[Archive of materials relating to the 1968–1969 Berkeley People’s Park Demonstrations.]
[Archive of materials relating to the 1968–1969 Berkeley People’s Park Demonstrations.]
[Archive of materials relating to the 1968–1969 Berkeley People’s Park Demonstrations.]
[Archive of materials relating to the 1968–1969 Berkeley People’s Park Demonstrations.]
[Archive of materials relating to the 1968–1969 Berkeley People’s Park Demonstrations.]
[Archive of materials relating to the 1968–1969 Berkeley People’s Park Demonstrations.]
[Archive of materials relating to the 1968–1969 Berkeley People’s Park Demonstrations.]
[Archive of materials relating to the 1968–1969 Berkeley People’s Park Demonstrations.]
[Archive of materials relating to the 1968–1969 Berkeley People’s Park Demonstrations.]
[Archive of materials relating to the 1968–1969 Berkeley People’s Park Demonstrations.]
[Archive of materials relating to the 1968–1969 Berkeley People’s Park Demonstrations.]

[Archive of materials relating to the 1968–1969 Berkeley People’s Park Demonstrations.]

[Berkeley, California, 1968–1969.]. 67 pieces of printed ephemera, including broadsides, handbills, pamphlet publications, and 30 contemporary news clippings.

An archive assembled contemporaneously by a Berkeley undergraduate, comprising sixty-seven individual pieces of printed ephemera, including broadsides, handbills, pamphlet publications and periodicals. Formats and printing processes vary widely, from tabloids to miniature handbills, and from mimeograph to professional offset printing (including a few manuscript items). Additionally, there are thirty contemporary news clippings taken from mainstream Bay Area newspapers including the San Francisco Chronicle, the Berkeley Gazette, and the U.C. Berkeley student newspaper the Daily Californian.

This substantial archive of contemporary printed materials relates to one of the most celebrated episodes in the underground youth movement of the Sixties, when thousands of students and community members joined to convert a piece of derelict property on the UC Berkeley campus into a park for all to enjoy. When the university issued an eviction notice, things turned ugly; one bystander was killed, another blinded and many others injured in the ensuing demonstrations, which lasted more than a week, culminating with then-Governor Ronald Reagan declaring a state of emergency and calling in National Guard troops to quell the riot. Among the more notorious aspects of the demonstration was the decision, made by Berkeley police under orders from the Governor’s office, to use live shotgun rounds in combatting the protesters—a decision which essentially guaranteed an escalation of the confrontation and resulted in a marked increase in casualties.

The materials here collected provide a vivid picture of both the colorful origins and the tragic aftermath of People’s Park. Nearly all—including even the professionally-printed items—are rare, with fewer than a dozen of the sixty-seven items found catalogued by author or title in OCLC. Many bear no authorial credit or publisher’s imprint, and are clearly amateur pieces produced and distributed in the heat of the moment. Among the highlights are five issues (including the very elusive Issue No. 1 of Instant News Service, the daily emergency newspaper issued by the People’s Press Syndicate during the duration of the protests; numerous student flyers announcing spur-of-the-moment rallies and vigils; several memorial flyers for James Rector, the student bystander who was shot and killed by Berkeley police; the mimeographed statement of C. Kilmer Myers, Catholic Bishop of California, dated May 23, 1969, calling for the withdrawal of National Guard troops and including the lyrics to Bob Dylan’s anti-war anthem “Blowing in the Wind”; and a great many other highly evocative ephemeral items, all distributed either during the demonstrations or shortly after. A full short-title list is available on request.

Though the widespread countercultural panic of 1968 still tends to exert a mythical hold on our country’s historical imagination, it was to this cataloguer’s mind People’s Park—the fiftieth anniversary of which we’ll celebrate in a few months—that best encapsulated the utopian ambitions of Vietnam-era insurgent movements, as well as the often brutal, nearly always tone-deaf, and ultimately futile counter-attacks by the reactionary elements of what was popularly referred to as “The Establishment.” Doubtless other such collections were assembled by sympathetic observers at the time of these events, but in our experience few have survived. And rarely have we encountered a collection assembled with such an eye to ephemerality and inclusiveness. This is a dense, ready-made teaching or research archive, filled with unrecorded materials, many of them now unique, or practically so, after the passage of half a century.

Archive contents:

1. “Soldiers! / Where are you from? We know—you are from somewhere ‘out of town.’” Broadsheet typescript note (14 x 21.5 cm); previous folds, else Near Fine. Signed at bottom of verso: “Soldiers and Veterans Committee of the People.” Warning the out-of-state troops brought in, explaining that the government chose not to mobilize local troops because “LOCAL TROOPS WOULD KNOW BETTER WHAT IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING.” Also warns the reader that “one of you may be murdered by a government agent or by a right wing gunman so the murder can be blamed on the peoples’ movement.”

2. [Hearn, Sneed]. “What Now?” [San Francisco: Sneed Hearn, 1969.] Octavo bifolium. Minor wrinkling, else Very Good. Issued after student James Rector was shot and killed by police. Not separately catalogued in OCLC (January, 2019).

3. Porchia, Antonio. “Voces.” Broadsheet flyer (21.5 x 11.5 cm); previous folds, else Near Fine. Xerographically reproduced aphorisms by the Argentinian poet from his collection “Voces,” this starting with the line “Every toy has the right to break.” Possibly distributed amongst demonstrators.

4. Bay Area Spartacist League. [Broadside] “The Park and the Revolution.” Berkeley: Bay Area Spartacist League, n.d. but 1969. Printed offset in black on yellow stock (28 x 21.5 cm); previous folds, else Near Fine. Issued after “Bloody Thursday,” calling for the people to “BUILD A VANGUARD PARTY! / GENERAL STRIKE AGAINST PIG TERROR.” Issued by the Trotskyist League, a local section of the International Communist League. Not separately catalogued in OCLC.

5. St. Francis of Assis. [Broadside] “Lord make me an instrument…” N.p., n.d. Broadside flyer (28 x 21.5 cm) printed offset in black on blue stock. Previous folds, else Near Fine. Presumably part of the literature handed out to demonstrators.

6. Anonymous. Two-page typescript document dated May 29, 1969. Previous folds, somewhat soiled (boot print?), else Very Good. Apparently an address delivered to the City Council by Berkeley High School students urging the Council to return the Park to the people and tear down the fence erected around the Park. Address dated two weeks after “Bloody Thursday” and the day before the (peaceful) May 30th march of 30,000 Berkeley citizens on the Park. The march is perhaps best remembered for the women who slid flowers into the muzzles National Guard rifles.

7. [Broadside] “Power IS the People.” N.p., n.d. Illustrated broadside flyer (28 x 21.5 cm) printed offset in black on pale blue stock. Previous folds, extremities a bit worn, else Very Good. Inspirational flyer reminding demonstrators that “We are here to show that the SPIRIT which built People’s Park can never be taken away by troops.”

8. Independent Socialist Club Public Workshop. [Broadsheet] “Building a Revolutionary Movement in America.” Illustrated broadsheet flyer (28 x 21.5 cm); printed offset in black on white stock. Previous folds, minor toning, else Near Fine. Advertising the Club’s May 31st (1969) workshop, including talks delivered by student activist Joel Geier and Peace and Freedom organizer Jack Weinberg.

9. “I.F. Stone’s Weekly, Vol. XVII, no. 10, May 19, 1969.” Washington: I.F. Stone’s Weekly, 1969. Quarto bifolium (28 cm); mail folds, postally used on rear panel, else Near Fine. Opening article “In Defense of the Campus Rebels.”

10. [Broadside] “Rally / Fight Racism and Stop War.” Printed offset on white stock (28 x 21.5 cm); stock rather toned, purple marker manuscript note on verso: “Appears that you care not for this conversation / Is this not so [sic]!” Flyer announcing a rally at Provo Park in Oakland, with addresses delivered by members of the Third World Liberation Front and the S.D.S. Dated January 22, 1969, though we find no contemporary newspaper coverage of such an event taking place.

11. Students for a Democratic Society. [Broadside] Wanted for Murder. Photo-illustrated broadside flyer (35.5 x 21.5 cm); previous folds, else Near Fine. Attack on Roger Heyns, “found guilty by the people for attempting to unleash a murderous assault on the student movement, resulting in the death of James Rector.” Signed “SDS.” Not separately catalogued in OCLC.

12. Young Socialist Alliance. [Broasheet] “Hear Paul Boutelle.” Photo-illustrated broadsheet flyer (21.5 x 28 cm) printed offset on white stock. Uneven toning, some wear from handling, else Very Good. Advertising an address to be delivered by Paul Boutelle, Socialist Workers Party candidate for Vice President, at Merritt College and Berkeley High School, Provo Park, October 4, 1968. Verso reproduces an article on Boutelle from The Black Panther Newspaper, September 28, 1968.

13. Students for a Democratic Society—University of California, Berkeley. [Broadsheet] “Support the Strike at S.F. State!” Broadsheet flyer (28 x 21.5 cm) printed offset in black on yellow stock. Tiny glue stain, previous fold, else Near Fine. Verso provides strike demands from the Black Students Union (“3. That there be a Department of Black Studies which will grant a Bachelor Degree,” etc.); and the Third World Liberation Front (“2. That 50 faculty positions be appropriated to the School of Ethnic Studies…”)

14. Merritt College. [Broadsheet] “Admission and Administration Procedures for Spring Quarter, 1969.” Printed from typescript on pink stock (33 x 21.5 cm); light toning at previous folds, else Very Good or better.

15. Book Center. [Broadside] Order form from the Book Center, “Headquarters fro Marxist Literature,” June, 1969. Printed from typescript on yellow stock (28 x 21 cm). Previous folds, else Fine. Unused order form listing twenty-six titles available from the Center, including works by Lenin, Engels, Chairman Mao, W.E.B. DuBois, Malcolm X, and many others.

16. [Broadside] “Don’t Let Heyns Fence Us Out.” Printed from typescript on white stock (28 x 21 cm); previous folds, ragged tear at bottom edge not approaching text, else Near Very Good. Flyer addressed to Berkeley mothers and children to participate at a People’s Park rally. Not separately catalogued in OCLC.

17. Berkeley Defense Committee. [Broadside] “There’s a Conspiracy Afoot …Stomp out Coakley’s conspiracy.” Illustrated broadside printed offset in hot pink on white stock (21.5 x 35.5 cm). Advertising a May 25, [1969], Benefit Dance for the Berkeley Three and Park Bail Fund, with a performance by Country Joe McDonald and a light show by Gary Fisher. Printer’s union stamp “Berkeley Graphic Arts” at bottom left-hand corner.

18. [Anonymous] “The Parking Lot That Thought It Was A Park.” 3ll. staplebound document printed from typescript on rectos only. Faint toning along left-hand edge, else Very Good or better. Short parable about People’s Park, at the time under consideration to be turned into a parking lot. Apparently never published.

19. Bay Area G.I. Civil Liberties Defense Committee. [Broadside] “Celebrate the Victory of Our GI Brothers the Ft. Jackson 8.” Illustrated broadside flyer printed on white stock (28 x 21 cm); previous folds, faint toning, else Very Good. Celebratory meeting to be held at the San Francisco Labor Temple, June 1, [1969], for “The members of GI’s United Against the War in Vietnam.” Not separately catalogued in OCLC.

20. “F.F.C.” [Broadside] “Heyns Rejects 7 Point Peace Plan.” Printed offset in black on white stock (35.5 x 21.5 cm). Previous folds, else Near Fine. Provides the original seven-point plan, rejected by Chancellor Roger Heyns, as well as three alternative demands, including that Berkeley “lease the land to a non-profit community operation,” also rejected by Heyns. Not separately catalogued in OCLC.

21. Bay Area Revolutionary Branch. [Broadside] “We Will Fight and Fight From This Generation To The Next.” San Francisco: Bay Area Revolutionary Union, n.d. but 1969. Pictorial broadside printed in yellow and black on white stock (35.5 x 21.5 cm); previous folds, else Very Good to Near Fine. Call-to-arms for the People's Park, ending with the war cries “Free Huey [Newton] & All Political Prisoners!! / Power to the People! / Zai Phong People’s Park!!! (Zai Phong is Vietnamese for Liberate).” Not separately catalogued in OCLC.

22. [Anonymous] [Broadsheet] “Trashman the Avenger.” Single-page comic strip printed in pink on white stock (35.5 x 28 cm); verso comprised of two columns of text printed from typescript in magenta ink. Apparently the only such “Trashman” comic, in which the titular hero guns down a fancy dress dinner attended by the wealthy elite, gathered to celebrate supposed extermination of Trashman. Text verso two untitled stream-of-consciousness poems, the first with the opening line “I have heard many aspiring dpctor [sic] types...”

CONDITION: Uniformly excellent, with expected toning to items on newsprint; a few of the ephemeral pieces with signs of use, including staple-holes and creases; very Good or better overall.

Item #5637

On Hold

Price: $6,500.00

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