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December 2019

The History Corner

by David Mostardi, Club Historian

Once Upon A Hillside: 25, 50, 75 and 100 years ago

December 1919

Christmas Ceremonial: The Christmas Ceremonial Committee presents dramatic tableaux “The Conflict of the Nations,” an original composition by Dr. H. H. Powell. Relatives of members fourteen years old and over admitted on regular guest cards. The nature of the ceremonial is such that it would not prove of interest to younger persons. Tradition holds that members will attend in ceremonial robes. New members may learn how to make these simple robes by consulting an older member of one of the Ceremonial Committee.

A Christmas Carol: Old time Christmas carols and presentation of Dickens’s “Christmas Carol” by Hillside Juniors under the direction of Mrs. J. F. Johnston. Use of club ceremonial robes is approved by directors.

New Year’s Eve: The Committee for the New Year’s Eve festival cordially invites you to a real PARTY. To help carry out the committee’s plan, you are asked to come in PARTY dress. This does not mean that the “1919 party dress” is asked for. The party dress of five years ago and of twenty-five years ago will be as much in order as the orthodox dress suit. Or, if fancy will, come as a Greek or Roman, king of queen, Quaker or puritan, or what you will. The program will be of interest to young and old, embracing the songs of yesterday with dancing and fun.

December 1944

Fireside Meeting: The speaker this evening is Dr. Robert F. Fitch, President Emeritus of Hangchow University and at the moment a member of the faculty of the “California College in China,” now carrying on here in Berkeley on the campus of the University of California. Dr. Fitch’s subject is “Observations and Experiences in Occupied China.” As a result of his contact with the Japanese, Dr. Fitch has developed very definite and well-substantiated beliefs concerning preparedness. He is a fluent and interesting speaker whom all member of the Club will wish to hear. [Robert Ferris Fitch was born in Shanghai in 1873, the son of American Presbyterian missionaries. He continued his parents’ work, and eventually became President of Hangchow University, a Presbyterian missionary school. Fitch also wrote a 1929 travel book about the area called “Hangchow Itineraries.” He died in California in 1954 and is buried in the Cypress Lawn Memorial Park in Colma. “Occupied China” refers to the Japanese occupation of Manchuria from 1931-45.]

Children’s Christmas Party: When the rumor was spread around that Santa Claus’s time would be rationed this year, the alert chairman for the Children’s Party, Mrs. Fred Dempster, scurried about in search of somebody with sufficient influence in rationing circles to assure us of our fair share of his time. It is gratifying to announce that Mrs. Dempster’s efforts were successful. Santa Claus will be on hand to distribute fits to our children. The center of attraction for the children will be, as always, Santa Claus and the Christmas tree. Music, games, and refreshments will serve to round out the afternoon. Parents are requested to bring or send on gift for each of their children who will be at the party. The gifts are not to exceed one dollar each in value, excluding taxes.

December 1969

Fireside Meeting: You will remember that Mr. William C. Hanley, City Manager of Berkeley, who was scheduled to be our speaker at the Fireside Meeting of April 7th, was unable to keep the engagement because of various troubles at that time. This is still a critical time for Berkeley and there are very serious problems for the City Manager and City Council to solve. Because these problems continue to be of great interest to members of the Club, we have asked Mr. Hanley if he would be our guest speaker on December 1st and he has agreed. His subject as previously intended, will be “Berkeley 1969-1970.” [The “various troubles” and “serious problems” are thinly veiled references to the series of protests and anti-war demonstrations in the Southside neighborhood. People’s Park was “born” on 20 April 1969, two weeks after Hanley was originally scheduled to speak at the Club. Two months later, on 15 July 1969, Hanley and U. C. Berkeley Chancellor Roger W. Heyns testified at a hearing of the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Committee on Government Operations. The topic was “Riots, Civil and Criminal Disorders.” Two years later, on 11 December 1971, the New York Times reported: “William C. Hanley, the City Manager of Berkeley who has come under steady attack by radical City Council members, announced his resignation today. Mr. Hanley said he was resigning because of ‘the necessity for a high degree of rapport between the City Manager and a majority of City Council members.’ Four members of the eight-member City Council, including Mayor Warren Widener, have called for Mr. Hanley’s resignation. All four were elected in an upset victory of radical candidates last April. The radicals have called for abolition of the city manager form of government, saying that it is unresponsive.”]

December 1994

The Club’s archive of printed monthly newsletters ended with the May 1994 issue. If you know of a source for any newsletters between 1994 and the Club’s renaissance in the early 2000s, your historian would love to hear about it!

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