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 Stories for May 6, 1998:

Regular Features:

Preserving UC’s Past
New Journal Showcases Research, Writing on Institution’s History

by Julia Sommer, Public Affairs
posted May. 6, 1998

Marking the anniversary of the ’06 earthquake, a new campus publication, Chronicle of the University of California: A Journal of University History, made its debut April 18 at Cal Day.

The first issue’s theme is “Alarums and Diversions: Disasters at Cal.” It includes an article on South Hall and seismic safety in 1870 by history professor Stephen Tobriner, eyewitness reports of the ’06 earthquake by the Dean of Women, and a piece on the 1923 fire by physics professor Raymond Birge. Other articles discuss Jack London’s and George Stewart’s use of the campus as a setting for science fiction.

The debut of this semi-annual journal also marks the centennial and carries on the traditions of The University of California Chronicle, published from 1898 to 1933, which included articles on faculty research and campus events, original writing and plenty of photos and illustrations.

The new Chronicle, born in a Townsend Center for the Humanities working group on “The Life and Times of UC Berkeley,” was the brainchild of Carroll Brentano, coordinator of the university history project at the Center for Studies in Higher Education.

Brentano was joined by others devoted to preserving and passing on Cal’s history: Steve Finacom, administrative analyst in Physical and Environmental Planning; University Archivist emeritus Jim Kantor and current archivist Bill Roberts; Germaine LaBerge and Ann Lage from Bancroft’s Regional Oral History Office; Roberta Park, professor emeritus of human biodynamics; Janet Ruyle, assistant director, emeritus, Center for Studies in Higher Education; and graduate students in history Kaarin Michaelsen and Rex Adams.

The first issue of the reborn Chronicle runs an impressive 136 pages with lots of illustrations.

Says managing editor Brentano: “We actually wanted a UC history museum, but we couldn’t get the space or the money. Meanwhile, we have this publication to promote research in University history and encourage preservation of the University’s past. We sold about 50 on Cal Day, and more than two dozen the two days following.” The press run was 500.

Chancellor Berdahl picked one up at Cal Day, promising to use it in his freshman history seminar on UC history offered fall semester.

Even though the first issue covers only Berkeley, Brentano says the intent is to cover the entire UC system.

The theme of the second issue, due out in the fall, will probably be women, she said, adding that she is seeking writers from other campuses.

The Chronicle of the University of California is published with the support of the Townsend Center, the Center for Studies in Higher Education, and the Graduate Assembly. Single copies are $12; a subscription is $24.

For information contact Carroll Brentano at 643-9210 or email

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