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Cliff Dochterman: A Rotarian’s Pursuit of Happiness through Service

It’s with great pleasure that we announce the publication of Cliff Dochterman’s oral history; Cliff Dochterman: A Rotarian’s Pursuit of Happiness through Service.” A former Rotary International President (1992-1993), Dochterman is best known for jumpstarting the PolioPlus program that immunized over 2.5 billion children around the world and his ability to raise millions of dollars for refugees during the Yugoslav Wars. Dochterman is credited as for helping Rotary International realize its potential as a global philanthropic and service organization. His decades-long dedication to Rotary International, Boy Scouts of America, higher education administration both here at the University of California and at the University of the Pacific demonstrate his gift for fundraising and his unwavering commitment to service.

Given everything Dochterman has done for the Rotary world, it’s hard to believe that Dochterman was initially rejected from the Berkeley Rotary Club. A young University of California administrator and assistant to UC President Clark Kerr, Dochterman finally gained acceptance into the Berkeley Rotary Club after a third nomination. Shortly after joining the club, he became Berkeley’s Club President and then the local District Governor and member of various international committees. Of course, his meteoric rise comes as no surprise to those that know Cliff Dochterman personally.

As the current Rotary International President, John Germ, aptly notes in the introduction to Dochterman’s oral history, “Cliff is an individual who is a role model for individuals who desire to create a better world.  As a Rotarian, Scout leader and a dedicated American, he has led by example always putting others above himself. His joyful disposition has brought great success in motivating others to community service. We are all better because we have had the opportunity to serve with him and to know him.”

Cliff Dochterman’s oral history is part of the OHC’s larger Philanthropy collection. We highly encourage all those interested in learning more about the dynamic history of Rotary International to read Cliff Dochterman: A Rotarian’s Pursuit of Happiness through Service.”


New Research In Oral History – Lunch Lecture: Exploring The African American Experience In the 19th and 20th Centuries through Oral History

Shirley Ann Wilson Moore, Professor Emerita of History, California State University, Sacramento
March 20, 2017 | 12-1:15 p.m. | 267 Bancroft Library

Professor Shirley Moore, an alumna of UC Berkeley, is the author of numerous works on African American history in the West, including “To Place Our Deeds: The African American Community in Richmond, California 1910-1963,” and most recently “Sweet Freedom’s Plains: African Americans on the Overland Trails 1841-1869. In the lunch lecture series, “New Research in Oral History,” Dr. Moore will discuss her use of oral history in these two books, as well as its overall importance in documenting the African American experiences in California and the West. Her research has been an invaluable resource for our Rosie the Riveter / World War II Oral History Project.

Professor Susan Ervin-Tripp: 2016 Class of ’31 Interviewee in University History

Professor Susan Ervin-Tripp

One of the great joys of being an oral historian is getting to talk to people you otherwise wouldn’t have known. We have the privilege of asking people about their lives, putting their experiences in context of the larger historical landscape, posing questions that others don’t have the opportunity to ask. I had the opportunity to do just this when I interviewed Professor Susan Ervin-Tripp in 2016.

Professor Dan Slobin puts it best in the introduction he wrote for Ervin-Tripp’s oral history:

Throughout her long and productive career, Susan Ervin-Tripp has repeatedly been a path-breaker. And the paths that she helped explore have become well-traveled roads. I is remarkable to see so many innovations in one life story: psycholinguistics and sociolinguistics, embracing new directions in the study of first-language acquisition as well as bilingualism; repeated applications of new technology: computers, tape recorders, video recorders, wireless microphones; design of new methods of transcribing and documenting the many layers of speech interaction; cross-linguistic and cross-cultural research, with attention to both individual and interpersonal dimensions of language. Along with these contributions to the scientific side of her profession, Ervin-Tripp has given equal attention to the institutional and political dimensions of academia, focusing on the treatment of women and minorities. Wherever possible, she used her academic skills as a psycho- and sociolinguist to provide a scientific foundation to her advocacy.

Slobin is not the only one who values Ervin-Tripp’s many contributions. Her interview was part of our Class of ’31 series, in which faculty and staff, both current and retired, are nominated by admirers to the subject an oral history. Ervin-Tripp received numerous, passionate nominations which conveyed a resounding eagerness to document her work in academics and equity, knowing that we could all benefit from learning about her trailblazing work.

I sat down with Ervin-Tripp for our first interview in May of 2016. It was immediately clear that she was a practiced speaker, having taught for many years, with a healthy sense of humor. She was poised and articulate, prepared with her notes. Over the course of our six hours of interviews, we discussed her childhood during the Great Depression in Minneapolis, Minnesota, her undergraduate education at Vassar College, her doctoral work at the University of Michigan, and her career at UC Berkeley, which began in 1958. She detailed her work on the Southwest Project in Comparative Psycholinguistics studying the connection between language and cognitive performance, her time as a professor in the Psychology and Speech Departments at Berkeley, her early adoption of technology in her research, her participation at Stanford University’s Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences and with the 1985 Scientific Exchange program in France. She talked about the significant advances that she made for women’s equality on campus and the multiple efforts she made to create such change.

It was a pleasure to have interviewed a woman whose career has impacted Berkeley so greatly. There are many lessons to learn from this interview, particularly the courage and persistence it takes to create an equitable environment. Professor Susan Ervin-Tripp’s oral history is one that is rare for her generation and one that should be celebrated.

Shanna Farrell, Interviewer, Oral History Center

Getty Oral Histories: Jim Druzik and Neville Agnew

We are pleased to announce the release of two new oral histories in our continuing partnership with the Getty Trust to document the careers of extraordinary artists, scientists, preparators, scholars, and administrators that have guided and shaped the Getty over the past thirty years. Historians Todd Holmes and Paul Burnett spent four days alternating full-day interview sessions in an intense baptism into the world of conservation science, exploring the careers of two remarkable scientists from the 1960s through to the present: Jim Druzik and Neville Agnew.

Foxes and Hedgehogs: Jim Druzik and the Development of the Field of Conservation Science
Getty Conservation Institute Senior Scientist Jim Druzik had a baptism of his own rubbing shoulders with the geniuses of postwar modern art as they worked together on installations at the Pasadena Museum of Modern Art. Trained as a chemist, and with one foot ever in the scientific world, Jim very quickly applied the latest scientific research to the problems of conservation. He joined the Getty Institute of Conservation in 1985, and soon established himself as a world leader in conservation science, always concerning himself with how the physical and chemical composition of museum artifacts reacted with the physical and chemical composition of their environments. But much more than that, Druzik was a student of the larger social and economic context of the museum world, taking advantage of initiatives in pollution research, assessments of industrial chemicals, and energy conservation, to name just a few, to make the museum world a better, more accessible and sustainable place. Finally, Jim is very reflective about his roles as a scientist and an administrator. He understands that the world of science and the world of the museum are defined by the people who work in them and on them. Science is social, as the historians are fond of saying, and the keys to Jim’s success can be found as much in his enthusiasm for the people he works with as for the work he does with them.

Neville Agnew: Thirty Years of Cultural Heritage Site Conservation with the Getty Trust
South-African-born Neville Agnew is a more nomadic scientist. If Jim’s work brings laboratory tools to the museum environment, Neville’s brings lab techniques and tools far out into the field. Whether raising and preserving the guns of a long-lost naval vessel off the north coast of Australia, or studying the deterioration of the Great Sphinx in Egypt, or restoring ancient Buddhist cave paintings in southwestern China, Neville underscores the fact that international conservation work is not just bringing the tools of the laboratory to bear on ancient sites, but also a skillful diplomatic effort to build and maintain the partnerships—between project sponsors, international conservation research teams, national political leaders, and local communities—needed to conduct such work. He explores the tension between an ideal of conservation in controlled environments versus the compromises inherent in dealing with “immovable cultural property.” At a time when the willful destruction of cultural heritage is almost a daily news item, we are reminded of the importance and fragility of the work that both of these scientists have done to protect the world’s art and cultural heritage for future generations.

Paul Burnett and Todd Holmes, Historians/Interviewers, January 2017

In Memory of William K. Bowes, Jr.

William Bowes

Photo of William Bowes

William K. Bowes, Jr. died peacefully at home on December 28, 2016 after a long illness. A leading member of the first generation of venture capitalists, he was a private investor in many of the earliest startups in what became known as Silicon Valley. In 1981, he founded U.S. Venture Partners where his conviction that venture capitalists should actively guide companies rather than simply invest in them was a basic principle. His focus was the biomedical industry, an interest he inherited from his physician father. The investment of which he was most proud was in Amgen, a pioneering biotechnology company of which he was founding shareholder and the startup’s first chairman and treasurer. Not a man of many words, he was known for his brief, to-the- point interjections in business negotiations. In later years, Bowes’s interest turned to philanthropy in the fields of science, the arts, education, and the environment. Among his many generous bequests was a recent pledge of $50 million to the University of California, San Francisco to support young investigators. A far cry from the hard-driving venture capitalist, Bowes was known for his self-effacing manner and personal warmth. For details of his life and contributions, read his oral history transcript.

NEW PRIZE in UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH: Carmel and Howard Friesen Prize in Oral History Research — Call for Submissions

The Oral History Center of The Bancroft Library is proud to announce a new prize to be awarded to a UC Berkeley undergraduate student in Spring 2017: The Carmel and Howard Friesen Prize in Oral History Research. The Friesen Prize comes with a $500 award.

The Friesen Prize will be awarded to the Berkeley undergraduate student who submits the best essay that draws upon Oral History Center interviews. The selection committee will evaluate the submission based on these three criteria:

  • How well oral histories are integrated within and essential to the overall essay
  • How creatively oral histories are used in the essay
  • And the overall quality and persuasiveness of the essay

 The Oral History Center of The Bancroft Library was established in 1954 and since that time roughly 4000 interviews have been completed, transcribed, and made available to researchers. Nearly all interviews are available to everyone in transcript form at the Center’s website.

Oral histories have been conducted across a wide range of thematic areas including: arts and literature, science and medicine, social movements and community history, business and labor, politics and government, law and jurisprudence, food and agriculture, and the history of the University of California. Major projects featuring multiple interviews include: the Berkeley Free Speech Movement; the marriage equality movement; Rosie the Riveter / World War II Home Front; venture capital; Kaiser Permanente and health care; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; mining and the environment; the law clerks of Chief Justice Earl Warren; the Sierra Club; the disability rights and independent living movement; and the internment of Japanese-Americans in World War II, to name just a handful.  

The Prize is named for Carmel and Howard Friesen. Carmel and Howard were married for 64 years when Carmel passed away in 2015. Both Friesens attended Berkeley and have supported Berkeley for decades. In 2015, the Friesens granted to the Oral History Center a generous endowment that supports this prize in addition to interviews conducted by the center.

To be eligible to win, applicants must:

Be Berkeley undergraduates at any class level (lower- or upper-division) and in any discipline (arts, humanities, social sciences, sciences, and engineering) and have completed their research project for a credit course at UCB taken in Spring 2016, Summer 2016, Fall 2016, or Spring 2017.

Submissions are due by April 1, 2017, delivered via email to mmeeker@library.berkeley.edu

For additional information, including restrictions for those already receiving financial aid, applicants are encouraged to visit the Friesen Prize websitehttp://www.lib.berkeley.edu/libraries/bancroft-library/oral-history-center/prizes


The Oral History Center (OHC), a research division of The Bancroft Library, documents the history of California, the nation, and the interconnected global arena. OHC produces carefully researched, audio/video-recorded and transcribed oral histories and interpretative historical materials for the widest possible use. OHC was formerly known as the Regional Oral History Office.

Nominations Open: Annual “Class of ’31” Interview in University History

Nominations Open: Annual “Class of ’31” Interview in University History

Nominations for the 2017 “Class of ’31 Oral History Interviewee” are now open! We invite people to nominate a UC Berkeley faculty or staff person who has made a significant contribution to the life of the campus. The person selected will be invited to participate in an oral history interview conducted by our office. Selection criteria include: willingness of the nominee to participate, OHC interviewer expertise, uniqueness and rarity of the nominee’s story and level of contribution to campus life, and the generation of the nominee. Past “Class of 1931” interviewees include: Anthropology Professor Laura Nader; speechwriter for UC presidents Pat Pelfrey; Director Emeritus of the Pacific Film Archive Edith Kramer, and sociolinguist Susan Ervin­ Tripp.

From the Archives: Fiona Thomson’s Interview With former Black Panther Ericka Huggins

This month, in conjunction with the “All Power to the People: Black Panthers at 50” exhibition at the Oakland Museum of California, we’re highlighting Fiona Thomson’s oral history of Ericka Huggins. In this interview, Huggins talks about her personal and spiritual history, her leadership role in the Black Panther Party, and her lifelong commitment to social justice.

In 1968, at age 18, Huggins became a leader in the Los Angeles chapter of the Black Panther Party with her husband John Huggins. Three weeks after the birth of their daughter, John Huggins was killed and Erika Huggins was widowed. After returning to New Haven, Connecticut, to be with John’s family, Ericka Huggins was invited by community members and students to open a party chapter there. She accepted the invitation.

In May 1969, Huggins and fellow Party leader Bobby Seale were targeted and arrested on conspiracy charges, sparking “Free Bobby, Free Ericka” rallies across the country. The resulting trial, one of the longest and most celebrated of the era, spawned several books.

While awaiting trial for two years before charges were dropped, including time in solitary confinement, Huggins taught herself to meditate as a means to survive incarceration.

From 1973-1981, Huggins was Director of the Oakland Community School, a groundbreaking community-run child development center and elementary school founded by the Black Panther Party. In 1976, Ericka Huggins became both the first woman and the first Black person to be appointed to the Alameda County Board of Education.

Ericka Huggins

Ericka Huggins

A lifelong writer and poet, upon release from prison in 1971, Ericka became writer and editor for the Black Panther Intercommunal News Service. She is the co-author, with Huey P. Newton, of Insights and Poems, published in 1974. Huggins is now professor of Sociology and African-American Studies in the Peralta Community College District.

In her four interviews with Thomson, Huggins talks candidly about her experiences as a child in segregated Washington, DC, and as a mother, activist, spiritual practitioner and teacher, and friend and lover. The oral history adds to the Bancroft Library’s archive of materials related to the Black Panthers, including the papers of Eldridge Cleaver and the photographs of Stephen Shames.

If you are in the Bay Area, be sure to visit the multimedia exhibit at the Oakland Museum (open until February 12, 2017), to learn more about the Black Panthers and the contributions of Ericka Huggins and many others to the ongoing struggle for social justice.

Linda Norton, Senior Editor

From the Oral History Center Director: Looking Back on 2016

Reading through year-end reviews of 2016 is decidedly not a lighthearted pursuit. So many favorite musicians of my, and many other, generations have left us and though we have the gift of their music we also have sadness. Events on the world stage seem to descend only deeper into violence and chaos. And an ugly and contentious election cycle in our country — not to mention the surprise result — have left many fearing for the future of our democracy.

While remaining mindful of past disappointments and future challenges, I think that it is important to recognize achievements, successes, and positive outcomes too, for these sustain us and give us hope. We, at the Oral History Center, want to revisit some of the new and exciting developments of the past year that give us — give me — great optimism going forward into 2017.

As many of you may know the Oral History Center experienced a great generational transition beginning around 2011, with the retirements of our three most senior interviewers, associate director, and director. After many years of rebuilding, in 2016 the office has again built-out to roughly full capacity with the arrival of two additional interviewers: Todd Holmes and Cristina Kim. Joining Shanna Farrell and Paul Burnett (both of whom joined us in 2013), Holmes and Kim hit the ground running and by the end of the year have each conducted substantial life history interviews, played key roles in our Summer Institute and the first season of our new podcast series, and have begun developing what promise to be important new oral history projects.

The four lead interviewers, combined with Rosie the Riveter project interviewer David Dunham and I, conducted approximately 425 hours of interviews in 2016 — very likely a record level of productivity for our office. Each and every hour of interview contains something special and irreplaceable: a first-person account of a lived experience, of disappointments and failures, and of hopes and dreams. Projects completed or begun in 2016 include the Freedom to Marry project; Economist Life Stories; Global Mining and Materials Research; Getty Trust; Rosie the Riveter; and many others. Individual life history interviews were completed with leaders in the fields of environmental regulation, genetics, labor, health systems, music, law, education, philanthropy and community service, and foodways. In 2017 expect to see the release of the Freedom to Marry interviews, more interviews with artists and curators in partnership with the Getty Trust, as well as new interviews on the California Coastal Commission and the emergence of ethnic studies in the United States — to mention just a few areas.

Historic oral history transcripts at the Oral History Center

Historic oral history transcripts at the Oral History Center

The oral historians here at Berkeley have long been productive scholars and authors, publishing magazine articles, journal essays, and books. In 2016, however, we expanded our scholarly engagement activities by producing a podcast series “Tales from the Campanile.” The first season (we hope to produce two seasons annually), “From the Outside In: Women in Politics,” featured six episodes, each running 15-20 minutes in length which looked at a century of women’s role in politics leading up to the historic candidacy of Hillary Clinton. Lead producers Todd Holmes, Shanna Farrell, and Cristina Kim selected audio clips from our amazing interviews with leaders including suffragist Alice Paul, congress member Jeanette Rankin, and California secretary of state March Fong Eu; we were thrilled that Emmy Award-winning journalist Belva Davis agreed to narrate the podcast. For 2017 and beyond we have seasons in the works that will look at the history of the AIDS epidemic and California’s uber issue: water. Stay tuned!

The Center continued our educational offerings with great success. In March we hosted our annual “Introduction to Oral History Workshop” and in August our “Advanced Oral History Summer Institute.” A diverse and engaging group of participants attended both trainings and, as always, we were impressed by the enthusiasm and intelligence of the attendees, which we take as a harbinger of great oral history projects to come! We look forward to our 2017 Introductory Workshop, which will be held on Saturday February 25th and our Summer Institute, scheduled for the week of August 7th.

In addition to the new oral history projects, podcast seasons, and educational offerings, we are looking forward to getting our latest partnership with the National Park Service off the ground in 2017. David Dunham wrote about this in the previous newsletter, but, in brief, it entails nothing less than an expansion and improvement of the interview search on our website as well as, ultimately, streaming of complete oral histories online — a real first for the Center.

Finally, I want to conclude by offering my gratitude to the many people who make all of this work possible. Given that all of our interviews must receive external funding (the university does not pay the salaries of the interviewers, transcription, or equipment, for example), I want to thank all of the individuals and institutions who have invested in us over the last year. We strive to always improve the quality of our work and we very much hope that our dedication to the craft of oral history shows. We also invite everyone interested in supporting our work to assist us by making a tax-deductible donation to the Oral History Center. We are also always interested in hearing from our supporters about ideas for new projects and new interviews, and how we might go about finding sponsors for those projects.

I also want to thank my regular staff — Julie Allen, Paul Burnett, David Dunham, Shanna Farrell, Todd Holmes, Cristina Kim, and Linda Norton — for their essential contributions; I also extend my gratitude to our interns, student employees, emeritus interviewers, and Library colleagues. Last but not least, my heartfelt appreciation goes to our interviewees. We have never paid an interviewee for the time (sometimes numbering dozens of hours) that they give to our oral history projects.

Thank you and we look forward to staying in touch throughout 2017!


Martin Meeker 

Charles B. Faulhaber Director

Oral History Center

Del Anderson Handy, a Consummate Educator: From a Childhood in the Rural South to the Chancellorship of San Francisco City College

Photo of Del Anderson HandyDel Anderson Handy grew up in a small town near Vicksburg, Mississippi, where she worked alongside her great-grandmother, a midwife and forewoman on a plantation. She began studies at Alcorn College and after leading a student protest against racism she left the South and moved to California. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in human development and family life education, and a Master’s in Social Work at San Diego State, and shortly became a member of the faculty there, the third African-American on the tenure track in a university of that size. After a number of posts in community colleges, she was named Chancellor of San Francisco City College, where she played a leading role in a $150 million bond campaign to build two new campuses. A lifelong fighter for civil rights, Del Handy retired 1998 and is active on the boards of several Bay Area organizations. Her oral history transcript, Del Anderson Handy, a Consummate Educator: From a Childhood in the Rural South to the Chancellorship of San Francisco City College, is now available online.

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