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February 2020

The History Corner

by David Mostardi, Club Historian

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

February 1920

Fireside Meeting: Professor Williams, one of our new members, was introduced and talked on religions in China. He was particularly well versed on his subject, inasmuch as he had spent 28 years in China in an advisory capacity to the Chinese Government, and his talk was very interesting indeed. [Edward Thomas Williams was born in Columbus, Ohio on 17 October 1854. He first went to China in 1887, where he served as a Protestant missionary for nine years. In 1896 he was appointed interpreter to the American Consul General in Shanghai and later Chinese Secretary to the American Legation in Beijing, where he remained from 1901 to 1908. He was Consul General at Tianjin from 1908 to 1909; and served as Assistant Chief of Division of Far Eastern Affairs in the State Department from 1909 until the fall of the Qing Dynasty in 1911. He was Secretary of the Legation to the new Republic of China in Beijing 1911-13, and Charge d'Affaires in 1911 and 1913. From 1914 to 1918 he was Chief of Division of Far Eastern Affairs, Department of State. In 1918 Prof. Williams resigned from the State Department in order to accept the Agassiz chair in the Department of Oriental Languages and Literature in the University of California, Berkeley. He held this professorship until his retirement in 1927 with the exception of two interruptions when he again served the United States Government: in 1919 he went as technical delegate to the Versailles Peace Conference, and in 1921-1922 he was special assistant to the Department of State during the Conference on Limitations of Armaments and Pacific and Far Eastern Problems. Upon his retirement from academic work he presented to the University his extensive library of Chinese classics, history, and literary works, which are now a part of the University’s Asian Studies collection. Prof. Williams died at Berkeley on 27 January 1944, and is buried at Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland.]

February 1945

Fireside Meeting: It is said frequently that the United States has no consistent foreign policy and that in this war [World War II] the United States is fighting only fo the cause of democracy. This evening, Mr. H. A. Spindt will present the argument that the United States has a definite and consistent policy which still operates and, furthermore, that in this war we are concerned primarily with our own safety and, therefore, with the cause of American democracy rather than with the establishment of democracy in foreign countries. The title of Mr. Spindt’s talk is “The Importance of the Oceans in American Foreign Policy.” [Herman Adolph Spindt (1893-1960) was born in Waupaca, Wisconsin and upon graduation from high school enrolled in the University of California. During his undergraduate years, he achieved a good academic record and was a member of the Varsity Track and Cross Country teams, and the Congress Debating Society.

Dr. Spindt received an A.B. degree in 1916, and an M.A. degree in 1920, specializing in history. While employed in the public schools and later in the University, he continued his graduate studies, obtaining a Ph.D in Education in 1946. In 1946 he became the University's Director of Admissions. He was appointed Lecturer in Education in 1947, and also taught a graduate course, “The Junior College,” during the next nine years.]

International Relations: Professor Lawrence Kinnaird of the Department of History, University of California, will speak on the subject “Our Cultural Relations with Latin America.” Prof. Kinnaird has just returned from a two years’ stay in Chile, where he was attached to the American embassy. He is full of information on our opportunities and our mistakes. This will be a most interesting evening. [Lawrence Kinnaird (1893-1985) had a long and colorful life. Born in Williamstown, West Virginia, much of his early life was spent on the family farm, but he studied at Marietta Academy across the river in Ohio. He earned an A.B. in chemistry at the University of Michigan in 1915, and began a professional career as principal of a high school in Kansas City, Kansas. World War I intervened, and Kinnaird joined the Air Force, trained as a pilot, and en route to France survived the torpedoing of his ship. After the war, he pursued post-graduate studies at the University of Grenoble. Upon discharge, Kinnaird returned to the family farm for a year and then sold oil well equipment as a traveling salesman from Wyoming to Texas and to California. In the course of his travels, he made the acquaintance of Professor Herbert E. Bolton at Berkeley and was persuaded to turn to an academic career. In 1925 he enrolled as a graduate student in Bolton’s famous history seminar on California, the West, and the Americas. Soon he became one of the prominent members of the “Knights of the Round Table,” so called from the sessions around the round table, inherited from Henry Morse Stephens. Kinnaird earned his M.A. in 1927, and the doctorate followed quickly in 1928 with a thesis on American penetration into Spanish territory to 1803. Despite the economic troubles of the Great Depression, in 1932 he was appointed assistant professor at San Francisco State College, then moved to the College of Agriculture at Davis in 1936, and finally to the Department of History at Berkeley in 1937 under Bolton. In 1941 Kinnaird was asked to become Assistant in Cultural Relations at the United States Embassy in Santiago, Chile. Obtaining leave of absence, he and his wife went to Santiago for three years while Bolton returned to active duty as his replacement. During his stay in Santiago, Kinnaird served as chairman of the United States delegation to the Fourth Inter-American Congress of Teachers. Kinnaird rose to full professor in 1948 and retired in 1960.]

February 1970

International Relations: “The Challenge of South America” is the talk to be presented by Mr. Gordon Furth, Senior Vice President of the Marcona Corporation, San Francisco. The growing nationalism of our Latin American neighbors is resulting in increasing demands that foreign investments be more stringently regulated in their favor. “We want what is ours” is the central theme of South American patriots. This nationalism, however, is not clearly defined. It consists of varied elements, all of which create problems for foreign corporations. The Marcona Corporation has a comprehensive background in South American industrial affairs, principally mining. Mr. Furth has been involved in the corporation’s activities during the past twelve years, several of which were spent in Peru. [Gordon L. Furth (1921-2006) was born in Berkeley and raised on the family’s ranch in Yolo County. He attended UC Berkeley, where he was editor of the Daily Cal. He was an executive with Marcona Corporation, Cyprus Mines, and Amoco.]

February 1995

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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