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 (P)

Pachon, Harry P. (OH 98–2)

Oral History Interview with Harry P. Pachon. (1997). President, Tomas Rivera Policy Institute; Kenan Professor of Political Studies, Claremont Colleges; Former Executive Director, National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Education Fund, 1983–1993.

Pachon discusses his family background and childhood, Latino movements and political ideology, and his education and teaching career. He relates his experiences as administrative assistant to Congressman Edward R. Roybal and talks about immigration and naturalization. He also speaks of the mission of The Tomas Rivera Policy Institute, and comments on Latino politics in California as well as relations between Latinos and African Americans.

Transcript price: (110 pp.) $24.00



Palumbo, Anthony L. (OH R–23)

"Law Enforcement, Emergency Planning, and the California National Guard, 1965–1974," Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice in California, 1966–1976. (1983). Executive Director, Bureau of Criminal Identification, 1975–1976.

Palumbo focuses on the theme of better preparedness on the part of the state and local governments to meet natural disasters and other large–scale emergencies. He describes several other law enforcement planning efforts in which he was involved during the Reagan administration. Among these are the Governor's Select Committee on Law Enforcement Problems (1972–1973) and Project Safer California (1974).

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



Papan, Louis J. (OH 89–14)

Oral History Interview with Louis J. Papan. (1988). Assembly Member, 1972–1986. (pdf ~ 9.75 MB, 233 pages)

Papan discusses issues and activities of the state legislature during his tenure as Democratic assemblyman. He talks of his chairmanship of the Rules Committee and membership on the Finance and Insurance, Transportation, and Policy and Research Management committees. He also discusses Governors Reagan and Deukmejian and other legislators such as Leo McCarthy, Bob Moretti, John Foran.

Transcript price: (233 pp.) $30.00



Parkinson, Gaylord B. (OH R–20)

"California Republican Party Official, 1962–1967," Issues and Innovations in the 1966 Republican Gubernatorial Campaign. (1978).

Parkinson discusses his role in trying to help change the party in San Diego in the early 1960s and then on the state level once he became chairman in 1964. He is probably best known for authoring the so–called "Eleventh Commandment." He also discusses the 1966 gubernatorial election in California and Ronald Reagan's relationship with the structure of the Republican party during his own campaign.

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



Patsey, Richard L. (OH 90–6)

Oral History Interview with Richard L. Patsey. (1988). Constitutional Revision Commission Special Counsel, 1964–1966; Judge, Contra Costa Superior Court, 1980– .

Patsey was appointed in 1964 as counsel and executive director to the Constitutional Revision Commission. He worked closely with Bruce Sumner, head of the commission on several articles dealing with the powers of government. In 1966 he left to practice law, and in 1980 he was appointed to the Contra Costa superior court bench.

Transcript price: (98 pp.) $24.00



Patterson, Edgar James (OH W–27)

Governor's Mansion Aide to Prison Counselor. (1970, 1972).

Patterson discusses his responsibilities to the governor, reforms in the correctional system, and Patterson's career in Corrections.

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



Peirce, John M. (OH KB–21)

"California State Department of Finance, 1953–1958," Perspectives on Department Administration. (1978). Director of Finance, 1953–1958.

Peirce discusses the responsibilities as director, including the many state boards he served on ex officio, the governor's fiscal policies, and some political issues of the 1950s. The emphasis was on achieving a balanced budget without imposing new taxes, controlling costs to stay within the budget, and conserving the dwindling surplus resources built up during World War II. On the major undertaking of Knight's administration, the preliminary engineering and construction for what became the California Water Plan, the governor and his finance director were content to urge the legislature to develop sources of long–range funding rather than press a program of their own devising, although Peirce was comfortable with the bond program eventually developed.

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



Pesonen, David E. (OH 93–12)

Oral History Interview with David E. Pesonen. (1992). Chair, Californians for Nuclear Safeguards, 1974–1976; Member, State Board of Forestry, 1977–1979; Director, Department of Forestry, 1979–1983; Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge, 1983–1984.

Pesonen discusses the campaign for the Nuclear Safeguards Initiative and the anti–nuclear power movement, including the citizen's group Creative Initiative. He comments on his appointment to the State Board of Forestry and the relationship between the Board and the Department of Forestry. He outlines his subsequent appointment to the State Department of Forestry and restructuring and reorganizing the department. He talks about working with Secretary for Resources Huey Johnson, managing resources, and fire fighting programs. He also describes his midnight appointment to the Contra Costa Superior Court and the political difficulties of retaining a judgeship in a county where he had no political base.

Transcript price: (160 pp.) $27.00



Petris, Nicholas C. (OH 91–10)

Oral History Interview with Nicholas C. Petris. (1988). Senator, 1967– ; Assembly Member, 1959–1966.

Petris has represented Alameda County in the California Assembly since 1959 and in the state senate since 1967. He discusses local and state Democratic politics, the California Democratic Council, and key issues on which he has been a leader: environmental protection, mental health services, tax structure and equity, legislative reapportionment, judicial appointments, San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, and others.

Transcript price: (411 pp.) $36.00



Phillips, Herbert L. (OH W–4)

"Perspective of a Political Reporter," Bee Perspectives of the Warren Era. (1972).

Phillips was the political reporter for the Sacramento Bee for three decades, from 1933 to 1963. His analyses and summaries ("Politics in Review") of both the executive and the legislative branches carried a great deal of political weight in the state and are now mainstays for any study of California history of that period.

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



Pittman, Tarea Hall (OH W–39)

NAACP Official and Civil Rights Worker. (1971, 1972).

A tireless worker for civil rights, she was the West Coast Regional Director for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People from 1959 to 1967. She discusses her work in social welfare, California State Association of Colored Women's Clubs, California Council of Negro Women, Negro Educational Council, legislation on fair employment practices and fair housing in California, and the NAACP.

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



Plog, Stanley (OH R–29)

More Than Just an Actor: The Early Campaigns of Ronald Reagan. (1981).

Plog along with Kenneth Holen accompanied Reagan on the campaign trail in order to be able continually offer him advice on political issues and campaign strategies. They divided their work into four categories: pinpointing crucial issues and problems; preparing position papers containing arguments for both sides, providing research data to be used for speeches, and advising on decorum in the political arena. Armed with what came to be called his "black books" (containing information on California issues), Reagan had quick access to complex matters.

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



Polland, Milton R. (OH KB–13)

"Political and Personal Friend of Earl Warren, Goodwin Knight, and Hubert Humphrey," Goodwin Knight: Aides, Advisers, and Appointees. (1979).

Polland headed the delegates for Earl Warren at the 1952 Republican National Convention. In addition to relating how he perceived Warren's losing the presidential nomination, Polland also broached the topic of the roles of two other California Republicans prominent in national politics, Richard Nixon and William Knowland. He also shed light on the relationship between Earl Warren and President Eisenhower. The major subject is Goodwin Knight. His comments on Knight's preliminary attempts to seek support for a presidential nomination in 1956 and the "Big Switch" which occurred in 1958.

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



Poole, Cecil F. (OH KB–14)

"Executive Clemency and the Chessman Case," The Governor's Office Under Edmund G. Brown, Sr. (1977). Extradition and Clemency Secretary, 1959–1961.

Poole captures vividly the urgency of Governor Pat Brown's efforts in 1959 and 1960 to find an acceptable means of forestalling Caryl Chessman's execution and resolving the long struggle to end capital punishment in California. As the Governor's clemency secretary from December 1959, until his appointment as U.S. Attorney in 1961, Poole was responsible for reviewing the record in all death penalty cases and making recommendations to the Governor as to possible executive action.

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



Post, A. Alan (OH R–32)

"Public Aims and Expenditure: A Divergent View," Organizational and Fiscal Views of the Reagan Administration. (1981). Legislative Analyst, 1959–1978; Legislative Auditor, 1950–1958.

The legislative analyst and his staff prepared the rebuttal to the governor's budget, which sets the stage for the annual debate between the executive and legislative branches of government on the amount and direction of state spending. Post is known for his searching commentary on the conduct and impact of state programs and for suggestions as to unnecessary expenditures.

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



Post, A. Alan (OH W–7)

"Watchdog on State Spending," California State Finance in the 1940s. (1971). Chief Economic and Administrative Analyst, Legislative Budget Committee, 1947–1950.

Post joined the Office of the Legislative Analyst in its infancy [1946], and describes how its methods and functions have grown over the years. He also discusses possible shortcomings of the Warren administration. His interview provides insights into irregularities in lobbying and liquor administration, and raises a question on banking of state funds that seems to have been largely overlooked.

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



Post, A. Alan (OH 2003–05)

Oral History Interview with A. Alan Post. (2002). State Legislative Analyst, 1950–1977. (pdf ~ 1.84 MB, 330 pages)

Post discusses his family and early life, growing interest in art, serving in Naval Intelligence during World War II and his job with Legislative Auditor's Office. He describes his later work as Legislative Analyst and comments on his relationship with members of the legislature and such subjects as mental hospitals, World War II's effect on California, and water policy. He talks the state budget process, governors, the Master Plan for Higher Education, and the University of California system. He also mentions his artistic career as a painter and his role in encouraging museums and the spread of culture in California.

Transcript price: (330 pp.) $33.00



Post, Langdon (OH W–5)

"James Roosevelt's Northern California Campaign, 1950," California Democrats in the Earl Warren Era. (1972).

This interview documents James Roosevelt's gubernatorial campaign against Earl Warren in 1950.

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



Post, Manning J. (OH 88–8)

Oral History Interview with Manning J. Post. (1987). Member, Commission on California State Government Organization and Economy, 1961–1982. (pdf ~ 6.77 MB, 306 pages)

Post discusses his family background and education, business activities, and the growing interest in state government efficiency. He details his work on various state government commissions, particularly his service on the Commission on California State Government Organization and Economy (Little Hoover Commission). He talks about the formation of the Commission, its staff, and specific reports of the Commission. Post also offers his views on bureaucracy, political campaigns and fundraising, and those in positions of power.

Transcript price: (306 pp.) $33.00



Powers, Harold J. (OH KB–3)

"On Prominent Issues, the Republican Party, and Political Campaigns: A Veteran Republican Views the Goodwin Knight Era," California Constitutional Officers. (1978). Lt. Governor, 1953–1959; California State Senator, 1933–1953; President pro Tem, 1947–1953.

Powers discusses campaigning for lieutenant governor, California Water Plan development, liquor control (1954), relations with the Third House, State Lands Commission, in–fighting among California Republicans, Knowland–Knight "Big Switch" (1958), right–to–work proposition (1958), losing campaign for a second term as lieutenant governor (1958), stumping for Nixon's presidential bid (1960), and his bitter battle with Nixon for the Republican gubernatorial nomination (1962).

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



Powers, Robert B. (OH W–36)

Law Enforcement, Race Relations: 1930–1960. (1969).

Warren appointed Powers to the Law Enforcement Advisory Committee. The first big task was gaining the cooperation of the law enforcement people in assuring a non–violent acceptance of the Japanese American citizens, who were returning from War Relocation camps. Powers later held the position of Coordinator of Law Enforcement Agencies for California.

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



Presley, Robert (OH 2003–04)

Oral History Interview with Robert Presley. (2002–2003). Senator, 1974–1994; Secretary, Youth and Adult Correctional Agency, 1999–2003.

Presley discusses his early life and schooling, work in law enforcement, his entry into Riverside politics, and his political experience with the California Peace Officers Association. He talks about his initial failed candidacy for Senate and subsequent victory over the incumbent candidate. He relates information about his committee work experiences and the crime legislation he worked on. Presley also discusses prison design, funding, and growth as well as term limits, and his post–Senate work with the Youthful Offender's Board and Youth and Adult Correctional Agency.

Transcript price: (163 pp.) $27.00



Priolo, Paul V. (OH 92–9)

Oral History Interview with Paul V. Priolo. (1990). Assembly Member, 1967–1980.

Priolo talks about his family background and growing up in San Francisco, his education, and going into business in Santa Monica. He details his decision to run for assembly, the California Democratic Council, and partisanship problems. He discusses Jesse Unruh and other legislative leaders and comments on legislative reform. He also outlines his committee work and the importance of legislative staff, and talks about his attempt for a state senate seat and his subsequent career as a legislative lobbyist.

Transcript price: (178 pp.) $27.00



Procunier, Florence Randolph (OH R–19)

"Working with Edwin Meese," Internal and External Operations of the California Governor's Office, 1966–1974. (1983).

Procunier gives an account of day–to–day operations in the governor's office as secretary to the governor's legal affairs assistant. She comments on the thoroughness with which Meese dealt with the review of all clemency and extradition requests, and her own satisfaction when former prison inmates qualified for certificates of rehabilitation.

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



Procunier, Raymond K. (OH R–2)

"Administering Your Prisons," The Art of Corrections Management, California, 1967–1974. (1983). Director, Dept. of Corrections, 1967–1974.

Procunier provides a reference point for California's longstanding concern for professional, humane correctional services. He discusses changes in direction that were instituted in response to changing social conditions and professional standards. He also discusses his ex officio role on the California Council on Criminal Justice.

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



California
State Archives




Register To Vote Online