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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Type Tuesday - Typothetæ and Platemaker

Today we feature another selection from the Kemble Collection's outstanding holdings of periodicals on printing and typography. 

Typothetæ and Platemaker was a journal “devoted to Printers, Engravers and Electrotypers” and featured beautifully illustrated, brightly colored covers.

The California Historical Society's Kemble Collection holds the full run of Typothetæ and Platemaker, from January of 1898 to December of 1900. January of 1901 marked a name change for the journal to The Progressive Printer, which the California Historical Society also houses.

Visit the California Historical Society's North Baker Research Library to view these (and many other) gorgeous journals available in our Kemble Collection on Western Printing and Publishing. 

Jaime Henderson

Monday, January 26, 2015

Manuscript Monday—Guyana Emergency Relief Committee

Guyana Emergency Relief Committee press release, 1979 January 18, Donneter Lane papers relating to the Guyana Emergency Relief Committee, MS 3792, California Historical Society
The Peoples Temple Collection at the California Historical Society comprises over twenty collections of diverse archival materials, including organizational records; government documents; official and personal correspondence; newspapers and other publications; research materials; photographs; film and video tapes; audio recordings; and three-dimensional artifacts. Thanks to the generous donations of journalists, scholars, former Peoples Temple members, families, and friends, the collection has grown considerably since 1983—when the California and Guyana courts first deposited the Peoples Temple Records at CHS—and continues to grow, providing the most comprehensive archival record of the organization, from its origins in Indiana to the aftermath of the deaths of November 18, 1978.

Among these collections is a small but significant body of records maintained by Donneter Lane of the Guyana Emergency Relief Committee. The Guyana Emergency Relief Committee (GERC) was formed on November 28, 1978, by members of the San Francisco religious community in response to the deaths of over 900 people at Jonestown, Guyana, on November 18, 1978. Composed of representatives of the San Francisco Council of Churches, the Archdiocese of San Francisco, and the Board of Rabbis of Northern California, the Committee had a two-fold purpose: to assist with the expeditious return of over 500 bodies from Dover Air Base, Delaware, to California for proper burial; and to provide counseling, pastoral services, and material assistance to grieving families.

In order to obtain funds for the interment of unidentified or unclaimed bodies from Peoples Temple assets, the Committee participated in proceedings held in the Superior Court of California for the winding up and dissolution of Peoples Temple (Peoples Temple of the Disciples of Christ v. The Attorney General of the State of California) as an Amicus Curiae ("friend of the court"). The Superior Court ordered that a portion of Peoples Temple assets be set aside to pay for burial expenses, and approved the Committee's plan for the removal, transportation, and burial of the bodies.

Cooperating closely with the State Department, the Committee communicated with family members (representing over 547 Jonestown victims) by telephone and letter. On a case by case basis, the Committee ascertained the wishes of family members regarding the burial of loved ones, arranged for the shipment and interment of remains, and helped family members obtain reimbursement for burial expenses. On May 10, 1979, the first 50 unidentified bodies were buried at Evergreen Cemetery in Oakland, California.

The collection at CHS documents the Committee’s early and diligent efforts to ensure dignified burials for Jonestown victims. In an interview for the book The Need for a Second Look at Jonestown (edited by Rebecca Moore and Fielding M. McGehee III), Rabbi Malcolm Sparer, one of the principal organizers of the Committee, recalled that only fifty members of the community attended a memorial service for the Jonestown victims organized by San Francisco Council of Churches and held the Sunday night before the assassination of Mayor Moscone. Despite the winds of fear and violence that swept over San Francisco in the terrible final months of 1978, the members of the Guyana Emergency Relief Committee resolved to pursue a course of pastoral care, cooperation, and healing.

The collection is currently in process and will be available for research use soon.

Marie Silva
Archivist & Manuscripts Librarian

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Type Tuesday - The Merrymount Press

Today we feature type specimens from the Merrymount Press. 

The press was founded by Daniel Berkeley Updike in  Boston, Massachusetts and remained active from 1893-1941.

The Merrymount Press is considered to have printed books that best represent the Arts and Crafts movement in American book arts.

The press' archives are housed at the Boston Athenaeum.

Jaime Henderson,

Friday, January 16, 2015

Mojo Navigator Rock & Roll News

The wild going-ons of San Francisco’s psych rock scene were recorded in the West Coast’s first rock & roll magazine Mojo Navigator R&R News. Its premier issue, published by teenagers David Harris and Greg Shaw on August 8, 1966, includes a colophon stating the Mojo Publishing Company, at 2707 McAllister Street, San Francisco, would publish weekly. The mimeographed, stapled zine did not stick too closely to this arduous weekly schedule - presumably its young editors were busy attending the many musical performances, light shows, be-ins and happenings that Mojo Navigator covered in its gossip and events columns. Instead, only fourteen issues were published beginning in August of 1966 and ceasing sometime in 1967. But these fourteen issues included interviews with bands that would come to be known as seminal rock & roll artists, and the short-lived zine would be considered a major influence for the creation and publication of Rolling Stone magazine.  

Harris and Shaw attended high school together in a Bay Area suburb. Harris had been a rock & roll fan, listening to Berkeley’s KPFA Midnight Special radio show, which featured local artists such as The Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin playing live music and attending shows at the Longshoreman’s Hall, the Avalon Ballroom and the Fillmore Auditorium. Shaw was more interested in print – writing and publishing two fanzines. The first, Entmoot, was devoted to the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien, and the second, a sci-fi fanzine called Freemwlort. What Shaw might have lacked in knowledge of the San Francisco rock & roll scene, he more than made up for with his zine making skills, including a keen talent for stenciling and being particularly handy with the mimeograph machine.  

  Young Greg Shaw at his mimeograph machine.


Just out of high school, Harris, Shaw, and Geoff Evans, Mojo Navigator’s art director, moved to McAllister Street, nearby Golden Gate Park’s Panhandle, where the Diggers distributed free food to any person who was hungry and held rallies and happenings for the hippies that proliferated in the Haight neighborhood. From their apartment, Harris and Shaw began work on the first issue of Mojo Navigator R&R News. Published Tuesday, August 8, 1966, the typed, four-paged zine contained gossip and news about Bay Area artists such as Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother and the Holding Company and R&B artists such as Howlin’ Wolf and Bo Diddley; Shaw’s record reviews of The Peter, Paul and Mary Album (“Don’t expect much from this record if you do buy it”) and the Byrds Fifth Dimension (“every song is flavored strongly with originality and performed flawlessly”); and a special report on radio DJ Wolf Man Jack, based out of Chula Vista, California, who could be heard in the Bay Area on XERB 1090 from 9 pm to 3 am. One hundred copies of the inaugural issue were printed and made available in local stores, such as Cosmo’s Grocery Store, the Psychedelic Shop and City Lights Bookstore.

As Mojo Navigator’s popularity grew so too did its print runs and distribution. The burgeoning San Francisco rock & roll scene created a fan base that yearned for a smart, hip and in-the-know music magazine that featured news and criticisms about the bands they were listening to. The teen magazines such as Teenbeat and 16 wouldn’t touch the long-haired, drugged out, heavy guitar bands, instead still focusing on teenybopper pop and American Bandstand hit makers. Music journalist Mick Farren noted: “A new and serious breed of rock fan required a publication that could be trusted to clue them in on all that was happening as original music – from A to Z, from The Animals to Frank Zappa – poured from every creative orifice....  An embryonic rock magazine would need to have the grit of the street and a delinquent iconoclasm.”

Short on the heels of the publication of East Coast writer Paul Williams’ Crawdaddy - the earliest rock & roll fanzine - Mojo Navigator R&R News provided its San Francisco Bay Area readers with reviews, gossip, and interviews with bands producing the acid-infused, psychedelic sounds of the local scene, while also keeping its hip readers in the loop about happenings such as the San Francisco Calliope Company’s dance parties and the Diggers' Love Pageant Rally, where participants gathered together to ingest LSD on October 6, 1966. Farren notes that Mojo Navigator’s writing was “smart, and yet still manage[d] to retain the disturbed and disturbing subversion of the street.” 

During Mojo Navigator’s just-over-one-year, fourteen issue run, Harris and Shaw managed to interview the heavyweights of  rock & roll, publishing possibly the first interview with the Grateful Dead in August and September of 1966 (before the release of their self-titled first album in 1967); and interviews with Big Brother and the Holding Co., Country Joe and the Fish, and the Doors. The magazine ceased publication in 1967, not before providing a major influence to fellow San Franciscan Jann Wenner, who began publication of Rolling Stone magazine in November of 1967.

In 1970 Greg Shaw introduced Who Put the Bomp in response to the "mainstream" music press. The magazine published the early writings of rock music journalists Lester Bangs, Greil Marcus and Richard Meltzer, and grew into an independent record label, BOMP!, with the 1974 release of the San Francisco-based band Flamin' Groovies' single "You Tore Me Down." BOMP! Records has released innumerable influential artists in the garage, punk and power pop genres. The label continues today under the guidance of Suzy Shaw, ex-wife and life-long friend and partner to Greg, after his death in 2004. 

The California Historical Society holds four of the fourteen issues of Mojo Navigator R&R News, including the rare first issue, and the issues featuring the two part interview with the Grateful Dead. We will be featuring our holdings of Mojo Navigator R&R News, along with other rock & roll ephemera and posters from the CHS vaults in an open house as part of our program Creating a Lasting Cultural Community: The 50th Anniversary of the Grateful Dead, featuring author Dennis McNally, Grateful Dead archivist Nicholas Meriweather and Peter Richardson, author of No Simple Highway: A Cultural History of the Grateful Dead, on Thursday, January 22, from 5:30 to 8:00 pm. Vault materials will be available for viewing in our library from 5:30 to 6:00, so be sure to get there early to check them out! Grab your ticket for the event here!

Works cited: 
Shaw, Suzy and Mick Farren. BOMP! Saving the World One Record at a Time. American Modern Books, 2007.

Jaime Henderson

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

This Tribe of People: The Witches

The California Historical Society has just processed and cataloged a recent donation of sixty-six photographs of self-described witches of Northern California from the late 1990s, taken by Peter Hughes (1948-2008).  Hughes, who lived and worked on the Monterey Peninsula from 1994 to 2006, wrote that in these photographs he wanted “to create a myth, reflect a personal ideal, and in the process, show my subjects as goddesses and gods, far removed from the mundane world in which they ordinarily live.”  Hughes set out to portray the images that the participants had of themselves, showing what the author and activist Starhawk said of these photos -- “what magic feels like from the inside.”
Witchcraft (or “Craft,” as it’s commonly referred to by its members) is practiced by men as well as women, men also calling themselves witches.  The Craft community is goddess-centered and its spirituality is nature-based.  Its practitioners see the Earth as alive and feminine.  The Craft celebrates the seasons and life’s passages, centering on cycles of birth, growth, death, decay and regeneration.  Cycles are symbolically represented by spirals, circles, pentacles and mandalas, many of these shapes appearing within the photographs.
A revival of interest in witchcraft occurred in the late 1960s and early 1970s, a time that embraced alternative modes of perception and the search for meaning and spirit in an increasingly materialistic culture.  This, along with a growing women’s movement and a renewed respect for folk traditions created an environment much more conducive to the philosophies of the Craft.  M. Macha Nightmare, who appears in several of Hughes’ photos, wrote:  “We began to call ourselves Witches.  Long associated with social outcasts and misfits, the term Witch also enabled us to identify with our foremothers and our women’s heritage.  We identified with the Witches who were persecuted and martyred in Europe during the fourteenth century through the sixteenth centuries.  For many, taking the name Witch signifies a new realization of their personal ‘power from within’ rather than ‘power over.’”
These witches see the goddess in everything and they invoke a goddess presence in their rituals.  Many witches have a specific pantheon, such as Greek, Celtic or Egyptian.  The presence of a male deity is often a part of their rituals, the more common forms being the cloven-hooved, antlered or horned gods (one particular image in the collection shows a male witch holding a pair of antlers to his head).
Traditionally, witches perform rites in their homes, backyards, beaches, and groves of trees, and the majority of these photographs were taken near the beach or in forested areas.  Most of the photographs are portraits of the witches in the nude.  Some witches work wearing robes, but more often they work in the nude, or, as they call it, Skyclad.  To be Skyclad symbolizes freedom and enables an unrestricted flow of energy.  Costumes, props and masks are often used in Craft work and many of these are on display in these photographs.  Most witches use tools, each associated with a cardinal point (e.g., North), and element (e.g., Fire) and a season.  Some of the most common tools used are the athamé (a double-sided dagger), sword, cup or chalice, and pentangle.  Natural objects such as feathers, bones and shells can also serve as tools, all of which are featured prominently in these images.
M. Macha Nightmare has said that Peter Hughes used his camera as his magical tool, reshaping the world.  Hughes’ widow, Denise Sallee (the subject of two portraits), said Peter considered himself a magician, a practitioner and believer in a magical universe.  She also noted, “When we finished this project he felt he had documented, as an anthropologist might, this ‘tribe of people.’”
The California Historical Society thanks Denise Sallee for her generous donation of this collection, Photographs of Witches of Northern California by Peter Hughes, 1997-1999 (PC 15)

Wendy Welker
Archivist & Librarian

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Type Tuesday - Typefoundry D. Stempel Ltd.

Today's Type Tuesday just a bit prematurely celebrates the 150th anniversary of the founding of Typefoundry D. Stempel Ltd. 

 On January 15, 1895 David Stempel opened his type foundry in Frankfurt on the Main, Germany. Besides employing  a cadre of important font designers, including Victor Hammer and Hermann Zapf, the foundry was known for being the first to cast modern slab serif typefaces with the introduction of its Memphis font in 1929. 

We feature D. Stempel Ltd.'s type specimen Success Series, "an exceedingly attractive type family," offering a variety of samples of the type along with examples of the type in advertising. 

Jaime Henderson

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Type Tuesday - More from Internationaler Graphischer Muster-Austansch des Deutschen Buchdricker-Vereins

Today we feature a few more selections from Internationaler Graphischer Muster-Austansch des Deutschen Buchdricker-Vereins, the publication of the German Printers Association of Leipzig. These images are taken from the 1889 edition of the publication. 

Jaime Henderson