Friday, May 29, 2009

Sounds of a New Roof

Part of working in archives is making sure that events that happen in the present are captured for the future. Here is what the library sounds like today.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Chagall, Exodus and Jewish Theater

Then the Lord sayd unto Aaron, Goe meet Moses in the Wilderness. And he went and met him in the mount of God and kissed him.

God sends Aaron to meet Moses in the desert, from The Story of Exodus, 1966. Detail, Marc Chagall (1887-1985). Gift of the Chiles Foundation.
Having any exhibition in the Bay Area of works by Chagall is always cause for celebration. The new Jewish Contemporary Museum in San Francisco is currently exhibiting Chagall and the Artists of the Russian Jewish Theater, 1919-1949. Along with the murals and panels painted by Chagall, are videos of the performances that represent a time and place that has vanished. In addition to the theater-related objects are some of Chagall's other works from local collections. These include prints from the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts and some wonderful paintings.

We are fortunate in the library to have this color lithograph from The Story of Exodus, showing Moses with the horns of light and Aaron. The picture hangs across from the elevator on the second floor.

If you get a chance, please see the exhibit. For additional information on the theater, along with the exhibit catalog, Chagall and the Artists of the Russian Jewish Theater, see Benjamin Harshav's, The Moscow Yiddish Theater. Harshav spoke at the GTU a few years ago. He is an exceptional scholar of language and culture of modern East European Yiddish culture.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Dr. Nargis Virani, 17th Annual Reading of the Sacred Texts

Dr. Nargis Virani, Respond to the Call from Heaven: Pilgrim’s Progress through Rumi’s Poetry from GTU Archives on Vimeo.

The reading took place on February 11, 2009. The presenter is Dr. Nargis Virani, Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies
at the New School in New York City. Moderated by Dr. Munir Jiwa,
director of the Center for Islamic Studies and Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies at the Graduate Theological Union.

Poetry produced in Muslim milieu often quotes and interprets the Qur'an in creative and novel ways; however, it has never been studied as a fertile site for scriptural interpretation, understanding, and practice. The talk will provide examples from the poetry of one of the most famous Muslim Mystic-poets, Jalaluddin Rumi (1207-1273).

Friday, May 15, 2009

Fredrich von Hugel, Frances Crane Lillie 1924

I am very much looking forward to your visit...will you, please, bring your work--knitting, sewing, crochet or the like, with you? I am never quite comfortable speaking to any woman unless her fingers are busy meanwhile. If, alas, you do not work thus, I shall give you a book to cut open."

F.v.Hugel, Oct 16, 1924, 13 Vicarage Gate

The GTU Archives has a small collection of correspondence that Francis Lillie Crane received from Fredrich von Hugel (1952-1925) and Jacques Maritain (1882–1973). The Catholic Modernist and French philosopher are well known but the story of Crane is worth reviewing.

Frances Crane (1869-1958), daughter of the wealthy Chicago manufacturer, was considered the black sheep of the family due to her activism and interests. She was a member of the board of Protective Agency for Women and Children in Chicago. She supported the Hull House of Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr. In 1915, she was arrested during the International Ladies' Garment Workers Union strike. She complained to the mayor that the police looked away while private policemen beat up the strikers. ILGWU leader Sidney Hillman wrote her, "You may never understand how much it meant to me to have a woman like yourself defy the edicts of society and boldly espouse the cause of the weak and oppressed."

She and her husband, Frank R. Lillie, chairman of the Zoology Department, were significant donors to the University of Chicago. She focused on the library and religious causes; he on scientific studies. According to the UC donor website, along with her activism, her reputation was due to "her adoption of a mystical Catholicism, tinged later in life with elements of Zen Buddhism." Among her accomplishments, she created the first Marian garden in the US in 1932 at St. Joseph's Church in Cape Cod, close to the marine lab where her husband worked.

This brief note just touches the surface of her story. Unfortunately, a memoir on her life is self published and hard to find. However, a search on the web yields certain events of her life that have touched other people.

This post was sparked by a researcher's request for more information about the Friedrich Von Hugel - Jacques Maritain Letters: Frances Crane Lillie Collection, 1920 -1934. The significant letters from von Hugel can found in Selected letters, 1896-1924, edited with a memoir by Bernard Holland. Hügel, Friedrich, Freiherr von, 1852-1925. London, J.M. Dent & sons ltd. [1933].

For more information on this small collection, see the finding aid or contact Special Collections at 510/649-2523,

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

People's Park-40th Anniversary Part 2

You have a duty to this community. It is in your hands to determine whether it will turn to tearing down or building up, street fighting or a new vocationalism. No matter what your beneficent motives, inflexible paternalism doesn't work in the ghetto and it won't work here.

We will be surprised if your intramural field is ever actualized unless it has the support of the people. We wonder at your lack of realism. The spirit that built People's Park is stronger than gas and cops. It is even stronger than universities.

As followers of Jesus, we are committed to stand with that spirit, the spirit of the poor and alienated trying to create a new world on the vacant lots of the old.

Rev. Richard York, May 15, 1969, Open letter to Chancellor Heynes, Sproul Plaza Rally

Rev. York read this letter with a few modifications at the rally to save People's Park on May 15, 1969,in Sproul Plaza. The letter was written by York, Anthony Nugent and Jock Brown, and approved by the Free Church board of trustees.

Dan Siegel, president-elect of the student body, followed York's statement, telling the crowd to go down and take back the park. This led to the confrontation between protesters and police known as Bloody Thursday. The next few weeks were tense. Helicopters dropped tear gas on the campus and the community that drifted into elementary schools and hospitals.

The Free Church assisted with emergency medical care and a bail fund. Bail was set extremely high, averaging $800 per person. The Free Church received donations of around $50,000. Each day the checks and money were picked up at the Church, brought up to Jock Brown's house and counted by his wife and children. All the change collected in large pots had to be coin wrapped. Then they took the money to the Bank of America, where they were allowed to deliver it directly to an official. The church also held the tools for the second People's Park, now Ohlone Park.

An estimated 30,000 people marched peacefully past the Park on Memorial Day. Friday. May 30, 1969, led by members of the Free Church. The National Guard was withdrawn. The active role of the Free Church over People's Park led to a withdrawal of support by mainline church community.

For more information on the park, see the People's Park time line. Additional images from our collection on People's Park are temporarily online, part of a California Local History Digital Resources Project. Later this year they will be part of Calisphere. For further information, see the finding aid or contact Special Collections at 510/649-2523,

Special thanks to Terri Compost -- historian, gardener and author of the forthcoming book, People's Park: Still Blooming (see

People's Park-40th Anniversary

In the name of Jesus, decontaminate this place of evil demons and fill the air with vibrations of love.

Rev. Richard York, People's Park Consecration Service, May 11, 1969

The 40th anniversary of People's Park was celebrated in Berkeley last month. This is one of two posts drawing from materials on People's Park from the Berkeley Free Church Collection.

On April 20, 1969, the community took over what was basically a parking lot owned by the University and built a park. On May 6, Chancellor Heynes requested proposals from students, the community and the college of environmental design on the best use for the lot.

Rev. Richard York, minister and guiding force for the Berkeley Free Church, and other spiritual leaders of the community consecrated the park on Sunday, May 11. Joining York were Father Jim Conway, a Roman Catholic; Isaac Bonowitz, Universal Church of Life; a member of Hare Krishna; and a Moslem. The SF Examiner (5/12/1969) said they " consecrated it with possibly the most variegated collection of clerics in the history of a community where variegation is a way of life."

On May 15, Highway Patrol and local police officers appeared early in the morning and took over the park. A chain link fence was constructed. A march by students and locals on the park from Sproul Plaza led to Bloody Thursday. James Rector, watching the action from a rooftop, was shot and later dies. Alan Blanshard was shot and blinded. 128 marchers and watchers were injured. Gov. Reagan called out the National Guard, who tear gas the city, and prohibited public assemblies.

York was a member of the People's Park Committee and obsessively collected and saved documents, clippings and other materials on Berkeley and the activities of the church.

Additional images from our collection on People's Park are temporarily online, part of a California Local History Digital Resources Project. Later this year they will be part of Calisphere. For additional information, see the finding aid or contact Special Collections at 510/649-2523,

Special thanks to Terri Compost -- historian, gardener and author of the forthcoming book, People's Park: Still Blooming (see

Monday, May 4, 2009

Joining the Theologians for Thrift & Tolerance

Click on image to see full-sized article.

In the May 2009 Dean's Newsletter, Dean Arthur Holder quotes from an article in Time Magazine on the reasons for the formation of the Graduate Theological Union and links to the text source. Above is a copy of how the article appeared in print.

Several of these handouts showed up recently in materials donated to supplement the Victor Gold Collection (GTU 91-7-01). Professor Gold (1924-2008) passed away last September. He taught at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary for over 50 years, retiring in 2004 as Professor of Old Testament. Gold participated in the Interseminary Committee on a Cooperative Graduate Program in the late 1950s. These discussions and the work of this committee led to the formation of the GTU. The professor continued to serve on critical committees that shaped how the institution is today.

For additional information on the Victor R. Gold : Graduate Theological Union Collection, 1958-1981, you can review the finding aid, visit the archives or contact Special Collections at 510-649-2523. The Archives has several collections on the formation and early years of the GTU.