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Catalogue II of the Regional Oral History Office, 1980-1997
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  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information
  • Foreword
  • Introduction
  • Regional Oral History Office Series

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: Catalogue II of the Regional Oral History Office,
    Date (inclusive): 1980-1997
    Creator: Bancroft Library. Regional Oral History Office
    Repository: The Bancroft Library
    Berkeley, California 94720-6000
    Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
    Languages Represented: English

    Information for Researchers


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library 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 reader.

    Administrative Information


    This catalogue was made possible through the generosity of the San Francisco Foundation.


    Foreword - Charles B. Faulhaber

    James D. Hart's Foreword to Catalogue I of the Regional Oral History Office (ROHO) recounts the Office's inspiration in the "Dictations" commissioned by Hubert Howe Bancroft in the 1870s as he gathered material for his monumental histories of the North American West. These dictations, essentially transcriptions of conversations with early California settlers, remain in daily use in The Bancroft Library as primary sources for the history of nineteenth century California. They are complemented by over a thousand volumes of oral histories that ROHO has recorded and transcribed since its founding in 1954.
    The 1980 Catalogue of the Regional Oral History Office (Catalogue I) lists 388 volumes of interviews completed during ROHO's first twenty-five years. Now, almost twenty years later, Catalogue II enumerates an even more outstanding record of accomplishment: 625 volumes of interviews reflecting important areas of historical scholarship. As was true in Catalogue I, many of the volumes echo with multiple voices, in all over 1360 interviewees. And where Catalogue I taps the memories of Californians whose stories stretched back to pioneer forebears, the 1906 earthquake, World War I, women's suffrage and the early labor movement, Catalogue II brings the story dramatically up to date in a world where the Vietnam War, the free speech movement, women in politics, AIDS, and environmentalism are signal issues.
    Here in Catalogue II are the generation of winegrowers who re-created the industry after Prohibition, the lawyers and judges who have made the California Supreme Court arguably the most influential state tribunal in the country, the artists and musicians who have enriched our lives, the philanthropists who have given of their time and money to make the Bay Area a better place to live, the business people who have created one of the most dynamic regional economies in the United States.
    Many of the oral histories catalogued here are the accounts of well-known figures such as Ansel Adams, Kurt Herbert Adler, Allen E. Broussard, Edmund G. "Pat" Brown, John Burton, Louise Davies, March Fong Eu, Richard N. Goldman, David P. Gardner, Richard Gump, Walter A. Haas, Jr., S. I. Hayakawa, William Mailliard, Robert Mondavi, Pete Newell, Nicholas Petris, Ronald Reagan, Wallace Stegner, Mel Swig, Charles Townes, Earl Warren, Chuck Williams, Lionel Wilson. Other names round out the larger California story, people whose lives played out in more modest circumstances, like fisherman Dominic Ghio, whaler Pratt Peterson, and shipyard worker Vera Jones Bailey, all of Richmond in Contra Costa County, Monterey County rancher Margaret Rosenberg, Hayward floriculturist Toichi Domoto, Los Gatos nurseryman Edward S. Carman. All, however, have been interviewed because, in the words of ROHO's guiding principle, "they have made significant contributions to the development of northern California, the West, and the nation."
    Several of the oral history volumes capture the account of an entire community, such as in the series of interviews surrounding the McLaughlin Mine in Lake County, in which mining executives, business people, ranchers, politicians, teachers, environmental activists and the miners themselves offer a polyphony of voices and a multiplicity of perspectives. In the oral history of Patterson Ranch in Fremont, and that of the University of California's Blake House, many lives, family and community, constitute a complex set of narratives.
    It is a truism to state that ROHO's histories reflect California's history, and it is therefore no accident that in the work of the last twenty years the focus should have turned to the political and social issues that have loomed large in the recent history of the state: a series on the Disabled Persons Independence Movement, which got its start in Berkeley, for instance. In collaboration with The Bancroft Library's History of Science and Technology Program, a series is underway on the biotechnology industry. University history, long a ROHO concern, has taken a new turn with the series on the history of the Department of History--metahistory, as it were. And where "Agriculture, Water Resources and Land Use" and "Conservation" are discrete subjects in Catalogue I, they come together under the grouping Natural Resources and the Environment in Catalogue II. The leading organizations and persons involved in environmental issues are being interviewed in an on-going documentation of that movement.
    One of the major differences between the 1979 publication and 1998's is the existence of the World Wide Web. Catalogue I was originally available only in print form. Now both Catalogue I and Catalogue II are available on the web to researchers and students all over the world. This has been possible thanks to The Bancroft Library's technical staff, who have encoded both catalogues in accordance with the standards of the Encoded Archival Description, developed at Berkeley and now accepted as a national standard for archival finding aids by the Library of Congress.
    Digital technology like the Encoded Archival Description is transforming the way research is done. The Regional Oral History Office has incorporated new technology as it has become technically and economically feasible to do so, beginning with the use of word processing programs to transcribe, edit, and index the interviews. One recent oral history has been experimentally incorporated into CD-ROM format and is offered as a demonstration case. Perhaps most dramatically, work is going ahead to make machine-readable transcripts of selected interviews available on the web, and that prospect is perhaps the one that most differentiates the original manuscripts of the Regional Oral History Office of a half-century ago from the ROHO of today.
    * * *
    A great number of people have made the oral histories listed in this catalogue possible, and I wish to express my gratitude to all of them: First of course, there are the interviewees themselves, who have shared their lives with us. Next, those individuals and organizations that have made it possible for ROHO to carry out this work by providing funding for individual oral histories, for series, or for ROHO itself. This support has been crucial, since almost all of ROHO's funding comes from external sources. Finally, ROHO's devoted staff, and particularly the interviewers and project directors who have been responsible for bringing to fruition the broad range of projects on topics that reflect the diversity and richness of life in contemporary California.
    This catalogue reflects the hard work, vision, and intelligence of all of ROHO's staff members; but three should be singled out for special praise: Willa Baum, who has been with ROHO since its inception in 1954 and has directed it with singular zeal for forty-four years; editor and interviewer Ann Lage who as associate director of the office handles ROHO's day-to-day operations; and editor and interviewer Suzanne Riess, who has edited Catalogue II. We are also grateful to the San Francisco Foundation, which has provided funding for the catalogue.
    Charles B. Faulhaber

    The James D. Hart Director

    The Bancroft Library
    Berkeley - July 4, 1998

    Foreword - James D. Hart

    The Bancroft Library is the major repository of rare books and special collections on the Berkeley campus of the University of California. Its greatest collection derives from the nucleus created by the man for whom it is named, Hubert Howe Bancroft, born in Ohio in 1832, and a Californian for more than a half century before he died in San Francisco in 1918. Bancroft was a regional historian who assembled vast holdings of books, journals, maps and manuscripts to document the history of the area he had chosen to study: primarily western North America, from the plains states to the Pacific Coast, with major emphasis placed on California, but extending from Panama to Alaska.
    Mr. Bancroft's great undertaking began in his San Francisco bookstore during 1859 when he was but twenty-seven years old and, after being used as source materials for his vast histories in thirty-nine volumes, culminated with the sale and gift of his remarkable collection to the University of California in 1905. Started with a few volumes, his collection came to encompass everything recorded on paper that he could acquire in his field. When he had obtained all such available materials, Bancroft sought out essential documents that could not be brought into his library, such as archives that belonged to the missions or to governmental agencies, Spanish, Mexican and American, and he had these transcribed by a corps of copyists. Having gone to such great lengths to possess even those specialized or privileged materials, Bancroft was not yet satisfied. Recognizing that much important knowledge resided in the memories of aging Californians who were not of a disposition to write it down on paper, Bancroft then undertook his boldest collecting stroke by hiring assistants to interview all kinds of westerners so as to create their autobiographies in a series of manuscripts that he called the "Dictations." These transcriptions of oral interviews ran from a few pages on some specialized topic to a full five-volume autobiographical memoir.
    Users of The Bancroft Library at the University have always recognized these dictations as one of its greatest possessions. So it was that George R. Stewart, himself an historian as well as a novelist of the west and a professor on the Berkeley campus, in the mid-1940s formulated the idea of continuing the project of the interviews begun by the Library's founder. Not long thereafter, quite independently and a continent's length away, Allan Nevins, an historian at Columbia University, in 1974 established a tape-recorded program of local history for his alma mater. Early in 1952 The Bancroft Library actually entered into this area of documentation when I, succeeding Stewart as Chairman of the Academic Senate's Library Committee, picked up his idea and managed to preserve an exotic bit of local history by arranging for a substantial series of interviews in Paris with Alice B. Toklas, a one-time San Franciscan. The purpose was to create what I flippantly called the "Autobiography of Gertrude Stein," but which really was meant to portray the cultural ambience of San Francisco at the end of the nineteenth century and of Oakland during the period of Gertrude Stein's residence there. With that specialized start and an inept attempt I myself made at Carmel to interview James M. Hopper, an author and founder of the town's bohemian colony, The Bancroft Library entered upon its renaissance of Mr. Bancroft's project of oral histories.
    This small undertaking, formally begun and funded in 1954, grew slowly but steadily for a few years and then took a huge step forward when Willa Baum became its head in 1958. With enormous energy, ability and knowledge, she and the staff she attracted to the newly named Regional Oral History Office (ROHO) undertook an extensive program of interviews and transcriptions on diverse aspects of California, past and present.
    This basic ongoing activity has more recently been complemented by oral histories created under the auspices of the Library's History of Science and Technology Program and by a Donated Oral Histories Collection (generally not transcribed), the latter made by other agencies or individuals but saved for scholars at Bancroft.
    An integral and major division of The Bancroft Library, ROHO has as its purpose the creation of oral histories for archival use. Unlike some projects of other institutions that have come into being since its founding, the aim is not to assemble information for a specific research project or for publication by the Library itself. Rather, in the tradition of Hubert Howe Bancroft, these oral histories are created as primary resources for research to be preserved for all users, present and future. For this reason the tapes are carefully transcribed, indexed, illustrated, and made into typed volumes well bound in uniform blue buckram. Scholars may come to The Bancroft Library, or to any of the other institutions that purchase these volumes at cost, and either read the entire work or consult the indexes to read only those particular matters that interest them if they are not concerned with the full scope of the memoirist's interviews.
    The original tapes are also preserved to give a sense of the person's voice and of intonations that might be revelatory. The interviewer's questions and comments are made part of the transcription so that the reader may judge the significance of the way in which the speaker's basic text was brought into being. The intention, however, is not merely to get a speaker's offhand comments at the moment of interview but rather to elicit the memoirist's fullest knowledge. Thus a carefully trained and knowledgeable member of the staff questions the interviewee with skill and later permits the initial typescript to be altered or augmented so as to obtain fuller or more accurate documentation.
    The review of the original interview leads not only to a better work but also frequently to its supplementing by manuscripts, pertinent publications, and related photographs that the memoirist presents to The Bancroft Library. Whether or not such by-products are forthcoming, the oral histories are the desired documents. For over twenty-five years the Regional Oral History Office has significantly enhanced the collections that make The Bancroft Library a great reservoir of research material for scholarship in numerous important areas of knowledge.
    James D. Hart

    Director, The Bancroft Library

    Berkeley - 1979


    Oral History at Berkeley

    Oral history is a modern research method of collecting historical information through tape-recorded interviews to gain knowledge of events, persons, or a way of life that is of historical interest. In the past those who took part in or observed important historical events wrote their accounts in journals, diaries, or letters. In this century the writing of personal accounts has declined and the written exchanges that once preceded important decisions have been replaced by conferences, telephone calls, telefaxes, and electronic mail. The recorded conversations of the oral history interview give scholars access to intangible and often elusive personal and social factors which play a significant role in the determination of events.
    Since oral history's beginning in the University of California's Bancroft Library in 1954, and several years earlier at Columbia University, the discipline has gained in professional stature, and diversified in approach. But while there is now more than one variety of oral history, most define themselves as a method of collecting historical information through tape-recorded interviews with a well-chosen narrator and a well-informed interviewer engaged in a disciplined inquiry and resulting in the preservation of substantive additions to the historical record.
    The Regional Oral History Office, in the forty-four years since its beginning, has created more than a thousand volumes of oral histories totalling close to 200,000 pages. Carefully researched, tape-recorded, transcribed, edited, indexed, and bound, these interviews are a rich and accessible resource. The major subject areas which are listed in the table of contents have evolved and strengthened, as has the profession and the technology.
    This current catalogue, Catalogue II (1998), covers work completed from 1980 to 1998, and follows ROHO's Catalogue I (1980), which covered the years from 1954 to 1979. Entries from Catalogue I are not repeated in this 1998 catalogue, except where an entry was indicated in the earlier catalogue as "In process." It is recommended that users consult the indexes of both catalogues for subjects or series. Users should also consult the Regional Oral History Office's Web site at http://library.berkeley.edu/BANC/ROHO where both Catalogue I and Catalogue II can be found and searched, and where subject area lists and information on ordering oral histories can be found.

    The Interview

    To answer questions that arise about what oral history is, in terms of how it is done, we describe here the procedures that we follow at the Regional Oral History Office.
    • 1) Careful selection of interviewees, ascertaining funding, and securing a preliminary agreement with the interviewee to participate and to release the material,
    • 2) Research on the part of the interviewer prior to preparation of an outline of interview topics in cooperation with the interviewee, and subsequent research prior to each interview,
    • 3) Tape recorded interview sessions, varying in length according to the complexity of the subject,
    • 4) Transcription, verbatim, with some elimination of static words,
    • 5) Editing by the interviewer for clarity and continuity, and inclusion of chapter headings,
    • 6) Review and approval by the interviewee, including response to editorial queries and requests for additional material,
    • 7) Signing of a satisfactory legal agreement,
    • 8) Preparation of an index to name and subject references,
    • 9) Final typing, and binding with photographs and other appended illustrative materials,
    • 10) When appropriate, collection of papers from the interviewee to be deposited in The Bancroft Library with the interview,
    • 11) Deposit in The Bancroft Library of tapes, transcripts, and supporting materials for research use,
    • 12) Announcement of the completion of the oral history, and deposit of the oral history in other research libraries, according to the agreement with the interviewee.


    Transcripts are open for use unless indicated otherwise. Interviewees have the option of closing portions of their interviews or the complete interviews for a specified period of time or otherwise restricting their use. However, most choose to open their interviews for research immediately. Transcripts may be quoted for publication, and application for permission to quote is made through the Regional Oral History Office.
    Copies of the transcripts are available, with the interviewee's permission, to manuscript libraries and individuals at cost. The availability and the cost of a given bound memoir or series of interviews can be established by writing to the Regional Oral History Office at 486 Library, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, or by visiting the Web site listed above.
    Tapes for most of the interviews listed in this catalogue are preserved and available for listening in The Bancroft Library.

    Citation of Oral Histories

    Users are encouraged to employ the following bibliographic citation forms:
      Bibliographic citation for a single interview:
      Broussard, Allen E., A California Supreme Court Justice Looks at Law and Society, 1964-1996, typescript of an oral history conducted 1991-1996 by Gabrielle Morris, Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 1997, 266 pp.
      Footnote citation for the same:
      Allen E. Broussard, A California Supreme Court Justice Looks at Law and Society, 1964-1996, an oral history conducted 1991-1996, Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 1997, pp. 134-136.
      Bibliographic citation for one interview in a multi-volume oral history:
      Silverman, Mervyn F., "Public Health Director, The Bathhouse Crisis: 1983-1984," typescript of an oral history conducted 1993 by Sally Smith Hughes, in The Aids Epidemic in San Francisco: The Medical Response, 1981-1984, Volume I, Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 1995, 276 pp.
      Footnote citation for the same:
      Mervyn F. Silverman, "Public Health Director, The Bathhouse Crisis: 1983-1984," an oral history conducted 1993, in The Aids Epidemic in San Francisco: The Medical Response, 1981-1984, Volume I, Regional Oral History Office, University of California, Berkeley, 1995, p. 117.

    Explanation of the Catalogue Entries

    The Table of Contents is a guide to the entries, which are divided among eight general subjects. Natural subdivisions, as well as specific projects, are listed under the larger subject groupings. The actual entries are organized alphabetically. Each entry contains:
    • 1) A number designation, keying the index to the entry,
    • 2) The interviewee's surname in roman capitals, or a multi-volume title in italic capitals,
    • 3) An interview title, or volume name or number, in italics, with the date of completion and number of pages, in some cases listed as "In process,"
    • 4) Text material describing topics discussed in the interview and noting any appended materials, or supplemental interviews within the volume,
    • 5) Note: In multi-interviewee volumes, the interviewees' names are shown in small capital letters,
    • 6) The name and relevant appellation of persons who have written introductions to the oral history,
    • 7) The year of interviewing, the name of the interviewer, and if appropriate a series name,
    • 8) Source or sources of funding for the oral history,
    • 9) Terms of restriction, if necessary.

    Explanation of the Catalogue Index

    Interviewee names are shown in small capital letters and are followed by a number keyed to a catalogue entry. Names of authors of introductions are italicized and keyed to a catalogue entry. Indexed subject references repeat some of the main subject divisions of the table of contents, additional subjects, and individuals as subjects. The index provides a cross reference to discussion of like subject matter in all interviews; however, it is by no means exhaustive. The user is referred to the indexes found in each oral history volume, to the cumulative master index maintained in the Regional Oral History Office, and to the search capabilities of the Web site, mentioned above.


    In publishing a catalogue to cover the nearly twenty years since our 1980 Catalogue I, we have had to confront issues arising from the evolution of sophisticated library technology that has grown with the profession of oral history. It can be argued that a printed catalogue, a book, is an obsolete tool for informing researchers of the availability of oral histories, that on-line searches are the only way of the future. But in preparing the catalogue entries we found ourselves repeating the format of the earlier catalogue. The time has not yet come to stop producing books, and to believe otherwise would conflict with the rationale for gathering oral history. However, as noted above, users may find both catalogues at the Regional Oral History Office's Web site, and an on-line "Catalogue III" will appear as future oral histories are completed.
    We thank our many donors, whose funds and faith in the Regional Oral History Office make it possible for us to record these oral histories, and we thank the San Francisco Foundation for funding the production of this catalogue.
    We acknowledge the dedication, skills, enterprise, and enthusiasm of a long line of staff members, many of whom have been a part of the Regional Oral History Office since its beginnings. As we said twenty years ago, without extraordinary staff efforts, a small and underfunded experiment in oral history begun nearly forty-five years ago could not have survived, let alone have created the vast and remarkable primary resource which is the Regional Oral History Office.

    Suzanne B. Riess, Editor

    Willa K. Baum, Director
    Berkeley - 1998

    Regional Oral History Office Series

    As the Table of Contents makes clear, the work of the Regional Oral History Office is focused on subject areas within which we undertake individual biographical memoirs, as well as volumes comprising a number of interviews on the same general topic. Following is a list of the office's on-going series subjects.
    • Books and Fine Printing Series
    • California Craft Artists Series
    • California Jewish Community Series
    • California Horticulture Series
    • California Land-use Planning Series
    • California Russian Emigré Series
    • California Social Issues Series
    • California State Archives Government History Program
    • California Water Resources Series
    • California Women Political Leaders
    • China Scholars Series
    • Chinese Americans in California Series
    • Disabled Persons Independence Movement Series
    • Earthquake Engineering and Seismic Safety Series
    • Earl Warren Project (in Governmental History Documentation Series)
    • Fiber Arts Series
    • Goodwin Knight-Edmund G. Brown, Sr. Era Project (in Governmental History Documentation Series)
    • Governmental History Documentation Series
    • History of Bay Area Philanthropy Series
    • International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union Series (in Labor History Series)
    • Jewish Community Federation Leadership Series
    • Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program Series
    • Kurt Herbert Adler and the San Francisco Opera Series
    • Legal Aid Society of San Francisco Series
    • Northern California U.S. District Court Series
    • Ophthalmology Series
    • Port of Oakland Series
    • Ronald Reagan Gubernatorial Era Oral History Project (in Government History Documentation Oral History Series)
    • San Francisco AIDS Oral History Series
    • San Francisco Bay Maritime History Oral History Series
    • Sierra Club History Series
    • Sierra Club History Committee Series
    • Society of California Pioneers Oral History Series
    • UC Berkeley College of Engineering Series
    • UC Berkeley Department of History Series
    • UC Berkeley School of Public Health Series
    • University [of California] History Series
    • University of California Black Alumni Series
    • University of California, Source of Community Leaders Series
    • Western Mining in the Twentieth Century Series
    • Wine Spectator California Winemen Series