Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Holy Hill, 1974 and 1999



Two aerial photograph of Holy Hill. The first one is from 1974. One can just make out the Wilson house on the left side below the open park like area. The second photo shows the GTU library in 1999. It's the large square structure at bottom slightly left.

From left, the streets are LeConte, named after UCB paleontologist and president Joseph LeConte (1869-1901); Scenic Avenue, from the early tract name, Daly's Scenic Park; and Ridge Road. Not shown is Hearst Avenue at the bottom of the slope on the south side, named after Phoebe Apperson Hearst (1842-1919), who owned the area from Scenic to Arch in the early 20th century.

A fire leveled the area north of Ridge Road on September 17, 1923. Pacific School of Religion acquired its current location from the estate of Pheobe Hearst in the twenties. As land after the fire was cheap and the area was close to the resources of UC-Berkeley, other seminaries established themselves nearby. The other seminaries shown here are Church Divinity School of the Pacific, Dominican Priory, and Starr King School of Ministry. The GTU buildings are the business offices at 2465 LeConte.

Dalai Lama, 1979

This past Saturday, the 14th Dala Lama, His Holiness Tensin Gyatso (or as the Library of Congress says, Bstan-,dzin-rgya-mtsho, Dalai Lama XIV, Dd 1935-) visited Berkeley. He has been in Berkeley at least four times and visited GTU twice.

On his first visit to the United States, he gave a lecture at GTU on October 1, 1979. This was ten years before the archives was officially created, so there is not much on the event. In searching the archives, there are three photos that document the day, two showing President and Dean Claude Welch with the Dalai Lama. The bottom photo is where the bookstore used to be. The date was located in correspondence in Welch's records. Hopefully, more information will be found.

The library has a few books on his early tours: Kindness, clarity and insight (BQ7612 .B77 1984) is a collection of his talks during his visits to North America from 1979-81; and Marcia Keegan's Teachings of His Holiness the Dalai Lama (BQ7935.B774 T42) provides many photographs along with his responses to questions during the 1979-80 visits. Curiously, the Kindness, Clarity and Insight book has a lecture on the "Two Truths" given at UC-Berkeley during this period. Perhaps this was the lecture given at the GTU, as UCB does not report the Dalai Lama speaking there until 1994, or perhaps they heard the "Religious Harmony: Ecumenical Gatherings throughout North America" lecture.

Here's one quote from "Two Truths"

"In dependence on ultimate truths wisdom is developed, and in dependence upon conventional truths compassion and kindness toward others is meditated. These two, wisdom and compassion, must be practiced in union; this is the path of the union of wisdom and method." (Kindness, clarity and insight , pp 198-199)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

GTU Library - Original Concept

Earlier this week, Mueller and Caulfield Architects of Oakland donated plans and other materials about the construction of the library to Special Collections. The Flora Lamson Hewlett Library was completed in two phases, 1979-1981 and 1985-1987.

The photographs, drawings and clippings of awards are particularly interesting in weighing concept versus how the building is today.

This particular drawing shows the original plan for the library from the seventies. Ridge Street at the intersection with Le Conte and Scenic was to be closed. Somehow the Washingtonia (probably robusta) palms planted by Frank M. Wilson were to remain intact. Wilson purchased most of the land known as Daley’s Scenic Park in the Northgate Area in 1891. Perhaps the power lines would have been buried instead of stretched along the north side, where a transformer blew out Tuesday night killing power to the building. Louis Kahn's idea was to have more of a campus feel than it does with a road running in between the library and nearby seminaries. The concept returned to its current state during neighborhood review and the Berkeley permit process.

The GTU Archives has a number of collections about the construction of the library. Please contact Special Collections at 510/649-2523 for additional information.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Campus Ministry and Ecology 1970

Ecology 1970, Earl Newman

The GTU Archives contains a number of collections about the United Ministries of Higher Education in California. The organization combined resources of Protestant denominations (the membership varied by location) to support ministries on state campuses.

Ministers found themselves in the middle of the critical issues during the sixties and seventies. For example, an advertisement in the California State Fullerton campus newspaper, The Titan (September 27, 1968) announced: "Counseling for Problem Pregnancies, Draft Counseling, Grape Boycott Information, Theological Study Opportunities: See your UCCM Minister, Rev. Al Cohen."

Cohen, a graduate of West Point and a UCC minister, worked on campus at Fullerton and California State in Los Angeles for 30 years. During that time, his activities shifted from social protest to confronting population and environmental issues. In the Albert G. Cohen Campus Ministry, Social Justice and Environment Collection this change is clearly documented by the over 120 posters ranging from tiger cages in Vietnam to world population conferences.

Within the collection were a number of prints by Earl Newman, including four variations of Ecology 1970. This hung either in his office at CSLA or in the Ecology Action office in Santa Monica. Newman is best known for his posters representing the Monterrey Jazz Festival but he also created very moving posters for SNCC in the early sixties. See Earl Newman.

For more information, query "campus ministry" at Online Archives of California or contact Special Collections at 510/649-2523.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Silk Screen Prints by Sister Corita Kent

W, serigraph, Sister Corita Kent, 1969

damn everything but the circus - e.e. cummings

...damn everything that is grim, dull,
motionless, unrisking, inward turning,
damn everything that won't get into the
circle, that won't enjoy, that won't throw
its heart into the tension, surprise, fear
and delight of the circus, the round
world, the full existence...- S. Helen Kelley

A Delight in the Alphabet, Works of Sr. Corita Kent, IHM, are on display in the Flora Lamson Hewett Library through May, 2009

In these prints Sister Corita Kent(1918-1986) combines text and either circus themes or other graphic images to promote a more loving, joyful life. She taught art for years at Immaculate Heart College (IHC) in Los Angeles. In 1968, she resigned from the order citing personal reasons. However, another factor was that as her work became well known, she came to be considered dangerous by conservative church leaders. She and her fellow sisters were considered rebels. They insisted on freedom from traditional rules of the cloister. After a three year conflict with the archdiocese of Los Angeles and with the Vatican, about 90% of the nuns resigned and formed a secular community.

Kent had already moved to Boston and continued to produce prints and illustrations. After fighting cancer for eight years, she died in 1986. Her prints are owned by many museums. During the last year, they have been on display in a number of different venues. The GTU Archives received partial sets of two of her alphabet series in 1999. As far anyone can remember, this is the first time that they have been on display here.

For more information about these prints, contact Special Collections at 510/649-2523.

There are many entries for Sister Corita on the web. The best place to start is The Corita Art Center.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Earth Day - Thomas Starr King: Nature Writer

Mt. Starr King, Yosemite National Park

Love of nature has its root in wonder and veneration, and it issues in many forms of practical good. There can be no abounding and ardent patriotism where sacred attachment to our civil home is wanting; and there can be no abiding and inspiring religious joy in the heart that recognizes no presence and touch of God in the permanent surroundings of our earthly abode.
We are not to live outside the world, but in it, feeling its passions, working in its interests, striving to do our duty in its trials. And yet large districts of our life and feeling should be above the world, on the Sierra heights from which the world and our toil and our home cares and our surroundings look noble, precious, bathed in light.
From "Lessons from the Sierra Nevada," Christianity and humanity; a series of sermons, by Thomas Starr King. Edited, with a memoir, by Edwin P. Whipple. Boston, J.R. Osgood, 1877.

Thomas Starr King (1824-1864) today is either forgotten or only partially remembered. He is best known for his efforts to keep the state of California in the Union during the Civil War. A popular Universalist and Unitarian minister, his writings on the beauty of the White Hills and of the Sierras place him on equal footing with Henry David Thoreau. His sermons offer eloquent testimony to the beauty of nature and God.

Along with a number of schools, King has peaks in Yosemite and the White Mountains named in his honor. To remember his writings on the White Mountains, the citizens of Plymouth, NH, named a beautiful elm tree after him. Unfortunately, the tree fell victim to Dutch Elm disease and was cut down in 1965.

The GTU archives is the repository for the Thomas Starr King Collection, owned by Starr King School of Ministry. One of the larger archival collections on King--his personal library was lost to fire-- the Finding Aid can be viewed at Online Archive of California. The library recently received a microfilm copy of 400 of his sermons from the Boston Public Library.

This post was inspired by recent visits to see the collection by a Harvard researcher studying views of nature in the 19th century and by a San Francisco teacher. Other related sources on the web are: