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Oral Histories and Videos

An index to the edited transcripts of oral histories (audio taped) in the Society's library is HERE.

We have four oral history transcripts about the Berkeley Co-op on this website:

Robert Arnold: Progressive Activist and Past President During Critical Years of the Berkeley Co-op 

Eva Goodwin: Early Activist in Consumer Protection, Education, and the Twin Pines Federal Savings and Loan Association (with Jim Goodwin) at the Berkeley Co-op

Carroll Melbin: Pioneer Leader of the Finnish Co-op and Consumers Cooperative of Berkeley

Oiva Nurmela: A Leftist Finn’s Viewpoint About the Berkeley Co-op

Click on the red links below to see video interviews on the Berkeley Historical Society's YouTube Channel:

John Aronovici is a fourth generation Berkeleyan. His grandmother, Dr. Ginno, was the first Berkeley woman dentist; his mother, Elizabeth Ginno, was a local artist married to the renowned etcher John Winkler. Among other things, John recounts the stories he heard as a boy about the 1923 Berkeley Fire and his own memories of the 1939-1940 Golden Gate International Exposition. John is the longtime manager of the Berkeley Historical Society, with extensive knowledge of Berkeley history.  

Ruth Hayashi was born in Berkeley in 1933 and lived at The Cedars at 1301 Oxford Street until she and her mother were interned at Topaz internment camp in Utah from 1942 to 1945. Ruth and her mother returned to Berkeley at the end of the war, where Ruth graduated from Berkeley High in 1951. In this interview, Ms. Hayashi focuses on the Japanese-American experience in Berkeley before and after the war. ​The ​​interview ​was conducted on November 3, 2015​ by ​Berkeley High School seniors Amy Li​ (interviewer) and Mylena ​​Guzman (videographer).​

Minh Le. Interviews with Minh Le, former high-ranking Vietnamese diplomat, from war-time childhood in Vietnam, to refugee, to life in the Bay Area.  

Paul Salz: Kindertransport refugee and engineer at Lawrence Berkeley Lab (Interview by Jeanine Castello-Lin and Tonya Staros)  

Peter Dale Scott, Professor Emeritus, English Department, UC Berkeley, faculty supporter of the Free Speech Movement, poet, anti-Vietnam War activist, political writer. Interview September 16, 2014 by Jeanine Castello-Lin; video by Tonya Staros.

Eleanor Walden's lullabies were the songs from the Wobblies' Little Red Songbook. In the late 1940s, she met Pete Seeger and other singers in Washington Square Park. Her first $5 as a singer was earned performing with Seeger's People's Songs during the Urban Folk Revival. Born in Greenwich Village, Eleanor received BA and Master's Degrees in folklore from UC Berkeley, and continued singing. In 1982, she helped organize the Freedom Song Network, singers and songwriters supporting civil rights and social justice. (Interview August 15, 2015 by Berkeley High School seniors Nava Bearson and Haley Gee)

Leon Wofsy, Professor Emeritus, Dept. of Molecular and Cell Biology/Immunology, UC Berkeley, faculty supporter of the Free Speech Movement and active voice for peace in the Vietnam War era and following.

Reflections on the Free Speech Movement (Interview September 3, 2014 by Jeanine Castello-Lin; video by Lise Aftergut)
Reflections on His Years in the Communist Movement, 1929–1956 (Interview October 2016 by Tonya Staros and Jeanine Castello-Lin, video by Tonya Staros)

Jane Lundin, who served as president of the board of the Berkeley Co-op in the 1970s and was involved in some of the smaller cooperatives in Berkeley, including a newspaper and a taxi service that never got going; Books Unlimited, where she served on the Board that was forced to close it; and the Arts and Crafts Co-op (ACCI) that continues in operation to this day. Note that at the bottom of the description are timecodes so you can select a particular portion of the video.

Berkeley Historical Society Event Videos on YouTube:

Panel on Consumer Cooperatives of Berkeley, 2011

Other programs:

Stephen Barton on J. Stitt Wilson, Berkeley's socialist mayor, April 2014

Willard Oliver on August Vollmer, Berkeley’s first police chief, April 2017

A Conversation About the Berkeley Co-op, October 2020

Narsai David on "Berkeley and the California Cuisine Revolution" in conversation with L. John Harris, February 2021

Book Talk: Ron Nyren, The Book of Lost Light, April 2021

Berkeley Then and Now: Tina Jones Williams, Bob Johnson and Janet Byron, April 2021

African Americans in Berkeley's History and Legacy, opening event, May 2021


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