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Gus Ringolsky papers, 1901-1948.
BANC MSS 2010/694 oversize folder 1A; BANC MSS 2010/694 box 1; BANC MSS 2010/694; BANC MSS 2010/694
Collection Overview


Gus Ringolsky papers, 1901-1948


Ringolsky, Gus, 1883-1962, creator


B'nai B'rith


Western Jewish History Center, 236.


Judah L. Magnes Museum, WJHC 1969.016.


Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life


Online Archive of California


The collection consists of correspondence between attorney Gus Ringolsky and convict Jacob Oppenheimer; legal documents, clippings and scrapbook pages relating to the Oppenheimer case; a letter (1913) to Ringolsky from Willis Van Devanter, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, regarding Ringolsky's request for an appeal. Also contains a file of materials on the case of James W. Finley vs. The People of the State of California (1908-1911); a program for the 1912 Yom Kippur services held at San Quentin Prison; a program of the Second Western Assembly of the Jewish Chautauqua Society (1912); a program for a 1901 debate between the debate teams of Oakland High School and Berkeley High School (with Ringolsky debating for Oakland). The scrapbook pages in the collection (stored in the oversize folder) provide a sense of the public reaction to the trial of the Oppenheimer, known popularly as the "Human Tiger."


1901 (issued)


Ringolsky, Gus -- 1883-1962 -- Archives
Oppenheimer, Jacob -- -1913
California State Prison at San Quentin.
Folsom Prison.
Capital punishment -- California
Jews -- California
Murderers -- California
Prisoners -- California
Prisons -- California
Yom Kippur
Jewish lawyers


Formerly: Western Jewish History Center Collection Number 236.
Formerly: Judah L. Magnes Museum Collection Number WJHC 1969.016.
COLLECTION STORED, IN PART, OFF-SITE: Advance notice required for use.
Gus Ringolsky papers, BANC MSS 2010/694, The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.
Transfer; Judah L. Magnes Museum; 2010.
Gus Ringolsky was an Oakland-born attorney whose first case involved the defense of notorious murderer Jacob Oppenheimer. Oppenheimer, jailed since 1889 in Folsom and San Quentin prisons, was executed in 1913 for a murder he committed while a prisoner in San Quentin. Ringolsky appealed to California courts and the U.S. Supreme Court in an attempt to revoke a California law passed in 1901 making it a capital offense for a prisoner serving a life sentence to commit assault. The law was passed by the California legislature specifically in response to Oppenheimer's repeated violent attacks on other prisoners and guards. Ringolsky, who defended Oppenheimer without receiving any financial compensation, also conducted Jewish holiday services at San Quentin prison for several years. In 1947, he defended Chinese U.S. Army veterans who were being held incommunicado by the Immigration Service. A lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army, Ringolsky was elected a vice-president of the Reserve Officers' Association, and was also elected a president of the San Francisco chapter of National Sojourners. He also served as a Grand Orator for B'nai B'rith District Grand Lodge No. 4 and was a fifty-year member of B'nai B'rith's Oakland Lodge, No. 252. He was also a Freemason; a member of the Scottish Rite; the American Legion; the Civic League Improvement Clubs; and the Judge Advocates Association of the United States.
Materials in English.


Legal documents-California.

Physical Description:

1 box and 1 oversize folder (.2 linear feet)




BANC MSS 2010/694 oversize folder 1A
BANC MSS 2010/694 box 1
BANC MSS 2010/694
BANC MSS 2010/694



Copyright Note:

COLLECTION STORED, IN PART, OFF-SITE: Advance notice required for use.