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Guide to the San Francisco News-Call Bulletin Newspaper Photograph Archive, ca. 1915-1965
BANC PIC 1959.010--NEG  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information
  • Scope and Content
  • Arrangement
  • Historical Note
  • Project Information
  • Guide to Descriptive Text and Searching

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: The San Francisco News-Call Bulletin newspaper photograph archive,
    Date (inclusive): ca. 1915-1965
    Collection Number: BANC PIC 1959.010--NEG
    Creator: San Francisco Call

    San Francisco Call Bulletin

    San Francisco News-Call Bulletin

    News-Call Bulletin
    Extent: ca. 365,000 negatives (glass and film) and ca. 30,000 photographic prints
    Repository: The Bancroft Library.
    Berkeley, California 94720-6000
    Abstract: This collections chiefly consists of photographic negatives of San Francisco Bay Area news events taken by staff photographers of The News-Call Bulletin and its predecessors, The Call Bulletin and The Call, which were daily newspapers of San Francisco, Calif.
    Languages Represented: English

    Information for Researchers


    Negative files RESTRICTED: available for use by appointment with the Curator of Pictorial Collections or the Archivist for Pictorial Collections. Photographic print files remain unarranged and unavailable for access. Inquiries concerning these materials should be directed, in writing, to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has been assigned to The Bancroft Library for all materials for which the donor owned copyright. Materials created by other agencies or individuals may be under copyright retained elsewhere. All requests for permission to publish photographs must be submitted in writing to the Curator of Pictorial Collections.
    Any permission for publication that is granted for images with copyright residing elsewhere 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 user.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], The San Francisco News-Call Bulletin newspaper photograph archive, BANC PIC 1959.010--NEG, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Related Collections

    BANC PIC 1959.003-PIC

    1934 International Longshoremen's Association and General Strikes of San Francisco.
    Note: Photographic negatives removed from the files of The San Francisco Call Bulletin and cataloged separately. Viewing prints have been made from these original negatives and are available in the Heller Reading Room of The Bancroft Library, and digital facsimiles are available for selected images as part of the California Heritage Collection in the Online Archive of California.


    BANC MSS C-R 89

    Index to Press Photographs, ca. 1915-1935. San Francisco Call Bulletin.
    Note: A manuscript index maintained in a ledger book that describes the earliest images in The San Francisco Call Bulletin Newspaper Photograph Archive. Although there is no indication which newspaper created this index, the entries for staff-related photographs under "Call" indicate that the entries, and therefore the earliest images in the archive, originated with The Call. This index appears to have been the basis of the photograph card index that was the basis of Part 1 of the present finding aid. The original ledger is restricted and is available on microfilm.


    [Various titles.]
    Note: Microfilm copies of the newspapers for the majority of dates covered by The San Francisco Call-Bulletin Newspaper Photograph Archive are held in the Periodicals/Newspapers/Microforms room of UC Berkeley's Doe Library. The San Francisco Public Library and the California State Library also hold microfilm. Descriptions in UC Berkeley's online catalog reflect the several names changes that occurred during the period covered by the photograph archive. The following titles are relevant to this time span:
    • The San Francisco Call
    • The San Francisco Call and Post
    • The Bulletin
    • The San Francisco Bulletin and San Francisco Journal and Daily Journal of Commerce
    • The San Francisco Call Bulletin and Post
    • The San Francisco Call Bulletin
    • The San Francisco News-Call Bulletin
    • The News-Call Bulletin
    Additional related collections are held by several San Francisco Bay Area institutions. An overview of this material is available as an archival finding aid for the dispersed photograph and clippings morgues of The Call Bulletin, The News-Call Bulletin, and The San Francisco News, of which the Bancroft Library holdings are a part. This collective finding aid is also available as part of the Online Archive of California. These institutions are:
    • The San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park
    • The National Maritime Museum Association
      • USS Pampanito
      • P.O. Box 470310
      • San Francisco, CA 94147-0310
      • (415) 775-1943
    • US Navy Museum at Treasure Island
      • [No contact information available. Museum has been closed and disposition of collections is under review, Spring 1999.]

    Administrative Information

    Acquisition Information

    The San Francisco News-Call Bulletin photograph archive was 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 in finding aid for entire dispersed collection.)
    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) and about 30,000 photographic prints were donated to The Bancroft Library in 1966. The bulk of the photographic print files and newsclipping files were donated to the San Francisco Public Library in installments between 1966 and 1969.

    Scope and Content

    The Bancroft Library's holdings of The San Francisco News-Call Bulletin newspaper photograph archive consist almost entirely of original photographic negatives of San Francisco Bay Area news events taken by staff photographers between about 1915 and September 1965. These files contain more than 365,000 negatives and consist of all of the images submitted by photographers from their assignments, and are not limited to images actually published. 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.
    Since these are the images taken by local staff photographers, they are limited geographically to the San Francisco Bay Area, with occasional views taken in other Northern California locales. The vast majority of negatives are original images of San Francisco people, scenes, and news events. Accidents, arrests, trials, society events, sporting events, schools and youth organizations, committees, press conferences, cultural and arts events, local politics and visiting celebrities and dignitaries are among the more common subjects. Views of the developing urban landscape in the form of cityscapes, highways and freeways, the waterfront, downtown building projects, and housing developments are also found. The files are rich in images related to organized labor, political election campaigns, military and civilian mobilization during World War Two and the Korean War, the founding of the United Nations, the signing of the Japanese peace treaty, the Cold War and civil defense, un-American activities hearings at the state and federal levels, the civil rights movement, early protests of American involvement in Vietnam, and the student Free Speech Movement at the University of California at Berkeley. In short, any local event likely to be covered by a daily newspaper is likely to have representative images in the files.
    A small number of copy negatives are present, presumably made from photographic prints loaned to the newspaper. Although fairly uncommon, the subjects of these copies can range from nineteenth-century city views and portraits to European scenes or battle scenes from Pacific islands. Copy negatives of portrait photographs of contemporary individuals are somewhat more common.
    The approximately 30,000 photographic prints held by The Bancroft Library represent a very small portion of the print files of the News-Call Bulletin. The topics present are very similar to those found in the bulk of the files which are held by the San Francisco Public Library, and the relationship of the files at Bancroft and at the public library is unclear. Many wire or news agency photographs are present, and many views by Call Bulletin or News-Call Bulletin photographers printed in 11x14 inch format. Dates included are approximately 1900-1965, with the bulk dating from about 1920-1965. Earlier views tend to be portraits submitted for publication rather than staff photographs. Portraits predominate throughout the files, and events of the San Francisco Bay Area are most strongly represented. Images from other geographic locations in the United States and around the world are present in the form or wire service photographs and promotional photographs. Celebrities, political figures, sporting events, and military views (particularly of the Second World War) are common.


    The Bancroft Library holdings of the San Francisco News-Call Bulletin photograph archive are arranged in four parts, as received by the library. Parts 1-3 consist of photographic negatives, and Part 4 consists of a relatively small number of photographic prints. (The vast majority of photographic prints from the archive are held by the San Francisco Public Library.)
    Parts 1-3 each represent a different organizational approach employed by the newspaper when these were the current, working photographic negative files. They are roughly chronological in nature; Part 1 contains the earliest images, and Part 3 the latest. However, there is some date overlap between the parts, and the internal arrangement of each part is not necessarily chronological. The division between the parts was created by a shift in organizational scheme, and therefore different systems of codes and numbering exist for each part. A given image can only be uniquely identified and retrieved if its correct part number is recorded, in addition to applicable box, sleeve and item numbers within that part.

    Part 1 and Part 1a (1915-1939)

    Glass and film negatives, ca. 1915-ca. 1939, numbered individually from 1 to 50,568, as received, plus an addendum (called Part 1a) numbered in a new sequence from 1 to 4,469. Part 1 numbers were assigned by newspaper staff, presumably at the time the negatives were submitted to the office (or photograph "morgue") by staff photographers. Part 1a numbers were assigned by Bancroft Library staff in 1998 to negatives which fell, chronologically, at the end of Part 1 but which had no numbering or other organizational scheme when received by the library. This formerly un-numbered group of negatives was numbered independently of Part 1, starting again with item number 1.
    In both Part 1 and Part 1a, the arrangement is loosely chronological, but most images are undated. Some dated images demonstrate that images from several years can be present in close numeric proximity or inverted order, thus indicating that the chronology is approximate, at best.
    Part 1 numbers are generally item numbers, but occasionally a single number was assigned to more than one negative. In such cases, an alphabetic letter was added to the number to differentiate between the images. An image might be labeled in the format "10142" or as "10951b".
    Part 1 is housed in 3,703 boxes, and Part 1a is contained in 120 boxes.

    Part 2 (1938-1951)

    Film negatives, ca. 1938-December 1951, arranged by subject or in chronological General Files, with each established subject area or date range having been allotted numeric codes by newspaper staff. These numeric codes range from one to six digits, and are typed on each original negative sleeve. Subject codes range from 1 to 138532, and General File chronological codes from 140000 to 141713. There can be any number of negatives within a single code number, and there are many code numbers within the range which were never used. Sleeves are filed numerically by code.
    Within each subject code, negative sleeves are arranged chronologically. Subjects which were assigned filing code ranges by newspaper staff are:
    Accidents 000001-005234
    Animals 010000-013065
    Art, Artists, etc. 015000-015031
    Aviation 017000-017059
    Call Bulletin 024000-027087
    Crime 030000-030211
    Education 034000-034123
    Fairs (Golden Gate International Exposition and others) 039000-039025
    Fires 039100-039212
    Holidays, Celebrations, etc. 042000-042128
    Juvenile Delinquents and Child Welfare 047000-047075
    Labor 050000-050082
    Veterans 055900-055905
    Military, War, Wartime, etc. 056000-077940
    San Francisco 080000-084560
    Society, Clubs, Fashions 090000-090504
    Sports 100000-137006
    Weather 138000-138532
    Many of these subjects were further subdivided. Details will be found within the container listing of this finding aid.
    After the subject-based codes there are a series of code numbers (140000-141713) assigned to a "General File", which is a chronological grouping of negatives which were not assigned any established subject code.
    The General File begins with several small sections of undated negatives prior to 1943, plus a small number of dated 1938 and 1939 images. Starting with January 1940, arrangement is by month, with a small range of numeric codes assigned to each month. The logic or system behind the assignment of code numbers is not evident. A single month may be covered by a range of five numbers or twenty-five numbers. Months with more negatives tend to encompass a larger range of code numbers, but the reason that one number is ceased and the next assigned is not clear.
    Within each chronological General File code, an unstated subject grouping may be present which interrupts the chronological arrangement. (For example, images of a related ongoing event that were taken on various dates may all be grouped together immediately following the earliest image of that event. This related group of images might end on a date some months later than the date of the next unrelated sleeve that follows them, when the chronological filing system resumes.)
    Numbering of sleeves and individual negatives in Part 2 was achieved by numeric additions to the code numbers found on the original sleeves. A single code number is usually assigned to several original sleeves, and each sleeve can contain several negatives. Library staff labeled each sleeve that was selected for detailed description with these additional numeric divisions (See Project Information: Selection). The order followed is: Code Number [decimal point] Original Sleeve Number [colon] Item Number. An example is: 138000.2:3 (identifying the third negative in the second original sleeve of code 138000.) Original sleeves in subject areas that were not selected for re-sleeving and detailed description simply have their original code numbers, with no sleeve or item numbers appended.
    Part 2 is housed in 209 boxes.

    Part 3 (1951-1965)

    Film negatives arranged chronologically, December 1951-September 1965. No code number system was used by the newspaper, and no subject groupings are present. In order to create some consistency with Part 2 and facilitate electronic sorting within this finding aid, Bancroft Library staff have used the dates present on sleeves as code number equivalents, and they are displayed in a month-day-year (MM-DD-YY) format in accordance with the way in which dates are most frequently found on sleeves. Within the sleeves for a given day of the year, there is some evidence of chronological filing by hour, but this is not consistent, and hours often are not stated at all. Undated sleeves found filed between months were presumed to go with the following month, and were labeled MM-00-YY, to precede MM-01-YY.
    Numbering of sleeves and individual negatives in Part 3 was achieved by numeric additions to the dates found on the original sleeves. Several original sleeves are usually filed for any given date, and each sleeve can contain several negatives. Library staff labeled each sleeve that was selected for detailed description (See Project Information: Selection) with these additional numeric divisions appended to the day in MM-DD-YY format. The order followed is: Date Code [decimal point] Original Sleeve Number [colon] Item Number. An example is: 05-17-56.2:3 (identifying the third negative in the second original sleeve of May 17, 1956.) Library staff wrote the date and sleeve number in pencil at the top of each original sleeve, and annotated each new sleeve with the same date and sleeve number, plus a negative number, at the upper right corner of each new archival sleeve. Items have been numbered in no particular order, as they were removed from the original sleeves. Original sleeves that were not selected for re-sleeving and detailed description are simply filed by date, with no sleeve or item numbers appended.
    Part 3 is housed in 220 boxes.

    Part 4 (Photographic Prints)

    Photographic prints, ca. 1900-1965, grouped by format and arranged alphabetically by personal name or subject. Prints are largely boxed without folders, and are in some disarray. Strings of subject words assigned by newspaper staff are often stamped on versos, indicating intended filing order. 11x14 inch prints are arranged in 12 boxes. Prints 8x10 inches (and smaller) are arranged alphabetically in 44 cartons, and smaller photographic prints (generally from the earliest decades of the twentieth century) are arranged in eight additional cartons.
    Part 4 is housed in 12 boxes and 52 cartons.

    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.

    Project Information

    This finding aid was created as part of a two-year Bancroft Library project funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. The project, which ran from June 1997 through May 1999, sought to provide access to the Bancroft Library collection of negatives through appraisal and selective rehousing and description. The secondary goal of the project was to "serve as the fundamental first step toward bringing together the complete News-Call Bulletin archive" in the form of an on-line guide to all parts of the archive that were dispersed to various repositories. (See finding aid for entire dispersed collection.)


    The volume of negatives present required that appraisal and selection be carried out. It was impossible to re-sleeve and provide item-level descriptions for each of the 365,000 or more images present. The appraisal process sought to balance considerations of physical risk and historical significance or research value. Glass plates (about 30,000 in number) and early (pre-safety) film were deemed to be most at risk of deterioration or damage, and were therefore a high priority for individual sleeving. They clearly could not be safely used in their unsleeved and poorly boxed state. These items were limited to Part 1 of the collection, most of which was already listed at the item level, therefore determining an appropriate level of description based upon research value was not necessary. (See Guide to Descriptive Text and Searching: Part 1.)
    The half-million film negatives of Part 2 and Part 3, however, required appraisal of subject content to determine priority. Staff met with the Curator of Pictorial Collections to determine high-interest subject areas. Negatives within these areas were selected for individual archival sleeving and detailed description within this finding aid. Negatives of lower priority were retained in the collection, but they were left batched in their original sleeves and were described collectively in brief summary entries in the finding aid. Selected, resleeved negatives, therefore, will be found interfiled with lower-interest negatives still sleeved in groups, as received by the library.
    Part 2 was largely arranged in subject categories, but a chronological section was also present, and all of Part 3 was in chronological order. (See Arrangement: Part 2 and Arrangement: Part 3.) Selection was, therefore, much simpler for Part 2 Subject Files. Entire subject categories were re-sleeved and described in detail, and other categories were simply summarized. Chronological files required much more analysis, and a more subjective approach was used. Staff examined the sleeves for each month of the files, determined which negatives were worthy of brief mention, and which were of such high interest that they should be re-sleeved and described at the detailed sleeve level. This determination was based upon the sleeve annotations made by newspaper staff.
    Images from the chronological files deemed worthy of mentioning fell into the following categories, which are comparable to selected Part 2 Subject File sections:
    • Education
      • Schools, colleges, classrooms, conferences, awards
    • Juvenile Delinquents & Child Welfare
      • Youth activities, organizations, facilities, Scouting, Juvenile Hall, etc.
    • Labor
      • Unions events, meetings, strikes, workers on the job
    • Military and war subjects
      • Ships, troops, committees, civil defense, veterans
    • San Francisco Bay Area
      • City officials (mayors, judges, congressmen, representatives, police chiefs, city councils, local elections, etc.)
      • Police brutality
      • Parks, open spaces, and environmental issues
      • Cable cars
      • Urban, industrial, and suburban landscapes (buildings, neighborhoods, street scenes)
      • Cityscapes
    In addition, negatives from the following categories were also considered worthy of description:
    • Watershed events
    • Popular culture (indicators or symbols of the era)
    • Social or cultural events (major openings, conferences, conventions, luncheons, etc.)
    • National politics, international events, etc.
    • Communism and Cold War (Un-American Activities hearings, communists, arrests, etc.)
    • Presidents, senators, governors, national candidates, ambassadors, etc.
    • Movie stars, celebrities
    • New technology: "atomic age" in energy, health & national defense
    • Ethnicity and race relations
    • Police raids: narcotics, bars and nightclubs
    • Any large groups of views of a single event or subject, or any specific subject which recurs repeatedly (thus indicating major news interest at the time.)
    Of these, approximately fifteen percent were selected for sleeving and detailed description. This determination was made by staff with significant time restraints, and background research and individual image examination were not possible. There are, therefore, inconsistencies in selection. The intent was that those selected be the best, most recognizable, most illustrative examples of images from selection categories above. Examples of the subjects looked for included: major personalities or leaders (US presidents, California governors, state, national and international leaders), watershed (cultural, political, or military) events defining the era, urban/suburban change, neighborhoods, labor, race issues, social movements, new technology, science etc.
    It was decided not to attempt to mention every occurrence of negatives of events that occur on a regular basis or occur frequently in most months. Such images that were usually not noted in this finding aid include: Shriners and other fraternal organizations; Commonwealth Club; Chamber of Commerce lunches, etc. (unless a prominent figure is present); crime; sporting events (with no major celebrities); accidents; fires; births; divorces; custody cases; society page features; mayoral appearances; contest winners; and other images of purely local interest. It must be remembered that such images are present throughout the chronological files (1940-1965) and may be sought by date by browsing the files directly.

    Stylistic Conventions

    Approximately ten staff members contributed to the description of this collection over the two-year course of the project. As a result, some stylistic variation exists within the finding aid. An attempt was made to follow the Chicago Manual of Style for questions of capitalization, particularly with regard to personal titles. An attempt was also made to find authoritative forms of personal and corporate names in the on-line catalog of UC Berkeley and to standardize them accordingly. Other stylistic conventions apply only to the present finding aid:
    San Francisco was the assumed location of all images, unless otherwise stated, therefore "San Francisco" was not included in descriptions and is not effectively searchable. (But "cityscapes" will yield views of the city itself.)
    For elected city officials, names of their cities were given only if they were not San Francisco. For state officials, California is assumed unless another state is given.
    Periods were omitted from initials in organizational names, such as UC Berkeley, YMCA, ILWU, IBM, US Navy, etc.
    "SS", "USS" and similar abbreviations were omitted from ships' names. A ship's or boat's name was always followed by "(ship)", regardless of the type of vessel.
    Diacritics (accent marks, acutes, etc.) were omitted.
    Women's names were listed as "Mrs." plus surname only when their own first names were not provided on the original sleeves.
    Titles of individuals and, in the case of officials or dignitaries, their country or state of origin were given in the order: Title + Name + Country. (Example: "Ambassador John Bull of Great Britain", rather than "British ambassador John Bull.")
    Numbers lower than 100 were spelled out.


    Rehousing of the collection was also achieved as part of the NHPRC-funded project. Archival boxes were used for the entire collection, and selected negatives were rehoused in individual archival sleeves. (Previously, groups of negatives were sleeved together, and some negatives were not sleeved at all.) All glass plates have been individually sleeved and stored in small padded boxes, with nine or ten plates to a box. All film negatives predating 1940 have been individually sleeved, for most of these had been housed in small boxes with poor quality, brittle sleeves or no sleeves whatsoever. For the bulk of the collection, only those film negatives selected for detailed description were individually resleeved. The remainder remain in their original paper sleeves, usually in batches. Resleeved items are filed behind their annotated original sleeves, and all are housed in cardfile boxes measuring 5x6x13 inches.

    Guide to Descriptive Text and Searching

    Within this finding aid, descriptive approaches to each part of the collection vary according to the arrangement of that part and the descriptive resources available.

    Part 1 (1915-1939)

    Descriptions are simple entries for each item number or range of numbers, based upon the original Call Bulletin card index received with the collection. Typically, an entry will consist of a personal name, an event, or group name and its corresponding item number (or numbers) and box number. No standardized vocabulary or subject terms were employed, and little or no spelling checking or standardization of names was performed. When no descriptions were found for items, entries were provided by Bancroft Library staff, usually from annotations on the negatives themselves. If no annotations were present, a brief bracketed description of the image content was provided based upon image examination.
    It should be noted that many items within the numbered ranges for Part 1 are not present in the collection. Therefore frequent gaps in numbering are present in this finding aid. No images for these missing numbers are present. For many of these missing numbers staff have listings of what the subjects were, however these entries were not included here. Library staff can provide assistance locating such entries in an on-site database for those researchers interested in knowing about images that once existed but are no longer extant.

    Part 1a (1915-1939)

    As in Part 1, descriptions are simple entries for each item number or range of numbers. However, no lists or index cards were received with the collection, so descriptions are based upon original negative sleeve or box annotations, often supplemented by observations made by staff. Many images were received unsleeved and housed in original glass plate boxes with brief annotations of their contents, such as "Egan trial". In cases such as this, where many images of related events were present, some research as to context was carried out, and descriptions were thus supplemented. In most cases it was not possible to gather such added information or verify names and contexts.

    Part 1 and Part 1a search recommendations

    By subject: brief, single-term keyword searching is advised. Surnames alone for individuals are suggested, as form of first names, initials, etc. may vary. Women are often listed under their husband's names, preceded by "Mrs." The bulk of images are portraits, but some searches on locations, building names, corporate names, organizations, sporting events or similar terms may yield results.
    By date: chronological arrangement is only approximate, and dates are usually impossible to determine. When a date was present, however, it is included as part of the caption. Therefore, a free-text search on a given year ("1924", for example) may locate some negatives for that approximate period. Browsing nearby entries is then the only way to look for events of a given date. Staff have noted that occasional images of a later year preceded those of earlier years, and that sporting events are frequently dated but numbered out of sequence. The rule that lower item numbers correspond with earlier dates must be used with caution for chronological browsing of the finding aid.

    Part 2 (1938-1951)

    Two levels of description are present for all subject groupings, and three levels of description are present for the chronological General File portion of Part 2 (1938-December 1951). The top level is the most general description, briefly summarizing large numbers of negatives. Selected subjects are then described at the more detailed levels.
    All subject groupings have a summary description providing an overview of the contents of that section. Information provided will be: the subject category name, the range of numeric codes that represent it, the box numbers that contain it, an estimate of the number of images present, the years present in it, and a variable-length summary of the types of images or subject content present. In these summaries a few lines of text may represent several hundred or several thousand negatives.
    Many subject groupings will have no further description provided. These sections were deemed by curators and staff to have less potential research value than other portions of the collection, and resources were not available to provide exhaustive descriptions of all sections. They tend to be subjects of purely local interest, such as auto accidents, animals, crime, and sporting events. Researchers may find useful images within these briefly summarized sections, but items will have to be found by paging the likely boxes and examining their contents.
    Selected subject groupings thought to have higher research demand were described at a second, more detailed level of description. These subject areas are Education; Fairs (Golden Gate International Exposition); Juvenile Delinquents and Child Welfare; Labor; Military, War & Wartime (selected subcategories); San Francisco (Police Brutality); San Francisco (Miscellaneous); and Weather (Floods).
    In addition to the summary descriptions described above, these selected categories were described at the sleeve level. (Each original sleeve represented a single photographic shoot or assignment. A sleeve could contain one negative or several dozen related negatives.) A finding aid entry at the sleeve level provides the following information: brief summary line of subject content, date or date range, call number, part number, box number, code number (a subject-based filing code), original sleeve number or range of sleeve numbers (for multiple sleeves on a single topic or event), number of negatives, and a content description note which may consist of numerous lines of text.
    Descriptions of the chronological General File of Part 2 consist of the summary descriptions (described above) for each month, a list of selected highlights, and sleeve-level entries for subjects of highest historical interest. (See Project Information: Selection.) Text within the list of highlights for a month is arranged chronologically, in the order the negatives are filed. Neither dates nor code numbers are given for most entries, but entries of higher potential interest or those with a relatively large number of negatives are followed by a bracketed code number and an estimate of the number of images present. A subject with related images on more than one date in a single month is usually entered only once, in place chronologically where the first occurrence is found. Additional filing codes under which later occurrences may be found are noted in brackets following the entry.
    Of the highlights just described, about ten to twenty percent were selected for detailed sleeve-level descriptions in the same format used for sleeve-level descriptions within the Subject Files (above).
    A sample sleeve-level finding aid entry follows:
    Charles Lindbergh and Senator D. Worth Clark -- Sir Francis Drake Hotel (July 1, 1941)

    BANC PIC 1959.010-NEG, Part 2, Box 161 [140299.09], 13 negatives

    Images of Colonel Charles Lindbergh speaking with Senator D. Worth Clark of Idaho and speaking with press.
    The first line is a brief summary of the sleeve contents, followed by the date in parenthesis.
    The next line is the full collection call number, part number, box number, and bracketed code number, and negative count. Code numbers are followed by a decimal point and a sequential original sleeve number provided by Bancroft Library staff. Although not recorded in this finding aid, on the negative sleeves this number is followed by a colon and an item number, also assigned by Bancroft staff. Thus, a single image might be identified as "Part 2, 300412.2:5."
    The lines following the call number and negative count are the content description notes. This text is based upon language found in newspaper staff annotations on the original sleeves, often clarified and supplemented by Bancroft Library staff. Minimal attempts were made to standardize phrasing, personal names, and language. Chiefly, this is free text with no formal subject analysis or standardized thesauri.
    However, staff did attempt to facilitate searches by agreeing upon certain terms to use for certain subject matter. If these terms could not easily be used within a descriptive caption, they were included parenthetically. The most common terms used were:
    Afro-Americans (Used for: African Americans, blacks)
    atomic age (Used for: nuclear or atomic technology or its resultant effects in popular culture and design. See also: civil defense)
    censorship (Used for: obscenity charges and political censorship cases)
    child welfare  
    cityscapes (Used for: broad urban or suburban landscapes, skylines, etc.)
    civil defense (Used for: bomb shelters, evacuation plans, drills, etc.)
    civil rights (Used for: racial or ethnic discrimination, racial equality, the civil rights movement, and those involved.)
    communism (Used for: communists, and anti-communism, "red scare", cold war attitudes, un-American Activities hearings (HUAC))
    disabled persons Used for (and with): handicapped, blind, deaf, paraplegic, crippled, and other terms for physical disabilities.
    education (Used for: schools, colleges, universities, classrooms, teachers, parents' and teachers' associations (PTA), etc.)
    environment (Used for: ecology, effects of urbanization & development, pollution, litter, etc.)
    fashion (Used for: chiefly clothing, occasionally design)
    gambling (Used for: chiefly raids and arrests of book makers)
    gays and lesbians (Used for: gay men, lesbians, homosexuality, and also cross-dressing, transvestitism, etc.)
    health (Used for: public health, medicine, hospitals, medical care)
    housing (Used for: public housing, housing developments, housing conditions, new types of housing)
    juvenile delinquency (Used for: gangs, juvenile crime, youth arrests)
    labor (Used for: organized labor, strikes, labor pickets and walk-outs, workers in the workplace)
    narcotics (Used for: drug seizures, arrests, drug raids, marijuana, heroin, opium, and controlled substances of all types)
    neighborhood (Used for: street scenes, intersections, localized city views of smaller scope than cityscapes, residential areas, commercial districts)
    race relations (Used for: racial tensions, ethnic tensions, changing attitudes to or awareness of racial issues. See also civil rights and social protests)
    social protests (Used for: non-labor-related pickets, sit-ins, demonstrations, marches, peace movement, anti-nuclear movement, etc. See also: civil rights)
    space age (Used for: space race, satellites, sputnik, rockets, astronauts, and related technology or popular interest)
    transportation (Used for: public transportation, buses, BART, transit, freeways, airplanes and airlines, etc.)
    The choice of terms was informed by, although not limited to, terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings. Due to time constraints, their application was not based upon extensive analysis and consideration, so inconsistencies may be detectable. They are intended to assist searchers in finding broad types of material, and finer distinctions have not been made. For example, issues of ethnicity may be included within the term "race relations", distinctions between "race relations" and "civil rights" are not always clear, and the term "gays and lesbians" may have incorrectly been applied to images relating to transvestitism or transsexuals. Distinctions between "neighborhood" views and "cityscapes" are also problematic. The intent of including the terms was to assist searchers in bringing together related material, and more critical analysis has been left to the researchers. It should also be noted that these terms were not used within the Subject File section of Part 2 if the term was redundant with the name of the subject section ("Education", for example, was not repeated within every education-related entry in the Education subject file!)

    Part 2 search recommendations

    By subject: browsing the finding aid by subject is possible for searches that might fall within one of the established subject categories (listed above under Arrangement: Part 2.) However, related subjects that logically should fall within these subject areas are sometimes found within the chronological General File. Therefore, keyword searching of the finding aid text is advisable. The standardized terms listed above will yield numerous "hits", but will probably not locate all potentially related images. Variations on likely descriptive words should be attempted. Brief, single-term keyword searching is advised. Surnames alone for individuals are suggested, as form of first names, initials, etc. may vary. For more refined searches, use the help screens to learn about proximity searching ("Aimee" within 2 words of "McPherson", for example) and other options.
    By date: the General File may be browsed in this finding aid by date. Entries are selective, so if a specific event of known date is sought and it does not appear in the finding aid, it is advisable to request the relevant boxes and browse the collection directly. Because of the Subject Files, chronological searching is quite complex. Views taken on any given day might be found under subject, in date order in the General File, or in the General File but filed behind related images of an earlier date. (For example, if a trial started on May 3, 1942 and ended in February 1943, all related images might be filed with the May 1942 images!) For images of recognized historic importance that were selected for detailed description in this finding aid, dates may be searched as strings of text, such as "March 15, 1954" or "March within 2 words of 1954."

    Part 3 (1951-1965)

    Descriptions are based upon the strict chronological arrangement of this section. As with the General File of Part 2, three levels of description are used: Month Summaries, Selected Highlights, and Selected Sleeve Entries.
    Descriptive text follows the format and conventions of Part 2 (described above), except that there are no code numbers and dates function as filing codes, presented in a six-digit month-day-year (MM-DD-YY) format. The selected highlights under each month summary tend to be much longer than those of Part 2, because no negatives were removed from chronological files to subject files after December 1951.
    Text within the list of highlights for a month is arranged chronologically, in the order the negatives are filed. Dates are not given for most entries, but entries of higher potential interest or those with a relatively large number of negatives are followed by a bracketed date or range of dates and an estimate of the number of images present. A subject with related images on more than one date in a single month is usually entered only once, in place chronologically where the first occurrence is found. Subsequent related images are indicated by a notation of their dates in brackets following this entry.

    Part 3 search recommendations

    By subject: keyword searching of the finding aid text is recommended. The standardized terms listed above (under Guide to Descriptive Text and Searching: Part 2) will yield numerous "hits", but will probably not locate all potentially related images. Variations on likely descriptive words should be attempted. Brief, single-term keyword searching is advised. Surnames alone for individuals are suggested, as form of first names, initials, etc. may vary. Use the help screens to learn about proximity searching ("Richard" within 2 words of "Nixon", for example) and other options.
    By date: all of Part 3 may be browsed in this finding aid by date. Entries are selective, so if a specific event of known date is sought and it does not appear in the finding aid, it is advisable to request the relevant boxes and browse the collection directly. For images of recognized historic importance that were selected for detailed description in this finding aid, dates may be searched as strings of text, such as "March 15, 1964" or "March within 2 words of 1964."

    Part 4 (Photographic Prints)

    Part 4 is largely unarranged. A preliminary container list is the only description available. The contents listed for each box or carton are intended to give researchers a general idea of the contents of that container, and are by no means complete. Library staff listed personal names or topical subjects which actually appeared on folder headings or were present in large numbers, but there are many other names and subjects within the same alphabetic range which do not have separate folders and which are not noted in this finding aid. Until a full listing is created, alphabetic browsing of the containers themselves is the only means of determining what individual images are present. However, such browsing is not permissable until rehousing and foldering is completed. (Direct inquiries about access to this unprocessed material, in writing, to: the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library.)

    Additional Notes on Searching

    Card Catalog

    A card catalog of the negative files was received from the newspaper as part of the gift to The Bancroft Library. It consists almost entirely of personal names, with occasional corporate names. There is no subject indexing. The card catalog is divided into three parts, just as the negative files are. Its coverage of Part 1 (ca. 1915-ca. 1939) has been entirely converted to digital form and included as Part 1 of this finding aid. Part 2 and Part 3 of the card catalog have not been converted, and contain many personal names not found in the finding aid. It is clear that card catalog coverage is not complete, and that many images present are not indexed. (For this reason, it was decided not to use the card catalog as the basis for Parts 2 and 3 of the finding aid, but rather to work from the negatives themselves.) Researchers seeking images of specific persons not found within the on-line finding aid may contact the Curator of Pictorial Collections, The Bancroft Library, for an appointment to use the original card catalog.

    Dates: Chronological Outline

    If materials are wanted for a given year, at left, they may be found in the parts of the collection noted to the right:
    ca. 1915-1937 Part 1 and Part 1a
    1938-1939 Part 1, Part 1a, Part 2
    1940-November 1951 Part 2 (Subject Files or General File)
    December 1951 Part 2 (Subject and General File) and Part 3
    1952-1965 Part 3


    The works of many staff photographers are present within the negative files. Usually, a surname is typed or signed on the negative sleeves, particularly in later years of the files. (Photographers names are rarely present for the pre-1940 images in Part 1 and Part 1a). This finding aid does not provide for searching by photographer. The detailed sleeve-level descriptions provided are for a small, selected portion of the collection (less than 20%), therefore it was believed that including photographer's names would not be a significant help to researchers interested in finding the works of a given photographer - the majority of that photographer's works would have remained undescribed and un-indexed. Those interested in finding photographs by a specific photographer may use the list below as a guide and request negatives within the time frame that the photographer was employed. There is no assurance that the list is complete, but it is an attempt to identify photographers and their period of employment by the newspaper. The negative files for any year in which a photographer was employed are likely to have many of his or her images.
    • Ken Adams: 1948-1960
    • Lee Andersen: 1958
    • Cantue (?)
    • Cantwell: 1945
    • Clifton: 1940
    • Collins: 1945
    • Doherty: 1938-1940
    • Eastaff: 1945
    • Edgren: 1950-1959
    • Ellerback: 1937-1938
    • Ellwood: 1941-1945
    • Elwing: 1954-1956
    • Emile: 1958
    • Murray N. Fay: 1937-1947
    • Jack French: 1940-1955
    • Gouch(?): 1947
    • Hart: 1944
    • Hatch: 1945
    • Johnny Hines: 1947-1959
    • Hank Ingwersen: 1938-1964
    • Bob Jones:1947-1964
    • Les Kevie: 1938
    • Knepher: 1944-1949
    • Lozier: 1944-1946
    • J. Marron: 1938-1947
    • Miller: 1943
    • "Monte" Monakee: 1937-1939
    • Eddie(?) Murphy ("Murf"): 1959-1964
    • Newfield: 1946-1948
    • Bill Nichols: 1937-1940, 1958-1961
    • Nickell: 1945-1952
    • Nugent: 1945
    • Pardini: 1956-1959
    • Pete Peterson (perhaps Pete is nickname for Ed Peterson?): 1939-1964
    • Ed Peterson (perhaps also known as "Pete"?): 1945, 1958, 1961
    • Clark R. Place: 1959-1964
    • Paul Quen: 1961
    • Robbie (perhaps a nickname for Robbins?): 1955, 1959
    • H.C. Robbins: 1950-1964
    • Robertson: 1945-1946
    • C.H. Smith: 1945-1946
    • Simon Sterling: 1945
    • Francis Stewart: 1937-1943
    • Susse: 1940
    • Sid Tate: 1945-1964
    • Vick(?): 1941
    • Stuart Walch: 1942-1944
    • Bob Warren: 1959-1964
    • Wass: 1945
    • Warren West: 1945-1947, 1961(?)