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Guide to the Francis Valentine Keesling Papers, 1906-1957
Special Collections M0100  
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Collection Overview
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The Keesling Papers consist of correspondence, diaries, notebooks, drafts of speeches and articles, reports, minutes of meetings, newspaper and magazine clippings, maps and blueprints, circular and form letters, political flyers, etc., pamphlets, annotated government documents, promotional brochures, miscellaneous printed material, and some financial and legal papers. They span the years 1906-1957, though very little material is found after 1953. The scope of the subject matter is tremendous. The political series contains a number of topics of particular interest. Most notable perhaps is that the material from 1910-1920 on local, state (California), and national Republican political campaigns. Keesling was a "regular" Republican, one of the few whose papers are extant, and greatly opposed to Hiram Johnson and the Progressives. The active part played by Keesling in California politics at this time and the scarcity of the original material by those holding similar views make this collection quite unique. The picture of this split in the California Republican party has been very one-sided in favor of the Progressives simply because of the lack of material supporting the opposition. In addition to the Hughes campaign, the Coolidge, Hoover, Willkie, Dewey, and Eisenhower Presidential campaigns are also covered. The many state and local campaigns, their candidates and issues, are represented by even more material. Other papers refer to world affairs, foreign policy, war, Communism and related movements, patriotic organizations, labor, legal matters, insurance business, government and governmental procedures, economic affairs, education and social and charitable organizations. The second series relates to the San Francisco Charter of 1931. This material is quite complete and includes Keesling's booklet on the subject and some later papers on amendments and revision. The Interim Committee of Twenty five on State Reorganization, the third series, is also a rich research source. The fourth series is on the Golden Gate Bridge and Highway District and the construction of the bridge. This is quite a complete account especially for the Building Committee from 1929 to 1937. Some, but not all, of this material was used as the basis for a doctoral dissertation in 1958. The last two series are quite small. One recounts the San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906 through newspaper clippings and Keesling's orders and report as an officer of the National Guard and active participant in rescue and patrol work. The other contains miscellaneous material on or related to Stanford University. This collection, in addition to being of general historical interest, would seem to form a very solid base for a good biography of Keesling. It covers almost all of his activities and interests within the time span of the papers. His very frank and uninhibited correspondence reveals his personality and opinions very clearly. Of the correspondents in these papers, many number among the politically and socially prominent on local, state and national levels. Others, not so well known, are important to this collection because of the content and size of their correspondence.
33 linear ft.
Property rights reside with the repository. Literary rights reside with the creators of the documents or their heirs. To obtain permission to publish or reproduce, please contact the Public Services Librarian of the Dept. of Special Collections.