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Guide to the Fremont Older papers, 1907-1941
BANC MSS C-B 376  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Scope and Content
  • Biography

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: Fremont Older Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1907-1941
    Collection Number: BANC MSS C-B 376
    Creator: Older, Fremont, 1856-1935
    Extent: Number of containers: 7 boxes and 2 v. Linear feet: 4
    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.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Fremont Older papers, BANC MSS C-B 376, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Material Cataloged Separately

    • Portraits transferred to the Pictorial Collections of The Bancroft Library
      Identifier/Call Number: (BANC PIC 1940.004--POR)

    Scope and Content

    Most of the papers in the Fremont Older collection came to Bancroft Library in December 1958 as the gift of his widow, Cora B. Older. Some material had been received previously: as gifts from Evelyn Wells (August 1939) and Marshall Maslin, an associate of Older's from the Call-Bulletin (December 1949), and by purchase from John Howell (December 1947). There is a strong probability that the material purchased came from the estate of Carl Hoffman, one of Older's journalistic proteges. The provenance of material other than that in Mrs. Older's gift, has been noted on folders. Obviously the letters in the collection represent only a small portion of what must have been an extensive correspondence. By reputation, however, Older was not a "saving" man, and it is fortunate that some letters escaped destruction or loss. Much of the correspondence relates to the efforts made by Older from about 1927 to secure pardons for Mooney and Billings.
    Some photographs in the collection have been removed and placed in the Pictorial Collections. Printed items have been catalogued separately.


    Fremont Older was born in Appleton, Wisconsin, August 30, 1856. He began his journalistic career as a printer's devil in his home state in 1869. At the age of 16 he went West and worked as a printer for various newspapers in California and Nevada, and then in San Francisco as a reporter, and eventually as city editor of the Morning Call. From 1894, when he became editor of the San Francisco Bulletin, he steered the destiny of the paper for 24 years, engaging in fight after fight to break the political grip of the Southern Pacific Railroad in the State, to clean up San Francisco, and to expose injustice, crime and corruption. The most spectacular of Older's campaigns against political corruption was his report of the graft prosecution of Mayor Eugene E. Schmitz and political boss, Abe Ruef, in 1906. In 1917, Older undertook the last great fight of his career -the freeing of Tom Mooney and Warren Billings. He became convinced that the two men had been convicted on perjured testimony and came out flatly in the Bulletin with the accusation that they had been framed. Advised by the owners of the paper to drop the case, Older resigned and accepted William Randolph Hearst's invitation to come to his newspaper, the San Francisco Call, and bring the Mooney case with him.
    In 1929, at the age of 73, he became editor and president of the Call-Bulletin, a merger which had been accomplished with Hearst's purchase of the moribund Bulletin. Older died of a heart attack on March 3, 1935.