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Catalogue I of the Regional Oral History Office, 1954-1979
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  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information
  • Foreword
  • Introduction
  • Special Projects and Series
  • Regional Oral History Office Staff

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: Catalogue I of the Regional Oral History Office,
    Date (inclusive): 1954-1979
    Creator: Bancroft Library. Regional Oral History Office
    Repository: The Bancroft Library
    Berkeley, California 94720-6000
    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 :
    • Mr. Ben Swig
    • The Setzer Foundation
    • Mr. and Mrs. Wofford B. Camp
    • Prytancan Alumnac, Inc.
    • An Anonymous Donor


    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


    The Bancroft Library


    Oral History at Berkeley

    Oral history is a modern research technique for preserving knowledge of historical events as recounted by participants. In the past those who took part in or observed important 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 and telephone calls.
    Through the recorded conversations of the oral history interview, scholars of future generations can find both the account of events and the dynamic quality of the ancient oral tradition. The Regional Oral History Office has been interviewing leading figures or well-placed witnesses to major events or trends in the history of Northern California, the west, and the nation for 25 years. As of this writing 468 interviews totalling 67,285 pages have been completed.
    This catalogue reflects the fact that at Berkeley although a few interviews are undertaken as single memoirs, most are undertaken as a series of related memoirs in several subject fields. The subject fields and persons for interviewing are recommended by many sources within the University and community-wide, and approved by the faculty. Because all interviews require outside funding, the selection is influenced by the availability of such funds.

    The Interview

    To answer the questions that arise both within and without the field of oral history of what exactly oral history is in terms of how it is done, we are listing in some detail our methods of procedure. Over the years the following system has evolved:
    1. 1) Careful selection of interviewees, ascertaining funding, and securing a preliminary agreement with the interviewee to participate and to release the material,
    2. 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. 3) One to 30 eight is an average tape-recorded sessions with the interviewee,
    4. 4) Transcription, verbatim, but with the elimination of excessive static words such as "well" and "you know ",
    5. 5) Editing for clarity, continuity, and elimination of repetitions,
    6. 6) Emendations, additions, and approval by the interviewee,
    7. 7) Selection and signing of a satisfactory legal agreement,
    8. 8) Preparation of chapter headings and an index to name and subject references,
    9. 9) Final typing, and binding with photographs and other illustrative materials,
    10. 10) Collection of papers from the interviewee to be deposited in The Bancroft Library with the interview. If the papers are for some reason more appropriate to another library, the interviewee will be encouraged to donate them to the most suitable place,
    11. 11) Deposit in The Bancroft Library of tapes, transcripts, and supporting materials for research use.
    12. 12) Some interviews are deposited in The Bancroft Library in rough transcript or in tape only.



    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, but most choose to open their interviews for research immediately. Transcripts may be quoted for publication with the permission of the Director of The Bancroft Library, who first gains approval from the interviewee.
    Copies of the transcripts are available to other manuscript libraries at the cost of reproduction, again with the interviewee's permission. Libraries that are interested may write to the Regional Oral History Office to establish the availability and cost of a given bound memoir or series. To date, 3,365 transcripts have been deposited in 375 other libraries in the United States and abroad.

    Microfiche Publication

    The Regional Oral History Office has joined the New York Times Oral History Program micropublication program in order to make its materials more readily available to researchers. Copies of transcripts or series can be ordered in microfiche or microfilm from:
    New York Times Oral History Program

    Microfilming Corporation of America

    1620 Hawkins Avenue, P.O. Box 10

    Sanford, North Carolina 27330
    Interviews in the following subjects have been entered into the program: Agriculture, Water Resources, and Land Use; Architecture, Art, Dance, Literature, Music, and Photography in the San Francisco Bay Area; Books and Printing in the San Francisco Bay Area; Forestry, Parks, and Conservation; Russian Emigres; California Wine Industry; Science Interviews; California Jewish Community. Others are in process.


    A full or partial selection of tapes for most of the interviews listed in this catalogue is preserved and available for listening in The Bancroft Library. ROHO has also begun to produce videotapes of a few interviews where funding is available. See catalogue numbers 290, 292, 338, and 354. Users are advised to write to ROHO for details about the length and format of the videotapes.


    Users are encouraged to employ the following bibliographic citation forms:

    ["Courtesy, The Bancroft Library" indicates that permission to quote has been granted.]

    For a single interview,

      Bibliographic citation:
      Paul, Alice, "Conversations with Alice Paul: Woman Suffrage and the Equal Rights Amendment," typescript of an oral history conducted 1972, 1973 by Amelia Fry, Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 1976, 674 p.
      Footnote citation:
      Alice Paul, "Conversations with Alice Paul: Woman Suffrage and the Equal Rights Amendment," an oral history conducted 1972, 1973, Regional Oral History Office, University of California, Berkeley, 1976, pp. 316-319. Courtesy, The Bancroft Library.

    For an interview within a larger volume,

      Bibliographic citation:
      Cline, John W., "California Medical Association Crusade Against Compulsory State Health Insurance," typescript of an oral history conducted 1970 by Gabrielle Morris, in "Earl Warren and Health Insurance, 1943-1949," Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 1971, 38 p.
      Footnote citation:
      John W. Cline, "California Medical Association Crusade Against Compulsory State Health Insurance," an oral history conducted 1970, in "Earl Warren and Health Insurance, 1943-1949," Regional Oral History Office, University of California, Berkeley, 1971, p. 32. Courtesy, The Bancroft Library.

    Use of the Catalogue


    Entries are grouped by subject, and within subject they are listed alphabetically. Each entry contains:
    1. 1) A number designation, which facilitates the use of the index,
    2. 2) The interviewee's surname in roman capitals, or a project title in italic capitals,
    3. 3) An interview title, or volume name or number, in italics, with the date of issuance and number of pages, or listed as "In process",
    4. 4) Text material descriptive of the topics discussed in the interview and noting appended materials,
    5. 5) The names of the authors of introductory material,
    6. 6) The years of interviewing, and the names of the interviewers,
    7. 7) Funding where appropriate, and terms of restriction where necessary.
    8. 8) When an entry is listed by volume or project, the names of interviewees are designated by the use of small capital letters in the entry.


    The index includes the names of all interviewees, except those in the Donated Oral Histories Program and the Other Collections, with the number of their interview entry; the names of all persons who were the authors of introductory or original appended materials with the number of their interview entry; and subject references. The subject references repeat the main subject divisions, cross-reference them to discussion of like material in interviews appearing in other subject divisions, and break the subjects into smaller component areas. The subject index is by no means intended to be exhaustive. The user is referred to the indexes created for each volume of transcripts, and to the cumulative master index of all the transcript indexes, maintained in the Regional Oral History Office in Berkeley.


    The publication of a catalogue of our first twenty-five years is a fitting occasion to celebrate the people who are the Regional Oral History Office, and those who have made this catalogue possible.
    First our appreciation to our donors, listed on page vi, whose funds and faith in ROHO made it possible for us to put together and print this catalogue.
    For their persistence in creating order and entries out of a confusion of systems and volumes of materials, thanks to Marilyn White, Catherine Scholten, and Ruth Baseman. Thanks to Ann DeRosa of Dharma Press for her interest in our catalogue and her patience with us as publishers; and to Lawton Kennedy, Fine Printer to The Bancroft Library, for his original design for our cover.
    We acknowledge the dedication, skills, enterprise, and enthusiasm of a long line of staff members. Without their extraordinary efforts the small and underfunded oral history office begun a quarter of a century ago could not have survived, let alone have completed nearly 70,000 pages of primary research material. Staff are listed at the end of the catalogue, as well as other interviewers who have further enriched the store of oral history at The Bancroft Library.
    Special thanks go to the late Prof. Walton E. Bean of the department of history, the Office's first faculty advisor and continuing consultant and user of its materials, and decisive thanks to Prof. James D. Hart of the department of English, who first as a member of the Academic Senate Library Committee and later as Director of The Bancroft Library, has provided knowing and constant support and guidance to the Office.
    Willa K. Baum and Suzanne B. Riess

    Regional Oral History Office


    Special Projects and Series

    Over the years, the office has worked on groups of related interviews as well as single biographical memoirs. The diverse groupings are listed below; projects represent a limited set of interviews with definite funding and time limits, and series represent on-going collections of interviews on a broad topic.
    • San Francisco Arts and the Community Project
    • Grace Bird Project
    • Books and Printing Series
    • Bronson, Bronson & McKinnon Project
    • China Scholars Series
    • Thomas D. Church Project
    • Crown-Zellerbach Project
    • Cutter Laboratories Project
    • Dental History Project
    • Helen Gahagan Douglas Project
    • Forest History Society Series
    • Forest Policy History Project
    • Bay Area Foundation History Project
    • Walter Gordon Project
    • Governmental History Documentation Project
    • International House Project
    • California Jewish Community Series
    • Goodwin Knight-Edmund G. Brown, Sr. Project
    • Levi Strauss & Co. Project
    • San Francisco Bay Maritime History Series
    • Julia Morgan Project
    • Northern California Negro Political History Project
    • Lester Rowntree Project
    • California Russian Emigre Series
    • Sanitary Engineers Project
    • Jack and Caroline Service Project
    • Sierra Club Series
    • Society of California Pioneers Series
    • Suffragists Project
    • Temple of the Wings Dance Project
    • University of California History Series
    • August Vollmer Project
    • Volunteer Leaders of the Bay Area Series
    • Earl Warren Era Project
    • Water Resources Series
    • California Wine Industry Series
    • California Women Political Leaders Project

    Regional Oral History Office Staff

    Interviewers and editors:

    Joann Dietz Ariff, 1966-1970
    Willa Klug Baum, 1955-present
    Anne Hus Brower, 1975-present
    Malca Chall, 1967-present
    Edna Tartaul Daniel, 1959-1964
    Amelia Roberts Fry, 1959-present
    Corinne Lathrop Gilb, 1954-1959
    Eleanor K. Glaser, 1975-present
    Catherine Harroun, 1965-present
    Joyce A. Henderson, 1970-1973
    Fern Ingersoll, 1964-present
    Ann Lage, 1975-present
    Rosemary M. Levenson, 1970-present
    Gabrielle S. Morris, 1970-present
    Harriet S. Nathan, 1966-present
    Richard A. Pierce, 1958-1971
    Irene M. Prescott, 1960-1962
    Boris Raymond, 1966-1970
    Suzanne Bassett Riess, 1960-present
    James H. Rowland, 1978-present
    Catherine M. Scholten, 1978-present
    Susan R. Schrepfer, 1970-present
    Sarah Lee Sharp, 1978-present
    Julie Gordon Shearer, 1978-present
    Miriam Feingold Stein, 1969-1979
    Ralda Sullivan, 1975-present
    Ruth Teiser, 1965-present

    Current clerical staff:

    Ruth Baseman, 1980
    Cheryl Ishida, 1977
    Judy Johnson, 1974
    Marge Prince, 1968
    Lee Steinback, 1973
    Keiko Sugimoto, 1968
    Marilyn White, 1972
    Wendy Won, 1968

    Interviewers who have worked for ROHO on a brief contractual basis, or who have been present as joint interviewers with a regular staff interviewer, or who have created their own interviewing project and donated it to the Donated Oral Histories Program, are listed on the following page with the number of their interview entry.

    Annett, Joan
    Arlett, Arthur M.
    Armstrong, Orville M.
    Askham, Leonard R.
    Bean, Walton E.
    Bonn, Adrienne
    Boutelle, Sara
    Brewer, Helene Maxwell
    Bronstein, Zelda
    Brown, Ann Leigh
    Brown, Gardner M., Jr.
    Brown, Giles
    Burke, Robert
    Cahill, Hope
    Callow, Alexander
    Camp, Wofford B.
    Cardon, Charlotte Meyer
    Carhart, Arthur H.
    Carte, Gene
    Casamajor, Paul
    Coakley, Thomas
    Cordova-May, Esther
    Cowan, John B.
    Donnelly, Alton S.
    Dorfman, Elaine
    Dreis, Thelma
    Duncan, Roland E.
    Ehat, Carla
    Ergil, Helen
    Erskine, Melville C., Jr.
    Evison, Herbert
    Ewart, George
    Fairburn, Evelyn Bonnie
    Farquhar, Francis P.
    Farris, Edward A.
    Firebaugh, Dorothy
    Fisher, Steve
    France, Edward
    Franklin, Edward
    Freudenheim, Leslie
    Friedman, Paula
    Gallacci, Caroline
    Giefer, Gerald J.
    Girdner, Audrie
    Gluck, Sherna
    Goldstein, Diane
    Hale, Graham
    Hammond, George P.
    Hart, James D.
    Hennings, Robert E.
    Hogan, June
    Hooe, Robert M.
    Hughes, Sally S.
    Jacobs, John H.
    Jencks, John M.
    Jones, Frank
    Josephson, Hannah
    Kann, Kenneth
    Kantor, James R. K.
    Kent, Anne T.
    Kerby, Elizabeth
    Kimble, Marion
    King, Alice G.
    Kniesche, T. Max
    Knutson, Robert
    Kortum, Karl
    Larkey, Joann L.
    Leiby, James R. W.
    Levinson, Robert E.
    Lobner, Joyce
    Loftis, Anne Nevins
    Lohanda, Mona
    Longhurst, Warren
    Lowe, Ernest
    Machlis, Paul
    Maguire, Marsha
    Maunder, Elwood
    Mellon, Knox
    Mezirow, Edith
    Mills, Alden B.
    Mills, Paul
    Mitchell, Margaretta
    Morehouse, Stephen C.
    Norberg, Arthur L.
    Ongerth, Henry L.
    Parker, Jacqueline K.
    Pilling, Patricia
    Reider, Norman
    Robinson, Jane Howard
    Roland, Carol
    Savino, Michael
    Schwartz, Mortimer
    Scobie, Ingrid
    Seidenbaum, Arthur
    Selix, Leah
    Shepardson, Mary
    Shippey, Roderick
    Smith, Margaret W.
    Smith, Thomas
    Spangler, Margaret
    Stadtman, Verne A.
    Stein, Ken
    Stephens, Roy W.
    Stone, Lois C.
    Sussman, Elizabeth
    Tompkins, Avery
    Vanderlip, Robert G.
    Vassar, Rena
    Walker, Franklin D.
    Ward, Estolv Ethan
    Wilkerson, Margaret
    Williams, Alfred
    Williams, Marie
    Wirt, Frederick M.
    Won, Wendy
    Woodard, G. Davidson
    Woodbridge, Sally
    Wurm, Theodore J.