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Appearances

UPCOMING TALKS

Gray Brechin speakingGray Brechin delivering a talk.

March 21, 2017 "Sending the Overhead Downstream: Hydraulic Mining and the Oroville Dam Disaster on California’s Feather River"

4:00 pm
Department of Geography and Earth Sciences
Aberystwyth University
Wales

September 7, 2016 “Recovering from the Depression: The Enormous and Invisible Legacy of New Deal Public Works in Sonoma County and Beyond"

6:00 pm
Forum Room, Central Library, 211 E. Street, Santa Rosa, CA (further information)

October 27, 2015 “Living New Deal"

Frank L. Klement Lecture, Milwaukee, Marquette University

August 24, 2015 "The Art & Architecture of the New Deal in San Francisco"

6:00 pm

In the depths of the Great Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt promised the American people a “New Deal.” Over the decade 1933-43, a constellation of federally sponsored programs put millions of jobless Americans back to work and helped to revive a moribund economy. The result was a rich landscape of public works across the nation, often of outstanding beauty, utility and craftsmanship.

The Living New Deal is a UC Berkeley-based initiative dedicated to inventorying and mapping these works. It has created a guide to the Art and Architecture of the New Deal in San Francisco, a pocket map and guide to 18 spectacular New Deal sites in the city. Join us and geographer Gray Brechin as he discusses the impact of the New Deal on San Francisco and introduces the new map. Registration and further information.

July 23, 2015 "PPIE Citywide Celebration at Mechanics’ Instituter"

6:00 pm

The Grand Design: PPIE and the “City Within A City” - Panel discussion moderated by Laura A. Ackley, author of San Francisco’s Jewel City: The Pan Pacific Exposition of 1915, with Gray Brechin, Kerry Laitala, Therese Poletti and Christopher VerPlanck .

Architectural historians, writers, and artists will discuss the collaboration of Edward Bennett and the Exposition’s architectural committee whose vision of the Block Plan manifested the design of the PPIE. Innovation, fantasy and technology created this “city within a city” which included great architecture, urban design, and leaps of the imagination. The influences of this model city on San Francisco’s development will be brought into perspective.

July 22, 2015 “In the Age of Smart Growth, a Look Back at the 1915 Hegemann Plan for Berkeley”

Hillside Club, Berkeley 7:30 PM

Conventional orthodoxy—often referred to as “Smart Growth”—says that in order to achieve urban “vibrancy,” communities should fill their downtowns with high-rise residential towers and line their arterial streets with mid-rise, wall-to-wall apartment buildings above ground-floor commercial spaces. Can Berkeley’s city planning history show another way? Berkeley is one of the most densely populated cities in the United States with more than 10,000 residents per square mile, but has achieved this with: most buildings rising only one to three stories and surrounded by actual (not polemical) “green”: low rise but successful commercial avenues: sunlight, air, and views widely available, not just for the wealthy.

Join us on June 24 and July 22 for a two-part discussion of how Berkeley got to this point, and where we might go next. Against the backdrop of early Hillside Club efforts to maintain and enhance the natural beauty of the Berkeley hillside, we will look at Berkeley’s planning past, including the largely forgotten “Hegemann Plan” of 1913-15 which recommended a waterfront park, development of a civic center, and many farsighted neighborhood improvements for Berkeley and Oakland. The discussion leader on June 24 will be Steven Finacom, past president of the Berkeley Historical Society and a frequent writer on local history and preservation issues. At the July 22 Round Table the topic will continue, with noted author and geographer Gray Brechin as discussion leader.

Participants are encouraged to take an advance look at the Hegemann plan and the related Burnham plan for San Francisco. Go to Google Books online and search for “Hegemann plan, formerly titled “Report on a City Plan for the Municipalities of Oakland and Berkeley;” it should be one of the first links to appear. Additionally, google Burnham Plan San Francisco” for short articles on this 1905 project. Short online readings on the “Garden City” and City Beautiful” planning movements of the late 19th and early 20th centuries that are relevant to the development of the Burnham and Hegemann plans can be found here:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garden_city_movement, xroads.virginia.edu/~cap/citybeautiful/city.html

July 19, 2015 "Building Bridges and Labor Maritime History Boat Tour"

With members of the Committee to Save the Berkeley Post Office
5:45 pm boarding, 6:00 pm departure (see below)
San Francisco, Pier 41—left of Pier 39 near outside ticket booth

Join LaborFest again this year when the ILWU-IBU/MMP crew takes us out on the bay to enjoy the beauty of the San Francisco Bay. We will learn about the San Francisco General Strike, Maritime Strike, how unions built the bridges and how they keep the bay clean. We honor the workers who built the bridges.

Labor process photographer Joseph Blum will talk about the building of the new Eastern Span of the Bay Bridge. Gray Brechin and Harvey Smith will talk about the history of the WPA and how it has shaped the Bay Area. There will be speakers about ongoing union struggles for worker rights and what we can do to support these workers. We will also have labor music from the US and around the world including Chinese migrant workers musicians.

You can’t afford to miss this great time on the bay.

Boat leaves promptly at 6:00 pm. Please arrive 30 minutes before the departure time. Tour lasts 3 hours. A complimentary meal will be provided, however, if you are on a special diet, please bring your own food.
(Sorry, we do not take any special orders for food.)

To make your reservation:
By E-mail:
 laborfest@laborfest.net
Or call: (415) 642-8066
and leave (1) your name, (2) phone number and (3)number of people in your party. (We prefer e-mail.)
We will contact you to confirm your reservation. Then, you should mail a check ($45/person, children under 6 - free, 6 to 12 $25) to LaborFest, P.O.Box 40983, San Francisco, CA 94140.

We don’t send out tickets, but we will either e-mail or call you back to let you know that we received your check, and as soon as we receive your check, your reservation will be confirmed. You will get your ticket at the pier before you get on the boat.

We will be gathering to the left of Pier 39, toward Pier 41 (Blue & Gold Fleet). Please be there at least 30 minutes before departure time in order to go through paper work. We expect the tickets to be sold out quickly, so please make your reservation early.

July 13, 2015 "A Victory in the Fight to Save Our Historic Post Offices"

With members of the Committee to Save the Berkeley Post Office
7:00 pm (Free)
San Francisco, Canessa Gallery
708 Montgomery Street

The U.S. Postal Service, now headed by those favoring privatization, is closing and selling off many post offices listed on the National Register of Historic Places, reducing postal services and cutting public sector union jobs. Many of these historic post offices have murals and art created during the New Deal. The City of Berkeley, however, prevailed in federal court saving the historic post office building and setting a precedent for others. The case promises to save union jobs by requiring the USPS to follow the law. Come hear the story of how a spirited group of Berkeley residents set a national precedent.

Citizens to Save the Berkeley Post Office fought for their historic building and art for three years. They made the nation aware of the issue with articles in the New York Times, theWashington Post, the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle.
For information: harveysmithberkeley@yahoo.com or call 510-684-0414

July 12, 2015 "New Deal Bus Tour for LaborFest"

WPA Bus Tour
With Gray Brechin & Harvey Smith
10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Join Gray Brechin and Harvey Smith as they travel through history on a bus tour of sites built by the New Deal’s “alphabet soup” agencies. You will learn about the major contribution government-paid workers made during the depression era New Deal programs. Gray and Harvey will discuss the art, architecture and social programs that effectively dealt with the period’s economic meltdown in contrast with today’s response. Please be aware that the tour will take about 5 hours depending on the traffic and the discussions.
Meet in front of Bill Graham Auditorium, between City Hall and the Main Library (99 Grove, SF Civic Center).

Reservation required:
Send e-mail: laborfest@laborfest.net or call: (415) 642-8066, and leave your name, number of reservations and phone number (this is to let you know that we have space for your reservation and contact you in case of any changes.)
Make reservation, then send check ($25/person) to: LaborFest, P.O. Box 40983, SF, CA 94140
Please bring your own lunch. For those who can’t bring one, we will have sandwiches and drinks on the bus for a small cost. Bus will return to Civic Center.
Tour lasts about 5 hours.

July 2, 2015 "Birth of the United Nations”

San Francisco, Main Library 6:00 – 7:00

June 25, 2015 “Follow the Money: That Happened to the Comstock Lode Fortunes?”

Carson City, Nevada State Museum 6:30 – 7:30

June 24, 2015 “In the Age of Smart Growth, a Look Back at the 1915 Hegemann Plan for Berkeley”

Hillside Club, Berkeley 7:30 PM

Conventional orthodoxy—often referred to as “Smart Growth”—says that in order to achieve urban “vibrancy,” communities should fill their downtowns with high-rise residential towers and line their arterial streets with mid-rise, wall-to-wall apartment buildings above ground-floor commercial spaces. Can Berkeley’s city planning history show another way? Berkeley is one of the most densely populated cities in the United States with more than 10,000 residents per square mile, but has achieved this with: most buildings rising only one to three stories and surrounded by actual (not polemical) “green”: low rise but successful commercial avenues: sunlight, air, and views widely available, not just for the wealthy.

Join us on June 24 and July 22 for a two-part discussion of how Berkeley got to this point, and where we might go next. Against the backdrop of early Hillside Club efforts to maintain and enhance the natural beauty of the Berkeley hillside, we will look at Berkeley’s planning past, including the largely forgotten “Hegemann Plan” of 1913-15 which recommended a waterfront park, development of a civic center, and many farsighted neighborhood improvements for Berkeley and Oakland. The discussion leader on June 24 will be Steven Finacom, past president of the Berkeley Historical Society and a frequent writer on local history and preservation issues. At the July 22 Round Table the topic will continue, with noted author and geographer Gray Brechin as discussion leader.

Participants are encouraged to take an advance look at the Hegemann plan and the related Burnham plan for San Francisco. Go to Google Books online and search for “Hegemann plan, formerly titled “Report on a City Plan for the Municipalities of Oakland and Berkeley;” it should be one of the first links to appear. Additionally, google Burnham Plan San Francisco” for short articles on this 1905 project. Short online readings on the “Garden City” and City Beautiful” planning movements of the late 19th and early 20th centuries that are relevant to the development of the Burnham and Hegemann plans can be found here:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garden_city_movement, xroads.virginia.edu/~cap/citybeautiful/city.html

June 8, 2015 “New Deal Oakland — and Beyond”

Talk for docents, Oakland Museum of California

May 7, 2015 Reception for rollout of New Deal San Francisco map

San Francisco, California Historical Society

May 1, 2015 Tour of Coit Tower murals for continued learning class

Coit Tower, San Francisco

April 23, 2015 “The Living New Deal: Excavating a Civilization Worthy of the Name”

Preserving Historic Places: Indiana’s Statewide Preservation Conference
Kokomo, Indiana 3 PM

March 30, 2015 Recipient of Oscar Lewis Prize for outstanding contributions to Western history

San Francisco, Book Club of California

November 15, 2014 “Ruskin’s Influence on the New Deal”

Keynote address, Guild of St. George annual Fellowship, Sheffield, UK

October 16, 2014 “Recovering from Depression: The New Deal’s Contributions to San Francisco"

San Francisco Art Institute
800 Chesnut Street, San Francisco

August 17, 2014 “That Morning in the Far West: The Reverend Joseph Worcester's Bay Area Circle presented by Dr. Gray Brechin"

5 PM, Swedenborgian Church, 2107 Lyon Street (at Washington), San Francisco

July 21, 2014 “The Selloff of Historic Post Offices and New Deal Art”

National Association of Letter Carriers convention, Philadelphia

July 8, 2014 “The Living New Deal”

Lunch talk for Mill Valley Rotary Club

May 31, 2014 “The Rev. Joseph Worcester’s Circle at San Francisco’s Swedenborgian Church”

Talk for daylong symposium Helping in the Work of Creation: Ruskin and Morris Today at
Hillside Club, Berkeley

April 25, 2014 “How Good are Post Office Presrvation Covenants?”

California Preservation Foundation conference, Asilomar

April 18 , 2014 “The Living New Deal”

History Forum, CSU Bakersfield, 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

March 21, 2014 “The Living New Deal”

Moral-Ethical & Legal Issues Roundtable at College of Marin

March 20, 2014 “The Living New Deal”

Lunch talk for San Rafael Rotary Club

March 14, 2014 “Geology and Genealogy”

A walking tour of downtown San Francisco for the American Society for Environmental History

March 7, 2014 “Ruin in Progress: How Its Buildings Reflect the University’s Changing Mission”

5 PM, 315 Wheeler Hall (Maud Fife Room)
U.C. Berkeley campus

March 4, 2014 Commentary on new book of Peder and Jane Sather’s contributions to U.C. with Dean Carla Hesse and author Karin Sveen

5:30, Durant Hall atrium

March 1, 2014 “On the Ropes: The WPA at the Treasure Island World’s Fair”


Selected Past appearances:

2014

October 16, 2014 “Recovering from Depression: The New Deal’s Contributions to San Francisco"

Dr. Gray Brechin will delve into the history of San Francisco’s Depression-era architecture and public art, including iconic places such as Coit Tower, the Mother’s Building, and Aquatic Park. Presented in partnership with the Living New Deal.
San Francisco Art Institute
800 Chesnut Street, San Francisco

August 17, 2014 “That Morning in the Far West: The Reverend Joseph Worcester's Bay Area Circle presented by Dr. Gray Brechin"

The major key of the Anglo conquest of the West was a reckless conversion of its natural resources into legendary fortunes, but a few envisioned possibilities in its landscape and climate for intellectual and spiritual expansion available nowhere else. Chief among them was Swedenborgian minister Joseph Worcester whose charismatic personality attracted a circle of designers whose creations continue to influence thought and lifestyle in California long after Worcester's death.

Dr. Gray Brechin is a historical geographer and author of the popular book on urban studies, Imperial San Francisco: Urban Power, Earthly Ruin. Closely associated with the University of California at Berkeley for the past forty years, he currently serves as a visiting scholar in the department of geography and project scholar of California's Living New Deal Project.
5 PM, Swedenborgian Church, 2107 Lyon Street (at Washington)
San Francisco

March 14, 2014 “Geology and Genealogy”

A walking tour of downtown San Francisco for the American Society for Environmental History

March 7, 2014 “Ruin in Progress: How Its Buildings Reflect the University’s Changing Mission”

5 PM, 315 Wheeler Hall (Maud Fife Room)
U.C. Berkeley campus

March 4, 2014 Commentary on new book of Peder and Jane Sather’s contributions to U.C. with Dean Carla Hesse

5:30, Durant Hall atrium

March 1, 2014 “On the Ropes: The WPA at the Treasure Island World’s Fair”

San Francisco History Fair, Old Mint, 3 PM

February 12, 2014 Talk for UC art history class on New Deal art projects

Februrary 12, 2014 "The Two Hearst Plans for U.C."

Lunch talk for Century Club, San Francsico

2013

May 13 A Monumental Act of Revenge: The Two Hearst Plans for U.C. Berkeley

Disney Family Museum, SF Presidio

April 13 Excavating the New Deal -- In Archives and in the Field

Keynote speaker for Society of California Archivists conference, Berkeley, CA

April 12 'The Greatest of These is Charity:' The Lost Ethical Language of New Deal Public Works

American Association of Geographers Convention, Los Angeles (A paper read by Rachel Brahinsky because of unexpected surgery)

2012

September 13 Rediscovering the New Deal — In Libraries and in the Field

Berkeley City Club

June 21A New Deal for Los Angeles: David Kipen and Gray Brechin in conversation

Los Angeles Central Library's Mark Taper Auditorium, 630 W. Fifth Street, Los Angeles, CA 90071

February 28 Time in the Palace: Bernard Maybeck’s Palace of Fine Arts in Context

Celebrating the 150th Year of Bay Area Architect Bernard Maybeck
Sponsored by the INSTITUTE OF CLASSICAL ARCHITECTURE & ART, NORTHERN CALIFORNIA CHAPTER

2011

October 28 Development of California and Australia Water Systems

Australian International Council on Monuments and Sites (AICOMOS), Melbourne, Australia

November 10 Development of California and Australia Water Systems

Australian International Council on Monuments and Sites (AICOMOS), Sydney, Australia

November 11 A Dazzling Range of Styles: The Public Architecture of the New Deal in the United States

Australian Institute of Architects, Sydney, Australia

September 15 Imperial San Francisco talk for Olympic Club Book Club

Private event

July 23 The California Living New Deal Project

Focusing on New Deal work in and around Long Beach.

July 16 New Deal bus tour of San Francisco for LaborFest

Start at Double Play Restaurant, 16th & Bryant Streets.

July 11 The Lost Ethical Language of New Deal Public Works

San Francisco State University

July 8 The California Living New Deal Project

Piedmont Gardens, Oakland

July 7 The Unremitting War on Labor and History: The Trial of Anton Refregier's Murals at Rincon Annex to the Censorship of the Maine Labor Murals Today

Berkeley City College Auditorium, 2050 Center Street, Berkeley

Apr 7 Standing in the Ruins of What We Built: New Deal Expansion of Public Education During the Great Depression and Its Contraction Today

Conference: 1935: The Reality and the Promise. Hofstra Cultural Center, Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York.

Feb 26 Overcoming Depression: The Need for a National New Deal Inventory

Guest lecture for docents of USS Potomac

Feb 22 Climbing Out of Depression: New Deal Contributions to San Francisco and the Bay Area

San Francisco History Association, St. Philip's Church, 725 Diamond Street, San Francisco.

Feb 18 Another World Was Possible: What Enlightened Government Can Do

The Mendocino Coast: An Eco-Communitarian Conference, at the Caspar Community Center, Caspar, California.

2010

Nov 8 Mining’s Toxic Legacy in the Sierra Nevada

Nevada City, California — Mr. Brechin will speak during the first-ever public conference on how to address the ongoing human health, environmental and cultural impacts of over a century of mining in the Sierra Nevada.

USA Work Program WPA

Oct 24 1935 and the Enduring New Deal: A Public Forum on the 75th Anniversary of the WPA and Rural Electrification Agency

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, Hyde Park, New York — In honor of the 75th anniversary of the enactment of the Social Security Act, the Works Progress Administration, the National Labor Relations Act, and the Rural Electrification Administration, the FDR Presidential Library and Museum and the Roosevelt Institute present “1935 and the Enduring New Deal,” a series of free public forums in the fall of 2010.

Read Gray’s speech online

Sept. 27 Forming the Modern City: Gold Rush, Beaux Arts, and the Panama Pacific Exposition

American Institute of Architects San Francisco — San Francisco is often described as an instant city because of its abrupt birth with the Gold Rush. But like other U.S. cities, its architecture and layout have reflected to international fashions over time. Geographer Gray Brechin will examine how it did so, what keeps it unique among world cities, and how the Panama-Pacific International Exposition served as the apotheosis of its leaders' dreams of dominating the Pacific Basin and surpassing New York City in the process.

Sep 18 Australian Broadcasting Corporation Radio Interview

Gray Brechin is interviewed about his book, Imperial San Francisco: is San Francisco as bohemian as it seems?

July 24 Coit Tower Mural Walk

Dozens of artists were hired by the Civil Works Administration to decorate the public spaces and staircase of the new Coit Tower at the time of the San Francisco General Strike. Gray Brechin and Peter Driscoll will show how those artists left colorful vignettes of city and country life at that time as well as pushing the envelope of what was politically acceptable in publicly financed art.

July 22 Another World Was Possible: New Deal Expansion of Public Education During the Great Depression, and Its Contraction Now

We have been living for 75 years on the long-term investment in the future made by the Roosevelt administration in times harder than ours. Berkeley City Auditorium, 2050 Center Street, Berkeley.

July 18 Laborfest Bay Boat Tour

 A three-hour narrated tour of labor on and around SF Bay, including work on the new Bay Bridge span.

July 17 New Deal Bus Tour

 Gray Brechin and Harvey Smith will give their annual day-long bus tour of New Deal sites in San Francisco.

July 15 Mechanics’ Institute Building Centennial Celebration

A day-long series of evnts celebrating one of the last remaining Mechanics’ Institutes, still going strong in San Francisco. Gray Brechin will moderate a panel discussion on the rebuilding of the city after the 1906 fire at 6 PM. Visit www.milibrary.org for schedule of events.

July 10 Opening Reception: Art and Labor

As part of July’s LaborFest, Gray Brechin and Harvey Smith will talk about New Deal art projects in Northern California at a new exhibition of labor art. Expressions Art Gallery, 2035 Ashby Avenue, Berkeley

Apr 13 Against the Grain: KPFA-FM Radio Interview

Against the Grain - Apr 13, 2010 (comments)

Click to listen (or download)

Gray Brechin contrasts the New Deal’s energetic commitment to education with current efforts to eviscerate public education. And Ross Eisenbrey describes how unpaid interns are used and abused in the private sector.

Apr 9 New Deal Contributions to Public Education

Oregon State University, Corvallis.

Apr 8 Imperial San Francisco

Eugene, Oregon: Lane Community College, Lane County Museum, and University of Oregon.

Apr 7 New Deal Contributions to Public Education

Willamette University, Salem, Oregon.

Apr 6 San Francisco & Empire

Portland State University, Oregon.

Mar 9 Against the Grain: KPFA-FM Radio Interview

Against the Grain - Mar 9, 2010 (comments)

Click to listen (or download)

Gray Brechin contrasts the government's extraordinary commitment to education during the New Deal with current efforts to eviscerate public education.

2009

Oct 24 Moderating panel: Urban Cultural Landscapes Boomed and Busted

California Council for the Promotion of History conference, Monterey, California

Oct 24 Introduction to San Francisco

American Academy of Ophthalmologists (not open to the public)

Sep 29 California’s Living New Deal

“Soul of a People” conference, San Jose State University, California

Sep 16 Sowing vs. Eating Our Seed Corn: The Expansion of Public Education During the Great Depression Compared to the Schwarzenegger/Yudof Trajectory Today

McCone Hall, U.C. Berkeley Campus. All units of California’s once model public education system are undergoing an unprecedented contraction in response to the most severe recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s. California’s Living New Deal Project has discovered that during the latter crisis, however, President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal did precisely the opposite, expanding public education in all of its manifestations from schools to libraries, museums, and teaching hospitals. That expansion did much to end the Depression and has benefitted unwitting generations for over seventy years. What has changed?

Aug 9 California’s Living New Deal

Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists, Berkeley, California

July 19 California’s Living New Deal

American Association of State Colleges and Universities conference, La Jolla, California

July 12 New Deal Bus Tour for LaborFest with Harvey Smith

More info: LaborFest 2009 Schedule

July 7 Jobs for Artists! Building Momentum for a New Deal for the Arts in the 21st Century

Audre Lorde Room, Women's Building, San Francisco. Cosponsored by the CCSF Department of Labor and Community Studies Program and the Center for Political Education.

In the 1930s, the "New Deal" Works Progress Administration created jobs for tens of thousands of artists and writers, including authors such as John Cheever, Richard Wright, Zora Neale Hurston, radio journalist Studs Terkel, and painters like Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Rockwell Kent. In the 1970s, the CETA program funded artist-organizers who helped create the Cultural Centers that now exist in San Francisco's neighborhoods. Today a new movement is emerging to promote a 21st century New Deal for the arts. Jobs for Artists! will feature a panel discussion on the rich legacy of federal jobs programs for artists and writers, and build support for a larger effort timed with the 75th anniversary of the WPA in 2010. Featuring WPA historian Gray Brechin, cultural journalist Jeff Chang, and Arlene Goldbard, organizer of a May 2009 White House briefing on federal arts funding. With short readings and original performances by local poets honoring the great work of WPA-sponsored artists and writers.

About the speakers:

Gray Brechin is a Research Fellow for the Living New Deal Project of the Department of Geography at UC Berkeley, and the author of Imperial San Francisco: Urban Power, Earthly Ruin.

Jeff Chang is the author of Can't Stop Won't Stop, A History of the Hip-Hop Generation. His recent article in The Nation, "The Creativity Stimulus" described the importance of public culture to social change.

Arlene Goldbard is a writer, speaker and consultant currently based in Berkeley. Information about her latest book, New Creative Community: The Art of Cultural Development and other writings is available at www.arlenegoldbard.com.

July 2 The History of Public Funding and the Arts — The Legacy of the New Deal

Gray Brechin moderating. California Historical Society, 678 Mission Street, San Francisco

Jun 20 Day-long Symposium on World’s Fairs

Sponsored by Historic Seattle

Apr 23 PM San Francisco and the New Deal

San Francisco Natural History Group. Randall Museum, 199 Museum Way, San Francisco

Apr 2 Historic Causes and Responses to Homelessness in America

Panel discussion. California Historical Society, 678 Mission Street, San Francisco

Apr 1 From Riches to Rags: Hollywood and the New Deal

Series begins. Gray Brechin will narrate Gabriel Over the White House (1933) Apr 15. Pacific Film Archives, Hearst Annex, U.C. Berkeley

Mar 21 California’s Living New Deal Project

Friends of the Eastern California Museum Annual Meeting.
Owens Valley High School Mulit-Purpose Room, Independence, California

Mar 16 Will We Miss the Chronicle?

Panel discussion. Graduate School of Journalism, North Gate Hall, U.C. Berkeley

Mar 4 Urban Parasitism: The Case of Imperial San Francisco’s Impact on the Pacific Basin

U.C. Davis Geography Group Distinguished Speakers Series on The History of California's Landscapes

2008

Oct 21 The Indispensable New Deal

Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA

Oct 16 Reviving the New Deal: A Time When Government Helped the People

A conference at San Francisco City College.

Sep 24 Progress Report on the California Living New Deal Project

California History Dinner, Institute for Research on Labor & Employment

July 29 WPA-PWA Bus Tour With Gray Brechin and Harvey Smith

Join Gray Brechin and Harvey Smith as they travel through history on a bus tour of historic sites built by New Deal labor. You will learn about the major contribution workers made during the Depression era in San Francisco. The tour is sponsored by LaborFest.

July 15 The New Deal in San Francisco’s Sunset District

West Portal Branch Library (WPA-built), 160 Lenox Way, San Francisco

Jun 27 Lessons of the Living New Deal Project for New York City

New York Society for Ethical Culture, New York City

Jun 21 The California Living New Deal Project

Keynote at annual Roosevelt Reading Festival, Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library, Hyde Park, NY

Jun 12 The New Deal in San Francisco

Koret Auditorium, Main Library, San Francisco

Jun 9 Adolph Sutro’s Tunnel to the Comstock Lode

Luncheon address for American Tunneling Association convention, Hyatt Regency Hotel, San Francisco

May 14 Bus tour of New Deal sites in East Bay and San Francisco

Oakland Museum History Guild, CA

Apr 11 What the New Deal Has to Teach Us

California Federation of Teachers convention, Oakland Marriott Hotel, CA

Feb 29 War, Nuclear Power, and the Environment: Past and Future

In discussion with Norman Solomon and Mark Dowie, The Dance Palace, Point Reyes Station, CA

Feb 25 The Living New Deal Project

With tour of PWA-built campus between talks. Santa Rosa Junior College, Santa Rosa, CA

Feb 10 Last of the Gilded Age Fairs: The Panama-Pacific International Exposition

The Flagler Museum, West Palm Beach, Florida | View this lecture online (audio with slides)

2007

Dec 13 The Living New Deal in the East Bay

Oakland Heritage Alliance lecture series, Chapel of the Chimes, Oakland, CA

Nov 2 In conversation with Dr. Christopher Breiseth on the relevance of the New Deal today

Dr. Breiseth is the President and CEO of the Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt Institute. Ceremonial Hall, New York Society for Ethical Culture, New York City

Nov 1 In conversation with Professors Neil Smith and David Harvey on the Living New Deal

Graduate Center, City University of New York

Oct 31 The Living New Deal Project

Lecture for Professor Harvey Molotch class at New York University, New York City

Oct 30 The Living New Deal Project

University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Lecture for Professor Andy Lamas class, “Community and Economic Development”

Oct 29 The Living New Deal Project: Excavating the Public Landscape of the Great Depression

University Seminar On The City, Faculty House, Columbia University, NYC

Oct 25 The Living New Deal Project, with Harvey Smith

Oral History Association Annual Meeting, Oakland, CA

Oct 26 The Living New Deal Project Three Years On

California Council for the Promotion of History Annual Meeting, Embassy Suites, Arcadia, CA

May 31 The Living New Deal

Alameda History Museum, Alameda, CA

May 23 Against the Grain

Against the Grain - May 23, 2007 (comments)

Click to listen (or download)

Acclaimed analyst and author Chalmers Johnson talks with Gray Brechin about Johnson's new book Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic.

Apr 28 The Living New Deal

Keynote address, California Studies Conference, Berkeley City College, Berkeley, CA

Apr 9 Living With Nature: The Hillside Club's Role in the Design of Berkeley

Berkeley Public Library Main Branch

Mar 20 The Living New Deal

College of Environmental Design, U.C. Berkeley

Mar 14 The Living New Deal

University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada

Mar 7 Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic

A conversation with Chalmers Johnson about his new book of that title, King Middle School Auditorium, Berkeley, CA

Mar 3 On the Edge of the Western World

Fundraising event for Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association at "Wildwood" in Piedmont, CA, the Maybeck-designed Frank C. Havens estate

Feb 6 The Living New Deal Project

Keynote address, CalTrans Cultural Workers Conference, Asilomar, CA

2006

Nov 5 The Road to Serendip: Adventures as a Bancroft Library Fellow

Berkeley Art Museum, Berkeley, CA

Oct 22 Memorial address for Willa Baum

Doe Library Morrison Room, U.C. Berkeley, CA

Oct 17 The Living New Deal Project

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York

Sep 16 Megafollies

Alameda Forum, Alameda, CA

Aug 16 The Diaspora of Fortunes and Technology from Nevada City

Keynote address, 150th Birthday of the National Hotel, Nevada City, CA

Jun 10 Excavating the Public Landscape of the New Deal in Marin

Point Reyes Dance Palace Fundraising Event, The Dance Palace, Point Reyes Station, CA

May 8 Excavating the Public Landscape of the New Deal in Berkeley

Vista College and Berkeley Public Library talk, Main Branch, Berkeley Public Library, CA

Apr 19 The City, The Mine, The Battlefield: Toward an Explanation for Urban Imperialism

Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic

Mar 29 The New Deal Contribution to California’s Infrastructure

Society for Industrial Archaeology monthly meeting, Spenger’s Fish Grotto, Berkeley, CA

Mar 18 Excavating the Public Landscape: The New Deal Legacy Project

Keynote address, Sonoma County Historical Society Annual Banquet, Fountaingrove Golf & Athletic Club, Santa Rosa, CA

Mar 10 Learning from 1906, and from the New Deal

Hurricane Katrina/Environmental Justice Symposium, Boalt Hall School of Law, U.C. Berkeley, CA

Jan 24 New Deal Public Works as an Extension of the Arts & Crafts Movement

The Gamble House, Pasadena, CA

2005

Sep 14 Discussion of New Deal Legacy Project

Landscape Architecture Dept., College of Environmental Design, U.C. Berkeley, CA

Sep 11 The Value of Preservation

For the Folger Estate Stable Project, Fleishaker Estate "Green Gables", Woodside, CA

Sep 7 Mapping the Invisible Landscape: The New Deal Legacy Project

Geography Department Tea, U.C. Berkeley, CA

Selected Talks


10/25/02 Sierra Club Marin Group, Keynote Speaker
“Megafollies: Projects Stopped by Citizen Opposition”

10/24/02 UC Berkeley Art Museum
“Phoebe Apperson Hearst as Collector”

10/15/02 University of Wales, Aberystwyth
“The California Environment: Present Problems”

9/15/02 Grace Hudson Museum, Ukiah
“Awakening from the California Dream: An Environmental History”

9/14/02 Contra Costa County Historical Society
“How Contra Costa County Played a Colonial Role to SF Industrialists”

8/7/02 Jack London Lecture Series, Sonoma State University
“The Myths of Wolf House”

7/6/02 NAMHO Conference, Aberystwyth, Wales
“The Comstock Lode and Sutro Tunnel”

5/9/02 Mendocino Land Trust
“The Destruction of the California Environment”

4/5/02 Pomona College
“Megafollies”

3/25/02 Foothill Club, Saratoga
“Julia Morgan and Bernard Maybeck”

1/18/02 Chico Museum
“Farewell, Promised Land”

11/15/01 Harvey Mudd College
“Imperial Urbanism: Elites and the Fiction of Nations”

10/25/01 National Society of Architectural Historians
“Bernard Maybeck and the First Bay Tradition”

7/29/01 Maybeck Foundation
“Bernard Maybeck’s Neighborhood”

7/11/01 Benjamin Ide Wheeler Lecture, U.C. Berkeley
“Phoebe Apperson Hearst as University Patron”

5/31/01 Alameda Historical Society
“Imperial San Francisco”

4/16/01 UCSF Founders’ Day
“Adolph Sutro”

4/3/01 Morning Forum, Palo Alto
“The Comstock Dynasties”

3/28/01 Mechanics’ Institute
“Imperial San Francisco”

3/24/01 Modesto Museum
“Farewell, Promised Land”

1/31/01 Victorian Alliance
“Imperial San Francisco”

1/28/01 Oakland Museum
“Arts and Crafts in San Francisco”

1/19/01 Word for Word, San Francisco
Discussion of Upton Sinclair’s Oil!

1/18/01 Chico Museum
“Farewell, Promised Land”

1995 – 2000, taught numerous classes on San Francisco history and architecture for the San Francisco Elder Hostel

12/2/00 Willa Baum Retirement, Morrison Room
“Using ROHO Interviews”

11/16/00 Notre Dame University, Belmont
“The Ralston and Sharon Families at Belmont”

11/2/00 Stegner Center for the Environment
“Remembrances of Bob Walker, Photographer”

10/30/00 National Trust tour of San Simeon
“William Randolph Hearst”

9/27/00 Berkeley Pathwnderers
“The Legacy of the Hillside Club”

9/16/00 Tulare County History Museum
“Farewell, Promised Land”

9/9/00 Rededication of restored Sunol Water Temple
“The Meaning of the Temple”

7/12/00 University of Nevada symposium for schoolteachers
“Imperial San Francisco”

6/23/00 Environmenta Action Committee of West Marin, Keynote speaker
“Megafollies, and the Saving of West Marin”

6/14/00 Institute of Classical Architecture, New York
“The Architecture and Planning of Imperial San Francisco”

6/11/00 San Mateo Historical Society, Keynote speaker
“Imperial San Francisco: The San Mateo Dynasties”

5/18/00 Santa Cruz Museum Association
“Waking from the California Dream”

5/13/00 UC Berkeley, Geography Department, Commencement speaker
“Do We Learn?”

5/9/00 University of California, Davis
“Imperial San Francisco”

5/4/00 National Trust for Historic Preservation tour
“San Francisco Architecture”

4/14/00 California Preservation Conference, Keynote Speaker
“The Development of Bay Area Architecture”

3/25/00 Huntington Museum
“San Francisco Dreams of Pacific Empire”

3/20/00 Microsoft Reseach Group, Seattle
“High Technology Control of the Hinterland”

3/19/00 Berkeley Art Museum
“Inverting Space, Inviting Nature: John Galen Howard’s vs Bernard Maybeck’s Competing Visions for the Berkeley Campus”

2/23/00 Friends of Free Speech Radio, Sonoma
“Media Dynasties”

2/10/00 UC Berkeley Art Museum
“The Phoebe Hearst Architecturla Competition for U.C. Berkeley”

1/28/00 Elliott Bay Book Co., Seattle
“Imperial San Francisco”

1/25/00 Powell’s Bookstore, Portland
“Imperial San Francisco”

11/22/99 Town & Gown Club, Berkeley
“Megafollies”

11/14/99 California Library Association, Coulter Lecture
“Mining the Commons: The Privatization of Everything in the Age of the Silicon Gold Rush”

11/13/99 Dawson’s Book Store, Los Angeles Salon
“Farewell, Promised Land”

10/27/99 UC Department of History
“Following the Bloodlines: Dynastic Research for Imperial SF”

9/16/99 Bancroft Library Roundtable
“Crime and Reward: The Untimely Death of William Chapman Ralston, the Triumph of Senator Sharon, and the Birth of the Bureau of Reclamation”

9/23/95 Ed Hardy Seminars
"Julia Morgan and Her Times"

7/29/95 Micahel H. deYoung Museum
"Healing Landscapes"

7/8/95 Labor Conference, San Francisco
"Labor Murals in San Francisco"

2/17/95 U.C. Planners
"The Phoebe Hearst Memorial for U.C."

2/4/95 California Studies Conference
"Energy Shapes the City"

3/30/94 American Association of Geographers
"Destiny's Gunsight: Symbolism of the Golden Gate"

3/29/94 American Association of Geographers
"The Conquering Grid" [Keynote address to national convention]

3/26/94 Ishi Symposium at Oakland Museum
"Ishi Meets 'The End of the Trail'"

2/24/94 New College of California
"San Francisco's Oligarchy"

2/20/94 California Studies Conference
"Suicidal Utopias: California Cities in 1915 and Now"

11/9/93 San Francisco Historical Society
"Imperial San Francisco"

9/30/93 Foundation for San Francisco's Architectural Heritage
"The Imperial Dynasties"

5/30/93 Association of International Educators, National Convention
"Development of San Francisco"

1/28/93 Art Libraries Society of North America, National Convention
"The Architecture of San Francisco"

10/23/92 California History Center, DeAnza College
"The World We Lost: California in 1915 and Now"

9/14/92 Friends of Filoli
"Olmsted in California."

6/28/92 College of Notre Dame @ Belmont
"Quicksilver: California's Forgotten Bonanza"

5/9/92 Humanities West
"Imperial San Francisco"

4/22/92 Stanford Humanities Center
"Imperial San Francisco"

5/1/91 New York Academy of Sciences
"Imperial San Francisco"

3/19/91 National School Boards Association, National Convention "Building A City On Gold"

11/12/90 Exploratorium, 75th Anniversary
"The Panama-Pacific International Exposition and the Palace of Fine Arts"

Other Engagements

Commonwealth Club
U.C. Committee for Arts and Lectures
College Art Association
College of Marin
Smithsonian Associates
American Institute of Architects
American Institute of Architectural Students
American Society of Interior Designers
American Institute of Urban Planners
American Association of Neuroscience Nurses
American Bankers’ Association
SPUR
Diablo Forum
Levi Strauss
Crown Zellerbach
Associated General Contractors of America
San Francisco Architecture Club
Berkeley Architectectural Heritage Association
Hearst Corporation

German Marshall Fellows
The Gamble House, Pasadena
San Francisco Tomorrow
San Francisco Beautiful
Friends of the San Francisco Public Library
Friends of the Orinda Public Library
Bay Area Physicians for Human Rights
Sons of Harvard
Coalition of San Francisco Neighborhoods
Strybing Arboretum Society
San Francisco Natural History Group
California Creeks Conference
California Water Policy Group
Institute for Historical Research
Scotch Whiskey Information Center
Oakland Heritage Alliance
Headlands Center for the Arts
San Francisco Craft and Folk Art Museum
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