Home » Bancroft Library (Page 7)

Bancroft Library

Event: Views of the women’s liberation, feminist movements of the 1970s, 1980s

A New Women's Symbol

A New Women’s Symbol, 1971, The Bancroft Library, BANC PIC 2012.054

Bancroft Library’s first Roundtable of the semester will take place in the Lewis-Latimer Room of The Faculty Club at noon on Thursday, February 16. Cathy Cade, documentary photographer, will present “Views of the Women’s Liberation and Feminist Movements of the 1970s and 1980s: Selections from the Cathy Cade Photograph Archive.”

Cade was introduced to the power of documentary photography as she participated in the Southern Freedom Movement of the 1960s. In the years that followed, she took an array of images that depict the women’s liberation movement, union women, trades women, lesbian feminism, lesbian mothering, lesbians of color, LGBT freedom days, fat activism, and the disability rights movement. Cade will speak of her personal experiences with social justice causes and the connections between these movements and communities. She will feature highlights drawn from her extensive photograph archive acquired by The Bancroft Library over the past several years.

Event details
Bancroft Roundtable
Thursday, February 16, noon
Lewis-Latimer Room, The Faculty Club
Presented by Cathy Cade, documentary photographer

Rare Books and Mystery Buff: Bancroft Cataloger Showcases Recent Donations at Oakland Book Fair

While most of Randal Brandt’s work involves sleuthing out cataloging information for the rare volumes that routinely cross his desk, he also finds time to curate Bancroft’s California Detective Fiction Collection.

Randal Brandt. Photo by Cade Johnson for the University Library.

This collection will be showcased, along with examples of fantasy and science fiction and western fiction, at the upcoming 50th California International Antiquarian Book Fair, Feb. 10-12, in an exhibit Brandt curated. Many of the exhibited books are recent donations acquired through Brandt’s extensive network in the mystery writing community. Some of these include:

  • Bill Pronzini and Marcia Muller presented the library with a gift of over 700 volumes in 2015, of books written, compiled, or edited by the “Mulzinis,” as they are affectionately known by their friends.
  • The Thomas H. Reynolds Collection of Ross Macdonald was received as a gift by Bancroft in 2016. Comprised of 37 exemplary copies of first editions and other rare volumes by Ross Macdonald, the collection was compiled by Thomas H. Reynolds, who, before his retirement, was the foreign and comparative law librarian at Berkeley.
  • The Anthony Boucher Collection was donated to the Bancroft Library in 2016. Boucher, who earned an M.A. from Berkeley, was a prolific writer of mysteries and science fiction, but is noted primarily for his reviewing and other activities. His renown in the field is such that the premiere annual conference of mystery authors, fans, and aficionados is known as Bouchercon.

Anthony Boucher

Also featured in the exhibit will be materials from other recent Bancroft acquisitions.

  • The Kenneth Perkins Papers were donated in 2015, including a wide-ranging array of hardcover novels, manuscript drafts, plot outlines, summaries, and synopses, research notes, correspondence, personal materials, newspaper clippings, and ephemera. Perkins, a prolific writer of westerns and mysteries, graduated from Berkeley in 1914.

Photo by Joseph Driste

  • The library also acquired the Frank M. Robinson Papers in 2015. Robinson moved to San Francisco in the 1970s to be a speechwriter for politician Harvey Milk. Shortly thereafter he started writing techno-thrillers and science fiction novels. The collection comprises books, manuscripts, and photographs, including shots taken during the 2008 production of the film Milk in which Robinson had a small part playing himself.

Photo by Joseph Driste

Why American Concentration Camps Became Legal (and Then Illegal)

by Jacob Dickerman from the Bancroft Digital Collections Unit.

76 years ago, on December 7, the Japanese military attacked Pearl Harbor military base. The next day, the United States declared war against Japan. Following the attacks and declaration of war, hostilities were high, as many Americans vilified and mistrusted their fellow Japanese American citizens. Of course, the vilification and mistrust were unfounded.

Two months before the attack on Pearl Harbor, the “Munson Report,” an intelligence report commissioned by the State Department, concluded that there was no question of loyalty to the U.S. among the majority of Japanese Americans and that they posed no threat to the nation’s security. Despite such exculpatory reports and a lack of cause for suspicion or detainment, the FBI, as soon as December 7, 1941, began arresting Japanese American community leaders, totaling 1,291 arrests in just two days.

Today, this seems unfathomable, but hostility toward Japanese Americans had been a long-established and prominent issue, socially and politically. On October 11, 1906, the San Francisco–San Francisco–Board of Education passed a measure to segregate children of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean descent from the rest of the student population. (President Theodore Roosevelt called the measure “wicked absurdity.”) In 1908, Japan and the U.S. made a “Gentlemen’s Agreement” to end migration of Japanese laborers to the U.S. In 1913, California passed the Alien Land Law, prohibiting those ineligible for citizenship from owning (and, later, leasing) land; at the time, all Japanese immigrants were considered ineligible for citizenship.

As it turned out, the draconian laws against Japanese immigrants, who mainly labored in agriculture, were neither followed nor enforced too heavily. Unfortunately, the relative leniency drew resentment from labor unions, statewide, as the population of Japanese Americans steadily increased. This intensified the presence and influence of anti-immigrant interests and politicians in government, contributing to the height of tensions when Pearl Harbor was attacked.

On February 19, 1942, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which authorized military authorities to exclude civilians from any area, without trial or hearing. This was effectively aimed at Japanese Americans on the West Coast. In March of that year, the Wartime Civil Control Administration established the first Assembly Centers (detainment camps, or “concentration camps,” in FDR’s words), where they detained about 92,000 persons of Japanese ancestry. The count would eventually increase to 120,000 persons, when the permanent camps were established by the War Relocation Authority, in May 1942.

BANC PIC 1967.014--PIC

BANC PIC 1967.014–PIC Photographer: Lange, Dorothea — Oakland, California. 3/13/42

In January of 1943, the War Department announced the formation of a segregated unit of Japanese American soldiers. Soon after, on February 1, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team was activated at Camp Shelby, Mississippi. During seizures, arrests, and the unconstitutional detainment of tens of thousands of Japanese Americans, thousands were wounded, killed, or went missing in action while serving the nation in the 442nd RCT. Though President Obama awarded the Congressional Gold Medal to Japanese-American World War II veterans, in 2010, the nation failed to express appreciation to the same Japanese Americans during the war.

A year after forming the 442nd RCT, the U.S. reversed its policy on excluding Japanese Americans from the draft and reinstated it, requiring men in the internment camps to serve. Hundreds refused to serve in the same military that oversaw the indefinite incarceration of their friends and families. Most of these men were imprisoned for resisting the draft. In 1947, President Truman pardoned 63 draft resisters imprisoned in 1944. The 63 were detainees at Heart Mountain, a concentration camp in Wyoming, who organized an effort to challenge the legality of their detainment by refusing to show for their physical examinations.

Amache Summer Carnival Parade. -- Photographer: McClelland, Joe -- Amache, Colorado. 7/10/43

BANC PIC 1967.014–PIC Photographer: McClelland, Joe — Amache, Colorado. 7/10/43

The last camp left, Tule Lake “Segregation Center,” closed on March 20, 1946. Though the Truman administration sent a friendlier message to Japanese Americans, the nation was slow to learn from the crimes committed against its own citizens. Only in 1980 did Congress formally begin to question the constitutionality of Executive Order 9066, that which granted the military the liberty to take liberties away from other Americans.

Commenting on the possibility of the government’s legally detaining Americans without due process, the late Justice Antonin Scalia said, “You are kidding yourself if you think the same thing would not happen again.” The nation should prove him wrong.  

 

 

 

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

“The Gift to Sing”: Bancroft exhibit offers tour of African American history and culture

Treasures from legendary professor Leon Litwack’s African American history and culture book collection are on display through February in the Bancroft Library Gallery. Browsing “The Gift to Sing” exhibit offers viewers a chance to revisit milestones in the long journey of African Americans in this country towards full equality, freedom, and cultural expression.

Photo by Alejandro Serrano for the University Library.

Slave narratives and autobiography, drawings and photography, collections of spirituals, newspapers, novels and poetry, historical and sociological works — all with rich significance outlined in curator David Faulds’ captions — are among the works included.

Litwack’s collection, most of which will come to the Bancroft as a bequest, originated in his teenage years in Santa Barbara in the 1940s, when the young Leon haunted a used bookstore called the Book Den. Langston Hughes volumes purchased then for a dollar or two are on display in the exhibit.

Over six decades of continued collecting later — informed by his celebrated scholarship in African American history and culture — Litwack’s library is considered one of the best in private hands.

On display in the Bancroft exhibit are Harlem Renaissance first editions in strikingly illustrated dust jackets; Bobby Seale’s copy of The Autobiography of Malcolm X, which Litwack had the good fortune to pick up for $5 at Moe’s Bookstore near campus; a copy of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave inscribed by famous abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison; and Ida B. Wells’ rare and important pamphlet on lynching, The Red Record.

 

Photo by Alejandro Serrano for the University Library.

Exhibit visitors can also see the first book by an African American, Phyllis Wheatley’s Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, which was published in 1773. This edition is one of the treasures from the Bancroft’s current collection which are also exhibited in “The Gift to Sing.”

The exhibit is organized in seven sections including the arts; California, society; literature and history, modern and early 20th century; slave narratives; and racial uplift (1890-1910).

The oldest book in the exhibition dates from 1744 and reports on the execution of thirty blacks and four whites for their role in the Conspiracy of 1741, a supposed insurrection by slaves and poor whites. Like the Salem witch trials, this event is now seen by some scholars as a case of mass hysteria, in which a number of acts of arson were attributed to a criminal conspiracy.

A 1919 history of African Americans in California took shape through research at the Bancroft itself. Author Delilah Beasley spent many years in Bancroft poring over California and black newspapers and archives to research her book.

Less well-known materials are displayed alongside famous items such as the most popular novel of the 19th century — Uncle Tom’s Cabin, the 1852 anti-slavery classic by Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Toni Morrison’s 1987 novel Beloved.

The range and depth of the collection reflects Litwack’s lifelong quest to uncover and to teach the history of race relations in America and the experiences of people long absent from the historical narrative. He has authored four major books and countless articles, and has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award.

Prof. Leon Litwack discusses his writing experiences Tuesday, March 12, 2002, as part of the Berkeley Writers at Work lecture series. (Photo by Noah Berger).

Litwack retired from Berkeley in 2007 after forty-three years. His final lecture on America’s racial divide was entitled “Fight the Power.”

Litwack has long been a passionate advocate for the importance of the Library, an advocacy which dates back to his undergraduate years at Berkeley, starting in 1948. “What I coveted more than anything else was a job in the UC Library,” he said. “And I was fortunate enough to get one . . . That was just fabulous.”

“The Gift to Sing: Highlights of the Leon F. Litwack and Bancroft Library African American Collections” is on display in the Bancroft Library Gallery through February 17, 2017, from 10 am to 4 pm.

The tale of the Van Gogh note

Van Gogh's self portrait, the Bancroft Library document on Van Gogh's severed ear, and the artist's depiction of Dr. Félix Rey. (Images courtesy Van Gogh Museum and Bancroft Library)

Van Gogh’s self portrait, the Bancroft Library document on Van Gogh’s severed ear, and the artist’s depiction of Dr. Félix Rey. (Images courtesy Van Gogh Museum and Bancroft Library)

On August 18, 1930, Vincent Van Gogh’s doctor drafted a small, unassuming note describing the artist’s severed ear. Over the next 86 years, the note traveled from its home in Arles, France, to the United States with author Irving Stone and eventually to The Bancroft Library in Berkeley. The document will make a television appearance in the PBS special Van Gogh’s Ear on Wednesday, December 14 at 10 p.m. (locally on KQED 9). Here is the story of its 86-year path, from a first-person perspective of the document itself …

August 1930: I started out today, August 18, as a piece of ordinary paper in a prescription pad. I had been patiently awaiting my chance to become something. I now have not one, but two, drawings that illustrate how much of Vincent Van Gogh’s ear was cut off on December 23, 1888. The doctor who treated the artist decades ago, Dr. Félix Rey, crafted the document in black ink specifically for author Irving Stone, and included the note:

I’m happy to be able to give you the information you have requested concerning my unfortunate friend Van Gogh. I sincerely hope that you won’t fail to glorify the genius of this remarkable painter, as he deserves.

Cordially yours,
Dr. Rey

1930-1994: I am now in the possession of Stone and, as it turns out, I am going to be part of something big. Stone had been in Europe researching Van Gogh for an upcoming book, Lust for Life, and that is just where I met him. I’m told the biographical novel about Van Gogh, published in 1934, has the potential to jumpstart Stone’s writing career.

December 1994: After enjoying many years with Stone and his wife, Jean, I am now on my way to UC Berkeley, where Stone received his bachelor’s degree and pursued a doctorate. I am excited that some familiar faces will be joining me in the famed archives at The Bancroft Library. I am part of a collection of over 550 boxes that consist of Stone’s correspondence; research material, drafts, publicity, and ephemera related to his writings; professional and personal papers; and subject files, along with some of Jean’s papers.

As luck would have it, I am now sharing my new home with other notes and documents that Stone gathered about Van Gogh. I’m in a folder, in a box, on a shelf in the Library’s archives. It’s quite dark in here (they say the dark is good for me in my old age). But, not to worry, I am confident something big awaits me one day. I am in box 91, which sounds like a very important number.

January 2010: I was taken off the shelf, out of my box and freed of my folder by archivist David Kessler at The Bancroft Library! It turns out that author Bernadette Murphy, an Englishwoman living in France, had a hunch that I existed, and that I was something special. I’ve received the royal treatment since that box opened. I was even scanned!

July 2016: Murphy’s book, Van Gogh’s Ear: The True Story, has been published. The book has been said to cast “dramatic new light on one of history’s most famous episodes of self-harm, neatly and convincingly skewering many long-held myths.” And, some might venture to say I’m a star. Apparently the note Dr. Rey wrote on little-old-me ends decades of dispute about how much of Van Gogh’s ear was severed.

Things are really starting to get interesting. I’m on my way to Amsterdam for an extended stay at the Van Gogh Museum. I’m now framed (big upgrade from that folder). I will travel by plane with Bancroft Library curator David Faulds and some security, too.

November 2016: After a few months in Amsterdam, I am headed back to Berkeley, where I will be on display for a short while before returning to cozy box 91. I must say, it was quite nice to sit among the revered paintings of Van Gogh. I hadn’t seen that much color in years. Curator Faulds is traveling on coach from Berkeley to Amsterdam. I am told that, thanks to me, we get to ride business class back to the United States (I’ll be in the overhead bin).

Thankfully, my days of fame aren’t over quite yet. I will be featured in a PBS documentary in December. And, of course, there’s always the possibility another inspired researcher will seek me out at The Bancroft Library. I am hopeful there could be more adventures ahead!

George P. Shultz: First Oral History for Economist Life Stories

It’s with great anticipation that we announce “Problems and Principles: George P. Shultz and the Uses of Economic Thinking,” the first oral history in a new project called Economist Life Stories, featuring in-depth interviews with some of the most influential economists of the twentieth century. George Shultz is perhaps best known for his public service. He was appointed Secretary of Labor, the first Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and Secretary of the Treasury during the Nixon Administration, and later became Secretary of State during the Reagan Administration. But before that, he was professor of economics and dean of the Graduate School of Business at the University of Chicago. Mr. Shultz talks at length about his years at Chicago, but a thread throughout this life history is the economist’s way of thinking about and understanding the world. Most importantly, from his military service in World War II to his far-ranging policy analysis since he left public life, Mr. Shultz speaks of the importance of moving past ideological positions to work with others to solve concrete problems.

The interviews were conducted by Paul Burnett at the Hoover Institution in sessions over four days in September of 2015. Hodson Thornber and Paul Burnett organized the project with Toni Shears of the Becker Friedman Institute, with important support from an advisory group of historians and economists.

Financial support for this work was provided by Richard Elden, a member of the Becker Friedman Institute Council, whose contribution is gratefully acknowledged.

Although this project focuses on the leaders and students of the University of Chicago Department of Economics, the Graduate School of Business, and the Law School, we hope to add more stories from economists around the world as the project expands. In December, we will launch the second interview in this project, with economist Arnold Harberger.

105 Years of Women’s Suffrage in California

This post comes from Sonia Kahn, one of our student employees who has been digging into some of our favorite digital collections. Today we discuss voting!

With the possibility of a female president now a real possibility, it’s hard to imagine that less than 100 years ago, all women did not have the right to vote in the United States. Many students across the nation now memorize the infamous 19th Amendment, passed in 1920, as granting American women the right to vote. But in fact many women to the west of the Mississippi had gained the right to vote long before their East Coast sisters joined them in 1920. At the beginning of 1920, women had already achieved full equality in suffrage in 15 states, and partial suffrage in another 20, leaving only 12 states where women were completely left out of the voting process. Indeed, here in California, women have had the right to vote since 1911, when the Golden State joined a total of five other Western states in granting women the full right to vote in all elections.

Women vote for President... why not in California? [broadside]

Women vote for President… why not in California? [broadside]

California was not the first state to give women the right to vote. That title belongs to Wyoming, which granted full suffrage to its citizens in 1869 while still a territory. Wyoming was followed by the likes of Utah, Colorado, and Idaho, all giving women the right to vote in the 19th century. California had also attempted to pass equal suffrage before the turn of the century but the motion failed. Today the Bay Area is considered a progressive stronghold but in 1896 it was actually San Francisco and Alameda counties that crippled the suffrage attempt that year. Strong business interests, particularly the producers and sellers of alcohol, virulently opposed female suffrage, convinced that women with their conservative mindsets would vote for prohibition. All hope was not lost, however, and Californian suffragettes and their allies would try again 15 years later.

With the memory of defeat ever present, California suffragettes implemented a new strategy when the topic of equal suffrage came up for a vote once more. Recalling that business had a strong hold on the state’s major cities, supporters of equal suffrage targeted voters in rural and southern California. To get the word out they used traditional tactics such as handing out more than 90,000 “Votes for Women” buttons and distributing three million pieces of promotional literature across southern California alone. But the suffragettes did more than put up posters and hand out buttons. They also pasted their message on billboards and often used electric signs, relaying their message with a spark.

Equal Suffrage League of San Francisco (ribbon)

Equal Suffrage League of San Francisco (ribbon)

October 10, 1911, was the day of reckoning in which allies of equal suffrage would see if their efforts bore fruit. Again both San Francisco and Alameda counties voted down the measure, and suffrage passed by just a hair in Los Angeles, to the dismay of many suffragettes. But all was not lost, and the tide began to turn as votes from California’s rural districts were tallied. When the final tally was made, equal suffrage had just barely come out on top with a miraculously small margin of just 3,587 votes, out of a total 246,487 ballots cast.

Today in California 73% of eligible adults are registered to vote, but just 43% of those adults turned out for the November 2014 election, a record low. This is a significant decrease from 2012 in which 72% of registered voters turned out to the polls.

One-hundred five years ago, fewer than 4,000 people were pivotal in changing the course of California history. Had they not voted, women in California might have had to wait another nine years to have their voices heard. To the women in California in 1911, a handful of votes were essential in advancing civil rights for thousands, proving that your vote truly does matter.

Check out the collection here: https://calisphere.org/collections/11601/

New Oral History Research Series: “Making Sense of My World Through Oral History” by David Montejano

Date: Monday November 14, 2016

Time: Noon to 1:15pm

Location: Oral History Center Conference Room, Bancroft

New Oral History Research Series: “Making Sense of My World Through Oral History” by David Montejano

The Oral History Center of The Bancroft Library throughout the academic year hosts occasional presentations of the most current and interesting oral history-based research being conductedPhoto of David Montejano book Quixote's Soldierstoday. In this second “brown-bag” presentation of the year, Berkeley Ethnic Studies Professor David Montejano will be speaking about his decades-spanning work as a historian and sociologist and the role oral history has played in his work. Dr. Montejano’s major areas of interest include Comparative and Historical Sociology, Political Sociology, Social Change, Race and Ethnic Relations, and Community Studies. A native of San Antonio, he received a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin and two Masters and a Ph.D. from Yale University. Dr. Montejano is the author of the prizewinning historical overview, Anglos and Mexicans in the Making of Texas, 1836-1986 (Austin: Univ of Texas Press, 1987; 7th Printing, 1999). The book also has been translated and published in Mexico (Mexico City: Editorial Alianza, 1991). He has authored numerous scholarly articles and book chapters, and edited Chicano Politics and Society in the Late Twentieth Century (Austin: Univ of Texas Press, 1999). His most recent publication is Quixote’s Soldiers: A Local History of the Chicano Movement, 1966-1981 (Univ of Texas Press, 2010).

Show Your Support

Show Your Support button to donate to the Library

Library Events Calendar

Subscribe to Email