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History Corner - January 2024

Once Upon A Hillside: 25, 50, 75, 100, and 125 years ago

January 1899

January 10: The Hillside Club will meet this afternoon at the residence of Mrs. E. S.

Gray, 1725 Le Roy Avenue. [May Gray, née Robinson, was the sister of Margaret

Robinson, the woman who was most responsible for the formation and early

accomplishments of the Hillside Club.]

January 1924

[The Hillside Clubhouse was destroyed in the Berkeley Fire of 17 September 1923]

Business Meeting, January 7: A communication was read from the Community Chest

Executive Secretary asking that the Club permit a speaker on behalf of the campaign to

appear before the meeting. Prof. Eakle, an active worker in the campaign, was asked by

the President to give information concerning the movement. [The first Community Chest

was founded in Cleveland, Ohio in 1913 by the Federation for Charity and Philanthropy.

The number of Community Chest organizations increased from 39 to 353 between 1919

and 1929, and passed 1,000 in 1948. In 1963, the name was changed to “The United


The evening’s entertainment was provided by Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Graham, who

began with a short review of their route of travel in Europe, including his family in Paris.

Mrs. Graham charmingly and graphically described a day there, holding her audience in

closest attention as she carried every listener from pension, to store, to gallery or opera, in

that delightful foreign city. Mr. Graham’s description of a day in Venice added a thrill as

he related their experience as participants in a gala day when Mussolini was accorded a

reception in Venice. The Hillside Club has been fortunate in sending forth so many of

their members to bring back varied pictures and stirring travelogues to add to the many

programs provided by members of the Club.

After these glimpses of faraway scenes, the plans for the new building were introduced

and discussed by Mr. Galloway and Mr. McFarlan in so happy a fashion as almost to

seem a playlet. Mr. Graham spoke of the activity of his committee in carrying on the

work of adding to the subscription list already begun for the Building and Furnishing

Fund of the new Clubhouse.

Directors’ Meeting, Jan 14: Report was made of the offer by Mr. Rees to contribute stone

for construction of the chimney in the new Clubhouse. Motion was made and carried that

we accept the gift of such stone as the architect may direct.

January 1949

Fireside Meeting, January 3: The program is under the auspices of the Dramatic Activites

Committee. Dr. Garff B. Wilson, Assistant Professor of Speech at the University of

California, will read a current Broadway play. With a reader of his ability we are assured

of an outstanding evening. [Garff Wilson (1909-1998) began his association with UC

Berkeley in the Department of Speech, later the Department of Rhetoric, in 1941, and he

remained a loyal Berkeley booster for the rest of his life. From the 1940s through the

mid-60s, Wilson also organized the public appearances of the many important guests who

came to Cal, including President Kennedy, Eleanor Roosevelt and Robert Frost. Or, as he

himself summarized the visitors, “One God, one Pope, five Kings, three Queens, ten

Princes and Princesses, two Presidents of the U.S. and a host of other notable figures.”

Every December, he gave a command performance at the Men’s Faculty Club, where he

sat by the fire and read Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol.”]

International Relations Section, January 10: At eh request of many Club members, the

Committee has prevailed upon Mrs. Irene Prescott to give a report on the finding of a

group which has been studying the structure and achievements of the United Nations.

Mrs. Prescott has given this report before other organizations, and it has been

enthusiastically received. [The United Nations charter took effect on 24 October 1945.]

Evening of Art, January 17: The Committee is arranging for exhibition of pictures and

other art objects pertaining to Early California, both the Spanish era and the Gold Rush

days; and they solicit cooperation of members in making available such material for

display. All members who have works of art produced in early times or reflecting the

California of that period of who have portraits of any pioneer forebears, are requested to

contact the Committee.

January 1974

Fireside Meeting, January 7: The Dramatic Activities Section gladly offers the

outstanding documentary file “Leonardo: To Know How to See.” Produced in color, the

film recreates the life, time, and works of that artistic and inquisitive Italian genius,

Leonardo da Vinci. Famed British actor Sir John Gielgud does the narration, which was

made by the National Gallery of Art in Washington, under a grant from IBM. It was

filmed in half a dozen countries on two continents and contains many rare drawings,

sketches, and other works.

Civic Affairs Section, January 14: Councilman Edward Kallgren, who spoke to Hillsiders

two years ago on the topic “Berkeley in Transition,” will return to the club this evening to

discuss the pros and cons of the proposed charter amendments being considered by the

Berkeley Charter Revision Committee and the City Council.

January 1999

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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