Oral History Guide Interview Summaries



Transcripts of the California State Archives' oral histories are available for purchase. They are printed on acid–free paper and the price includes postage and handling. Please contact the oral history program coordinator, Sebastian Nelson to discuss payment and shipping options.

Oral history interviews conducted by the Regional Oral History Office are available to view in the California State Archives Research Room. Copyright laws limit the number of pages the California State Archives can reproduce from these volumes. Researchers must contact the Regional Oral History Office at the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley to obtain full transcripts of these volumes.


Interview Summaries (C)

Caldecott, Thomas W. (OH KB–4)

"Perspectives on the Republican Party and the Legislature: A Prominent Assemblyman Reviews the Goodwin Knight Era," California Legislative Leaders, Vol. I. (1979). Assembly Member, 1947–1957.

Caldecott waged a successful campaign for the 18th assembly district vacated by Republican Gardiner Johnson. Entering the assembly in 1947 he became associated with the Dirty Seventeen––predominantly freshmen assemblyman leading a good–government drive that eventually installed James Silliman as Speaker. His loyalty to Silliman combined with his legal and budgetary acumen elevated him to the chairmanship of the influential Ways and Means committee. In this position he built a trusted relation to Governor Goodwin Knight and worked with him on the annual budget. He became the vice chairman of the Republican State Central Committee in 1954. He discusses the scramble for party power among Nixon, Knowland, and Knight forces in the mid–1950s.

Contact the Regional Oral History Office at the Bancroft Library to purchase a copy of this transcript.



Calderon, Charles (OH 2004–11)

Oral History Interview with Charles Calderon. (2003). California State Assemblyman, 1982–1990; California State Senator, 1990–1998.

Charles Calderon talks about his early life and background, early political interest and experiences, education, and campaigns. He discusses his election to the Assembly, the body's leadership, and his committee business. He comments on the impact of propositions, the formation and purpose of the "Gang of Five," the FBI sting, and fundraising and term limits. He talks about being Assembly Majority Whip and, later, the Senate Majority Leader. Calderon speaks of his election to the Senate, his involvement in legislation regarding earthquake insurance, hazardous waste and treatment, victim and prisoners rights, and family law with a particular interest in father's rights. He also relates information about the Latino Caucus, Cesar Chavez Day, and the way term limits changed legislative power.

Transcript price: (299 pp.) $30.00



Cameron, Ronald B. (OH 92–15)

Oral History Interview with Hon. Ronald Brooks Cameron. (1990). Congressman, 1963–1967; Assembly Member, 1959–1962. (pdf ~ 4.93 MB, 169 pages)

Cameron discusses Democratic party politics, government, campaigns, and legislation; activities in the assembly and House of Representatives; personal opinions and problems with fellow assemblymen and House members, presidents Kennedy and Johnson; electronic voting idea, and publishing his voting record for his constituency.

Transcript price: (167 pp.) $27.00



Camilli, Richard L. (OH R–43)

"Health Care Reform and Staff Development, 1969–1974," Services for Californians: Executive Department Issues in the Reagan Administration, 1967–1974. (1983).

The interview provides the view of an experienced civil servant on the early problems of the Medi–Cal program for public assistance for those unable to pay for medical care and reorganizations within the California Health and Welfare Agency to resolve them. In addition to explaining measures he drafted as Earl Brians' deputy, Camilli discusses team training methods he introduced to improve the department's operations. He touches on other civil service concerns with reference to his later years as director of the State Personnel Board, 1971–1973.

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Canson, Virna M. (OH R–9)

"Waging the War on Poverty and Discrimination in California through the NAACP, 1953–1974," Citizen Advocacy Organizations, 1960–1975. (1984). Program Advisory Committee to the Consumer Counsel, 1962–1966.

Canson comments on the NAACP's activities, the Rumford Fair Housing Act, consumer counsel, and the Office of Economic Opportunity. She also reports her successful efforts to maintain communication with the governor's office.

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Carleson, Robert B. (OH R–44)

Stemming the Welfare Tide. (1983). Director, Dept. of Social Welfare, 1972–1973; Chief Deputy Director, Dept. of Public Works, 1969–1970.

Carleson provides a concise and fascinating reconstruction of the twelve months from August 1970 to September 1971 during which his team made its study and restructured the department, including the passage of controversial legislation dealing with reforms that could be carried out administratively. Carleson also discusses his work as city manager in southern California and with the state Department of Public Works, with some entertaining anecdotes on decision–making strategies. Much of this interview is devoted to detailed recollection of passage of the 1971 Welfare Reform Act.

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Carlson, Constance Brown (OH KB–1)

"My Brothers Edmund, Harold, and Frank," Brown Family Portraits. (1981).

Subjects of the interview centered on the family home on Grove Street in San Francisco, the boys' schooling, Edmund's engagement and early married years, the parents' conflict over religion and growing alienation and eventual separation, her father's constant striving for business success and her mother's hunger for education. She discussed the Vietnam war and the Chessman case and how they contributed strain to family and political life.

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Carpenter, Dennis E. (OH R–24)

"Republican State Committee Chair and Senator," Legislative–Governor Relations in the Reagan Years: Five Views. (1982). Senator, 1970–1978.

As vice chairman and then chairman of the state party organization, he helped develop the California Plan for achieving a Republican majority in the legislature. When a south Orange County senate district opened up in 1970, Carpenter was the logical Republican candidate to fill the vacancy. He easily won the special election in August 1970 and served two terms, retiring in 1978 to work as a lobbyist and political consultant.

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Carter, Judy Royer (OH KB–20)

"Pat Brown: The Governorship and After," Pat Brown: Friends and Campaigners. (1977).

As Brown's secretary for eleven years, Carter comments on the governor's informal work style. She speaks of the routines of keeping up with the paperwork both in the governor's office and in his 1966 re–election campaign, touching on the response of the executive staff to issues as the 1964 initiative to defeat fair housing, and the 1965 Watts riots, which led to strengthening the governor's staff in Los Angeles. She summarizes the legal and public affairs activities in which Brown was involved after his defeat.

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Carter, Louis (OH R–43)

"Piloting Assistance to Small and Minority Businesses, 1969–1975," Services for Californians: Executive Department Issues in the Reagan Administration, 1967–1974. (1984). Executive Director, Office of Small Business Development, 1969–1975; Special Consultant to the Superintendent of Bank, 1969.

Carter describes the evolution of the Cal–Job Corporation in working with state banks to create a loan program and to provide technical assistance for small businesses and businesses owned by minorities.

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Carter, Oliver J. (OH W–37)

A Leader in the California Senate and the Democratic Party, 1940–1950. (1971, 1972, 1973). Senator, 1941–1948.

Carter was credited by many in Earl Warren's circles as being the crucial senate fighter for the Republican governor's highway bill that created the initial network of freeways in 1947. Governor Warren had been planning vast statewide road–building as postwar projects ever since the first year of the war, and when the time came it required a tax increase. Carter tells how the battle between the governor and the oil companies for the 1–1/2 percent increase in fuel taxes was manipulated in the legislature and the governor's office, how the city–county ration for allocations was arrived at, and how finally the Collier–Burns Act was passed with Carter leading the senate forces for Earl Warren and his friend Albert C. Wollenberg performing the same task in the assembly. As the senator from Shasta and Trinity Counties, Carter became well–known for his fire protection measures for forests.

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Carty, Edwin L. (OH W–29)

Hunting, Politics, and the Fish and Game Commission. (1972, 1973). Commissioner, 1939–1943.

Carty discusses his work on the Fish and Game Commission, friendship with Earl Warren, and Ventura County leadership.

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Cavanaugh, Bartley (OH W–28)

"A Mutual Interest in Government, Politics, and Sports," Hunting and Fishing with Earl Warren. (1972). City Manager, Sacramento, 1947– ?; Manager, Sacramento City and County Housing Authority, 1940–1947.

Cavanaugh discusses his political activities, acquaintance with Warren, the legislature during the forties, and city and state administration.

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Cavins, Omar (OH W–20)

"Coming of Age in Bakersfield," Earl Warren's Bakersfield. (1970).

Cavins discusses his recollections of the Bakersfield that he and Earl Warren knew as boys, and of the high school class of 1908 that they both belonged to.

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Chamberlain, Richard H. (OH W–44)

"Reminiscences About the Alameda County District Attorney's Office," Perspectives on the Alameda County District Attorney's Office, Vol. II. (1971). Chief Assistant District Attorney, ? – 1953; Deputy District Attorney, 1926 – ?; Judge, Superior Court of Alameda County, 1953–1964.

Chamberlain describes the organization of the office and comments on the early innovations introduced by Warren. One of his most important duties, beginning in 1931, was to attend the sessions of the state legislature in Sacramento as a representative of the Alameda County District Attorney's office. He worked closely with legislators, and describes some of the more significant pieces of legislation he helped support, including the important 1934 state constitutional amendments. He attended every legislative session from 1931 to 1941 and became, ex–officio, a spokesman for the law enforcement officials of the entire state. He compares the office under the administration of Ralph Hoyt, J. Frank Coakley, and Earl Warren.

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Champion, Hale (OH KB–10)

Communication and Problem–Solving: A Journalist in State Government. (1978). Press Secretary, 1959–1961.

Champion discusses the dynamics of Brown's re–election campaigns. He discusses organizational and financial innovations by which Pat Brown's administration attempted to deal with the growing complexity of government: introduction of the agency system to improve accountability of executive departments, the effort to develop cost controls for the burgeoning welfare and Medi–Cal programs tied to federal legislation, and the urgent effort to win approval for withholding state income taxes to stabilize the revenue cash flow.

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Chappie, Eugene A. (OH 93–4)

Oral History Interview with Eugene A. Chappie. (1990). Assembly Member, 1965–1974; United States Representative, 1981–1986. (pdf ~ 7.54 MB, 317 pages)

Chappie discusses his family and early life as well as running a farm in El Dorado County as an adult. He talks about his appointment and service on the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors and his campaign and election to the state Assembly. He details his participation in state welfare reform, the role of republicans in the Assembly, and reapportionment in 1966 and 1970. He refers to his efforts in removing architectural barriers for the handicapped and his views on water rights and water politics including Tahoe Basin planning and the Auburn Dam. Chappie talks about lobbying on the local, state, and national levels and discusses his House of Representatives service while offering comparisons of each level.

Transcript price: (316 pp.) $33.00



Chatters, Ford A. (OH W–50)

View from the Central Valley: The California Legislature, Water, Politics, and the State Personnel Board. (1972). State Personnel Board, 1943–1946; Assembly Member, 1933–1935.

Chatters discusses his background, early political interests, role in California water legislation, role in Warren's 1942 campaign, role in the Warren administration, tenure as state legislator, and State Personnel Board.

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Chaudet, Joseph W. (OH W–34)

"A Printer's View," Labor Looks at Earl Warren. (1969).

Chaudet discusses the difficulties of labor organizing when "The American plan" and "sweetheart contracts" were common and men did not join the union for fear of losing their jobs; being recognized as bargaining agent was the unions' major concern. Labor legislation of the period was non–existent, because of anti–labor feeling.

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Chickering, A. Lawrence (OH R–33)

Poverty Programs and Other Conservative Policy Strategies, 1970–1984. (1984). Assistant, Office of Economic Opportunity, 1970–1971; Founder and Executive Director of Institute for Contemporary Studies, 1973– .

This combined interview with Chickering and Hawkins describes the period when the state's anti–poverty programs were being challenged by the governor's office, and program negotiations with the federal government were intense.

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Christopher, George (OH KB–25)

"Mayor of San Francisco and Republican Party Candidate," San Francisco Republicans. (1977, 1978).

Christopher spoke on a wide range of topics such as his own political disappointments, the Free Speech Movement, the corporate influencing of politics, and the nature of political conduct as he viewed it.

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Christopher, Warren (OH KB–14)

"Special Counsel to the Governor: Recalling the Pat Brown Years," The Governor's Office Under Edmund G. Brown, Sr. (1978).

Christopher was recruited as a volunteer to write occasional speeches for Brown's 1958 gubernatorial campaign. He then served briefly as special counsel in the governor's office. His specific projects under Brown included developing a smog program, providing consultation with people who would be charged with carrying it out. He was in on the conceptual discussions of Brown's reorganization plan. After the disastrous Watts Riots, Christopher functioned on the McCone Commission as interrogator and vice chairman, 1965 to 1967.

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Clark, Tom (OH W–31)

"Comments on the Japanese–American Relocation," Japanese–American Relocation Reviewed, Volume I: Decision and Exodus. (1972).

Clark served as civilian coordinator between the Justice Dept. and Western Defense Command. He describes his work of acquainting the public with the situation, investigating allegations of Japanese sabotage, and enforcing General DeWitt's curfew orders. He comments on the attitude toward relocation of several federal officials, and outlines the functioning of the federal task force assigned to oversee the relocation process. He notes that after the war a commission was appointed to coordinate the return of property to the evacuees.

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Claycombe, Gordon (OH W–11)

"The Making of a Legislative Committee Study," Earl Warren and Health Insurance: 1943–1949. (1970).

Claycombe discusses his role in the legislative events related to Earl Warren's effort to achieve passage of a state–administered health insurance program, and other experiences in medical public relations. He recalls in detail his staff work for Senator Byrl R. Salsman's Interim Committee on Prepayment of Medical and Hospital Care, the course of discussions with the committee members, and his impression of forces at work in the community.

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Clifton, Florence McChesney (OH W–5)

"California Democrats, 1934–1950," California Democrats in the Earl Warren Era. (1972). Chief, Division of Industrial Welfare, 1959–1961.

Clifton was head of the Southern California campaign for Governor Warren's Democratic opponent, James Roosevelt, in the 1950 gubernatorial race. Discussion includes former campaigns in which she participated, such as Culbert Olson's 1938 race and Harry Truman's 1948 delegation.

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Clifton, Robert (OH W–5)

"The Democratic Party, Culbert L. Olson, and the Legislature," California Democrats in the Earl Warren Era. (1972).

In his job as legislation advisor to Governor Olson, he set up and ran a system for digesting all bills that came over the governor's desk and recommending whether Olson should sign or veto. Because Olson and his attorney general, Earl Warren, were often at loggerheads, Clifton occasionally acted as general legal counsel to the governor and at one point actually had to represent the governor before the state supreme court against the position represented by Attorney General Earl Warren.

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Cline, John W. (OH W–11)

"California Medical Association Crusade Against Compulsory State Health Insurance," Earl Warren and Health Insurance: 1943–1949. (1970).

Cline discusses the medical profession's response to Governor Warren's proposal for a state program of health insurance. He describes the negotiations between the California Medical Association and Warren in 1944 and 1945. By 1947, Cline was president of the CMA and again successfully blocked Warren's legislation. He also describes the selection of the public relations firm of Whitaker & Baxter to handle the CMA campaign and later the national campaign. In 1971 he was again leading a strong professional effort to retain funds in the Dept. of Public Health budget for the tumor registry which was begun in Warren's administration.

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Coakley, J. Frank (OH W–45)

"A Career in the Alameda County District Attorney's Office," Perspectives on the Alameda County District Attorney's Office, Vol. III. (1969, 1970, 1972, 1973).

In describing his early years of service in the district attorney's office, Coakley notes several of the dramatic and complicated cases he helped prosecute: the Sheriff Becker case and the fight against graft in county offices, the Cox oil swindle case, the mausoleum case, and the Board of Equalization case. He comments on Earl Warren's standards of criminal justice, noting that the Alameda County office was one of the few in the country to use search warrants in the 1920s and 1930s. Turning to the post–Warren period in the district attorney's office, Coakley comments on his own tenure as DA.

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Cobey, James A. (OH 89–9)

Oral History Interview with James A. Cobey. (1988). Senator, 1955–1966. (pdf ~ 5.85 MB, 249 pages)

He discusses his legal background as a deputy county counsel, chief law clerk to Justice Clement Shinn, and practicing attorney in Merced County. He talks about his first senate term: the power structure, nature of the senate, water legislation, and bills he carried. He speaks about various personalities: Governor Edmund G. Brown, Sr., Lieutenant Governors Powers and Anderson, Hugh Burns, and other senators.

Transcript price: (250 pp.) $30.00



Coffey, Bertram (OH KB–22)

"Reflections on George Miller, Jr., Governors Pat and Jerry Brown, and the Democratic Party," Political Advocacy and Loyalty. (1978). Chair, State Central Committee, 1977–1979.

Coffey touches on Miller's sturdy defense of northern California water supplies, the ticklish question of representing a district in which the Standard Oil Company is the largest constituent, and the sense of propriety and protocol that made Miller a strong force in the legislature while not a threat to the long dominance of Senate pro tem Hugh Burns. In 1950 and 1954, Coffey took on the job of rounding up labor support statewide for Pat Brown's campaigns for attorney general, with Miller's approval. The interview goes on to describe reorganizations of the state Democratic party under Miller and later under Coffey.

Contact the Regional Oral History Office at the Bancroft Library to purchase a copy of this transcript.



Cologne, Gordon (OH R–24)

"Water Policy in the Reagan Years," Legislative–Governor Relations in the Reagan Years: Five Years. (1981). Assembly Member, 1961–1965; Senator, 1965–1972.

Cologne, along with Assemblyman Carley Porter, was a pillar of California Water Project legislation. Cologne established himself as the water expert in the senate, guiding water legislation through the senate chamber while Porter carried water bills through the assembly.

Contact the Regional Oral History Office at the Bancroft Library to purchase a copy of this transcript.



Connelly, John Robert (OH 2002–2)

Oral History Interview with John Robert Connelly. (2001). Legislative Staff Member, 1960–1964; 1967–1978; 1979–1996.

Connelly discusses his early life and family background, his travels and military service. He details his legislative staff service on environmental legislation and with finance committees on the state budget. He talks about building a professional legislative staff and changes in California with term limits. Connelly comments on leaders and relationships in the legislature, the executive office under different governors, and the power of the Third House.

Transcript price: (336 pp.) $33.00



Connolly, Margarete (OH R–9)

"Speaking Out for Retarded Citizens," Citizen Advocacy Organizations, 1960–1975. (1984).

As executive director, Aid for Retarded Children grew into a full service organization, eventually serving several hundred developmentally disabled men and women each year with residential group homes, recreational programs and volunteer work, advocacy and public education, job training and paid work, and support services to clients and their families. She recounts the trials and triumphs of those years by describing Earl Warren's efforts on behalf of the mentally retarded, legislation passed during the 1950s and 1960s, Ronald Reagan's support for legislation for the mentally retarded at a time he was cutting $20 million from the mental health budget, and the impact on the mentally retarded of the closing of the mental hospitals.

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Corey, Dorothy D. (OH 90–32)

Oral History Interview with Dorothy D. Corey. (1990). Marketing and Public Opinion Research, 1932– .

Dorothy Corey reviews her family background and education. She recollects her days as a pioneering market researcher during the thirties in Chicago and her acquaintance with George Gallup and Elmo Roper. She talks about her company's clients in political polling and their reliance on research. She also discusses the various techniques in market research and their applicability in the political field.

Transcript price: (225 pp.) $30.00



Cory, Kenneth (OH 90–12)

Oral History Interview with Kenneth Cory. (1987, 1988). State Controller, 1976–1986. (pdf ~ 5.81 MB, 150 pages)

Cory discusses tax reform efforts by the governor and the legislature in the late 1960s and 1970s, campaigning and campaign reform, reapportionment, the Office of Controller, audits of Medi–Cal and welfare programs, the Board of Equalization, unitary system of accounting for corporate taxation.

Transcript price: (150 pp.) $27.00



Cory, Kenneth (OH R–25)

"Education Consultant and Assemblyman, 1961–1974," Legislative Issue Management and Advocacy, 1961–1974. (1981). Assembly Member, 1967–1974.

Cory focuses on the interaction among senators and assemblyman on educational finance bills, on the variety of approaches considered for equalizing educational opportunity, and the efforts made toward a county–wide tax system to support the public schools. Although he reflects on the legislature's handling of public education matters between 1961 and 1964, and between 1966 and 1974, his term as chief administrative officer affords another special view of the assembly.

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Costa, Edward (OH 90–34)

Oral History Interview with Edward Costa. (1990). President, People's Advocate, 1989– .

Costa discusses political campaigning, school system reform, proposition 13, Legislative Reform Act of 1984 (Proposition 24), and the Watson initiative (Proposition 14 in 1972); no–fault auto insurance, and tax–free pensions.

Transcript price: (62 pp.) $21.00



Cozzens, Robert (OH W–32)

"Assistant National Director of the War Relocation Authority," Japanese–American Relocation Reviewed, Volume II: The Internment. (1970, 1971).

Cozzens was actively involved in the selection of sites for camps, their day–to–day administration, and served as acting director of Gila Relocation Center in Arizona. He comments on the successful campaign of commercial growers to abort the agricultural programs established at some centers.

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Cristina, Vernon J. (OH R–38)

"A Northern Californian Views Conservative Politics and Policies, 1963–1970," Republican Campaigns and Party Issues, 1964–1976. (1983). California Highway Commissioner, 1967–1974; Chair, 1968–1970.

Cristina discusses the liberals and conservatives within the State Republican Party, 1964 Goldwater campaign in San Francisco, work on Reagan's appointments committee, and Highway Commission issues.

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Crocker, Roy P. (OH W–46)

"Gathering Southern California Support for Richard Nixon in the 1950 Senate Race," Richard M. Nixon in the Warren Era. (1975).

Crocker's role in the congressional and senate races of the young Whittier attorney was a crucial one that provided public and financial support initially from the banking and savings and loan community in California and later from agricultural interests. Session focused on the 1950 senatorial campaign in which Nixon defeated Los Angeles Congresswoman Helen Gahagan Douglas and thereby became a force in California to be reckoned with by the Earl Warren Republicans. Crocker, as valley organizer, helped provide Nixon with some of the most powerful support then available in California, that of the large landowners and agricultural interests, whose senators from Marysville to El Centro and the Imperial Valley controlled state finances and the legislature. Helen Douglas had chosen as the core of her campaign support of the 160–acre ownership limitation on farmlands fed with water from federal reclamation projects.

Contact the Regional Oral History Office at the Bancroft Library to purchase a copy of this transcript.



Cullen, Frank, Sr. (OH 2004–16)

Oral History Interview with Frank Cullen, Sr. (2003). Assistant Legislative Secretary, Governor's Office, 1963–1966; Chief of Staff, Governor Edmund G. Brown, 1967–1996.

Cullen discusses his family background, early education, and Air Force experiences. He talks of the John F. Kennedy congressional and Senate campaigns and his relationship with Bobby Kennedy. He speaks of his family business and moving to California where he was involved in more campaigns for Kennedy, Edmund G. "Pat" Brown, and others. He relates his experiences of working unofficially and officially for Pat Brown in the governor's office and beyond. He comments on the conflict between Jesse Unruh and Brown, Brown versus Ronald Reagan, and Brown's legacy. He also talks of the Edmund G. "Pat" Brown Institute of Government Affairs, Pat Brown's involvement in Jerry Brown's career, and Pat Brown's activity in Democratic politics after his time as governor.

Transcript price: (389 pp.) $36.00



Cunningham, Thomas J. (OH W–21)

"Southern California Campaign Chairman for Earl Warren," Earl Warren's Campaigns, Vol. I. (1972). Assembly Member, 1935–1938.

The focus of the interview is on Earl Warren's gubernatorial race for re–election in 1946, a race he won in the primaries by out–balloting his opponents in both the Democratic and Republican parties. Cunningham, whose tenure in the legislature had been marked by similar bipartisan victories, was Warren's southern California campaign leader.

Contact the Regional Oral History Office at the Bancroft Library to purchase a copy of this transcript.



Currie, William Ralph (OH 89–12)

Oral History Interview with Hon. William Ralph Currie. (1988). Chief Financial Economist, Department of Finance, 1949–1968; Economic Research Specialist, Division of Budgets and Accounts, Department of Finance, 1936–1949. (pdf ~ 2.5 MB, 63 pages)

Currie describes the development of California Department of Finance revenue forecasting methods including population forecasting. He talks about legislative revenue and taxation committees, budget preparation, and financial concerns of the executive administrations. He also discusses the finance directors under whom he worked.

Transcript price: (63 pp.) $21.00



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