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The University Archives serves as the collective memory of San Francisco State University containing unique and original source material of our University's colorful history.
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Dedication Week for Lake Merced Campus (1954)

Success Story: San Francisco State College (1954) features Bob Day on the new Lake Merced campus during Dedication Week. Establishing and closing shot shows a potter’s wheel. Program opens with aerial footage of San Francisco States new Lake Merced Campus. Introduction includes montage of the Commons, Quad, female science students, boxing, Frederic Burk School, language arts class, College Library, a harpist, a drama production, a business lab, and an anthropology class.

Assistant Professor of Speech and Drama, Jules Irving is shown providing direction for student actors as viewers see a staged display of elements of the Drama Department. Professor of Speech, Drama and Education, Chair Creative Arts Division, J. Fenton McKenna explains to Day elements of the staging of Shakespeare’s Richard III featuring student actors William Hastings, Maureen Fegan, Judy Smith, Dolores McDougal, Ray Fry, Alan Sims, Ken Esser, and others. Assistant Professor of Drama Richard T. Glyer describes the elaborate process of applying make-up. The narrator observes that San Francisco State is not just a teachers college and McKenna explains the transition from teacher’s college to liberal arts college. Segue to Associate Music of Professor Edwin C. Kruth conducting the Symphonic Orchestra and he explains the significance of a composition by Dr. William Moore. A demonstration of San Francisco State’s choral groups includes a cappella, the Men’s Glee Club, and the Women’s Choir. McKenna next explains that San Francisco State has a lyric theatre program that included dance, acting, and music training while student prepare for a student-choreographed production on Oddfellows Hall.

Dean of Educational Services and Summer Sessions Leo F. Cain explains programs that trains teachers to work with gifted as well as developmentally and physically disable children asserting that five million children in the United States need special education. Associate Professor of Education Florence G. Henderson demonstrates teacher education for children utilizing Braille. Assistant Professor of Education Patricia Stafford demonstrates equipment used to testing hearing-impaired children.

Chairman of Humanities Division, Professor of English and Humanities, Elias T. Arneson discusses the Renaissance [his name is mispronounced by narrator].

Narrator Sater explains that San Francisco State students filmed a montage of scene from Physical Education using 16 mm film. The montage includes female archers; African American boxers; women and men fencing; female synchronized swimmers; field hockey; and a dance class.

ROTC under the direction of Col. John K. Hardy was established in September 1951 with an Air Force ROTC, and 1955 was the first year to have the graduation and commissioning of the first class of cadets to complete four years of ROTC at San Francisco State. 

Chairman of Business Division, Professor of Business Wayne McKenzie Stevens discusses lab instruction using new business equipment including transcription, teletype, and dictaphones and then narrates a discussion on international relations.

President J. Paul Leonard [with brief shot of J. Paul Leonard’s secretary] explains how San Francisco State, in the business of education has been a “Success Story.”  Leonard discusses how San Francisco State provides practical training and is a successful business enterprise. The cost of the Lake Merced Campus physical plant was $12 million and its annual budget is $3.5 million. Leonard provides some statistics: Regular students – 7350; Summer Session student – 7,000; and Extension students – 2500. Faculty – 350; Staff – 200. Leonard explains 1/3 of the student population studies the liberal arts, 1/3 of the student population seeks teaching credentials, and 1/3 of the student population seeks professional occupational training. SFSC Extension offers programs  in Santa Cruz, Modesto, and Santa Rosa. Leonard says that SFSC offers, “Unusually fine counseling” so that students get a well-balanced curriculum and are placed in the proper courses. Evening courses allow students to get a degree while they work. He asserts that curriculum provides the tools with which to work and the liberal arts needed to know how to use those tools [Success Story picks up this theme with a potter’s wheel analogy].

Lecturer in Industrial Arts and Education, Dwight W. Nichols gives Day a tour of labs where students get training to go into industrial fields of energy, transportation, communications, manufacturing, and production. He asserts that women in the program to get the “tools” of industry. Day asks if students will be “machinists” or labors, and Nichols explains that the program provides basic training for engineers.

At the Frederic Burk School, Principal Irving Footer explains how Education students observe master teachers. Professors of Education, Frederic T. Wilhelms (Chairman of the Education Division) and Frederic T. Shipp  discuss issues of Educational Administration. Wilhelms states that 14,000 new teachers are needed in California every year, and that San Francisco State trains and provides 7,000 (one half) of those teachers. Shipp observes that California’s school population is expanding at twice the rate of the national average.

Associate Professor of Art, Alexander Nepote takes Day through a demonstration of students of the Art Department from diverse backgrounds working on projects, and says that San Francisco State promotes no specific art philosophy; it offers instruction in photography, design, silk screening, life drawing, sculpture, and ceramics. Day observes, “no limits on student imaginations here.” Lecturer of Art, John Magnani talks to Day about student work and Day observes, “The potter’s wheel is man’s oldest power tool.”

Professor of Sociology and Government (and former Congressman) George Outland directs a class on American Government. Chairman of Natural Sciences Division, Professor of Physical Science Stanley W. Morse (1926) describes the curriculum in his division as pre-professional; chemistry majors, clinical technology, and mathematics with a business emphasis. Associated Student President, Bob Horn discusses the upcoming model United Nations event hosted at SFSC to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the signing of the United Nations Charter in San Francisco. The Model United Nations was an educational activity where students representing countries had an opportunity to learn about other nations and discuss how to effectively deal with conflicts. The 1955 Franciscan listed the following student participants: Publicity Director, John Maxwell; Financial Director, Richard Goff; Secretary-General, Robert Cannon; Assistant Director, Tom Shaeffer; Director, Chan Meloy, and Secretary, Joanne Hendricks.

The original general contractor for the Lake Merced Campus was S. J. Amoroso Construction Company of San Francisco and the original building designers were the California State Department of Architecture under the direction of Arison Boyd.

Sources: TV This Week 4: 40 (Oct. 9-15, 1954): 24. Franciscan, 1955 (San Francisco:  Associated Students, SFSC, 1955). San Francisco State College Bulletin 1954-55 (San Francisco: SFSC, 1954). San Francisco State College… In its Second Half Century:  Published Upon the Occasion of the Dedication of the New College Campus, This Booklet Describes in Pictorial Detail the Physical Facilities and Academic Program of the College (San Francisco, 1954).

  • San Francisco State College... In its Second Half Century
    Pictorial booklet published on the occasion of the dedication of the San Francisco State campus located near Lake Merced in 1954.
  • Success Story: San Francisco State College (1954)
    KGO-TV (ABC, San Francisco) produced this documentary about San Francisco State's new state-of-the-art campus near Lake Merced which aired during the Dedication Week in October 1954. Production Crew for Success Story; Bob Day - emcee; Caryl Coleman – writer and producer; Stan Younger – technical director; Willard Davis – director; Hartley Sater - narrator; Art Milliar – aerial footage probably taken when photographed campus for publicity; Russell Baker - staff director; Jim Greene – cameraman; Glenn Jackson - stage manager; Fred Sinfield – cameraman; Ray Doyle – SFSC Public Relations. This edition of Success Story aired Tuesday, October 12, 1954, and the following the program description appeared in TV This Week: "Success Story. 8 p.m., 7 [KGO]. A tour of the radio and T

Definitions: Primary vs. Secondary Sources

To learn more about primary and secondary resources, please consult LibGuides by Kendra Van Cleave entitled, "History; Primary Sources" and "History: Secondary Sources." The University Archives has a rich array of original and interpreted resources to learn more about campus history and life. This guide serves as an introduction but not comprehensive finding aid for our collections that continue to evolve with the University.

A PRIMARY SOURCE is generally defined as some kind of original material or data. Depending on your research topic and perspective, primary sources can include diaries and letters, interviews, speeches, business or organizational records, eyewitness accounts, photographs, video or film, government documents, newspapers or magazines, or even books.

A SECONDARY SOURCE is generally defined as something that analyzes, interprets, or comments on a primary source. In history, the key secondary sources that you need to find are research books and research journal articles.

SPOTLIGHT: SF State Magazine article about Anne Adams Helms features Special Collections Book

Individuals come to the University Archives to learn about San Francisco State's past and people including students, faculty, and administrators. Sometimes there is nothing and sometimes discoveries are made.

  • Once Upon a Time: For Anne Adams Helms, childhood was truly the stuff of storybooks
    Dennis Taylor talks to Anne Adams Helms (M.A., 1984) about her childhood and her famous father Ansel Adams.
  • Michael and Anne in the Yosemite Valley, 1941
    Children's book describing Michael Adams and Anne Adams Helms adventures in the High Sierras illustrated with photographs by Ansel Adams. Story follows the daily life and customs of brother and sister living in the Yosemite Valley exploring nature, visiting with Maggie "Tabuce" Howard (a major basket demonstrator and member of the Mono Lake Paiute tribe), and spending time with their Uncle Don.
  • Helms's Thesis: "Cultures in conflict : handbook for ESL teachers of Arab students"
    Date: 1984. Abstract: American teachers of English as a foreign language sometimes find the behavior and attitudes of Arab students puzzling, and in turn, Arab students are occasionally offended or bewildered by American customs. This handbook explores in detail differences between the two cultures in values, acceptable behavior and expectations, with the hope that understanding of these differences will lead to more successful teacher-student relationships while maintaining the ethnic identity and individual integrity of both parties. The information was gathered through library research into the history and culture of the Middle East, the phenomenon of culture shock, values analysis, and a review of American customs and etiquette, and through extensive interviews with Arab students and ESL teachers.

Archival Resources in this Library

Bulletin - San Francisco State University
Call Number: LD729.C975 A56X
The San Francisco State Bulletins include course descriptions and important information for students. The University Archives has archival copies of the Bulletins and a set of Bulletins dating back to 1970 are located on the third floor adjacent to the reference assistance desk. After 2010, the University stopped producing paper catalogs. However, this information is available through the University's website at http// that are searchable by semester and subject. The Bulletins are also available online from 1994 to the present, organized by year, at http//

Franciscan - Associated Students
Call Number: LD729.6 S35 F73
The student yearbooks were published by the student body under a variety of names and chronicle student life from the late 1920s until the 1990s when they ceased publication. The Archives has issues for 1926-1964, 1975-1978, 1982-1982, 1985, 1989, and 1993.

Golden Gater XPress
Today published as "Golden Gate Xpress," San Francisco State's student newspapers dating from the late 1920s offer the daily experiences and issues on campus under various titles: Vigilante, Bay Leaf, Golden Gater, Daily Gater, Zengers Golden Gater, and Pheonix.


Campus Resources available on the Internet

Golden Gater - SFSU Journalism Department
Today published as "Golden Gate Xpress," San Francisco State's student newspapers dating from the late 1920s offer the daily experiences and issues on campus.

Academic Senate Meeting - Academic Senate
The Academic Senate develops policies and procedures related to faculty, curriculum, academic standards, campus development, etc. Surveying Academic Senate minutes and agendas is an important way to discover the issues and politics of this campus community. The University Archives has minutes and agenda dating back to 1951 when the the Senate was first established and our run ends in 2006. The Academic Senate has archived minutes and agendas dating back to fall 1996 at their website.

CampusMemo - University Communications
Publication Date: 1970-present
CampusMemo includes current campus-related events and and announcements. The University Archives has issues dating back to 1970 and it is available online starting in 2001


Campus Secondary Resources available on the Internet

SFSU Magazine/SF State Magazine - University Communications
Publication Date: 2000 to present
University Communications publishes this award-winning magazine that chronicles the landmark accomplishments of San Francisco State faculty and alumni. The University Archives has issues dating back to 2000, and issues archived online go back to 2003.


Archival Mandate: SFSU Archives

On September 24, 1954, The President's Cabinet approved a document called "College Archives" that listed the recommendations of a Committee established to investigate potential options for the disposition of records generated by San Francisco State College, which stated the following:

(a) It suggested that the college library center its attention on the collection and preservation of significant historical records and on making current records of widespread interest conveniently available.

(b) The centralizing of records that have only historical significance would add to their value by making them accessible and by presenting them as a related whole.

The "College Archives" document establishes the current University Archive in the J. Paul Leonard Library's department known as the University Archives in the Archives/Special Collections Department now located in the Special Collections Unit (Libarary 460). Although the Department's collecting of paper documents has diminished with online archiving of materials throughout the University, its mandate to maintain and promote access to SFSU history-related materials continues.


Campus History Books

Cover Art
San Francisco State University - Meredith Eliassen
Call Number: LD729.6.S35 E45 2007
ISBN: 0738555665
Publication Date: 2006
This pictorial history of San Francisco State University chronicles our story back to 1899 when we were established as a normal school or vocational school for teachers utilizing photographs (primary sources) from the University Archives to convey the University's pragmatic approach to education. Many images were selected from the student yearbooks to emphasize how student engagement has shaped our history.

Centennial: San Francisco State University Celebrating 100 Years of Opportunity - University
Call Number: LD729.6 S35 C45 1999
Publication Date: 1999
Compiled by the Office of Publications and the Centennial Steering Committee, this booklet contains a timeline, a look back at the 1968-69 SFSC student-led Strike, an articles about San Francisco State University.

The Biography of San Francisco State University - Arthur Chandler
Call Number: LD729.6 S35 C53 1986x
ISBN: 0938530348
Publication Date: 1986
This pictorial dedicated to the Holloway Historians (an ad hoc group that did campus oral histories) by one of its co-founders carries San Francisco State's history back teacher training in late-Gold Rush San Francisco, linking the University history with educational movements in the City. Includes a "San Francisco State University Historical Timeline" dating from 1855 to 1983, endnotes, and bibliography.


Table of Contents

SFSU Archival Schema


SF State's Landmark Curriculum

   Resources Used

Student Organizations

   Resources Used

Our Intangible Free Speech Movement

   SFSU Engaged

   Chronology with bibiography

First President: Burk


   The Spirit of the Classroom

   Earliest Document

   The Spirit of the Classroom

Mary Ward


   Master Teacher


   Colors and Emblems

   Early School Songs

   Yells (1932-1933)

   Mascot Controversy of 1931

   Early Mascot Images in the Press

   Cox: Early Athletics

Government Documents

   Suggested Government Documents

   Further Information

   How to Find Government Documents

   How to Obtian Government Documents


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