negatives is held by repositories identified in this finding aid.


    The present finding aid has been created by staff of The Bancroft Library with a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). It seeks to summarize and outline the entirety of the dispersed San Francisco News-Call Bulletin photograph archive and clippings files collection, and to provide more detailed description of the photographic negative holdings of The Bancroft Library. Therefore, the vast majority of descriptive text completed by May 1999 describes the Bancroft Library collection. It is anticipated that future projects will describe and make available the other portions of the original archive, and that those descriptions will be incorporated into the present finding aid.

    Historical Note

    The San Francisco News-Call Bulletin was the final incarnation of several newspapers with a long history in the city of San Francisco. Formed in August 1959 by the merging of The San Francisco News and The Call Bulletin, the paper was also the descendant of The Call, The Bulletin, The San Francisco Journal and The San Francisco Post. Under these various titles, the newspaper's history dates back to the earliest years of the city of San Francisco. The photographic and newsclipping files that make up the present archive, however, date to the second decade of the twentieth century (ca. 1915), therefore this later period is most important for an understanding of the collection.
    The Bulletin originated as The Daily Evening Bulletin, and was first published in 1855. Its founding publisher was James King of William, and under his leadership and that of his successors, it gained a reputation as a reform newspaper. Fremont Older was appointed editor in 1895 and served until 1918. In 1895, the name was changed to The Bulletin. In 1924, after a merger with San Francisco Journal and Daily Journal of Commerce, the paper ran under the title: The San Francisco Bulletin and San Francisco Journal and Daily Journal of Commerce. The title was shortened once again to The Bulletin in 1926.
    The Call was first published in 1856 as The Daily Morning Call. Its early decades were distinguished by its reform politics and by the fact that in 1863 and 1864 Mark Twain was one of its writers. For a period in the 1870s it was allied with (although not merged with) The Bulletin, in competition with The Chronicle. In 1878 the paper's name was changed to The Morning Call. Its progressive era ended in 1895 when it was purchased by John D. Spreckels. At this time its name was shortened once again and it became The Call. Ownership of the paper passed through the hands of M.H. De Young in 1913, who sold it to William Randolph Hearst in the same year. A merger with The San Francisco Evening Post in 1913 resulted in yet another change in title, creating The San Francisco Call and Post. Fremont Older, formerly of The Bulletin, was later appointed editor and restored the paper's prominence in reform politics. Older served in this position until his death in 1935.
    The San Francisco Call and Post and The Bulletin were merged in 1929 when W.R. Hearst purchased The Bulletin. From August 29, 1929 through Oct. 9, 1929, the combined paper ran under the title The San Francisco Call Bulletin and Post. This was shortened to The San Francisco Call Bulletin with the issue of Oct. 10, 1929. The newspaper continued under the ownership of Hearst and the management of John Francis Neylan and his successor Edmond D. Coblentz until 1959, at which time the San Francisco News was absorbed through a Hearst purchase, and The San Francisco News-Call Bulletin was formed. The San Francisco News had been founded as The Daily News by E.W. Scripps in 1903. It was a progressive paper, largely espousing labor issues, and its name was changed to The San Francisco News in 1927. An apparently unrelated paper titled The Daily News was published in San Francisco in 1878.)
    The San Francisco News-Call Bulletin (titled simply The News-Call Bulletin after April 7, 1962) was published by Apex Publishing Company from August 10, 1959 until September 11, 1965. At this time it was absorbed into the Hearst morning newspaper, The San Francisco Examiner and ceased to be published.
    • Hart, James D. A companion to California. New York: Oxford University Press, 1978: pp. 375-377.
    • "Two Brilliant Newspaper Traditions United," In The San Francisco News-Call Bulletin (September 11, 1965): p. 5.

    Scope and Content

    The San Francisco News-Call Bulletin photograph archive and clippings files represent the working files created and used by the staff of The Call, The Call Bulletin, The News, and The News-Call Bulletin newspapers between about 1915 and September 1965. (For an explanation of the relationship between these papers, see the Historical Note section of this finding aid.) All of the files cover news events of local, state, national, and international importance. While the emphasis is on local events of San Francisco and the San Francisco Bay Area, images and subjects from around the world are present, particularly in the form of photographic prints from news agencies and wire services. For ease of description, scope and content summaries have been divided by physical format, below. It must be remembered that materials of any one format below may now reside at more than one repository. (For details follow links under Collection Description to individual institutional finding aids.)

    Photographic negatives

    The negative files consist of original negatives taken by staff photographers of The Call, The Call Bulletin, and The News-Call Bulletin. Although few of the early images are dated, they are believed to cover about 1915-September, 1965. Negatives include all images taken on an assignment, and are not limited to those images actually published in the newspaper. Physical formats present include chiefly 4x5 inch glass plates, 4x5 inch film negatives, 120 film, and 35mm film. All negatives (with perhaps a few insignificant exceptions) are black and white.
    Included are subjects of national and international importance, such as mobilization for World War II, the founding of the United Nations, hearings of the House Committee on Un-American Activities, and the civil rights movement. The files, however, are also exceptionally rich in depictions of more mundane events of the daily news such as parades, social and cultural events, politics, beauty pageants, crime, housing, education, organized labor, transportation, and the developing urban and suburban landscape, among many others.

    Photographic prints

    The photographic print files are primarily composed of images from news agencies and wire services depicting national and international events and people. These are interfiled with photographic prints made by local staff photographers and with studio portraits and promotional photographs supplied to the newspaper by families or agencies. It should be noted that the original Call Bulletin staff photographs present appear to be the images actually used for publication, as evident from pre-publication marking, cropping, and retouching. The dates represented appear roughly parallel to the negative files (ca. 1915-1965), but some earlier submitted portraits are included. The predominant format is 8x10 inch, but images of many sizes are present.
    Subject coverage is similar to that of the negatives files, except that the prints are not limited to the San Francisco Bay Area. Portraits and views of individuals at events predominate.


    The clippings files consist of approximately 1,228 cubic feet of newsclippings stored in 273 filing cabinets. These files are estimated to contain 4.5 million clippings, filed alphabetically by personal names, subjects and geographic locations. They originated as two separate clippings "morgues", one from The San Francisco News (covering ca. 1927-August 10, 1959) and the other from The Call Bulletin and The News-Call Bulletin (covering ca. 1930-September 1965.) Both papers covered local, statewide, regional, national and international events and personalities, with a strong emphasis on local coverage.


    Arrangement of each portion of the collection varies according to repository and material type. Some materials have been maintained in their original order, as received from the newspaper, and others have been reorganized by the holding institution in order to facilitate access. The bulk of the archive, held by The Bancroft Library and The San Francisco History Center of the San Francisco Public Library, remains in its original order. However, negative files are arranged by code numbers or chronologically, and photographic print files are arranged by subject, therefore the arrangement does not enable a simple correlation to be drawn between prints and negatives. Furthermore, original photographic prints taken by staff photographers have been interfiled with photographic prints from wire services and images received by the newspaper from other sources. This further obscures the relationship between the negative and print files. For details, see the finding aids for each repository.