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Finding Aid to Photographs Regarding the 1916 Preparedness Day Parade Bombing, 1916-1933
BANC PIC 1905.02825-.02856--PIC  
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Collection Details
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  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information
  • Scope and Content
  • Background Note

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: Photographs Regarding the 1916 Preparedness Day Parade Bombing
    Date (inclusive): 1916-1933
    Collection Number: BANC PIC 1905.02825-.02856--PIC
    Extent: 31 photographic prints, various sizes. 32 digital objects
    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/
    Abstract: Photographs document the the scene of the 1916 Preparedness Day parade bombing and events which followed. Other photos relate to the 1933 Mooney case including courtroom scenes, photos of Mooney, various legal figures, etc.
    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 available for use.

    Publication Rights

    Materials in this collection may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). In addition, the reproduction of some materials may be restricted by terms of University of California gift or purchase agreements, donor restrictions, privacy and publicity rights, licensing and trademarks. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.
    All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from, or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley 94720-6000. See: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/reference/permissions.html .

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Photographs regarding the 1916 Preparedness Day parade bombing, 1916-1933, BANC PIC 1905.02825-.02856--PIC, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley

    Digital Representations Available

    Digital representations of selected original pictorial materials are available in the list of materials below. Digital image files were prepared from selected Library originals by the Library Photographic Service. Library originals were copied onto 35mm color transparency film; the film was scanned and transferred to Kodak Photo CD (by Custom Process); and the Photo CD files were color-corrected and saved in JFIF (JPEG) format for use as viewing files.

    Related Collections

    Title: Carl Hoffman Papers
    Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS C-B 377
    Title: Thomas J. Mooney Papers
    Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS C-B 410
    Title: Photographs from the Thomas J. Mooney Papers
    Identifier/Call Number: BANC PIC 1945.003-PIC
    Title: Tom Mooney's Pamphlets
    Identifier/Call Number: xF869.S3.9.M87 T63

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog
    Hoffman, Carl, 1882-1946. Carl Hoffman papers
    Koster, Frederick J
    Mooney, Thomas J., 1882-1942--Pictorial works
    Mooney, Thomas J., 1882-1942--Trials, litigation, etc.--Pictorial works
    Bombings--California--San Francisco--Photographs
    Trials (Terrorism)--California--Pictorial works

    Administrative Information

    Acquisition Information

    The Photographs Regarding the 1916 Preparedness Day Parade Bombing were transferred from the Carl Hoffman Papers (BANC MSS C-B 377), which were purchased in 1947.

    Scope and Content

    The Photographs Regarding the 1916 Preparedness Day Parade Bombing collection contains 31 photographs taken between 1916 and 1933 which document the scene of the San Francisco bombing and many of the individuals and activities associated with the bombing, trials, and subsequent investigations and attempts at retrial and pardon. Pictured in the collection are Tom Mooney; Warren K. Billings; Frank C. Oxman, a star witness who submitted perjured testimony against Mooney; Justice John Preston; District Attorney Matthew Brady; Mooney's attorney Bourke Cochran; investigating attorneys Frank P. Walsh and John F. Finerty; Labor leader Ed Nockels; Frederick J. Koster, president of The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce and their anti-labor Law and Order Committee; reporters H.R. Hill, Arthur Brisbane and James T. Williams; San Francisco Police Chief Gus White; San Francisco Police Captain Charles Goff; and family members of both Mooney and Billings. Many of the photographs were taken on the occasion of Mooney's return to San Francisco Jail from San Quentin Prison in 1933 to stand trial on an undismissed indictment related to the 1916 bombing.
    The collection also includes a clipping from a 1930 San Francisco Post Examiner issue picturing the pardon hearing for Warren K. Billings.
    The collection consists almost entirely of press photographs, many of them taken by International News Photos, Inc. The only identified photographers are C.V. Estey and Howard Robbins.

    Background Note

    During a 1916 Preparedness Day parade in San Francisco, a bomb exploded which killed 10 people and injured 40 others. Following the subsequent investigation, 5 persons--Tom Mooney, Warren Billings, Rena Mooney (Tom's wife), Israel Weinberg and Edward D. Nolan--were indicted for murder. Tom Mooney, the first to stand trial, was convicted and sentenced to death. Billings was then convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. Rena Mooney and Israel Weinberg were acquitted, while Nolan was never brought to trial. Though all incriminating evidence against the defendants was eventually found to have been falsified, the State Supreme Court declared itself powerless to grant a retrial and referred the decision to California Governor William Dennison Stephens. After mounting national and international protest against the convictions, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson appointed a Mediation Commission to investigate the case. After the Commission discredited the verdicts, Stephens commuted Mooney's death sentence to life imprisonment. Repeated appeals over the years for executive clemency or to reopen the matter before the Supreme Court all failed until, in 1939, Governor Culbert L. Olson pardoned Mooney and reduced Billings sentence. Billings was finally pardoned in 1961.
    As the Preparedness movement and its many nationwide demonstrations--such as the San Francisco Preparedness Day Parade--sought to bolster support for the United States' entry into World War I, responsibility for such a bombing was quickly attributed to the more extreme factions of the labor movement, whose pacifist, anarchistic, or otherwise anti-patriotic sympathies made them obvious suspects. Prior to their arrests for the bombing, Mooney and Billings were militant trade unionists. Their leadership involvement in recent strikes and other labor agitation had earned the enmity of the local public utilities officials and the politicians whose interests sided with these corporations. Mooney and Billings--along with the other defendants, who also had ties with the labor movement--were thus immediately singled out as the culprits. The investigation of the bombing was directed by District Attorney Charles M. Fickert--a staunch opponent of the labor movement and close ally of the powerful United Railroads after his dismissal of graft indictments against its officials--and private detective Martin Swanson--who had many times earlier, on behalf of many of the local public utilities corporations, failed to convict Mooney and Billings for other militant labor activities which threatened these corporations. Overwhelming evidence, some of it surfacing immediately after Mooney's trial and conviction, eventually proved that all incriminating evidence used to establish the original indictments was fabricated and that all key testimony used against the defendants was perjured. In time, nearly all parties involved in the original trials --including the presiding justice, the chief of police, a key prosecuting attorney and the trial jurors--demanded the pardoning of Mooney and Billings. Among the many reasons the Preparedness Day bombing affair has come to be considered one of the great travesties and embarrassments of American jurisprudence is that--despite consideration of all evidence--the judicial, legislative and executive branches of California repeatedly failed to adequately redress the injustices suffered by the defendants.