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Happy New Year!

The History Corner

by David Mostardi, Club Historian

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

January 1921

New Year’s Eve: The New Year’s Eve Committee presents for members and their guests an Entertainment in keeping with the occasion, to be following by Dancing, beginning at ten o’clock. After fitting Ceremonies of welcome to 1921 at midnight, dancing will continue until one o’clock.

Una Noche en España: There will be an air of mystery on the 29th! Mrs. Pillsbury, chairman of the Committee in charge, requests members and their guests to come in Spanish or part-Spanish costume, to bring their bandilleras, and also their castanets. A los pies de Ud. señora. Beso a Ud. las manos, caballero.

Aid to Europe: The attention of the Club members was drawn to the dates for the drive in Berkeley for “The Starving Children of Europe.” Beginning January 18th the drive will last four days. The work will be carried on by the Mobilized Women of Berkeley. The great need for immediate action was presented by two speakers, both of whom have been in close touch with the work among the destitute and starving orphans abroad. Miss Mary Stevick related touching experience from her own observation during her work with the Red Cross. Dr. Elsie Mitchell also gave her personal experience in Central and Eastern Europe and especially Armenia.

Fireside Meeting: Dr. George Stone briefly presented the movement to establish a “Theatre of Allied Arts” in Berkeley. Then, Club President William Cooper introduced Professor Herbert Priestley, noting that the University of California was the only University having a chair of Mexican History. Prof. Priestley’s address on “Present Day Conditions in Mexico” was a very able presentation on this interesting subject. [Herbert Ingram Priestley (1875-1944) was born in Fairfield, Michigan, and moved to California with his family in 1889. He received B.A. from USC in 1900, and taught primary school in the Philippines from 1901-04. He earned his a master’s degree from USC in 1907 while serving as a grammar school principal, and later taught Spanish at Riverside High School. His connection to the University of California began in 1912 when he became assistant curator at the newly-formed Bancroft Library. He continued his studies in history and earned his Ph.D. from Berkeley in 1917, whereupon he was appointed Assistant Professor of Mexican History. He became Librarian of the Bancroft Library in 1920 and held the post until 1940, when he was named Director upon the retirement of Professor Bolton. Due to his influence, the Bancroft possesses a very fine collection of Mexicana.]

January 1946

Fireside Meeting: The speaker is Dr. Charles Aikin of the Political Science Department of the University of California, who was Chief of the Northern California Price Division of OPA during the war. He will speak on the work done by civilian volunteers for the government in the emergency. [The OPA (Office of Price Administration) was established within the Office for Emergency Management of the United States government by Executive Order in August 1941. The functions of the OPA were originally to control money (price controls) and rents after the outbreak of World War II. The OPA had the power to place ceilings on all prices except agricultural commodities, and to ration scarce supplies of other items, including tires, automobiles, shoes, nylon, sugar, gasoline, fuel oil, coffee, meats and processed foods. At the peak, almost 90% of retail food prices were frozen. … Charles Aikin (1901-1974) came to UC Berkeley following his Ph.D. in 1929 at the Brookings Institution, and never left. He spent forty-five years at Cal was an authority on constitutional law. Following World War II he served as assistant to Dean Acheson on the first Hoover Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch of Government. Later he was appointed by the State Department to consultative posts in Germany and Italy. He was granted the Award of Merit by the Italian Republic in 1955.]

January 1971

Fireside Meeting: Our speaker is Mr. Arthur Hargrave, a lifelong resident of Berkeley, and a graduate of Berkeley High and the University of California. He is an active and distinguished leader in many fields, and will discuss the revolutionary proposal “The Police Initiative: an Invitation to Disaster.” [I have been unable to find further details about this talk, but it probably concerns the discussion and events leading up to the creation of the Berkeley Police Review Commission in 1973. Violence and conflict between the Berkeley police force and civilians in the 1960s led activists to shift their efforts to more institutional political methods, such as the 1971 ballot measure calling for community control of the police. When that measure failed, a more moderate approach led to the creation of the first official community commission to oversee policing in Berkeley.]

Dress code: In lieu of tuxedo, on formal evenings, a blue suit with white shirt and bow tie is acceptable.

Photographic Arts Section: Diversity will be the keynote of our second meeting of the year. The Cummings will give us a glimpse of life on their camping tour of Europe, the Whittles will take us to Arizona and Lake Powell, and the Balls will whisk us away to Banff and Lake Louise in Canada.

January 1996

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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