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Join Us at Bar Agricole on July 1st for Fundraiser!

In conjunction with our Indiegogo campaign, we're having at fundraiser for our West Coast Cocktails: An Oral History project on Tuesday, July 1. Thad Vogler has graciously offered to host us at Bar Agricole.

We'll be holding a silent auction with items from local businesses like Umami MartOmnivore Books on Food, Shrub & Co, and a raffle for bitters-making kits from Oaktown Spice Shop and gift certificates to Trou Normand, Bar Agricole, Bourbon & Branch, and Cask.

We hope you can join us!


Bar Agricole

355 11st Street

San Francisco, CA



Please contact Shanna Farrell at for more information.

Jun 25, 2014 | Categories: ROHO Articles | sfarrell

West Coast Cocktails: An Oral History Has a New Logo!

We are pleased to announce that our new project on West Coast cocktail history has a new logo. Jess Peterson and Emily Collins, who won our logo contest, have created our new design.

The logo contest was run in conjunction with our Indiegogo campaign to raise funds for oral history interviews with bartenders, bar owners, spirit distillers, and cocktail historians who have been key figures on the West Coast. For more information on the project, please visit the project website, listen to clips from our pilot interviews on SoundCloud, or watch clips on YouTube.

Congratulations, Jess and Emily!

Jun 11, 2014 | Categories: ROHO Articles | sfarrell

Leon F. Litwack: Historian of the American People and the African American Experience, Professor at Berkeley, 1964-2007


Photo of Leon Litwack

Leon F. Litwack: Historian of the American People and the African American Experience, Professor at Berkeley, 1964-2007

Conducted by Ann Lage in 2001 and 2002, Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 2014.

A celebrated teacher and scholar of the history of the American people and of the African American experience, Leon Litwack has been a Berkeley campus fixture and self-described ?disturber of the peace? for most of the sixty-six years since he arrived as an undergraduate in 1948. His oral history documents and reflects on his personal background, education, teaching, and research and writing. It explores his lifelong quest to uncover and to teach the history of race relations in America and the experiences of people long absent from the historical narrative. He has authored four major books and countless articles, including North of Slavery: The Negro in the Free States, 1790-1860 (1961); Been in the Storm So Long: The Aftermath of Slavery (1979); Trouble in Mind: Black Southerners in the Age of Jim Crow (1998); and How Free is Free: the Long Death of Jim Crow(Nathan Huggins lectures, 2009).  He has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for history (1980), the National Book Award for history (1981), and the Francis Parkman prize awarded by the Society of American Historians (1980).

As his oral history reveals, Litwack?s focus on the lives of ordinary men and women and his sensitivity to race and racism grew out of his family roots and boyhood experiences. His parents were Jewish immigrants from Russia in the first decade of the twentieth century. They met each other in San Francisco, as members of an anarchist-socialist-Jewish-vegetarian-hiking club. Litwack describes them both as avid readers, lovers of nature, and philosophical radicals. Raised in a largely Mexican neighborhood of the seaside community of Santa Barbara in southern California, young Leon soon began to challenge the prevailing attitudes and historical interpretations about race and labor he encountered in high school. In these years he also developed his love of books and reading; he worked in the public library, read widely, and began to collect books in black literature and history, a collection which is now one of the finest private libraries of its kind.

Documenting his long connection to Berkeley, his oral history gives a picture of the campus and the Department of History during six decades. Litwack came to Berkeley as a history major in his sophomore year. He was active in campus politics, presided over Henry Wallace?s 1949 campus visit, and had a role as a student in the loyalty oath controversy that embroiled the campus in those years. After graduation, he spent the summer as a seaman on a ship to the Far East before returning to Berkeley to begin graduate studies in history in 1951 under Kenneth Stampp. With a break for a stint in army, he received his PhD in 1958 and accepted a position at the University of Wisconsin. In 1964, during the tumultuous year of the Free Speech Movement, he returned to Berkeley as a visiting professor, and that year was hired as associate professor for fall 1965. He retired in 2007 as the Alexander F. and May T. Morrison professor of history after forty-three years as an acclaimed teacher and engaged citizen of the campus. Still an active lecturer and scholar, he is now working on the experience of African Americans during and after World War II.

Leon Litwack is known as a scholar who enjoys and excels at teaching; he is equally at home in large lecture classes as in graduate seminars and estimates that he has taught more than 30,000 undergraduates.  He taught the introductory class in American history throughout his career, with carefully constructed, eloquent lectures which often introduced film, music, and other media as interpretive documents.  He initiated, with Winthrop Jordan, the first course on African American history at Berkeley and always included the history of often overlooked Americans in his US history classes. He received two Distinguished Teaching Awards granted by the campus and the Golden Apple Award for distinguished teaching awarded by the Associated Students. An influential mentor of generations of graduate students, he inserted brief comments on each of his PhD students as he reviewed the transcript of his oral history.

Our nine interview sessions were audiotaped from August 2001 through January 2002, the first four in his Dwinelle Hall office on the Berkeley campus, the last five in the library of his North Berkeley home. The transcript was lightly edited and sent to him in April 2002. A stroke in July 2002, along with his teaching commitments and work on the Nathan Huggins lectures and other writings, delayed his review of the transcript for several years. Given his careful attention to style in his books and in the composition of his lectures, it was not surprising that he reviewed the transcript with the same concerns for clarity and precision. He edited the initial several sessions carefully, clarifying his language, correcting facts, adding pertinent details, and removing repetitive language. As we discussed with him our wish to keep the transcript as a faithful record of the taped interviews, he reviewed the later sessions with a lighter hand. His changes throughout were primarily for clarity and style rather than substantive meaning. Additions to the transcript are bracketed.

This oral history is one of twenty-two in-depth interviews on the Department of History at Berkeley; the list of completed oral histories in the series is included in this volume. Most of the interviews can be found online with our oral history series on the Department of History at Berkeley. Copies of all interviews and the audio or video recordings are available for research use in The Bancroft Library. The Regional Oral History Office is a division of The Bancroft Library and is under the direction of Neil Henry. Special thanks are owed to Esther Ehrlich for her initial editing of the transcript, to Linda Norton for shepherding the interview through the production process, and to former University Archivist James R.K. Kantor for his careful proofreading of the final transcript.

Ann Lage
Interviewer, Project Director
Berkeley, California
April 2014

May 29, 2014 | Categories: ROHO Articles | ddunham

West Coast Cocktail Project Launch Party

The cocktail has a long and storied history since it was defined in 1806 as a "stimulating liquor composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters." The popularity of cocktails has ebbed and flowed since the Prohibition Era and much information about cocktail culture--particularly who was doing what and when--went undocumented. As a result, myths have evolved about drink inventions, drinking habits, popular trends, and training methods, which have been perpetuated in recent years.

ROHO is developing a new project on the legacy of the West Coast craft cocktail.Our project will document the legacy of the West Coast craft cocktail through a series of interviews with key bar owners, bartenders, craft distillers, and cocktail historians. Interviews will focus on themes of community, gender, ethnicity, labor, myth-making, storytelling, the dissemination of information, geography, the role of California cuisine, craft and artisanal culture, popular culture, bartender/customer relationships, and the perception of bartending as a respected profession. Our esteemed project advisors include bartender extraordinaire Dale DeGroff, cocktail historian and journalist David Wondrich, and PUNCH co-founders Talia Baiocchi and Leslie Pariseau. (We also want to thank our friends at Prizefighter for their help.)

We'll be launching a crowdfunding campaign on Tuesday, June 3, 2014 through Indiegogo, which will run until Thursday, July 10. The funds that we raise will go to paying for these interviews. We hope to interview at least thirty people and once the campaign is complete we'll begin by interviewing Jorg Rupf of St. George Spirits, Murray Stenson of Elysian Bar, Thad Vogler of Bar Agricole and Trou Normand, Julio Bermejo of Tommy's Mexican Restaurant, and Mike Buhen of Tiki Ti.

We'll be holding a launch party to celebrate the start of the campaign on Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014 at East Bay Spice Company from 5:30 - 7:30pm. There will be West Coast cocktail specials, we'll be playing clips from our pilot interviews, and Shanna Farrell will be saying a few words about the project. We hope that you can join us!

Here's the information:

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

at East Bay Spice Company

2134 Oxford Street,

Berkeley, CA

from 5:30 - 7:30pm.

May 19, 2014 | Categories: ROHO Articles | sfarrell

Calling All Artists: ROHO is Running a Logo Contest!

ROHO is developing a new project on the legacy of the West Coast craft cocktail, which will feature long-form oral history interviews with bar owners, bartenders, craft spirit distillers, and cocktail historians.

The project will record life histories and focus on themes of community, gender, labor, ethnicity, storytelling and myth-making, dissemination of information, geography, culinary influences, and popular culture. ROHO is launching a logo contest for the project and is accepting submissions from May 1 to May 30, 2014; the winning design will be announced on Monday, June 2. The logo contest is in preparation for a crowdfunding campaign that ROHO will run to offset the costs of the project which will launch on June 3.

ROHO is looking for designs that capture the essence of the role of storytelling in cocktail culture. Submissions should include vector-based mockups in full color, black and white, reverse, banner size, and thumbnail sizes for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and SoundCloud.

The winning logo will be used on our website, social media outlets and all project-related printed material. In addition to being credited as the logo designer, the contest winner will be invited as a VIP guest to all project-related events and receive a $250 gift certificate to either Amazon, craft spirit store Cask, or San Francisco restaurant Bar Agricole. While UC staff are welcome to participate in the contest, they are not eligible to receive rewards.

ROHO was established in 1954 and is the second oldest oral history program in the United States. There are ten subject areas for which there are over 4,000 interviews archived in the collection with people like Ansel Adams, Warren Hinkel, Ernest Gallo, Robert Mondavi, and Dorthea Lange; the vast majority of our interview transcripts are available online.

Submissions and questions should be emailed to Shanna Farrell at


Q: What is oral history?

A: Oral history is the collection and analysis of historical information through first-person narratives about specific topics, themes, or events. These narratives are documented through recorded long-form interviews, which often take the life history approach, wherein the narrator works from the beginning of their lives to the present.

Q: How is it different from journalism?

A: Oral history aim to contextualize history and is a highly collaborative process between the narrator and the interview. Oral history interviewers ask open questions that illicit longer responses and interviewers often take cues from the content of the narrator's answer, whereas journalists usually ask topical and pointed questions for shorter interview sessions. Furthermore, oral history interviews are expected to be archived and added to the historical record for future use, while journalistic interviews are often not heard by anyone but the interviewer.

Q: How did I listen to your interviews?

A: ROHO's interviews are archived in The Bancroft Library (TBL) at UC Berkeley. Audio and video files of most of our interviews can be requested through TBL though transcripts of the vast majority of our collection are available as PDFs on our website and accessible at any time.

Q: Why can't I listen to or watch the interviews online?

A: Unfortunately, the audio and video files of our interviews are very large and would take up most of TBL's broadband. However, you can request these audio and video files of the interviews at TBL or read the transcripts on our website. We also have clips from a selected series of interviews (which change monthly) available on our SoundCloud account.

Q: How can I connect to ROHO?

A: You can follow what is going on with ROHO through our website, newsletter, blog, or our various social media outlets like Twitter, Facebook, SoundCloud, Instagram, and YouTube.

Q: How do I donate to ROHO?

A: You can donate here. We truly appreciate your support.

Q: How many people will this project include?

A: We hope to include at least thirty individuals, but would like to interview as many people as possible.

Q: Who will be interviewed for this project?

A: We have conducted a four-hour interview with cocktail historian David Wondrich, completed pilot interviews with Jennifer Colliau of Small Hand Foods, Claire Sprouse of the United States Bartender's Guild, and Rhachel Shaw of Hog Island Oyster Co, and a short interview with bartender Dale DeGroff. We have spoken with several high-profile bar owners, bartenders, and craft spirit distillers who have expressed interested in being interviewed for the project.

Q: Will I be able to listen to or watch the interviews?

A: You will be able to watch and listen to clips from the interviews on our YouTube and SoundCloud pages when the interviews are complete. You will also be able to request the audio and video files of the interviews at The Bancroft Library and read the interview transcripts on our website.

Q: How long will this project last?

A: We anticipate this being a multi-year project and do not have a project deadline.

Q: What kind of logo are you looking for?

A: We are looking for designs that capture the essence of project and somehow related to oral history/storytelling and craft cocktails. The rest is up to you.

Q: What should I submit?

A: You should submit your design in the following formats:

-Vector-based (for Adobe Illustrator)

-Full Color

-Black and White


-Banner Sized

-Sized for social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and SoundCloud

Q: How do I submit a logo?

A: Logos should be submitted to Shanna Farrell at

Q: How will I know that my logo was received?

A: You will receive an email confirmation from Shanna Farrell within 24 hours of your submission.

Q: When will the contest winner be announced?

A: The winner be announced by Monday, June 2 2014.

Q: How do I donate to the project?

A: You can donate to the project through ROHO's website. We truly appreciate your support.

May 19, 2014 | Categories: ROHO Articles | sfarrell

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