Preservation and Access: Preservation Assistance Grants

Period of Performance

1/1/2011 - 6/30/2012

Funding Totals

$5,600.00 (approved)
$5,600.00 (awarded)

Historical Correspondence and Audio Recordings Preservation Assessment Project

FAIN: PG-51468-11

U.S. District Court Northern California Historical Society (San Francisco, CA 94102-3661)
Robyn Lipsky (Project Director: May 2010 to September 2012)

A preservation assessment of approximately 10 linear feet of court letters from 1871 to 1911 and over 1,000 Dictaphone recordings from 1960 to 1972. The correspondence, most of which survived the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire, is among the earliest available documentation of legal transactions in Northern California covering, for example, naturalization cases, voting petitions, and financial affairs. The audio recordings contain courtroom proceedings, many of which pertain to military draft resistance during the Vietnam War period.

The archives collect materials of historic significance to document the history of the federal court in Northern California and make it available to the public. The grant will allow for a first-ever preservation survey and assessment of two of the most fragile collections within the archives;the federal court's handwritten correspondence of 1871-1911 representing letters between the court and citizens that represent a slice of American life for the period. The second collection holds more than 1,000 audio recordings of court hearings from 1960-1972 on small Dictaphone plastic disks. They cover the period of Vietnam War-era draft resisters prosecutions and assessment will allow opening of this and the letters collections to researchers, judicial biographers, academics and the public. The material will shed light on the workings of the courts, public perceptions of the courts of these periods and a wealth of new material for research into these periods.