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Politics and Protest: Collections from The Bancroft Library

Overview of Collections

The Bancroft Library holds the personal and professional papers of many Bay Area activists, from the early days of California statehood to the present day. The issues championed include civil rights, labor, fair housing and employment, school desegregation, anti-nuclear weapons and war, women's rights, affirmative action, disability rights, and more. A good number of these collections have a companion pictorial component that is cataloged separately.

For the papers of environmental activists, please visit the Environmental Collections at The Bancroft Library LibGuide, specifically, the Key Individuals and Legislation and Lawsuits tabs.

Selina Solomons

Selina Solomons, a prominent suffragette in California, founded the Votes for Women Club in San Francisco in 1910. Contrary to other women’s clubs at the time that were aimed at the elite and educated, hers was intended for working-class women, such as shop girls and clerks. Her club served meals and had a reading room well stocked with suffragette literature. Solomons would go on to author a first-hand account of the successful 1911 California campaign in How We Won the Vote in California that was published in 1912.

Woman suffrage election day ribbon

Woman suffrage election day ribbon
Image citation: California Woman Suffrage movement pennant and ribbon from the Selina Solomons papers, BANC PIC 1961.023--OBJ, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley

Paul Scharrenberg

An immigrant from Germany, Paul Scharrenberg worked in San Francisco for the American Seamen's Union and soon became editor of its Seamen's Journal. He was an active member of the California Federation of Labor from about 1904 and served as secretary from 1910 to 1936. In addition, he was a member of the Commission of Immigration and Housing from 1913 to 1922, the San Francisco City Planning Commission from 1917 to 1926, and the State Board of Harbor Commissioners from 1927 to 1931. Scharrenberg served as legislative representative for the American Federation of Labor in Washington, D.C. from 1937 to 1943, when he was called back to California by Governor Earl Warren to serve as director of the California State Department of Industrial Relations.

Scharrenberg's scrapbook, 1923-1929

Scharrenberg's scrapbook, 1923-1929
Image citation: Paul Scharrenberg papers, BANC MSS C-B 906, Volume 4, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley

Cottrell Laurence Dellums

After moving to Oakland, California, as a young man, C. L. Dellums worked for the Pullman Company as a sleeping car porter and observed the difficult working conditions and discrimination against African Americans on the job. He would go on to become a union organizer and an International vice president for the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. Dellums became involved in the civil rights movement, eventually serving as the Western Regional Director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and appointed by Governor Edmund G. Brown to serve on the California Fair Employment Practice Commission. He advocated for the passage of the California Fair Employment Practice Act, the first anti-discriminatory law in the country, and continued his involvement with racial discrimination cases in employment and housing.

Dellums picket sign

Picket sign
Image citation: Cottrell Laurence Dellums papers, BANC MSS 72/132, Oversize Box 15, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley

Eldridge Cleaver

Leroy Eldridge Cleaver rose to prominence in the late 1960s as a leading African American intellectual and political revolutionary. As minister of information for the Black Panther Party during tumultuous years of social upheaval, Cleaver became a symbol of rebellion, freedom, and eloquence for those seeking political and social change. His 1968 best-selling book of essays, Soul on Ice, served as a guidebook for radicals in the New Left, student, and civil rights movements.

Eldridge Cleaver in front of press clippings

Eldridge Cleaver in front of press clippings
Image citation: Eldridge Cleaver photograph collection, BANC PIC 1991.078--PIC, Box 3, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley

Edward V. Roberts

Edward V. Roberts contracted poliomyelitis in 1953 at the age of 14 and became a respiratory quadriplegic. In 1962, he was the first student with severe disabilities to attend UC Berkeley. He co-founded the Physically Disabled Students Program (PDSP) at Berkeley in 1970, then expanded the program into the community as the Center for Independent Living (CIL) in 1972. Roberts was appointed director of the California State Department of Rehabilitation in 1975, serving until 1983. He then co-founded the World Institute on Disability (WID), serving as president until his death in 1995. Roberts also was involved with Disabled Peoples International (DPI) and served on many committees and advisory boards of disability organizations. An avid public speaker, he advocated for disability rights through appearances all over the world.

Edward V. Roberts

Edward V. Roberts
Image citation: Edward V. Roberts photographs from the World Institute on Disability records, BANC PIC 2015.010--PIC, Box 1, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley

Sandra Farha

Sandra Farha became an activist for women's rights in the early 1970s. She continued her work for pay and job equality, reproductive rights and political power for women into the 1980s. In 1983, she became the California State Coordinator for the National Organization for Women (NOW). She maintained her involvement in state and national politics throughout her life, supporting the campaigns of numerous women and other candidates from underrepresented groups.

Issue buttons

A sampling of issue buttons
Image citation: Sandra Farha papers, BANC MSS 2015/172, Box 1, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley

Mary Moore

Mary Moore, an activist in Sonoma County, California, began her work in social protest during the civil rights era of the 1960s. In the 1970s, Moore was an active member of the Abalone Alliance, an environmental group dedicated to fighting the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant. Moore founded the Bohemian Grove Action Network in the 1980s. She would go on to tackle and document a wide range of causes, including racism, sexism, classism, nuclear power, capital punishment, economic segregation, police brutality, abuse of workers, immigration crackdowns, Zionism, and war.

Occupy Oakland clippings

Folder of Occupy Oakland clippings
Image citation: Mary Moore papers, BANC MSS 2018/260, Carton 4, Folder 8, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley

Key Collections

NOTE: For the papers of environmental activists, please visit the Environmental Collections at The Bancroft Library Libguide, specifically the Key Individuals and Legislation and Lawsuits tabs.

Anne Henrietta Martin papers, 1834-1951 (bulk 1900-1951)
BANC MSS P-G 282

Collection Finding Aid
► Subjects: Women's suffrage
► Pictorial Collection: Photographs from the Anne Henrietta Martin papers, 1910-1928, BANC PIC 1951.006--PIC

Mary McHenry Keith: Keith-McHenry-Pond family papers, 1841-1961
BANC MSS C-B 595

Collection Finding Aid (some online images available)
► Subjects: Women's suffrage

Fannie McLean: McLean family papers, 1850-1950
BANC MSS C-B 501

Collection Finding Aid (some online images available)
► Subjects: Women's suffrage

Laura Gordon papers, 1856-1882
BANC MSS 80/108

Collection Finding Aid
► Subject: Women's suffrage

Selina Solomons papers, 1867-1921
BANC MSS C-B 773

► Subjects: Women's suffrage
► Related Collection: California Woman Suffrage movement pennant and ribbon from the Selina Solomons papers

Florence Richardson Wyckoff papers, 1869-2000 (bulk 1940-1990)
BANC MSS 78/55

Collection Finding Aid
► Subjects: Children's rights, labor

Thomas J. Mooney papers, 1887-1949 (bulk 1930-1942)
BANC MSS C-B 410

Collection Finding Aid
► Subjects: Labor
► Pictorial Collection: Photographs from the Thomas J. Mooney papers, 1908-1939, BANC PIC 1945.003

Mary Roberts Coolidge: Dane Coolidge papers, 1889-1942
BANC MSS C-H 82

Collection Finding Aid
► Subjects: Women's suffrage

Paul Scharrenberg papers, 1893-1960
BANC MSS C-B 906

Collection Finding Aid
► Subjects: Labor
► Pictorial Collection: Photographs from the Paul Scharrenberg papers, 1920-1949, BANC PIC 1964.068--PIC

Thomas M. Jackson papers, 1903-1963
BANC MSS 92/97

► Subjects: Civil rights, racial justice, NAACP
► Pictorial Collection: Thomas M. Jackson photograph collection, 1908-1979, BANC PIC 1992.038--AX (unprocessed collection)

Lucile W. Green papers, 1907-1998 (unprocessed collection)
BANC MSS 2001/70
► Subjects: World peace movement, world federalist movement

Austin Lewis papers, 1913-1944
BANC MSS C-B 467

Collection Finding Aid
► Subjects: Labor, civil liberties

Mabel Vernon papers, 1914-1920
BANC MSS P-G 283

Collection Finding Aid
► Subjects: Women's suffrage

Cottrell Laurence Dellums papers, 1920-1971
BANC MSS 72/132

Collection Finding Aid
► Subjects: Civil rights, fair employment, Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters

Carey McWilliams papers, 1921-1980 (partially unprocessed collection)
BANC MSS C-H 46
Collection Finding Aid
► Subjects: Labor

Hamilton T. Boswell papers, 1930-2009
BANC MSS 2015/203

Collection Finding Aid
► Subjects: Civil rights, fair housing

Selden Osborne papers, 1933-1988
BANC MSS 90/45

Collection Finding Aid
► Subjects: Labor, International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union

Kirk Macgugan papers, 1941-1996
BANC MSS 97/143

Collection Finding Aid
► Subjects: Disability rights, women's rights

Patricia Freeman papers, 1945-1989 (bulk 1971-1989)
BANC MSS 89/163

► Subjects: Civil rights, NAACP

Frank Rowe papers, 1946-1986 (bulk 1970s-1980s)
BANC MSS 96/66

► Subjects: Loyalty Oath
► Pictorial Collection: Prints, drawings and posters from the Frank Rowe papers, 1970-1985, BANC PIC 1996.031

Judith E. Heumann papers, 1947-2003 (partially unprocessed collection)
BANC MSS 99/143
Collection Finding Aid
► Subjects: Disability Rights

Charles Garry legal files, 1950-1986
BANC MSS 2001/66

► Please email bancref@library.berkeley.edu for container listing
► Subjects: Civil rights, Black Panther Party

Evelyn M. Clar papers, 1950-1993 (bulk 1950-1956)
BANC MSS 90/149

Collection Finding Aid
► Subjects: League of Women Voters

Edward V. Roberts papers, 1953-1998 (bulk 1975-1995)
BANC MSS 99/34

Collection Finding Aid
► Subjects: Disability rights

Anne Weymouth Deirup collection on desegregation of Berkeley schools, 1954-1979
BANC MSS 2002/214

Collection Finding Aid
► Subjects: School integration, affirmative action

Paul Jacobs papers, 1959-1980 (unprocessed collection)
BANC MSS 99/349
► Subjects: Civil rights, labor, ACLU, NAACP
► Related Collection: Paul Jacobs papers relating to George H. McLain and the old age pension movement in California, 1948-1955, BANC MSS 67/6
► Related Collection: My Senate campaign book, 1968, BANC MSS 70/186
► Related Collection: Paul Jacobs papers, 1967-1969, BANC MSS 72/7
► Related Collection: Paul Jacobs papers, 1964-1978, BANC MSS 79/107

Gene Bernardi papers, 1960-2018 (unprocessed collection)
BANC MSS 2012/151
► Subjects: Civil rights, public welfare

William Bronston papers, 1961-2008 (partially unprocessed collection)
BANC MSS 2002/227
Collection Finding Aid
► Subjects: Disability rights

Robert L. Allen papers, 1962-2015
BANC MSS 2017/193

Collection Finding Aid (online items available)
► Subjects: Civil Rights, Port Chicago, Vietnam War

Eldridge Cleaver papers, 1963-1988 (partially restricted collection)
BANC MSS 91/213
Collection Finding Aid
► Subjects: Civil rights, Black Panther Party
► Pictorial Collection: Eldridge Cleaver photograph collection, 1966-1982, BANC PIC 1991.078

Jefferson F. Poland papers, approximately 1965-1973
BANC MSS 99/157

► Please email bancref@library.berkeley.edu for container listing
► Subjects: LGBTQ+ rights

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz papers, 1965-2018 (partially restricted and unprocessed collection)
BANC MSS 2004/222
Collection Finding Aid
► Subjects: Indigenous rights

Hale Zukas papers, 1971-1998
BANC MSS 99/150

Collection Finding Aid (some online images)
► Subjects: Disability rights

Sandra Farha papers, 1978-2015 (bulk 1981-2004)
BANC MSS 2015/172

Collection Finding Aid
► Subjects: Women's' rights

Mary Moore papers, 1978-2018
BANC MSS 2018/260

Collection Finding Aid
► Subjects: Anti-nuclear, Occupy Movement, environmental justice, Standing Rock