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University of California Berkeley 

Regional Oral History Office University of California 

The Bancroft Library Berkeley, California 

University of California 
Source of Community Leaders Series 

Louis H. Heilbron 

With an Introduction by 
Clark Kerr 

Interviews Conducted by 

Carole Hicke 


Copyright 1995 by The Regents of the University of California 

Since 1954 the Regional Oral History Office has been interviewing leading 
participants in or well-placed witnesses to major events in the development of 
Northern California, the West, and the Nation. Oral history is a modern research 
technique involving an interviewee and an informed interviewer in spontaneous 
conversation. The taped record is transcribed, lightly edited for continuity and 
clarity, and reviewed by the interviewee. The resulting manuscript is typed in 
final form, indexed, bound with photographs and illustrative materials, and 
placed in The Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley, and 
other research collections for scholarly use. Because it is primary material, 
oral history is not intended to present the final, verified, or complete 
narrative of events. It is a spoken account, offered by the interviewee in 
response to questioning, and as such it is reflective, partisan, deeply involved, 
and irreplaceable. 


All uses of this manuscript are covered by a legal agreement 
between The Regents of the University of California and Louis H. 
Heilbron dated December 30, 1992. The manuscript is thereby made 
available for research purposes. All literary rights in the 
manuscript, including the right to publish, are reserved to The 
Bancroft Library of the University of California, Berkeley. No part 
of the manuscript may be quoted for publication without the written 
permission of the Director of The Bancroft Library of the University 
of California, Berkeley. 

Requests for permission to quote for publication should be 
addressed to the Regional Oral History Office, 486 Library, 
University of California, Berkeley 94720, and should include 
identification of the specific passages to be quoted, anticipated 
use of the passages, and identification of the user. The legal 
agreement with Louis H. Heilbron requires that he be notified of the 
request and allowed thirty days in which to respond. 

It is recommended that this oral history be cited as follows: 

Louis H. Heilbron, "Most of a Century: 
Law and Public Service, 1930s to 1990s," 
an oral history conducted 1989-1993 by 
Carole Hicke, Regional Oral History 
Office, The Bancroft Library, University 
of California, Berkeley, 1995. 

Copy no. 

Louis Heilbron, 1995 

Cataloging Information 

HEILBRON, Louis H. (b. 1907) Lawyer 

Most of a Century: Law and Public Service. 1930s to 1990s. 1995, 
xxi, 397 pp. 

University of California, Berkeley, and Boalt Hall, 1920s and '30s; 
state relief and welfare agencies, 1930s; Postwar reorganization of 
Austrian government; law and labor negotiations work with Heller, 
Ehrman, White & McAuliffe law firm, 1930s- '90s; California 
postsecondary education issues in 1960s: development and activation 
of the California State Colleges system; 1969 protest at San Francisco 
State College; public and professional services: Jewish Community 
Center, World Affairs Council, KQED television station, Congregation 
Emanu-El; Golden Gate University; California Historical Society. 

Introduction by Clark Kerr. 

Interviewed 1989-1993 by Carole Hicke for University of California, 
Source of Community Leaders Series. Regional Oral History Office, The 
Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley. 

This oral history of Louis H. Heilbron was made possible by 
contributions from the following sources 

California State Archives 

Heller, Ehrman, White & McAuliffe 

University of California, Class of 1928 

University of California, Class of '31 Endowment Fund 

TABLE OF CONTENTS --Louis H. Heilbron 


INTRODUCTION- -by Clark Kerr ix 

INTERVIEW HISTORY- -by Carole Hicke xii 



Family History 1 

Primary and Secondary Education 3 

University of California, Berkeley 8 

Boalt Hall School of Law, 1928-1931 18 


Appointment 26 

Revision of the State Indigent Laws 27 

Emergency Relief for Unemployed Residents 30 

Aid to Transients 40 

Self-Help Cooperatives 46 

Rural Rehabilitation Program 47 

Consultant to Department of Social Welfare 50 


Pearl Harbor and California 57 

Board of Economic Warfare 58 

Joining the U.S. Army; Training 62 

Further Preparation in England 66 

England--Vls, V2s, and D-Day 69 

Through Italy to Austria 75 

Allied Control Commission, Austria 80 

Occupation of Vienna 83 

Return to the U.S.A. and Law Practice 99 


Law School: Boalt Hall 100 

Joining Heller, Ehrman, White & McAuliffe, 1934 102 

Early Days 104 

Hillside Support Case 106 

United Airlines Crash 108 

Choosing the Jury 109 

Senior Partners and Clients 111 

Office Space and Routines 126 

Depression Work 127 

More on Early Practice 129 

Japanese Relocation 133 

Labor Practice 135 

Postwar Years 136 

The Art of Negotiating 139 

Notes Re Negotiation in Labor Agreements 140 

ERISA 143 

Changes in Offices 145 

World Trade Center 147 

Golden Gateway 149 

1200 California Street 151 

Petrillo: Educating the Client 152 

A Settlement, a Development, and the Prime Rib 155 

KQED and the Tower 158 

Power in Bureaucracy 160 

Legal Work Over the Years 162 

Other Legal Matters 163 

Growth of Heller, Ehrman 166 

Outside and Inside Activities 171 

Overview 175 


AND 1980s 184 

State Board of Education 184 
Master Plan for Education and the California State College 

System 189 

Survey Committee: Its Recommendations and Legislation 189 

Transition Planning 195 

California State Colleges 198 

First Chair in a New System 198 

Expansion and New Campus Sites 203 

Problems for a California State Colleges Trustee, 1960-1961 206 

Protests and Strike at San Francisco State College 214 

Coordinating Council for Higher Education 234 

Accreditation 246 

Chairman, Advisory Board, San Francisco State University 

1970-1976 257 

International House, Berkeley 263 

Class of 1928 269 


Temple Emanu-El 270 

Jewish Community Center 289 

American Jewish Committee 291 


World Affairs Council 294 

California Historical Society 304 

Western Jewish History Center 315 

Human Rights Commission for San Francisco City and County, 

1969-1975 316 

Golden Gate University: Board of Trustees, 1969-present 320 

KQED Television: Its History 342 

Phi Beta Kappa, Northern California Chapter 357 

Philanthropy 359 



Appendix A. Selected speeches from From the Beginning: Commencement 
Addresses and Selected Papers of Louis H. Heilbron, California 
State University Long Beach, 1983 373 

Appendix B. Louis H. Heilbron, Family and Childhood, by Louis Heilbron, 

1995 386 

Appendix C. "An Upright Man," California Monthly, November 1989 394 

Appendix D. "Year of Crisis: How the State Bar Survived; San Francisco's 
David Heilbron is Widely Credited with Saving the Bar," The 
Recorder, September 12, 1986 395 

INDEX 398 


On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of our graduation from the 
University of California at Berkeley, the Class of 1931 made the decision 
to present its alma mater with an endowment for an oral history series to 
be titled "The University of California, Source of Community Leaders." 
The Class of 1931 Oral History Endowment provides a permanent source of 
funding for an ongoing series of interviews by the Regional Oral History 
Office of The Bancroft Library. 

The commitment of the endowment is to carry out interviews with 
persons related to the University who have made outstanding contributions 
to the community, by which is meant the state or the nation, or to a 
particular field of endeavor. The memoirists, selected by a committee 
set up by the class, are to come from Cal alumni, faculty, and 
administrators. The men and women chosen will comprise an historic honor 
list in the rolls of the University. 

To have the ability to make a major educational endowment is a 
privilege enjoyed by only a few individuals. Where a group joins 
together in a spirit of gratitude and admiration for their alma mater, 
dedicating their gift to one cause, they can affect the history of that 
institution greatly. 

The oral histories illustrate the strength and skills the University 
of California has given to its sons and daughters, and the diversity of 
ways that they have passed those gifts on to the wider community. We 
envision a lengthening list of University-inspired community leaders 
whose accounts, preserved in this University of California, Source of 
Community Leaders Series, will serve to guide students and scholars in 
the decades to come. 

Lois L. Swabel 
President, Class of 1931 

William H. Holabird 

President, retired, Class of 1931 

Harold Kay, M.D. , 

Chairman, Class of 1931 Gift Committee 

September 1993 

Walnut Creek, California 



Jane Bolton Adams 

Robert E. Agnew 

Harry Albert 

Margaret F. Allen 

Dr. Wallace E. Allen 

Zal Alter 

L. Stern Altshuler 

Margaret B. Ancker 

Janet Mills Anderson 

Dr. Miles H. Anderson 

Marie F. Anderson 

Harry C. Andrews 


Beatrice Armstrong 

Jean Cope Armstrong 

Florence Hahn Ashley 

Hope G. Athearn 

Tadini Bacigalupi, Jr. 

Charles L. Badley 

Mary H. Baker 

Mr. and Mrs. Robert E. Baker 

Mr. and Mrs. Howard F. Ballinger 

Ralph C. Bangsberg 

Pina J. Barbieri 

Ellen Silver Barnett 

Harold E. Barhart 

Thomas F. Barrett 

Beryl Evelyn Flick Bates 

John D. Bauer 

Grace Wallace Beckett 

Charles F. Bedford 

George R. Bell 

Barbara Dunton Benedict 

Hertha P. Bengston 

Mary Woods Bennett 

Virginia Smith Bennett 

Anna 0. Bent z en 

Betty Bergemann 

Lester J. Berry 

Brigadier General Paul Berrigan 

Jerome W. Bettman, M.D. 

Lucille K. Bewley 

Raymond Biagi 

Vivian Y. Blevins 

A. Harry Bliss 

Irene Fisk Blowers 

Max Bogner 

George D. Bogert 

Katherine Smith Bolt 

Helen H. Bondshu 

Aileen E. Boogaert 

Helen R. Bottimore 

Dr. and Mrs. James J. Brady 

Clark L. Bradley 

F. Glenn Bramble 

Yaye Togasaki Breitenbach 

A. R. Brooding 

Dorothy W. Brown 

Alan K. Browne 

J. F. Brust 

Ada Buckingham 

Philip Buckingham 

Jean C. Burtchaell 

Mr. and Mrs. William T. Butner 

California Alumni Club of Rossraoor 

Fred A. Camp 

Mary E. Carapioni 

Judge Walter Carpeneti 

Walter W. Carter 

Adeline Cassettari 

Elena Bianchini Catelli 

Gladys N. Ceccotti 

Daisy Wong Chinn 

Francis Lai Chinn 

Katherine I. Clark 

E. F. Chase 

Julia A. Cline 

Betsy Kinkel Clopton 

lone Cockrell 

Joel Coffield 

Waldo E. Cohn 

Hilma Colton 

Marie F. Colwell 

James F. Conley 

Maylou B. Conroy 

Robert E. Cooper, Jr. 

Margaret Coope 


Dr. James Hal lam Cope 

Raymond Cope 

George L. Cory 

Lemuel C. Cragholm 

Harlene Eachus Cripe 

Arthur P. Crist, Jr. 

Cecil Cross 

Ralph Cross 

Sam Cross 

Wilhelmina Cumming 

Professor Charles C. Gushing 

Charlotte Cerf Gushing 

Theodore D. Dabagh 

Dorothy E. Dady 

George H. Danis 

John 0. Davis, Jr. 

Vernon DeMars 

Sidney V. Dennison 

Marie Fitzgerald Devin 

Marion Devlin 

Mr. and Mrs. Leland Dibble 

Frances C. Dieterich 

Elizabeth Dittman 

Mr. and Mrs. Fred A. Divita 

Alice K. Dolan 

Ted A. Dungan 

Cordell Durrell 

Mildred Squier Earl 

Charles K. Ebert 

Helen G. Ebert 

Mildred Long Ehrhardt 

Adele C. Eisman 

Dr. Maurice Eliaser, Jr. 

C. A. Emery 

Eleanor Engstrand 

J. Gordon Epperson, M.D. 

Dr. Ervin Epstein 

Helen E. Estep 

B. D. Evers 

Doris F. Falk 

J. Clarence Felcino 

Dr. John M. Fernald 

Mildred Field 

Clair N. Fishell 

Margaret O'Brien Fisher 

Dr. Howard B. Flanders 

Katherine A. Fleager 

Julia A. Foote 

Dr. John Douglas Forbes 

Elvin L. Fowler 

Robert H. Frank 

Julius H. Freitag 

Mary C. Freitas 

Arthur Frick 

Edward Frick 

Evelyn L. Friedenthal 

Gail Merwin Fritz 

Arthur A. Frost 

Elizabeth L. Fuller (Gladys Lund) 

Y. Fred Fujikawa 

Mary Gamburg 

Adelia S. Garard 

Dr. and Mrs. Levon K. Garron 

Edwin C. Garwood 

William S. Gavin 

Charlotte Ham Gerdes 

Helen C. Gibson 

Winifred S. Gibson 

Ivy Winn Gill 

Virginia Gilloon 

Steven M. Goldblatt 

Grace Goodfriend 

Ruth H. Goodrich 

Marion Gorrill 

Virginia W. Grace 

Evelyn Graham 

Harvey T. Granger 

Florence Gray 

Sterling Steffen Green 

Edward Gustafson 

Mary Catherine Gustavson 

K. Verner Haapala 

Robert S. Hager 

Elizabeth G. Hahn 

Theodore E. Haig 

Marlin W. Haley 

Wilbur H. Halsey 

Carl W. Handy 

Mary Beth Hansen 

Maurice A. Harband 

Maurine S. Hardin 

Harrison Harkins 

William L. Harr 

Katharin F. Harrell 

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Harris 

Vivian C. Harrison 

Robert M. Hartwell 

Edith C. Hassan 

Howard Hassard 

Lois H. Hastie 


Helena A. Quail Hawkins 

Hazel J. Hawkinson 

Margaret I. Hayden 

Juan C. Hayes 

Marjory Hayes 

Edna Heatherly 

Glan T. Heisch 

J. Henry Heide 

John J. Helm 

Annie Henry 

Emily C. Herndon 

Edith Meyer Herreshoff 

Stephen G. Herrick 

Nathan R. Hertzberg 

Walter S. Hertzmann 

Max L. Herzog 

Dr. Allen T. Hinman 

Mabel Hirschman 

Elsie D. Hoeck 

Mr. and Mrs. William H. Holabird 

Vera Holleuffer 

Robert W. Hollis 

Wilfred Elliott Horn 

Marjorie A. Howard 

W. George L. Hughes 

Donald E. Hunter 

Jean Hurlbert 

Dorothy Hynding 

Ward D. Ingrim 

Erma M. Jacobsen 

Leonore A. Jacques 

Raymond W. Jewell 

A. H. Johnson 

Mrs. Donald Johnson 

J. W. Johnson 

George H. Johnston 

Ilene F. Joyce 

Lillian M. Kavanagh 

Dr. and Mrs. Harold Kay 

Irma Meyers Kennedy 

Mary M. Kennedy 

Evelyn Kerkof 

Albert H. Kessler 

Dorothy M. Kesseli 

Kenneth A. Keyes 

Frank M. King 

Katherine E. King 

John Knight 

Margaret Farley Koehler 

Howard A. Roster 

Etta Jean Kotcher 

Adrian A. Kragen 

Arleen A. Krentz 

Charlotte Kruger 

Fred N. Kruse 

Ruth Ann Lage 

Anne Gibson Lanpher 

Scott H. Lathrop 

Lowell A. Ledgett 

Dr. Sanford E. Leeds 

Jack R. Lehmkuhl 

Edwin T. Lindley, Jr. 

Mary Ann Linsdale 

Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Lisherness 

Flora Mattoon Locke 

Dorothy Ford LoForte 

Wilraer Grace Logan 

Atha Darby Loggins 

Fred W. Lorenz 

Katherine S. Lorenzen 

Marguerite A. Lorton 

Dorothy R. Lowe 

Bernice E. Lowenstein 

Juliet Lowenthal 

Morris Lowenthal 

Victor F. Ludewig 

George J. Lyons 

Mildred Wall MacLean 

Kathryn Prost MacLeod 

Baxter C. Madden, Jr. 

Elizabeth F. Mahon 

Genevieve T. Malstrom 

Plato Malozemoff 

Edward W. Martin 

George W. Martin 

H. E. Mathis 

Benjamin S. Matsuda 

C. Geneva McCann 

Harold McCann 

Sue McCarthy 

Tom McCarthy 

Horace R. McCombie 

Thomas B. McCord 

Blanche E. McCormick 

George H. McElroy 

Sister Mary A. McFeeley 

Helene Bing McGalliard 

Imogene W. Mclndoe 

Jewel Smith McKenna 

Ruth E. McNulty 

Frank W. McQuiston, Jr. 

Clifford L. Merkel 

Arthur H. Middleton 

Roger F. Miller 

Hazel Emery Mills 

Florence Mintz 

Henry G. Mishkin 

Tulie Toru Miura 

Jane Moore Mock 

Margaret G. Molarsky 

Alice Mollison 

John F. Molony 

Betty W. Moore 

Alice K. Montin 

Edwin Morby 

Iwao M. Moriyama 

Kenneth L. Morris 

Anna C. Morrison 

Jean Mosheim 

Rush S. Mossman 

Ruth S. Mossman 

Robert S. Mott 

R. P. Murphy 

Margaret D. Myers 

Hudson F. Nagle 

Genshiro Nakamura 

Natalie Neher 

Alma Goyun Neubarth 

Clem J. Nevitt 

Scott and Ruth Waldo Newhall 

Arthur W. Newman 

Ferril R. Nickle 

Meredith H. Nicoles 

Mr. and Mrs. Richard H. Nida 

Neal J. Nomura 

Florence M. Odemar 

Edith C. Oldendorf 

Nichi Oka Onuma 

Esther Carlson Osnas 

Charles P. Paccagnella 

Marion D. Pack 

C. J. Paderewski 

Edwin W. Palmrose 

Mabel E. Parker 

Catherine Chapin Parsons 

Elsie Jeanette Plath 

Jeryme C. Potter 

Harold Trent Power 

Milton H. Price 

Margaret Sellers Priest 

Bea Edwards Pruiett 

Randall Ramey 

Charles Randolph 

Claire Hagerty Ranken 

Walter H. Redit 

William D. Reidt 

Marie C. Reinhart 

Frederick W. Reyland, Jr. 

Embree E. Reynolds 

Larry Rhine 

Nancy Surr Richardson 

Mr. and Mrs. John D. Riner 

John Rinne 

James H. Ripley 

Mary E. Ritchie 

Agnes R. Robb 

Lawrence M. Roberts 

Elsie Merrill Robinson 

Elsie B. Roemer 

Edgar 0. Rogers 

Elizabeth D. Rollins 

Matilde Ronne 

Alice Frances Rooney 

Barbara D. Ross 

Elaine Routbort 

W. Byron Rumford, Sr. 

Elizabeth Y. Rusk 

Margaret Scherer Sabine 

William L. Sanoorn 

Kermit Sather 

Marietta Schlaman 

Walter C. Schmidt 

Victor Schoch 

Dorothy Sciutto 

Griffith W. Sherrill 

Helen C. Shirley 

Ross T. Shoaf 

Lois M. Shupe 

Edna Stanbridge Sibole 

Anne Meux Siegfried 

Johanna Sigelkoff 

Dr. A. E. Simmons 

Helen C. Skidmore 

Mansuetta Slater 

Dr. C. C. Smith 

Valerie W. Smith 

John C. Snidecor 

J. Robert Snyder 

Frank Solinsky III 

Halcyon B. Spencer 


Evelyn Spiegelman 

Harry C. Stanley 

Lois I. Startt 

Marie Stayton 

Alta V. Steengrafe 

Charles Stefanetti 

H. G. Stevens 

Elizabeth M. Stevick 

Lucien B. St. John 

Fred Stripp 

J. Ralph Stone 

Leonora Hohl Strohmaier 

G. Douglas Sturges 

Robert Sutro 

Lois L. Swabel 

George E. Sweeney 

Irene Tamony 

Anna Rose Taylor 

Kathleen Lapham Taylor 

Elise Heyman Terrill 

Dr. Mary F. Thelen 

Bernhard Tieslau 

Eleanor Todd 

Sanford M. Treguboff 

Charlotte Treutlein 

Helen Kathryn Trevey 

Irma B. Uren 

Arthur W. Van de Mark 

Elvin Van Ness 

Robert N. Varney 

Lawrence 0. Vireno 

Ruth R. von Uhlit 

Clifford Wayne Vredenburgh 

Katherine A. Walsh 

Margaret A. Ward 

Mae Heisler Watkins 

Margaret H. Watzek 

Priscilla S. Wegars 

Ralph W. Weilerstein 

Robert A. Weimer 

Dorothy Weis 

Kenneth and Elsie Wells 

Margaret C. Weymouth 

Phyllis B. White 

W. A. Wilkinson 

Ralph E. Williams 

Jean Williamson 

Garff B. Wilson 

Honora K. Wilson 

Paul S. Windrem 

Helen J. Winkenhofer 

Elmer C. Winkle r 

Frederick De Boom Witzel 

Mr. and Mrs. Leonard R. Wohletz 

Russell Wolfe 

Marion G. Wolford 

Harold A. Wood 

Jane A. Woods 

James S. Wyatt, Jr. 

Mrs. Robert W. Yates 

Verna F. Zander 

Margaret Zealear 

Edward M. Zeller 

Claude E. Zobell 

Donors 1986 to 1991 

Valentin 0. Arellano 
Jean C. Armstrong 
Mary C. Baker 

BankAmerica Foundation (matching) 
Mary Woods Bennett 
Alan K. Browne 
Raymond W. Cope 
Fitzgerald Abbott & Beardsley 
Elinor B. Freitag in memory of 
Professor Julius H. Freitag 
Mrs. Levon K. Garron 
Charlotte H. Gerdes 
Marlin W. Haley 
Robert M. Hartwell 
Juan C. Hayes 
Edna Heatherly 
J. Henry Heide 
William H. Holabird 
William H. Holabird in memory of 

John J. Helm 
Aubrey H. Johnson 
Adrian A. Kragen in memory of 

Alan K. Browne 
Flora M. Locke 
Mrs. Wilmer G. Logan 
Victor F. Ludewig 
Kathryn Post MacLeod in memory of 

Alan K. Browne 
Plato Malozemoff 
Margaret G. Molarsky 


Donors 1986 to 1991 

Anna C. Morrison 

Mabel E. Parker 

Jason Plowe 

Jeryme C. Potter 

Helen Redfield 

Mrs. R. Q. Roemer 

Edgar 0. Rogers 

Elaine L. Routbort 

UCB Alumni Club of Rossmoor in 

memory of Alan K. Browne 
Arthur W. van de Mark 
Katharine A. Walsh 

Donors 1994 to 1995 

Margaret F. Allen 
Helen R. Holabird 
Willa K. Baum, in memory of Dr. 

Harold Kay 
Germaine LaBerge, in memory of 

Dr. Harold Kay 
William Lucas Blanckenburg, in 

memory of David C. Dunlap 

Donors 1991 to 1992 

Mrs. Levon K. Garron 

Marlin W. Haley 

J. Henry Heide 

Mr. and Mrs. William H. Holabird 

W. George L. Hughes 

Anna C. Morrison 

Mrs. Jeryme Potter 

Donors 1992 to 1993 

Frances W. Garron 
J. Henry Heide 
William H. Holabird 
Adrian A. Kragen 

Donors 1993 to 1994 

Wallace E. Allen 

Charlotte C. Gushing 

Sidney V. Dennison 

William R. Eastman, Jr. 

Frances W. Garron 

Charlotte H. Gerdes 

Edna Heatherly 

J. Henry Heide 

William H. Holabird 

John Howard Henry 

Adrian A. Kragen, in memory of 

William Holabird 
Esther M. Osnas 



Robert Gordon Sproul Oral History Project. Two volumes, 1986. 

Includes interviews with thirty- four persons who knew him well. 

Bennett, Mary Woods, class of '31, A Career in Higher Education: Mills 
College 1935-1974. 1987. 

Browne, Alan K. , class of '31, "Mr. Municipal Bond": Bond Investment 
Management. Bank of America, 1929-1971. 1990. 

Devlin, Marion, class of '31, Women's News Editor: Vallelo Times-Herald. 
1931-1978. 1991. 

Heilbron, Louis H. , class of '31, Most of a Century: Law and Public 
Service. 1930s to 1990s. 1995. 

Hassard, H. Howard, class of '31, The California Medical Association. 
Medical Insurance, and the Law, 1935-1992. 1993. 

Kay, Harold, M.D., class of '31, A Berkeley Boy's Service to the Medical 
Community of Alameda County, 1935-1994. 1994. 

Kragen, Adrian A., class of '31, A Law Professor's Career: Teaching, 
Private Practice, and Legislative Representative, 1934 to 1989. 

Peterson, Rudolph A., class of '25, A Career in International Banking 
with the Bank of America. 1936-1970. and the United Nations 
Development Program. 1971-1975. 1994. 

Stripp, Fred S., Jr., class of '32, University Debate Coach, Berkeley 
Civic Leader, and Pastor, 1990. 

Dettner, Anne deG. Low Beer, class of '26, social activist and radiation 
researcher, in process. 

Hedgpeth, Joel, class of '33, Marine biologist, in process. 

Trefethen, Eugene, class of '30, Kaiser Industries administrator, in 
process . 


INTRODUCTION- -by Clark Kerr 

Louis Heilbron, as his oral history well documents, has led several 
lives. One of these lives has been as a good citizen devoting his time, 
energy, and wisdom to the welfare of his community. I should like to 
call particular attention to his contributions to higher education at a 
crucial time in its history in the state of California. 

The crucial time was the early 1960s when higher education moved 
from a developing chaos to becoming the best overall system of higher 
education in the nation and, beyond that, in the world. 

The developing chaos had several sources. First, the three tidal 
waves augmenting each other of (1) population growth in California, (2) 
the children of the GIs nationwide advancing on higher education, and (3) 
the movement from mass to universal access to higher education. Second, 
the lack of facilities, physical and human, to match these tidal waves. 
Third, the uncertainty over whether the politicians or higher education 
should lead in developing solutions. Fourth, disagreements over the 
respective roles within higher education for the University of 
California, the state colleges, the community colleges, and the private 
institutions . 

The answer was the Master Plan for Higher Education of 1960. 

Leadership was taken by higher education, the roles of the segments were 

set forth, the facilities were specified and supplied. An historic 
accomplishment . 

Several persons played crucial roles, since any one of them had the 
power of life or death over the negotiations: 

Governor "Pat" Brown, who watched the process more than he 
participated in it but who signed the necessary legislation and then 
later became a very strong supporter; 

Roy Simpson, who was Superintendent of Public Instruction and who 
was in charge of the state colleges but was willing to relinquish them to 
their own independent board; 

Glenn Dumke, then president of San Francisco State College, who 
became the crucial leader of the powerful roster of presidents of the 
state colleges and who went along with the Master Plan against aggressive 
opposition within his own group; 

Louis Heilbron, who was appointed in March 1959 to the State Board 
of Education by Pat Brown and then elected as its chair in February 1960 

when everything hung in the balance, and who later in 1960 became the 
first chair of the Board of Trustees of the state colleges. In these 
roles he advised Pat Brown, was chair of the board to which Roy Simpson 
reported, and chair of the state college board that appointed Glenn Dumke 
as chancellor of the state college system. 

Each of these four persons was in a very difficult position. Many 
in the state colleges wanted full research university status. This was a 
time when federal funds for research and development were beginning to 
rise rapidly. Research university status meant more prestige, higher 
salaries, and lower teaching loads. By this time in their development, 
the state colleges, historically teachers' colleges, had become liberal 
arts colleges as well, and, in addition, were adding more and more 
professional programs as in engineering and business administration. 
Also, more and more faculty members had advanced degrees from research 
universities and would greatly have preferred to be employed in similar 
institutions. "Academic drift" was well underway, and academic 
aspirations kept well ahead of the drift. Several of the most powerful 
of the state college presidents had their own desires to lead research 
universities, and, for internal political reasons, had promised their 
faculties to achieve research university status for them and, in 
addition, had so promised their local communities. 

A boiling cauldron of hopes, promises, and expectations. However, 
California already had three private research universities (Stanford, Cal 
Tech, and the University of Southern California) and two well-established 
public research universities (UC Berkeley and UCLA) , with seven more in 
development (Davis, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, Riverside, 
Irvine, and San Diego). This would total California's full share of what 
came by 1987 (Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher 
Education) to be seventy Research Universities I nationwide far beyond 
California's proportional share on a population basis. To add twenty 
more (the then number of state colleges) was beyond reasonable 
expectations given the cost and the lack of necessity; and who then would 
train the teachers and the technicians? And where would all the 
qualified students come from? There was an enormous gap between 
aspirations and realistic possibilities. But that did not dampen the 
aspirations. Someone had to say "no," and take the consequences. A key 
person was the new chair of the State Board of Education. 

At a crucial meeting held in the Regent's Room at Berkeley in March 
1960 (I can still see in my mind where he sat), Louis Heilbron made a 
statement giving unequivocal support to the draft of the Master Plan. 
Among other things, he said that UC should keep the "crown jewels": basic 
research and training for the Ph.D., the M.D. , the law degree, and other 
advanced degrees. I heaved a big sigh of relief. The last piece of a 
complicated puzzle was now in place. Louis Heilbron had not participated 
in the Master Plan Study Committee and thus was, until this meeting, not 


publicly committed to its report. He then joined others of us (he and I 
were the chief presenters) in appearing in Sacramento before the Assembly 
and the Senate to support the plan, which was subsequently adopted with 
only one dissenting vote among the 120 legislators. Louis was steadfast 
throughout, although some of the state college presidents and many 
faculty members were in semi-revolt. 

Heilbron and Dumke then got the new state college system off to an 
excellent start. Once the system was underway, Louis set the central 
theme as "let us cultivate our own garden" and not just continue to covet 
the garden of someone else. And "our own garden" was already a huge 
garden that was being expanded to cover the M.A. in all fields. It was 
the garden of all the polytechnic skills at the operational level that 
were growing so fast in the labor market of an advancing industrial 
economy. And the state colleges were being given their own Board of 
Trustees and other advantages. Enrollments went from 60,000 in 1960 to 
350,000 in 1990. This bigger garden came to be well cultivated. 

Louis Heilbron played an historic role: taking responsibility, using 
wisdom, standing fast on the basic agreement in the face of internal 

This was not, of course, the only time that Louis Heilbron played 
the role of good citizen, as this oral history so well demonstrates, but 
it was one time of tough testing. History has shown that he passed the 
test with highest honors. And Louis passed so many other tests the same 
way, as has his son, John, as the Vice Chancellor at UC Berkeley, 1990 to 

Clark Kerr 

September 1994 
Berkeley, California 


INTERVIEW HISTORY- -by Carole Hicke 

Louis H. Heilbron is a distinguished San Francisco lawyer, a noted 
public figure in California's public education system, and a dynamic 
component of many community service agencies local, regional, state, and 
national. Born in 1907, he was educated in San Francisco public schools, 
obtained a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1928, and 
graduated with a J.D. from Boalt Hall School of Law in 1931. Heilbron 
married the late Delphine Rosenblatt (1907-1993) in 1929, and they raised 
two sons David, who is a partner of McCutchen, Doyle, Brown & Enersen and 
the firm's managing partner from 1985 to 1988; and John, historian, 
professor, and the vice chancellor of the University of California, 
Berkeley from 1990 to 1994. 

Heilbron 1 s career encompasses more than five decades of law practice 
and a similar period of public and community service. He practiced law 
with Heller, Ehrman, White & McAuliffe from 1934 to 1978, specializing 
for much of the time in labor law. Dealing with relations between San 
Francisco businesses and labor unions, he became a skilled negotiator, an 
expertise which he also put to use in other arenas. 

During the 1930s he also worked for the California Welfare Board, 
helping to manage California's enormous load of indigent natives and 
immigrants from the Dust Bowl Depression. Military service in the 1940s 
took him to post World War II Austria, where his work in restoring 
Austrian governmental, social, and economic institutions led to an 
interest in labor law. 

In addition to his subsequent career as a labor negotiator, Heilbron 
participated in the planning and administration of California's higher 
education programs: as a member and president of the State Board of 
Education, he helped develop the state college system; then as the first 
chair of the Board of Trustees of the new California State Colleges, he 
helped to activate the system. 

Somewhere he has also found time to be active in the Jewish 
community in San Francisco and to serve on the boards of several 
nonprofit organizations. In spite of a busy schedule, Heilbron has 
authored two books: The College and University Trustee (1973); and From 
the Beginning (The California State University) (1983). He has written 
the following articles: "Higher Education for the Millions in California, 
The Dynamic State," 1966; "A Look at Academic Freedom" (in Challenge to 
American Youth, 1963). Also, many of his speeches have been published as 
articles. Whether writing or speaking, his work is polished with the 
determination of a perfectionist. 


In recording Heilbron's recollections, I discovered that he has had 
a longtime interest in local and state history, which has manifested 
itself in ways such as serving as president of the board of trustees of 
the California Historical Society, and in directing the research and 
writing of his law firm's centennial history: Heller, Ehrman, White & 
McAuliffe: A Century of Service to Clients and Community. Not 
surprisingly, he is chosen annually to give a talk on the history of 
Heller, Ehrman, White & McAuliffe to firm members. 

With this long record of work and service, Heilbron's oral history 
documents many aspects of life in California. Although this volume 
encompasses his entire career, some parts of it are also available to the 
researcher elsewhere. Chapters II and V of this volume, which pertain to 
his work for the state government, have also been bound separately and 
deposited in the California State Archives, titled Louis H. Heilbron, 
Oral History Interview. A brief oral history covering his first two 
years as president of the California State Colleges was conducted by 
staff of the California State University, Dominguez Hills, and is 
deposited in the California State University Archives there. (These 
years were also discussed in the present volume; see Chapter V.) 

Interviewing for this oral history began in 1989 as part of the 
background research for the centennial history of Heller, Ehrman, White & 
McAuliffe mentioned above. These recorded sessions, which mainly covered 
his law career (Chapter IV) , took place in his office on the 29th floor 
of the 333 Bush Street highrise in downtown San Francisco. From his 
corner office, we could see a good part of the San Francisco skyline, 
including one section he himself helped to change. "It doesn't add too 
much architecturally," he grins as he relates the story of building the 
Sutro Tower, but to many San Franciscans, its top emerging from a bank of 
fog is a city landmark. 

The interview sessions resumed in 1991 when funding became available 
to document the other aspects of his life and career. For all of the 
interview sessions, Heilbron made careful preparations, reviewing the 
proposed outline and list of topics to be discussed that day, then making 
extensive notes and researching such facts as he needed to fill out the 
story. These interviews took place, for the most part, in his Russian 
Hill apartment with views of the Bay and Golden Gate Bridge from its 
sixth story windows. Mrs. Heilbron offered strong support and took an 
encouraging interest in the proceedings. 

After my initial review of the transcript, Heilbron read the draft 
carefully and emended it to his satisfaction. He also reviewed the 
final, corrected version. With his scrupulous attention to accuracy and 
concern for detail, Heilbron's review took some time. The process was 
made more difficult by the illness and subsequent death of his wife. 
Because of this meticulous review, the researcher can be assured that the 


record is reliable. For example, Heilbron was so determined to be sure 
of his recollections that when he mentioned a Cunard Line ship on which 
he traveled in 1914, he called Cunard 's New York offices to make sure the 
ship's name was correct. 

Throughout the planning sessions, the interviews, the reviews, the 
checking sessions, the occasional lunches and afternoon tea, Heilbron' s 
warmth and geniality made working with him a perfect delight. His 
engaging sense of humor is a perfect foil to the seriousness with which 
he undertakes a piece of work, whether it be crucial negotiations between 
management and unions, implementation of the California Master Plan for 
Higher Education, or his oral history. 

This oral history has been funded by several sources: the UC 
Berkeley Class of '31 Oral History Endowment and the California State 
Archives underwrote documentation of the government and public service 
aspects of Heilbron 1 s career. His law firm, Heller, Ehrman, White & 
McAuliffe, bore some of the costs of the interviews that cover his legal 
career. His University of California graduating class of 1928 also 
helped fund the oral history, and Heilbron himself has contributed to the 
Regional Oral History Office. 

Special thanks are due to Dr. Clark Kerr, who wrote the 
introduction. Although Kerr's remarks refer to only one aspect of 
Heilbron' s career, his contributions to California's higher education 
they illustrate the time, care, and wisdom that he devoted to all of his 
work, whether public or private. 

This interview is part of the ongoing documenting of California 
history by the Regional Oral History Office, which is under the direction 
of Willa Baum, Division Head, and under the administrative direction of 
The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley. 

Carole Hicke 
Interviewer /Editor 

July 1995 

Regional Oral History Office 

The Bancroft Library 

University of California, Berkeley 



A.B. 1928, University of California 

J.D. 1931, University of California 

L.L.D. 1961, University of California 

L.L.D. 1970, Golden Gate College 

Assistant Dean of Men, U.C. Berkeley 1928-31 

Special Consultant for the State Relief strati on and 
State Department of Social Welfare 193^-^2 

Principal Attorney for the Board of Economic V'arfar 

Major Military Government AUS (attached to SH.-EF) 

Deputy Director of U.S. Army Labor Division Allied Control 
Commission for Austria 

Trustee U.C. International House 1953 - 

Trustee Newhouse Foundation 1955-7^ 

President California State Board of Education 1960-61 

Trustee California State Colleges 1960-69 
Chairman of Board of Trustees 1960-63 

Vice-President and Trustee Bay Area Educational Television Assn. 
(Station KQSD) 1960-72 

Member California Coordinating Council for Higher Education 1961-69 

President World Affairs Council No. Calif. 1965-67 
Trustee and member of Executive Committee 1951 - 

Trustee Golden Gate University 1969 - 

Member of Human Rights Commission for San Francisco City and 
County 1969-75 
Acting Chairman 1975 

Chairman Advisory Board San Francisco State University 1970-75 
Member National Tenure Commission 1971-73 


Trustee University of California Foundation 1972 - 

Public Member of Federation of Regional Accrediting Commission 
of Higher Education 1972-74 

Public Member of Council of Post-Secondary Accreditation 1975- 
Vice -Chairman Golden Gate University 1974 - 

Partner of Law Firm 

Heller, Ehrman, White & McAuliffe 
44 Montgomery Street, 30th Floor 
San Francisco, CA 94104 


March Fong Eu 
Secretary of State 


California State Archives 
1020 O Street, Room 130 
Sacramento, CA 95814 

Document Restoration 
Exhibit Hall 
Legislative Bill Service 
(prior years) 

(916) 4-15-12' 
(916) 445-42' 
(916) 445-07 
(916) 44S-2& 


SUBJECT'S FULL NAME: Louis Hairy Heilbron 

ADDRESS: 2164 Hyde Street, Apt. 1612. 

San Francisco. California 94109 

TELEPHONE: Office (415) 772-6016 


Father's Full name Simon L. Heilbron 

Home (415) 776-4811 

Birth date Nov. 10, 1878 Occupation Food Processing 

Mother's Full name Flora Karp Heilbron 

Birth date Jan. 9, 1980 

Occupation Housewife 


DATE OF BIRTH May 12, 1907 

PLACE OF BIRTH Newark, New Jersey 

(Where obtained, dates attended) 

Primry: Spring Valley School, 1913-1914; Civic Heights, 1914-1920; 
Secondary: Lowell High School, 1920-1924; 


(Where obtained, years of graduation, majors, degrees) 

University of California, graduated 1928; Major: Political Science; Degree; B.A. 
Boalt Hall School of Law; Graduated 1931; Degree: J.D. 


(Job, dates entered upon/retired from, where practiced) 

Attorney, Heller airman Vttiite & Mcftuliffe; Entered 1934; Retired in 1978; 

Employed by State of California, 1932 and 1933; 


(City, county, state, and/or national, dates of service) 
UC Asst to Dean of Men 1928-1931 (part time) 

State; Secretary, State Department of Social Welfare. 1932; 

Assistant Ackninistrator - State Emergency Relief Administration, 1933; 
Special Consultant to iftnp-ngency Relief Admin i.<?tration Department of 
Social Welfare (part-time), 1934-1941; , 

Member and President - State Board of Education. 1959-1960; 

Trustee, California State Colleges, 1960-1969; (Board Chairmn, 1960-1963) 

City & County of San Francisco: Member, Hunan Rights Commission. 1970-1976; 

Member & Pres. Advisory Board SF State Univ 1970-1976; Principal Atty US Bd of Economic 
POLITICAL PARTY: ^^^ Cal C oordin^iR e CgRcii 9 ^gM 1&4 3 !961- 

(Registration, official positions held, dates of service) 



(Branch, rank, dates of service) 

US Army, Military Government, Captain to Major, Oct. 1943-April 1946. 

(Organization/activity, offices held) 

World Affairs Council of N.Calif (Internatl Affairs Info & Education ) -VP & Pres.; CA 
Historical Society 1978-1985 (collecting & disseminating info rp Oil higtoryl-vp & Pres 
Jewish Community Center (social, cultural & recreational activities ) -VP & Pres.; Phi 
Beta Kappa Assn. of N. Cal.-VP & Pres.; KOED (public TV)-VP: Intpmai-1 Hnngp f R^rlfg 1 e y 
(residence & program for US & foreign students)-VP 1953-1977; Golden Gate Univ Board 
Chairman; Natl Post- Secondary Edn Commissions 1972-1986; 

(Offices held, if any, and dates of service) 

Congregation Emanu-El, SF - VP & Pres. 


(Name, date and place of marriage, occupation) 

Delphine P.. Heilbron, married Oct. 30/29. Brokerage statistician 1927-1932. 
Housewife 1932-Aug. 21/93 (deceased). 


(Names, years of birth) 

John Heilbron born 3/17/34; David Heilbron born 11/25/36. 



Books: The College & University Trustee (1973); From the Beginning (The California 

State University) 1983 

Articles: Higher Education for the Millions in California, The Dynamic State 1966, 

A Look At Academic Freedom (in Challenge To American Youth 1963; many lectures printed a 

articles - up t< 


(List any pertinent facts not requested above) 


DATE: 3 / I 


HEILBRON, DAVID M(ICHAEL). lawyer, b Sn Francisco. Nov 25. From Who ' S Who in America, 

1936; s. Louis H and Ddphwe A. (Rosenblatt) H.; m. Nancy Ann CHsoi. 

June 21. I960: children Lauren Ada. Sarah Ann. Ellen Sdma B.S samnu 
cum laudc. U. Calif.. Berkeley. 1958; A.B first class. Oxford L , Eng.. I960 
LL.B magna cum laudc. Harvard L'.. 1962 Bar Calif 1962. U.S. Dot Ci 
(no. dist.l Calif 1963. U.S Ct. Appeals (9lh cir.) 1963. U.S Ct Appeals 
(D.C. cir.) 1972. U.S Ct. Apnemh (8th ctr.). 1985. U.S Cl Appeals (IB cir.) 
1987. U.S. Ci Appeals <10th or.) 1988. U.S Ct. Appeals (7th cir/) 198k 
U.S Ci appeals (1 1th dr.) I98S, U.S Out. Ct Nev 1982. U.S. Dm. Ct 
(cen dist.) Calif. 1983. U.S. Sopreme Ct 1988. U.S. Q Appeals (3rd ar.) 
1992 Auoc. McCutchen. Doyle. Brown & Enersen, San Franasco, 1962-69; 
ptnr McCutchen. Doyle, Brown A Enenen. 1969, mng pmr.. 1985-88. 
vis. lectr. appellate advocacy U. Calif. Berkeley, 1981-82. 82-83, mem. vis 
com Golden Gate U. Sen, La*. 1983 . Trustee Golden Gale U., 1993; bd 
din, San Francisco Jewish Community Ctr., 1974. Legal Ax) Soc., 1974- 
78, Legal Assistance to Elderly. San Franasco, 1980, San Franasco Renais 
sance, 1982 ; pres. San Franasco Sr. Ctr.. 1972-75; co-chmn San Franasco 
Lawyers' Com for Urban Affairs. 1976 Rhodes scholar Fellow Am. Bar 
Found.; mem. State Bar Calif (cfamn. com cts. 1982-83, bd. govs 1983-85. 
mem cornmn on discovery 1984-86, pres 1985-86), ABA. Bar Assn. San 
Francisco (chmn conf dels 1975-76, pres. 1980), Calif Acad Appellate 
Lawyers, Am. Coll Trul Lawyers. Am. Arbitration Assn. (bd. dirs. 1986. 
adv. council No. Calif, chpt.. 1982 . chmn. 1987 . jud council 1986-88. 
instr. and panelist arbitrator tng. programs) Democrat Clubs Calif Ten 
nis Office: McCutchen Doyle Brown & Enersen 3 Emborcadero Ctr San 
Franasco CA 94111-4003 

HEILBRON, JOHN 1_ historian, b. San Franasco. Mar 17. 1934; t. Louis 
Henry and Ddphine A. ( Rosen btan) H.; m Patricia Ann Lucero, Mar. 25, 
1959 AB, U. Calif.. Berkeley. 1925. MA. 1958, PhD. 1964. Laura in 
Philosophy honons causa. U. Bologna. 1988 Asst di: Sources for History 
of Quantum Physics. Berkeley and Copenhagen, 1961-64, asst. prof, history, 
philosophy of so. U. Pa.. Pbila.. 1964-67, asst prof history U. Calif., 
Berkeley, 1967-71. assoc prof., 1971-73. prof.. 1973. dir. Office for History 
of Sci. and Tech., 1973 . class of 1936 prof, history and history of sci., 
1985 , editor Hist Studies in Pbys. Scis.. 1980 , vice chancellor. 1990 ; 
Andrew Dickson White prof, at large Cornell U., 1984-90, chmn Acad 
Senate Berkeley div U Calif., 1988-90 Author: H G.J Mocetey. The Life 
and Letters of an English Physicist. 1887-1915, 1974. (with P. Forman and S 
Wean) Physics area 1900: Personnel Funding and Productivity of the 
Academic Establishments, 1975. (with W. Shumaker) John Dee on Astro 
nomy, 1978. EJectnaty in toe 17th and 18th Centuries A Study of Early 
Modem Physics, 1979; Historical Studies in the Theory of Atomic Structure. 
1981. Elements of Early Modern Physics. 1981, (with R .W. Sadel and B.R 
Wheaton) Lawrence and his Laboratory: Nuclear Science in Berkeley, 1931- 
61, 1981, (with B.R. Wheaton) Literature on the History of Physics m the 
20th Century, 1981. (with Wheaton) An Inventory of Published Letters to 
and from Phyaasts. 1982, Physics at the Royal Society during Newton's 
Presidency. 1983, The Dilemmas of an Upright Man: Max Planck as 
Spokesman for German Science, 1986. (with E. Crawford and R. Ullrich) 
The Nobel Population, 1901-1937: A Census of Nominees and Nominators 
for the Prizes in Physics and Chemistry. 1987. (with Seidel) A History of the 
Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, vol. 1: Lawrence and His Laboratory, 1990. 
Quantitative Science Around 1800, 1993; editor: Benjamin Franklin's Briefe 
von der Elektnbtat. 1983, (with T. Frangsmyr and R Rider) The Quanti 
fying Spirit in the 18th Century, 1990 Mem. History of Sci Soc.. Bnt. See 
History of Sci., Soc. for History of Tech., Am. Hist Soc , Am Acad. Am 
and Sets.. Am Philos Soc.. Internal Acad. History of So.. Royal Swedish 
Acad. Scis. (fgn.). Home: 689 Alvarado Rd Berkeley CA 94705-1557 Office: 
U Calif 470 Stephens Hall Berkeley CA 94720 

HEILBRON, LOUIS HENRY, lawyer; b Newark. May 12, 1907; s. Simon 
L and Flora (Karp) H.; m Ddphine Rosenblatt, Oct 30. 1929. children 
John L.. David M. AB. U. Calif.. Berkeley. 1928. LLB. 1931. LLD. 1961; 
LLD, Golden Gate Coll., 1970; DHL. San Francisco State U, 1988. Bar: 
Calif 1931 Assoc. Heller. Ehrman. White & McAuliffe. San Francisco. 
1934-48, ptnr.. 1948; sec., spl. cons. Dept Social Welfare. State of Calif.. 
1932. asst relief admmstr.. Calif.. 1933. spl cons Dept Relief Admmstrn.. 
1934-41; pnn ally. Bd. Econ Warfare, 1942-43 Mem Calif Bd Edn.. 
1959-61, pres., 1960-61. mem Calif Coordinating Council Higher Edn.. 
1961-69. chmn bd. trustees Calif State Colls.. 1960-63, chmn. ednl. policy 
com and faculty staff com.. 1963-69. mem Nat. Commn on Acad Tenure. 
1971-73. Select Com. to Rev. Calif Master Higher Edn Plan. 1971-72. Fedn 
Regional Accrediting Commns Higher Edn., Council Post Secondary Edn., 
1972-86. pres San Franasco Jewish Community Ctr., 1949-52, San 
Francisco Pub Edn Soc., 1950-52- chmn San Franasco Com Fgn. Rela 
tions, 1977-79. trustee, exec com World Affairs Council No Calif.. 1951 . 
pres.. 1965-67. trustee Sta. KQED, 1966-72. v.p., 1971-72; trustee Golden 
Gate U., 1969 . chmn.. 1979-81; trustee Newhouse Found.. 1956-76. U 
Calif Internal House. 1953-77, U.C Found.. 1973-79; trustee Calif Hist 
Soc.. 1978. v.p., 1981-83. pres.. 1983-85. mem San Franasco Human 
Rights Commn.. 1969-75. chmn. adt com San Franasco State Coll., 1970- 
76 Served to maj AUS. 1944-46. ETO Decorated Bronze Slar. Mem 
ABA, Labor La* Com.. Phi Beta Kappa (pres. No. Calif 1972-73). Zeu 
Beta Tau Jewish (pres congregation 1954-57) Home 2164 Hyde-St San 
Francisco CA 94109-1701 Office 333 Bush St San Franasco CA 94104-2806 



LLD. University of California, 1961 

LLD. Golden Gate University 

Doctor of Humanities, California State University 

Distinguished Service Award, California Polytechnic College, 1970 

Distinguished Service Award, San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of American Jewish 
Committee, 1994 

Human rights award from NAACP Legal Defense Education Fund, 1978 

Distinguished Citizen Award, San Francisco Examiner 

Doctor of Humane Letters, California Siate University, 1988 

President's Distinguished Service Award, California State University, 1976 

Tribute reception. California Historical Society, 1993 

Tribute to Builders, World Affairs Council, 1992 


Family History 

[Interview 2: November 18, 1991] y/// 1 [Session 1 has been 
deleted and material from it incorporated into text of 
succeeding sessions] 

Hicke: I think that we should just start this afternoon by getting some 
of your family history. 

Heilbron: I'll go back to my grandparents. 
Hicke: That would be wonderful. 

Heilbron: My grandfather was born in a little town called Donau-Eschingen 
in Bavaria close to the headwaters of the Danube River. 

Hicke: Is the name of the town Donau or is Eschingen a state, or is 

Heilbron: No, it's the town. It's a hyphenated town. 
Hicke: Oh, I see. Okay. 

Heilbron: He came over to the United States as so many young men did to 
avoid the draft into the army. 

Hicke: I guess I should make sure: these are your paternal or maternal 

V/# This symbol indicates that a tape or tape segment has begun or 
ended. A guide to the tapes follows the transcript. 

Hlcke : 

Hicke : 

Hicke : 



Hicke : 

This is paternal. 

His name also was Louis Heilbron. And he came over at the age 
of sixteen to the land of opportunity, but unfortunately he went 
south and Immediately got conscripted into the confederate army 
in the Civil War. 

Oh dear. 

And he served until the battle of Antietam. Now the story that 
has come down, through my father, is that he was riding a supply 
wagon during that battle, and the driver got tired and exchanged 
places with him, and shortly after that the wagon was ambushed 
and the driver killed, my grandfather wounded, but survived to 
the great benefit of my father, myself, and succeeding 
generations . 

Good for him. 

Well, I've heard from a fairly reliable source that there is 
some skepticism to be attached to this story, that there's a 
certain amount of folklore about people who have survived 
calamities because they had exchanged seats just before the 
disaster. But I haven't any question that my grandfather would 
be telling what happened and that my father would be repeating 

I think that we should note for the record that your son John is 
an historian. 

And he's the source of the skepticism, 
grateful of further results. 


Although he's very 

My grandmother was born in Louisville, Kentucky. Her maiden 
name was Sachs. I don't know when her parents came to this 
country, but her family dates from the early 1800s. 

From where do you suppose? 

From Germany, probably Saxony, but I can't give you the 
location. Now, skipping where my grandparents lived from time 
to time, they wound up, when my father [Simon L. Heilbron] was 
about seven years or six years old, in Sacramento and they 
became a Sacramento family. 

Hicke: Did they come West after the Civil War? 

Heilbron: No, they lived for a time in Cincinnati, and I believe in 

Philadelphia, and I believe in Los Angeles, and finally found 
their way to Sacramento. My father spent his time in Sacramento 
until the age of eighteen. He had his own little orchestra in 
high school in that small town. They gave concerts, and his 
family felt that he was destined to be a musician and that he 
should go to Europe for his training. It was an age when 
doctors went to Vienna for their training, and musicians, it was 
assumed, would do the same. He spent six years in Stuttgart at 
the conservatory and met my mother [Flora Karp Heilbron] during 
this period. She was in another conservatory in Stuttgart where 
she was a graduate student in the piano. So they fell in love, 
and in 1904 my father came back to the United States and after a 
year sent for her. They were married and settled in Newark [New 
Jersey] , near New York, where he was attached to several 
orchestras and he also taught the violin as my mother did the 
piano. My mother was prepared to be a concert artist and had an 
opportunity, after her graduation, to take an American tour 
under the same direction that Madame [Ernestine] Schumann -He ink 
obtained, but she elected marriage instead. 

To go back to my grandparents , they remained in Sacramento 
until 1906 and moved down to San Francisco four days before the 
earthquake and fire. They purchased a home there, furnished it, 
and, unfortunately, it all went up in flames. 

Hicke: Where was it? Do you have any idea? 

Heilbron: I think it was either on O'Farrell or Geary Streets. They spent 
the rest of their lives in residential hotels, which was not an 
uncommon arrangement for retired people in San Francisco. 
Actually, my grandfather was not retired during most of his 
life. He was a vice president of Rucker- Fuller, the furniture 
company, and managed an estate or two. 


Heilbron: I was born in Newark, but soon developed an illness called 
Summer Sickness. It's my understanding that this kind of 
illness affected the lungs and was a serious matter. The final 
recommendation of the doctor was to take me to a more consistent 
and warmer climate. So really, it was my yelling and protest 
that caused us to move to San Francisco. I don't think anybody 
in the family ever regretted the move. 

I spent my grammar school days at Pacific Heights School, 
that is, from the time of the second grade on. 

My mother had been born in Vienna. Her family was still in 
Austria, and when I was in the first grade, 1 was taken out 
because she took me over to Europe to visit her family. It had 
been ten years since her marriage; she hadn't seen them, and 
she, naturally, looked forward to this reunion. It was not the 
best time for such an adventure. She had two sisters, and after 
visiting with one family, we went to the other in Sarajevo and 
arrived on the day that the Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated. 

Hicke: Oh dear. That was 1914? 

Heilbron: That was 1914, and there were tense moments after that event. I 
can still recall going through the Turkish quarter, because all 
of the produce- -the vegetables and fruits- -were thrown out into 
the street. There were strong feelings between Austrians, 
Turks , and the Serbs . 

Hicke: Some rioting and so forth? 

Heilbron: Some rioting. My mother's brother-in-law- -he was postmaster 
general of the city- -tried to assure her that the event would 
pass, just like the Moroccan event involving the Great Powers in 
1911. But she decided that we had better shorten the stay that 
was supposed to be ten days or so, and we left after the fourth 
day. This was fortunate, because after our train crossed a 
river outside of Sarajevo on its way to Vienna and Berlin and 
Hamburg, the bridge was blown up by the Serbians. Even as we 
rolled through Austria, there were efforts by the mobilizing 
Austrian troops to board the train and somehow turn it around, 
because bullets were fired through some of the train windows , 
and it was something of an exciting ride. 

We arrived in Hamburg a little early for the purpose of 
taking the return trip home, because we had shortened our trip 
in Austria with one of my mother's sisters, and we stayed at a 
hotel called the Hamburger Hof. After a few days, of course, 
Austria and Germany had declared war and we were in a wartime 
situation. Nevertheless, we had reservations to go back to the 
United States on the great, big, German ship the Vaterland, but 
on the early morning when we were to sail , the voyage was 

Hicke: The ship was commandeered for other uses, or something probably? 

Heilbron: Well, I don't know. The voyage was simply canceled. The result 
was that we were compelled to stay in Hamburg six weeks before 

getting out of Germany. During this period, my mother made 
arrangements for five different ships, and none of them sailed. 
Well, the Vaterland ultimately became the Leviathan. The 
Imperator, which was a second ship for our reservations, was 
held in the United States, and many years later became the 
Berengeria . 

We whiled away the time in Hamburg, visiting the American 
Consulate from time to time to see what could be done. One good 
thing happened, and that is that the battleship Tennessee 
crossed the Atlantic laden with gold for the benefit of American 
citizens caught abroad, and my father had purchased an 
allocation, and this solved financial problems. 

A child of seven did not have much to do in the hotel to 
amuse himself, but he didI'm referring to myself --look out the 
window across the artificial lake to the bridge where the 
railroads crossed- -this lake was called the Alster- -and it was 
an interesting view, but what attracted me was the huge number 
of trains that crossed the bridge. To occupy my time, I would 
count the cars on the trains , and I knew that these trains were 
filled with soldiers going to the front. As I said, we visited 
the Consulate on a number of occasions, and on one, the Consul 
said to me: "And now my little man, what do you do to amuse 
yourself?" I said I counted trains. "How do you do that?" 
"Well, we are staying at the Hamburg Hof that faces the Alster 
and there is that bridge across the Alster (it was an artificial 
lake), and the trains cross the bridge. And there are lots of 
cars and soldiers." "What do you mean by lots of cars?" "Well, 
there are about twenty to thirty cars. They are filled with 
soldiers and cross about every fifteen minutes, and I just count 
to see if there are more one day than another." "Hah," said the 
consul, "you must come in to my room and talk." So for well 
over an hour, he quizzed me. I always regarded the experience 
as the unofficial beginning of the CIA. [laughter] 

So, coming back to California, I soon began my schooling at 
Pacific Heights. There were good teachers there. I can recall 
some of their names: Ella Stinson, Miss Bliven--she taught 
English and I think stimulated a reader's curiosity in her 
students which may have had a lasting effect on me. There was a 
woman called Old Lady Robinson- - 

Hicke: By you, not by herself, I assume. [laughter] 

Heilbron: No, by the students. She was certainly quite advanced in years, 
but she was the strict disciplinarian in the school. Toward the 
end of my grammar school days, I became interested in tennis- -of 
course it was boys' tennis- -but I had a good deal of opportunity 

to play at a park close to our house, the Alta Plaza Park. 
Incidentally, Pacific Heights was, as the other schools in the 
city were at the time, a neighborhood school. There were no 
cafeteria facilities, and most of the students went hone for 
lunch and caae back to school, and all of this could be done 
within the hour allowed, which would show how much of a 
neighborhood school it was. 

Hicke: Where did you live? 

Heilbron: On Steiner Street near Clay. I went to Lowell High School, and 
the interest in tennis continued. 

Hicke: Did you have a choice in high schools? 

Heilbron: Yes, we had a choice in high schools, but my friends went to 
Lowell and I went to Lowell, which even at that time had the 
reputation of being the best comprehensive high school in the 
city. I was serious about my studies but also very serious 
about my tennis at the time. This interest brought some good 
results: I won the Pacific Coast boys' title and the State boys' 
title, I think in my freshman year at Lowell. 

Hicke: Is Pacific Coast a league for high schools? 

Heilbron: Oh no, no. This was available to participants throughout the 
Western coastal states. The boys' event was simply one of a 
number of events: there were the men's events, the women's 
events, mixed doubles, and junior (over sixteen) competitions. 

Hicke: It was a tournament? 

Heilbron: Oh yes, it was definitely a tournament. And one of the 

classifications was the boys, which went up to the age of 
fifteen. I was thirteen at the time when I won these events. 
That was my major extracurricular interest for two years, but it 
took a great deal of practice, and I developed other interests. 
I also felt, with good reason, that I would never be a great 
men's tennis player. I had a good drive- -forehand drive- -but 
the rest of my strokes were not strong; my backhand was 
mediocre. And I had some good advice on this subject. Bill 
Tilden was aware that Western players during that period- -during 
the period of the twenties --seemed to be close to the top of 
tennis, and that the younger players represented the future. He 
came out West and reviewed the various players , and he commented 
in an article or a book that I had a most formidable forehand 
drive, but that unless I improved my other strokes, my future as 
a top player was not likely. 


Heilbron: This observation did not disturb ae, because I was quite aware 
of it myself and aware of ny other interests. In particular, I 
became interested in the student newspaper, which I edited, and 
in student government, in which I participated. One of the 
events in high school that I remember, outside of the studies, 
was Boys' Day in my senior year. I guess it was a reflection of 
the times that we had a Boys' Day and not a Girls' Day. For 
OM reason the boys were honored with a parade down Market 
Street, and participation was a good deal of fun. 

But Lowell was facing trouble. The board of education felt 
that it was wrong to have one school open to everybody in town; 
that schools should be neighborhood schools, high schools as 
well as elementary schools, and that it was favoritism to 
concentrate too much on Lowell and its faculty. They wanted to 
move Lowell to the site of what is now George Washington High 
School. At this time, the site was close to the sand dunes in 
the western part of the city. 

Hicke: This was 1924? 

Heilbron: About that, yes. The students as well as the faculty and the 
alumni of the school were quite opposed to the board of 
education. At the Boys' Day parade, we carried a great banner 
which was ant i- school board and pro -Lowell. Before we started 
our march, the police tore the banner down, and it was our first 
experience of the perils of political protest. I wrote an 
editorial in our newspaper concerning the idea that Lowell was 
going bye-bye to a place surrounded by sand dunes and near the 
Alexandria Theater, where all of the students would play hookey. 

Hicke: Was that a movie theater? 

Heilbron: Yes. [chuckles] And it would be a complete disaster. The 
editorial was not badly written, and the poor old principal 
Clarke got blamed for writing it. [laughter] It was a little 
embarrassing for me, too, because one of the forces behind the 
board of education was Mary Prague, the mother of Florence Kahn, 
who becaae our principal congresswoman after her husband Julius 
Kahn died. She was a friend of the family and wondered just 
what Louis was about. 

Hicke: You didn't protest the abridgement of your first amendment 
rights - - free speech? 

Heilbron: There was no reason to, because the school was totally behind 
the newspaper and, after all, it was Just a student newspaper. 

Hicke: I was thinking about the police tearing down your banner. 

Heilbron: No, we had no repercussions like that. On our side, however, we 
had Provost Monroe Deutsch of the University of California, who 
was an alumnus, and who supported the principle of the central 
school with a fine academic tradition. Several times during its 
history, this challenge has had to be faced by Lowell, the last 
one not too many years ago, but having been ranked by some 
expert educators as one of the twelve best general academic 
schools in the country, I think it's rather safe at the moment. 

Hicke: You got an early start in defending educational institutions, 
didn't you? 

Heilbron: Evidently. Students from many ethnic backgrounds are carrying 
on much of the reputation of the school at present. 

Hicke: We can assume that Lowell came out of that in the same position 
it was before? 

Heilbron: Oh yes, yes. 
Hicke: And still is. 

Heilbron: And still is, yes. Interestingly, in 1974 my son, David, argued 
successfully in the U.S. 9th Circuit Court 1 that Lowell, as a 
central high school for the school district, constitutionally 
could limit admissions to the top 15 percent of junior high 
school graduates (recognizing past achievement) , thereby 
preserving its academic tradition and furthering public 

Hicke: So you graduated in about 1924? 
Heilbron: I graduated in 1924. 

University of California. Berkeley 

Hicke : 

What were you doing summers? 

Heilbron: Well, during the suaaers I was playing in tennis tournaments. I 
did keep up playing and, actually, 1 loved the game. I 
continued playing when I was at the University of California and 

l Berkelman v. San Francisco Unified School District, 501 F. 2d 1264. 

was both on the freshman and then varsity teams, 
a sole interest. 

But it was not 

I went to Berkeley at an interesting time. I enjoyed my 
classes in various departments in the Letters and Science 
school. I joined a fraternity, Zeta Beta Tau, at a time when 
fraternities determined most of the student life. 

Hicke: Did you commute from home? 

Heilbron: No, I lived in the fraternity and had my share of burdens and 

pleasures. All of the pledges had chores, to do and one of the 
most interesting was to walk at midnight down through Berkeley 
far into Oakland, counting the different kinds of stores- -making 
an inventory of them- -and reporting the inventory to the Junior 
in charge of the pledges . 

Hicke: [laughter] Another branch of the CIA at work? 
Heilbron: No, this was simply one of the duties of the pledges. 

Hicke: Actually, there was a fair amount of hazing going in at that 

Heilbron: Mild, compared to other kinds of hazing. I was quite diligent 

in this project and thought that I had reported every store with 
accuracy. But the junior in charge refused to accept a perfect 
score and told me that I had missed several retail outlets, all 
of them fictional [laughter], but I passed, and was admitted 
into the brotherhood. I recall, now that you mention hazing, we 
had a medical student living in the house- -a fraternity brother 
--by the name of Harry Blackfield, who became quite a well- 
known - - 

[tape interruption] 

Heilbron: --plastic surgeon. He conspired with a classmate of mine, 

George Lavinson, to teach the brotherhood a lesson. Ue still 
had tubbings in our house, for what were deemed to be major 
infractions of behavior. Tubbing meant that you submerged a 
brother- -a pledge- -in a bathtub of water for some little period 
of time and brought him up lively, but shaken. Blackfield did 
not believe that this was such a constructive idea. Veil, he 
put a little red dye up Lavinson' s nose and told him how to hold 
it, and Lavinson was being tubbed for an infraction. So he was 
under the water a bit when the red dye began coming out into the 
water, and the tubbers were frightened beyond belief, lifted him 
up, yelled for Harry, carried him into Harry's room. Harry 
responded, "You fools get out and let me take care of this!" 


[laughter] And, of course, he did, with a great deal of 
laughter with George. But the lesson was learned and tubbing 
was abolished. A nunber of years later, tubbing was also 
abolished in all fraternities by university orders. 

Hicke: Probably not until after some accidents or something. 

Heilbron: Veil, I don't know, but in cases of what amounted to physical 
punishment, it was obviously beyond reasonable behavior, and 1 
think everybody grew up. I may have more to say about that, 
because I became assistant to the dean of men in charge of 
fraternities, and so these events had their effect. 

On the academic side, I was interested in many professors 
and in a number of subjects. My major was political science, 
but 1 had a strong minor in English. 

[tape interruption] 

Hicke: Well, it's pretty clear that you were already interested in 

political science, even from your high school days, and so you 
probably carried that forward, and I wonder if you could tell me 
a little bit about some of the people who taught you and some of 
your recollections of them? 

Heilbron: I'll be glad to do this, not to try to repeat the subject matter 
of what these professors taught, but to give you perhaps some 
idea of their personalities and their diversity. 

Hicke: That would be good. 

Heilbron: Well, let's begin with David Barrows, who was the president of 

the university prior to the time that I entered it. Barrows was 
the chairman of the Department of Political Science, and he gave 
the introductory course. He was one professor, probably the 
only one in the university, who, as he came onto the stage to 
give his lectures, was applauded enthusiastically. And this was 
done at the end of every lecture. 

Hicke: Before and after both? 

Heilbron: Before and after. His effectiveness might be indicated by the 

fact that he addressed the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco on 
numerous occasions and was one of their favorite lecturers. He 
had been a general who served with the American forces in World 
War 1, or perhaps post-World War 1. His area of service was in 
Siberia. He was a very handsome, fine-looking, attractive man. 
I don't know what the story was with reference to his 
presidency, but I believe that the faculty felt that it smacked 


a bit too much of military procedure or discipline, 
know that. 

I don't 

Hicke : 

He was not only eloquent with respect to the subject, but 
even more interesting in his diversions. And they were many. I 
remenber when he announced the subject of his lecture was the 
government of Mexico and how it adopted some of the structure of 
the American system of government, but he pointed out that that 
wasn't the only country that did this kind of thing, and he 
referred to Czechoslovakia. And then he talked about 
Czechoslovakia having its own independent government after World 
War I. That reminded him of the brave Czechoslovakian soldiers 
who had escaped capture in the war- -I assume that they were part 
of the Austrian army, because Austria had been composed of what 
was Bohemia, Hungary, Serbia, and so on- -but this division, or 
group of the army, escaped being captured, and crossed all the 
way to Vladivostok in a very heroic and dramatic crossing while 
Russia itself was in turmoil. 

So this was the story that we heard on the subject of the 
government of Mexico. [laughter] 

He had what you'd call a far-ranging mind, 1 guess. 

Heilbron: Certainly, it was enlightening, because it told something of the 
character of the people who were then building the new 
government and the society of Czechoslovakia. Another memory is 
his discussion of the Spanish-American War, which I don't think 
had a great deal to do with the political science subject of the 
moment. But it had to do with the capture of Guam. Close to 
the end of the war, an American cruiser sailed into the bay of 
Guam and shot a couple of rounds in warning but did not receive 
any reply. After a while, the Spanish governor of Guam came out 
in a boat, and he apologized to our navy saying that he didn't 
have any ammunition, and that that was why he didn't return the 
salute! And he didn't know that there had been a war between 
Spain and the United States. The unforgettable fact was the 
absence of communication to the extent that the Spanish 
government of Guam did not know there was a war on. What better 
evidence could there be of the one-sided nature of these 

These are incidents I remember, while the textb'ook analyses 
of the governments studied I have forgotten. 

Hicke: Good point. 

Heilbron: In due course, Barrows did cover the political theory and did 

outline the three segments of the United States 's structure, but 




I guess he was such an effective lecturer because of his 

Then there was a professor by the name of [Frederick] 
Teggart. He had a son who also became a professor, but Teggart 
had been In the Department of History, and became a renegade 
historian. They didn't like the way he taught. They gave him a 
department, that Is, the university did; it became the 
Department of Social Institutions. 

They gave him this department? 

Yes. It was a separate department- -newly created. And he was 
pretty much the department. He had a little different view of 
history than many historians. He said, simply, that for the 
most part of the Middle Ages, there was no history: there's no 
history unless there's change, was his point. It's all right to 
go into the social structure of the people. It's Interesting, 
extremely Important-- 

Heilbron: But the repetition of generations In a cycle of similar lives 
didn't represent to him a great deal of history. 

He also had special views which respected the dynamics of 
history. He believed history very often began In East Asia. He 
pointed out the Mongols crossing the Asian plains, and Genghis 
Khan, who had profound and lasting effects all through Europe. 
In our time, China was quiescent and weak, divided up among 
warlords, but Teggart said, "Let that country awake. Let those 
millions and millions of people come together again, and the 
dynamics of that pressure will again affect world history." 

Hicke: He was right on the mark there, wasn't he? 

Heilbron: Yes. Well, I didn't anticipate this, but let me think about 
others for a moment. 

Samuel May was the professor of Public Administration. And 
he gave a completely different picture than the other academic 
professors. He was interested in how government works and how 
to set up departments in Sacramento and how to make them more 
efficient: how you got the best personnel. His course was 
unquestionably the most boring in the political science 
department and undoubtedly the most practical. For a person who 
was truly interested in administration, it was a very valuable 
experience. He would come to class with bundles of bulletins 
and administrative mimeographed materials, and in his lectures 


he would pick up one and then pick up another. I never could 
understand how he could, out of all the load that he carried, 
pick up the things that he wanted to stress. But he was a very 
helpful man, although I can't say, to me, interesting. 
Certainly people who were directly interested in going into 
government knew that if they wanted to get into civil service in 
the state, they'd better take Professor May's course. 

Then there was Ira Cross. 
Hicke: That's a familiar name. 

Heilbron: He gave the classic introductory course in economics. And he 
demanded absolute attention and silence. His course was given 
in Wheeler Hall, was always filled, but he had an eagle eye and 
saw every movement. If a girl used her lipstick, or powdered 
her nose, he would stop his lecture and he would say, "Now, when 
that young lady in the seventh row gets through powdering her 
nose and otherwise making herself as attractive as she can be to 
the people on all sides of her, I'll continue the lecture." 
[laughter] On another occasion, he told some girls who were 
chatting that unquestionably what they were talking about "is 
more important than what I'm talking about, but if you will 
please do me the courtesy to let me finish my lecture," as a 
matter of fact, he said, "I don't see why I should give young 
ladies any particular benefit. I will give an A on the midterm 
to any man who comes into this class and shaves." [laughter] 
So the very next lecture, two young men came in and set up shop 
with their mirrors and shaved, and he gave them A's for that 

Hicke: Sounds like economics wasn't as dull as it often can be. 

Heilbron: He made the course interesting and rather exciting. By 
insisting on the attention he got, he also stimulated 
concentration on the textbooks that we were assigned to read. 
We used Ely's textbook on economics, which I'm certain today is 
entirely outdated. 

And there were professors in my minor, English. Professor 
Willard Higley Durham was one. He had been one of the editors 
of the Yale Shakespeare and taught the general course on 
Shakespeare. He also taught the ad variorum course, the 
detailed, textual interpretation of the plays. He would discuss 
the Shakespeare plays--we read one a weekthen, occasionally, 
he would act part of the play. I remember his acting of Bottom 
in A Midsummer Wight's Dream that made everybody very happy. 


Another professor of English, who taught a limited course 
in Shakespeare, was Ben Kurtz. I remember a rather quiet time 
in his class; the discussion of a play was not particularly 
lively. He frowned, and suddenly picked up a copy of the play 
that we were discussing. 1 can't recall the play, though I 
believe it was one of the comedies . And he said, "You know, 
when you people go out of this classroom and you carry this book 
with you, do you know that you are holding a masterpiece that 
has come down hundreds of years? You should be so thrilled that 
you are carrying this book, that you are fortunate enough to 
have inherited it, why you should go running and jumping down 
the street!* Suddenly the class sprang to life. It was quite a 
thrilling moment, and one that I'll never forget. It was the 
enthusiasm of a truly dedicated teacher. 

Hicke : So that was infectious . 

Heilbron: Yes. Getting back to political science, I recall a professor of 
government who was not an interesting teacher. I think that the 
course covered the relationship between the three branches of 
the federal government, with emphasis on the executive branch. 
The only amusing thing he ever said was when we went into a 
church where we had to take our final examination, and he came 
in and said, "Well, let us bow our heads and pray," before the 
examination began. And that's a terrible thing, really, to 
remember that one thing after a serious semester's course. 

Hicke: But it says something about his course, though. 

Heilbron: I suppose the clearest textbook I ever read was Raymond 

Gettell's History of American Political Thought. It was a very 
well -written text, and, of course, he used it in connection with 
his lectures. I got to know him pretty well because I played 
tennis with him. It was a chance I had to run him around while 
he ran me around in class. He could get every ball. He must 
have covered a marathon in court play. But he was a very 
pleasant man. 

There was a professor [Samuel] Holmes, who was quite a 
well-known person in zoology, which is where we got into a 
discussion of heredity. 

Hicke: You took his zoology course? 

Heilbron: Yes. He said, "Now, you know, I'll wager that there are people 
in this class who are descendants of Napoleon." Everybody of 
French descent perked up quite a bit. "Yes," he said, "I would 
say that among the liaisons he had, he had a tremendous number 
of children." He did get to heredity. 




I remember a professor of Greek history that I had, by the 
name of [Ivan] Linforth. I'm not sure why I got into this 
class. I think I needed two units, and it just fit in. It 
dealt largely with democratic government and, after a while, 
with Plato and Aristotle. You couldn't want better 
theoreticians. He made ancient social life extremely 
interesting. You realized that the roots of your culture went 
all the way back, and it was not then a study of an ancient 
regime, it was a study of something that was currently very 
important; when I say currently, I mean the mid- twenties, but 
the characterization still applies. He discussed the city- 
states of Greece: their rivalries, their attempts to compromise, 
when their compromises failed, and the wars they had, and all 
you did was to translate those city-states into nations and you 
had World War I with many of the same issues, apparently the 
same mistakes, the same misunderstandings, the same challenges. 
So that was a worthwhile course. 

Let me mention another introductory course, given by 
Professor [Jacob] Loewenberg--a professor of philosophy. He had 
the most analytical way of presenting alternatives. He spoke 
with a German accent, and he spoke about the problem of evil and 
how it might be solved in a positive and a negative and a 
neutral way. He was every inch an academic. He did not like 
singing by the class before the class began. I don't know 
whether it is still done, but during the days before the 
Stanford-Cal [Big] game, everyone broke out into song for about 
five minutes before class began. 

Before every class? 

Before almost every large class began. A person like Barrows 
loved it. In the first place, it's quite true that you get a 
unified feeling among your audience when they have enjoyed 
singing their song. But Loewenberg didn't like it at all. He 
said, "If I started to lecture on philosophy while you were 
looking at the start of a football game in the stadium, you 
would not allow me to do that, would you? Well, I don't think 
it's right for you to sing university hymns or whatnot before I 
give a serious class in philosophy." And then I think he tried 
to say that that was an evil and that you could solve it in 
three different ways. Say there's a noise. You could say that 
the noise is good, you could say the singing is good. That's 
the positive solution. You could say that it interferes with 
the class, but you somehow feel that the words of the professor 
can be absorbed: you can hear them at the same time as the noise 
and reconcile yourself to it so that you can absorb it even 
though it's negative. Or you can be totally indifferent to it 
and it doesn't matter whether you're singing or not singing, it 


Hicke : 




doesn't interfere with the philosophical enterprise. I probably 
don't have these solutions in the exact order or in the way he 
gave then, but you can ask almost anybody who ever had his 
course, and they will start out with, "Now, there are three 
solutions to the problem." 

Indeed, after I graduated, ay wife and I gave a party, and 
we always tried to have something new and stimulating at our 
parties. So we asked [Bernard] Bernie Uitkin if he would give a 
lecture in the Loewenberg manner, and he did. Loewenberg had 
died, and Vitkin said that he was the ghost of Loewenberg and 
that it was reported that he was dead, but there were three 
solutions to the problem. [laughter] 

Veil, finally, I'll mention another professor, although I 
could add a few more, but this was a man who had considerable 
influence with me: Arnold Perstein, a professor of public 
speaking. He became a very good personal friend, both while I 
was an undergraduate and after we were married. He was an 
extremely articulate man, but he couldn't bring himself to 
discipline himself and dig in and write a thesis and get his 
Ph.D. I believe finally they made an exception and granted him 
a full professorship, years and years after he should have 
achieved that status. 

Still without writing his Ph.D.? 

Without writing his Ph.D. He won that battle. He rarely 
prepared for his classes, but he would bring a magazine, 
Harper's, or Atlantic Monthly or The Nation, and read some 
excerpt from the article, and get the class to discuss it. He'd 
call a person to come up front and speak. Then he had the class 
criticize the presentation; then he added his own comments and 
analysis. He didn't make fun of people. He was constructive 
and very amusing. He was not a scholar, he was a teacher, and 
simply used current materials to stimulate and provoke students. 
He was the coach of the debating team, or one of them; the other 
was Ewald Grether, who succeeded him. 

Were you on the debating team? 

Yes, I was on the debating team. I had some interesting times. 
I recall debating Cambridge University. They came to Berkeley 
with a sophisticated team of two graduates; one of them had 
written a brilliant book called Plato's American Republic. We 
were juniors on our debating team, Garff Wilson and myself. We 
debated the subject of: "Resolved: That we deplore modern 
women." We defending modern women, whom we hardly knew. They 


had the greatest time playing with the subject. At that time, 
making fun of the feminist movement was very easy-- 


Hicke: Much easier than it would be now. 

Heilbron: And caricaturing the flapper was no problem. Our rather feeble 
defenses were not very effective. It wasn't a case of winning 
or losing the debate. Ve followed the British practice of the 
day and did not have a declared winner. The whole idea was to 
have a good time through use of your cultural resources and your 
wit. This procedure influenced California debating for several 
years . 

Hicke: Just this one debate with this team, or the whole idea? 

Heilbron: No, no, previously Oxford [University] had come to California, 

and another team had debated them on the same basis that we were 
debating them, but much older debaters before us, and I guess 
those who later succeeded us felt that following this English 
procedure was a mistake: that if you have an issue, one side or 
the other deserves to win, as happens in real life. Maybe one 
had the wrong side of the issue, but if you were able to 
articulate it better, if you could prove your position better, 
you deserved to win. Actually, we were competitive in most of 
our debates against American university teams. We had gone on 
extended tour and had done quite well in Eastern universities, 
in fact, won most of our debates. So we were absolutely 
unprepared for this type of debating. That was in our junior 

In our senior year, we tried to imitate the British method, 
or lack of it. Interestingly, campus interest in debate 
increased during that period, because the lighter approach 
provided more entertainment. When I say we were unprepared, it 
wasn't because we were ignorant of the prior Oxford experience, 
it was because we did not have the personal experience with the 
English style. What it did was to improve style by sacrificing 
substance. It made it more interesting for the audience, but 
there is no reason why the same interest can't be evoked by 
being as amusing as you wish while concentrating on substance. 


Boalt Hall School of Law 1928-1931 





Hicke : 


While you were in political science, did you have it in mind to 
go to law school, or were you thinking of going to government 

Perstein would say, "When you get into law school, you'll find a 
tighter discipline." My family would say, "With your political 
science and debating, 1 guess you're going into law." 1 don't 
know whether I chose law or whether I drifted into it, but just 
like it was assumed that 1 was going to the University of 
California, it was pretty much assumed that I was going into law 
school . 

How far back had this started? 
anyway. High school? 

On the part of your family, 

No. I don't think the family gave special thought to it. They 
felt that I was going to the university and, one way or another, 
I would find a career that I wanted to follow. But no one 
assumed that I should go to law school as the family assumed 
that my father should study music in Europe. 

He didn't really have any choice, did he? 

Law school was a different and interesting experience. It 
wasn't as much fun as undergraduate life, but, of course, it was 
focused. I went into Boalt Hall at a propitious period of its 
history. Six of its principal professors had been deans of law 
schools in various parts of the country. And Harvard had tried 
to lure the entire group as a package because of their 
distinction. And they all elected to stay in California at 

This was 1928? 

This was 1928 to 1931. I can tell you about some of them. 

Yes, please. 

Professor [George] Costigan taught a course on contracts. He 
developed his own case book, which, on many pages, showed four 
or five lines of the case itself, and the balance of the page 
contained footnotes. Professor [Henry] Ballantine taught Torts. 
He used to engage Costigan in playful conversation and ask him 
why didn't he just put all the footnotes in large type, and 


subsume the case In small type, and why did he bother with the 
case at all? Costigan used his footnotes, drawn from any number 
of citations, to indicate the various alternatives that could 
apply as a matter of principle to the case itself. 

He would keep a class in suspense by asking questions of 
various members of the class, who gave their view of the case, 
and he would tear it down as lacking one element or another, or 
being simply wrong. Now we used textbooks that we purchased 
from prior classes , and a few of them had what they said was 
Costigan' a view in the margins. So one person gave this view, 
believing that he would be the hero and get the commendation of 
the guru. Then Costigan said he never heard of anything so 
absurd! [laughter] And that's the way he conducted his class. 
His theory was this: if you can see the problem, you'll find the 
answer. The library is full of the cases to investigate, but 
there's no use trying to get an answer if you don't see the 
problem. The various approaches he indicated in his footnotes 
were all indicators of where the problem rested. 

Hicke: So, no matter which approach you took, he would take some other 

Heilbron: That's right. He stretched the mind. Ballantine, as I 
indicated, was completely the other way. 

Hicke: All text and no footnotes? 

Heilbron: Yes, the case itself, of course, was printed, and then any of 
his comments were printed in large type; they were his view, 
quite clearly, and he believed it was the right view. There 
weren't too many competitive views. He might indicate an 
alternative, but if he did, it was consciously done, and the 
preferred alternative was the one he indicated. And as I say, 
he was very precise in the use of language. One of our 
classmates, who became quite a well-known trial lawyer after 
graduating from Boalt, was curious about one matter that came up 
in discussion, and he asked, "Now, Professor Ballantine, take 
this suppository case..." and Ballantine looked at him rather 
sternly and said, "At the outset of your legal career, you 
should distinguish between your legal and medical terminology." 

Then, of course, there was "Captain" [Alexander] Kidd. He 
was a loveable, irascible man, who always wore a green eyeshade. 
He had his own style of teaching. I had two classes from him: 
criminal law and a class on sales. One class 1 remember 
vividly, in criminal law, was during a relatively calm question - 
and-answer period. Suddenly the door burst open, and an older 


student came in with a pistol and fired a shot at someone in the 
front of the room who fell over from his chair, and the gunman 
immediately turned tail and ran out of the room, leaving a 
gasping, horrified, class. In a moment, Kidd said, "Veil, now 
you've seen a murder." [laughter] "Now, I want you people to 
write and tell me what you saw." He got any number of versions 
of what occurred. And after he read some of these versions, he 
said, "Now, lady and gentlemen," because there was only one 
woman in the class, "you can see how important circumstantial 
evidence is and how variable witness evidence is." 

[Interview 3: December 3, 1991] ## 

Hicke: We had Just said a little bit about Captain Kidd, and I thought 
I'd start today by asking you if there is more to relate about 

Heilbron: I recall that he taught a class on sales, and it was very 

ingeniously and imaginatively constructed. He took a sale of 
some significant piece of personal property, I think, perhaps, 
an automobile, and developed an entire course from this single 
transaction. It meant that he had to change the nature of the 
transaction from a straight out sale to an installment sale to a 
lease with an option to purchase, but he developed every 
possible angle with respect to this transaction. It was an 
interesting academic procedure. 

Hicke: And then he would give you questions on how to go about dealing 
with each one of these possibilities? 

Heilbron: Well, he would inquire with respect to the legal obligations of 
the parties as a result of each change in the factual 
arrangement of the transaction. 

Hicke: Would you have to look that up yourself, or would he talk about 
it first and then give you certain things to look up? 

Heilbron: We would have to do much of the looking up ourselves; that was 
the point of his attack. 

Hicke: You told me, also, that you were in Roger Traynor's first class 
that he taught. 

Heilbron: Yes, Traynor had just received a doctorate in political science, 
I believe, and his J.D. in the same year, and he was ready to 
start teaching. He taught equity as the first of his courses, 
although he was a specialist in taxation. He was very 
considerate of his students, very modest in his approach, 


indicating that he was just as new with the subject as we were, 
but he was easily to be identified as a scholar from the start. 

Hicke : 

Hicke : 



How did they happen to have him teaching equity? 
they needed? 

Is that what 

Hicke : 

I don't know. Well, I think it developed in this way: it was a 
course taught in the summer, and I took some extra work that 
summer, and 1 suppose that that was the course that was designed 
for the summer. 

And then you said you had Max Radin? 

Yes, Max Radin was an extremely interesting professor. He spoke 
a number of languages, he was very colorful in his conversation 
and his lectures, he was very amusing. He taught a class in 
bankruptcy and pointed out at the very start that he might be 
suspect because he never could balance his checkbook. When the 
D'Oyly Carte Opera was in town, that is, in San Francisco, he 
told his class that whatever classes in law they might have to 
miss, they should be certain to go to San Francisco to see these 
imaginative operas and Mr. Gilbert's imaginative use of the 
technicalities of the law to resolve his opera problems. 

That's true. I never thought about that, but Gilbert and 
Sullivan did write about the law. 

Oh, a great deal, a great deal. Radin was appointed by the 
governor to be on the California Supreme Court, but the 
appointment was not approved. It was quite unfortunate with 
respect to Max Radin, who certainly deserved the appointment, 
but he did make a mistake. There was some case in the San 
Joaquin Valley, and he wrote the judge his view with respect to 
the case , and the San Joaquin Bar was very much upset by what 
they claimed to be an effort to influence the outcome of a 
pending case and that it was unethical for him to have written 
this letter. 1 believe that there were political questions 
involved- -Radin was known as a liberal, I think his opponents in 
the valley were conservative and didn't want his appointment to 
be confirmed. It was an unfortunate incident; however, it 
resulted in the appointment of an extraordinarily fine judge 
also from Boalt, and that is Roger Traynor, who became one of 
the most important chief justices in California history. 

It's not unusual, is it, for some professor in an academic 
position to write a letter like that? Or is it? 


Heilbron: Well, I think that it was not the wisest thing to do. I never 
saw the letter and I don't recall its production in print- -it 
was a newspaper item, of course. But that's what happened. 

Hicke: Did you also have a course from Professor [Dudley] McGovney? 

Heilbron: Yes.. He taught the course in constitutional law. I remember 
one of his colleagues coming in after class and saying to him, 
"What do you mean by constitutional law?" he says, "There's 
nothing but constitutional politics!" and McGovney, of course, 
seriously defended his subject. McGovney dealt with all of the 
basic constitutional principles. We used his case book. I 
recall that the case book started with several early colonial 
cases involving the question of the application of natural law. 

When we began reading, analyzing constitutional law cases, 
McGovney would always ask, "Where do you find that principle 
enunciated by the Court in the Constitution?" and he would not 
accept the idea that natural law was recognized in the 
Constitution in any way. He might say, "Well, what you're 
saying is you want justice and therefore natural law must 
apply." But it's rather interesting that he was very careful in 
analyzing cases always to inquire, "Where do you find it in the 
Constitution, expressly or impliedly, conservatively or 
liberally construed?" And, considering what the basic issues 
still are, it was pretty good training. 

There's one more person I should talk about, in connection 
with law school, and that was Dean [Orrin Kip] McMurray. Very 
affable gentleman. I had only one course from him, on 
jurisprudence, which, at the time, meant a history, pretty much 
of the common law as applied in England and the United States as 
it evolved in both countries . 

One matter that I remember is, I suppose, generally known, 
but came as a surprise to students at the time, which is the 
strange development of the jury system in the medieval period 
and shortly after. At that time, a man accused was Judged by 
his peers, and his peers were the people who knew him. So if he 
were accused of a crime, the people that knew him best would be 
trying him, and would be, they thought at the time, the best 
judges of credibility as well as of character. Now, of course, 
the jury is selected on the basis that it knows nothing about 
the case , could know nothing about the case , never read about 
the case, never heard about the case, and the question may be, 
was it better during the period of the origin of the system, or 
is it better now? 

Hicke: Or might there be something in between? 


Hellbron: I would say that probably the answer is that there is something 
in between, because if you are tried by your friends, you have a 
pretty big edge toward acquittal. If you're tried by people who 
have not had the curiosity to read the newspapers or know too 
much about the environment around them, it is questionable how 
good a jury you are obtaining and what the risks are; it is more 
of a gamble. 

I might add another matter relating to the change of a 
legal concept. I participated in the Moot Court competitions, 
and, along with George Moncharsh, we were able to prevail and 
win the Moot Court competition in our senior year. Ve received 
a complete set of Corpus Juris [Secundum] , the principal 
American legal encyclopedia of the day. 

But returning to constitutional law, it was interesting that, 
within three or four years after the receipt of this prize, most of 
the principles stated with respect to the commerce clause of the 
constitution- -the regulation of interstate commerce- -that had been 
stated in the negative in the encyclopedia, now had to be stated in 
the positive. In other words, the commerce clause suddenly covered 
the regulation of transactions and the work of people (for example, 
child employment) that had been barred before. Which reminds me of 
the brilliant Professor Barbara Armstrong, but I will talk about 
her later. 

The annual moot court competition is now known as the 
McBaine competition. James P. McBaine taught us common law 
pleading with dry humor and with the message that precision in 
procedure is still a virtue. 

During the period that I was in law school, I was assistant 
to the dean of men. 

Hicke: What did that involve? 

Heilbron: That involved mostly the relationship of the university to the 
fraternities on campus. That was a rather interesting 
experience. The fraternities tended to be quite independent and 
autonomous and did not cooperate with one another on what should 
have been mutual questions. But one of the projects of the 
office was to change that program. 

Hicke: That is, to organize the Greeks? 

Heilbron: To encourage their organization among themselves, because there 
was an element that believed in a kind of United Nations of 
Fraternities, that is, on the campus level. So we finally got 
the Interfraternity Council organized, and the next problem was 


to be sure that the first project that they engaged In would be 
successful. And it was. It turned out that two fraternities 
that had exchanged social affairs had, from tine to tine, taken 
each other's silver, and we brought about the Interfraternity 
Council, that is- -brought about a peaceful settlement [Hicke 
laughs] of this issue. [laughter] 

Hicke: International questions. 

Heilbron: What happened on the day that the fraternities gave back to each 
other the silver that they had taken was that about 122 pieces 
of Southern Pacific silverware got exchanged for about 137 
pieces of the Hotel St. Francis [laughter]. But seriously, we 
faced the problem of fraternities having financial troubles. A 
good many new houses were built in the twenties, and the 
mortgage payments became due, and some of the fraternities were 
in danger of losing their homes. We gave them guidelines on 
what action they should take, and that was principally to 
involve their alumni in their financial situation and in the 
remedies that were available. I believe that we saved all but 
one of the fraternities. Somehow they managed to get through 
the Depression period, at least during the period that I was 
there, in the two years of 1930 and '31. 

Hicke: They were able to solicit enough help from their alumni? 

Heilbron: Alumni, yes. And our office and the council did help a few of 

them improve their academic ratings, also with help and pressure 
from their alumni. Well, after all, I did get out of Boalt Hall 
and did have the problem of a first job. 

Hicke: And that was in '31 you graduated? 

Heilbron: I graduated in '31, but I took Mr. [Bernard] Witkin's course on 
the bar review. 

Hicke: He must have been a pretty young man at that time. 

Heilbron: Yes. There are all kinds of stories about how the great Witkin 
enterprise got started- -his Summary of California Law, which has 
been revised so many times and which is now the absolutely 
indispensable research resource of judges, lawyers, and law 
clerks in California, and is used throughout the United States. 

Hicke: He doesn't want to be interviewed for an oral history, so if you 
have anything to include about him, we'd appreciate it. 

Heilbron: Bernie Witkin was in the class of '27 at Boalt, but he told 

Professor Barbara Armstrong that he had skipped all the classes, 



and one could pass the examination without attending class. She 
refused to give him the credits he needed to graduate, and he 
was not graduated in 1927. 

He decided to take the bar examination anyway, and he went 
to a preparatory course during the summer given by a man by the 
naae of Dahlquist. He passed the bar. 

But he felt that to become an accepted lawyer one had to be 
a graduate of an accepted law school; so he returned to Boalt. 
During his summer of preparation for the bar, he took prodigious 
notes and checked them against citations. His notes were 
valuable enough so that he sold them for fifteen dollars to 
eight of his contemporary students. Since he had a great deal 
of time when he went back to the law school for a minimum 
curriculum and for final examinations to graduate in 1928, he 
further refined and extended the notes, so that by the time of 
his graduation, he had a substantial summary of California law, 
which he decided to publish. It was sufficient material for two 
volumes. He had done his work alone but felt the need of 
company to index it, and he had an index party at his home, 
which took most of the night. 

A small number of friends were invited, including me and 
Delphine, who was to be my wife a year later. We cannot recall 
the actual process of the indexing, but we remember that Bernie 
went page by page, distributing the words and phrases he wanted 
indexed on a topical basis to those of us present. Ve wound up 
with a vast number of slips of paper that Vitkin was then able 
to alphabetize, and the index was completed in that one night. 
We had the benefit of substantial amounts of Italian wine of a 
quality calculated to keep us more awake than asleep. 

After completion of the index, Bernie and his family assembled 
the pages but gave the material to a local binder, who put two 
books together in dark red covers, and they constituted the first 
edition of the Witkin's Summary of California Lav, which now 
consists of thirty- six volumes and at least twelve supplements. 

Vitkin sold the books for fifteen dollars each and gave his 
own course preparing students to take the bar, beginning in 1930 
and continuing for twenty-five years. During the entire period, 
he gave substantive lectures, but he asked me to give two 
supplementary lectures: one on legal history and the other on 
how to analyze and answer examination questions, which I was 
glad to do in the early thirties. 

But by the time you were ready to take the bar, he was offering 
the course? 

Heilbron: He was offering his course, and it became a staple for many years. 




Hellbron: After passing the bar, I then, unlike the students now, who have 
summer jobs with law firms and who develop contacts and 
relationships one and two years before they graduate so that by 
the time they graduate they know just where they're going, we 
didn't have this procedure available, nor were firms taking on 
summer clerks, so I had no background in that kind of procedure. 

I went to several law firms. I was introduced to Mr. 
[Sidney] Ehrman by Monroe Deutsch, whom I got to know when I was 
a student and who was very friendly and supportive. Mr. Ehrman 
told me that in the last two years they had taken several new 
associates and there was no position available, but when the 
first vacancy came up they would communicate with me and, if I 
was still interested, he thought that arrangements could be 
made. One of the other firms that attracted me because of its 
name, was, I think, Derby, Sharp, Quinby, and Tweedt, because of 
its Dickensian name. They were involved in admiralty- - 

Heilbron: --and I had an idea that, perhaps, admiralty law was invested 

with some kind of the romance of the sea. But when they showed 
me the kind of admiralty contracts, the invoices, inventories, 
credit forms printed in the smallest italics and difficult to 
read, I realized that admiralty law was not as romantic and 
interesting as I had hoped. 

Hicke: Was this a San Francisco firm? 

Heilbron: This was a San Francisco firm. While I appreciate that 

admiralty cases can be extremely important and interesting, 

Hicke : 


relating to traders, ocean freight, accidents at sea, fishing 
rights, and so on, I dropped my interest in the specialty. 

Albert Rosenshime, who had been speaker of the [California 
State] Assembly and was then, 1 believe, counsel to the 
Superintendent of Banks- - 

For the state? 

Heilbron: --for the state, took an interest in me and recommended that I 
make a start in state service rather than in private practice. 
He had just completed a term as a commissioner on the 
[California] State Department of Social Welfare Commission. He 
knew that they desired to bring the welfare laws of the state 
into cohesive form- -the laws were scattered throughout the 
statutes for the most part- -and thought that I would be 
interested in doing some of the work of coordination and 
revision. The result was that I was employed by the 
[California] State Department of Social Welfare to do a survey 
of the indigent law and related provisions. 

It was a little difficult politically, I suppose, because 
everyone in the department was a Republican, and I was the only 
Democrat. Somehow he sold me to the director, a woman by the 
name of Rheba Crawford Splivalo. She had and was having an 
interesting career. She was the daughter of a Salvation Army 
captain and had been doing charitable solicitation on the New 
York streets where she was known as the "Angel of Broadway." 
The trained professional social workers of the state were not so 
sure of her status as an angel, but suspected her as a political 
figure. However, I was promised a free hand in the way 1 
conducted the study and the results. 

Hicke: Did you interview with her before you started? 

Heilbron: Yes, I had a brief interview, but I believe the matter was 

fairly settled- -the work seemed harmless enough to the political 
administration- -and so I came aboard, was given a pleasant 
office in the state building, and went to work. 

Hicke: Here in San Francisco? 

Reviiion of the State Indigent Laws 

Heilbron: Here in San Francisco. The principal indigent law of the state 
went back to 1901, and reflected some Elizabethan standards for 


indigent aid- -a rather substantial period before a person could 
apply for aid, that is, a substantial period of residence, both 
in the state and the county, derived from the old English idea 
that people should stay in the county where they're born and 
shouldn't drift to another county that might have to support 
them, and also, perhaps, there would be one less tenant farmer 
for the employer in the county that the worker left. The old 
English idea, during Elizabethan times, was that the population 
mainly should stay put. There were, of course, modifications to 
that historic principle. The law did stress the idea that 
family members should help each other so that the applicant need 
not apply for any charitable assistance anywhere. 

Hicke: So in order to qualify you needed to show that you had tried, 
already, members of your family and members could not help. 

Heilbron: Yes, your spouse, your parent, and your adult child, but the 

procedures for enforcing responsibility were not very clear, and 
this was one of the matters to be corrected. Well, finally I 
developed a statute which was passed through the legislative 
counsel, pretty much intact, and was acted upon by the 
legislature in June of 1933, and signed by the governor shortly 

The pressure to maintain a long period of residence in the 
state and county, or a relatively long period, was still present 
so that in order to qualify, an indigent had to be a resident of 
the state for three years and of the county for one year. It 
was a county responsibility to take care of it. We spelled out 
carefully the procedure by which the family support was to be 
obtained, if possible. The person might get emergency aid 
pending resort to family. A person also had to use his own 
property to the maximum before he became eligible, and even if 
he got aid, if he inherited some property after the receipt of 
the aid, the county had a claim for reimbursement against his 
property. The official charged with the enforcement of claims 
for support was the district attorney, and if the district 
attorney obtained an order establishing the financial 
responsibility and ability to pay of family members, and they 
disregarded the order, they were committing a misdemeanor and he 
could take criminal action. 

Veil, this was all pretty harsh and technical, but we were 
well into the beginnings of a depression, and we tucked a little 
clause in the statute saying that the county may give such 
emergency relief as may be necessary to nonresidents. This gave 
the authority to meet the emergencies of the depression. 

Hicke: That's not such a little clause. If somebody had looked at it-- 


Heilbron: It was a little clause In length and width, but It was an 

Important clause for administration. But the financial problems 
of the county still remained. It was made clear In the statute, 
as it always had been, that you couldn't apply for indigent aid 
if you could obtain aid from your family, as I noted, aid from 
friends, aid from private charities. Most assistance in the 
state of California, as, I suppose, throughout the United 
States, to the indigent population was given by private 
charities. If you were able-bodied, you were expected to work, 
you were expected to have a job. Why should you be an indigent? 
That was more or less the American ethic, and, at least during 
prosperous times, it was quite generally assumed, and the 
twenties were fairly prosperous times. Prior to the twenties, 
there had been the war- -World War I --where everybody had a job, 
and before then it was a time of expansion, so that since the 
early 1900s it was quite expected that there would be no serious 
problem of indigents- -people who were destitute- -that couldn't 
be taken care of by private charities. 

Hicke: So it was not within the experience of people then to have all 
of these people out of work? 

Heilbron: That is correct. Now that didn't mean that the counties did not 
have some people on their indigent rolls, because everybody, by 
the time of the early thirties, did not have work, but as I say, 
It was the beginning of the Depression. As I went to the 
various counties to find out their problems as to whether there 
should be changes in the statute, they were most concerned that 
the private charities were losing their ability to take care of 
the new indigent unemployed. They tried to make a distinction 
between an indigent, who was regarded as somewhat disabled, ill, 
or perhaps unable to work because of old age, and the so-called 
able-bodied. They preferred to avoid the term indigent as 
applied to the able-bodied. There was a provision in our 
statute that the county could require work- relief 1 , a somewhat 
new concept in the administration of relief. So at the very 
time that the new indigent act was being passed, there was a 
grave concern on the part of a number of counties that they 
wouldn't be able to discharge all of their obligations. More 
people were applying, the private charities were having 
difficulty In meeting their needs, I think that San Francisco 
was the last city of its size to apply for public assistance 
from the federal and state governments because their Associated 
Charities were able to carry on for a longer period than most of 
the charities of the other communities in the state. 

Hfork relief was defined as assistance to destitute persons by 
requiring labor as a condition for relief. 


Hicke: Were there funding provisions that went along with that? 

Heilbron: Well, there were no funding provisions outside of the county. 
The counties had the burden of trying to meet the needs of the 
new and able-bodied unemployed, and people who were coming to 
California in search of work, leaving other areas of economic 
difficulty and becoming transients. The counties were most 

Emergency Relief 

>loYed Resident* 

Heilbron: I think it was in September of 1932, Congress authorized one 

section of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation to give relief 
aid to states, counties, and municipalities on application by 
the state, and the governor of California and the attorney 
general were looking into this matter as I was completing my 
work with reference to the study I've described. It was quite 
obvious that certain counties were hoping that the emergency 
relief authority that they wanted would be financed by state or 
federal funding, and this new RFC authority... I think there 
was $300 million authorized for loans throughout the country. 
An RFC representative by the name of A. W. HacMillen made a 
quick survey in late December of 1932 and indicated to the 
governor that the state might be eligible to apply for a loan on 
behalf of certain of its counties. The Department of Social 
Welfare had some general information about the expenditures for 
the various aid programs of the state: aged aid, blind aid, 
children's aid, probationary matters, and county welfare 
assistance, so we had the beginnings of information with 
reference to the various counties. 

Suddenly, in December, I was asked to receive affidavits 
from the counties that were hard pressed in order to determine 
if the governor should apply to the RFC for assistance. The 
governor issued a- -it was Governor Rolph, James Rolph--sent a 
letter to all of the counties of the state advising that the RFC 
had a fund available, that he did not want to apply for an RFC 
loan for these purposes unless it was absolutely, demonstrably 
necessary for a county, but that he would consider application 
for the benefit of a county if it could demonstrate need. 

In the Department of Social Welfare, I soon became kind of 
a target for district attorneys on behalf of their boards of 
supervisors bringing in information or asking their social 
welfare departments for information showing this need. I recall 
that Los Angeles and Imperial counties were most active. By 


Hicke : 

January of 1933, it appeared that there were seven counties that 
might qualify for assistance, most of them in the southern part 
of California. The governor had indicated that the Department 
of Social Welfare would be the agency to allocate and supervise 
expenditures if it was granted. 

The RFC had a peculiar kind of lending system: that is, the 
state was obligated to repay the monies loaned only by a future 
withholding by the federal government of highway funds that 
otherwise might be granted to the state- -federal highway funds 
that might otherwise be granted to the state for construction. 
Obviously, all you had to do was increase the amount that would 
be given to the state and then make a deduction. It's much like 
some sales that occur where you raise the price and then reduce 
the price to a lower level so you really haven't lost very much. 

Was it up to the state to apply for this amount? 

They would apply for this amount and, theoretically, a tough 
future administration would actually penalize the borrower state 
by making a realistic deduction, but it never occurred- -to my 
knowledge it never occurred. 

A representative of the State Department of Finance by the 
name of Jamison and I were selected to go to Washington to-- 

Heilbron: --discuss the needs of the seven counties that, thus far, had 

been shown to be the most needy. The department felt that a law 
researcher was not an impressive enough title and promoted me to 
Secretary of the Social Welfare Commission, and that meant that 
I was going to get the grand sum of $225 a month. 

Hicke: That was not all that bad at that time. 

Heilbron: The indigent assistance program offered an opportunity for me 
that was unexpected. 

Hicke: I've heard of lawyers in that day and age who worked for nothing 
just to get experience. 

Heilbron: Well, this was to negotiate the terms of the loan rather than 
being strictly a legal matter. We went- -of course, this is by 
trainand we were well received in Washington. 

Hicke: How long was the trip? 
Heilbron: Five days. 


Hicke: From California to Washington? 

Heilbron: Yes, and then five days on return. A man by the name of Croxton 
was in charge of this division of the RFC, and the Washington 
office explained that we would have to obtain detailed 
supporting data to justify any particular loan, because the 
loan, while it was made to the state and would be under the 
Department of Social Welfare, the RFC had to approve the 
allocation to each county. So we returned with a tentative 
agreement for the benefit of these counties, but it had to be 
supported before any monies were sent out. 

Then began a hectic effort to obtain compliance by the 
counties, which had to show, for the year passed, what local 
governmental funds had been expended for indigent assistance, 
what the private contributions were, whether any state 
governmental funds were used, whether there was any funding from 
national agencies such as Red Cross, and any other source. The 
point was that any emergency relief monies had to be shown to be 
entirely extra to ordinary county expenditures, ordinary county 
expectations, and if there was a fall-off in private funds, you 
had to show what the fall-off amounted to. 

Hicke: Oh great. So for each of these counties you had to compile this 

Heilbron: Mr. MacMillen actually drew an application form that was used 
for a number of years. 

Hicke: Is that this form that you just handed me? 

Heilbron: Yes. 

Hicke: Can 1 make a copy of this? 

Heilbron: I'll give you a copy of this. 

Hicke: Oh wonderful. Thank you. So this was sent out to each county 
in the state, or just to those seven that you wanted-- 

Heilbron: Well, to those counties and to any further ones that would 

apply, because it was expected that other counties would soon 
apply as well as the first seven. 

Hicke: This looks like it had to be filled out for each month. Is that 

Heilbron: Yes. The estimates for each month of need. The original group 
of applications began flowing in and also applications from 



other counties. Within another month, we were asked by the RFC 
to bring the applications and additional data for review in 
Washington, and I was asked to do the work and the negotiation 
for the total amount of the loan. 

So since 1 was going to be traveling, and it was close to 
the -time of inauguration, the governor gave me and my wife the 
honor of representing the state of California at inauguration 
events, in addition to the job of obtaining RFC funds. We 
arrived in Washington at the end of February, and I was on the 
phone with Jamison from the Department of Finance and with 
representatives of the various counties to clarify figures and 
to obtain additional figures that were required by the RFC. I 
must have been on the phone several hours a day. And this 
proved to be necessary, because of the number of additional 
counties that wanted to be considered for further loans. The 
original group would be authorized to receive monies through 
January and February, because we had presented their general 
case before, and the new group was destined for April and May, 
and even later, so we applied for additional months of the year. 

I finalized the loan agreement on March 4 [1933] in the 
middle of the morning and I picked up my wife in the hope of 
getting to the inauguration, but the traffic was so heavy that 
we were stuck, and we had to listen to the inauguration over the 

This was President [Franklin D. ] Roosevelt? 

Heilbron: This was President Roosevelt's inauguration. But we attended 
some other of the events, and so it was a rather thrilling 
period and privilege. 

Hicke: So this was 1933. 

Heilbron: This was 1933. Some question of adequate supervision by the 

state was raised by the RFC, and the suggestion was made that 1 
go to New York and talk to Harry Hopkins , who was the chair of 
the New York Relief Commission and who many expected would be 
part of the new administration, particularly in the social 
welfare field. 1 did this and was somewhat disturbed by Mr. 
Hopkins' advice that an existing Department of Social Welfare 
should not be the administrative agency for the emergency relief 
program, but a completely new and separate agency be created 
because of the difference in the emphasis in the kind of aid 
that should be given to able-bodied unemployed. 




TABLE 1. Estimated total amount needed for direct relief and 
work*relief (including cost of administration) from 
all sources for April, 1933: 


for Direct Relief and Work Relief 


TABLE 2. Estimated amounts available or which can be made 

available for direct relief and work relief during 
April, 1933: 



1- Local Governmental Funds 
2. Private Contributions 
3. State Governmental Funds 

4. National Agencies (Value in 
dollars of Red Cross Flour, 
cotton goods, etc.) 

5. Any other source (specify) 


*Work relief is defined to mean assistance to desti 
tute persons by requiring labor of a worth-while 
character aa a condition for relief. 

NOTE: Table 1 sets forth total need for the period; Table 
2 sets forth the amounts locally available to meet 
this need. The county's application, therefore, is 
presumably the amount of the difference between the 
totals of Table 1 and Table 2. 

3/33 8 50 


TABLE 3. Expenditures for direct relief and work relief (including 

cost of administration) during each calendar month of 1932, 
and January February and March of 1933: 


From local 


From State 
Gov ern- 



From any 



j January 











' 1'ovember 







^ 1 

-. J*. 

?ABLE 4. Number of families and number of non-family persons 

relief, during each calendar month of the period from JMIU,, -.. 
1932 to March, 1933, inclusive; and the estimated number in 
need erf relief during April, 1933; 




Persons (2) 


January , 1932 












January 1933 



Estimated ITumber for April, 1933 

April, 1933 

TABLE G. Total amount expended for relief (including cost of adrdnis 
tration) during the calendar year 1931: 






From local Governmental Funds 
From Private Contributions 
From State Governmental Funds 

From National agencies (value in dollars 
Red Cross flour, etc.) 
From any other source (specify) 



Hicke : 




Hicke : 

[Interview A: January 3, 1992] ## 

Well, I guess we just want to start this time with coming back 
from New York? 

Yes, I caae back to Sacramento and, almost immediately, a big 
conference was called with respect to the relief problem, to be 
held in the governor's office. Through his secretary, I assume, 
he had called all of the cabinet officers and state officials 
who would be interested in various aspects of the relief 
problem, for example, the state controller, the director of 
finance, and, I believe, the director of agriculture, and he 
also called for a number of community leaders. 

This was Rolph? 

This was Governor Rolph. I was there, of course, and later, 
Wayne MacMillen flew in from Washington and participated in the 
discussions. I had obtained a commitment for some seven million 
dollars, but it was understood that the entire state would be 
involved- -its various counties and cities- -before very long, and 
that a much larger amount of money would be applied for by the 
state for the benefit of its political subdivisions. So the 
importance of the matter was quite clear. 

This was for some specific counties- -the first part? 

That's right. There were specific counties- -seven counties- -but 
there are fifty-eight counties in California, and most of them 
had given an indication that they were running out of monies for 
relief and that they wanted to participate in the program. 

Governor Rolph had been mayor of San Francisco from 1912, I 

"Sunny Jim. " 

"Sunny Jim" was a colorful mayor, and he was good for San 
Francisco. Particularly at the time of the 1915 exposition, he 
cut quite a figure. 

But he also was responsible for at least improving the 
transportation system, and building the Opera House, and a 
of things like that. 


He did many fine things and was supported by the chief citizenry 
of San Francisco, but he did not have much of an idea of the 
governorship, and on hearing of these relief funds, he got on 
the telephone and from his office, while the discussion was 


going on, called most of his friends from San Francisco to ask 
them what he should do with respect to these monies which he 
anticipated coming in from the federal government. 

Hicke: Are these friends in the way of cronies, would you say? 

Heilbron: No, they were substantial citizens who had helped him as mayor, 
and there really were two big conversations going on- -one by him 
over the phone and the other by the rest of us who were to 
determine what actually was to be achieved. 

Hicke: Oh, that's a great picture. 

Heilbron: Finally, Judge Isadora Golden, who was his personal attorney and 
who talked to me about the recommendations of the federal 
government, got the governor's attention, and said, "Now, 
Governor, would you just pay attention for a few moments? 
Because your representative who has been to Washington can 
outline what they might expect of the state," and the governor 
said, "Who?" [laughter] 

Hicke : There you were . 

Heilbron: There I was, and the matter was clarified by his secretary- - 

"Don't you remember ..."- -that kind of thing, and so the governor 
listened to the fact that both the RFC representing the carry 
over agency, and the new group that was expected to come in with 
Mr. Hopkins as the chief, namely through the creation of the 
Federal Emergency Relief Administration, believed that 
unemployment relief was a special category of aid and should 
have its own specific administration. That would mean that the 
Department of Social Welfare, that had accumulated the data and 
had reviewed the original application requests, would, at some 
point in the near future, transfer this commitment of 
administration to the new agency. The question was who should 
run such an operation? 

Hicke: For the state? 

Heilbron: For the state. A state emergency relief administration had to 

be created, and Judge Golden and I went to the back of the room, 
as I indicated, and I drafted a sketch of a statute that seemed 
to comply with the federal requirements. Nevertheless, it did 
boil down to a question of what person should be truly 
responsible for the initiation and organization, and ultimately 
administration, of these funds. Temporarily, the Department of 
Social Welfare would continue, and 1 might say that the women 
social workers of the department did a tremendous Job, outside 
of their ordinary work, in obtaining the data necessary for 



achieving the first grants made to the state. People borrowed 
from the adoption service, from the aid to the aged, from aid to 
the blind, from the probation department, all of these people 
pitched in on an emergency basis to gather the data and enable 
the state, through the governor, to apply for the necessary 

Well, about the new man. The governor turned to Mr. 
MacMillen, who was the field representative of the RFC, and 
asked if he were interested in the job, and MacMillen politely 
said that he wasn't, that he would probably not continue with 
the new administration, but intended to return to his 
professorship at the University of Chicago. And then the name 
of R. C. Branion was brought up. Mr. Branion was the director 
of emergency relief in Santa Barbara County, and I had met him 
in the course of gathering the initial material for the initial 
applications, and he struck me as being an excellent candidate. 
Mr. MacMillen approved him, but perhaps most in his favor was 
the fact that he had worked with Mr. Hopkins at an earlier time 
--I think it was with the state of Louisiana, I'm not positive 
about that. Branion had come out to Santa Barbara to retire -- 
his health was not the best- -but when the emergency occurred in 
the relief field, he was called upon to serve and had been doing 
quite a respectable job. 

So, Governor Rolph said, 
I'll call him!" 

Right there on the spot? 

"Well, if that's the best man, 

Heilbron: Right on the spot. So he called. Put in a call, got R. C. 

Branion on the phone and said, "Hello? This is Governor Rolph." 
And Branion, who, of course, had no idea that anything like this 
was coming up, said, "So's your old man!" 

But Governor Rolph convinced him that it was indeed the 
governor, and would he come up on the Southern Pacific Lark to 
discuss the relief problem for the state? Of course, Branion 
consented and came up, and, in due course, an appointment was 
made- -I believe first as a special assistant in the governor's 
office, because there had been no legislation. I do not 
remember the starting date because there was this intervening 
period where the Department of Social Welfare had to continue to 
supervise the expenditure of funds. 

Hicke: Are you going to tell me what happened to this draft of the 


Heilbron: Yes, ultimately it was enacted, and an emergency relief 

administrator was created, and that position was occupied by Mr. 

Hicke: I hope you're going to tell me that you wrote it on the back of 
an envelope or something equally interesting. 

Heilbron: No, no. I drafted a statute, and it had to go through the 

legislative counsel, but there was quite a story in connection 
with this legislation. 

You may recall, when I said that under the Reconstruction 
Finance Corporation Act, the State of California was to borrow 
money from the federal government to be repaid by withholding, 
at some later year or years , amounts equal to the borrowings 
from the Federal Highway Appropriation Acts of those future 
years, so that the State of California as a whole was obligated 
for the benefits that were being derived by the counties, 
although, obviously, the counties were political subdivisions of 
the state. When the legislation creating the Emergency Relief 
Administration was proposed, the bulk of the initial monies was 
to go to southern California. The San Francisco legislators 
were a little skeptical of the whole state borrowing for the 
benefit of their southern neighbors, and particularly at the 
time, the San Francisco legislative group were in control of the 
legislature --this is 1933- -although not much later, the 
political control of the state was transferred to the south 
because of the population growth and so on. So the San 
Francisco people put up a question and a barrier. Well, at the 
same time, the San Francisco delegation wanted something for San 
Francisco, namely, the San Francisco-Oakland bridge required an 
appropriation to build the ramps and also to finance any 
necessary condemnation necessary to obtain the property on which 
the ramps would be built. 

Hicke: Was Mr. [Florence] McAuliffe involved here? 

Heilbron: No, not Mr. McAuliffe, but actually, in a way, Mr. [Lloyd] 

Dinkelspiel. Mr. Dinkelspiel was in Sacramento, representing 
the California Toll Bridge Authority that wanted those ramps 
very much. I was sitting in the gallery, hoping that the relief 
program would go through. So, on the basis of the exchange of 
the ramps for the state obligation for southern California, the 
bill sailed through. I don't recall too many references to the 
hungry or to the unemployed or to anything else. The political 
deal was made and the Emergency Relief Administration was 


After the legislative session, we went back to work. A 
large number of additional counties had to be checked for the 
validity of their claims, and-- 

Hicke: Did that involve your going to visit the offices? 

Heilbron: Actually, they came up to see the department, and I attended a 
conference, I believe in southern California, when the 
representatives of the various counties came to request aid and 
file their applications. 

One of the areas that the federal government was most 
interested in was work relief, particularly when Hopkins got 
into the picture as the head of the Federal Emergency Relief 

Hicke: When you say work relief, do you mean working in-- 

Heilbron: Working as a condition for relief. This was a new kind of 

welfare applicant. These are able-bodied people who were thrown 
out of jobs and who were capable of work. The entire effort was 
to preserve the dignity of the individual, and that was to be 
supported by work. Now some of the counties in California had 
already small work relief programs. The problem was to prevent 
the political subdivisions from utilizing relief to replace 
deficiencies in their ordinary budgets. In other words, if they 
could get the Police Department running on relief funds, they 
could save local funds, or the Fire Department, or anything of 
the kind. One of the strict regulations of the new operations 
by the Emergency Relief Administration was that the funds must 
not be used to replace the normal operations of government, but 
it must be extra in the way of public works --supplementary. 

Hicke: Because that would then throw the regular firemen out of work? 

Heilbron: Exactly, and furthermore it would be a subsidy to local 

government, which was not the intention. The intention had to 
be special work projects, deferred projects of the county that 
would otherwise not be undertaken if it weren't for the 
availability of the unemployed. On the other hand, it was also 
a clear policy of both the federal and the state governments 
that work that was made work- -that was superficial and 
relatively nonproductive such as carrying bricks from one side 
of the road and returning the bricks to the other side of the 
road- -that would not count as a work relief project. Actually, 
the federal government gave that as an example in one state as 
having occurred. Much later on, you may remember, the federal 
Works Project Administration, WPA, which replaced relief 
programs to some substantial extent, was accused of having leaf- 


Hicke : 


Hicke : 

raking projects that were an excuse for work and did not really 
constitute work. 

Veil, there was no doubt about what the policy was and 
rather strenuous efforts were made to prevent the misuse of 
funds in that direction. However, there were undoubtedly some, 
let's say, miscarriages of policy. When the new mayor in Los 
Angeles was elected later on, after the VPA became established, 
Vill Rogers, I believe, presided, and his opening remarks were, 
"Well, Mr. Mayor, here we all are, by the grace of God and the 
WPA." [The inference was that WPA workers had done campaign 
service. ] 

Can I interrupt you again? I'm interested in the concept of 
preserving dignity. Was this again something new? The idea, 
you said, partly, of the work relief was to preserve the dignity 
of the people involved. 

I did not use the word dignity in the 1933 statute, but there is 
a provision which states: "Work relief shall be created for the 
purpose of keeping the indigent from idleness and assisting in 
his rehabilitation and the preservation of his self-respect." 
That last phrase certainly relates to the maintenance of 
dignity. That was purposeful. It was recognized that people 
were on the streets who had never been before, or thrown out of 
work on the farms on a scale not before known, and so work was 
quite important, and it is going to be repeated as a theme in 
some of these remarks that I ' 11 make . 

And then, also, were women differentiated in any way? 
equally applicable to men and women? 

Was this 

Heilbron: Yes, women were treated equally with men as far as relief needs 
were concerned. Of course, in those days, a lot of the aid to 
women wasn't family aid. The family aid was relief for the 
husband as the working member of the family, so that the amount 
of benefits conferred was dependent upon the size of the family. 
So some person might receive two days of work, some person 
three, four, or five days of work, depending on the size of the 
family; in that way the woman was included. But when the woman 
was a single woman, for example, there were some problems. We 
had established in California law that the residence of the 
husband was the residence of the wife. In the case where the 
husband was in Texas and the separated woman was in California 
and she applied for assistance as a resident, she was not 
extended that assistance because her residence was properly 
Texas. One of the social workers said, "Cannot we get 
assistance to pay for her divorce costs?", and I had to rule no, 


that was not permitted, but she could receive aid as a 
nonresident. So at least that problem was overcome. 

Hicke: So there were certain provision* for nonresidents separately? 

Heilbron: You may recall that the consensus among the welfare directors 
and district attorneys in the state- -district attorneys were 
involved because they had to enforce relatives' responsibility, 
so that the person would not go on relief --the consensus was a 
three -year state residence and a one -year county residence. 
There was, in the statute, a provision that the county may 
extend relief to nonresidents. Now, the federal government's 
requirement for residence was only one year, and therefore, when 
the counties received the relief benefits, they applied a one- 
year and not the three -year provision. So the nonresidents came 
in, really, most of them, as transients. That is, as transients 
not fulfilling the one-year provision. 

[tape interruption] 

Aid to Transients 

Heilbron: Regarding transients, there is a rather interesting little 
story. In a few months --let's see, we were holding this 
governor's meeting in March. Not long afterwards, the Emergency 
Relief Administration began, and I was transferred from the 
Department of Social Welfare to Mr. Branion's office and became 
one of his two assistants. For a period of time, 1 dealt with 
work relief questions and was asked to do something about making 
an application that would finance the support of transients, 
because the counties in some parts of the state had been 
establishing transient camps, but their numbers were swelling 
and they didn't have the money to maintain them. The question 
was, were these camps well operated, were people actually 
entitled to relief in these camps, or were they simply using 
them to their own advantage as they traveled up and down the 

Hicke: Were these the so-called Hoover towns? 

Heilbron: No, the Hoover towns were more made up of families who were 
semipermanently established in tin- roofed shacks on the 
outskirts of cities. These transient camps were in the country, 
for the most part, and the unemployed rural farm workers and 
people from the cities-- 



Heilbron: --went to them for sustenance and shelter, but how genuine were 
they? Veil, I contacted Boalt Hall and asked to obtain six 
young law school students whom the dean was prepared to 
recommend as observant and imaginative and willing to take the 
risk of some adventure. I got the group together and told them 
that the idea was to have them go to these transient camps and, 
not do it statistically, but to mingle and get an idea of the 
kind of people who were there- -was it a genuine operation? The 
statistics would come later, but what was their evaluation? But 
they had to live the life of a transient, too. They were given 
a dine to phone in case of an emergency and otherwise they were 
on their own. [laughter] 

So they did go to various camps- -there were six of them-- 
and they came in with their reports. One of them was Mel 
[Melvin] Belli, and I will say that his was the best report. 
Indeed, he wanted to publish it, and I had some problem with 
respect to that, but it was not published. In a way, these 
reports were attached to an application made to Washington- -if 
not physically attached, they were summarized- -and Washington 
was convinced sufficiently to make a million dollars available, 
so that a further, extensive study would be made of the camps 
and the support and extension and operation of them. 

This project was achieved in due course, and an extensive 
transient camp system was developed for the state of California 
for the relief of both single people and families. The camps 
for families, and even for the singles- -and these were mostly 
single men- -posed a problem for the federal government. As you 
know, California agriculture depends on migratory workers- - 
seasonal workers who move from region to region after the crops 
are harvested. When the camps were established, some of these 
families thought they preferred to stay in the camps rather than 
move on to work in the next county or region. The state 
Emergency Relief Administration asked for extended support to 
cover these migratory workers, the idea of the division chief 
being that perhaps they could be induced to settle permanently 
and stop this migratory life. But the federal government took 
the position that the migratory workers were an agricultural/ 
industrial problem for the state of California and its counties 
and would not be subsidized by the federal government. Only 
people who were truly in a transient status outside of the 
migratory worker situation would be eligible. 

Hicke: Were you involved in that? 


Heilbron: I was involved in it because I prepared most of the applications 
that went forward to Washington. I think that Washington missed 
out on this issue, although it's a difficult one, 1 appreciate, 
to administer. There were bitter feelings involved in the 

Hicke: On the part of the officials? 

Heilbron: Well, yes, on the part of officials in adjoining counties. In 
one situation, at the end of the harvest season, the county was 
offering money to the migratory workers to leave their county- - 
the harvest having been completed- -and go to the next county. 
The next county said, "If you send them here, we'll meet them 
with shotguns." That's how bitter it was. I say that 
Washington did not see one point, and that is, they were 
probably correct in not wishing to subsidize the migratory 
agricultural worker system in the state of California- -the 
ordinary, normal operations of harvesting the crops. But the 
family transient problem was brought on not by the usual 
migratory workers but by the great numbers who were coming to 
California from the Dust Bowl, who did not represent the usual 
migratory workers but an excess . And that excess , or surplus , 
was indeed a transient problem- -indeed a federal problem. 
However, we did not succeed, as far as I recall, in obtaining a 
modification of the federal rules. 

The transient program was directed by an old-time social 
worker by the name of H. R. Carleton. I believe that he 
ultimately wound up, at the end of World War II, with UNRRA 
[United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration] in 

Hicke: How was it determined that these were people from Oklahoma and 
various other states rather than Just the normal migratory farm 
workers? Did the law students determine that? 

Heilbron: The area of their reporting was pretty much up to them. Did 
these people seem to be in need, and what were their stories, 
where did they come from? Yes, that's true --where did they come 
from and did they like it here? Did they want to remain? Did 
they really want to work? How would they evaluate the people 
who were in the camp? Now naturally this was anything but a 
scholarly project, but, let's put it this way: it was kind of a 
journalistic project. 

Hicke: And had certainly a lot of sociological content. 


Heilbron: And bright young men would be able to make fairly good 

judgments. At least it was recognized that there was a problem 
that had to be addressed, and that started it. 

I think I mentioned work relief. I could make a reasonable 
evaluation of projects that appeared to be outside of the normal 
operations of a county, but 1 was not competent to evaluate the 
projects on the basis of their engineering value, and the costs, 
and requested that a work relief department be created to take 
care of the technicalities that were necessarily involved in a 
wide-ranging program. 

Hicke: Was reporting required as to the value of the projects that were 

Heilbron: Yes, the federal government got the report on the projects, but 
the state was given the authority and the duty to evaluate the 
projects before approving them for work relief status. In 
fairly quick time --and I'm referring to the year 1933 itself -- 
decentralized offices of the Emergency Relief Administration 
were established in Los Angeles and in other areas, including 
San Francisco. San Francisco was among the last to come in for 
relief. It had been very proud that the Associated Charities 
were able to carry the new relief load for a number of years 
into the Depression, but then the county welfare department took 
over the relief program, and, as of July 1st of '33, San 
Francisco put in its application for funds so that before the 
end of 1933, the state was pretty well covered. 

The program that had started with seven million dollars for 
seven counties for two months developed into a fourteen- or 
fifteen-million-dollars-a-month request to the federal 
government during '34. Then California was required to come 
into the financing of a State Emergency Relief Administration in 
a much larger way than it originally contributed. I think that 
the original contribution was to establish the Emergency Relief 
Administration with $200,000 a year beginning on July first of 
'33- -there may have been an interim appropriation- -but a large 
fund act was passed in 1935 with $24 million of state 
contribution to the relief program. And by that time, the WPA 
had been established too, so that between the VPA and the state 
finance program, the California unemployment situation was 
reasonably well taken care of. 

As I said, there were certain categories that were caught 
in between and had to be taken care of by the counties if they 
chose to do it. The Joad family [depicted in The Crapes of 
Wrath] was the kind of family that was caught in these legal 





circumstances which gave good cause for the John Steinbeck novel 
and for many of Paul Taylor's observations. 

But are you saying that it wasn't necessarily true, or maybe 
even typical of everyone who came to California? That many of 
them were taken care of? 

My recollection is that the one sanitary, decent camp the Joads 
stayed in during their otherwise bitter California experience 
was in a government camp, self -governed by mostly out-of- state 
migrants. There were too few of such facilities in the state 
and often opposed by farming interests as supporting leftists 
and "reds"- -promoting fancy ideas of what living conditions farm 
migrants should be entitled to expect. 

How did it compare with other states? 

Both the problem and the 

Heilbron: Unemployment relief, when given, was usually higher than in most 
states, but due to the somewhat ambiguous policy on migrants, 
out-of-state migrants were competing for agricultural jobs at 
low, sub -standard rates. I am referring to the mid- thirties 
particularly after the Okie "invasion" and after the federal 
transient program was well underway. 

Hicke: How did Mr. Branion do? 

Heilbron: Mr. Branion, after not much more than a year and a half of 

service, was suspected by the political forces of William McAdoo 
of having ambitions to run either for the Senate or for the 
governorship- -I think it was the Senate- -and charges were 
brought against him for misappropriation of federal funds. I 
don't know whether it was for wrongful use in work projects or 
some accusation for political purposes, but these were trumped 
up charges; all of us who had worked with him contributed to his 
defense fund, and the charges were ultimately dismissed. There 
never was a trial, but Branion left the position. 

Hicke: It served to discredit him somewhat, probably. 

Heilbron: Well, he wound up by being General [Dwight D. ] Eisenhower's 

deputy for welfare programs overseas, with a simulated rank of 
general, so he recovered his status, and he was a well-received 
consultant during the interim after he left. But it was a very 
unfair charge. And then he was succeeded by around nine to ten 
other administrators, one way or another. 

Hicke : 

One after the other? 


Heilbron: True, they didn't last very long. A person by the name of 

Vernon Northrop- -he had a financial background- -administered aid 
for a while; Frank Y. McLaughlin was perhaps the most 
prestigious of the successor administrators. He headed both the 
Emergency Relief Administration and then the regional office of 
the WTA in California certainly for northern California. 

Hicke: Both at the same time? 

Heilbron: I think that he gave up, after a while, his work as Emergency 

Relief administrator and concentrated on his WPA responsibility. 

Of course, by 1934, I had joined Heller, Ehrman, White, & 
McAuliffe. I was offered the position in September of 1933 for 
commencement in January of the following year. 1 had had some 
heady experiences in government and had to make a career choice, 
and I realized that, salary cut and all, it was the right thing 
to do to begin practicing the law, and maybe to start in with a 
few single probate proceedings rather than filing applications 
for millions of dollars of aid and so on. 

Hicke: Why did you decide that? 

Heilbron: The circumstances and more detailed reasons I'll relate later 
when we take up my life career with Heller Ehrman. 

One further aspect of the work relief program: the other 
assistant to Mr. Branion, Aleta Brownlee , and 1 received a wire 
calling for an immediate reply while Mr. Branion was away from 
the central office. It was an order from Mr. Hopkins to place 
all California able-bodied relief personnel on work relief 
within thirty days. Miss Brownlee and I knew that this was an 
impossibility. We did confer with several of the project 
administrators in the state before answering, but we did answer 
to the effect that we could not accomplish this directive within 
the time required and pointed out that if we did attempt to do 
so, the result would be projects in violation of the federal 
policy that the projects had to be worthwhile, substantial 
projects. This was, perhaps, an unusual reply for Mr. Hopkins, 
who used only to receive affirmative answers to his requests, 
but he accepted it, and I think that we took up to ninety days 
to fulfill the requirement. 

Hicke: You think he sent that out to all of the states? 

Heilbron: Oh yes. It wasn't only in California. And I don't know how the 
others answered, but I do know what we did. 


Self -He IP Cooperative! 

Heilbron: There were two other areas of considerable interest in the 
relief program: one had to do with self-help cooperatives. 
These were unemployed people who got together to produce for 
themselves- - 

Hicke: They organized themselves? 

Heilbron: --organized themselves. There were quite a few in California, 
even in the early part of the Depression. The federal 
government wanted to encourage the program, and, under one of 
the sections of the Federal Relief Act, were authorized to do 
so. The cooperative program was under the direction of Vinslow 
Carlton, who was the son of the owner of the Postal Telegraph 
Company. 1 don't know whether he was a dollar-a-year man or 
not, but he was a fine young man and thoroughly dedicated to the 
program. The self-help cooperators were to produce for 
themselves, for example on a farm or cutting lumber or 
publishing, or whatever, and they would benefit by producing for 
themselves- -let's say, take a farm, for example --and then 
trading the surplus with other cooperatives. 

Hicke: Barter? 

Heilbron: It was mainly a barter system. It was not outside of that 

system except for crafts and some sales to the state; they could 
sell craft work, because that was regarded as generally 
noncompetitive with industry. The federal people thought that 
maybe it could become a permanent part of the economy. There 
was one large cooperative in the Alameda County area that had a 
lumber project and a ranch and a publication division and was 
rather successful. I don't know how many families were self- 
sustaining in this fashion. In the early part of the 
cooperative movement, they claimed 24,000 families were assisted 
in Los Angeles alone in this way. 

Hicke: Vere assisted by whom? 

Heilbron: Veil, in the beginning, they got donations, let's say of fuel 
from industrial companies, but then their operations got to be 
so substantial, and the costs of lending them equipment or 
donating equipment got so substantial that unless the government 
came in to subsidize their projects, they would not be able to 

Hicke : 

So they weren't exactly self-sustaining? 


Hcilbron: Not entirely. They got the equipment --the initial subsidy of 

equipment --yes, that's true, from the government, mainly through 
federal funds channeled through the state, but once started, 
they were self-sustaining. Well, they got credits for so much 
work for the cooperative. If you worked two days, you got so 
many credits, and you cashed them in for your food or whatever 
the benefits were. If you worked three days or four days, you 
got more credits. Some of these families actually continued to 
be on relief but reduced the amount of relief that they required 
by reason of their work in the cooperatives. 

Hicke: So this was part of the work relief credit, is that what we're 
talking about? 

Heilbron: Well, it wasn't work relief. Work relief was on a public 

project. These were privately produced goods, for themselves; 
for exchange with other cooperatives. 

Hicke: But what kind of credits did they get? 

Heilbron: The credits were within themselves. They earned so many 

credits, and if you had two hundred credits, you could turn them 
in for the ration coupons for whatever the cooperative had to 
offer. There's a large, formalized cooperative movement in 
California, of course, on a very large scale these days, but 
this kind of individual and family membership cooperative, which 
I think the federal government thought would become a permanent 
part of the economy, did not continue that way, because when we 
recovered economically, particularly when we got into wartime 
industry, the unemployment problem was more than resolved, and 
people came from all over the United States to the shipyards and 
defense installations, and it was an entirely different story. 

Rural Rehabilitation Proram 

Heilbron: So during the years succeeding '33, when I was a consultant, I 
continued with the work on applications to the federal 
government and advice on work relief questions and on 
cooperative questions, and also organized, under the authority 
of the federal and state governments, the Rural Rehabilitation 
Corporation. This corporation was formed with the idea of 
making loans to needy agricultural people. The state relief 
administration or some state agency would buy their crops and in 
that way take them off of the relief status. To some extent, 
this was successful. 


Hicke: And then what did they do with the crops? 

Heilbron: The crops were sold in large part to the state. They could be 
distributed as surplus foods to other people on relief, in kind. 
There were county welfare departments that were dealing with 
disabled indigents. Additionally they had limited rights to 
sell, such as to public agencies, but the state would take a 
mortgage on their crops, and then they would repay out of the 
cash sales that were made . 

Hicke: And how was this funded? 

Heilbron: This was funded mainly by federal money. I know that I drafted 
the various forms of instruments connected with the loan papers 
and the chattel mortgages and the leases and so on, but I did 
not participate in the administration, so I don't know quite how 
effective it all was. So much depended on the ability and 
integrity of the individuals involved that I always wondered 
about how successful this would be in the long run. 

Hicke: How was the information gotten to people who needed these 

services? How would they find out about them? Through the 

Heilbron: There were emergency relief offices in almost every county. 
Hicke: An open office that was staffed all the time? 

Heilbron: There were tremendous staffs in Los Angeles, for example, in 
all of the major county seats, and relief was a newspaper item 
of considerable importance. The development even of a 
cooperative was newsworthy. The fact that there was such a 
thing as the Rural Rehabilitation Corporation, when it was 
authorized in a bill passed by the legislature, also struck the 
media. And an Emergency Relief Commission was formed at an 
early stage to control policies on relief expenditures. In 
other words, the Emergency Relief director was guided by an 
Emergency Relief Commission. 

Hicke: State agency? 

Heilbron: State agency. I'm not talking solely about the Rural 

Rehabilitation Corporation- -that had its own board of directors 
that consisted mostly of state personnel --but I'm talking about 
a citizen commission that controlled all of the emergency relief 
expenditures in the state, and there were some very good people 
on that commission. 

Archbishop Hanna of the diocese in San Francisco was the 
first chairman, and when matters became heated and the 
discussion was almost ready to get out of hand, he would recess 
the meeting, count his beads, people became calm, and the 
meeting went on. Then there was Dwight Murphy from Santa 
Barbara who was a good chairman. Melvin Douglas, the actor, was 
a very intelligent and compassionate man. Some other names will 
come to me as we go on, but the commission was a politically 
disinterested one, whether they came from the Democratic or 
Republican side. 

I might say their meetings were also forums of protest. 
The unemployed were not all simply meekly taking their benefits. 
Many felt that they weren't receiving enough; that the family 
budgets were too low. There was a good amount of leftist 
sentiments, too, in back of some of the protests- -not all of 
them, but some of them. I think the Workers' Alliance was the 
name of one of the organizations, and they made efforts to 
increase appropriations just like any other group wants its 
interests advanced. So some of these meetings during the 
thirties were quite lively. 

Hicke: Did you attend the commission meetings? 
Heilbron: I attended them, yes. That was one of my duties. 
Hicke: Did you take an active part? 

Heilbron: No, I answered when my advice was called for. 1 remember in one 
case, the chairman was from San Diego--! can't remember his name 
right now- -and he had a certain agenda in mind, which I didn't 
know about, and an answer appeared to be quite obvious to me on 
an issue that was being discussed, and I volunteered it. He 
didn't say anything until after the meeting, and after the 
meeting he told me that he appreciated my counsel, but he wanted 
to ask for it before it was given. [laughter] 

Hicke: The meetings were here in San Francisco? 

Heilbron: No, they were all over the state. 1 remember meetings in 

Monterey, in Los Angeles, in San Francisco, and in other cities. 

There was a Robert G. Hooker, who was also a commissioner, 
a very socially minded man of considerable means. Mrs. 
Treadwell, who ultimately took over the administration of the 
Federal Youth program in the state. These were rather capable 
people, but they were selected, 1 guess, the way the Associated 
Charities would have selected their own board: they came from 
the well-to-do, well-meaning part of society who felt it to be 




both an honor and a duty to be part of the program, but not so 
ouch representative of people who had closer ties to the people 
whose needs were to be attended to. 

May I continue with respect to the relief programs during 
the thirties. The relief administrators appointed pursuant to 
the 1935 Bond Act superseded the emergency relief administrator 
and succeeded to all of his powers. One of the notable 
administrators was Charles Schottland, whom I had appointed in 
one of the welfare relief programs in 1933. He became the 
relief administrator, subsequently the head of the State 
Department of Social Welfare. During the war, he was the 
Director for General Eisenhower of the Displaced Persons Program 
for Europe. Harold Pomeroy was another administrator who had an 
interesting history. And Charles Wollenberg, director of the 
San Francisco Welfare Department, became the Director of the 
Department of Social Welfare. 

Ideas changed as the economic conditions in the state 
changed. It was all unemployment relief, certainly through 
1938, probably part of 1939. I remember that we had an 
appropriation in 1938. It was $48 million and Governor [Frank] 
Merriam deleted a restriction on the use of well over $7 
million, intending all of the appropriation for general use. 
The state controller contended that the removal of the 
restriction resulted in a decrease of the general appropriation 
to the extent of the money subject to the restriction. I 
brought an action in the Supreme Court of California to nullify 
the controller's action and uphold the governor's and the total 
$48 million. The court decided in our favor. I might say that 
I had the benefit of a precedent that had been established by 
another case, and so it was a welcome victory, but not a great 

Well, line -item veto is permitted under California's system. 

In this particular case, it was not a veto but a holding to 
support the governor's authority to maintain the appropriation. 
However, he seems to have vetoed the restriction. 

Consultant to Department of Social Welfare 

Heilbron: Subsequently, toward 1940 when the relief administration ceased 
to operate and its remaining functions were taken over by the 
Department of Social Welfare again, I continued to advise the 
department on different subjects. 


Hicke: So you moved back to the Department of Social-- 

Heilbron: I didn't move back in the same area, because I was a consultant 
to them particularly on matters that related to general welfare 

Naturally, throughout all of this period --throughout the 
thirties--! had very close relationships with the Attorney 
General's Office. Of course, any litigation was still the 
province of the Attorney General's Office. Occasionally we had 
to have our position bolstered by an opinion from the attorney 
general, so I had a very good relationship with that office. 

Hicke: That was Earl Warren? 

Heilbron: Oh, there were various attorneys general. No, not during this 
period. But now that you mention Earl Warren, I do recall in 
the very earliest part of my work as an assistant administrator 
during 1933, Earl Warren, representing the county of Alameda, 
brought its application to our attention, and I was the person 
designated to receive it. Even at that early date, Warren was a 
well-known figure as district attorney of Alameda County, and I 
felt it a little bit embarrassing as a young man of around 
twenty-six receiving the application- -it was an application, not 
a supplication, I can assure you--from Earl Warren [laughter], 
but he treated me as though I were a judge and he was pleading 
his case. I always remembered that. It was many, many years 
later that I brought my children to see Earl Warren, and I'll 
tell you the story at the appropriate time. 

With reference to the kinds of work for the Department of 
Social Welfare, it was in the adoption field, it was in 
connection with the licensing of life-care institutions, 
protecting individuals who had purchased life-care contracts 
from fraudulent or negligent institutions, and the remaining 
phases of relief. But as the defense industries grew in 
California and as recovery was taking place, the relief 
requirements greatly diminished. 

Hicke : How many hours a week would you spend in the Department of 
Social Welfare? 

Heilbron: Well, not too many. It was not like the relief program days. 
In connection with the emergency relief program, it moved back 
from Sacramento to San Francisco, so I could be in close contact 
with problems very easily. The offices were at 49 4th Street. 
The Department of Social Welfare was located in Sacramento. It 
was more a question of correspondence. I did not attend all of 
the meetings of the Department of Social Welfare Commission; I 


would only if an issue involving me was raised. By 1941, I 
recognized that I should put all of my energies into the work at 
Heller. Ehman, which, by that time, I practically was doing 
anyway. So, before I came back from the war, I resigned from 
the department completely. 

Hicke: Veil, you indicated that you might be willing to make some 

comparisons to how the work evolved and the programs evolved. 

Heilbron: There are a few concepts that have changed markedly over the 
years. Some of them changed pretty much in 1933. In the 
earlier days of this century, it was expected that one's kith 
and kin would help him in times of trouble, and you are 
dependent on your family, and that's the reason why private 
charity took care of practically all relief. An indigent was 
regarded as a pauper. You really thought of an indigent in 
terms of a pauper's grave. One old supervisor in San Francisco, 
who was the master of malapropisms , would say, "We owe a solemn 
duty to our indignant dead." [laughter] 

The kindred who were responsible in law were the parent, 
the adult child, the sister, the brother, the grandchild. So to 
get to the county was a long process . And the person who 
enforced the kindred responsibility was not the general civil 
attorney for the county or city, it was the district attorney. 
You were confronted by the district attorney. In 1933 at least 
we cut down the kindred, realistically, to the parent and the 
adult child and the spouse. 

Then, also, there were very strict rules about the person 
applying his own property to the point of destitution- -to take 
care of himself before the public would take care of him. To 
retain an automobile in those early days, that was not a 
possibility. Of course, you had to borrow to the limits on your 
home, and if you got assistance and then you came into any kind 
of money or property, you had to pay it back. So all of these 
very strict rules were modified and relaxed during the period of 
the Depression when it was suddenly seen that a person could 
become needy and be just like every other person. So that the 
kindred liability was cut down and the enforcement provisions 
were cut down, and it was realized that in some situations a 
person had to have an automobile to get to work and still obtain 
some kind of relief. So that was one issue that changed a good 

Then there was this business of the three-year residence 
requirement for the state that actually was initiated, as I told 
you, in 1933 through a consensus of all of the counties 
involved, and the one-year residence in the county. The 


population didn't have the mobility in the earlier days that the 
automobile made possible. Opportunities in other pastures could 
be more easily seen, and there was further growth in California 
during and toward the end of the Depression- -first there was the 
big invasion from the Dust Bowl and then, of course, the more 
positive invasion- -or immigration, I guess is the proper word- 
to. California because of the opportunities in defense 
industries. Yet the three-year residence requirement as an 
effort to protect against this very invasion continued until 
1975. Then, I believe, a one-year provision was put in. 

Hicke: This is state or county? 

Heilbron: This is state. Well, actually, they knocked out the state 

provision because it was meaningless: if you had one year in the 
county, you were one year in the state. So that's what it 
amounted to. I believe that it was changed in '75 to a year, 
but I've noticed in the newspapers that in southern California, 
there's a movement to restore the three -year statute for 
practically the same reasons that occurred in 1933. Some still 
believe that you can stem immigration by such a law that would 
discourage people from coning in. 

Hicke: It would be directed more against Hispanics and-- 

Heilbron: And this proposal will be just as unrealistic, because when 
people are here, they're here. Isn't that the story of the 
homeless? In spite of all of civic complaints, we build 
shelters for them, and it's become a legal issue again, but it's 
different as far as I can see --it's much different from the 
Depression in '33. The mentally ill were in institutions in 
1933, they were not on the streets. There was a pride in 1933 
by the people who were thrown out of work so that even when they 
were not assisted by public funds, they were selling apples or 
they were doing something that seemed to justify their being on 
the streets. Now, with so many white-collar people being thrown 
out of work, you may have something of the same kind of people 
needing aid before too long, and that part of it would be 
repeated, but the homeless on the scale that we have is 
something new as far as welfare assistance is concerned, it 
seems to me. The quality of it is different, I think. 

Hicke: But what you were doing in the thirties was really reflecting a 
whole change in society's attitude, or maybe it was more a 
change of scale, but certainly nothing on this scale had been 
done , and one of the reasons I asked you about preserving 
dignity is because I think that's another thing that was new. I 


don't know how Important that was say in the 19th century or to 
people when they were Just being helped by charities. 

Heilbron: There was no dignity in 19th century programs as far as I can 
see them. Of course, I guess we get most of our ideas of 
charities from Dickens, in the 19th century, but I think that a 
lot of it was repeated in this country. The idea was pretty 
much that the poor were responsible for their condition, and 
when you did take care of the poor, it was on a Lady Bountiful 
basis and you were doing good work. So I think there was a big 
change in attitude. 

I remember the most impressive, the most attended, the most 
entertaining program in the World's Fair of 1939 and '40 was the 
WPA theater over on Treasure Island, which played The Swing 
Mikado, or something of that kind. A black troupe did the 
Mikado, and it was the finest entertainment that they had at the 
fair. It was probably the most popular. Now that was a WPA 
project that certainly was a most dignified affair. I remember 
the WPA Writers' Project, where for every state in the United 
States, I think, travel guides were written by authors of 
considerable talent and ability. Of course, these are 
outstanding examples. 

Hicke: I think a lot of oral histories were taken of blacks and slave 
families, too. 

Heilbron: There was a great deal of good. I'll tell you another example 
of a WPA project that was rather interesting, and that is when 
it was decided to build a San Francisco World's Fair in 1939-40, 
the question was, who was going to take the shallows outside of 
Yerba Buena Island and make a Treasure Island? It was 
determined that that could be done by a WPA project, and the 
federal WPA in Washington drew up a contract with the city of 
San Francisco for the development of Treasure Island. 
Washington WPA headquarters sent out a draft contract, and made 
a request that a local attorney review it from the California 
point of view, and I was the local attorney that the WPA 
depended on, so I was about to review it. 

They advised that it had already been reviewed and approved 
by the city of San Francisco, and I found out that it was Mr. 
McAuliffe who had approved it for the city of San Francisco. So 
I said, "Perhaps I shouldn't be the person to review this, Mr. 
McLaughlin." He said, "I know all about that, and I've taken it 
up with the federal people, and everybody is aware of the fact." 
McAuliffe told me, "You take this contract and do whatever you 
want to with it. I'll never talk with you, and no matter how 
many errors you find in it, it will be all right. Don't worry 


Hicke : 

about that, we are all aware of the situation." So with some 
reluctance, I reviewed the contract with a prayer that I 
wouldn't find anything that worried ae. 

But I did find one thing, and it was something that all 
parties seeaed to be pleased that I found. In the contract it 
said that at the termination of the fair, Treasure Island would 
become San Francisco's International Airport. I didn't know 
anything about aviation, but the planes looked like they were 
getting bigger, and the island didn't look very big, and I 
wondered what the future of aviation was going to be. I said, 
"I think that 'shall become' should be changed to 'may become," 
and that was agreed to by all the parties. So no obstacle was 
put into developing the airport that we now know. 

Having not long ago landed at San Francisco International, I'm 
grateful to you. 

Heilbron: Veil, another difference that occurs to me is in the adoption 

laws. When I advised the department, and there was an adoption, 
you sealed the adoption. The child never knew who the natural 
parent was. The idea was you had a complete substitution and 
there would be no pressures on the adopting parents or the child 
subsequent to the adoption because of a natural parent's 
interest or contact. Now it's absolutely the other way. The 
matter is open, the natural parents identified, and maybe it's 
all for the better, because when the child knows that he or she 
is adopted, there will be a natural curiosity: where did I come 
from? and so on. When he or she is adopted, the relationship is 
legal and is final. So it does not change the legal 
relationship, although it can cause some problems, perhaps, when 
the child becomes a young adult and wants to know where his or 
her roots are , and the natural parent could suddenly become a 
figure in family relationships. Now it's interesting that 
there's been such a reversal of procedure. 

When I started out with the Department of Social Welfare, 
aid to dependent children was a minor program. It was the 
occasional unwed mother who applied for aid for a dependent 
child. But the unwed mother is not an occasional status 
anymore, it's a huge program- -it's a family program- -there was 
one unwanted child perhaps, or even wanted child, who had caused 
the problem in these earlier days. That's not the case. This 
is now one out of every four, something like that; it's a big 
total and constitutes a completely new social welfare issue. 

Maybe that can do for that subject. 


Hicke: All right. I think we've gotten a lot of good information about 
the state relief and welfare program in the thirties. 

Heilbron: Well, I hope so, I hope so. 



[Interview 5: February 5, 1992] ## 

Pearl Harbor and California 

Hicke: We are going to start with your entrance into the military. 
Heilbron: Yes, I thought we would go into the wartime period. 
Hicke: Okay. 

Heilbron: Of course, we all listened with awe and horror at the 

announcement Kaltenborn gave over the radio on December 7, 1941. 

Hicke: H. V. Kaltenborn? 

Heilbron: Yes. He announced the war and graphically described what had 
happened at Pearl Harbor. 1 think his broadcast was around 
noon. Naturally, there was a period of considerable confusion. 
The Los Angeles area took emergency action- -guns fired into the 
air to stop incoming Japanese aircraft that never were present, 
and a blackout was called; all the lights in Los Angeles were 
out except a big sign pointed seaward which said "Welcome to San 
Pedro." [laughter] The war began with surprises. 

With a good part of the fleet destroyed at Pearl Harbor, 
people wondered where the remnants of the Pacific fleet were. 
It was not published anywhere. It was a kind of a secret 
affair. All you had to do was go up on top of Telegraph Hill 
and look out and see where the remnants were --they were in San 
Francisco Harbor. I think one or two of the escaped ships came 
into the harbor also. 

Hicke: The escaped ships? 


Hellbron: Ships that escaped Pearl Harbor. One or two were on the way 
before the action. 

Hicke: Where were you on that day? 

Heilbron: I was in San Francisco. We were at home. We lived at that time 
on Jackson Street, actually a couple of houses away from the 
German consulate. That building subsequently became the 
California Historical Society and that, of course, has recently 
been sold again. 

Now [German Consul] Fritz Wiedeman, I think he left, 
however, before Pearl Harbor and before our declaration of war. 
All I remember is when he left that house, he took thirty-seven 
Yellow Taxi cabs to the airport to transport personnel and 
property and reputedly gave a gift of $10,000 as tips to the cab 
company, I guess, to stir up goodwill for Germany, which again 
makes me think he left before the war was declared. 

Hicke: He was the consul? 

Heilbron: He was the consul general for western states, I believe, and he 
became a rather important figure in the German foreign office 

Well, after a couple of weeks, we were settled down to war, 
but the *legal practice, for some of us, was somewhat difficult. 
Here was a war going on that we recognized was a great 
determining issue for mankind, and it was hard, for me at least, 
to continue with civil practice as usual. 

Hicke: Just to go back to December 7th again, were you expecting 
something? Were you sitting around listening to the radio 
because you thought there was something going to happen? 

Heilbron: No, I think we ordinarily had a news program around Sunday noon 
and- -I believe Kaltenborn's program was usually at noon. Of 
course, the buildup towards the war, the country by country 
takeovers by Germany, was an exciting series of radio programs 
in themselves, so that it was not unusual to be listening at 
that time. 

Board of Zconoaic Warfare 

Heilbron: Anyway, during a good part of 1942 I did continue with the firm, 
but toward the fall I felt that I wanted to contribute something 


more directly to the war effort than helping out at the USD 
headquarters, which I had done, and was encouraged to come back 
to Washington by friends I had made in the California 
government, Charlie Schottland and Harold Pomeroy. So I went 
back and interviewed at the OPA, the Manpower Agency--! think 
Paul McNutt was the head of that --and the Board of Economic 
Warfare, and maybe one or two others. I was rather attracted by 
the Board of Economic Warfare. It was cutting the red tape with 
reference to the procurement of essential military supplies, and 
it seemed to be in the forefront of the war activities, and I 
agreed to come into the board service as a principal attorney. 
With other attorneys of that group, I was to negotiate the 
purchase of more or less exotic metals and minerals that were 
necessary in the development of the new technology of war. I 
dealt with a procurement officer who was an expert in the field, 
especially in the area of beryllium, titanium, tungsten, and 
Brazilian quartz. 

Almost at the outset, an interesting episode: we had to 
review contracts for the procurement, and I saw a contract with 
one H. I. Altshuler for the development of a mining program in 
Bolivia. I didn't go much beyond the first two or three lines 
when I took the contract to the general counsel and said, "I 
can't handle this; Mr. Altshuler is my wife's brother in- law, 
and I certainly don't want to get into any conflict-of-interest 
for myself or for the agency." 

This is an aside, but it proved to be a very wise decision. 
My wife's brother-in-law was a very effective and important 
mining engineer, and he produced quite a bit of the tungsten for 
the United States under the contract, but toward the end of the 
contract period, either in late '44 or '45, the agreement was to 
be terminated, or at least the United States had the option of 
terminating it, and there was an issue as to how much was owed 
to the miners down there, and they were not paid. Mr. Altshuler 
had to make a special trip to Washington to argue the justice of 
the miners' claims. His arguments were accepted; he insisted, 
however, that instead of sending the money down to be 
distributed by the local people, he wanted to go back himself to 
make sure that the money was properly distributed. He went back 
and did that, but for his reward he got put in jail by the 
Bolivian authorities on some trumped-up issue. He was let out, 
or escaped, and got transferred to Peru, where he also was 
interned, but this time he had very good company: the future 
president of Peru and his future cabinet officers, [laughter] 
because it was a political proposition, I guess, pretty much 
from the start. 

Hicke: Which president? 


Hcllbron: I can't recall, but I'm sure I can ascertain it easily enough. 

Hicke: Let me just ask you, though, it brings up an interesting 

question as to how those contracts work. Did the government 
actually pay the workers? I thought you said the contract was 
with him? 

Heilbron: The contract was with him and he was the person who put in the 
claims and got the money on his contract, and he paid the 
workers, but the point is that the funds were withheld from him, 
so he did not have the funds to pay the workers . 

Hicke: Do you know what the problem was? 

Heilbron: I don't know. My wife will recall it, because she and her 

sister had to go to Washington and somehow argue with the State 
Department and raise the money which was a guarantee of some 
kind for his return to the United States. I was overseas all of 
this time with the army; so I wasn't of any help whatever. So 
they pledged whatever they had and they got him back. Then he 
had a long-time claim against the United States on his contract, 
which he finally won fully- -got fully reimbursed. 

Well, this is an aside, but that was one thing I didn't 
have to handle. 

Hicke: Well, that's a good illustration of some of the things that 

Heilbron: The BEW--the Board of Economic Warfare- -was a fast-moving 

operation. It was under Vice President Wallace, who wanted to 
prove that-- 

Hicke: Henry Wallace? 

Heilbron: Henry Wallace, who was against the slowness of that time of the 
Reconstruction Finance Corporation, and there was quite an 
undercurrent [of competition] of who could do best for the 
country. The elimination of red tape in preventive procurement 
in Spain and Turkey and general direct procurement in other 
parts of the world were challenges to the Board of Economic 
Warfare , and I think the accepted view is that the board did an 
exceptionally good job in procuring important essentials for the 

Hicke : 

What is preventive procurement? 


Heilbron: Well, preventive procurement was to prevent the Germans, 

particularly, from procuring the very same things that we wanted 
for the prosecution of the war. 

Hicke: Get there first? 
Heilbron: Get there first, yes. 

Fast procurement and showing that you need the supplies has 
a great effect on raising the prices by the suppliers, and, for 
example in Brazilian quartz, which I believe was pretty much 
picked up off the ground by natives in Brazil, in the upper part 
of Brazil, the prices would go up from month to month as it was 
perceived that Uncle Sam needed the materials. Ve would stop 
all purchasing while there was some negotiation and argument and 
the process would start all over again. 

It was something like the old Key Route trains that used to 
come into the Ferry Building over in Berkeley. They'd come in 
at about forty- five to fifty miles an hour towards the pier and 
have to slow up, and sometimes they couldn't slow up quickly 
enough, and they bumped into something and caused damage and 
accidents. There was a hue and a cry and the trains were slowed 
down to about fifteen miles an hour. Then people would miss 
their boats, and in two weeks they were going twenty- five miles 
an hour and then wham, in about thirty days they were back to 
normal. [laughter] Veil, that was something like the quartz 
purchasing in Brazil. 

It was interesting to be in Washington at the time. We 
were under no immediate threat of the war reaching Washington, 
although German submarines were penetrating the Atlantic, and 
that included the western Atlantic. A doctor fraternity brother 
of mine , who was in Pearl Harbor and was on one of the warships 
and operated all day without knowing where he was or whether the 
ship was going down or whatnot- - 

Hicke: He was on a submarine? 

Heilbron: No, he was on one of the ships that was not completely 

destroyed- -came into Washington, and occasionally we would have 
drills with air sirens, and then we were supposed to rush into 
buildings. Then since nothing was happening, we were never very 
much concerned about it and took our time to get to where we 
should go. But when that siren blew that day, he took us by the 
arm and he just threw us behind a doorway. 

But somehow, since the essentials of the procurement, 
rather than the legal detail, were done by these civilian 


experts, I had a feeling that maybe that wasn't the place where 
I could make whatever contribution I could make . 

Joinine the U.S. Army: Training 

Heilbron: So I applied for a commission in the army and, after time, was 
accepted. This was during the summer of 1943. Incidentally, 
General Barrows of the university had given me a good 
recommendation, and I suppose that that was very critical with 
respect to obtaining a commission. 

Hicke : How old were you now? 

Heilbron: I was thirty-six. 

Hicke: So you were over the draft age by some considerable amount. 

Heilbron: I was over the draft age and had two children. I had talked 

this whole matter over with my wife before applying to the army, 
and considered the children, and we felt, together, that there 
are times when you are tested and there was a right thing to do, 
and we supported my going. Of course, I had no idea the period 
would be as extensive as it proved to be. 

Hicke: At some point I want to hear about Delphine, meeting her and 

your marriage and so forth. Is this a good time, or should we 
do that all at once? 

Heilbron: No, that's a completely different story, and we were already ten 
years married when this is taking place. 

Hicke: Somehow we need to go back and pick that up. 
Heilbron: This point, I think, is probably not the right time. 
Hicke: But, anyway, you had been married. 

Heilbron: It was wonderful to have that support. There were two sides to 
the question as to whether I should have done this- -probably, if 
there were any hesitation on her part, I would not have done it. 

Hicke: She stayed here? 

Heilbron: She was in Washington. See, we had moved to Washington and so 
this was all done from Washington. 


I went out to Camp Custer In Michigan for basic training. 
It was pretty strenuous, but certainly not as strenuous as G.I. 
training would have been, although we had to crawl for a 
considerable distance under live ammunition fire, and we had to 
learn to shoot, and we had what would be a rather complete 
course in the amy in the training of a soldier. 

Hicke: Did you get any training in how to behave as a prisoner? 

Heilbron: Oh yes. Surely. And what to answer and so on. In addition, we 
had the beginnings of training already, at Camp Custer, on 
military government. We 'had a course of military government 
that began with Persia- -Alexander the Great! Of course, it was 
rather rudimentary in the earliest days: you used the men as 
slaves and did with the women as you pleased. 

Hicke: This was in preparation for the occupation? 

Heilbron: Yes, but then it developed in Napoleon, and we had a long course 
on the Civil War Union occupation of Louisiana, but that was all 
in fairly elementary terms. 

After we finished with Camp Custer, we went to a couple of 
universities. The university groups expanded, but at that time 
there was Charlottesville in Virginia- -that was the University 
of Virginiaand Yale [University], and I went to Yale. It's 
remarkable what a thorough crash course we received in the 
governmental structure, the social programs and attitudes, the 
organizations of Germany and the areas to which we would 
probably be assigned. With me it was going to be France, so I 
had a full program with respect to the history of France, the 
culture of France, what to expect from the civilians that we 
would more or less control. 

Hicke: What were you actually being trained for? 

Heilbron: We were trained to take over towns, provinces, countries that 
were conquered or liberated by our troops. We would be left 
behind to control the reorganization of civilian life and, as 
far as possible, to do it in a fashion that would protect 
civilian life and at the same time facilitate any further array 
action that was necessary. Of course, liberation in France 
would be quite different than an occupation of Germany, and it 
was a little bit a question with respect to Italy as to how it 
would go. 

Hicke : 

Did you have to study French? 


Heilbron: Oh, I studied French, phonetic French, and I have the notes 
left, which are kind of amusing, where the French instructor 
tried to make us speak conversational French in a way that a 
Frenchman would understand. It was the opposite of learning a 
language by studying its grammar and actually learning its 
literature and then going into conversation. We were going to 
go into conversation and whatever else we could pick up was on 
our own. 

Hicke: That's really interesting. The first course I took in Spanish 
in school was a U.S. Army-devised language training course, and 
that's, I guess, where it came from. 

Heilbron: Veil, there was a very successful foreign language school in 
Monterey that trained our people to go to Japan and very 
effectively. I think some people would respond to this very 
well- -I know my wife would, she has a good ear for music and 
language. 1 know both my sons would, although they learned 
their language the hard way, except my son David, when he was in 
England and was a Rhodes scholar and had a vacation period, He 
went to Spain for his vacation and didn't know any Spanish, so 
he got on a train with a dictionary in Paris and-- 


Heilbron: --didn't take his head out of the book until he was about to 
cross the Spanish border. A priest came and sat in his 
compartment- -he was a Spanish priest- -and they started to talk. 
Of course, the phonetic side came when he heard the other party 
speak, but he had enough words and enough vocabulary and was 
willing to make any number of grammatical mistakes in order to 
hold a conversation, something I couldn't do. I would be 
worried as to whether I was speaking correctly and then I would 
not be able to talk at all. 

In any event, I was hard at study in French. Except for 
about ten days in Paris where I didn't need any French at all, I 
didn't get to France for my military government work. Indeed, I 
got to Italy and I got into Austria, for which I had no 
preparation at all, except for the concentration on Nazi 
governmental structure and what we had to do to dismantle it. 
It was a very fascinating experience at Yale. The top 
professors in their fields dealt with Germany and Europe. 

Hicke: So you'd have history professors and government? 

Heilbron: Government, that's right, and sociology and some military 

instruct ion --what to expect of the attitude of German officers, 
German prisoners- -and it was a quite interesting period. 


My wife and the boys cane up from Washington for a part of 
this tine- -most of it, I guess. We moved into rooms in the New 
Haven Hotel--! think it was that. It was next door to the 
theater, and I recall that we heard that there was a wonderful 
new musical play intended for New York that would start in New 
Haven. So we tried to get in on a Saturday afternoon and it was 
old out. But they said- -we only had two children, I was in 
uniform, and we looked a little appealing to the ticket manager 
--and they said just wait a few minutes, and just before the 
curtain went up, we got seats in this full house. It was 
Oklahoma! [laughter] It was a magnificent performance. 

Anticipating somewhat, the first musical show we saw when 
we came back with the boys at the opera house in San Francisco 
was a revival of Oklahoma! 

Our mess was at the Fence Club, which was, I believe, at 
Yale a very prestigious club that very few of the students got 
to enjoy, but that's where we had our mess. I remember, not long 
before going, we had a guest and the guest was Boris Karloff. 
Boris Karloff told our sons, "Now you be good while your father 
is away," and they certainly felt that they had to be good, 
[laughter] They had to be good if he insisted. 

From Yale, I went to a camp in Pennsylvania, toward the end 
of the year- -I'm talking about the year '43 --while we had 
further general training; it was mostly a question of physical 
training rather than organizational training for military 
government. I think that was Camp Reynolds, I'm not sure, 
because we then went to a staging area, also in Pennsylvania. 
By that time the family had left me, of course- -went back to 
Washington to wind up our affairs , an apartment in Washington- - 
and so I was prepared to go overseas when we were ordered. I 
remember we finally ended up near the Port of Embarkation in New 
Jersey and were allowed to go in for one last night into New 
York. I went with another officer- -a social worker, I think, 
from someplace in the Middle West- -and the one thing that we 
were told not to talk about was any indication of when we were 
leaving. Some other officers were on the train who talked about 
whether it would be cold on the ship or not. It was sometimes 
difficult to maintain security in Washington. In London, 
security was pretty well maintained. 

I forget whether it was in Washington or in London, an 
officer dressed up as Hitler and another well-known Nazi 
official went around for two days before they were picked up and 
recognized. And everybody had to have a security card to get 
into the Board of Economic Warfare building, the OPA building, 


any building connected with governmental activity. So security 
in sometimes difficult to maintain. 

Further Preparation in England 

Hellbron: Veil, we went to Europe on the He de France, which was stripped 
of all of Its luxury. We were In a room for four people, I 
believe- -carried four as Its maximum- -and we had seventeen 
officers, and that was luxurious. In the hold were thousands of 
G.I.s. The lie de France carried 17,000 bodies. We had all of 
the military government trained officers of the time on that 
ship. It had been rumored, and of course we learned this 
afterwards, that Hitler would be overthrown and that the need 
for military government officers was almost immediate, and that 
was the reason for our sailing at the time. Had we known what 
the course of the war would be , we would not have been sent 
overseas at the early date that we went, because we had to mark 
a lot of time. 

Hicke: What was the date that you sailed? 

Hellbron: We sailed close to the end of January of 1944. 

Hicke: Do you know what the rumor was about? Was it the attempted 

Heilbron: That was a little later that year, but It wasn't the rumor of an 
attempted assassination, it was a rumor that the army would 
seize control and that things were going to come to an end. By 
that time, we had already been in North Africa and I believe had 
landed in Sicily. My dates may not be absolutely right In that 
respect, but the war was beginning to turn; at least that was 
what we were told when we landed in England. 

We had a little bit of an eventful trip on the lie de 
France. The He de France was a very fast ship and was expected 
not to be in much danger, because it could get away from 
submarines, and we were allowed on deck, even at night. But we 
had some New Zealanders aboard that ship, and there were some 
Australians too, and the New Zealanders fussed around with what 
they thought were- -well, I don't know what they thought they 
werebut what they did was to light up a lot of flares, so that 
the ship at night stood silhouetted against the absolute flares 
in the middle of the ocean. If a submarine had been right 
there, the target was lit up for them. They put out the flares, 
and they confined us to below deck for the rest of the trip. 


Hicke : 


The event meant that we had to go southward for half a day that 
we didn't expect, and it took us a half a day longer to get to 

We landed at Greenock, in Scotland, and it was the first 
feeling we had, really, that a war was on. The great balloons 
that were to protect against aircraft bombing, camouflage ships 
all over the harbor, small boats going back and forth- -very 
active, picturesque port, but you knew that there was a war on. 

Ve were transported to a train and went down to a place in 
western England- -took most of a day to get there and got off at 
Swindon in western England. We marched to Shrivenham about two 
miles away; that had been a cadet training center, not equal to 
the British West Point, but, I think, second thereto. We 
arrived there at the very end of January and stayed there for 
the balance of our real military government training, because we 
had by that time to be allocated, divided, assigned to certain 
cities, towns, provinces, countries. 

At first I continued with my French program, but I think a 
couple of months down the line, Harold Pomeroy, who had been a 
relief administrator in California and who was the 
administrative officer of a newly formed group that was going to 
Austria, asked whether I would be interested to join that group 
and, if so, he felt that there would be an opportunity, 
particularly if I would come on as a labor officer. I thought 
that probably would be quite interesting, because it was going 
to be in the area of developing labor policy in part of the 
heartland of the whole German operation, Austria. 

No one knew at the time, before the invasion, what might 
come first. After all, we might go up Italy and into Austria 
and into the underbelly of Europe, go into Germany from that 
side. In fact, it was Winston Churchill's idea that we 
shouldn't be going up Italy at all but going up through the 
Balkans. But Italy was selected. So it wasn't clear how the 
war would end. I don't know of any instructions in military 
government ever considering what happened if a town were re 
taken after our military government controlled the town. I 
guess that the answer was you would be a prisoner. So there was 
no particular instruction in that field. 

How soon were you expected to go in after the--? 

It depended whether you were going into a town or a province. 
Every important collection of small towns should have its own 
military detachment. I assume that something akin to a county, 
for example, might be under a military detachment with small 


towns , and then the next one would be one of the provinces , and 
then the capital itself. The people in the detachments, after 
we did invade, had some extremely interesting experiences. 

Hicke: The first ones in? 

Heilbron: The first ones in. In one case, at the very earliest part of 
the invasion in France, I don't know which town it was, but it 
was important to get the mayor, who was recommended by the 
underground, in office and established. That was done, and he 
had two motorcycle escorts provided by the army- -our army- -and 
he was pleased to start cooperating. Of course, most of the 
French deeply wanted to get rid of the German occupation, deeply 
welcomed the American army. 

Hicke: But didn't they have some French collaborators? 

Heilbron: They had French collaborators, yes, but the bulk of the 
population wanted to be freed. 

Hicke: But were they not governing some of these towns? 

Heilbron: Oh yes, you displaced practically any political administration 
that was there. That was one of the problems of military 
government. What you had to study was who were in charge and do 
you go to the local officers . We had long talks about who were 
the underground, who were the dependable Catholic clergy, the 
backgrounds of each place that we were going to go into. That 
was part of the instruction. 

In any event, this fellow had two motorcycles, and he was 
pleased. Then they went on to the next town, and they liberated 
that town and they gave the mayor a motorcycle escort, but they 
had a terrible time getting things started. Finally, they found 
out what was wrong. The mayor of the first town had two 
motorcycles for an escort and he only had one. [laughter] So 
even in wartime, you get these absolutely ridiculous situations. 

We had a very concentrated experience in west England, as 
far as instruction went. We began to know much more about the 
places that we were going to and some people were assigned- -no 
military government officers went in on D-Day, but a few went on 
D-3, because there had to be some kind of liberation before 
there could be any kind of government. 

It was regarded as an interesting and constructive part of 
the service. General Eisenhower came to Shrivenham, and there 
was a review, and he talked quite frankly about what might be 
expected. It wasn't going to be easy. Not everybody to whom he 


talked was going to come home, 
interesting and vital time. 

It was a rather serious and 

England- -Vis V2 and D-Dav 

Heilbron: Well, one night in June, I guess it was June 6, wasn't it? The 
early morning of June 6 , beginning maybe around three to four in 
the morning, we heard the greatest roar of aircraft that 1 think 
anyone will ever hear. From that time in the early morning 
until that night, there was a constant roar of airplanes, 
because they would fulfill their mission, come back, and go 
again. How anybody could withstand what that power meant is 
almost beyond belief. No one had to tell us that the invasion 
was on. You see, most of the airfields were in western England 
anyway, so they were all around us, and the invasion began in a 
sense in King Alfred's country, which was western England. 

Hicke: Were you briefed at all on the invasion before it took place? 

Heilbron: No, no, no. Ve did know afterwards that there had been- -whether 
it was a leak, everybody on ship was ready to go, you know, a 
day or two before, and they had their occupation money, they 
were all ready to go and then were called back and the invasion 
delayed. I forget the reason, but I know one of the finance 
officers told me that after issuing all of the money, he had to 
take it all back, and it was quite a problem to reinstate the 
invasion. Everybody knows that that was a question of climate 
and a question of whether we would have to delay for a month, 
and perhaps the greatest decision on our side of the war was 
made to proceed. 

Well, we went into London where we occupied a house, that 
is, the Austrian group, in a place called Princess Gardens. I 
suppose you would call it the south side of Hyde Park. It was 
an old Victorian. I guess four or five stories. And that was 
where we had our first offices, and not long after we arrived, 
the V-ls and V-2s began to arrive. I think they called them the 
V-ls. These were the small, automatic, little bomber airplanes 
that ran on fuel, and when the fuel was exhausted, the plane 
dropped with its bomb, and wherever it dropped, it did its 

Hicke: A rocket? 

Heilbron: It was not a rocket, you see, it was a flying bomb, fuel 

dependent. While they undoubtedly tried to gauge where it would 


fall, it was an uncertain and indefinite kind of a munition. 
But it could cause a good deal of consternation and fear. As 
long as you could hear it, it was all right because it was still 
in the air. It was when the sudden hush and stop occurred that 
you were concerned: was it over you or not? And that was what 
was dropping over all of London for quite some time. 

The British started shooting them down with anti-aircraft 
guns, but that was not such a good idea. Unless they made a 
direct hit and exploded the bomb in the air, the bomb would, 
instead of taking a kind of parabolic fall, come straight down, 
and this caused, on a beautiful Sunday morning in the Guard's 
Chapel, which was a little bit of a church sandwiched in between 
larger buildings, one of the most tragic losses when, during the 
service, it killed everybody in the church. After that, they 
amended the way they tried to shoot these down. Actually, 
fighter airplanes, which could out -speed these very easily, 
could shoot flying bombs down much better before they arrived in 
London. That was improved, but for a while it was rather- -well, 
you knew that you were in the war. 

We all had to do fire watch with the idea that if you saw 
something pretty close, you'd come down from the roof and tell 
everybody, and everybody would scatter. By the time you got 
down, I think it would have been too late, but anyway we were on 
fire watch. One night when I was on fire watch, I counted 
seventy bombs flying over London. People in London took these 
attacks with marvelous courage. Everything that they could 
normally keep going, they did. 

Heilbron: One vaudeville kind of performance never missed a night during 
the whole war. I went one night, and Hermione Gingold was a 
young woman, and she was the star. 

Hicke: I've seen her here in the opera, I think. Hasn't she been here 
singing in the opera, or am I thinking of somebody else? 

Heilbron: Veil, you've seen her in moving pictures, but she was always a 

comedienne. She did some serious things, too, but in those days 
she was simply one of the girls. 

Of course, the area behind St. Paul's was thoroughly 
demolished, but that demolition had taken place in the German 
air raids with airplanes. The German airplanes didn't get 
through anymore by the time we were up there. The Battle of 
Britain by air had been won. But these bombs were launched from 
launching pads in Belgium, particularly, and possibly Holland, 


and they were quite a nuisance. I was in a little hotel near 
Hyde Park, and a friend of mine asked why 1 remained in a hotel 
when they had a flat that a lot of American officers were in and 
he'd get me in there, which he did. So I left the hotel an hour 
and a half before the bomb hit the hotel and more or less 
knocked up the room where I was staying. 

I got into a place- -the only room they had was the living 
room, which they would make up during the day, and it was kind 
of a modern room. All around it was glass mirrors. When I went 
to bed, I would think, "My god, if anything did happen, I would 
be glassified." 

Hicke: Slivered. 

Heilbron: That's right, slivered. But it was a pleasant enough place, and 
we all gave the owner our ration coupons, and the result was 
that we were attended to with fairly decent food when we wanted 
it, although we ate mostly at our mess. Our mess was Grosvenor 
House, and that's where the officers in London usually had their 

[tape interruption] 

Heilbron: Most of the officers in London had their mess at Grosvenor 

House. I recall that we were told to eat as much as we desired, 
but to leave the plates clean, and that was the order of the 
commanding general Eisenhower, who came to visit us one day at 
noon, and naturally, as he passed through the line, everybody 
wanted to see to it that the general had enough to eat. The 
result was that his plate was full to the top and there he was , 
confronted by his own order and told by his aides what his 
problem was, and like a true soldier, he finished his luncheon. 

Veil, going back to the flat where I had my second place of 
residence in London, I thought it was relatively safe, because 
there were two stories above my room. But one day, when I 
looked more carefully, during the afternoon when 1 came home, 1 
realized that two of those stories had been knocked out by a 
bomb, and only most of the front surface was there, so I was 
really on the first floor anyway. [chuckles] But nothing 
untoward happened. 

Hicke: Little harder to sleep, though. 

Heilbron: No, you got used to it. Just as the Londoners generally 
accepted the situation, so the rest of us did. 


Hicke : 

After the invasion, some of our army people came back for R 
& R [rest and relaxation] , but they said they returned to France 
ore quickly because they'd rather be in a place where somebody 
was shooting at them directly and intentionally rather than in a 
place where anything could happen at any time . 

There's that constant fear of not knowing what's going to 
happen. 1 think the suspense or something must have been- - 

Heilbron: Well, that's true, [we were happy] when the V-ls were finally 

pretty well vanquished, because we had destroyed them when they 
came in and also we had taken over their launching pads in the 
first part of the invasion. Ue had the rockets--! forget, I 
call them V-2s now, I don't know which were the V-ls and V-2s-- 
but the rockets were by far the most dangerous. You couldn't 
hear them coming, and when they exploded they did a great deal 
more damage than the other type of bomb. 

A friend of mine was on a bus going through one of the 
streets in London, and a bomb hit close by, and there was a 
terrible concussion. I think there is a certain amount of 
whistle before a bomb hits, and he dived in the back seat. 
Finally, when things settled down after- -there was a great deal 
of shaking of the bus, but it didn't turn over- -he got up and 
gingerly made his way to the front of the bus and everybody was 
still sitting down and he looked at them, and not one of them 
could return any words. They were all dead. He was the only 
one in that bus who survived that concussion. So London was a 
queen city as far is its resistance to bombing was concerned, 
but it deserved its reputation. 

I think perhaps the most memorable proof of the spirit of 
the Londoners was at a play, The Last of Mrs. Cheney. During 
the performance, one of these explosive rockets dropped in the 
Thames [River] outside the theater--! guess it may have been the 
Savoy theater- -and the whole theater shook and the cast, I 
guess, was like that group of people on the bus. They were all 
just frozen in their positions, and after the shaking stopped, 
instead of the situation on the bus, the cast went on with the 
play from the conversation that had just been interrupted 
without any hesitation, without any indication of tremor or 
anything else. But then the audience stopped the show. For 
five minutes, they clapped and applauded. I think that's 
marvelous, a better example perhaps of that period than 
anything else . 

Well, we moved from our Princess Gardens to St. Paul's 
School for our headquarters of our Austrian group. Montgomery 
had his headquarters there, and Montgomery left it for the 




active front and took all of the remaining officers with him, 
and we got that headquarters. It was a pleasant enough place, 
and we becaae quite attached to it. In fact, we consolidated 
the British group and the American group of military government 
in that building, and in honor of that occasion, I went to 
Hatred's, bought out all of the St. Paul's ties, and one day all 
of the American officers came into the mess with St. Paul's ties 
to show that we were really one of them. 

So this was going to be a joint occupation? 

Well, in Austria, of course it was going to be a- -remember now, 
by this time, we were all scheduled to be the Allied Government 
of Austria. 

Hicke: Well, I know Germany was divided into parts, but I didn't know 
that was true of Austria. 

Heilbron: We were going to be the central government, and it was going to 
be a four -power control of the central government called the 
Allied Control Commission, and our elements had to be combined. 
We were separate elements only united at a coordinating 
committee at the top, but we had to deal with one another. In 
order for a government to have joint directions, there had to be 
joint agreement that those directions from the Allied Control 
Commission were agreed to. 

Hicke: But it was geographically divided? 

Heilbron: Oh, the zones were divided. There was an American zone, a 

British zone, Russian zone, and French zone. That was true of 
Austria. Vienna itself was a coordinated operation, but even in 
Vienna there was an international zone and then each section was 
divided so that we did maintain separate jurisdictions. But it 
was easier to operate when you more or less developed together, 
and we developed with our British group at St. Paul's. 

I had one rather interesting experience in London. One of 
the things that we had to know was what was going to be left of 
Austria to govern. I had to go down to one of the war 
administration buildings to find out from intelligence really 
what the situation might be as far as they would tell me. I had 
my security clearance to go down. I took a taxi- -I can't 
remember the name of the building at the moment- -but when we got 
there, the taxi cab driver, upon checking the address, finally 
said, "Oh, that was one of the buildings where part of it was 
removed." Removal meant, of course, a big bomb had knocked it 
down, but that's British understatement: it was removed. 




I had the number of the room to go to, and I can't recall 
the name of the person, but let's assume that the name was 
Pence. I finally got to the room number, knocked on the door, 
was told to come in, and saw a young, studious -looking lady 
wearing outsized eye glasses. I said, "Pardon me, I'm looking 
for a Colonel or Mr. Pence." She said, "No Mr. Pence here, but 
there's a Miss Pence. I'm Miss Pence." I presented my 
credentials, and she proved very cooperative. The young lady- -I 
would say probably in her thirties- -with maps all over the wall, 
told me that she was working with army intelligence, and she 
seemed to know in advance what I was interested in. She said, 
"I understand you are interested in Austria." 

1 told her I was interested in what was left of the 
infrastructure of Austria, particularly with respect to its 
manufacturing and other industries, and she said, "Well, let's 
go to the map." And she also had a number of maps in a great, 
big book, and she showed me what the targets were and to some 
extent what damage had been reported done . 1 found that from 
day to day she sent her recommendations with respect to the 
proper targets to weaken the German/Austrian war effort from 
this little room. She had been in Austria, she knew Austria 
backwards and forwards, she knew where all of the places were, 
and here this little lady was-- 

Directing the war? 

Not directing but playing a significant parti I found that 
extremely interesting. Of course, she knew that the Herman 
Goeringwerke in Linz was going to be a principal target, and she 
knew that it was extremely well protected. They had great 
difficulty getting through the flak, but they had already done 
damage there. She suggested that 1 go to one of the airfields 
from which the great bombers took off. 

I went up to Petersborough, the airfield from which our 
major bombers flew. I had to have an invitation from the YMCA 
to get there the head of the YMCA in San Francisco was running 
the Special Services Department for the army at their 
headquarters. It was also the place where Captain Clark Gable 
was stationed. He said, "Maybe you'd be interested to see what 
happens during the night before they take off." 

So I went there to the wildest poker game I think I ever 
saw. Here these young aviators would be betting $500 on a hand. 
Money didn't mean anything to them, and the betting was really 
out of this world. I don't say that they'd bet that amount on 
every hand, but that's what the bets were, and the pots were 
tremendous. And then, when the time came close to the bombing 


missions that left close to midnight, some of them who were 
assigned would disappear and go on their missions. 

Hicke: Was there a lot of drinking? 

Heilbron: No. I can't answer that. The answer was liquor was free and 

easy in the mess in a certain sense. That is, you could go and 
have a whiskey double or single as you wanted twice during the 
mess period, an hour apart, and that was all you were going to 
get. Now what they did up at the air headquarters, I don't 
know. But I didn't notice that- -you couldn't be in that kind of 

Hicke: That's what I was thinking. 

Heilbron: No, no. It was simply that poker was the big relaxation for 
many of them. 1 remember meeting a couple of air officers at 
the Grosvenor mess when they came down for a little R & R, but 
they couldn't take the R & R. They were very glum. They had 
been on a mission where I think they were the only plane to come 
back out of a squadron. One or two planes came back and they 
had lost the others. 

Well, that was a bit of wartime story. Maybe I shouldn't 
be speaking so much of this kind of thing when the real subject 
is military government. 

Hicke: No, I think that's very valuable to get some reminiscences of 
people who were there. 

Through Italy to Austria 

Heilbron: In February of '45, I went over to Paris and coordinated with 
the officers who were going to go into Germany, because almost 
to- -well, even at that time, I think by the end of February of 
'45, I think that we were still operating under the advice that 
Austria was going to be an occupied country. Somewhere down the 
line, the determination was made that Austria would be treated 
as a liberated country instead of as an occupied country, but 
still it was essential to coordinate with the German Allied 
Commission, at least the U.S. Element, in order to determine a 
number of issues that would be the same in Austria as well as in 
Germany. For example, the de-Nazification program. 

I don't know whether it was in France or earlier in England 
that I talked with David Morse, who was the chief Labor Division 



officer for the Allied Control Commission, U.S. Element, in 
Germany. He later became the executive director of the 
International Labor Organization, immediately after the war. 

When I returned to London, I was advised that we were to 
move to Italy and not follow the invasion forces through Germany 
but- independently to go up through Austria. So I went to report 
to the Mediterranean headquarters in Caserta, which was about, I 
think, some seventy miles out of Naples. This was an area that 
had been freed at a very bloody cost. It was the area where we 
landed in Salerno and had to work our way up. The southern part 
of Italy was called King's Italy- -it was freed, it was 
liberated- -and we gave the Italian local governments extensive 
authority in their own area. We did have our own military 
government detachments there already, and we weren't called upon 
to do much duty in Italy, although we were on call, and part of 
our city and province detachments did accompany our troops in 
northern Italy by the time we pushed into the valley of the Po 
[River] . Since all of us were on call to go to northern Italy 
for the purposes of military government, we had all received a 
unit award of a bronze star, which I certainly did not deserve 
because I was not called for that duty. 

Caserta was a fascinating headquarters. It was a tent city 
in a palace- -on palace grounds. It was there that we really 
perfected our plans for the occupation of Austria. I can say 
categorically that when we got up to Salzburg, we didn't know 
whether we were in the planning stage or in the operations 
stage. We knew the places to look for; the people turned out to 
be as expected. The good, unexpected part was that the city was 
left quite intact, while most of the cities of Germany had been 
severely bombed. 

Munich was pretty well hit, but I assume that after the 
determination that Austria was to be treated as a liberated 
country, we were not as severe in our bombing attacks, and after 
all, from the standpoint of the war effort, if we neutralized 
Herman Goeringwerke in Linz, we neutralized most of what was 
important in the Austrian armaments regime. Although there were 
other places; Graz , I believe was an important area of arms 

I have to Just interrupt you and ask you if you know about this 
exhibit that's coming on Austrian arms and armor? 

Heilbron: No, I don't. That, I believe, is from Graz. 
Hicke: Yes, it is. 


Heilbron: But I never got down there. That was part of the British zone, 
and I did not get there. One other area, however, that was, I 
think, more interesting than the armor, no matter how 
interesting that may prove to be, were the salt mines near 
Salzburg where a great deal of the best of European art was 
discovered, and where we suspected it would be. 

Hicke: Did you? 

Heilbron: We suspected that valuable things would be there, not Just what 
would be there. 

Hicke: Were you part of that--? 

Heilbron: No, I was not part of it, although one of the people who was 
directing the work of-- 


Heilbron: --saving and redistributing the art became the director of the 
Legion of Honor in San Francisco [Thomas Carr Howe]. 

We did have some counsel, I think, to give to the army as 
it went up in Italy. Our army had the attitude that I can well 
understand, that when they needed something, they'd pay for 
anything they needed, and that the important thing was to get it 
done. They had an effect of raising wages and drawing off the 
more competent labor from the jobs that they should be doing in 
civilian life, and more or less, let's say, interrupting 
reconstruction of Italy. We advised them repeatedly to try to 
maintain their wage levels at the wage levels of the competing 
civilian economy and to hold as closely as they could to that. 
Of course, where they absolutely required immediate assistance 
and had to pay for it, it was different, but they didn't 
normally operate that way. 

I had an interesting time, once, addressing the British 
group that was the military government of the Naples area, just 
outside of Herculaneum, and told them what our plans were for 
Austria and what our labor policies were. They were interested 
and polite and invited me for luncheon, and I went up to their 
villa, which was a lovely place up in the hills of Naples. The 
luncheon was delightful, leisurely. After luncheon, most of 
them retired for their naps. 

Prior to the time that we completed the luncheon, we did 
have conversation, and I asked them how long they expected to be 
in Italy, which seemed to be getting along, in that area, 
reasonably well. "These people will need us for ten years!" 


[laughter] Now this group had come over from India, where they 
were used to a career of colonial life and privileges, and they 
were simply going to move over to Italy and enjoy them there. 

Hicke : The new Raj . 

Heilbron: That's right, and I don't think they lasted very long in spite 
of the fact that they had Joyful anticipations, because they 
were leading the good life, there was no question about that. 

Well, one day, my colonel--! believe it was, by this time, 
Junius Smithand I were going from Caserta to Rome, where we 
had a meeting scheduled, both with respect, I believe, to the 
future governing of northern Italy, that is, from the military 
government standpoint, and about Austria. We were stopped 
somewhere about midway, and the officer took some time- -no, I 
guess he was a sergeant- -some time before he came back to clear 
us to move on. The colonel, who had a bit of a temper anyway, 
said, "For godsakes, soldier, don't you know that there's a war 
on?" and the sergeant, in a very deliberate tone, said, "Well, 
no, colonel, the war is over." And that was the time that we 
learned there had been a surrender of the German forces in 
northern Italy. [laughter] So we did go on to our conference 
and then soon we'd gone toward Austria. 

I want to say about southern Italy that the two roads from 
Naples to Rome, one along the coast and one in the interior- - 
somewhat like our coastal road in California and our interior 
road up the valley- -were sites of devastation. There wasn't one 
house intact between Naples and Rome, and bathtubs hung out over 
damaged floors, and rubble was everywhere. Monte Cassino, which 
was a monastery, a great monastery, was a scrambled egg on top 
of a hill. The Polish contingent took a severe beating there. 

Well, we went up north farther to a staging area in 
Florence. I believe there was still some question as to whether 
there would be German resistance in the Tyrol and Bavarian Alps, 
and that that was one of the reasons for us not getting to 
Austria at once. They didn't know what partisan activity might 
remain to make it difficult for military government. They 
didn't know whether the Germans would make a last stand anywhere 
in the mountains of southern Germany and in the Alps of Austria. 

Florence was an extraordinary center of military 
concentration, by that time. People had come up from- -the 
British Eighth Army on one side, our Fifth Army on the other 
side, a Brazilian air group located at Pisa, Poles, a Jewish 
brigade, British from mandated Palestine- -it was a conglomerate 
of allied forces. All these forces were represented at a great 


Hicke : 


Hlcke : 


service held when Roosevelt died at the Santa Croce church in 
Florence dominated by Verdi's Requiem, and the people who were 
there were tremendously movedI'm talking about the military 
and the civilians outside, and the civilians inside, too. It 
was a memorable sight. 

There was one very interesting thing I saw as we were 
leaving Florence, and it was a series of derailed railroad cars 
that were- -I don't know whether it was the cars themselves or 
the ribbed cages that had been brought from the cars; I think 
that was it. What had happened was that just before the end of 
the war, Herman Goering ordered that the treasures of the 
Florence art galleries, Uffizi and the others, were to be 
carried into Germany, and he loaded a train and proceeded with 
that train to go through the great tunnel on the way to Bologna; 
the tunnel was right exactly outside of Florence. But American 
intelligence found out about it, so there was the train all 
intact and there was the train going into the tunnel, and the 
Americans bombed the other side of the tunnel and the train 
couldn't get out. So they brought the train back, just before 
we had come into Florence, and these ribbed cages full of art 
were strewn over a big area, and while I had seen the [Lorenzo] 
Ghiberti [bronze] doors in place when I was a student going into 
Italy in 1928, I didn't expect to see them through the ribbed 
wooden cages of one of the huge storage cartons, not cartons, in 
effect great, huge, ribbed boxes where I could see through the 
interstices and know that they were the Ghiberti doors. 

They were still on the train? 

No, no, no. They were taken off the train in a railroad yard 
because I could see them, they were unloaded, but so much had to 
be done. We arrived shortly after the surrender, and the train 
had stayed in the tunnel for a while before they pulled it back. 
It was still not a covered area, and there was the art of 
Florence . Now what would have happened to them had the train 
gone through, I don't know. Conceivably we could have bombed 
that train, thinking that it carried military troops. 
Conceivably they could have been put into caves in Austria. 
Conceivably they could have been brought into German cities and 
bombed there. Whatever, they were intact and saved by the 
intelligence and the bombing raid. 

That's a fascinating story. It makes you realize how fortunate 
it is that there is anything left there. 

Well, an art book was issued called The Lost Treasures of Europe 
after the war, and comparatively very little treasure was lost. 


All ltd Control Commission Austria 

Heilbron: Well, w got up through the Tyrol. Austria changed governors in 
the province of Tyrol pretty shortly after the end of the war, 
and once again I'll have to recall his name. He spoke good 
English, he was a governor who had been put in after the 
surrender and after the Nazi governor had fled, and he took 
over. I aet hia and talked to him a little bit about what to 
expect farther on, and of course much higher officers than I had 
interviewed him, too, because he was to be a good advisor as to 
what to expect from Salzburg, whom to see, and everything else. 
Years later, when he was head of an Austrian ministry, Delphine 
and I were entertained by him in a nice dinner in Vienna. 

Ve got to Salzburg, and there's where we set up our 
regional military government. The Russians occupied Vienna, but 
were not ready to admit us. Conditions in Vienna were very 
difficult. People were short of food rations, and I don't think 
the Russians wanted us in while they were trying to clear some 
things up and while they were preparing the way for what they 
thought would become a communist Austria. So we settled in 
Salzburg and, as I say, we knew what to expect, and we 
established the American Zone with Salzburg as the center. I 
dealt with the Austrians whom we temporarily approved for 
regional labor service- -that is, with some of them- -after all, 
Colonel Junius Smith was at the head of our division- -and we 
successfully set up shop. 

Salzburg was close to Munich, and it had not really seen 
the ravages of war. It had been spared. It was a historic 
cultural city. You could walk around at night in Salzburg and 
hear the playing of pianos, of classical music, almost all over 
town. It was an odd feeling. The end of this horrible war, and 
this kind of season of peace. 

But our de-Nazification started in. We were rounding up 
the people who had been the Nazi officials and the Nazi minions. 
There was a very important camp outside of Salzburg where they 
were all brought together. Of course we all wanted to have as 
much of the comforts as we could take away from the previous 
Nazi regime, and our colonel was delighted that he was able to 
get the big automobile that had been the German ambassador to 
Rumania's automobile, and he also got hold of a chauffeur who 
spoke English and who lived in Vienna and who seemed to know his 
way about, and so he had a driver, too. 

Well, that driver was uncertain about what had happened to 
his apartment in Vienna. He had been a diamond merchant and had 

Hicke : 

Hicke : 


sonehow gotten to Spain to avoid final military service with the 
Gernan army and had come back. He had been well-to-do, he was 
well-to-do. He lived in one of two apartments that had an 
elevator in Vienna. He wanted to know whether there was damage 
to it and so on, so we sent one of our interpreters to his 
place, and he gave all kinds of directions, and our interpreter 
brought back a very interesting picture: there was a fine 
photograph of an SS meeting in the room, and who appeared out of 
the picture of these Nazi officers but our fine chauffeur, whom 
the colonel had somehow gotten out of internment. But he was 
such a nice fellow, and so cooperative and so on. Naturally, we 
had to yield him up to the authorities. 

And drive yourself. [laughter] 

Heilbron: Meanwhile we got another driver. But that was kind of an 
interesting episode. 

The de-Nazif ication went on apace. We were more zealous, 1 
think, than others might have been. Our special services 
department thought that it would be great for the morale for the 
liberated country to put on the Salzburg Festival as early as 
August of the very year of the surrender, and they would do it 
mostly with Austrian talent. I guess they notified our services 
throughout Europe so that they would get a good attendance. 
After all, who had transportation but the armed services of the 
various countries? And, we would let in the Salzburgers , who 
usually never get to see the Salzburg Festival. That was its 
purpose. But in our de-Nazif ication program and procedure, we 
found that we had de-Nazified the wind section of the so-called 
Salzburg Philharmonic. [laughter] The Festival went on, but a 
little bit lamely in that area. I did attend a couple of the 
events and it was quite thrilling. 

You weren't drafted to play? 

Heilbron: [laughter] No. 

Well, 1 think we insisted on a minimum of fifteen to 
sixteen hundred calories per person before we would agree to 
move into Vienna, but we pressed to get into Vienna; we knew 
that that was important. We knew what the Russians were trying 
to do, and one day General Mark Clark called us all together and 
said, "Gentlemen, we are about to move into Vienna, and I'm here 
to find out Just what our procedure will be. My plan is to have 
it happen in ten days." And there was a little quiet, and then 
the food officer for the civilian/military government, a man who 
had come from IBM [International Business Machines Corporation], 
spoke up and said, "Well, general, you know we have our food 






requirements and our food problems. I know where all the things 
are. I believe transportation is available, but we can't do it 
in ten days . " 

This was like the shot at Concord. This was revolution 
against General Clark. You just didn't say no to General Clark. 
He asked some penetrating questions and the IBM man's position 
was simply this: "General, I came over here and 1 am just a 
civilian in uniform," he said, "if anybody can get this stuff 
into Vienna, send me home and take him, because I can't do it. 
I can tell you what I can do, but I can't do that, even if you 
ordered me and I tried to do everything you wanted me to do." 
The general stopped for a moment and he said, "How long will it 
take?" And the IBM man said, "Thirty days," and Clark said, "In 
thirty days we will be in Vienna." 

Clark was a very military type of man. An order was an 
order. He was personally courageous- -you may remember he went 
in on a submarine to North Africa and arranged the campaign for 
the invasion of North Africa, talking with the French who were 
the free French, and he led the very hard battles of Salerno and 
up the whole of Italy, and it was tough fighting. But when the 
war was over, he recognized it had become primarily a civilian 
situation and problem, and he gave the military government the 
right to order his military around to carry out military 
government orders . 

He gave the civilians? 

No, we were all military, but they had to obey what we said, 
which was an extraordinary thing. 

You are talking about the military occupation government. 

Yes, insofar as they had jurisdiction. I think Clark deserves a 
great deal of credit for that, and I think illustrative of it 
was this agreement to defer when he had already made an 
announcement and had to retract it. 

Veil, he did move into Vienna, and I remember with our 
little old Rumanian automobile driven by somebody else, we got 
to the River Enn and we were crossing into the Soviet Zone. We 
were met by a border sentry, asking to see our papers, and he 
asked innumerable questions. He had an envelope, and he was 
writing down the answers on this envelope: where we were, what 
we were doing, who we were, where we were going, why we were 
going, and so on. Our colonel, who had a pretty short fuse 
anyway, controlled himself pretty well, because we were in the 
Russian zone, and if we were told to go back it would take days, 


and we finally were waved on, and as we crossed that little 
bridge over the Enn, we looked back and there was this soldier 
and he took the envelope and he threw it into the river, 
[laughter] So we got to Vienna. 

Occuation o 

[Interview 6, March 11, 1992] 

Hicke: We're starting out this afternoon with Vienna. 

Heilbron: Yes, I think we left our discussion at the point where we were 

on our way to Vienna, and I made some reference to the fact that 
for some time the Russians would not let us in because they 
could not meet their quota of what we thought the minimum food 
requirements were for Vienna. I believe it was 1,500 calories. 
The situation, they claimed, was too confused and the facilities 
were insufficient. Finally we did get under way. 

Hicke: When you say, "We got under way"-- 

Heilbron: We were moved by segments into Vienna, a city that was mostly 
intact except for the buildings on either side of the Danube 
canal, which had been used as fortifications by both the 
Russians and Germans in their final fight for Vienna and for 
some important buildings. 

Hicke: Wasn't the Opera House destroyed? 

Heilbron: Pretty much. Other buildings in the more central part of Vienna 
were also badly damaged, and there was partial damage to some of 
the churches. But still Vienna was a formidable and beautiful 
city, not like, for example, Dresden that had been so badly 
destroyed, or Berlin that was demolished. 

Austria, as 1 mentioned, was to be treated as a liberated 
country instead of a conquered country, a decision made rather 
late in the course of the war, a determination that was probably 
morally questionable but politically wise, because the Nazis in 
Austria were probably the meanest and the cruelest of the lot. 
We had many of them cleaning the streets after we arrived, and 
the Russians had done that before we arrived- -doing the dirty 

Hicke: Nazi prisoners of war? 


Heilbron: Veil, I'm talking about ex-Nazis or Nazi civilians --party 
people . A lot of the party vanished into the woodworks . 

Still, all of the four powers worked better in Austria than 
in any other place where they had joint authority. 

Hicke: You mean there was cooperation? 

Heilbron: In the matter of cooperation. There was a famous four-power 
police jeep, a jeep which included a representative from the 
four occupying powers. Their Jurisdiction was the international 
zone of Vienna. Vienna had been divided into four zones of 
occupation- -of control. Roughly speaking, the Americans had the 
northern zone, the Russians had the eastern part of the city, 
the French had the southern, and the British the western. That 
is probably a little rough as to direction, but that gives you 
the principle, anyway. The international zone was- -I think the 
Opera House was in that zone, as were other of the national 
buildings. In any event, it was that zone that was patrolled by 
the four-power jeep. 

Hicke: There was one jeep that just drove around this area? 

Heilbron: Well, I think there were more than one jeep, but that was the 
character of the program. And it kept pretty good order and 
they did not have fights among themselves, so that was good for 
the police. 

I mentioned the different sectors of Vienna. The British 
had the area that had the palaces and many of the museums and 
fine buildings. The Russians had the more industrial parts of 
the city and the Hotel Imperial. The Americans had the office 
buildings with the steam heat, and the French had pretty much 
what was left. [laughter] 

Hicke: I hope there was a winery or two there for them. 

Heilbron: They had a pleasant part of town near the shops. We had a part 
of what might be deemed to be the more central area and the good 
residence area, which was fortunate for those of us who occupied 
one of the homes there . 

Major [Arthur] Cladek, who was an architect and who had 
been called over toward the end of the war, and I took a home. 
We were allowed to tell the people who owned it to leave, but it 
was a fairly large house, and we told them that they could 
remain. They occupied the top floor. They did vacate the main 
bedroom areas, and of course everybody had the use of the living 
room and the library. It was a pleasant house and we enjoyed 



our stay there. The owner of the house had been counsel to the 
old Austrian government and he was a man of some consequence , 
but he had been a Christian Democrat Dolfus supporter and he was 
out of any important relationship during the period of the Nazi 

We had some administrative difficulties regarding the time 
the segments could confer with one another. I'm talking about 
the four occupying powers. Our period was the usual time of day 
that business was conducted in the United States. The Russians, 
however, did all of their work at night and were rarely able to 
work or contact you until late in the morning. The British had 
an extended tea period. And the French, I can't give you the 
French timetable, but I recall that it was only an hour and a 
half per day when we were sure we could get everybody to discuss 
a matter, except at times of formal meetings. Indeed, we 
alternated in accommodating in our respective sectors the 
biweekly meetings that our committee had. They were bi-weekly 
and then they got to be monthly. The favorite Russian time was 
ten o'clock in the morning where they had what amounted to 
dinner, because they had a huge spread of everything that was 
good at the Hotel Imperial. Whatever the food situation at home 
was, the spread was a regular banquet at ten o'clock in the 
morning, when none of us felt like enjoying it. 

Left the caviar just sitting right there on the table? 

Heilbron: It was almost that bad. 

At the bottom of this list of governmental supervision were 
the poor Austrians whose country we were helping to 
rehabilitate. The ministries were gradually filled with people 
from the old, pre-Nazi regime. We wouldn't take people with any 
kind of Nazi qualifications or Nazi authority for any important 

Our minister came out of a concentration camp- -he was not 
Jewish, but he had been a Social Democrat- -by the name of 
Maisel, and he could not appear at our first meeting. He had 
four or five teeth knocked out and he had to have a lot of 
dental work done before he could assume his official duties. 
And when he was all together, they had a kind of welcoming 
dinner for him in a famous Viennese restaurant called the Four 
Hussars. It was about two blocks down a dark street from the 
Hotel Imperial, which was the Russian headquarters, and it was 
opened up just for the night and then closed again. But it was 
very interesting to see these people who had been ousted during 
the Nazi regime enthusiastically get together. 


Hicke: Can you tell me what his actual title was? 

Heilbron: He became the minister of Social Administration, a department 

that included labor, housing, and social security in our terns. 
He was more or less supervised by the vice president of Austria, 
a man by the name of Boehm, with whom we had dealings on the 
most important matters, as well as with the ministry. 

Now the administrative structure of Austria was divided 
into segments, just like our government is divided, and our 
committee dealt simply with the area of the jurisdiction of this 

Some of the issues we had to deal with were obviously 
wages --we put a cap on wages as there was on prices --and one of 
the questions was, could Austrian workers strike after their 
liberalization? We had developed a policy before entering 
Austria, and it was true during military government in Italy, 
that you could not strike the government at these difficult, 
provisional times. You had to begin to hold the country 
together before certain of these economic freedoms could be 
recognized. This was a US policy proposal, and it was adopted, 
and of course the Russians enthusiastically confirmed it. 

There was a large problem in connection with the social 
insurance questions: pensions and health and welfare. After 
all, the Germans had taken over the entire Austrian government 
through their anschluss and had taken over all of the assets of 
the Austrian system. I had the idea that the least we could do 
was to get our American military government in Germany to cede 
an appropriate portion of assets to finance, at the beginning, 
the rehabilitation of the Austrian social security system. 

Hicke: Did you have the records to deal with this? 

Heilbron: Well, the records were there of all of the benefits owing and 
all that. But our Control Commission in Germany said, "There 
aren't any assets for anybody. You just have to begin all over 
again on a kind of pay-as-you-go system." The records were 
there, the accounts were there, but they had to be fed by taxes 
on wages and how the old system was financed. In effect, we 
have a kind of pay-as-you-go system in the United States, too. 
So it was a difficult thing to reestablish, but it had to be 
established separately and independently, and just covering the 
Austrians . 

Hicke: Was there a lot of protest from the Austrians? 


Heilbron: No, the Austrians were very pleased to have some scope of 

independence. Here they had their own system and they could 
work it out. It was a tremendous Job of programming, and I'll 
come to that perhaps in a few minutes, because the Austrians had 
to reissue a whole vast set of regulations on benefits, and in 
their terms, and it was not easy. But it was reestablished, at 
least the beginnings were made during the period when I was 
there . 

Housing, of course, was a problem. The housing available 
had been damaged, particularly in the poorer sections of Vienna, 
by the fighting, and a lot of people from the hinterland had 
come into Vienna during the war. There were two, quite 
different, views with respect to how housing should be measured 
and benefits allocated. The Russians simply took square meters 
and said, "You have a family, you put a cloth partition 
between," and they just took the rooms and divided them up 
according to space. 

The Western segments felt that you divided it by rooms, and 
you had an arrangement whereby certain areas, like the bathroom 
and kitchen, were available for common use. But the Russians 
would tell us they had this problem and they knew how to deal 
with it and this may be new for us , but when we get into a 
situation of rationing housing, you have to do it their way. 
But they finally concurred, as far as I recall, to adopting the 
room system that we insisted upon for our three zones. How much 
they actually implemented it, I never knew, nor did, I think, 
anybody else in our committee. 

Hicke: That's one thing I wanted to straighten out. Your minister was 
in charge of all of Austria? 

Heilbron: Yes. 

Hicke: But in Vienna- - 

Heilbron: They had their own-- 

Hicke: The Russians could do as they pleased? 

Heilbron: No, no. The ministry dealt with policies for all of Austria, 

but the civic part of the government was of the city of Vienna, 
but insofar as the implementation of policy was concerned, they 
were controlled by the various zones, that is, the supervision 
of how things were carried out. Now the whole purpose of the 
four powers getting together was that the policy should be 
joint, and as I say, if the housing policy was joint, the 
question then was how was it carried out? 


Hicke: Was it implemented by everybody? 
Heilbron: How was it implemented. 
Hicke: I see. 

Heilbron: I mention this question of implementation because we had that 

problem in trying to reconstitute production and factories. We 
had a general supervisory program to see whether the raw 
materials could be purchased and whether the work force was in 
place and so on and whether the whole body of sanitation rules 
was being served. Because after all, even though they were a 
Nazi regime, there were close regulations of how factories 
operated and production took place. We wanted to know how 
things were getting along in the Russian zone: how was 

We told them, you come to the American zone, and you can 
see what you want. We made arrangements with, I guess it was 
the 101st Airborne that controlled Linz, to permit the Russians 
to come in, but we had a hard time getting reciprocal rights, 
and I'm sure that went for the city as well as the country as a 
whole . 

One area where I became particularly involved was that of 
cooperatives. In California, during the Depression, we knew 
something about cooperatives, the idea that people would gather 
together and pool their labor and pool whatever finances they 
had or were given to organize a business and divide the profit. 
The Russians had their cooperatives, too, but they were all 
state operated. Any kind of profit went, of course, to the 
state, and that's the kind of cooperative that they wanted to 
establish in Austria. 

Hicke: Did the cooperatives work? 

Heilbron: We had no difficulty, as a matter of policy, saying we support 
the idea of cooperatives, but how they were working was a 
different matter. So we had a vote in our committee to support, 
more or less, the cooperatives to which we were used or a 
Swedish-type cooperative to get things going again, because 
capital was difficult to assemble, and the cooperative procedure 
seemed to be as good as any to get things started. When the 
policy got reworked in the Allied Control Commission, a draft of 
a resolution was presented that was somewhat ambiguous and 
obviously could be construed to be state controlled in the 
Russian zone and not so controlled in the other zones. 


Purposely written that way? 







Yes. So I was asked to sit in to advise General [Hark] Clark on 
this particular issue and 1 saw the translation and I told the 
general that in my opinion this was not something he should vote 
for and adopt. I explained it. And he immediately understood 
it and he turned to General Koniev and said, "This will not do, 
this will not do." And he said, "You go down and draft the 
resolutions that should be drafted." 

To you? 

Yes, and he says, "And come back in fifteen minutes." 

Oh, Louis, you're kidding! [laughter] 

I'm not. That's exactly what he said. So I went out and thank 
God for my experience when I had to draft emergency legislation 
during the Depression and was up in Sacramento for the Relief 
Administration. It wasn't too long a resolution. I came back 
and it got translated and--. Koniev wasn't terribly interested 
in the problem. This was a minor thing as far as he was 
concerned. He wanted some things with General Clark, and so 
they agreed. They agreed on the draft that I had drawn and so 
it passed. When our committee then met, afterwards, we had 
reports of what had occurred between meetings, and the 
resolution as drafted was reported to the committee as approved 
by the Allied Control Commission, Pigin said, "Hah!" he said, 
"That's a political decision, a political decision!" and he 
still opposed the idea. 

Wait a minute now, I have to ask you, who was Koniev? 
the Russian representative? 

Was he 

Koniev was one of the great generals in World War II. He was 
Clark's opposite. The Control council members were General 
Clark for the Americans, General Koniev for the Soviets; I can't 
recall the names of the French and the British. 

That's okay. I just really needed to know which side he was on. 

We all agreed that there must be de-Nazification, and the 
Americans were quite sincere about it. And it went down to 
lower levels of administration to cleanse, in other words, the 
administration. The Russians were [pause] effective in that 
area also, but the Russians had a little different program than 
we had. 


That brings me to a little discussion about the climate in 
which we worked at the beginning of our occupation of Vienna. 
There was more cooperation, as I have indicated, than perhaps in 
any other area in Europe. There was civility in relationships 
for the most part, on the policy side. But at operative levels, 
there was a great deal of suspicion and distrust, and with 
reason. I remember going down for some purpose to one of the 
railway stations in Vienna, and seeing trains on their way east 
with flat cars loaded with bicycles and appliances and- - 


Heilbron: --liberated furniture; anything that could be taken. And they 
went eastward, and that meant that they were spoils of war sent 
into the Soviet Union. 

The second aspect of this climate- - 
Hicke : Could you do anything about that? 

Heilbron: Well, the answers would be that property was abandoned, the 

buildings were destroyed, they were owned by Nazis. There was 
an answer if you asked a question, but we knew that it was 
pretty much liberated property. 

Then there was the support of the communist party by the 
Soviet occupiers. Now you may remember that I said that it took 
them some time to let us in. In the meantime, they were 
strengthening, as best they could, the communist party elements 
that had remained in Austria and had been evident to some minor 
extent prior to the war. Now, when we first got into Vienna, 
the energy facilities were sparse, and there were blackouts 
every night for the most part, but there were about five or six 
points of light that you could see in the evening. All over 
Vienna, if you got into a little higher part of town, you could 
see these points of light. They were the communist 
headquarters --the only places that were permitted to have light. 

Now, I really don't recall where these points of light were 
located. They obviously were generously distributed in the 
Russian zone; 1 don't see how they could be in the other zones, 
but they were there, wherever the population could be reached. 
And the Russian attitude in our committee as well as in other of 
the departmental segmental committees was, "Let's not try to do 
much policy work. We'll be out of here in September. The 
elections for the provisional government are going to be held in 
September, and they'll elect their government and there is 
nothing for us to do; we'll get out," because they expected a 


Hicke : 

huge communist popular vote and they, in one way or another, 
supported a strong campaign for that vote. 

The election was held in September, and the communists won 
exactly the proportion that they had before the war: 4 percent 
of the vote. And at the first meeting we held after that, I 
recall Pigin's opening remarks: "It looks like we're going to be 
here for a long time." 

There was change. Now, one of the ways that life was made 
a little difficult for us as responsible military governors but 
pleasant for many of our soldiers and unpleasant for our 
taxpayers was the way the currency was distributed and used to 
buy goods. We replaced the currency with occupation currency, 
and the Austrian banks, I believe, were in control of the 
printing of the currency, but the Russians, I recall, had one- -I 
don't know whether they had one printing plant or not- -but they 
had a great deal of currency, and I think that they had one 
printing plant for currency. 

Was this scrip or was it real money? 

Heilbron: Well, it was redeemable currency. Quite redeemable. Now, the 
Russian soldiers didn't have much idea of what this currency 
really involved in the way of value or purchasing power, but the 
American soldiers were much more conscious of it. If they sold 
cigarettes or wristwatches or other things that they could get 
from the PX to their Russian counterparts, they made a very 
handsome profit. But it was permitted, when you left the 
country, to turn in your currency for American dollars at the 
established rate. So a lot of our people went home with a good 
many American dollars, but they must come, after all, from the 
taxes on the American people. So that's why I described it as 
being pleasant for some and unpleasant for others. 

Hicke: A little addition to the G.I. Bill --they had extra money to go 
back to school with? 

Heilbron: That's right, that's right. 

Now, we had a professor of economics from Harvard running 
the financial segment of the American element of the military 
government; the Allied Control government. He was not 
particularly a soldiery type. He was a professor in a uniform. 
But he knew finances. And they were changing the kind of bills 
that were designed to be printed as Austrian currency. We were 
finally getting to the point where the government would have its 
own currency, and the National Bank of Austria was in charge of 



printing it. At least the government was furnishing the 
currency to the National Bank for distribution. 

The Russians --Soviets --gave an order to the bank to turn 
over the plates to them for the printing of the currency. 
Arthur Harget knew that Austria probably would never recover 
from what would happen if the currency were printed and 
distributed in an inflationary manner. So he heard this from 
the Austrian bank, and the order was peremptory- -right away! 
They deferred answer, saying that they did have to report the 
demand to the Americans, so that's how Marge t found out about 

He went to General Clark's headquarters shortly after lunch 
and the military aides guarding the general's quarters said that 
he could not see the general at that time because the general 
was taking his afternoon nap- -a short nap. Marget said, "Nap or 
no nap," he said, "this is very important; I must see him." The 
officer said, "Colonel," he was a lieutenant colonel, I think, 
or maybe a full one, I don't know, "we don't allow this for 
anybody, and this is the general's orders." But Marget strides 
right into the room. The general was not quite asleep, and the 
colonel taps him on the shoulder and General Clark says, "Why 
Arthur, what brings you here?" [laughter] And he told him. 

He just got right up and grabbed a phone to call Koniev and 
said, "This is not going to be done!" And there was apparently 
an understanding, and so this Harvard professor, in my opinion, 
saved the finances of Austria. Clark's response was similar to 
the response he had given to the IBM person in Salzburg. When 
he stopped being a general in war, he was an administrator in 
peace and knew when to follow his civilian advisors. 

The whole economy would have deteriorated considerably. 

Heilbron: Well, it would have, certainly. 

I think I told you that at the beginning, commodities that 
were scarce determined a good deal of the personal economy. It 
was a cigarette economy at one level. Did I tell you how angry 
we were when our German military government counterparts came on 
leave to Salzburg and gave two packs for things that we were 
only giving one pack for? It almost really wrecked the economy! 

Now with respect to our committee and our procedure within 
our labor committee- - 

Hicke: What was the full name of this committee? 

Do we have a proper 


Heilbron: I think it would be the Four -Party Labor Committee under the 
Allied Control Commission. 

Hicke: Okay. Thank you. Sorry to interrupt you there. 

Heilbron: Pigin was a bureaucrat with communist rules of behavior, but he 
was interested in applying these rules. He was not contentious, 
he was honest within the limits of his understanding of what an 
appropriate government should be, and that would be a communist 
government . Mr. Iley, of the British, was a diplomat. He 
always was able to draft proposals or articulate them in a very 
soft way and was quite effective, but he also knew when to dodge 
a problem and yet have it achieved. 1 remember that no-strike 
policy against government, which I mentioned before, when we 
first proposed it, he said, "Well, you know," he said, "I shawnt 
[with British accent] object to it, but you know I'm part of a 
Labor government and I can't quite agree to it." 

The American, Colonel Junius Smith, for whom I was deputy, 
was a tall, spare, sharp-tongued man, somewhat contentious, 
rather hostile to the idea that there could be such an ideology 
as communism, and willing to get into heated arguments. He was 
a very warm-hearted person. I remember that when we were in 
Salzburg, we took a side trip to Munich, and we went to Dachau. 

The whole debris of the camp was there. It was a terrible 
sight. Afterwards we went back to Munich, and we saw the 
unedited movies that the armies had taken of the liberation of 
several concentration camps, including Dachau, of the skeletal 
surviving prisoners, the skeletal dead prisoners, of the 
impossible living quarters, of the ovens. It was hard to 
witness. They also showed how the camp was organized in a 
picture with the whole design of the camp. When it was through, 
all of us, not only those from Austria but there were a whole 
group of officers visiting Munich at the time and saw this 
picture, responded with a long period of absolute silence. 

Later Smith asked me what I thought affected me most in the 
picture, and I indicated it was the somewhat familiar picture of 
the children playing with bones for toys. He said, "You know 
what was the most emotional thing for me? It was that 
engineering design. There weren't any people in it. There was 
an absolute mechanical design to kill thousands upon thousands 
of people." He said, "That, to me, was the worst part of that 
picture." That indicates the kind of man he was. And I thought 
he was quite right. 

The French representative was an admiral, and he was a 
soft-spoken man, soft and briefly spoken, quite logical, as the 




Hicke : 

Hicke : 

French are, but he did not take the initiative in practically 
any of the policy matters, as I recall. My own Job was to be 
deputy to Smith, but during the fall, he left for an extended 
leave to the United States, and 1 took over the American 
chairmanship spot for a good part of the remaining time that I 
was in Vienna. 

I learned a few things as chairman and helped a little 
bit. The chair put matters up to vote upon, and the custom was 
to call on the British and the French and the United States, and 
lastly the Soviets. This usually began with three votes for or 
against the proposal, as you might expect, and the Russians felt 
hedged in. Instead of it being a benefit to say, "Now, you'd 
better go along," it undoubtedly helped to fortify the 

Backed them up against the wall? 

Backed them up against the wall. So when I was chairman, I 
reversed the order and called upon them first. And it helped. 
I frankly talked about this with Pigin, and said, "I don't even 
have to call on you first. I'll vary it. But I'll never call 
on you last. " 

What was his response? 

Oh, his response was, "Thank you. It made no difference 
anyway." He couldn't admit that it made any difference, but it 
did make a difference, I think. 

Could I just ask were you all of more or less equal rank, or was 
that ever a problem or an issue? 

Well, it was not a problem. I was a major, the colonel was our 
chief in charge ; of course he was a colonel . 

A full colonel? 

A full colonel. The British sent a person from their ministry, 
one of the top bureaucrats from the labor department of the 
British government, and the French sent an admiral. But it 
didn't make any difference. It was the authority which you had, 
and I had never felt any trouble on that account. 

I also said that as long as I would be in the chair, 
whatever disagreements we had during the course of the meeting, 
we would not adjourn unless it was on a note of agreement. I 
didn't care if it was an agreement that it was a good sunset, 
but I said that should be the way we adjourn so that we could 


open the next meeting with understanding and a feeling of 
cooperation. And while it was a very minor thing that really 
didn't have too ouch substance to it, I think it had some good 
effect on the feelings within the group. 

Hicke: You were already practicing the art of negotiation? 

Heilbron: Well, that's where I learned a great deal of it, I suppose. I 
think that I was able to contribute something, because my 
experience with government during the thirties taught me the 
difference between policy and administrative detail. The 
tendency of almost any policy group, whether it's a board of 
trustees or a committee of this character, is to get interested 
in detail and try to shape the way things should be done and who 
should do it and so on, and that gets you into all kinds of 
unnecessary trouble. So I think that that was some little 
contribution to our procedure. And, of course, I think we all, 
when it was possible, sought consensus. 1 tried to make a 
particular effort to be on relatively decent terms with 
Mr. Pigin, because that, I knew, was where we would have 
problems. The Soviet representatives usually refused any kind 
of social relationships whatever. 

Hicke: 1 was wondering about that. 

Heilbron: You couldn't get to them. And it was reinforced by an 

experience that we had at a social event at the beginning for 
not only the leaders of the committee, but all of the staffs got 
together. The Russian girls asked our representatives how much 
their pay was in the United States and they couldn't believe it 
when they heard it. That made the rounds of the Russian staff 
and those social events were curtailed and then ceased. 

So I asked Pigin whether he would come over to the Hotel 
Bristol, where our chief mess was held in Austria, and he said 
he would. 1 said, "Now please be sure to come, because 1 want 
to get a good interpreter," and he did arrive on time, and I had 
General Clark's interpreter, who was marvelous. He could take 
three or four people in a conversation, speaking different 
languages, and translated so quickly that you had the impression 
that you were actually talking with the person. And he 
interpreted for us at dinner. 

I asked familiar things about Pigin' s family and what he 
did in the Soviets, how he had operated before the war, where he 
went to school, that kind of thing. And he was pretty frank on 
policy questions, too, more frank than we would have reason to 
expect. I told you how he characterized his own general's 
determination as political in that cooperative affair, and he 


was somewhat frank in that way as to what the best communist 
course should be, not what the compromise should be. Clark's 
interpreter told me that he was the brightest Russian he had 

[tape interruption] 

Hicke: You know what we're talking about it here is really the sort of 
mini -roots of the Cold War. 

Heilbron: I'm coming to that. 
Hicke: Oh, okay. 

Heilbron: By the time that I left, in February of 1946, Austria was 

settling down to a decade of reconstruction and revival. The 
Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats had come together 
in a cooperative government , sharing the ministries , and our 
state department was taking up more and more of the military 
supervisory functions. The Austrian ministries and the economic 
infrastructure was slowly being rebuilt, and they were beginning 
to get on the road to the independence that they achieved in 
1955. But the Cold War was underway. 

I had come from a relatively earnest effort at consensus 
and cooperation in Vienna. But when I came home with a group of 
military officers who had served in combat and were also going 
home and who had had some dealings with Russian soldiers who 
came into their zone, they expressed a feeling that it wouldn't 
be long before they'd have to come back and fight these 
fellows. They had a feeling that war would be inevitable, that 
the Russians had planned to take over Europe and-- 


Heilbron: For the most part, they were insulated in the American zone. 

They didn't have the interchange that we had in Vienna. I don't 
know where all of their thoughts and ideas came from, but even 
the chaplain of this group that came with us on the way home 
felt that there couldn't be reconciliation with people like 
that. By the time I got out of Europe, I felt that I was almost 
escaping something that was going to happen. Not in a matter of 
years . 

Now, of course, this was personal experience derived from a 
small contact group, but I came back on a victory ship, and 
there were a lot of people on that ship , and I spoke with some 
of the officers, and they seemed to share this attitude. It had 


to be derived, partly, from--. 
from some direct experiences . 

Veil, it may have been derived 

Also, the Americans and the Soviets in Germany had a far 
different experience than we had in Austria. They were in an 
occupied country, and the aspirations for the domination of 
Germany by the Russians and the attitude that Germany would have 
to be held down and almost not be allowed to recover was deeply 
felt by the Soviets, who had suffered a lot from the war. So 
that the disagreements in the Allied Control Commission in 
Germany were far more substantial than those in Austria, and I 
think that that kind of experience was reflected on the ship 
going home. 

Hicke: You've really described a microcosm of what I've read about 

negotiations between superpowers- -this idea of the Russians that 
it's going to be communist policy or nothing. And it's also 
interesting to speculate--! wonder if people other than you, a 
lot of people, approached negotiations with the idea that you 
did, that we are not going to back the Russians into a corner, 
we are going to maybe go out of our way a little bit to make 
sure they are first sometimes, I wonder if that might have been 
more effective than some of our methods. It's just interesting 
to speculate how much you set up. 

Heilbron: I want to make clear that that was procedural and not 

Hicke: I know, but that approach could make a huge amount of 
difference, I would think. 

Heilbron: Well, it could, I think that was actually done. The maintenance 
of the Cold War was a kind of cold civil relationship which was 
perhaps both protected and threatened by the huge arms build-up 
on both sides. 

Hicke: You set up expectations or expectations were set up just in 
your little group that the Russians were always going to go 
against you, so they were last. If those expectations were torn 
down, as you did- - 

Heilbron: Well, yes, but that did not necessarily mean that the Soviets 
were going to always be persuaded to come to our position. It 
simply meant that the discussion would not proceed with 
hostility and if consensus was going to be achieved, it could be 
achieved with the minimum of rancor. 

Hicke: I think that could have been crucial in some other situations. 


Heilbron: Now, interestingly enough, the International Labor Organization 
held a meeting in San Francisco in 1947, the year after I came 
home, and the very people that I had been working with came over 
to that meeting, and we entertained them in our home. David 
Morse, who had been the chief of the labor program for the 
American military government in Germany, was now the president 
of the ILO. So it was an interesting- - 

[tape interruption] 
Hicke: So did anything come out of that? 

Heilbron: It was just a pleasant social event. Boehm was here, Maisel was 
here, and a few others that I had worked with. I remember they 
were most impressed by the beauty of the city, and one question 
that one of them asked as we went through the various 
neighborhoods, and I'm including Richmond and Sunset as well as 
Pacific Heights and Sea Cliff, was "Where are the workers' 
homes?" Europe was more used to big block apartments for the 
working population, of course. 

Hicke: Especially in the Eastern European countries. 

Heilbron: But Austria was not that kind of a country, and coming from the 
Viennese, I was surprised to hear that question. We did our 
best to show the kinds of little homes that people have in those 
areas. I guess we didn't go far into the Mission District 
because there wasn't any particular reason for it. 

Then when Delphine [Heilbron] and I went to Europe in 1955, 
we were invited to the Schonbrunn Palace to witness the 
Declaration of Independence and the signing of the Treaty of 
Independence by all the powers, which we wanted to go to, but, 
because of our itinerary, we would have had to miss Venice 
completely, and we figured that-- 

Hicke: That was a hard choice. 

Heilbron: --we'd rather see Venice than be in the back row witnessing the 
signing of a treaty. However, we did see the Maisels, he 
invited us to his home, and Victor Reuther--he's the brother of 
Walter Reuther--who was in charge of the international section 
of the CIO, also was visiting Maisel at the time we were getting 
together. I think we had a little difference of opinion on some 
management/labor question, but that wasn't very important, 
[laughter] That wasn't very important. 


Hlcke : 

There would be more to say, I'm sure- -much more to say if 
you developed more of the details, but that, in general, was the 
experience in Austria. 

That's quite fascinating. It is very interesting, 
[tape interruption] 

Return to the U.S.A. and Law Practice 1 

Heilbron: Well, the return to the United States, California, and to home 
was most welcome. My children were twenty- seven months older, 
so was I, and so was Delphine, and we had a most happy reunion. 
I think I mentioned that during the period of time that I was in 
military government training at Yale, we saw Oklahoma!, and the 
first performance that we saw together after my return was at 
the Opera House and it was Oklahoma! 

I concentrated full-time with Heller, Ehrman after 
rejoining it and gave up my consultation with the relief 
agencies and became a partner in 1948. I devoted a good deal of 
my time to the development of a labor specialty in which I had 
had some initiation abroad. On the nonprofit side of affairs, I 
engaged, during the fifties, in the Public Education Society of 
San Francisco, a kind of watchdog agency that preceded the San 
Francisco Education Fund, though not nearly as effective as the 
Thacher agency. 

Hicke : What was the Thacher agency? 

Heilbron: Well, that's the San Francisco- -she founded the San Francisco 
Public Education Fund. And I was active in the Congregation 
Emmanu-el and the Jewish Community Center, where I became 
president during the fifties, in both of these institutions. 2 

1 For Heilbron' s legal career, see Chapter IV. 

2 Sectarian, community, and further public services are dealt with in 
later chapters. 



Law School: Boalt Hall 

[insert from Interview 1: April 25, 1989] 

Hicke: When you were at Boalt School of Law, did you specialize in any 
kind of law? 

Heilbron: No. I suppose that the courses at Boalt were pretty well 

distributed for the preparation of both the bar and general 
practice. As previously noted, I did participate in Moot Court 
and was the co-winner of the competition during my senior year 
at Berkeley. That might have indicated the life of being a 
trial lawyer but actually that didn't occur. Most of my 
practice has been outside of court with clients in business and 
personal transactions and in labor matters (although some of 
these involved court or NLRB [National Labor Relations Board] 
appearances). I did take a course with Barbara Armstrong, who 
taught labor law. In that day the specialty of labor law was 
not too well developed; so I suppose I did indicate an interest 
which became part of my specialized practice much later on. 

Hicke: And you graduated in 1931? 

Heilbron: That's correct. 

Hicke: So you were in law school in the midst of the Depression? 

Heilbron: Yes, I entered in '28, and the Depression took a time to develop 
after the stock market crash in October of the following year, 
1929. However, that did not faze me too much. I married while 
I was in law school, a few days before the stock market crash, 

'Interviews conducted for the book Heller, Ehrman, White & McAuliffe: 
A Century of Service to Clients and Community, by Carole Hicke, 1991. 


and thus got into the problems of both married life and economic 
life very quickly. 

Hicke: And going to law school besides. 

Heilbron: I was in law school during the entire period through mid-1931 . 
During that time I was assistant to the dean of men, and its 
offices fortunately were just across the way from Boalt Hall at 
California Hall. So I did have that position during law school. 

Hicke: What did that involve? 

Heilbron: For the most part, you will recall, that involved taking care of 
fraternity problems- -economic and academic. I believe I told 
you about these in a previous interview. 

Hicke: Okay, well back to law school. What did Barbara Armstrong's 
course cover? That was quite early before an NLRB action had 
taken place. 

Heilbron: That's true. It's a bit difficult to recollect, but I guess 

that I can say that a good deal of it was anticipatory, although 
some of it obviously had to do with ruling case law. California 
was in the vanguard of states with protective legislation for 
women and minors, and some of the New Deal did develop from 
California legislation; so there was a background of law with 
respect to child labor and minimum hours for women. We had a 
workmen's compensation law that was established in 1911, I 
believe. So there were plenty of things to talk about. 

Hicke: After you graduated, what did you do? 

Heilbron: After I graduated I prepared for the Bar, took Mr. [Bernard] 

Witkin's course in preparation. Later on, I taught part of Mr. 
Witkin's course, but first I took it and passed the Bar. After 
that I sought employment. I applied at Heller, Ehrman, among 
other places , and I had been recommended to Mr . Ehrman by Monroe 
Deutsch, who was the provost at the University of California at 
the time, and before very long I met Mr. Lloyd Dinkelspiel, Sr., 
who was the partner in charge of hiring new associates. There 
was no place at that time, but I was promised that when the 
first vacancy developed, I would be contacted and given a chance 
to become associated with the firm. 

So to summarize some previous remarks , I became one of the 
staff of the State Department of Social Welfare with the 
interesting project of consolidating and rewriting the indigent 
laws of the state, and this was a time when the attitude toward 
needy people, particularly able-bodied unemployed, was changing, 


and private agencies throughout the state were overburdened with 
the new problem of the unemployed in the Depression. 

Hicke: How long did you say you worked for the State Department of 
Social Welfare? 

Heilbron: I was there during 1932 and in 1933- -most of that year was with 
the State Emergency Relief Administration. By September of that 
year, Heller, Ehrman contacted me, and I had to decide whether 1 
was going to continue in government or whether I was going to be 
active in the profession for which I had been educated, and I 
did accept the offer, but remained to the end of the year with 
the Relief Administration in order to finish up some of the work 
we were doing. 

Joining Heller. Ehrman. White & McAuliffe. 1934 

Hicke: Why did you choose Heller, Ehrman? 

Heilbron: Actually, I had been to several other law firms. I knew Mr. 
Dinkelspiel, Sr. Heller, Ehrman had a splendid reputation in 
San Francisco. Small as it was, it stood among the larger firms 
in San Francisco, and I was the thirteenth person in the firm; 
so you can see that all firms were scaled down, compared to what 
they are today [chuckles]. I did have an opportunity with 
another firm at that time, but there never was any question in 
my mind; when Heller, Ehrman took a person in during those days, 
it practically spelled a lifetime career; so I didn't entertain 
any doubts . 

Hicke: Can you elaborate a little bit on the reputation of the firm? 
What was it well known for? 

Heilbron: Well, you know, you didn't enter a firm because you investigated 
what it was known for. You knew it practiced civil law, it had 
a fine reputation, its people were in the community, you knew 
them from the community, and so I don't think you entered for a 
specific purpose. You were going to do everything, once you got 
there, as all the other attorneys were doing at that time. You 
didn't think particularly whether you were going to go into 
litigation or were going to go into probate, for example. I 
suppose that the known connection between the firm and the Wells 
Fargo Bank was of interest, because it obviously meant that a 
good deal of legal work would be generated by that relationship. 


Hlcke: And that a very important bank had a lot of confidence in the 

Heilbron: Yes, that would be true. And I would like to say that a 
positive factor attracting me to Heller, Ehrman was its 
reputation for being an open, friendly firm. From its first 
partnership, it drew no sectarian lines and was the first firm 
in the city, I believe, to make a conscious effort to include 
members of the three Western faiths in fairly even numbers in 
the firm, and that was known and that did have an interest and 
attraction for me , as I imagine it did have for others . 

Hicke: That's a very important characteristic. 
Heilbron: Yes. 

Hicke: Can you recall who called you and actually asked you to come to 

Heilbron: Yes, Mr. Dinkelspiel. 

Hicke: And did he tell you to start the first Monday of the year or 
some such thing? 

Heilbron: No, he asked if I could come September 1, and Mr. R. C. Branion, 
who was the director of unemployment relief at the time, asked 
if it would be possible for me to remain for the closing three 
months of the year because of the immense burdens then being 
placed on the Relief Administration. I was the principal 
contact with Washington at the time, drafting the requests for 
additional funding, almost from month to month, and I think Mr. 
Branion felt that it would be helpful if I could remain until 
the end of the year. 

Hicke: Was the pay comparable to what you were receiving- -the pay 
offered by the firm? 

Heilbron: It was a little more than half of what I was receiving. 
Hicke: I wondered. Do you remember how much it was? 

Heilbron: Yes, I remember that I got $175 a month when I came to Heller, 
Ehrman, and I was getting $300 even during that time of 
Depression. But I decided that it was a lifetime career I was 
embarking upon and that if I remained with the government, I was 
going to stay with government and try to climb the 
administrative ladder. I will say that the firm was very 
reasonable about my continuing to advise the Relief 
Administration, and I became a part-time advisor of the Relief 



Louis H. Heilbron was born in Newark. New 
Jersey, May 12, 1907. The son of Simon L. 
and Flora (Karp). 

Received his A.B. dc.crec in 192S ami LL B. 
decree in 19M from the L'niversity of Califor 
nia. Admitted to the bar in California. October. 

Mr. Heilbron is a member of the firm ot 
Heller, Ehrman. White and McAuliffc. 

He is a member of the San Francisco Bar 
Association, and State Bar of California. 

He is married and has two children 

Residence is in San Francisco. California. 

Offices: 11 Montgomery Street. Sail Francisco. 


Administration and the Department of Social Welfare, and WPA, 
during the thirties and that service yielded supplemental 
earnings . 

Hicke: Do you have the date of your employment --the first day? 

Heilbron: Yes, January 1, 1934. I completed 1933 with the Relief 
Administration and then went to work as of January 1. 

Hicke: But you didn't necessarily start on New Year's Day? 
Heilbron: Oh, no. The first work day was January 2. 

Earlv Davs 

Hicke: Well, on whatever day you did start, what happened when you 
walked in the door? 

Heilbron: I went to Mr. Dinkelspiel's office and he saw to it that I got 
an office. 

Hicke: You had an office to yourself? 

Heilbron: Well, that's a good point. It wasn't really an office. It was 
the library annex that was part of the premises at 14 Montgomery 
Street. 14 Montgomery Street was the Wells Fargo Bank Building, 
and the bank occupied all of the floors except the seventh, 
which Heller, Ehrman occupied. There was a library, a main 
library, on that floor, and then also at one end bordering a 
kind of grubby court was the library annex. That was filled 
with old English reports, old American reports, and me. And the 
traffic was light because of the nature of those legal 
resources . 

Hicke: A bit dusty, maybe? 

Heilbron: I suppose it was. Its window, as I said, looked out on a court 
that was located between the Hobart Building and 14 Montgomery 
Street. Things were rather quiet there, but sometimes there was 
activity. Once I looked out through the window and down came a 
falling body, which crashed through the glass roof of a luggage 
shop all the way to the first floor below. A suicide. This was 
not- -this was unusual but not unique in those days. People 
jumped from buildings, and Montgomery Street was- -I wouldn't say 
perilous, but it was hazardous. [laughter] So that, early on, 
was one experience with the Depression. 



Hicke : 







You really did get a firsthand experience of it. 

About that first day, the annex was where 1 was taken, and then 
I went into the main library. I was introduced to the other 

Was there a librarian? 

No, we didn't have a librarian. We did our own research, and 
I' trying to think if one of the chief secretaries had any 
library responsibilities, but I don't believe so. We went to 
the library to do all our own research. Of course, legal 
research was very familiar by reason of law school training, so 
that wasn't too much of a problem. 

So you met all of the other- - 

I met all the others, including one of the older associates, 
Albert Monaco, who was, perhaps, the scholar associate of the 
office at the time, and he enjoyed asking questions of his 
associates. He would usually begin his question by saying: 
"Sharkey, what about this situation?" And in a more restrained 
way, he asked me a rather complex question. 1 can't remember 
what it was, but I certainly knew that I didn't have the answer. 
But he kept on talking and gave about two or three solutions to 
the question that he himself asked, and I latched onto one of 
them, and he thought that I was pretty competent. [laughter] 

That's wonderful. Was that the first day? 

The first day, and I got my feet wet right away. 

Yes . Did somebody take you to lunch or what did you do for 

I really can't remember. The associates did go out for lunch 
together, and I am sure I was provided for on that day. I think 
that one wants to get adjusted quickly, you know. There is a 
great story of Earl Warren. He had not been a judge before he 
was appointed Chief Justice. He went back to Washington, and on 
the first day of his becoming active as Chief Justice, he went 
through the black curtain and called the calendar, and you'd 
think he'd been there for ten years, according to people who 
were present at that time. 


Of course, joining a law firm on the first day is hardly the 
same [laughter] as having a first day as Chief Justice. 1 


merely mean that one can become adjusted rather speedily if you 
know that's your job. 

Hicke: Well, what was dropped in your lap when you first started? 

Heilbron: I can recall the kinds of problems that we dealt with in those 
days. But I can't tell you what was assigned the first day. I 
do have a recollection, however, that I immediately got a 
problem from Mr. Dinkelspiel, because that obviously was going 
to be a question: what's this associate going to do? 

I got a legal problem for research from Mr. Dinkelspiel, 
and others followed. I was introduced to all of the senior 
partners, all of that ceremony took place right away. 

Now with respect to the kinds of things that we did in 
those days: I mentioned to you that we did everything that we 
were assigned. First of all, there was routine bank business. 
Unfortunately, during the Depression, even after making 
allowances for hard times for people in trouble , the bank 
engaged in a number of foreclosures, and that was a problem. 
Many small businesses and people faced bankruptcy, and we 
appeared before the bankruptcy referee. 

The New Deal spawned alphabet agencies, although a new set 
came into being much later, but the big agencies that are more 
or less historic came into being at that time, the National 
Labor Relations Board, the Agricultural Adjustment Board, the 
NRA, I think it was called the National Industrial Recovery Act. 
It had a relatively short period of life, but it certainly 
stirred things up while it applied; businesses adopted codes of 
fair competition, and we did have assignments to work on for our 
clients who were engaged in developing a code for their 
business . 

There was some experience in litigation, and it was like 
being thrown into the swimming pool: whether you had learned to 
swim before or not, you were going to swim if you were going to 
get to the other end of the pool. [laughs] 

Hillside Support Case 


Can you give me any examples? 

Heilbron: Yes, I'll give you one or two examples. I remember having a 
lateral support case, that is, on a hillside lot, the lower 


hillside supports the upper side, and you shouldn't do anything 
on that hillside which causes a spillover. And, by the same 
token, the upper hillside shouldn't so overburden his part of 
the hill that it falls on your parcel. 

Somehow, I think through the bank, I represented a family 
that had a great deal of earth spill over and ruin the vegetable 
gardens and flower gardens on their property. They wanted 
compensation, and they also wanted the upper property owners to 
pay for a supporting wall to prevent it from recurring. The 
upper property owners claimed that the lower property owners had 
done things in watering and also in the way they planted to 
cause their earth to slip from them, and therefore it was the 
lower family's fault. And so we went to court, each maintaining 
his position. 

This was a minor case, but the courtroom was filled. I had 
an Italian family, and the Greek family above was in a feud, 
practically, with the Italian family. This was in the Mission 
area, because that's where the hillsides were that were still 
cultivated to some extent. 

After three days of the court being filled and with 
audience reactions to the testimony, the court summoned me and 
the other young lawyer gladiator into his chambers and said, 
"Gentlemen, if I have to decide this case, I'll decide it, but," 
he said, "it doesn't matter who will win, this is going to be 
civil war." He said, "You fellows settle this case, because 
it'll never be settled, even by a decision of the court." 

So we settled the case as might be expected on a half-half 

basis, with our sharing the cost of the embankment that had to 

be put in, and that was the case that I remembered because it 
was the first time I was in court. 

Hicke: And were the two parties satisfied on those- - 

Heilbron: I understand that they embraced each other afterwards. [laughs] 

Hicke: Really? 

Heilbron: And I was invited to go to the celebration. I didn't get there, 
though . 

Hicke : 

They had a party? 

Heilbron: They had a party to celebrate the end, because I think the court 
admonished them that they should be good neighbors, and they 


were fundamentally good people- -emotional- -but If they could 
agree on this kind of a settlement, they were happy. 

Hicke: Well, that was a wonderful case to get started on. All court 
cases should end like that. 

Heilbron: That's right. 

Hicke: That was your first litigation, you say? 

Heilbron: That was the first experience, yes. 

Hicke: Had you not even accompanied another lawyer for a trial? 

Heilbron: No, that was rather interesting. Later on, when I had a 

personal injury case, I asked Mr. Dinkelspiel if he would come 
and at least listen to the presentation and the questioning and 
give me some counsel as to procedure, and he did that, very 
kindly. But it was not the usual practice. You learned pretty 
much on your own. 

Hicke: How long after you had started did you try this case? 

Heilbron: Oh, I would say it was within the first year. But we learned 
much by accompanying the senior attorneys in more important 

United Airlines Crash 

Heilbron: We had a very important case where again I was the associate 

accompanying Mr. Dinkelspiel, and I did a good deal of the brief 
writing and trial preparation. 

It had to do with a United Airlines plane on a beautiful 
calm night approaching San Francisco airfield, the airport, and 
suddenly plummeting into the Bay without reaching the airport. 
Many people died, even though the water was relatively shallow 
where the plane landed, but there were a good many deaths by 
drowning . 

There was apparently no explanation. The airline company 
developed one, through an accident that happened elsewhere, that 
something, some foreign element, substance, had fallen into a 
crevice where the stick that controls the elevation was located. 
But we didn't accept that at all, and we were representing one 


Hicke : 
Hicke : 

Hicke : 

of the plaintiffs, that is the widow of one of the plaintiffs 
who was a prominent attorney in San Francisco. 

Do you recall who it was? 
I think it was a Mr. Butler. 

I can't remember his first name. 

Vincent Butler. [killed October 7, 1935] 

Yes, Vincent Butler. I remember doing the research, and you 
know there were very few legal cases involving this kind of 
accident. I think there were seven or eight in all, since the 
beginning of commercial air transportation. 

But I was satisfied that the doctrine that applied to 
trains was the doctrine that was going to apply to airplanes, 
and that is the very well-known, established doctrine of res 
ipsa loquitur, the act speaks for itself. If the person cannot 
answer the apparent negligence involved in the act, then he has 
not met the burden of reply, and since in the case of driving a 
complex locomotive or an airplane, the only people who know the 
operation are the skilled people operating the engine or the 
airplane, if they haven't got an explanation, then they fail to 
meet the burden of proof and are liable. We obtained a 
favorable settlement. And to my knowledge, to this day no 
airplane company has permitted a case to get to the Supreme 
Court of the United States where the res ipsa loquitur doctrine 
could be finally established. It has simply been assumed, and 
the cases are all settled. 

So that was a watershed case, really. 

Well, I suppose so. Of course as I did tell you, there were 
other cases before us, but this was the largest, I think, 
commercial passenger accident up to that time. 

Choo Ing the Jury 

Hicke: What was it like to go into court the first time, getting back 
to that other case? 

Heilbron: I was scared to death. I remember another case I had. It was 
against a stock brokerage firm that failed to sell on the order 
of the client- -verbal order of the client. At least that was 
our claim, and there was a good deal of testimony going to be 
derived on both sides. 


Hicke: Do you remember the name? 

Heilbron: I remember the plaintiff was Henry Altshuler, who was a brother- 
in-law of my wife. But I don't recall the broker. In any 
event, we sat through the jury selection, and I was associated 
in this case with another attorney who was not in the office 
(Henry Robinson), and he was not too experienced either. So we 
got there to choose the jury, and now and again we objected to a 
person to be on the jury, and we almost got finished with the 
jury selection. At the first recess, we then heard from the 
bailiff, "Do you know what you guys did? You fellows knocked 
off some of the best plaintiffs' jurors we have around here." 
[laughter] We were really fortunate: we settled the case, and 
that was it. [more laughter] 

We had removed jurors from the jury box for reasons that we 
felt were prejudicial to our case; for example, we thought that 
this business person would lean too much toward the brokerage 
firm. But evidently the judgment was not as good as it might 
have been. 

Apparently we didn't dismiss them all, because the other 
side was willing to settle the case. You know, the great bulk 
of cases get settled, even though many of them are at what we 
call the courtroom steps. And some [are dismissed] during the 
early part of a trial, but usually when a trial begins, it 
continues . 

Hicke: Do you aim for a settlement, or do you go by the wishes of the 
client as to whether he or she wishes to aim for a settlement, 
or do you prefer a court trial? 

Heilbron: Well, it depends on the case. If you have an extraordinarily 
good case- -you' 11 have to talk to the litigators. You're not 
talking to a litigator when you're talking to me, although I've 
had my experiences in court. I'm sure they will tell you that a 
good deal depends on the case. If you have a rather weak case, 
you prefer to settle. If you have a strong case and you feel 
that the offers of settlement are not realistic and that you can 
do far better by trying the case, you go ahead. Of course, your 
client's desires are very important. You might recommend 
settlement and he might refuse, and there are some clients who 
will not settle under any circumstances. You may recommend; the 
client decides. 

Hicke: Also, in cases you have mentioned, you have always been a 

plaintiff attorney. Is that a general rule of the firm or- -I 
don't mean rule, but do you generally represent plaintiffs more 
than defendants, or vice versa? 


Hellbron: Oh, no, even In litigation that I had at the beginning I had 

defendants just as well as plaintiffs. A law firm such as ours, 
representing many corporations, means defending them In many 

Senior Partner* and Clients 

Hlcke: Let's get back to your first days at the firm. 1 wonder If you 
could tell me a little bit about all of the senior partners, as 
much as you can remember. 

Heilbron: Of course. Mr. [Emanuel S.] Heller had died in 1926, and 
there's no one here who can tell you about Mr. Heller from 
personal contact. Maybe I should say something about him 
because he was the founder of the firm. 

Hlcke : And whatever you know or heard would be helpful . 

Heilbron: He began practice In 1890, I believe on Sansome Street near 

Pine. He was, by his portrait, a very handsome man. He soon 
became the attorney for the Veils Fargo Bank. He had the 
reputation of being a very precise and careful lawyer. He 
believed in following the rules of court and practiced very much 
to the letter. By that I mean if a document was to be notarized 
it was going to be notarized in front of a notary and not, as 
some lawyers did for many years --they don't do that much any 
more- -take the signature and then let the notary subscribe later 
on. If he were in litigation, I don't think he'd grant 
continuances very easily to the other party who might have 
requested them. 

The story was that if you had a case down in San Jose, you 
got your train fare and your carfare to the railroad station at 
Third and Townsend and back and that was it. And if you had to 
remain in San Jose over lunch, that was on your own. [laughter] 

Hlcke: Okay. 

[tape Interruption] 
Hicke: We were just starting to talk about Frank Powers. 

Heilbron: With respect to Powers, the partnership of Heller & Powers was 
formed in 1896, and I'll talk about Powers in a moment, after 
completing comments about Mr. Heller. 





It's a little strange to me that in 1898 Heller went off to 
the Spanish-American War, but he did, and he eventually was a 
captain in the Quartermaster Department there in the [U.S.] 
Army. The family legend has it that after he left the army, the 
auditors of his department found that there was a missing 
hammer. He offered to pay for it. Apparently, he couldn't 
account for it. But they didn't want any compensation, they 
wanted the hammer, and for thirty years he had correspondence 
with respect to that hammer. One wonders whether perhaps the 
meticulousness with which he practiced partly was derived from 
his experience with the army. 

May I say that the information that I have received with 
respect to Mr. Heller comes primarily from two sources: from his 
daughter-in-law, Elite Heller, and his grandson, Clary Heller, 
both of whom are deceased. 

He was deeply interested in Californiana and collected 
paintings and engravings and prints with reference to the 
history of the city. In the 14 Montgomery Building, our 
corridors were filled with these lithographs, engravings, and so 
on. So there is no doubt about that factor. 

He was quite civic minded, and it's my understanding that 
he and two others started the San Francisco Symphony with 
contributions of $100 each. Apparently money went a lot farther 
in those days than it does today. I don't know what use was 
made of that money, whether it was simply to employ a secretary 
or clerk; I certainly don't believe it employed an orchestra. 
But, nevertheless, that was the seed. 

His son, Ed Heller, introduced Ellie, his prospective 
bride, to his father, and after the introduction and a kind of 
family interview and she left, Mr. Heller is reported to have 
said, "She seems to be a very nice girl, but is she healthy?" 
And there again is another carefully phrased statement. 


He acquired a good deal of property in Atherton, and I think the 
city more or less grew around his property and divisions of his 

Do we have his address at a house where he lived? 

Well, we do have his address. I don't have it at my desk [98 
Faxon Road] . The property remained in the name of the family 
until his grandson's, Clary's, death. He incorporated Atherton, 
and indeed he included some disputed land with Menlo Park, but 


no litigation ever resulted from that, and Atherton proved to be 
the lasting beneficiary of it. 

He was very much involved in the construction of the new 
Temple Eaanu-El at Arguello and Lake Streets, which was built in 
1926, and he was particularly interested in the architecture, 
which has become rather famous. Clary stated that he loved 
horses and displayed them in a kind of festival or circus from 
time to time. The Menlo Park Circus Club may have developed 
from this kind of celebration. 

Hicke: Sort of English riding, jumping, something like that? 

Heilbron: Yes, it's a group that was very much interested in riding. I 
don't know to what extent, if it was simply English riding or 
otherwise. That's rather unimportant, I think, with respect to 
this history anyway. 

He was a delegate to the Democratic Convention in 1920, 
which nominated [James M. ] Cox and [Franklin D. ] Roosevelt for 
the presidency and vice presidency. In a sense, that has some 
importance. Mr. Ehrman was a prominent Republican, Mr. Heller 
was a prominent Democrat, and just as there has been no line 
drawn on sectarian lines, there has never been a line drawn on 
any kind of political lines with respect to people who might be 
interested in the firm or the firm might be interested in them. 

Now, do you want to go on with some indication of the other 
senior members of the firm? What about Mr. Powers? 

Hicke: Yes. 

Heilbron: Mr. [Francis H.] Powers ceased to be a name partner on his death 
in 1920, but some things he did have had an effect even to this 
day. Again I must rely on the memories of others or newspaper 
accounts . 

He appeared an unlikely partner of the somewhat austere Mr. 
Heller. He was an aggressive trial attorney, wore boots in 
court, had a temper, was sympathetic in the handling of 
employees, seemed interested in the results rather than in 
detail. He was an imaginative real estate operator as well as a 
lawyer. He bought a considerable amount of property on the edge 
of Monterey Bay and sold many of the lots to professors, 
musicians, and artists. Ultimately he incorporated the 
development- -it became the town of Carmel. 

His interest in maintaining good personal relations 
influenced his partners and the practices of the firm. The 


precedent of his interest in real estate and real property law 
has been followed throughout the firm's history. Some of his 
Carmel clients remained with us for many years. 

Regarding Carmel: the story has come down to us and has 
been frequently retold that Powers laid out the streets of 
Carmel by employing his own surveyor and giving him as his 
helper one young Florence McAuliffe. McAuliffe was no expert in 
this assignment and that is why his help produced streets that 
are curvy, uneven at the edges --and charming. I stand by the 

Hicke: So then we come to Mr. Ehrman. 

Heilbron: He was the perfect gentleman lawyer. He set the tone for the 
office. He was the benevolent monarch. 

Hicke: Along the way, if you can think of some stories that illustrate 
some of these things--. 

Heilbron: I'll try to. Lloyd Dinkelspiel, Sr. , was the Prime Minister, 

and Florence McAuliffe, the Chief Counselor. Mr. E. dealt with 
the major matters for the Wells Fargo Bank. 

Hicke: This is Mr. Ehrman? 

Heilbron: This is Mr. Ehrman. He became the trustee for the Western 

Pacific Railroad. He had a remarkable memory for California 
cases. I don't think that there was an important California 
case whose citation he did not know. And he had a similar 
recollection of the most important California statutes, so that 
in a way, he was a library resource. 

Hicke: Was he just particularly interested in the California 

Heilbron: At his time, it was possible for a lawyer who had deep roots in 
California to know most of these cases. Now, with the vast 
number of reports, it's really not, I don't think, possible. 
Maybe Mr. Witkin is an exception. Then, one year of reports 
could be put in one book; now it takes, even with the Supreme 
Court, several volumes to record the cases of one year. 

Hicke: But also, he was rather unusual- -not everybody knew all of the 
California statutes. 

Heilbron: No, I don't say he knew all of the California statutes; I say 

the major statutes he could locate quite quickly from memory by 
the year, and the cases he remembered rather well as far as 


citations went. He joined the firm some months before the 
earthquake . 

Hicke: Just out of law school? 

Heilbron: Oh, no. He was associated with Garret McEnerny and W. S. 

Goodfellow for several years; he joined Heller and Powers in 
late 1905. The earthquake/fire occurred in April 1906; the 
building in which they were located- -14 Montgomery- -was badly 
daaaged and the firm moved to Mrs. Heller's house- -E. S. 
Heller's house- -on Jackson Street, down from Octavia, on the 
north side of the street. The house still stands. Indeed, if 
you look at that picture over in the middle of the wall there, 
that's the house, and you will see three banners at the lower 
windows. One of them is for the Union Trust Company, at that 
time a client of the firm. The other is for the Wells Fargo 
Bank, also a client of the firm, and then the firm name is on 
the other banner. 

Mr. Ehrman describing the conditions of practice at the 
time when they were in Mrs. Heller's house, to the San Francisco 
Bar Association once remarked that confidentiality with the 
clients was a problem, because all of these institutions were on 
the first floor of the home. So, if you wanted to protect 
confidentiality, you went into the bathroom and gave to the 
client the only seat, and there the necessary business was 

He, like Mr. Heller, was very civic minded and generous and 
a patron of the arts. He was the main financial supporter of 
Yehudi Menuhin, making possible the advanced musical education 
of Mr. Menuhin abroad, as a child, and as a young man. 

Hicke: That is certainly a contribution to society. 

Heilbron: Yes. And he himself was an accomplished violinist and supporter 
of the city's symphony and opera. He was a regent of the 
University of California, and in connection with that, I have an 
untold anecdote about Mr. Ehrman. He was on the board of 
regents at the time of the loyalty oath controversy. If you 
will recall, the controversy started out when a modified oath 
was developed by the administration and adopted by the regents. 
Later, when the academic senate protested against that oath, 
President Sproul changed his position and recommended against 
the modified oath- -so called the "Regent's Oath." 

Ultimately, that oath was held unconstitutional by the 
Supreme Court of California. But the oath generally required of 
employees of the state with reference to loyalty was upheld, and 




the faculty was, for the most part, willing to take it. One day 
I was able to discuss the issue with Mr. Ehrman and asked him 
what he thought about the situation. He said that he wasn't so 
concerned about what oath was taken or whether any oath should 
be required. What he was concerned about was the constitution's 
protection of the university as a kind of "fourth estate" --that 
it was constitutionally immune in matters of academic 
governance, he felt, and it was the power of the institution 
that he wanted to preserve. In other words, he disagreed with 
the Supreme Court's determination and felt that it was 
inconsistent with the original constitutional provision 
protecting the university. I thought that was a rather 
interesting position. 

Yes. The issue itself --the side that he was on would not be 
normally typical of his philosophy? Am I correct in thinking 
that? And that is why you questioned him? 

Heilbron: Well, yes. He was a Republican, but on the moderate/liberal 

side. People were surprised, knowing him, that he had taken a 
position supporting any oath. 

That's what I wanted to get clear. 

Heilbron: He was also a board member of the California Historical Society. 
He was very much interested in history. His son was an 
historian; he died at an early age- -in his twenties. 

Mr. Heller married his wife Clara Hellman in 1899. I don't 
know when Mr. Ehrman married Florence Hellman, but it may well 
be that the firm had a relationship with the bank prior to those 
marriages. I think that's rather important to indicate since 
the father of both these ladies, Isaias Hellman, was president 
of the bank. 

There again, you had an interesting situation. Clara 
Heller became an ardent Democrat because her husband was one, 
and Mrs. Ehrman [her sister], a prominent Republican supporter, 
and sometimes the frictions that developed caused them to not 
speak to each other at long intervals . 

Yes, Mr. Ehrman was quite generous with reference to firm 
members in the purchase of homes . He would lend them money for 
the purchase of a home at 2 percent interest, and let them 
declare their program of repayment. 1 know I financed my 
purchase of a home at the bank, and when he heard about it, he 
was most distressed, and in order for him not to be distressed, 
I transferred the loan to him at a great savings in interest. 


Hicke : 


Hicke : 


I think it's well to say that during his active partnership 
life, no important decision was made with respect to admission 
to partnership without his consent. There were some very 
competent lawyers in the early days who felt that they should be 
partners, and when they announced to him that their time, they 
felt, had come, he said that if it's a question of their 
deciding when they were going to be partners, it was unfortunate 
but they would have to separate. 

What were the standards for partnership? 
of how it was decided? 

Do you have any sense 

I would imagine they were partly subjective, because these 
people were competent people, but I think there was probably an 
element of undue assertiveness, and maybe evidence of an effort 
to work a power play and what it might mean to the future of the 
firm, that affected his judgment. I don't know, obviously. 

Now, Jerome White was a bear of a man- -big- -and he did a 
good deal of the trial work of the firm in its earlier days. He 
was interesting to watch. He was persistent in his cross 
examination of a witness. He had twenty ways of putting a 
question and finally getting an answer over his opponent 
lawyer's objection. He was somewhat gruff, sometimes rough on 
associates with his candor. He purchased a home out in Seacliff 
just above the waters outside the Golden Gate Bridge, and at 
seven o'clock in the morning he went swimming every day. 

Outside the bridge in the ocean? 

Yes. This wasn't China Beach, this was even west of China 
Beach. He went down the stairs to the shore at the very edge of 
the cliff below. I remember that he became involved in 
important litigation because one of his clients by the name of 
Kohn willed him the bulk of his estate. Kohn had a son whom he 
disinherited, and he made that clear in his will. The son and 
father didn't get along at all, and there was a good deal of 
correspondence in which the son vented his anger and discontent 
and the father vented his , and told him in letters that he was 
not going to give him anything by way of a legacy. 

When the time came to litigate the will contest involving 
Mr. White, the letters became the most important evidence. The 
case really depended on the ability of Mr. White to produce the 
letters at the appropriate time at trial. The letters --that is, 
the father's letters to the son- -were in White's possession, but 
the son claimed them as his property, because the letters had 
been addressed to him. So, the son brought an action of 
replevin, that is to recover the letters. 


Mr. White ' attorney was Theodore Roche, then one of the 
great trial lawyers in San Francisco. The opponent was Eugene 
Bennett of Pillsbury, Madison [& Sutro] , also certainly one of 
the great trial lawyers of San Francisco. Mr. White was also 
helped by Senator Hiram Johnson, who made his first appearance 
in court after twenty years of leaving it and being in the 
United States Senate. There were, of course, assorted 
assistants to this amazing case that was conducted before a very 
good judge, Judge Ward. 

I went out there carrying the briefcase but most interested 
to watch the proceedings, because of the ability and status of 
the lawyers involved. Senator Johnson gave the most eloquent 
address of all of them when he said that he "had not been in 
court for over twenty years, Your Honor, but that he knew that 
there was a time when justice had to be done and called him to 
the court, and that in all fairness these letters had to be 
preserved in order that the trial would have a proper course and 
a just result." The judge finally impounded the letters for 
purposes of the trial, and the case then was over, because the 
son knew that he would not have any chance if the letters were 
available to the court. 

Hicke: That's interesting procedure. 

Heilbron: I might add that some observers did not understand why the court 
could not release the letters under order that they would have 
to be produced on subpoena at the trial. Whether that was part 
of the argument of the other side, I can't recall, but in any 
event, the case took the course that 1 have indicated. 

Hicke: Was Senator Johnson acquainted with Mr. White? 

Heilbron: Yes. But Senator Johnson was, I believe, an absent or former 

member of the Roche firm, and probably that's how he got brought 
into the proceedings. 

Now we can go into Florence McAuliffe. 
Hicke: Yes, let's proceed. 

Heilbron: McAuliffe was a barrel-chested Irishman, and if Ehrman was the 
aristocrat, McAuliffe came up from the ranks of office boy. He 
was not a learned lawyer, and probably in these days of 
recruitment from the top law schools of students who are in the 
top of their class, may not have been recruited if it had been 
his misfortune to have belonged to a later generation. He 
nevertheless was a good lawyer. He was immensely practical. He 


was an excellent judge of human nature. He could foretell the 
results of litigation just by knowing who the judge was. 

He was a moving legal figure in the building of the San 
Francisco Bay Bridge [completed 1936]. In factI'm assuming 
the building of the bridge was inevitable --it might have been 
ten years longer in the building if it weren't for his 
persistence with the RFC and the Congress and the legislature. 

Financing it and paving the way through authorization for 
eminent domain were very important matters. The south was not 
too enthusiastic, although they got a bargain for their 
assistance with the bridge. 

Remember, I was up in the legislature on the day that this 
bargain was resolved. The San Francisco delegation was a little 
slow in being willing to put the state's credit back of relief 
for five southern California counties. So the Los Angeles group 
said, "Well, if you don't feel that the relief of our counties 
is important to the state, then we have some reservations about 
the importance of that bridge that you want to build." So 
relief was exchanged for condemnation. 

Hicke: It must have been interesting for you wanting both things. 

Heilbron: It was fascinating. 

Hicke: Do you recall who was in the San Francisco delegation? 

Heilbron: I believe Joe Feigenbaum was the leader. I can't recall the 



I'm wondering also who retained Mr. McAuliffe. 
Bridge Company? 

Was there a Bay 

Mr. Purcell was the Chief Engineer of the San Francisco/Oakland 
Bridge and a very good friend of McAuliffe. He was retained by 
either the State Department of Public Works or the agency that 
was formed as the California Toll Bridge Authority. And when I 
say that McAuliffe's persistence resulted in the financing- - 
that's true, but Purcell 's equal determination and skill were 

I believe that McAuliffe was also the lawyer selected by 
the Golden Gate Bridge District with respect to the bridge that 
was building over the Golden Gate, but he gave most of that 
function over to Jerome White. 


Hicke: Mr. [Don] Falconer of your firm indicated that he was looking at 
both of them. 

Heilbron: That's correct, but I think he devoted so much time to the San 
Francisco/Oakland Bridge that he gave much of the work to White. 

Hicke: That's interesting. The firm handled both of those. 
Heilbron: Both of those rather important matters for the Bay Area. 

Hicke: What was the connection with the Golden Gate Bridge building? 
Did he know the engineer? 1 can't remember his name. 

Heilbron: [Joseph] Strauss. I don't know that connection. 

To get back to McAuliffe, he served as president of the Bar 
Association of San Francisco and as president of the State Bar 
[Association of California] . He was a conservative man in his 
politics, in his view of what government should and should not 
do with reference to welfare and the state. Personally he was 
absolutely liberal and generous to a fault. He was a bachelor. 
He educated his nieces and nephews and many of them went to 
college on the basis of his support. 

I had one very interesting experience with McAuliffe. I 
was asked by Governor Culbert Olson to draft a work relief bill. 
Olson believed- -and I guess this was toward the latter part of 
the Depression [1939] --that every able-bodied person should work 
as a condition of relief. This wasn't a particularly new idea, 
but he felt very strongly about it. And the work relief bill 
reflected that view. McAuliffe felt the same way. But he 
thought that Olson simply wanted a bill to authorize payments to 
people who would be leaning on shovels and sweeping leaves; 
those were some of the comments that were made with reference to 
the WPA before it really got under way. 

But Olson was serious, and 1 communicated that seriousness 
to McAuliffe. Now they were political opponents and known to 
be. Here 1 was carrying drafts of the legislation back and 
forth with amendments and so on, and finally McAuliffe agreed. 
And the San Francisco delegation was notified that the bill was 
in proper shape and could be supported. Meanwhile I felt a 
little bit uncomfortable. Herb Caen was a young man at that 
tine on the make, and what a nice, juicy morsel it would have 
been to show that these two political opponents were meeting on 
common ground through one young man. But the bill went through, 
and this has not been articulated before. 


How did Olson happen to come to McAuliffe? 


Hellbron: He didn't come to McAuliffe. I simply drafted it, the governor 
knew I was showing it, and I knew they both agreed in principle. 

Hicke: And that was the basis that you were able to work on? 

Heilbron: Yes- -that this was an honest work relief program. Now all these 
work relief programs were difficult to administer, because it 
depended on a municipality or a county or the state doing its 
regular work through regular appropriations and not substituting 
cheap relief personnel to do the same work. In other words, 
unless the regular appropriations were maintained, it was a 

Hicke: Did you write in some provision in the bill for oversight or 
administration that would take care of the problem? 

Heilbron: Certainly. 

Hicke: Do you have any idea how it was followed through? 

Heilbron: I think by that time there was a good deal of sophistication on 
how to administer work relief. By that time the WPA was pulling 
out of the work program, and the state had to take over. 

Hicke: Can you tell me more about Florence McAuliffe? 

Heilbron: McAuliffe was not too easy to work for, because he had a way of 
slipping out instructions in short phrases and in a rather low 
voice, and it sometimes was a kind of detective story to piece 
together the elements of his question, and request for a good 
answer. And you wanted to get the issue straight- -you didn't 
want to go back into his office and ask what it was . I got 
along pretty well. 1 knew how to listen. Perhaps it was 
because we had mutual interests in welfare, although he would 
say to me, "You people just want to give away all this money and 
really not look after it; let the local people handle it. We'll 
handle it, just give it to us. We don't need any standards and 
conditions --we have better standards and conditions than you 
have." [laughs] Which was the old local government idea. 

Hicke: Did you work fairly closely with him? 

Heilbron: Yes, I did a number of things for him that he turned over 

relative to clients' estates. However, our relationships were 
mostly in this government area. It might be when some proposed 
legislation had to be drafted, or he would ask me to review some 
pending legislation. 

Hicke : 

Do you know how clients came to him? How or why? 


Hicke : 


Hellbron: I don't know a list of the clients, but here was a man of 

considerable political clout, known throughout the city, a good 
friend of Governor James Rolph, a good friend of the mayor 
[Angelo Rossi] and the supervisors; well-known bar president and 
practitioner. He also got a share of some of the Carmel people, 
I assume from Frank Powers . 

Shall we go on to Dinkelspiel? 

One more thing. Did Mr. McAuliffe ever think of running or ever 
run for office himself? 

Totally disinterested. He was chairman of the Welfare 
Commission of San Francisco, and that, of course, was a pro bono 
service to the City, as a lay commissioner. That he enjoyed. 
But he had no interest in himself being in politics unless you 
call being an inheritance tax appraiser under the State 
Controller as political. 

Lloyd Dinkelspiel, Sr. , I always thought, had a touch of a 
genius. He engaged in all kinds of legal practice corporate, 
domestic relations, litigation; while he managed the firm, as I 
indicated, he was prime minister. He had been an athlete at 
Stanford- -a good track man and played polo. 


Heilbron: He engaged in many pro bono activities: civic, sectarian, 

educational. He had been president of the United Crusade (then 
called the Community Chest), he was national president of the 
Jewish Welfare Board, he was president of the Stanford trustees. 

His door was always open. He had a great capacity for 
laughter and occasional explosions of temper. His wrath was 
like a thunderstorm, when it passed he apologized. 

Outside of the office, I remember him best as the host of 
our summer parties at the Hellman estate in Hayward. There, 
partners, associates and spouses, and occasionally a significant 
other, carefully and appropriately dressed, came for an 
elaborate luncheon and tennis playing and swimming, and Lloyd 
was there always in khaki shorts and a faded shirt barbecuing 
the steaks while the butler and maids, in uniform, served us. 
It was a happening. 

The Hellman estate is now a park. The main house is called 
Dunsmuir House. And you can rent it for a wedding or an 
anniversary celebration. 




Hicke : 




I would say Lloyd had a definite influence on me . He 
encouraged my interest and participation in civic activities, 
but in the law he also had a direct influence. He felt that one 
should never forget the client's major interest. When he 
advised a client who was about to make his will, and who said 
what he wanted to do was to be sure to save all the taxes he 
could, Lloyd would say, "Now look, that's fine, and we'll save 
you all the legitimate taxes that should be saved, but for 
heaven's sake, give as you want to give and then look at the tax 
picture. Don't look at the tax picture and then start giving." 
I never forgot that advice . 

As a matter of fact I converted it somewhat in a little 
different situation. When a person came to make out his will 
and said, "You know, I think the best way is to give the 
children as much as I can, give it to them now and avoid probate 
taxes, take lower gift taxes," I would tell them, "Now, look, 
before you go further I want you to read a play. Have you read 
King Lear recently?" If they hadn't I said, "Read it and then 
we'll talk about it." If they had read it, then I would remind 
them what happened to the poor old king. And the client usually 
gave it a good deal of thought and said, "I think you're right. 
I certainly don't want to have to go back to my children and ask 
for help in the event that I would have some kind of a 
calamitous illness or in some way lose my money, my funds." 

How did you learn to give this advice? 
or see cases where this happened? 

Did you have experience 

Oh no, no. It's just a matter of common sense. The play 
involves the very essence of what your advice should be. It's 
common sense advice, not necessarily legal advice. 

That's wonderful, a good example of drawing on literature for 
some common sense, as you said. Do you happen to know how Mr. 
Dinkelspiel came to the firm? 

Well, he married Flutie Hellman, and so there was a definite 
family relationship to start with. I would guess that it was 
always assumed that when he became a lawyer, he would come into 
the firm of Heller, Powers and Ehrman. 

Because of his wife? 

Well, the relationship--! mean it's like saying, how did Peter 
Haas come into the Levi Strauss firm? If your family has the 
business and you have a strong relationship with the firm's 
personnel, I believe it would be assumed that, if you were 
qualified, you would be invited and you would accept. And Lloyd 


was immensely qualified. Lloyd was a top flight candidate for 
any firm. 

Hicke: So he was narried probably during the tine he was going through 
law school or--? 

Heilbron: Oh no, no-- 

Hicke: Had he been practicing law elsewhere before he got married? 

Heilbron: That I don't know. I would imagine that he came directly from 
his Harvard education to the practice. Now, once again you do 
direct my attention to what came first, and it may well be that 
the Dinkelspiels had another interest or relationship. I'm sure 
many of the firm's principal clients were his friends or 
relatives. For example, his sister was married to a 
Schwabacher. I knew his mother, I didn't know his father. But 
there must have been all kinds of client relationships and 
personal relationships that would have directed him to this 

Hicke: So he was an old San Francisco family? 

Heilbron: That's right, that's right. 

Hicke: And you worked for Mr. Dinkelspiel? 

Heilbron: Yes, I worked with him on a number of matters. 

Hicke: What were his primary concerns? Can you just name some of his 

Heilbron: Well, he did a good deal of the important bank work. He 
represented a lady whose name I can't remember in a very 
important or very sensational custody case. There was a big 
will contest he won. I mentioned the United Airlines case. Let 
me see . 

I remember one of the Superior Court judges referred to him 
a case involving a young doctor who had come to California from 
a nonaccredited school- -medical school and he asked for 
reciprocity to practice medicine in this state. 

He had been a very effective doctor in the Veterans 
Administration, but the state medical board denied him 
reciprocity. I think there was an order to give him his license 
by the Superior Court and then it got reversed in the Court of 
Appeal, and the judge who had given him a license, ordered the 
license, knew that he was not well financed and so asked Mr. 


Hicke : 



Dinkelspiel if he would take the case . Ve did try to get the 
case reversed in the Supreme Court, and I remember drafting most 
of the brief. 

Mr. Dinkelspiel argued rather eloquently. There had been 
six other doctors fron this same university during its 
nonaccredited period- -incidentally , it got accredited the year 
after his graduation. Our argument was that as a matter of 
equal protection, affirming equal protection, that he should be 
treated like the six doctors who preceded him and who had been 
given reciprocity. 

And the California Supreme Court wanted to go with us, but 
finally decided that they couldn't confirm six other mistakes by 
a seventh. [laughter] And they decided against us. 

What would be his reaction when something like that happened? I 
mean, that was kind of a strange case to lose. 

Veil, we knew we had a hard case. There were analogies in 
criminal proceedings --you let off some people and you had 
another person who was convicted in a trial, then you couldn't 
get an appellate court to reverse because of errors made in 
those other cases. 

But what would have been Mr. Dinkelspiel- -would he be upset or 
would he just throw it off? 

Heilbron: No, he was somewhat upset by it, sure. But on a strict legal 
issue, he recognized, as we did from the beginning, that this 
was something of a long shot. And I think that there were ways 
of distinguishing the other six cases that had been admitted, 
reducing the number of true comparisons- -for example, the 
greater length of practice of the people who had been admitted, 
as compared with our man. Anyway, Lloyd knew the Chief Justice 
quite well, who was Phil Gibson, and Lloyd talked with him and 
learned that the Court wanted to reverse- -the first draft of 
opinion was in our favor, but then when they reconsidered, they 
felt it had to go the other way. 

I do want to emphasize that Lloyd was an excellent lawyer 
all around- -trial , business, corporate, personal. 

So those were the lead people in our firm. 


Office Space mnd Routines 

Heilbron: Maybe you would like some idea of what it was to practice in the 
building that we were in. 

Hicke: That's one of ny questions. 

Heilbron: As I mentioned, I was the thirteenth lawyer in the firm. The 

building was rebuilt after the fire at 14 Montgomery Street. It 
was the headquarters of the old Wells Fargo Bank. This was an 
extremely important local bank, but it did not have the great 
branch operation that Veils Fargo now has after the merger with 
the American Trust. But it was a well -respected bank and with a 
considerable amount of California business, particularly in 
northern California. 

Ve were on the seventh floor. Ue came to work at about 
8:45, left at about 5:15, worked on Saturdays up to 1 p.m., 
because the bank was open in those days, and suddenly, I see, 
the bank is open again on Saturdays. Ue felt that we had to 
keep open in order to serve the bank. 

Hicke: You had a lunch hour, you said. 

Heilbron: Oh, yes. Ue had a lunch hour, and we had a cafeteria on the 

eleventh floor, and the associates were allowed along with bank 
personnel to have the privilege of that cafeteria. For twenty- 
five cents you could eat a lunch that was so large that you 
slept after the meal. Everything was five cents, including the 
entree. It could be a meat entree. 

Hicke: Is that where you ate most of the time? 

Heilbron: No, not all the time but certainly on rainy days. Even outside the 
office, prices were quite low for a lunch. You could get a lunch 
for thirty -five cents. Oh, there were various places- -Breens down 
the street, and around the corner, there was the Fly Trap. 

Hicke: That's a lunch place? 

Heilbron: That was a peculiarly named place, but it was a San Francisco 
landmark on Sutter Street below Montgomery. It was a French 
restaurant that was a little higher priced than the other 
establishments near us, but heavily patronized. They brought 
you a big bowl of soup, but the waiter had his thumb imprints on 
the edge. It was an interesting place, however. 


It's not really a very inviting name for a lunch place. 


Hellbron: Terrible name! Terrible name, and yet it was filled to 

capacity. There were two other French restaurants nearby, 
Pierre's and Camille's, on Pine Street. I will say that the 
eating facilities were far superior to what we have now. 
Without any question. Ve had excellent restaurants all around 
us at aoderate prices . 

Hicke: Was any business done over lunch? 

Heilbron: Oh, I suppose so, sure. Sure. 

Hicke: And one more thingdid you have to work at nights? 

Heilbron: We did if our work demanded it. And that was up to us. I would 
say that attorneys work under greater pressure today than we 
did, except when we were on trial, because no matter when you're 
on trial, that's pressure. It was more of a gentlemen's 
profession at the time. You didn't sue your fellow attorneys 
for malpractice. If you needed more time, there was very little 
difficulty in getting continuances from your fellow attorneys. 

Hicke: Was there much exchange with other attorneys outside the firm? 
Heilbron: You're talking about referrals? 

Hicke: Well, outside of the town probably you did that. But I'm 

thinking of the city. Were there times when you would call upon 
another lawyer who had some special expertise that you needed 

Heilbron: Oh yes, I think that there were very pleasant relationships with 
other people. I remember that if I had a bankruptcy matter and 
was concerned about the next procedural step, I wouldn't 
hesitate calling a bankruptcy lawyer whom I knew and asking him 
for his assistance. 

Hicke: Would you say that's something that's pretty well gone now? 

Heilbron: I'm not sure that that's gone out, no --particularly with 
specialization, it is still done. 

Depression Work 

Heilbron: I mentioned a little bit about the practice that we had in the 
early days of the Depression. You remember I talked about the 


alphabet agencies and the rules and regulations that they issued 
and the necessity for construing them and applying them. 

There was also a good deal of probate and estate planning 
that arose out of the very condition of the Depression. You may 
remember that many people lost a great deal of property value 
because things were deflated, and so they did their wills with 
some consideration for protecting their descendants from making 
some of the errors that their generation had made. 

And that meant they created trusts for their beneficiaries 
so that generally they wouldn't be able to get to the principal 
and would have to live on the interest, although we always wrote 
in emergency clauses- -they still do- -allowing the trustee to 
invade principal in the event of an emergency. 

There was a very substantial change in legislation 
affecting wills in 1976, the Tax Reform Act and it was the 
occasion when we looked over a number of the wills that we drew 
back in the thirties. It was shocking to see that some people 
had provided for $25 a month or $50 a month for Uncle Willie, 
with the idea that that was going to help him meet possible 
emergency conditions in the future. 

I think that several of us may have drawn wills at the rate 
of a couple a day, because people were conscious of the 
necessity to provide for or against the future. This was partly 
the result of the bank's situation in relation to us. 

In those days if a person came to the bank and discussed 
what he should do by way of a last will and testament, the Trust 
Department would usually be willing, even anxious, to draw his 
will. If there were complications, they would tell the party to 
go to his lawyer. But if he or she said, "But I don't have a 
lawyer; who's your lawyer?" then, of course, the bank had a 
lawyer, and that was ourselves. In that way, we got referred a 
great many people who had had no previous relationship with us 
and accounted for a great deal of business. The fee for 
drafting a will was very low, moderate at best, but the 
possibility of being the lawyers who would be counsel to the 
executors of the estate could mean substantial fees. 

This situation even improved with the Bank-Bar Treaty in 
the mid- thirties, according to which a bank could no longer draw 
any wills or trusts, but had to refer the matter to an attorney 
--the party's attorney, if there was one. The bar requirement 
that the party consult his or her own attorney was clear and 
explicit. But still if they had none and asked about the bank's 
counsel, the bank could refer them to us. So the net result of 


the treaty was to our benefit, since the bank itself was 
prevented fron drawing these documents. Larry Baker drafted 
many of then, becoming quite an expert in estate planning and 
trusts, but Don Falconer and I and the rest of the associates 
shared the work. 

Mora on tarlv Pr 

Hicke: We were just talking off tape, and you agreed to talk a little 
bit about the influences that were most important to you. 

Heilbron: I did mention the influence of Lloyd Dinkelspiel, Sr. Then 

there was Mr. Monaco, whom I've previously mentioned. When Mr. 
Monaco had a legal problem he did most of the work himself, even 
after his partnership. He might let somebody else do some work 
just to see how well he did it, still he carefully would check 
on it. But the person very often couldn't find the books, 
because they were in Monaco's room. He would have slips of 
paper in the books. When he wrote a brief the books were all 
around his room in concentric circles. 

The influence was just this. If that's the way you had to 
research in order to write an adequate brief or an appropriate 
opinion, you had to be pretty serious about it, and while most 
of us felt that some of his research was superfluous and too 
detailed, because it didn't matter whether a case involved 
$1,000 or $1 million, the fascination of the legal issues was 
what attracted him. 

Yet one could see true research in the making, and that had 
an influence on me on the quality of the work I tried to do. I 
think the Depression itself was an influence. 

Hicke: I wanted to ask you about that. 

Heilbron: It made a person rather careful in what he did, how he planned, 
what he saved, and affected the values he had. The firm 
throughout the thirties would take in one person at a time, and 
that person was initially the subject of great discussion in the 
abstract: should any person be taken in? I think that was very 
definitely the impact of slow growth during the Depression. 

Hicke: Slow growth of businesses you mean? 


Heilbron: Veil, businesses --we had a good share of available business. We 
had perhaps a more assured situation than most law firns, and 
yet there was this care that was the result, I think, of the 
Depression. We had some very substantial litigation for the Six 
Companies. The Six Coapanies built Hoover Dam. Some of our 
largest contractors--! believe Bechtel was among the companies 
that built that dam. 

One case was particularly memorable. The plaintiff claimed 
impotence as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning resulting 
from the manner in which the tunnels were built in relation to 
construction of the dam. He was obviously going to be the first 
of a number of cases. The damages could have been very high 
even in those days of much more restrained verdicts. 

So we were able, as the trial proceeded, to get a person 
that we knew to become rather friendly with this plaintiff, and 
they went together on a binge in Los Angeles. During this binge 
they went to certain places where this plaintiff demonstrated 
anything but impotence. The defense was able to bring In 
decisive testimony, and that ended carbon monoxide Impotency 
cases . 

Mr. White was the person who handled the case for the firm 
and Mr. Baker assisted him. 

Hicke: You said you have some more information about practice in the 

Heilbron: Yes. There were a number of wild schemes In the state of 

California to pull us out of the Depression. One of them was 
the program of providing $30 every Thursday. 

Hicke: Was that Townsend? 

Heilbron: No. Townsend was to be $200 per month for everyone over sixty. 
This was different; this was $30 every Thursday, to be done 
through the issuance of warrants redeemable by the state. 1 was 
asked to advise one of our clients, Lee Kaiser, who was an 
investment broker, on the constitutionality of the proposal. I 
wrote a rather extensive opinion in which 1 came to the 
conclusion that among other considerations, the proposal 
violated the federal Constitution, particularly the currency 
clause, because the issue of the currency was the province of 
the Congress of the United States, and these warrants, you see, 
were scrip in the nature of currency. 

This opinion was published in the San Francisco Recorder, 
the legal newspaper, in three or four installments, and then we 




wondered whether Mr. Kaiser had made the best use of the 
opinion, because we night be educating the people who proposed 
the program to rewrite the bill in a legally acceptable form and 
present it again. It was never done. 

The people of the state were so shocked by the idea that an 
older person (I think the people had to be over fifty) was to 
receive $30 every Thursday; they thought that it would simply 
break the state of California financially. It's rather 
interesting, because as we compare figures and what Social 
Security costs and benefits now are, we might not be so shocked 
by the amounts as by the eligibility and financing. 

Let me just interrupt, 
that Recorder article? 

Is there any chance you have a copy of 

No, but I would imagine that it would be in the files of the 
Recorder. Naturally, it was signed by the firm name, not myself 

Social Security. That was one of the New Deal measures 
that was to act as a preventive so that another depression would 
not have the effect of the depression that then existed, and it 
had a great many opponents . 

One of its proponents, and one who testified before the 
appropriate congressional committee, was Barbara Armstrong. It 
was almost the culmination, well, not the culmination because 
she was still a young woman at the time, but I guess it was her 
most important work. Mr. [Herbert] Hoover was out of office. 
Mr. Hoover was resident at Stanford. 

I don't like to digress, but Mr. Dinkelspiel when he was 
president of Stanford used to see Mr. Hoover once a year in 
order to get his point of view. He used to see him at breakfast 
and he went down to Palo Alto for the occasion. He would say, 
"I never knew what I was going to get, scrambled eggs or 
silence." [laughter] 

Anyway, Mr. Hoover was not silent on this occasion. Mr. 
[Richard E. ] Guggenhime somehow, being fairly recently out of 
Stanford and having young friends there, got to Mr. Hoover and 
asked him whether he'd be willing to come up to San Francisco to 
talk to some young men in the law and some not in the law, and 
this he did at Mr. Guggenhime 's family house. 

I think there were some thirty of us . I was introduced as 
the sole Democrat in the group. And Mr. Hoover said, "Well, we 
can take that ratio." 


Hicke: Did he have that sense of humor? 

Heilbron: He had some sense of humor. He was rather informal, although 
his views were as stuffy as could be anticipated and 
particularly with respect to the Social Security Act, which was 
under discussion, pending. 1 don't know if it was in the year 
it was actually passed or whether it was in the prior year, but 
it was pending as a very important matter of legislation. 

Mr. Hoover said there was no necessity for it, there were 
plenty of private insurance companies ready to write policies 
which would protect a man for his own permanent welfare after 
his retirement and a man should work up his own retirement and 
he could see no reason for the federal government coming into 
the situation. 

Mr. Lee Kaiser, whom I mentioned- -he was not a lawyer but 
he was invited to this occasion- -and 1 asked the only 
questions. We wanted to know whether all of the other 
industrial countries of the world that had some form of social 
insurance were wrong. 

The answer was they were. Theirs was too socialistic an 
enterprise. The other question that I asked was, "Considering 
the habits of all of us, was it likely that individuals on their 
own would get this insurance? They could have gotten this 
insurance before but they hadn't done so and wouldn't this 
proposed program help protect against a major depression such as 
the one we were suffering?" 

But he stood by his guns, and he just felt that government 
had been entering into too many things. He didn't think most of 
the New Deal agencies were necessary. "Look what happened to 
the NRA." (That's just what should have happened to it. It was 
declared unconstitutional and it was unconstitutional, however 
for a valid legal reason- -that is, Congress could have done it, 
but they authorized the NRA, an executive agency, to issue 
codes , and that went too far . ) 

However, there were these other agencies, the Agricultural 
Adjustment Act and all of the other agencies that were created 
by the New Deal by "that terrible man, Rex Tugford.". It was an 
enjoyable evening, there were no raised voices even though some 
of the Republicans themselves were divided about the acts of the 
New Deal. 

I know, for example, Dick Guggenhime- -we became later on 
partners- -was certainly supportive of Social Security, in fact 
he had been an assistant to Dean Acheson when Dean Acheson was 





in the Treasury Department, and so he, I'm sure, benefitted from 
some of the liberal views of Mr. Acheson. 

But that's kind of a sidelight. Rather interesting, I 
think, though not part of the firm's history, it occurred 
because someone in the firm brought it about. 

I mentioned too about the bank and its traditions. At the 
time of the bank closure in 1933, President [F. L. ] Lipman was 
the head of the bank, and it almost broke his heart to have to 
close the bank. In fact, all of the firm partners had to come 
down to the bank at the dead of night to research whether the 
bank should comply with the closure order. 

People from the firm? 

People from the firm. They all came from a gala social 
occasion. Mr. Lipman was a very conservative banker. He 
believed he had custody of the people's money. When the people 
wanted their money, they should get it under any circumstances. 

The bank could take any run. There wouldn't be a run 
because people had that faith. He probably was right, as far as 
the bank's condition was concerned. At directors' meetings of 
the bank, he asked for prompt attendance at 10 a.m. He would 
place $20 gold pieces at each of the directors' places that was 
the fee in those days, a $20 gold piece. 

Just one? 

Heilbron: Yes, it was just one $20 gold piece. Now, I don't know whether 
they got anything else. But they got that. At 10:01 a.m. he 
went around and collected the gold piece of any person who 
hadn't yet attended. Usually the attendance was very prompt. 

Japanese Relocation 

Heilbron: I'll give you one more incident of my minor participation in 

what proved to be an historic situation. This goes into early 
'42, and that is the time of the ill-advised Japanese 
relocation. The Japanese owned a good deal of commercial 
property, including several large stores in Chinatown. 

In a number of cases , non- Japanese people had or were 
anxious to have leases on these Japanese -owned properties. But 
the owners did not know how long they would be in relocation 


Hlcke : 





camps , and they certainly did not know how long the war was 
going to last. The question was whether to draw up or amend 
leases and give the bank authority as agent to execute documents 
on behalf of the owners . 

I was confronted with being asked, how long do you think 
the war will last? How long should these leases be? We 
discussed this back and forth with these good people, and they 
thought the war would last four years. 

Who's -they," the bank? 

No, the Japanese. The bank thought that it might not last that 
long, perhaps only a couple of years, so the lease period should 
be shorter so that If the Japanese did return they could get 
their stores back. 

I suggested three years as a compromise, and that's what 
they decided, which was a little wrong. It was close, but it 
was kind of an interesting small detail that meant a great deal 
to these people . 

Who paid for the writing of the leases? 

The bank or the 

I don't recall, but the leases were going to produce money, and 
there was no reason in the world why the Japanese wouldn't pay 
for negotiating the leases. They were pretty substantial 
people. The fact that they had to go to relocation camps was a 
shame legally and morally, but economically something could be 
done - - 

So they weren't really poor? 

Oh no, no. They were substantial citizens. We were all caught 
in a certain amount of bewilderment. Anyway these clients of 
the bank decided to disregard all estimates and sell. 

With what effect on Chinatown? 

To the best of my recollection, much of the prime property in 
Chinatown owned by the Japanese passed to Chinese or others and 
was not recovered by the Japanese . 



[Interview 2: May 5, 1989 ]## 

Hicke: When you spoke about your experience in Austria immediately 
after World War II, you said it related mostly to policies 
affecting labor. 

Heilbron: Yes, it involved the ministry of the Department of Social 

Administration, really an enlarged labor department. It meant 
reviving the social security system and reestablishing or 
providing labor policies. 

Hicke: I know you described the work of your Four -Power labor 

committee. I don't remember if I asked, did the country have 
strong labor unions? 

Heilbron: The tradition in Austria was that labor and politics were much 
more involved (as in other European countries) than they are 
here --we tend to have our unions concentrate in the economic 
field- -so that they had a coalition government of the Christian 
Democratic Party and the Social Democratic Party. The Social 
Democratic Party represented the union interest pretty much. 

Hicke: You indicated that your work in Austria was of some importance 
to you in developing your interest in labor law. 

Heilbron: I became interested in labor policy, in the way grievances were 
handled, there was a question of what the strike policy should 
be regarding the new government, should strikes be permitted and 
so on. It was generally agreed that it was necessary to have a 
period of calm and rebuilding before strikes could legally be 
permitted. After serving as deputy head of the Labor Committee, 
U.S. element, and chairing the Four-Power labor committee twice 
(on a rotating basis), I came back in early 1946 and rejoined 
the law firm. 

Hicke: And what had been happening to it while you were gone? Did you 
get some sense of that? 

Heilbron: Yes, I understand that there were one or two replacements of 

those who went into the service , but those who remained had to 
do a great deal of the kind of work that they had done as 
associates, even though they were full partners. I think even 
Mr. Ehrman was pulled into service attending to some court 

Hicke: They were happy to have you back, obviously. 


Heilbron: Yes, but I think that I was one of the last to get back. And by 
that time, the firm was pretty well readjusted to its personnel 
as it was just before we went into service; the replacements had 

Hicke: So by about 1946 the people who had left had come back? 

Heilbron: Yes. 

Hicke: But no new people had been hired, maybe, is that correct? 

Heilbron: I don't recall new people at that time. The records may show 
differently, but I don't recall any. 

Postwar Years 

Hicke: And what did you start in doing when you returned? 

Heilbron: I suppose I started with the miscellaneous activities that I had 
been engaged in prior to leaving, but very early I got into the 
labor field representing some of our clients who had 
organizational labor problems, and I believe it was partly 
because of the experience that I had during the war service that 
made it somewhat natural to be directed to that work. 

Hicke: Did that work come to you from the senior partners who knew what 
you had been doing? 

Heilbron: I suggested it and they concurred. Then very early on, very 

quickly when it became known that I was doing this kind of work, 
the other clients came to me. 

Hicke: Who were some of your first clients? 

Heilbron: Gallenkamp Shoe Stores had a chain in California, and there was 
considerable work done for them. It was mostly contract 
negotiations as far as they were concerned. In the late 
thirties, the Wagner Act was passed (the National Labor 
Relations Act) , which gave considerable authority for unions to 
organize and listed a number of unfair labor practices on the 
part of employers that were deemed unfairly to inhibit such 
organization. Not all of them had been so used, but the purpose 
of it was to give a bargaining position to labor. 

In 1947 the Taft-Hartley Act was passed, which then listed 
a number of unfair labor practices by labor unions that were 


Hicke : 


deemed unfair to employers, and it was after that Act that 
Gallenkamps had a number of its negotiating problems. I recall 
negotiating with one of the labor leaders in Los Angeles (Joe de 
Sllva) . He was a very interesting, colorful character, but he 
and his unions were rather angry about the Taft-Hartley having 
been passed, and when an issue arose that seemed to me to 
involve a Taft-Hartley issue and I would bring it up, he would 
refuse to listen to the phrase Taft-Hartley. So we developed a 
procedure where the Act was referred to as "that thing." 

De Silva became politically active in the Democratic Party. 
I think he went back as a delegate to one of the national 
conventions, and he was his own boss and managed things in his 
own way. I remember Dick Guggenhime was down in Los Angeles 
with me on one occasion, and we were at the Brown Derby. Joe 
saw us there, and he sent over cocktails and a bottle of wine 
and [laughter] and everything else. It was after we stood firm 
on a contract issue. He was a different type of labor leader, I 
don't think he was one of a kind, but his attitudes had 
statewide impact on many union agents. Gallenkamps having 
various stores and not negotiating statewide but within each 
area, it made it necessary to meet and deal with various union 
leaders and know their relationships. That was one client. 

What were the specific problems? 

Primarily, it was wages, what the wages would be, how grievances 
would be handled, problems about an arbitration clause. I think 
that at one time we got into a picketing situation where the 
question had to be what was legal picketing, how many people in 
front of the store, and so on. I don't know whether I mentioned 
it before, but during much of the period when I was handling 
labor problems, we were dealing with efforts at organization, 
the legality of employers trying to prevent unions from seeing 
their employees in and about the plant, employers right to meet 
with their employees and what they could say. After recognition 
and bargaining began, there were picketing and strike problems, 
secondary boycott problems, all tied in with an interesting 
period when labor was doing extended organizing. Now this 
situation, while 1 understand it still obtains to some extent, 
has been very much superseded by individuals rights , as 
distinguished from organizational rights. Antidiscrimination 
statutes give rise to most of the litigation now, and wrongful 
discharge. Maybe I mentioned this before, but the labor law 
practice has changed considerably, and the number of people 
involved who may have claims has increased greatly. You may be 
dealing with one labor union with respect to a problem, but you 


Hicke : 

Hicke : 

Hicke : 

Hicke : 

Hicke : 



ay be dealing individually with a number of people who claim 
wrongful discharge or discrimination. 

Are you going to talk about another one of your labor clients? 

Yes, Langendorf Baking Company and the San Francisco Bakery 
Employers Association were two really interesting clients. 

What was the second one? 

The San Francisco Bakery Employers Association. That included 
all the principal bakeries except the French bread bakeries. 

That's interesting. Why weren't they included? 

Well, they always had a special relationship. They baked 
different bread and they handled their own affairs. 

So they had their own association? 

I don't believe so. At the time there were only one or two, so 
that it wasn't even a question of an association, and I think 
that they just didn't want to be part of an association that was 
dominated by very large organizations and didn't want to have to 
take program from such an association that ran the gambit of the 
usual labor problems . 

Mr. Stanley Langendorf was very much in charge of 
bargaining, even though the other baking companies were rather 
formidable . We used to work out some rather complex agreements , 
and just about when we got to the agreement, Mr. Langendorf 
would feel he could do better. And so he would proceed. While 
it is axiomatic that a lawyer had to be responsible for handling 
his own client, Mr. Langendorf could only be handled so far, and 
he would try to make a better deal, and one of two results 

either he got the same deal or one that was 
But he was always content and happy that he had 

always occurred: 
slightly worse. 

gone through it and that he saw for himself what the agreements 
meant, what the results were, and he always felt that he had 
gotten something- -if not for that particular agreement, for the 
next agreement. 

At least he hadn't left any money on the table. 
Well, that's right. 

What did you do when you would give him some advice and he 
wouldn't take it? 


Heilbron: Veil, mostly he took the advice. The lapse period of time 
between his efforts to improve the situation and a final 
agreement was not great. As a matter of fact, the union was 
quite aware of the pattern and knew pretty well how it was going 
to cone out anyway. 

Hicke: Let me just ask you one more question about the Langendorf 

negotiations: did anyone else in the firm work on that with you? 

Heilbron: No. Not with Langendorf. 

The Art of Neaotiatina 

Hicke: Veil, let me ask you a little bit about negotiating: what kinds 
of things did you find were successful? 

Heilbron: Negotiating labor agreements meant a great deal of patience. 
You were always hopeful of success if you just came to the 
bargaining table and had all of your points in a row and knew 
just what you could do and said, "Now this is the situation, we 
don't want to go up by stages, we want to lay the thing right on 
the table." 

Generally, it wouldn't work. There was a certain pattern 
of a minuet that had to be gone through, and the employers 
usually began by not wanting to give anything or very little, 
and the union began with an impossible demand, and so you had to 
work up by stages to an agreement, and one provision frequently 
had to be traded for another. The objective might be for the 
higher wage, but by putting in an extravagant demand, the union 
would try to get the wage raised if they withdrew that demand. 
So as I say, it was a question of patience and also of being 
able to make clear when firmness had to be understood and that 
there was not going to be any further adjustment, and that point 
is always a psychologically difficult one for both sides to 

Hicke: So I would say an astute judge of character is a requirement. 
Heilbron: Yes, I think that goes for both sides, 
[tape interruption] 

Hicke: We were talking about what was needed for negotiation. I wanted 
just to ask you: when you are handed a list of demands, would 
your first thought then be which ones are negotiable or which 


are most negotiable, which ones of these have they put in as 
aere troublesome negotiating items? 

Heilbron: That'* correct for analysis, although you usually answer almost 
any demand, making it clear what your position is. A lot 
depends upon the people that you're dealing with, and in many 
negotiations, one side or the other starts with a statement of 
how ridiculous the other demand is or the position is, and you 
have to get over the frigidity, you have to know what words mean 
something and what words really don't mean very much. 

Hicke: Well, that's interesting. 

Heilbron: It's a little difficult to state general principles for all 

negotiations with different kinds of unions, different kinds of 
people. There are unions who desire to come to the issues 
rather quickly and who don't, well who don't scatter their 
demands over a great territory. They know what they want, and 
they make it clear what they consider to be important, and 
sometimes that's an easier group to deal with. 

At this point I would like to insert an additional note on 

Notes Re Negotiation in Labor Agreements 

[this section was inserted during the editorial process] 

Heilbron: I have said in my interview that in labor negotiations there 

usually is an expectation that the parties will participate in a 
minuet. Agreement at a first session of negotiators is close to 
impossible. The union leadership wants its constituencies to 
know that it is representing their cause and an immediate 
settlement would indicate that they surrendered. Thus the first 
meeting is usually exploratory, an exchange of demands, some 
joking discussion, and occasionally a time for some shots across 
the bow, such as a union leader saying, "No matter what our 
demand, you look at it seriously because, by God, we mean it." 

Actually in labor negotiations, as well as in other types 
of negotiations, it is best to seek objective standards that 
will produce results as much as possible to the advantage of 
both sides. Therefore, it is not advisable for either side to 
dig in with their demands and say, "This is the best. Take it 
or leave it." There are situations where ultimately that 
statement may be made. But in the vast number of cases options 


can be developed, trade-offs proposed, that will satisfy both 
management and labor that they have obtained a good agreement on 
settlement. Indeed if each side can feel that it has "von* on 
what it deemed essential, then the best and most lasting result 
will have been achieved. Of course, there are egos involved. A 
labor leader Bay pride himself on his aggressiveness and support 
of his Members, knowing that he will always fight for their 
benefits. Thus you rarely want to defeat or humiliate such a 
leader; it is better that he can recommend an agreement that he 
deems to be a "victory." 

Of course, there are limits to such adjustments. A 
negotiator cannot give in to demands just to make the other 
negotiator more friendly. Both employer and union must know 
what, respectively, they will do in the event that no agreement 
is reached, and be prepared to do it. Management should try to 
deal fairly and on the merits, but if the other side is 
intransigent and adamantly refuses a reasonable solution, the 
employer will have to be prepared to act on other options. 
These may be to face a strike and shutdown, or to be able to 
invoke, with other employers, the position that the strike 
against him is a strike against all in an association of 
employers or to keep the business going through the use of 
management and substitute employees, et cetera. 

There are times even when there can't be a minuet because 
there is no room to dance. Economic circumstances may not 
permit- -no area may be available- -for significant change. 

During the heyday of union organization and fifties 
prosperity, unions were in a better position to strike than they 
are today. Their strike funds could carry their employees for 
an extended period of time and cause the employing company 
considerable damage and loss. These days, however, of high 
expense, of living comfortably and saving little, make it 
difficult for a union to sustain a long strike. There are 
exceptions, for example in the health field. With the scarcity 
of nurses, their bargaining power against health agencies and 
hospitals is considerable. In this kind of situation, employers 
are hard put to find solutions because of financial costs, 
especially when most of them are nonprofit institutions. A 
large element in effecting settlements is public opinion: the 
wrath of the public on seeing pictures of children dead 
allegedly because of lack of care will bring the parties to an 
agreement more speedily than negotiators or mediators. Public 
opinion also may be decisive in the case of teacher strikes, 
although parental opinion seems usually to support the teachers' 
position so that a walkout will be settled and the children be 


returned to school from home or the streets, 

[end of inserted 

I wanted to add a little note to the memorandum I have just 
given you on negotiation. 

Hicke: Okay. 

Heilbron: And that is that the principles of negotiation not only apply to 
the labor field but there is negotiation for almost everything 
else --in the real estate field; when you try to collect on an 
insurance policy; when you are working on a divorce settlement 
or when you are working on a merger or acquisition. So I just 
wanted to make clear that the elements of negotiation, 
successful negotiation, apply to all fields as well as labor. 
But there is a difference in the process when there is more of 
an urgency. In most cases, when a person wants to buy a piece 
of real estate and another person wants to sell it, they don't 
have to exercise either the patience or go through the maneuvers 
that a labor agreement would involve. 

As for other clients, in the labor field they included 
Hiram Walker in their western headquarters, and a number of 
retail stores such as 1. Magnin, Roos Bros., Gump's, Sherman 
Clay. We did a good deal for Sherman Clay, just occasional 
issues with the other stores. There was a considerable amount 
of work for Hyatt in San Mateo and Amfax, mostly in the pension 
area, but the usual kind of collective bargaining counsel and 
engagement for labor disputes were with Pacific Mountain 
Express, Pacific Cement Aggregates, and the Frank Food Company. 
We negotiated all the labor contracts for KQED for a good many 
years- -up to the early seventies. This is a partial listing. 

Hicke : Are you saying that they would go to you for some labor matters 
and somebody else for other labor matters? 

Heilbron: In certain cases that was true, especially when the company was 
a member of an association that we did not represent. 

Hicke: So belonging to an association would have some effect? 

Heilbron: Yes, and I noted our representation of the San Francisco Bakery 
Association. But even if a client joined an association we did 
not represent, the company would often come to us to protect 
their objectives in relation to the association. After a while, 
Hiram Walker joined the Distributors' Association in San 
Francisco, and the Association represented them in their 
citywide industrial contracts, but they often had special 


problems which they asked us to take care of and which the 
Association did not wish to get mixed up in. 

I worked rather closely with the Distributors' and that was 
important to Hiram Walker, because they did not wish certain 
general programs, definitions, or classifications of employees 
to be applicable to them and sought exceptions because of the 
nature of their work. So it was important that the Hiram Walker 
interests with respect to the kinds of employees they had and 
their particular problems which were different from many of the 
other people in the Distributors' came to the notice of the 
executive of the Distributors' Association and their president, 
Hart Clinton, whom 1 knew quite well. It was a very good 

Hicke: San Francisco, as you alluded to before, has always been known 
as a labor town. Did that affect your work? Did that context 
make it more difficult for you? 

Heilbron: No, I don't think so, because the employers were used to labor 
being a very potent force in the economy of San Francisco. 
Employers would like to have their employees outside of the 
union when they could, and so we would be instructed to oppose 
recognition where the employer felt and believed that the 
majority of his workers did not want to belong to the union. 
But, by and large, employers in San Francisco had a much longer 
experience of adjusting to union relations than the south. 

Hicke : Yes . 

Heilbron: They came in much later in the picture. 

Hicke: Yes. I think we stopped with the Hiram Walker; let's see what 
else there is. 


Heilbron: Well, finally on the labor side, maybe I should call attention 
to the new laws which set up ERISA [Employee Retirement Income 
Security Act], the program for profit-sharing and pension 
trusts. At the beginning I got into that picture too. I guess 
that was in 1974. I'm not sure when that program was recognized 
nationally or even created nationally. Then of course it opened 
up really a new vista for employee relations with their 
employers , and much of organized labor and many employers saw 
that the provision for retirement was as important as the old 


wage considerations were- -in fact, possibly more important, and 
so that was a developing field. 

Hicke: Do you recall any particularly interesting challenges along that 

Heilbron: I know that one of the questions was at what time would the 

contributions of the employer be vested in the employees, and 
naturally the employees wanted the vesting to occur as early as 
possible, and the employer usually wanted it to be later so that 
the funds would not become available if the employee left at an 
earlier time. 

Hicke: Could you just give me a sense of how these problems would 

arrive on your desk? For instance, in contract renegotiation 
and the employees would bring this up, or was it after the law 
was passed, the employers -- 

Heilbron: Well, after the law was passed a number of employers who had no 
union problems at all would establish a plan, and if they 
established a plan that the employees liked, it had a very 
favorable impact on employees and in some situations, I believe, 
actually deterred union organization. So employers were quite 
conscious of this. And enormous amounts of money and funding 
are involved in these pension and profit-sharing plans. This 
fact is reflected in the power of these plans to affect the 
value of securities by their investment policies. 

It began as a kind of improved relationship between 
employees and employers, mainly initiated by employers. It has 
become a great economic factor in the country; and in ERISA 
negotiated plans, the really sophisticated unions preferred that 
an employers' committee attend to the investments. They didn't 
want to get into managing the funds. When you deal with the 
amount of funding necessary for a substantial pension and 
profit-sharing plan, you need very experienced and stable 
investors. And, as 1 say, the larger unions understood this 
very well . 

In short, in the beginning ERISA plans were established on 
the initiative of employers and they sought investment counsel. 
Subsequently, the plans became a subject for negotiation- -to 
maintain or enhance benefits. 

Hicke: And did the firm establish a program for its employees? 

Heilbron: Oh, yes, yes. 

Hicke: And did you handle that? 


Heilbron: Ve had two or three people working on it here, including myself. 

Hicke: That suns it up in a nutshell, I think. Or a watermelon, as you 
just said off tape! Yes, you're right, they are important. 

Chang* s in Offices 

Heilbron: Now, of course, there were other matters, both from the 
standpoint of practice and pro bono that I engaged in. 

Hicke: Yes, you skipped over a lot of years there without telling me 
much, so let's-- 

Heilbron: Well, most of these things occurred after our move from 14 
Montgomery Street to 44 Montgomery. 

Hicke: Why don't you tell me about that, since we're on it? 

Heilbron: We have to go back a little bit. Our office expanded at 14 

Montgomery. We took a couple of floors in the Hobart Building, 
which adjoined the 14 Montgomery Street building. Because we 
had the seventh floor and we took the Hobart' s eighth, the 
adjoining gap had to be adjusted by a little bridge. 1 moved 
into the Hobart Building at the end of '58, around there. I had 
an office in the Hobart Building, and when it was decided to 
build a highrise plus a new bank building for Wells Fargo, all 
of the property on Montgomery up to Sutter Street was purchased 
in order to accomplish these purposes. Some landmarks 
disappeared, like that Fly Trap Restaurant that I mentioned to 
you the other day. And all of the property to the north of our 
14 Montgomery Street was razed, first to establish the vacant 
lot on which the highrise would be built, and I could see this 
work being done from my window in the Hobart Building. 

Hicke: And hear it? 

Heilbron: And hear it hit by hit. Some New York firms were building 

highrises out here and everything had to be put on piling, steel 
piling, because of the earthquake risks, real and imagined, and 
the need to have an ultra- firm foundation. And they had a pile 
driver that was nicknamed Alfred the Monster that knocked in the 


Nicknamed by you? 


Heilbron: No, no. I don't know who labeled it. It Bade so much noise 

that they had to dismiss employees on the other side of Sutter 
Street at four o'clock. Office workers couldn't take a whole 
day. And it was pounding all the time. I believe it went into 
night work at a fairly early period in order to try to reduce 
the daytime use, but in any event it made such a racket and was 
so disconcerting that when its work was done, there was a great 
celebration at the intersection. 

Hicke: [laughter) Outside? 

Heilbron: Outside I 

Hicke: Oh, wonderful. 

Heilbron: To celebrate the death of Alfred the Monster. 

Hicke: Beowulf rides again! 

Heilbron: That's right. So then that building went up, and we moved into 
44 Montgomery Street. The precise dates you'll have to get 
elsewhere . 

Hicke: I have that. I think there were two moves. You moved in 1966. 

Heilbron: Ve moved to the fifth floor first and then we moved to the 
thirtieth and thirty- first floors. We eventually had three 
floors in 44 Montgomery Street. Then old 14 Montgomery was 
destroyed, and a bank building at just a three -floor level or 
something like that was built. 

Hicke: Did Alfred-- 

Heilbron: No, no! Alfred was innocent regarding this construction. This 
is the new, low-level building at Market Street and Montgomery. 

Hicke: Right- -big, heavy curtain around the window- - 

Heilbron: That's right, and it continued to be the main branch of Wells 

Fargo until Wells Fargo Bank acquired Crocker, on the other side 
of the street; then that low- level bank was vacated and is now 
otherwise used, and the big branch is over at the Crocker, which 
is a very beautiful building. The headquarters were moved to a 
highrise on California Street with part on Montgomery and part 
on Sansome . 

Hicke : 

And so the firm still was renting space from Wells Fargo Bank? 



Hlcke : 


No, the owners of 44 Montgomery were independent of the bank. 
However, the bank occupied several of the lower floors. So a 
good deal of the work I've been talking about was simply 
continued at 44 Montgomery. 

What happened when clients came in and Alfred was at work? 
you remove to the library or--? 


Well, I think we endured. We just endured. There was not much 
chance of escaping Alfred. People would commiserate. Now, 
interestingly enough, there were some offices in 14 that did not 
hear Alfred too much. But most of the offices had a temporary 

In the long run, something very important had happened, 
driving much of the building and office changes. American 
Trust, with its many branches, had merged with Wells Fargo Bank, 
a regional bank with national status. The name of the merged 
firm was Wells Fargo Bank, continuing the image of the pioneer 
and stagecoach. 

World Trade Center 

Heilbron: One interesting thing that occurred--! guess it was the late 
forties, after I got back- -was the concept of a World Trade 
Center at the Ferry Building. At the time the Port of San 
Francisco was operated by the State of California, and Mr. Lee 
Cutler, who had been president of the 1939-40 Fair, now had 
something else to do for the benefit of the community. And he 
felt the time had come, particularly after the end of the war, 
when there was a good deal of talk about the new global 
community, that we should share in it with a World Trade Center. 

He also thought that the Ferry Building should have a use 
and proposed that the center go there. The question was, "How 
do you get a private center in the Ferry Building?" Yes, one 
that could rent to import-exporters, to foreign consulates, and 
to make it like other world trade centers are in New York and 

So I guess it was McAuliffe who gave the job to me to work 
out some solution. I found that a district was created within 
the state called the San Jacinto District, near Palm Springs -- 
which is a mountain district with a funicular and gives access 
from desert to mountain top and rents out certain of its 



Hicke: We were talking about San Jacinto. 

Heilbron: And using that as a aodel, 1 developed a statute that created 

the World Trade Center and provided for a facility that could be 
used for a trade center, consular offices, and club with a 

Hicke: So it's a special state district? 

Heilbron: It Wj0j| a special state district or authority, and leases were 
than made by the state to the occupants. Only one part of the 
Ferry Building was developed as a world trade center. The other 
part of it has been rented for professional (law firm) and 
commercial uses. But the north wing is all the World Trade 

Hicke: Did that require legislation? 

Heilbron: Yes, sure. 

Hicke: So, you had to go to Sacramento and--? 

Heilbron: We had to go to Sacramento. Mr. Dinkelspiel and I went to 
Sacramento to support the bill that created the district or 
authority that created the center. 

Hicke: Did you write the bill? 

Heilbron: I wrote the bill, yes, but as customary the state legislative 
counsel put it in final form. 

And the state then operated the Center and the World Trade 
Club was established. It has flourished ever since, but the 
state then transferred its functions to the Port of San 
Francisco, so it's the Port of San Francisco that's succeeded to 
the lease and has thereafter been the lessor. 

But it was an interesting and, I think, very worthwhile 

Hicke: Who was the lessee? Is there a World Trade Center organization? 

Heilbron: The Port of San Francisco is now the lessor and the World Trade 
Club, the import -exports and others are the lessees. 


Was renovation involved? 


HIcke : 

Hicke : 

Oh, yes. 

Vere you involved in that? 

No, no. It's rather interesting, when you ask were we involved 
in thatbecause it was going to be a state district or 
authority operating the Ferry Building that was to be devoted to 
a world trade center. A district (authority) was created, and I 
remember the state legislative counsel asked us whether we 
didn't want to have it written in that the district (authority) 
could employ its own counsel. And we were concerned that we 
didn't want any idea floating around that there was any private 
benefit to be obtained by people interested in this bill. Mr. 
Cutler wasn't going to be a paid official or executive of the 
center, and we did not want to be written in as or regarded as 
potential counsel. Because we wanted to be sure that the bill 
went through without any political ramifications. 

And so then you did write those provisions in? 

No, it wasn't necessary. 

Oh, I see. You didn't care. 

We cared that the bill would pass. 

Golden Gateway 

Heilbron: Then I got involved with the Golden Gateway project. This was a 
matter of competitive bids to build the Golden Gateway 
residential area, a program for redevelopment near the 
Embarcadero in downtown San Francisco. A number of top 
development teams entered the competition. I represented a 
group led by James H. Scheuer of New York, who assembled a team 
of the Tishman Realty organization, the Cahill Construction 
Company, John Uarnecke, the architect, landscaping specialists, 
and others under the rubric of Tishman Cahill Renewal 
Associates. Scheuer was really the moving party, as an 
authority on housing and an experienced developer in the field. 
He later became a congressman, an office, I believe, he still 
holds . 

In any event, he engaged me and the Renewal Associates 

Hicke : 

You put in a bid for-- 


Heilbron: I was the counsel for this joint venture; later Cap Weinberger 
joined me. And this was the time when Justin Herman was the 
development director in San Francisco. 

Hicke: And it was the city that was putting out the bids? 

Heilbron: Yes, the city had condemned the old produce district and the 
land thus acquired was put out for purchase and redevelopment. 
It took a good deal of money just to enter this competition, 
because designs and models had to be made, costs and finances 
projected, and so on. Over sixteen acres were involved in this 
planned residential area. 

Front-runners in the competition were Kern County Land 
Company and Del E. Webb Construction Company, Perini-San 
Francisco Associates (including Perini Land and Development 
Company, Fleishhacker Company, architects Wurster, Bernard! , and 
Emmons, among others), and our team. 

There were written proposals, a formal public presentation, 
negotiations on the financial aspects. Design was a primary 
factor, but the financial consideration was also very important. 

The design competition was very close between the Perini 
Associates and the Tishman Cahill Associates- -their respective 
combinations of highrises, range of apartments, town houses, and 
landscaping. Finally, the award was made to Perini and 

Hicke: The award was primarily on the design? 

Heilbron: Well, yes, though someone said they took our buildings and put 
in their landscaping or took our landscaping and put in their 
buildings . 

Hicke: [laughing] 

Heilbron: That, I'm sure, is exaggerated, but I do believe some of our 
architectural elements were ultimately incorporated. I know 
they added architects after the award. But that is not the 
whole of the story. 

Hicke: What remains? 

Heilbron: The financial aspect, which the Redevelopment Agency admitted 

did pose some issues . Scheuer had proposed a scheme of reverter 
in favor of the city: that is, after forty years, the land and 
improvements (after development) would revert to the city, 
subject to an option to the developer to repurchase the land at 


the then-market value for a new holding for thirty- five to 
fifty-nine years, at the expiration of which the land and 
inprovenents would finally revert to the city for further sale 
or disposition. It was quite an innovative proposal, with a lot 
of built-in gain for San Francisco, both at the end of forty 
years and later. 

But the agency stated that it could not consider the 
proposal because it was outside the ground rules, though the 
concept was worth study for some future competition. Yet the 
ground rules listed the financial or business consideration as 
one of the criteria. 

Hicke: Mr. [Art] Agnos might not have some of the problems he has now 
if that had been-- 

Heilbron: I'm afraid he would not have been helped, because the 

competition was in 1960 and forty years reach into 2000. But 
some future mayor and the city might have been made very happy. 
One of the agency commissioners told me that he was very much 
upset at not giving the Scheuer proposal full consideration 
since he felt the design competition was so close. 

Hicke: What was the attitude of the Scheuer, Tishman, et cetera, team? 

Heilbron: Even if there was a legal issue, they did not wish to contest. 
They had national reputations and did not want to be seen as 
protesting losers. 

1200 California Street 

Heilbron: I got involved with 1200 California Street- -you know that large 
apartment house? Tishman as developer employed us, established 
the cooperative that was going to be developed to operate the 
apartment house. 

It was an interesting project with 1200 California Street. 
The Tishmans were used to cooperative programs, that is, 
cooperative apartment houses. New York, of course, is full of 
them. San Francisco has some too. And we had two big problems. 

One of them, after we got started, was when an act was 
passed by the State of California authorizing condominiums for 
apartment developments. The question was whether to turn over 
the project to condominiums or to continue as a cooperative. 
The determination was made to continue as a cooperative. 



The other problem was that in the old Hillcrest apartment 
house that had to be torn down to make way for the highrise, 
Alexis Tangiers had a three -year lease. Nevertheless the 
property was purchased, and it was decided to proceed. There 
were three tenants, three big tenants still remaining, of this 
apartment house. I think all the other leases were terminable 
without a problem, but these people had term leases. And two of 
them we were able to negotiate and pay off on fair terms. But 
Alexis wanted a lot of money. We had quite a time with him, but 
we finally paid a sufficient amount for him to go into that 
fancy restaurant property opposite the Mark Hopkins Hotel, which 
was prime restaurant property on Nob Hill, and we paid for the 
whole remodeling and putting that restaurant into shape. 

I hope you got a chance to eat there occasionally! 

Heilbron: We had one celebration! Alexis gave us a celebration dinner 
after he opened his new restaurant. 

Hicke: With him was it just a matter of talking and trying out 
different ideas? 

Heilbron: He had a going restaurant in the basement in the old Hillcrest 
apartment house, and it was far better for him to get this new 
place. It was necessary for us to build 1200 and begin selling 
as soon as possible. So, as always, when there's enlightened 
self-interest on both sides, you can come to a deal. 

Hicke: That's an interesting thing to remember. 

Petrillo: Educating the Client 

Heilbron: So I don't know what other things might be of interest. I had a 
client who was a very well-known musician. Internationally. He 
had a problem with Petrillo, who was the czar of the music 
union. It had to do with the interpretation and application of 
one of the provisions in the union rules, which applied to this 
client. And it was a provision affecting the obligation to use 
union orchestras in recording. 

I had heard on good authority that Petrillo hated attorneys 
and if he [the musician] came in with his attorney, we were 
through. He wouldn't give in. He wouldn't. 

There were two interpretations possible with this rule. 
And also particularly as applied to this client, because of 


arrangements that had been made long before the rules had been 
adopted by the union, there was a good defense; but it was an 
arguable proposition both ways. If Petrillo felt that it was 
worth disciplining a well-known man and it would yield a good 
deal of publicity in a lawsuit, he would have been willing to do 

I realized there was nothing to be gained by my going with 
the musician to New York. So for one hour and a half over the 
phone, I explored every possible question Petrillo could 
possibly ask and groomed the client to be in effect his own 
amiable lawyer. And it worked! 

An exemption was granted. And one of the reasons, I felt, 
was that Petrillo, particularly if a person was well known, 
wanted that person to meet with him on equal terms. And if he 
did that and was cooperative, that would satisfy him. And it 
was probably the right way to handle the particular situation. 

Hicke: As you were saying before, "Know your opponent." 

Heilbron: Some administrative agencies don't want to deal with attorneys, 
and sometimes if you've got the right client, you can, through 
the process of education, help that client to deal directly with 
the agency and come out better than if an attorney were present 
at a hearing. 

Now this next situation occurred during the [Senator 
Joseph] McCarthy period. I represented a doctor who was a 
liberal and contributed to liberal causes and so on, but somehow 
the medical administration- -what is it, the California Medical 
Association, I guess?- -got complaints and they were citing him. 

I think the only way they could get at him was to effect 
withdrawal of his veteran's hospital privileges, in other words, 
payment for his services would cease. 

But professional authorities and government people were 
Just as much under the climate of fear as the people who were 
appearing before them- -they wanted to show that they were 100 
percent patriotic Americans in judging people who came before 
them- -and it took people of real character to stand up and be 

A lot of the action or decision depended on the evidence 
that was submitted before them, and so if a client was careful 
in presenting his testimony --sure, truthful testimony it had to 
be , but he should answer the questions and not go into a long 
dissertation of his philosophic beliefs if they weren't asked 


for- -he had a much better chance than the person who was going 
to talk too much. 

And that was another situation where consulting with and 
educating the client benefited bin when he made his appearance. 
And he was adjudged not guilty, if that's the phrase to use, or 
not in violation of some ethical or loyalty program that had 
been developed during that period. Not that he should have been 
up there at all. It was a disgrace that he was up there. 

I guess what I'm saying is that there are times when a 
client can benefit from a lawyer's counsel and in effect appear 
without counsel and be successful. 

Hicke: That's really interesting. Educating the client is one of the 
aspects of law practice that is lesser known, perhaps, but 
surely important. 

Heilbron: I would say that when a person comes to a lawyer, ordinarily he 
needs the services, the professional services, of a lawyer. The 
usual procedure of an attorney at a hearing involving his or her 
client is to see to it that unfair questions are not asked or 
the client is not compelled to answer them and mainly that the 
client present his own case in a simple, direct manner. 

But when you've got a situation at an informal 
administrative hearing, where the directness of the client is 
respected and where the legal issue is not complex, and where 
the client can express himself graciously and will, maybe you 
should let him do it without your presence. 

Hicke: Did you ever have cases where- -matters, 1 should say- -where some 
preliminary advice or research or knowledge on your part 
prevented a problem, headed off trouble? 

Heilbron: Oh, I think that consultation with lawyers results in the 

prevention of as many problems as are litigated or where there 
is controversy. Yes, I think that one of the biggest duties of 
a lawyer is to guide his client into paths that will not lead 
him into unnecessary controversy. 

Hicke: Do you recall any specific examples of that? 

Heilbron: Oh, it happens so often that a person is unhappy with an 

employee, and he's going to discharge this person and then finds 
out that, no matter what he says, he hasn't got a record to 
justify it. 


By so advising him, you have prevented an unnecessary and 
costly act. Sometimes partners may have a falling out. And one 
will come to his lawyer and in the end, he'll get in touch with 
the other lawyer and solve that situation before it breaks out. 
So I think that certainly a good deal of law prevents 
unnecessary controversy. 

A Settlement . a Development . and the Prime 

Heilbron: I had a number of divorce settlements during the early practice 
of the law, and one of them involved a prominent doctor and his 
wife who was also a doctor. It wasn't so much the grounds for 
divorce which we were certainly able to prove, but the division 
of the community property that took the time and the trouble. 

Hicke: Which one did you represent? 

Heilbron: I represented the wife. I had represented both of them prior to 
their divorce, but he got his own attorney in this matter. And 
they were splendid people. 

Hicke: Did you take the case because you had represented them before in 
other matters? 

Heilbron: Well, when the unhappiness developed, the wife came to me and 

asked if I would take it. And I did. For a time, I think they 
wanted me to represent both of them, which was impossible. The 
interesting part of that settlement was the wine cellar. The 
husband, who was a wine expert, had a cellar that was equal to 
the best in the city. It probably was the second best in the 
city, after the Bohemian Club. The question was dividing it. 
Of course I enjoyed a little wine, but I was not expert. 

The other attorney and I and the doctor went down to the 
cellar in his home. I suggested, "Let's begin by dividing the 
labels. If the labels are identical, I'll take my chances that 
they are both getting equal values." So a great deal was 
transferred in that way. But then we got to a number of bottles 
where there were not two of a kind, and it was not going to be a 
case of Noah's Ark anymore, and we had to decide on equal 
values. There were some stray bottles of fine wine that came 
within that category. 

So there was a long aisle in this wine cellar, and I asked 
the husband if he would be able to arrange the bottles in two 





Hicke : 


Hicke : 

equal-valued lines. He said, of course! So he vent to the 
trouble of moving the wine bottles, and incidentally this had to 
be done two or three times because of the number of bottles in 
the length of the aisle. And he said, "That's about it." And I 
said, "Now, would you be willing to take either line?" 

Oh, very good! 

And he said, "Veil, now, wait a minute!" He changed some 
bottles, and then I said, "Now do you think they are equal?" 
And he said, "Well, I think they are about as equal as I can 
possibly make them." 1 said, "Now would you be willing to throw 
a coin to see who gets which line?" 

Oh, terrific! 

He said yes he would, 

And that's the way we divided the wine 

It's too bad they didn't ask you to taste some of it to check it 

Veil, after the wine cellar was divided, the wife very kindly 
gave me a pretty good box of the better wines that had been 
agreed upon as going to her. 

I told you about the Alexis transaction? 

An interesting law suit that Mr. Tenney and 1 had relates to a 
restaurant in San Francisco that is called the House of Prime 
Rib. A distant cousin by marriage owned Lawry's in Los Angeles. 
And Lawry's owned the place called The Prime Rib. The Prime Rib 
was derived from Simpson's of London. That is, Mr. Frank, 
Lawrence Frank, owner of Lawry's, had gone over to London on 
vacation and had eaten at Simpson's and was fascinated by the 
way they served their roast beef from the carts. So he adapted 
this kind of arrangement for Los Angeles , and it for years has 
been one of the leading restaurants there. 

Veil, one of his employees left him and came up here and 
developed a relationship with some very good people whom I knew 
personally, and they put up a restaurant on Van Ness Avenue and 
called It The Prime Rib. 

This is The House of Prime Rib? 
"THE" Prime Rib. 


Hlcke: Oh, they called It The Prime Rib? 

Heilbron: And the menus were taken from, practically copied in substance 

and fora fron, the Los Angeles operation on the same kind of big 
wooden board menus. And even the little greenery outside of the 
restaurant, the hedges, were arranged like the ones down there. 

The food was good. It was pretty well copied. But the Los 
Angeles people, who had spent a great deal of money in 
advertising their operations, did not feel this was a fair 
matter, and they wanted to enjoin the operation or at least the 
name of the place. They couldn't enjoin cooking of prime rib or 
anything of that kind. 

So we went to court on it. Our big precedent was one that 
was decided several years before: the Stork Club in New York, 
which also did a lot of advertising and, as you know, was a 
primary entertainment center in New York, found out that a 
little bistro on Fillmore Street was calling itself the Stork 
Club, and they felt that if the cat got on the chair, it might 
get on the table; they were going after this little operation. 
They brought an injunction suit against this little bistro, the 
Stork Club in San Francisco, lest their wonderful operation in 
New York should be misconstrued as having a partner in San 
Francisco of such a low caliber, and they won their suit. 

Well, we had a better case than that! This was no bistro 
on Van Ness Avenue, this was a restaurant seeking wide 
patronage. People did think that the Los Angeles operation had 
simply established another branch here and that they were 
advertising for their own branch restaurant. Therefore, Los 
Angeles wanted to enjoin the use of the name. 

Hicke: Now, you were representing the Los Angeles restaurant? 
Heilbron: Oh, yes. After all it was an extended part of my family. 
Hicke: Yes. 

Heilbron: And so we went to court. I think Judge Milton Sapiro was our 
judge. Both sides put in evidence. The argument against us 
was: how could you do anything with "Prime Rib"? It's a phrase, 
it's a description; you can't have an ownership of that kind of 
a phrase or title. But there was that little big article, 
"The." The judge suggested that word, in the context, stood for 
something and could be protected. And he expressed having 
trouble with the copying pattern. So the defendants proposed a 
settlement that would involve changing their name to House of 
Prime Rib. The "The" would remain proud and alone with Los 

Hlcke : 


Angeles. Also, new and distinctive measures of operation would 
be adopted In San Francisco. Our client accepted. 

Louis, those two last cases would have made a nice combination, 
a little prime rib with your bottles of wine! [laughter] 

Hellbron: Right! 

KOED and th Tc 

Hellbron: Now about KQED and the sky-piercing TV tower. KQED and other 
stations had their broadcasting apparatus on Mount San Bruno 
which Is, I presume, In Daly City and Is a small mountain, but 
of sufficient size to have enabled them to broadcast 
successfully for a number of years. But to take advantage of a 
greatly expanded area of reception, the large broadcasting 
organizations wanted a better facility, and they settled on 
Mount Sutro. So a corporation was formed to develop and own the 
facility and then lease the arms on which the broadcasting 
apparatus was hung, and the big stations agreed. But in order 
for the project to be approved from a federal communications 
standpoint, they needed one or two additional hang-ons. Public 
television was considered to be the key to this arrangement. 
KQED, at first, opposed the whole concept. It felt that Mt. 
Sutro should be left in Its natural state, and there was 
considerable feeling that it was on the "right side" of civic 
pride and the environment. 

But it looked rather clearly that this tower was going to 
be built. I advised the president to make an issue of this 

Hicke: The president of KQED? 

Heilbron: KQED. His name was Dick [Richard] Moore. We brought It before 
the board of directors, pointing out that everybody's antenna 
was going to be pointed in certain directions from the high 
tower, and ours would be going in another direction If we didn't 
change. At least it appeared that it would be much more 
difficult to receive KQED on an ordinary set after the tower was 
built and functioning if KQED still maintained the San Bruno 
broadcasting facility. And that it was important for the 
survival of this station to make the transfer. The project was 
going to be completed irrespective of KQED, some acceptable 
broadcaster would be found, and there was no use tilting at 
windmills; in particular, we had better get our own windmill 





Hicke : 

Hicke : 

going to be sure that we had the benefit of not only the high 
tower but of the much larger area for communication that the 
high tower would make possible. The name of the law firm 
representing the tower was Cooper, White & Cooper, located in 
the SUM building that we occupied. There was a time pressure 
too on the whole thing. I can't give you the details on the 
negotiations for our going on the tower, but we were quite 
important at the time, and we got the most phenomenal deal with 
respect to rental, compared with what commercial television had 
to pay, and all the other commercial people agreed to it, which 
was good for the city. 

Because it was a public station? 

Yes. As a public station, we were important for them to have, 
but we didn't have the money to pay the same competitive price, 
and our percentage was pretty low for both Channel 9 and Channel 
32 as well. And we had a long-term lease. What the situation 
now is, I don't know, because the lease probably has come up for 
renewal in recent years. But there was no doubt the station 
gained a great deal and, as a matter of fact, I don't think it 
would be near the station that it now is if it had remained on 
San Bruno. I wonder whether it could have been financially 
maintained. Well! 

What were the other stations paying? Do you have any idea? 
also can you tell me approximately when it all took place? 


The commercial stations were paying a great deal more than KQED, 
but I can't give you the figures. The agreement to go on the 
tower was made in 1970. The tower was almost finished when Dick 
Moore came up to my office for some other legal advice , and my 
office in 44 Montgomery had somewhat the same view that you are 
looking out on now. 

We are looking out now with a nice view of the Sutro Tower. 

That's right, but ours was over farther and so the tower was 
more in evidence from my window. And we looked at that, and 
there was the rest of the city with its contours still intact, 
and there was this tower, and I said to Dick, "My God, did we do 
that?" [laughter] Because it doesn't add too much 
architecturally to the skyline, though sometimes it seems to 
disappear. And of course, on foggy nights, you can't see it at 

Well, I find it an intriguing part of the skyline, because very 
often the fog comes in and you can see the tip of it above the 
fog. Or sometimes you can see the tip of it and part way down 


and then the rest of the whole hill is covered, so you just get 
this view of the top of the tower. 

Heilbron: But not as mysterious as the Golden Gate Bridge partially hidden 
by fog! 

Veil, in ay past, among other things I did for the Vorld 
Affair* Council, one was to moderate a program on international 
relation* for them- -I guess it was the late fifties- -and at that 
time there were no panel discussions on international relations 
from the networks. There were none in the city sponsored by 
anyone. KQED gave us free time. We broadcast at 6:00 on 
Sundays and 7:00 prime time. It shows what the difference is, 
in the growth of public interest in international affairs, in 
the following that top panelists have developed in such programs 
as Washington Week in Review. Not that our programs were 
comparable, although we did try to get the most important 
international visitors passing through the city and interview 
them with the panel. And 1 would go up there to Mt. Sutro on 
nights when I couldn't find my way on the streets, let alone see 
where the station was. 

Hicke: [laughter] 

Heilbron: So 1 know what it is to get there on a foggy night. 

Hicke : Sure . 

Heilbron: But of course it worked very well. 

Hicke: Then they abandoned their San Bruno Mountain- - 

Heilbron: Oh, yes. 

Hicke: There is something still up there. Some other television 

station took it over for a while, I guess. And now 1 think the 
whole thing is empty, but-- 

Heilbron: Well, what they did with it, whether they sold it or how they 
transferred it, I don't know, that went into the past. 

Power in Bureaucracy 

Heilbron: I don't know whether this is of interest or not, but I refer to 
my interest in ER1SA, the act under which profit-sharing and 
pension plans were authorized and established when you had to 


apply and Beet the conditions of the federal government. I was 
quite active in this field in the early 1970s. I've touched 
upon that. 

But a person by the name of Goodman, can't remember his 
first name, was the head of a minor agency in the federal 
government that was created to handle all of these applications 
for profit sharing and pensions. And he would give speeches 
around the country when new regulations were issued. His 
speeches were most technical, occupying maybe ten to twelve 
pages of print. You could, by studying them, understand him, 
but when you heard them you took notes as well as you could and 
then you just waited for the publication to come out. 1 went 
back to meet Mr. Goodman in Washington about one of our pending 
plans, and he had a very modest office. He put out, oh I don't 
know, he must have given close to thirty major speeches which 
encompassed the major regulations. It suddenly dawned upon some 
of us that this unknown man was dealing in operations involving 
millions and millions --perhaps billions- -of dollars in the set 
up of all these pension plans throughout the United States and 
this was a hardly known bureaucrat. 

Hicke: Talk about power! 

Heilbron: I believe someone picked up the story and wrote a magazine 
article about it. But it amazed me. 

Well, finally I may refer to a recollection I have in labor 
negotiations. It was when the Teamsters and the big trucking 
industries- -and we represented P. I.E. (Pacific Intermountain 
Express) - -wanted a certain amendment to a statute that clarified 
the extent of a permissible trucking route, that is how long a 
route you could give an individual driver or drivers. I was to 
go up to the Fairmont Hotel where the Teamsters were staying, 
and the Fairmont Tower was fairly new at the time . I went up 
almost to the top floor in the tower and knocked on the door 
number I was given. That opened up into just a magnificent 
suite , and there were all kinds of goodies around in the way of 
hors d'oeuvres, liquor, and so forth. It was a most enjoyable 
conference. I was so struck by the room, I think they had two 
rooms together, that I think I found out that that suite then 
cost $38.00. Now- - 

Hicke: Oh no! Now this must have been in the early seventies, because 
Pacific Intermountain Express came with Paul Wolf-- 

Heilbron: That's right. 

Hicke: And didn't he come back to the firm in 1959 maybe? 


Heilbron: Yes, because Mr. Dinkelspiel was alive when he cane back. 
Hicke: So maybe this was the sixties? 

Heilbron: Now of course I would have to check on that dollar price if that 
ever became an important item! 

Hicke: That's truly amazing. 

Heilbron: I think those are the items that would be anecdotal that you 
might be interested in. 

Legal Work Over the Years 

Hicke: Tell me how your work with the firm evolved over the years. 
Heilbron: I am afraid that this may involve some repetition. 

Hicke: That's okay, especially if you include a comparison of the 
modern firm with the firm you entered. 

Heilbron: I think I mentioned that in the 1930s, the associates did a bit 
of everything. There were wills and trusts, bank problems, 
contracts, occasional trials, foreclosures unfortunately on 
mortgage -secured loans. And incidentally, at that time Eleanor 
Roosevelt would write letters to either the bank or the 
attorneys if she had received appeals from people whose land was 
at risk and the mortgage was about to be foreclosed, and for 
some of these, when you referred to the letter, the bank would 
give further time to look at the situation again, and Mrs. 
Roosevelt's intervention was interesting, unusual, and 
frequently effective. 

The trust department of Wells Fargo was very strong--! 
think the best of any of the banks in San Francisco. But I 
believe I mentioned that during the Lipman era, they had to take 
up anything involving a possible legal question with their 
attorneys . So we saw a great deal of the trust officers in 
important and unimportant matters. 

We had occasional claims in bankruptcy. There was a great 
amount of legal research. I talked about the government 
alphabet agencies and the Japanese situation. Ue organized 
corporations and partnerships and we were very active in the 
probate of estates, because almost every step in probate in 
those days had to be taken before the court, even if the matters 


were uncontested. There were occasional divorces and 
settlements. We did not take divorces even then that were 
contested divorces, except possibly for a long-term client, but 
we did negotiate property settlements. There was a certain 
amount of litigation to which I alluded before; there was a good 
deal of business counseling. 

Hicke: When did you make partner? 

Heilbron: I made partner in 1948. Of course I had gone through a time in 
the 1930s when I had a part-time arrangement with the Relief 
Administration and Department of Social Welfare, which the firm 
was kind enough to allow me to keep. When I came back from 
World War II, I gave up everything outside. 

Hicke: I see. 

Heilbron: And so I was made a partner within a couple of years, January of 
1948. Of course in those days partnership was a seven- to ten- 
year proposition, and in my case much of my work in the thirties 
allowed for my consulting position with the state. 

Other Legal Matters## 

Heilbron: I gave you an idea of the people for whom I had done labor work. 
Now, during the 1960s and until my retirement, I think my own 
practice changed considerably. I would say that the labor 
matters took about a third of the time. Other matters like the 
acquisition of the land and the building and development of a 
cooperative apartment house, and the competition for the 
Gateway, and the purchase and sale of businesses, and a 
miscellany of client interests took the balance. I represented 
Mrs. Neustadter, who had quite a bit of real property in San 
Francisco and Oakland that involved a number of leases. In one 
large warehouse lease, I fought quite hard to get her the most 
revenue I could and to limit the amount of construction work 
required of her to put the premises in order, and after the 
lease was agreed upon with John Morrell, the president of John 
Morrell said, "Well, if you can fight that hard for that lady, 
you can fight that hard for us . " And so I became the counsel 
for John Morell in California. 

Hicke: Oh, very good. 


Hellbron: Then there was a New York lawyer by the name of Feldstein who 
referred me to a man by the name of Arthur Laskin, who owned 
substantial properties here. I handled the leasing and the sale 
of those properties and-- 

Hicke : 

Commercial property? 

Heilbron: Yes, commercial properties, including a large building on Market 
Street. Various unrelated matters: I got involved in selling a 
book to Walt Disney Studios that never was produced into a 
picture, but we certainly had a rather interesting negotiation 
with respect to the terms. So it was a varied practice, and of 
course the sale of Gump's was an important transaction involving 
negotiations with various prospective buyers, and the final sale 
contract and lease of the building to the successful buyer, and 
there were Richard Gump's family matters. Mr. [Yehudi] Menuhin 
had professional property and family matters that called for a 
good deal of attention from the beginning of the 1960s to 
retirement. So about two thirds of my time was in what you 
might call "general practice," though largely in real property 

Hicke: And was that because of the something of decline in labor 
practice that you were telling me about? 

Heilbron: In a way that was. It became clear that for contract 

negotiations, except in the most unusual case, it was better to 
have your relationship to the union on as large a scale of 
representation as possible. So I encouraged clients to join 
associations, and let the association bargain for them. It was 
much less expensive for the individual client, and the middle- 
class client really could not afford the cost of a lawyer's 
negotiation. Because as I told you, they frequently were 
dragged out. Negotiations were dragged out, and if the lawyer 
was going to represent the client's interest properly, he'd have 
to stay there until the wee hours, until the agreement was 
reached. That was one factor. 

Then employers became more educated and sophisticated about 
how to deal with their personnel. They employed personnel 
directors. The personnel directors would tell them, "Now if you 
are going to have a good work force and one that is not likely 
to sign up with the union, you'd better pay them according to 
what the appropriate scale should be." The result was that the 
unions found it rather difficult in the private area to get a 
majority of the employees to join them. There was a falling off 
of unions controlling private industry. So what developed, I 
think after 1974, was a new area of negotiation in the 
retirement programs. But many of the employers had already 



installed retirement programs, and even that didn't succeed too 
well from the union standpoint. In many cases, the retirement 
program was confirmed in negotiations , but the union wanted to 
have the right to negotiate amendments to the retirement plan. 
If they could get the plan within the collective bargaining 
agreement, they would be in a better position to do so. 

I think that in the early 1970s , the energies of unions 
were turned to public employees. Now they still hold a number 
of important contracts in San Francisco in the retail industry, 
and transportation, hotel, and culinary services are very 
important since San Francisco is such a tourist city. My own 
view is that employers came to the conclusion that maybe if they 
paid higher wages and benefits and had a relatively contented 
work force, they could pass these increases on to the consumer. 
The consumer has solved many labor/management difficulties. 
Instead of trying to hold the price as low as possible by reason 
of cutting down on labor costs, the employer said, "Oh well." 

Rube Goldberg, the cartoonist, used to draw a number of 
cartoons where the poor consumer was a little man down in the 
corner. And they said, "The consumer always pays." Well, that 
idea has probably resulted in the by-pass of more union 
organization than any other factor. 

Now, I mentioned the profit-sharing and pension plans. 
Those really started out as part of labor work because they 
provided benefits that went to the employees. I guess when I 
started out, I must have drawn about twenty plans for Ampex, 
Hyatt, and others. I don't know whether Hyatt still uses it 
nationally, but that's the way it started. I guess all of these 
plans have undergone considerable revision. 

This would have been after ERISA? 

Heilbron: After ERISA. 
Hicke: Okay, 1973. 

Heilbron: As the plans became more and more technical, and as Mr. Goodman 
gave more and more speeches, it was quite obvious that legally 
it was more of a tax matter than it was a labor matter. While 
Mr. [Keith] Betzina and I worked on some together, ultimately, 
Mr. Betzina took over that work, and he had been in the tax 
department . 

Hicke: Oh, I see. 


Hellbron: And so he has handled those matters since. Let me see: I'll 
finish with this observation. In the labor field and in the 
department store field, we sometimes received what would be 
rather minor problems, and I would give these to associates to 
work on. I assume that some of the associates would feel, "What 
am I working on this problem for?" --some problem relating to 
returned merchandise, and whether Gump's should reimburse the 
purchase. But what was not realized was that Mr. Gump had 
called about this question. He was most interested in this 

Hicke: This individual item that was referred or something? 

Heilbron: This individual item came to his attention, and he considered it 
to be a policy matter with respect to the firm. Or there had 
been some representation the salesperson made, and what really 
was the responsibility of the firm in connection with that 
representation? Maybe it was outside that person's scope of 
selling. In any event, the individual item would not be too 
important. But when the president of the company sees that his 
law firm will handle a minor matter and give him an answer 
within a day or two, he is inclined to continue his relationship 
with that firm. And that is something that some of the younger 
people didn't understand. 

Growth of Heller. Ehrman 

Heilbron: In your other interviews of Heller, Ehrman partners, one of them 
said that it's not the same old firm of the 1960s, and of course 
that is true. But I think you'll find that enough of it 
survived to make it a friendly and distinctive firm. I'll 
comment on this later. Then there was some comment about the 
rivalry between the litigators and the corporate group and 
whether if Lloyd Dinkelspiel, Jr., had lived, the firm would be 
an entirely different operation. He and Julian Stern envisioned 
a greatly expanded practice in connection with the financing of 
acquisitions, joint ventures, and other enterprises. I believe 
that he too had to adjust to the trend or the push of 
litigation. But his view of the importance of corporate and 
nonlitigation counsel has had a lasting effect. I think there 
is respect between the two groups. The main point is that you 
have to recognize reality, and every firm in San Francisco that 
has a large office has had a tremendous increase in its 
litigation department. You couldn't resist that tide. 


Great credit must be given to M. Laurence Popofsky, Steve 
Bouse, Curtis Caton, and Weyman Lundquist for building the 
litigation department. Popofsky has been the clearly 
acknowledged leader. 

Hicke: Yes. An article in one of the legal newspapers called this firm 
a litigation-driven firm. Which as you said, probably most 
firms are now. Would you say that characterizes the firm? 

Heilbron: Well, I think litigation-driven suggests that is the engine that 
runs the automobile. But a tremendous amount of corporate 
counsel work goes on day by day. And corporate relationships 
are a source of litigation referrals. 

Hicke: But I think that is a good point that you brought up: perhaps 
this mutual respect is left from Lloyd Jr.'s ideas. 

Heilbron: It may well be. It may well be. 

Hicke: Okay, that is a good way to look at that. 

Heilbron: Cap Weinberger was in charge of litigation in the early sixties 
just prior to the expansion drive of the new, young associates. 
He was a lawyer of remarkable fluency- -even when briefed in a 
taxicab on the way to court. Though a nondr inker, he handled 
many matters in the Alcohol Beverage Control field for the 
liquor interests the firm represented, such as Hiram Walker. 

He was and is a man of many talents . Cap moderated a TV 
program on local issues for KQED titled Profile Bay Area. He 
wrote book reviews for the San Francisco Chronicle. And he 
began his political career in the California State Assembly with 
the support and encouragement of his colleagues in Heller, 
Ehrman and his able wife, Jane. 

Public service was the life he mainly wanted to pursue and 
ultimately it led to the directorship of the California State 
Department of Finance and several positions of cabinet rank 
under the Nixon, Ford, and Reagan administrations, ending with 
an extended, well-known period as secretary of Defense. 
Currently he is publisher of Forbes magazine. His national 
status is unique among those who have been or are members of the 

Now let's get back to other things. Oh, did you want me to 
indicate the people, the associates who worked with me? 

Hicke: Well, yes. I think that would be helpful. 


Heilbron: Well, some of the associates who worked with me on labor matters 
were George Clyde, Nancy Lenvin, Alvin Baum, Von Eckhart, even 
Bill Coblentz for a short period. Kit Kaufman did some work. 
And there were several others. Some became partners. Others 
left for independent careers, Bill Coblentz being specially 
distinguished in his own firm and as a regent of the University 
of California. 

As I mentioned previously, the labor field interested all 
of them. They liked occasionally to get problems in this area, 
although they gave no indication that they wanted to have a 
complete practice in it. It was very easy to recruit and get 
assistance on labor problems. 

Hicke: Maybe that had something to do with working with Louis? 

Heilbron: No, I think the field was the interesting part. It also arose 
from the fact that we were then a smaller firm. For quite some 
time if you had a problem where you needed assistance, it was 
possible simply to recruit someone you thought would be 
interested, and if he or she had time, you would take him or her 
on. You did that on an individual basis, and people collared 
people in the hall who would be interested in working on their 
problems . 

Hicke: [laughter] 

Heilbron: And so that is the way a lot of it was done. However, where an 
associate was pretty much within the supervision of a particular 
partner, and reputed to be doing his work, I would ask that 
partner if he could spare him for a particular job. 

Hicke: So some associates worked fairly closely with a partner, and 
others were sort of-- 

Heilbron: And others had more of a general relationship with various 

partners. I think the effort was made after maybe the latter 
part of the 1950s to have supervision over particular 
associates . 

Hicke: Have we omitted any social aspect of the early days it would be 
well to cover- -wasn' t there a story of "Brockway to Sugar Pine 
Point," where the Ehrmans had a house on Lake Tahoe?' 

Heilbron: Oh! Well, there isn't too much of a story here. My wife and I 
took a vacation in Lake Tahoe and went to Brockway. I am quite 
sure this was in the 1930s. We were told by Mr. Ehrman that 
when we did come up there, I should communicate with him or Mrs. 
Ehrman. So I gave him a call and immediately received an 


invitation to come there for lunch. I said, "I don't know how 
we'll get over there unless there is some kind of service around 
the lake.* Ve didn't have a car up there. Mr. Ehrman said that 
was no problem at all . 


Heilbron: They would send us a boat. They gave me the approximate time 
when it would arrive, and also he said, "Not to worry, you can 
spend a nice afternoon with us and we'll send you back by boat!" 
So that was pretty much the story of it. 

Hicke: I think that you said that the boat had a uniformed captain, or 

Heilbron: Sure. It was a speed boat, of course. It was a perfectly 

lovely ride across the lake. We felt rather upset causing so 
much trouble. There were quite a few others at the luncheon. 
And so here we were with our own boat to take us forth and back. 

It was always quite interesting going to the Ehrmans ' , 
whether in Tahoe or in San Francisco, with respect to the 
cocktails. The cocktails would come prepared beautifully. But 
there was an even number of Manhattans and martinis! And that 
was really the choice. Now if you were a naive associate, you 
might ask for a Scotch. 




Hicke : 


I don't know where that put you on Mrs. Ehrman' s list. 
expected that you take one or the other. 

It was 

And what was the luncheon like? 

Well, I can't remember what the luncheon was like. But I can 
remember one of the dinners they had. 

This was in San Francisco? 

This was in San Francisco. The first course was an oyster 
course, with Olympia oysters. They were arranged on a fairly 
large plate in concentric circles so that you had this beautiful 
you might say, oyster target! 


I don't know how many you can get on a plate in such a manner. 
It was memorable. I can't remember anything else about the 
dinner, but that I remember. 


Hicke: Would they just have oembers of the firm out to dinner, or the 
whole firm, or associates, or-- 

Hellbron: Well, I don't know. I really don't know the extent they had 
firm members. I know that Whit Tenney and Martin Mlnney went 
out there. And, of course, Dick Guggenhime. The senior 
partners certainly. But I don't know the extent to which they-- 
They did not have, at least In San Francisco, they did not have 
parties where all of the attorneys assembled. They did it on a 
basis of mixing his legal partners with their other guests. 

Hicke: Oh, 1 see. 
Heilbron: As far as I know. 

Hicke: Yes. When you were there, there was nobody else from the firm 

Heilbron: No. I sat next to one of the leading (I guess) socialites in 
San Francisco, a lady with whom 1 had had some difficulty 
sharing experiences. [laughter] 

I don't know what part of the family to identify as the 
hosts, but I guess it was the Dinkelspiels in the Hayward/ 
Dunsmuir situation who invited all of the partners and 
associates once a year to their summer party, and that was 
entirely a firm party with occasional friends. For example, 1 
remember Sam Glikbarg, who was the president of Pacific 
Intermountain Express, who had been Paul Wolf's partner, being 
there, and maybe there would be a few outside. It was 
definitely a party for the firm. Now Mrs. Hellman, Sr. , had her 
big house on the grounds. We all went to pay her a courtesy 
visit. But the Dinkelspiels had a home there too. So 1 believe 
that the Dinkelspiels were the real hosts, rather than any part 
of the Hellman family. 

Hicke: Somebody told me that Mr. Dinkelspiel was barbecuing in shorts 

Heilbron: I did that. 

Hicke: Oh yes. Okay, you did that story. 

Heilbron: Yes. And the butlers would seat you at the table. 

Hicke: Yes. [laughter] Okay, well I don't need to pass your own story 
back to you. 


Outside and Inside Activities 

Hicke : 

Now tell 

about the firm's view toward outside activities. 

Hicke : 

Hicke : 

Hicke : 


First of all, I should tell you that when in the early part of 
ay association and even later on, an offer of major 
responsibility from a community activity was made to me, 1 would 
ask Mr. Dinkelspiel or Mr. Ehrman whether I should accept it. 
It was bound to mean time outside of the office. 

But this was your own time , this was not work pro bono for the 
firm we are talking about. 

Well, it was mostly my own time, but it did involve time away 
from the office. I'm talking about pro bono work in 
relationship- - 

With the firm sponsoring it? 

The firm encouraged participation in community work. They felt 
that there was a certain amount of identification of the firm 
with that kind of service and that it was good for the firm to 
be known in the city for that kind of participation. So, that 
was our construction of pro bono. Now as the years have gone by 
to the present, the kind of activity which several of us engaged 
in, in those days, seems to be hard for many to achieve now. 
The pro bono work is mostly within the legal field. It's in the 
legal aid field. 


It's in the public defender's office giving supplementary 
assistance. And with the Urban Committee of the San Francisco 
Bar Association. Now all of this is fine work but probably is 
more easily fitted into the work of a given lawyer than work 
that is completely outside of the firm. 

I see. 

Not that it's entirely been given up in the way we used to do 
it, but there are other considerations that come into the 
picture. That is, directors of nonprofit associations are 
subject to lawsuits, and it means that the firm has to be 
careful to cover Itself for possible malpractice actions. It's 
much more of a problem to do this kind of thing than it was. In 
a way, I think it's too bad. Because the analytical abilities 
of a lawyer, the way usually he tries to clarify issues and keep 
matters on a board [of directors] to some kind of point is a 


valuable service. Also, to note a legal problem when he sees it 
that other people may not. 

Hicke: Before the fire catches on. 

Heilbron: That's right. So there seems to be a little change there. I 

went to Mr. Ehraan on the first one, I know. And he said, "Why, 
by all means, take it. We encourage it, we think it's a good 
thing." So I continued to do this, not with every assignment 
that I felt that I could handle, but anything that was major. 

For example, by the time that Dick Guggenhime succeeded 
Lloyd Dinkelspiel as the senior partner of the firm and in 
charge of the firm, we had a talk, because I knew I was to be 
nominated as president of the State Board of Education, and we 
were going through some difficult times. I asked whether I 
should accept. If he wanted me to be more in the operation side 
of the firm, I would simply decline. Dick said no. In fact, it 
was probably more important that I continue with outside 
interests and activities then than it was previously. Because 
Mr. McAuliffe we'd lost, Mr. Dinkelspiel, Sr. , we had lost. So 
I went on accepting assignments as they came along. Although I 
can honestly say that I did not seek them. However, I would get 
on a board [of directors] and sooner or later I found that I was 
leading it. But Dick did say this, and he kept his word on it, 
he said, "If there are major questions that come up, I will talk 
to you." And he did. 

I remember we sometimes went home together in his car 
taking me or my car taking him, and we used these opportunities 
for discussion of office matters --whether to retain or to sever 
a relationship with someone, there was a difficult case 
involving dishonesty, a client's problem with respect to an 
illegitimate child, and how to manage that problem in fairness 
to all of the parties. There was a question of expansion. Dick 
was not for quick expansion. He was concerned about expansion. 

I know that he talked to me about whether we should go to 
Hong Kong, and he said, "Well, anyway, they tell me that they 
are going to go for a trial period of two years . " And I 
remember telling him, "It will never be two years; in two years 
they will say, 'We're just getting going and now you've got to 
give us a chance to prove it.'" That is subsequently what 
happened. Although Hong Kong was a good experience for all 
involved, it was never what I would call a big money maker. 

I remember saying that I thought that you never get 
anywhere in expansion where you don't have local roots. It 
wasn't enough to send someone from here. He had to become part 



of that community and build up relationships of trust in the 
cooBunity. I think he felt that way too. So expansion, I guess 
great expansion, occurred after his time. 

It also had to do with our own recruiting. When we talked 
about how nany of each class should cone to the firm, 1 felt 
that we were not a university that graduated people every four 
years and therefore needed to have a complete replenishment. 
What we got, we took for a long time and there should be some 
limit somewhere. I think he felt strongly about that too. So I 
guess what I am saying is, 1 did have opportunities to 
participate in what the firm was doing but not too much in any 
formal way with two exceptions. One of them, I was made the 
first chairman of the Happiness Committee. 

Oh, I've been wanting to hear about that. 

Heilbron: Which committee, whose name I loathed, and I almost didn't 
accept on account of that name . 

Hicke: Because it sounds frivolous? 

Heilbron: Well, it sounds as though it was a rah-rah committee, a rally 

committee for law professionals, and I thought that was not too 
dignified. But actually what it amounted to was an attempt, 
certainly at the beginning, to involve associates in the firm, 
to make them feel like they had a voice, that if they had 
problems they could bring them to the attention of the firm's 
partners ; that they were very much a part of the firm in the 
sense that all of them had the opportunity to look forward to 
possible partnership. I know that [George] Clyde was an early 
member, and he had some definite ideas. 

As a result of the organization of the committee, the 
partners saw associates more often, and there was a social side, 
definitely. There was an encouragement to go to a coffee room 
in the Hobart Building. There were many more social events 
where associates and partners mingled. Then once a year, the 
wives of the partners and the associates, or as they say, the 
"significant others" attended. So that we developed at an early 
point, a more extensive set of social relationships, which still 
continue. I notice that they have extended that area, the fun 
recreation area, to a fairly large field. I note one thing I 
thought I would show you here: there is a Rock 'n Bowl 
[newsletter] update. That I don't think would have been thought 
of in our day when it began. The matter of forming a Happiness 
Committee was widely discussed before it was authorized, and 
someone said, "What is this idea of making everybody feel good-- 


if you want to make the people happy, call It the Happiness 
Committee." So it was almost named derisively. 

Hicke: Was it mainly social activities or entirely social activities? 

Heilbron: Oh no, I think that it was half the kind of morale building that 
I talked about. It really was a congeniality committee. 

Hicke: Can you give me some examples of some things that were done for 
that half? 

Heilbron: One example was that an associate who had anything that was on 
his mind, whether he didn't have enough secretarial help, or 
perhaps he didn't have enough opportunity to get exposure to 
different types of practice, he would come to some member of the 
Happiness Committee who would look into the matter and try to 
get the problem solved. 

Hicke: So he would write a memo to the head of the Happiness Committee? 

Heilbron: No, well, there may have been memos (Clyde wrote one), but I 
think that it was primarily a word- of -mouth kind of thing. 

Hicke: Okay, he might just drop in and tell some member of the 
Happiness Committee- - 

Heilbron: That's right. That's right. 

Hicke: Okay, that's what I was trying to work out, as to exactly how 
this works . 

Heilbron: That's right. But I do not know how it operates at present. 

Another interesting custom. In the old days, when a 
litigator won, even a demurrer, he'd come home with a carnation 
in his buttonhole. There would be some kind of small 
celebration. Or if he won a trial court judgment. That was 
when the firm was small. 

Hicke: So people would gather somewhere? Or just in the hall? 

Heilbron: It was like the pitcher who had pitched a successful game- -a 
mini - celebration . 

Now the other committee that I worked on was the Pension 
Committee. I told you about establishing the firm's pension 
plan. The Pension Committee had to make evaluations on the 
appropriate funding of the employee plan and be responsible for 


investing the funds of that plan and the partners' plan. Of 
course, we used outside investment counsel. 

Hicke: On investing the funds? 

Heilbron: On investing the funds. That got to be something of an 

Important problem, because it starts out modestly but soon it 
gets to be a major responsibility. 

Hicke : Sure . 

Heilbron: There were three of us on that committee. Ed Rosston, Dick 

Guggenhime, and I constituted the original committee. After a 
while, Dick and I bowed out. 


Hicke: Now about the overview- -the comparison of the modern firm with 
the one you entered. 

Heilbron: Yes. At almost every annual meeting of the firm, one of my 

partners will ask, "You've seen Heller, Ehrman over almost fifty 
years, with all the developments and changes. How do we compare 
with the firm of the early days?" The answer can be short or 
long. A brief reply is that the partnership in most aspects is 
entirely different. An association of thirteen with offices on 
one floor of a small building with essentially a local practice 
is bound to be different in kind as well as degree from an 
association of close to four hundred spread over four states, 
with 175 lawyers located on nine floors in San Francisco alone. 

Hicke: That's quite a change, I would say. 

Heilbron: Fortunately, two constants remain: the quality of legal 

performance continues to be very high, probably better than 
ever, and the spirit of collegiality, of friendliness among 
colleagues, generally continues to prevail. 

Hicke: That's hard to keep in an organization of that size. 

Heilbron: Yes. I'll perhaps make mention of it in the course of these 
remarks . 

Size in itself brings about changes. In the small firm, 
everyone pretty much knew each other, the business, and what was 
happening throughout the firm. You dropped in on your partner 


Hlcke : 




or associate casually for help or a chat, you bumped into them 
in the hallways, you had exchanges in social life outside the 
office. You knew where and how long he was going to spend his 
vacations. I recall that even Sidney Ehman, the head of the 
firm, when he was going on a vacation, would come to every 
partner and associate and tell them where he was going, and 
possibly what he expected to see. And if I went on a vacation, 
I told most of my partners when I was going and what kind of 
interesting trip it might be. 

The practice was largely in the area of personal service : 
estates, trusts, divorces, property settlements, with a single 
major long-term corporate client, the old Veils Fargo Bank, 
whose departments and personnel you knew well. Of course, there 
were occasional other important corporate or public interests, 
such as representation of the Six Companies that built the 
Hoover Dam, and the Bridge Authorities that built our bay 
bridges, and including some trial and appellate work for various 
clients. But the bread-and-butter services were as generally 

In contrast, the firm now is specially known for its 
litigation practice. It has expertise in our interstate 
business and environmental law. As a comprehensive law firm, it 
has a large corporate division, and tax, and labor law, and 
intellectual property departments. And among the more 
interesting developments is that the Bank of America has become 
a very important client. The scope of the practice has been 
widely extended. 

In subject matter? 

Yes, and this situation has to be reflected organizationally. 
Instead of one or two partners taking the burden of directing 
and managing the firm, there is a general chairman, a kind of 
CEO, managing the firm. There are policy and group practice 
committees, administrative managing partners for regional 
offices, compensation and hiring committees, a panoply of 
authorities that must be shown on a chart to be understood. And 
understandably, the whole organization, instead of being an 
association of individuals, is a corporate association of 
individual corporations. 

Oh yes, that's right. 

In earlier days, one climbed up the ladder of service to 
partnership and no one transferred to partnership from the 
outside. Now it is not unusual to gain leadership and authority 
in a field by admitting a lateral partner. Occasionally, the 


firm loses a partner in a reverse process to another firm. 
Collegiality does not inhibit ambition. 

With the increase in numbers , there has been improvement in 
opportunity for women and minorities . Fifty percent of our 
associates in the San Francisco office are women. A woman was 
managing partner for all our offices in the last two years, 
Jessica Pers. 

This contrasts with the all-male lawyers during most of my 
day. Heller, Ehrman led the city's legal firms in disregarding 
religious affiliation from the date of its first partnership, so 
it is no surprise to note that its minority employment record of 
attorneys has been exceeding bar association goals. However, 
despite strenuous efforts, the firm has encountered difficulties 
in employing and retaining blacks and Hispanic lawyers because 
of the fierce competition to recruit and retain the best and the 
brightest from a limited pool of achievers. 

Hicke: They also like to go as solo practitioners sometimes. 

Heilbron: Sometimes they like to form their own firms, and they go into 
industry. They like to become vice presidents of banks and 
insurance companies . 

Hicke: They're after them, too. 

Heilbron: They're after them, too, so that it is difficult to meet your 
objectives, even though you try to, and even though you could 
get criticized for not doing as well as you wanted to. 

Many firms throughout the country have evolved in the same 
way through the last half of this century as we have- -I mean, a 
concentration on litigation, where they didn't have that 
concentration before, and when they grow, they grow into 
comprehensive law firms. 

Another feature, characteristic of the changes in legal 
practice, has been the use of vastly improved technological 
equipment. The basic typewriter and electric typewriter have 
been superseded by the word processor. The writer of a brief no 
longer has to agonize over whether changing two or three pages 
will burden his secretary to work all night to produce a revised 
brief with its necessary carbons. Research has been made more 
accurate and comprehensive by the availability of computer 
resource services. 


Hicke: But somebody also told me that a fax machine, for instance, has 
changed practices because people now expect instantaneous 
replies and solutions to their problems. 

Heilbron: You can't tell them that it's in the mail. [laughter] 
Hicke: Yes, exactly. 
Heilbron: That's quite true. 

Hicke: And you can't tell them, "I need a week or two to do this 

research and have it written out and typed up," and so forth. 

Heilbron: Well, you can tell them, but they're not likely to accept that 
as a valid excuse. 

No case needs to be missed these days because of a failure 
to find authority. The computer service will put you in touch 
with yesterday's decision in a faraway jurisdiction. Something 
might happen just in your field in Indiana and, while that's not 
necessarily the commanding authority in California, it's 
persuasive authority, if it's the only case you've got and a 
court has considered it and determined a principle with respect 
to it. 1 


Heilbron: That's why I say that the quality of practice is probably better 
than it ever was, if you have enough people to man the fax 
machines and enough librarians to help you in the library. 

Hicke: Well, that's probably another change, isn't it? 

Heilbron: Oh yes, we've got librarians, whereas we did not have staff to 
help us in our research in the earlier days. 

Heller, Ehrman has always been proud of its pro bono work. 
But in the earlier days, it was evidenced by activity in 
educational or charitable and cultural programs on university, 
opera, symphony, United Way, and community center boards and in 
various bar associations. Currently, pro bono is concentrated 
in legal services for the poor and the disadvantaged. Both 
kinds of services are needed and benefit the community, but I 
believe it is a mistake to forego the organizational side of pro 
bono. The firm is engaged in reviewing this matter, that is, to 
encourage its partners and associates to do a little more in the 
community field. 

'End of interviews done for Heller, Ehrman, White & McAuliffe. 


Hlcke: I think the firm itself supports cultural activities, doesn't 

Heilbron: On a contribution basis. 
Hicke: I see. 

Heilbron: But we're talking now about individuals. The individual lawyer, 
through his ability to analyze issues, can contribute a good 
deal to an organization that others may not be able to do. 

Hicke: Well, part of this perhaps came about because it became 

increasingly difficult for members of a firm to serve on a board 
of a corporate client, for instance. Is that part of the same 

Heilbron: Well, that's a little different. That's a little different, 

because serving on the board of a corporate client does put you 
into an exposure of liability. And secondly, it might put you 
into a conflict relationship with respect to other potential 
clients who are competing with that corporation. But still, 
there are some cases where being on a corporation board is an 
advisable status for the good of the firm, including taking on 
the risk of liability. 

Hicke: In the case of a nonprofit corporation, would that make a 

Heilbron: Well, in the case of a nonprofit corporation, it doesn't make 
much difference in the way of conflict of interest, but the 
liability potential is still there. Now, for example, I doubt 
whether we would encourage or accept a person going on a 
hospital board, where the exposure is considerable. On a 
cultural board, the symphony, I don't know that you can do much 
damage or they can do much damage to you. There can be 
negligence, I guess, in board management, but it's a rather 
remote possibility. 

Hicke: What about some changes in the techniques of practicing law, or 
have we finished with pro bono? 

Heilbron: No, I think we've said enough on the pro bono situation. 

Yes, there is an interesting development of practice in 
both the litigation and the corporate fields in the use of a 
team of lawyers to attack a complex case; for example, a trial 
expert, an environmentalist, a tax specialist in a matter 
involving contested insurance coverage. Team service costs a 
good deal of money, and clients are more and more inclined to 


Hicke : 

take a hard look at the extent to which the practice is 
employed, because it's got to pay for all these people, and are 
they always necessary? 

That's a change, too. Clients never used to take a hard look at 
all of that, 1 have been told. 

Heilbron: Clients are taking an increasingly hard look at the procedures 
and the billing practices of their counsel, and the larger 
clients do this through their corporate counsel. Their general 
corporate counsel controls the referrals to outside attorneys. 
They are interested both in the quality of the work of the 
outside attorney, but they're also interested in how much it's 
going to cost so that you are getting competition between large 
law firms, almost like advertising agencies going after a 
particular account. It's not that, oh I don't know, it's not 
that common. I mean, you're not after, you're not a firm 
making a presentation with a whole plan of operation against 
another plan of operation, as advertising agencies do, but you 
are exposing yourself to general discussions. 

And the future of legal practice is more and more tied to 
the attitude of general corporate counsel. [Let's say] there's 
a woman who's the head of the corporate counsel for a 
corporation, and you don't have any women on your staff. Do you 
think you're going to get that account? That kind of 
consideration is also present with respect to minority 
employment. Billing policies are compared and also your firm's 
use of team practice. So the competitive element in legal 
practice is evident in a way that it wasn't before. Of course, 
there has always been competition for clients between legal 
firms, but the line it now takes is harder. 

Compensation for lawyers, which is tied to the costs, in 
large offices is very high. When I started practice, a new 
associate in San Francisco was paid around $150 per month, and 
now it is close to $5,500 per month. 

Hicke: Certainly in New York they are even higher. 

Heilbron: Well, this is in San Francisco. Now it is about $67,000 per 
year. A new partner, usually after seven years' services, 
receives $165,000; mid- senior partners $300,000 to $350,000; and 
more senior partners from $600,000 to $1,100,000 a year. That 
kind of a financial reward represents increases far beyond 
inflation from the 1930s to the 1990s. This is what the market 
requires for talent. 

Hicke: Yes, I was going to ask how you account for that. 


Heilbron: Viewed from the perspective of a star baseball or football 
player, this compensation seems not significant, unless one 
takes into consideration the comparative short- time big earnings 
of the players, their risks and the comparative paucity of their 
members . 

The criticism that too many lawyers are overpaid for the 
work they do has justification, in my mind. Clients are 
protesting. Discounts are getting to be more and more common. 
House counsels, as I've suggested, are beginning to control 
outside employment in a very effective way. The market may be 
righting itself and lawyers may have passed their peak period of 
earnings. A good development for the benefit of clients, 
lawyers, and the community, is the increasing use of Alternate 
Dispute Resolutions. 

Hicke: Good, I'm glad you brought that up, because I had that on my 
list to ask you about. 

Heilbron: Through mediation or arbitration, these procedures are less 
costly and bring about decisions much more quickly than the 
established court process. The arbitrator selected is usually 
an attorney, but can be a retired judge. Hiring a judge to hear 
and decide is not an unusual situation- -that is, of course, a 
retired judge. That is in civil matters. 

Hicke: As a longtime negotiator, how do you view this? 

Heilbron: I think it is a welcomed procedure. Court congestion is 

relieved, which is another plus, and disputes are resolved and 
don't take forever. If you've got a long-shot case, you'll 
never go to arbitration. If there is a reasonable contest and 
it's a matter of judgment on damages, if any, and one side wants 
too much in the honest opinion of his opponent, and they want to 
get the dispute over with, they'll go to arbitration. 

Hicke: I read, I think it was in the Wall Street Journal not too long 
ago, that more and more companies are now putting a clause in 
their hiring contracts, saying if there's a dispute you have to 
go to arbitration. 

Heilbron: Oh yes, yes. 
Hicke: That's not new? 

Heilbron: Well, it's relatively new. You take your ordinary real estate 
leases, they provide that in the case of a dispute between 
landlord and tenant it must be taken to arbitration. The same 


is true of insurance policies (as between insured and insurer) 
and many other kinds of contracts . 

The reason is that juries are unpredictable, and verdicts 
seen to based on the idea that the jury feels, "Now, if I were 
in the shoes of the plaintiff, how much would I want?" 
[laughter] I don't know, that may be unfair. The jury system 
works pretty well, but I think- -and we've been over this before 
--it's not the Jury system that was envisioned originally, and 
the very unpredictability of juries makes it kind of hazardous 
to go to trial. The result is that most cases get settled 
before they get to trial before a jury. 

Maybe I should Just say that what it comes down to is that 
the practice of the law has become more of a business than a 
profession. As in medicine, it has become largely a practice of 
specialties. Career or lifetime association with a single firm 
is not as common as it used to be. Lawyers sue other lawyers 
for malpractice. That's not the way gentlemen used to behave, 
but nevertheless I think it's a legitimate procedure. I don't 
think that a lawyer committing fraud should be spared any more 
than anybody else committing fraud. Suits for alleged 
malpractice can be overdone, however. 

The young lawyer has a hard time going it alone; just 
putting out a shingle will not do these days. He has to procure 
or have easy access to library facilities and expensive 
technology and equipment. Notwithstanding all these 
considerations, in a recent poll, Heller, Ehrman attorneys, by a 
majority vote, held that the element of most importance to them 
in their practice was the association and friendship with their 
colleagues. So something of the old collegiality remains and is 
the tie that binds, a little loosely, but effectively. So 
that's what I wanted to add. 

Hicke: Thank you very much, that's an excellent overview. 


Heilbron: I am not going to give any further details of the firm's history 
because they are well and interestingly covered in your book 
entitled Heller, Ehrman, White & HcAullffe--A Century of Service 
to Clients and Community. However, I do call attention to the 
contents of the book dealing with the growth of the litigation 
department, the development of Heller, Ehrman into a 
comprehensive law firm and its expansion on the Pacific coast 
and beyond. I started a list of post-Lloyd Dinkelspiel, Sr. , 
leadership of Richard Guggenhime, Robert Harris, Lloyd 


Dlnkelspiel, Jr., Julian Stern, M. Laurence Popofsky, Victor 
Hebert, Curtis Caton, Jessica Pers, Paul Mundie, Douglas Schwab 
--and then realized that the roster of all builders and 
rainaakers ia much better left to your narrative. In this 
account I have limited myself to the San Francisco office. 

Parents Simon L. Heilbron and Flora Karp Heilbron, circa 

Louis Heilbron, editor of The Lowell 
high school yearbook, 1923. 

Delphine Rosenblatt Heilbron, 1929. 
"The girl I married." 

John and David Heilbron, 1940. "The lawyer (David) 
honors the professor (John)." 

General Mark Clark pins major's leaves on Louis Heilbron, Vienna, 
Austria, 1945. 

Austrian delegation to Industrial Labor Organization Conference in San 
Francisco, July 1948. Vice President Bohm and Minister of Social 
Administration Karl Maisel in center. 

Louis and Delphine Heilbron on the Island Princess cruise to Alaska, early 

Dean Jesse H. Choper, Justice Frank Newman, Sam Kagel, and Louis Heilbron. Kagel 
and Heilbron were being honored as recipients of the 1989-1990 Boalt Hall 

World Affairs Council event: Gas 
Yost (former president of the 
council), Dr. Robert A. 
Scalapino, and Louis Heilbron, 
circa 1987. 

Event honoring builders of the 
World Affairs Council of 
Northern California, 1992. 
Council president Ambassador 
David Fischer is right, Louis 
Heilbron left. 

David, Louis, and John Heilbron, 1992. 

Lais and Delphine Heilbron at their Silverado 
vcation home in Napa County, 1992. 

Lais Heilbron during the interview, 1992. 

Photographs by Carole Hi eke 

California Historical Society tribute to Louis Heilbron, October 29, 
1993. Executive director Michael McCone, Louis Heilbron, and president 
Edith Piness. 

Among those greeting Supreme Court Justice Anthony 
Kennedy at a San Francisco lawyer's luncheon, 
Bernard Witkin and Louis Heilbron, November 1994. 

Stephen Swig, Robert Rosenfeld (chairman of Heller, 
Ehrman, White & McAuliffe), and Louis Heilbron with 
Ambassador Morris Abram. Heilbron was given a 
Distinguished Service Award by the American Jewish 
Committee, San Francisco Bay Area Chapter, 1994. 


AND 1980s 

State Board of Education 

Heilbron: Now, returning to government activity in the period of 1959 in 

January. Governor [Edmund G. "Pat") Brown had just been elected 
and he asked me to become a member of the State Board of 

Hicke: Do you know how that appointment came about? 

Heilbron: I had known the governor in high school, and his wife and I were 
in the same class at the university. Someone had conveyed my 
possible qualifications to him, derived, I think, from the 
Public Education Society work in San Francisco, and in any 
event, I received this call and accepted it. Bill Coblentz, 
then an assistant on the governor's staff, was most helpful in 
the process. The department, for years, had been under the 
control of Roy Simpson, the Superintendent of Public 
Instruction, an educator who had come from the Gilroy public 
schools , and a board of very good but rather complacent people 
who had permitted Dr. Simpson to run the establishment pretty 
much as he chose. They were good people, though, and they were 
cooperative with the new administration when we became 

In addition to my appointment, we had Tom Braden, who was 
the editor of a newspaper in southern California and who was a 
syndicated columnist for many years and later became 
headquartered in Washington. He was a good friend of President 
[John F. ] Kennedy, and his wife was a good friend of Jacqueline 
Kennedy. He was a very public-spirited and knowledgeable young 


Another appointee was Warren Christopher, who later became 
the deputy secretary of state, also a judge in the state of 
California, also president of the Stanford Board of Trustees, 
also the head of O'Melveny & Myers (and now secretary of 
tate). And a Mrs. [Talcott] Bates from Monterey, who had been 
quite active in the public school system down there. 

With this kind of excellent support, I became the president 
of the board. I believe due to the expiration of terms, as 
arly as March of 1959 the new order could become effective, and 
we certainly turned the place upside-down. It became an 
enquiring board. Just what was the situation in teacher 
training? We heard there was too much concentration on 
methodology and not as much on substance. What about the 
textbook procedure? The textbooks were all printed by the 
superintendent of documents from plates made available to them, 
but the state could not purchase any completed books. It was 
our understanding that the best textbooks for the schools were 
published by general publishers who refused to lend their plates 
for publication by the superintendent. 

Hicke: Where did their plates come f rom- -California' s plates? 

Heilbron: Well, they came from the book people who were willing to develop 
the book to the point of the plates but not do the actual 
printing of it. 

Hicke: But they weren't the best? 

Heilbron: No, we didn't think they were the best. Once in a while they 
had a better book, but we were wondering about that situation. 

We noted that there seemed to be a tremendous number of 
principals who came from the physical education departments, and 
we were curious as to why that should be and whether the 
academic structure wouldn't be better if more of the principals 
were drawn from the general teaching staff. 

It appeared that teachers could be assigned to subjects 
with which they were not familiar. They weren't, many of them, 
teaching in the major that they had studied when they were in 
college . 

Then one issue was thrust upon us which we didn't expect, 
although we wondered about what we were doing in the area of 
state colleges. There we had supervision as a matter of policy 
over the kindergarten through the state college system: all of 
the elementary schools , all of the secondary schools , all of the 
colleges- -at that time I think there were thirteen of themand 


what could we do? Even though we held three-day meetings in a 
month, what could we do adequately to cover all of this ground? 
Were we effective enough on policy, particularly with respect to 
the colleges, selection of presidents and so on? Could we be, 
with all of the rest of the things we had to handle, could we be 
fair to our educational jurisdiction? 

Well, these were all issues that we took very seriously, 
and I think in the press we were reported as starting something 
new and different in California. And we did wind up with 
legislation that did change many of the programs. 

Hicke: Was this under the Master Plan? 

Heilbron: No, that's coming. The Fisher Bill, I can't give you the time; 
it was passed either in the '59 or '60 session, and it 
encompassed a number of the changes that we thought were 
necessary. That is, except under unusual and demanding 
circumstances, a teacher should be assigned to teach in his or 
her major in the high schools; the qualifications for principals 
were more academically spelled out. 

Hicke: Did you ever determine why so many of them came from-- 

Heilbron: Yes, because they got along with students. They touched 

students more than other people. They had some organizational 
experience with respect to the athletic program, which they 
could translate into organizational experience in the schools, 
but they could hardly ever be the source of academic 

Hicke: Was there some kind of administrative training required of 

Heilbron: I think that one element of teacher training for the certificate 
involved administration, but I'm not sure that there was a great 
deal of administrative training. And with respect to textbooks, 
we changed the procedure to competition. The Superintendent of 
Documents could print if the curriculum committee chose the book 
as being superior over the printed book, which they had then 
also the right to choose. 

Now these books were mandatory in elementary schools . What 
the curriculum committee recommended, the board approved. After 
all, we couldn't read all of these books. We sampled a few of 
them and we thought, in a layman's view, they were bland and 
were not stimulating and were not what we felt would interest 
the children, but we couldn't exercise technical judgment. The 
curriculum committee was composed of experienced teachers who 


read the books, they were the people who could determine the 
books to be recommended in a fairly solid way. But number one, 
they should have some guidelines on policy from the board as to 
what we were interested in. Let's just take the subject of 
justice to minority contributions. That was, I think, one of 
the policies we adopted. And they should have the discretion to 
entertain reading of the printed publications as well as those 
that could be published from the plates. 

Hicke: Was this a political problem? 

Heilbron: It was quite political, but the Superintendent of Documents was 
getting so overwhelmed by all of his printing responsibilities 
that I think he was slightly relieved that we relieved him of 
some of his function. The Department of Finance was also very 
suspicious that we were going to let publishing companies 
exploit the biggest market in the United States with very high 
cost items, and price was one of the competitive aspects of 
choice which we had to be conscious of. But that was a notable 
departure from the past and we, I think, achieved a few things 
in the course of the two years, '59 and '60. Of course that 
continued when I transferred over to the newly created state 
colleges, and I'll get to that and the Master Plan shortly. 

Tom Braden became chairman of the board and preferred to 
stay with the state board rather than transfer- -we had to make 
our choices and they continued a program that I think was 
pretty well started in those initial, fairly creative years. 
Warren Christopher also left the department, and he became the 
chairman of the new Coordinating Commission of Higher Education 
under the Master Plan, which coordinated the three public 
segments so that I think the Education Board was perhaps a 
little stronger in its first two years than it had been before 
and maybe for some time after. In spite of what I think we did 
accomplish, I believe many of the problems still remain. 

Hicke: Veil, you can always look at it as, what would they be now if 
you hadn't solved at least some of them at that point? 

Heilbron: I think we did contribute. There were two things that were 

uppermost in our experience, very important. The first one was 
an accident caused by a janitor in a warehouse of discarded 
textbooks. Because of his negligence, the whole warehouse 
burned down with all of the books. Veil, book burning has 
become a hateful symbol since the Nazis burned books in Berlin, 
and the very idea was distasteful. 

Hicke: Not to mention Savonarola in Florence and a few others. 


Heilbron: That's right. Of course, these books had been by this time not 
used or not subject to use, and they were being stored for no 
understandable purpose, but they were books, and they could have 
their uses and they did have their uses. Roy Simpson, who was a 
conservative superintendent-- 


Heilbron: --but who understood the concept of accountability, took the 
blae and said he was responsible. Now I can't recall the 
circumstances of why there was insufficient protection of these 
books, but there was an element that could have been corrected. 
A lot of people said Simpson should be recalled, and there were 
heated meetings as to how it came about, and finally we put a 
stop to it. I got in touch with the federal government --it was 
the Kennedy administration and the guy who handled education- - 
and I said, "Look, we discard a lot of books. Aren't there 
people in African and other countries wanting to learn English 
who could even take discarded books and get some benefit from 
them?" And that's what then occurred, and we had a procedure 
for other books than those that were burned. I think some of 
the books went to the wrong places; I believe little books about 
little children, all nice, little, blond children in suburban 
gardens, went to Nigeria. Maybe some things like that occurred, 
but in general it wasn't a bad idea. 

Hicke: It sounds like a great idea, 
[tape interruption] 

Heilbron: And as long as we're talking about Roy Simpson, I'd like to say 
a further word: we put a stop to continuing to blame him 
publicly for all that had gone wrong with the books and turned 
to the business of operating the Department of Education. Roy 
Simpson was very interesting in his relationship to the new 
appointees on the board. He had had a long period of doing 
pretty much what he wanted to do with people who were interested 
in education but not prone to do a great deal of probing and 
inquiry, and here he was confronted with people who did nothing 
but ask questions and who were directly interested in policy 
formation, and he turned out to be quite cooperative. This was 
evident not only at times in somewhat reluctant changes with 
respect to teachers, but in his support of the Master Plan 
legislation when it was proposed, because, after all, the 
creation of the new State College Board meant a truncation of 
his department and his functions. 


Master Plan for Education and the California State College 

[Interview 7: May 27, 1992] ## 

Survey Committee: Its Recommendations and Legislation 

Hicke: Last time we Just were talking about the State Board of 

Education and we talked about Fat Brown calling on you to 
contribute to the work with the Master Plan. Perhaps we should 
talk a little bit about how that got started. 

Heilbron: Well, Governor Brown didn't ask me to work with the Master Plan. 
Actually, that came about because of a great call for the reform 
of higher education in the state of California. What was 
happening was that the legislature was getting too many requests 
for new state colleges. For a while it was an advantage for a 
legislator to bring a new state college to his district if he 
could, just as in earlier days if you brought a post office to 
your community, you could become a distinguished legislator. 
But I think that there were some twenty- three requests for new 
state colleges or studies for them by the time we are talking 
about- -that is, around 1959- -and it wasn't any fun anymore for 
the legislators. There was too much competition and it was too 
difficult to bring about the establishment of any one particular 
college. Furthermore, the competition between the university 
and the state colleges for funds had become a matter of great 

Back in 1945, the university and the Department of 
Education had worked out a relationship through a liaison 
committee, so that when problems of jurisdiction or curriculum 
or personnel came up, they could meet together and try to solve 
them. But the state colleges were emerging as liberal arts 
institutions --they had formerly been teachers' colleges- -and 
sought for a more expanded program. They wanted to be more like 
the university, and the university saw that there was a limited 
number of dollars, and at some point there had to be some kind 
of regulation between them. 

I think that the university would have been content to 
continue with a liaison committee for a time, because they were 
certainly the senior institution in that relationship. But the 
legislature called for reform. They wanted higher education to 
be organized in a way that the competition for funds would be 


Hicke: Would be controlled by whom? 

Heilbron: Would be controlled in this way: there would be a central 
headquarters for budgetary requests for the state colleges^ 
instead of every state college individually coming with its own 
budget and the legislature having to decide specifically on that 
budget without any clearance, without any review, without any 
effort to have a rational relationship in budgetary matters as 
between the colleges . 

So the legislature told higher education, in effect, to put 
its house in order or they would. They passed a concurrent 
resolution in June of 1959 and asked the higher education 
establishment, through the liaison committee, to come back with 
a program in about six months, and in that way gave the 
institutions the prior right to recommend their own future. 

Hicke: To whom, specifically, was this addressed- -the president of the 
university system? 

Heilbron: It was addressed to the liaison committee of the university and 
the Department of Education. A survey committee was organized 
under the authority of Arthur G. Coons, who was president of 
Occidental College. Advisory groups from the legislature and 
interested state departments, such as the State Department of 
Finance, and public (four-year and junior) and private colleges 
were assembled to investigate all aspects of the future of 
higher education in the state as they saw it. This meant 
demographic studies, it meant a deliberation about what function 
each segment of higher education should have and how the 
relationships should be controlled and how the whole operation 
should be organized. 

As to administrative organization, the survey committee 
really reduced its investigation to three options. The first 
was to maintain the state colleges under a strengthened division 
of the Board of Education. The Board of Education had a loose, 
supervisory relationship for many, many years, and there were 
certain people who proposed that that relationship be 
strengthened and continue . The second option was to merge the 
two institutions, to merge the segments the University of 
California and the state colleges --into one system under the 
regents of the university, perhaps with some additional members. 

Hicke : 

And make them all universities? 

Heilbron: No. There would be a division of state colleges. 


The third option was to create an independent system with 
its own Board of Trustees, more or less patterned after the 
university. I don't think that the continuation with the Board 
of Education got too much attention. Nor did a proposal to 
create a superboard over both the university and the colleges. 
I think it was a question of merger or the creation of an 
independent college entity. 

Hicke: Were these options thrown open to the legislature or were they 
debated within- - 

Heilbron: They were debated within the survey committee, because the 

survey committee came out with a recommendation that proved to 
be the recommendation of the Master Plan. 

The merger idea ran into this difficulty: many felt that a 
division or group of the colleges would become second-class 
citizens. On the other hand, if the university tried to spread 
equally all of its benefits and authority, it might undermine 
its quality as a great research institution and dilute the 
quality of its graduate programs. So it finally resulted in a 
Master Plan that contemplated the creation of a constitutional 
authority in the state college system patterned after the 
university, with terms of trustees like the university's and its 
jurisdiction determined by constitutional amendment. 

Now many in the state colleges liked this idea for one 
reason, and that is: with constitutional status, they would have 
far more control of finances than they ever would have under a 
statutory system. 

Hicke: You mean they had far greater security about their finances? 

Heilbron: Well, they could allocate their funds in the way that the 
university does, with a freedom of action that legislative 
supervision and Department of Finance control doesn't permit. 
(Roy Simpson, superintendent of public instruction, was most 
understanding and helpful regarding the creation of a new 
agency, though it meant a curtailment of his own jurisdiction.) 

On the other hand, the university liked the constitutional 
idea, because once they nailed down the jurisdiction, 
academically, of the state colleges, they didn't have to be 
concerned that the colleges would then become universities along 
the same lines as the University of California, wanting to have 
their own cyclotrons, their own extensive research facilities, 
and their own status as full-fledged research universities. 


In short, the Master Plan asked to accomplish Its main 
purposes constitutionally. But that was not to be the result. 
I'll tell you that story in a moment. 

The survey committee made its recommendations to the 
liaison committee, and they in turn recommended them to the 
regents and the State Board of Education, and these bodies, in a 
joint meeting, confirmed them in principle and referred them for 
action to the state legislature. 

The substance of the recommendations was the Master Plan 
representing, among other matters, several important compromises 
between the two major parties --particularly in the area of 
expansion of campuses and the differentiation and definition of 
functions. But a viable state college system emerged from these 
recommendations with a structure comparable to the university's. 

During the period of final consideration by the Board of 
Education, I was board chairman and a de facto member of the 
liaison committee. Before the final meeting of the university 
and Board of Education, Dr. [Clark] Kerr convened a meeting of 
university and board leadership in an effort to resolve still 
disputed positions (for instance, would the state colleges have 
any participation in a doctoral program), and Dr. Kerr proposed 
a compromise resolution (a joint grant under certain 
circumstances) which was accepted. I appreciated that the 
doctorate was deemed to be the crown jewel of the university's 
academic program and to merit proper protection. Though Dr. 
Kerr was not on the survey committee, his basic views as a 
liaison committee member were widely known, and he must be 
considered as the chief theoretician and creator of the Master 
Plan. The plan was presented and it was agreed upon, with 
certain modifications by the legislature. 

The Master Plan has to be viewed on three levels. First of 
all, while the junior colleges were not specifically provided 
for as a separate entity in the Master Plan, they were quite 
definitely recognized as part of the higher education system. 
At that time, the junior colleges (more recently called 
community colleges) were mostly supported by their own 
districts, by their own taxes. They had state subsidy, but not 
to the extent that later developed when the state would finance 
practically all of the state junior college program'. 

Hicke: So there were community college districts that were supported by 
local taxes? 

Heilbron: Yes, close to a hundred of them. 


Hicke: Just like a school district? 

Heilbron: Close to a hundred of then. But they were the open door to 
higher education. The whole idea was to give every student 
eighteen or over or a high school graduate the opportunity to go 
into higher education. 

Then cane the state colleges . They were to take from the 
upper third of the high school graduates. That is, the upper 
third who demonstrated academic ability. Then the University of 
California was to take from the upper 12H percent so that all 
students seeoed to be cared for by this plan. It was thought 
that the junior colleges would take most of the people in the 
lower division and that even the state colleges as well as the 
university would become more of an upper-division/graduate 
institution. This was believed to be a procedure to reduce the 
costs of administering both university and state colleges. 

Hicke: So that people would go to the junior college and then transfer? 

Heilbron: That was the idea that in a short time, as many as fifty 

thousand students would be diverted to the "junior" colleges. 
They were close to home, the transfers were thought to be 
feasible, and an interesting part of these percentages that I 
just indicated to you is that they were part of the Master Plan 
that was never enacted into statute or put into any 
constitutional form. Yet they were so embedded in the academic 
structure of the plan that they have been followed diligently 
since 1960, when the plan became effective. 

Interestingly enough, with the budget crisis as it is in 
the state of California at the present time (1992-93), the fact 
that they have not been written into statute or the constitution 
may make some adjustments in these percentages possible, and are 
being talked about. But that's the present and the future, not 
the past, with which we are dealing at the moment. 

In general, the Master Plan called for the major research 
facility to be vested in the university, and the state colleges 
would be able to perform research only incident to instruction. 
A teacher, after all, had to keep up with his field, so he was 
expected to do a certain amount of research, but as I mentioned 
before, the cyclotron, heavy scientific equipment, the emphasis 
on the time and scope of research, would remain with the 

Hicke: This was a bit of a bone of contention, wasn't it, for a while 
between the colleges and the university? 


Heilbron: Oh yes. The colleges always wanted to get more for research, 
and the teacher in the state colleges was expected to teach 
twelve units and they wanted to teach less units if possible, 
which would give then ore time for independent research. 

Hicke: Was it a compromise that was worked out? 

Heilbron: No, there was no compromise worked out on that issue. There has 
always been, in the state colleges, a certain amount of release 
time available for counseling of students, for committee work, 
for participating in the various senates of the state colleges, 
and for some research projects. But the assumptions of the 
number of state college faculty needed to meet projections 
seemed to be based on existing (twelve unit) teaching loads. 

In the projection for campuses, it was indicated that the 
largest university campuses should be limited to about 
27,000--that was for Berkeley and UCLA--and the limit in the 
state colleges was to be about 20,000. 1 believe because San 
Francisco State was built on about ninety-nine acres that it was 
to have a limitation of around 15,000. All of these projections 
have been set aside due to the pressure of students. I think 
that San Francisco State accommodates somewhere close to 24,000 
students, and the University of California has around 31,000 or 
32,000. But that's due to the pressure of the students. 

Veil, I talked about the issue of whether the Master Flan 
should be embedded in the constitution or go by way of statute. 
The legislature saw this new group of institutions as somewhat 
experimental, untried. Why put them in the constitution before 
their time? The university and board were disappointed in this, 
and we had, you might call it, a summit conference in the 
governor's office. I remember Senator George Miller was there, 
Assembly Speaker [Jesse] Unruh, the governor himself, President 
Kerr, Jesse [Steinhardt] and Gerald Hagar from the regents, 
maybe Hale Champion, the Director of Finance I'm not certain 
about that- -and myself. Senator Miller and Unruh made it quite 
clear that if the functional aspects of the Master Plan were to 
be enacted, it would have to be by statute, or else they would 
scrap the plan and have their own education committees determine 
what should be done irrespective of what the program might be or 
of what had been recommended from the survey committee. 

So the governor asked, after all the work that had been 
done, that we consider the legislative proposals pretty 
seriously. For the state colleges, 1 conceded and said that 
it's better to have it by statute than not to have it at all. 
The university was not enthusiastic (because of the 
constitutional issue), but the handwriting was on the wall, and 


so it was agreed that the Master Plan (except for organizational 
structure) should be the subject of a statute. 

Most of what the Master Plan comnlttee recommended was 
embodied in the statute (the Donohue Act). 1 The research was 
limited in the state colleges to research incident to 
instruction. All agreed that the top administrative staff at 
the headquarters of the new state college system should be 
exempt from civil service. It was agreed that the trustee 
organization of twenty-one persons consist- -as the regents- -of 
sixteen appointees by the governor and five ex-officio members 
from the governmental structure; that included the lieutenant 
governor, the superintendent of public instruction, and the 
governor himself, and two others. The terms of the appointees, 
however, were to be eight years instead of the sixteen years of 
the regents. The legislative people felt that the sixteen-year 
term in the constitution was too long and that there should be 
more of a turnover, as so many people now believe there should 
be in the legislature. The organizational structure of the 
trustees was to be protected by constitutional amendment. 

Transition Planning 

Heilbron: A transition period was provided of one year for the state 
colleges for planning, to get the operation started. 

Hicke: Where did Governor Brown stand on these issues, and what was the 
part that he played? 

Heilbron: Governor Brown, at the point where there was a rather awkward 
silence, said let's simply decide that it's going to be by 
statute. He definitely took that stand and was quite 
persuasive. He was anxious that higher education define its own 

Hicke : 

Swung the vote? 

Heilbron: At least he eliminated any further argument on the question of 
statute versus constitution. 

During this planning period, the Department of Education 
still operated in a general supervisory capacity over the state 
colleges . A planning chief was appointed to provide the 

!S.B. 33, Reg. Sess., Cal. Stat. , ch. 391 (1961). 




Hicke : 


outlines of the new college system, Don Leiffer from the 
political science department of San Diego State [College]. He 
was a dedicated planner. (Trustees had considerable input.) I 
think he had some reservations. He liked the idea of a merger 
more than the idea he was implementing, but he never let that 
personal bias interfere with his planning. I continued as 
president of the Board of Education and was elected first 
chairman of the Board of Trustees for the state colleges. The 
belief was that this Joint status would make the transition 
easier. So I had quite a bit to do during this year. 

Just as a guess, 
or monthly? 

how much time did you spend on this , say weekly 

Well, we had two-day meetings of the State Board of Education 
and one-day-plus meetings of the state college trustees per 
month, so that was three days. Then there was the usual matter 
of communication and preparation. But 1 talked with the office 
about this and they said for me to proceed. 

Heller, Ehrman? 

Heller, Ehrman did, just as they did when I had the first 
question of accepting the Board of Education membership. My 
job, as chairman of the trustees, was really to help implement 
the Master Plan and its principal newly created agency. 

In the planning, certain questions immediately arose: where 
should the central headquarters be? The legislature preferred 
them, wanted them, to be in Sacramento, just where the Board of 
Education was. 

Heilbron: The legislature could keep a better eye on developments. This, 
of course , was not the popular idea of the colleges or even the 
trustees. And actually, there was a very good reason for the 
headquarters to be moved to the southern part of the state. The 
University of California was headquartered in the northern part 
of the state. The population growth, the demographic 
projections, the new campuses in number, were to be in the 
southern part of the state. There was a very solid reason for 
the headquarters to be in the southern part of the state. One 
of the benefits, however, of that arrangement, was that we would 
not be in Sacramento under the very close supervision of the 

Hicke: So where were the headquarters? 


Heilbron: They were established in the Los Angeles area. I don't think 
that this occurred until close to the beginning of our 
operations, because we were operating pretty much out of 
Sacraaento during the planning period, but the first 
headquarters were established in Los Angeles off the Imperial 
Highway not far from the Los Angeles airport. Later they were 
moved to Los Angeles city itself, on Vilshire Boulevard, and 
finally they were given land and the headquarters were built in 
Long Beach, where they still are. 

There was the matter of structure. What would the 
headquarters top level consist of? It was decided to begin 
modestly and not have a slew of vice presidents. There would be 
an executive vice chancellor, a vice chancellor for academic 
affairs, and a vice chancellor for business affairs, and then 
operations would be subordinated to those divisions. 

There was the question of faculty participation in 
governance , which the planning group did not determine but 
identified as a matter to be considered and taken care of at an 
early point in the operations. 

There was the question of what the principle would be for 
expansion, because no sooner had we been organized than we knew 
that there would be other colleges. On what principle would 
expansion take place? It was agreed that need was the first 
criterion: demographically, was it necessary to establish a 
campus in a given area? But second, when a college was 
established, it would be decided what would the program be, and 
then what the supporting funds would have to be , rather than to 
establish an appropriation and then try to fill it with a 

Hicke: Were those twenty- three proposed sites still on the table? Had 
some of them been built? 

Heilbron: There were two that had been authorized before we began. One 
was in Sonoma and one was down in Turlock. They were to be 

Hicke: The rest of them were still proposals, or had they been 

Heilbron: Hayward was pretty well underway, and we approved that 

implementation when we got into the operating stage. I'll talk 
more about that later. First, we had to have a head. This led 
to a search committee. 


California State Colleees 

First Chair in a New System 

Heilbron: The search coamlttee was appointed. Three of us- -Tom Braden, 

Ted Merriaa, and myself - -went on an eastern tour after receiving 
a number of applications and recommendations and suggestions. 
We relied quite a bit on John Gardner for suggestions and 
evaluations. And practically all of the people that we met for 
consideration after the resumes had been screened were good 
people. We had reduced it to four or five before we left on 
this tour. One we had to take care of for political reasons. 
(A number of impressive recommendations had been received.) We 
had to go to Washington, D.C. , to interview an admiral, and 
while we were doubtful about his qualifications, we had to do 
this job. 

Hicke: Do you want to say who? 

Heilbron: No. As a matter of fact, I can't give you his name; I can't 
remember it. We met him at one of the principal clubs in 
Washington, and his attitude was that the navy had given him a 
great deal and he wanted to give something back to the 
community, to the public, and he thought that education was the 
right channel for his efforts. But when we found out that he 
didn't know what an FTE meant, we decided that we probably 
wouldn't put him on the final list. 

We met with a person who was president of the University of 
Nebraska, a very competent man, who became a cabinet minister, 
maybe secretary of the Interior, in the [President Gerald] Ford 
administration. We met with a man who later on became president 
of the University of Wisconsin. And we met with Buell Gallagher 
of the City College of New York, who impressed us immediately. 
He was a broad-gauged man, he had faculty problems similar to 
those we expected to have in California, he was a very eloquent 
and articulate speaker, and he was very much supported by his 
faculty and trustees and was able to make peace with the 
students, many of whom had their protests as we later had in 
California. So when we came back, we recommended the 
appointment of Chancellor Gallagher, and he was duly appointed. 

Hicke: As president? 

Heilbron: As chancellor of the state colleges. We had the opposite 

nomenclature of the university. The chancellor was the head 
instead of the president. 


Hicke: No wonder !' confused. 

Hellbron: And the presidents were In the place of the chancellors. 

Whether this was to distinguish the two segments, I don't know, 
but that's the way it happened. I don't know whether Leiffer 
was responsible for this identification, but that's what we did. 

Hicke: I have another interrupting question. 
Heilbron: Oh, you should. 

Hicke: Were there any other states that had been looked at that had 
anything like this Master Plan that you could use as a gauge? 

Heilbron: No, this was home grown and home developed. And there were 

people who did not believe that this was the right way to go. 
We knew, for example, that the State of New York had all 
education of every kindkindergarten, elementary schools, high 
schools, private universities, public universities- -all under 
the aegis of the regents of the State of New York; they handled 
all educational matters. But they could only handle that, we 
felt, through massive delegations, and we did not think that was 
the way to go. 

I once met an official from one of the universities, I 
don't know whether it was Virginia or North Carolina, but she 
thought that we ought to have one state system of higher 
education and that the Master Plan arrangement was not a good 
one, that higher education should be centralized. But it was a 
smaller state compared with the State of California, and the 
real test, I think, is that the Master Plan has been reviewed 
several times. I was on a review committee, I think it was in 
1973, and the basic Master Plan has remained and it still seems 
to be the solution for the State of California. 

Hicke: It worked. 

Heilbron: It worked. And there are plenty of people who have evaluated it 
and have found it sound. Some changes have been made widening 
flexibility in administering state college financial affairs, 
providing a state representative board for junior (community) 
colleges and for transforming the coordinating council into a 
public membership board, but the essential Master Plan framework 
remains . 

Well, Chancellor Gallagher had some troubles. The 
conservative members of the legislature and many conservative 
organizations thought that he was too soft on leftist activity. 
One of the big questions that arose, and I don't know 


specifically how it arose, was: should a communist be able to 
teach on a faculty? Now the University of California permitted 
this with Herbert Marcuse, who was a communist to the point of 
advocating violence, I believe. Of course, he did it all in 
theory, but that's the way the university handled it. There was 
concern that Chancellor Gallagher would be too soft on this 
program. He felt, as most of our trustees did, that if there 
was a communist who taught mathematics without somehow making it 
a communist matter of ideology, that was teaching, and his 
personal political commitment was what it could be in the United 
States of America. 

Veil, Gallagher actually got a military award for his 
services during World War II, and it hadn't been presented to 
him; now Gallagher thought this was the time to get the award, 
[laughter] We went down to San Jose State [College] and had a 
great deal of marching back and forth and flags flying and so on 
to quiet all of this concern. In a meeting at Cal Poly the 
matter was finally left to the individual colleges to determine, 
so that Gallagher said, "You do as you see fit." 

In a memorandum to the trustees he stated that after six 
months of study and observation, he had come "to the clear 
conclusion that subversive efforts within the campuses were 
almost nonexistent, and in the rare instances over the years in 
which such efforts may have been attempted, the colleges 
themselves have successfully and effectively defeated these 

One feature of that Cal Poly meeting proved to be of 
considerable personal interest and concern. It related to the 
state law which required all board meetings to be held in 
public. The evening before the Cal Poly meeting, whose agenda 
had announced the communist- teachers -speaker issue, a number of 
board members (less than a quorum) had an early dinner together, 
and afterward went to our motel in Morro Bay. I suggested that 
we shouldn't all go to one place lest it have even the 
appearance of a meeting (though together we were not a quorum), 
so we divided up unequally. One of the group I was with told us 
about his recent trip to Russia, rather unusual in 1961 or 1962. 

When we were about to break up, I visited the other group, 
Just in time to hear Gallagher say, "Well, I better leave you 
because I have to write a recommendation on the communist matter 
before turning in." He had not discussed its content. 

The next day, one of the San Francisco newspapers carried a 
front page story to the effect that I had held a secret meeting 
to consider the communist question in violation of the open 


Hicke : 

meeting law (acting as liaison between the groups). I was quite 

I went up to Sacraaento and told the members of the 
Education Committee, informally, of what had happened. They 
were satisfied and did not hold a hearing. Years later, Mr. 
Moskowitz, the education editor and author of the story (whose 
source was mistaken) , told me that the one story in his 
journalistic career that he regretted he had written was that 
one . Ve became good friends . 

The faculty had had practically no part in the appointment 
of Gallagher. It was a trustee appointment. But after his 
appointment, resolutions came in from almost every college 
faculty approving and supporting his appointment. This will be 
interesting later, because when they had some participation but 
didn't think that it was enough, in the case of Gallagher's 
successor, many expressed their discontent; so it seemed to 
depend largely on the personality of the person involved. 

Was this after they had met him, or did they just know about 

Heilbron: After they had met him. The first thing he did was to visit 
every college. 

Gallagher appointed Glenn Dumke, with the trustees' 
consent, as his vice chancellor for academic affairs. Dumke had 
been president of San Francisco State, and he had some opponents 
on the liberal side at San Francisco State, and they were not 
completely happy with Gallagher's appointment of him, but 
Gallagher made it to stabilize the internal operations of the 
new state colleges. 

Before the year was up- -and in the meantime Gallagher had 
made his mark with reference to endorsing a liberal curriculum 
and implementing, to begin with, part of the planning program 
that we had established before he arrived- -he ran into two 
problems that were never completely understood. One was, before 
appointment, when he came and asked about his pension. Ve told 
him what the pension was in California, but we also told him 
that he had better check with the Department of Finance on 
whether his credits in New York were transferrable out here, and 
he said he would do this. He told us he had, and I think he 
believed that he had done so, but evidently he had misunderstood 
something very substantial, because they were not transferable. 

His wife did not like California at all compared with New 
York. In New York they had been given a presidential house, and 


we didn't have any such house in California. Yet we thought we 
could solve that problem. I had about raised $100,000 toward 
that objective when Gallagher said that he had to go East to a 
conference. He did go East to a conference, and he wired back 
that he was resigning. 

He had had some difficulty, more than some difficulty, with 
conservative organizations, and I think he was not certain that 
he would last long enough to get the full benefits of even a 
California retirement plan without considering the 
transferability of credits. As he told me, he had a true and 
important family problem. I told him several months before he 
left that he should do what he had to do for himself and his 
family and that we would meet the problem, if we got a problem, 
when it occurred. Well, it occurred, and we had to meet the 

So we decided that although we had gone abroad, gone 
outside the state of California, for our first chancellor, among 
twenty- five million or so people in the state of California, we 
should be able to locate a person who could run our colleges . 
We had one who was extremely familiar with our operations. He 
was Gallagher's choice for vice chancellor of academic affairs, 
and we indicated our choice of Glenn Dumke, a Republican, and we 
were all Democrats except for one on the board. Ted Merriam was 
the only Republican. 

Ue did so because we felt that was the right thing for the 
state college system. Ue found that once you had some kind of 
security of term in education and you were selected because the 
governor thought you would put educational interests first, that 
you could and would choose the person you felt would do the job. 

We had some faculty reaction. They had been involved, but 
not to any great extent, in the selection. The governor, Brown, 
said, "You know, I'm getting a lot of flak on this situation. 
Before you confirm this appointment, do further looking in 
thirty days, and if you finally decide to confirm that 
appointment"- -he said that he would be satisfied, but he asked 
us to do this . 

Hicke: Who was the other vice chancellor, the one for business? 

Heilbron: John Richardson. 

Hicke: But apparently he was not considered? 


Heilbron: Oh, no. I don't believe he had academic experience. We did 

consider Don Leiffer and Malcoln Love, who was the president of 
San Diego State, with respect to other state people. 

And we did locate and interview two or three more 
candidates out of state with faculty participation during that 
thirty- day period, and poor Mr. Dumke was having a very rough 
time during this waiting period. But when it was through, we 
confirmed the appointment. 

Hicke: The objections were because he was on the conservative side? 

Heilbron: Yes. Of course, we extracted a commitment from him that he 
would engage in no political activity whatever. He had been 
somewhat active in the Republican party in Los Angeles, but he 
lived up to that commitment to his last day, and we made an 
appointment that seemed to be a little bit controversial at the 
time but lasted for twenty years. 

Expansion and New Campus Sites 

Heilbron: Well, I mentioned something about new campus sites and the 

problems we had for expansion. We knew that the valley needed 
another campus, that Fresno State [College] was getting 
overcrowded. We determined on Bakersfield. Ve knew that Los 
Angeles did not have sufficient attention. There was the Los 
Angeles State College on the eastern edge of the city, there was 
Northridge, in the San Fernando Valley, but the big expanding 
area outside of central or south Los Angeles was not covered. 
We thought that the best place for expansion would be just south 
of the airport, but that was investigated and abandoned. Then 
we thought that we had a chance for a beautiful section of land 
on the Pacific Palisades, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, ideal 
for Princeton/Yale/Harvard/Berkeley/Stanford, but I think we got 
saved from ourselves by events. Ve had agreed to purchase the 
land at a certain price, and the legislature had appropriated 
for some campus in southern California, and we had the 
jurisdiction to select the campus site. 

Then people heard all about this plan, and some property 
increased in value around there , and our own tentative purchase 
price, approved by the Department of Finance, was no longer 
sufficient. I think because of a differential of a considerable 
amount, we had to abandon the Pacific Palisades. Now, that 
turned out, as I say, to be a blessing, because our function was 
to take care of the industrial area south of Los Angeles, a 




great minority population, and what would have happened if we 
had to depend on transportation to go from the Valley up to the 
Palisades and back, on a single day, a commuter college up on 
the top of that hill? The people didn't want it that way. 

I thought, actually, it would be a lovely idea. Why not 
bring everybody up from the Valley to enjoy this site? But 
there was a great deal of opposition to it among the people 
living there on the Palisades and in the Valley itself. The 
feeling in the Valley area, Compton and those Valley cities, 


--that they wanted the college closer to them. Eventually we 
purchased the land that became Dominguez Hills [State College] 
in or near Carson. 

Wasn't this a problem that occurred frequently, that as soon as 
somebody heard that there was going to be a state school the 
property values would go up? 

Heilbron: Oh, yes. Absolutely. And that's why we tried to get gifts of 
the land or negotiate a favorable price. We got a magnificent 
piece of property in Contra Costa County, where I still think we 
should have gone. If Sonoma State [College] had not been built, 
Contra Costa was the place for that area. And even with Sonoma 
State, the projection for Contra Costa County supported the idea 
of a college there. We acquired two hundred acres on excellent 
terms. The Contra Costa college was never built. Finally the 
state sold the property for a considerable profit, but I thought 
that ultimately it was not profitable to sell that land, because 
we are confronted with population demands now that could have 
been largely met by that institution we had planned for Contra 
Costa County. 

Dominguez Hills was intended to draw from a somewhat blue- 
collar and disadvantaged population. There are a lot of 
minorities in that area, and it has been performing its function 
pretty well. It started out with an emphasis on liberal 
arts- -it had what was called a college-within-a-college- -and it 
would have been an excellent idea for another institution in our 
system. But this "little college" did not draw the interest of 
the people in the area, who wanted a more practical-oriented 
program. Not that liberal arts aren't still required in the 
core curriculum, but the upper division and the balance of the 
program was one that had to appeal to the people in the area for 
whom the college was being built. 


Hicke: So acre accounting or secretarial type skills? 

Heilbron: Not secretarial. I'll give you a little rundown on that 

curriculum at our next meeting. I've been down there. They've 
had excellent presidents at Dominguez Hills. Leo Cain was the 
first president. He concentrated on special education programs 
and was an authority in that field. He was followed by Don 
Gerth, who is now president of Sacraaento State [University] . 
Dominguez Hills has been an answer to the needs of that area. 

We also had property that we could have purchased in San 
Mateo, a beautiful piece of property, and perhaps that should 
have been confined, because we could have obtained it from the 
City and County of San Francisco that owned this particular 
property in the San Mateo area. But it was regarded as not 
necessary because of San Francisco State on the one side and 
Hayward State on the other and San Jose State in the middle. 
Maybe it would have been superfluous. In any event, we never 
did acquire the property, so apart from the expense of 
investigation, not much was lost. 

Hicke: Was this routinely part of your job, or were there special 
members of the board who were-- 

Heilbron: No, the chairman of the campus facilities committee was Charles 
Luckman. Luckman had been the executive at Lever Bros, in 
England. After he left there, he became the head of his own 
nationally known architectural firm, and he was the chairman of 
that committee. Another chairman was Victor Palmieri, who has 
had a very extensive Washington career since he left our board 
and the state. These people knew land. 

What we had to deal with in architecture for the new 
campuses was the fact that the division of architecture for the 
state did all of the designing for our campuses. They had a 
style known as San Quentin Modern [laughter]. Actually, they 
took some of the plans for jails and converted them into 
dormitories down in San Luis Obispo. We all wanted, and Luckman 
certainly led in this effort, to make the architectural program 
a competitive one. Let architects from the outside of the 
Division of Architecture bid, and choose the best design. If 
the architectural division had it, let them have the award, but 
we should not automatically hand over this important matter to 
the state agency. Somewhat similar to the textbook situation 
which I mentioned with regard to the Department of Education. 
It produced like results; perhaps even better results. The new 
campuses became livelier and more attractive institutions, 
although they continued to make some errors. In the haste of 
getting that Hayward campus established, they took plans from a 


Northridge building, and they simply reversed the building. So 
what should have been the front of the building overlooking the 
bay and an inspiring scene became more or less the front that 
overlooked other buildings and not nearly as interesting a 
scene. Kaybe that brings us to a discussion of the sixties. 

Problems for a California State Colleges Trustee, 1960-1961 

Hicke: Let me just ask another question. 
Heilbron: Yes, I'd like you to. 

Hicke: In the discussions on these campuses and everything else, how 
were the decisions taken? 

Heilbron: Almost at the start, we had a rules committee that developed a 
committee system. We had an educational policy committee, we 
had a faculty and staff affairs committee, a committee on rules, 
a committee on facilities and campus planning. They would hold 
meetings and hear witnesses in depth; they consulted with 
administration, of course, with faculty- -the recommendations had 
to come from the administration (Chancellor Dumke) to begin 
with. We had an excellent person dealing with the architectural 
program: Harry Harmon. He was most valuable in seeing to it 
that we had the benefit of experts in that field. Of course, in 
educational policy, and I'll come to that when I deal with some 
of the problems we met in the sixties, we had the benefit of the 
academic senate view as well as the chancellor's recommendations 
through his vice chancellor of academic affairs, so that no 
matter was considered by the board that had not been fully 
considered and reported upon by the appropriate committee. 

Hicke: And then it was voted on? 

Heilbron: And then it was voted on in the usual fashion. 

Hicke: And were all of the members of the board appointed by Governor 

Heilbron: Governor Brown, yes, initially appointed all of the members of 
the board (except the ex officio members) . 

Hicke: You said initially. Then what happened? 

Heilbron: Well, ultimately other governors appointed their successors. 


Hicke : 

Hicke : 

Hicke : 

Hicke : 

Oh, okay. But they were all appointed by the governor. 

Ve drew straws for our terms, because we wanted to establish 
staggered terns so that all of us didn't leave at once. I drew 
a one year tern, but I got reappointed by Governor Brown. 

Were there any other people on the board who stand out in your 
mind? You don't have to do a whole list, but some of them that 
stand out. 

Oh yes , I ' 11 give you soae of the names that occur to me 
immediately. I mentioned Charles Luckman. There was Ted 
Merriaa, who was a department store executive from Chico. He 
had also been mayor of Chico, and he had been president of the 
League of California Cities, so that he had had considerable 
experience with government. There was Albert Ruffo, who was the 
mayor of San Jose. There was [William] Bill Coblentz , who 
became a regent of the University of California later. We had 
the head of the CIO [Congress of Industrial Organizations], 
Thomas Pitts. We had Don Hart, who had been mayor of 
Bakersfield. We had Phoebe Conley, who was a community leader 
in Fresno and in the whole valley. Her sons were the editors of 
the Sacramento Bee. 

So there was a diversity geographically? 

Oh yes . There was a person by the name of Sutherland who was 
the chairman of our finance committee, from San Diego. He was a 
banker, I believe. And the Ridders- -Herman and subsequently his 
son, Stanley Ridder, of Long Beach, owners of a respected 
newspaper chain. Also there was Simon Ramo, a well-known 
scientist. You can see that this was quite a responsible group. 

Lots of good experience and skills. 


Experience and skills, and in spite of the fact that as I 
their names to you it sounds as though they had not much 
experience in education, and to a certain extent that may have 
been true, they were a pretty open-minded group, and they were 
by- and- large used to administration and government. That was 
necessary at this early period. The expertise was primarily a 
matter of the staff. However, we did lack representatives of 
minority groups and had one lone woman fending for herself. 

When we became operational, it was a little bit like the 
time when I was in Austria. 1 The planning period was over, we 

Chapter III. 


Hlcke : 


stepped into operation, and we didn't recognize that there was 
too much difference. We knew what the program was to be, but we 
didn't anticipate, by any means, all of the problems. 

The first problem, really, was typical of all large, 
central institutions: the headquarters wanted to be certain of 
its control, certain that the quality was evenly spread among 
all of its institutions. The field or the colleges wanted their 
independence. They had all been independent duchies before; all 
they wanted from the headquarters was to give them an allocation 
of money [laughter], and the more we got from the legislature, 
the better. Beyond that, they didn't want us to do very much. 
They didn't want us to do much master planning or to approve the 
procedure of master planning. I didn't mention in the 
architectural program that we insisted that every college have a 
master plan for both its curriculum and for its facilities and 
their views were part of the deliberative process. We had 
something to do with the kind of personnel that occupied these 
committees. We, of course, selected the presidents of these 
institutions, and established local advisory committees for each 
campus, the statute authorized us to do this, so that there were 
advisory boards for us in every institution. Sometimes the 
advisory board took the color of their administrative staff, and 
they wanted to be independent. In fact, some would have 
preferred not to be advisory but to be the board running that 
particular institution. The presidents nominated members to be 
appointed to the advisory committees. 

So that was always an undercurrent that had to be resolved. 
How did you deal with it? 

Well, we tried to make general policies that pertained to all. 
We wanted to go through the masters degree, but we wanted a 
process in each institution that assured that they had the 
personnel and the equipment to give the masters in that 
particular subject. In other words, there was a matter of 
oversight of the process. Then again, we recognized our 
colleges were to be regional institutions; to a large degree 
that was an advantage, economically, to the people living in the 
area, but in most of the situations, we also wanted them to have 
a statewide concentration or emphasis so that they didn't repeat 
each other. For example, in Humboldt [State College], we had an 
excellent forestry department, but we couldn't see much reason 
to establish a forestry department in Los Angeles. We had an 
excellent creative arts department in San Francisco; many well- 
known writers were part of that department. It would not be 
easy to repeat that kind of arrangement in every college . San 
Diego State had a first-rate political science department, and 


we wanted to maintain that emphasis. Indeed, we wanted 
Sacramento State to become much more involved in the training of 
people for state government, and our trustees didn't succeed in 
doing that, but I believe that since President Don Gerth has 
taken over they have become much more involved in that area. 

So we wanted some attraction statewide. Chico had long had 
a dormitory system and it was a live-in college. There weren't 
enough people in Chico to fill the college , and people had come 
to Chico from all over the state and elsewhere. Some people 
have said that they had too good a time out at Chico, but I 
never was able to verify that. [laughter] 

San Jose State had some dormitories, we authorized a 
dormitory there. 

Hicke: There is one at San Francisco, too. 

Heilbron: True. At San Jose State, we had what may have been the first 
mixed dormitory, coeducational, in the state for either system. 
We had one floor for men and a second floor for women all the 
way to the top. 

Hicke: Was that a challenge? 

Heilbron: That was regarded as almost tearing down the moral fabric of the 

So we did provide for these concentrations, or tried to. 
Then one of the most important areas was to bring everybody into 
the system for appropriate discussion before the trustees made a 
decision on an important matter of policy. We created a program 
where officers of the state faculty senate, representing all of 
the colleges, had a place at our meetings, where the 
administration (including the college presidents) had places, 
and where the students had a representation. 

When we finally got a new [headquarters] building, down in 
Long Beach, the new building's assembly space was so arranged 
that functionally it accommodated these interests. I don't 
think that there is any other place in the United States that 
has physically more evidenced its interest in having these 
groups thus brought together for discussion of policy. 

Hicke: Can you tell me exactly how you set this up? Were there offices 
for each of these groups? 

Heilbron: No, there were a number of seats. 

Hicke : 
Hicke : 




Oh, at the table. 

At and around the trustees' table. 

All in the same room? 

In the same room. Then, of course, there was a gallery for the 
public to witness whatever was being done, because higher 
education in California operates in a goldfish bowl and 
everybody has his look-in. 

There is media presence? 

Media presence, certainly, 
of the system. 

So I think that was a contribution 

Now, about the faculty. They had very little to say, very 
little representation during the period when the Board of 
Education had its more or less loose relationship with the 
colleges. I say "loose" in the sense of the board, but it 
wasn't so loose in the sense of Superintendent Simpson, who 
appointed all of the presidents. Once he appointed them, he 
felt that he had sufficient control. 

How many state colleges were there? 

There were thirteen operative when we came in, and I think when 
I left there were nineteen. 

Ve, the trustees, had representatives from the faculties of 
the different colleges (selected by them) come to establish the 
state senate. Ve not only encouraged but required that every 
one of the separate colleges have its own senate with-- 

Heilbron: --with appropriate control over curriculum and appointments, 
promotions and tenure, the usual area of a faculty operation. 
Any important policy affecting curriculum or program would be 
reviewed by the senate and recommendations made to the 
chancellor, and then, if the senate wished to speak further upon 
the matter after the chancellor had made his recommendation, 
that was permitted and encouraged, so that the faculty did have 
a voice. However, we did not do what the regents had done, that 
is, delegate fully to the faculty its areas of control. They 
made recommendations, and the recommendations were rather 
persuasive. You don't say no arbitrarily to a faculty 
recommendation where the expertise should lie. But we still had 
some reserved area where, if there was a serious curriculum 


program, and I'll refer to this later, we had the right to make 
the final determination. 

Hicke: IB this a decision of the board either to reserve this or not to 
delegate it specifically? 

Heilbron: It was a board decisionultimate responsibility was on the 

Additionally, the presidents of all of the colleges formed 
their own council, and they had a voice, a strong voice, in 
connection with matters of policy. All of the senates were 
concerned with matters of academic freedom, and that was 
certainly their province as it was for the system. But there 
were people on the faculty who felt that, particularly on the 
economic side, the faculty did not have enough authority, and a 
drive for unionization began in the sixties. I don't think any 
problem was more studied than that. The first reaction of the 
academic senates was to oppose the idea, because the faculty 
felt their professional status differentiated them from the 
usual union situation. The board initially felt that 
unionization was not the better course, because it could not 
commit the state to a contract until it got the money, and so it 
didn't feel that it was in the position of an industrial 
employer. It wasn't even in the position of a local school 
district that could levy its own taxes and respond in that way 
to contracts which it had negotiated. 

Hicke: It's hard to bargain if you don't have any authority for the 
financial position. 

Heilbron: Well, yes. You could bargain on the basis that if you got the 
money, this is the contract. But that's not what any 
legislature would want you to do. 

Hicke: It wouldn't be satisfactory to the union, either. 

Heilbron: And ultimately, the faculties did vote for unionization. 

Selection of the single union negotiator was a problem that had 
to be resolved between five faculty groups: the American 
Federation of Teachers (the AFT), which was an off-shoot of the 
CIO, then the Association of California Professors, which was 
home grown, then the State Employees Association, and two 
others. Finally the state did enact a collective bargaining 
statute, after my time. That put the legislature into the 
picture and made everything subject to legislative 
appropriation, made fact-finding the basis of legislative 
action, the fact-finding being done before the matters went to 
the legislature. Ultimately, the legislature does have control. 


Of course, in our day it was a sellers' market. Ve needed 
ore faculty. We had expansion and everything related. Today, 
it's not the sane situation, and the legislative control over 
appropriations is such that all of the people in higher 
education are very much concerned and worried. 

I mentioned previously that the state college trustees did 
not have the flexibility that the regents have regarding the 
allocation of monies and the trans ferab 11 ity of funds between 
one section or center of operation to another. The result of 
this lack of authority produced the situation I'm about to 

Hicke : 


An appropriation was made that allowed for a certain 
percentage of increase for all faculty to be distributed in 
accordance with the trustees' authority. This was done, and the 
distribution was accepted and recognized by all of the faculty 
as being a fair distribution. Unfortunately, in doing the 
mathematics, our fiscal section, our finance department, gave 
more of a raise than had been appropriated. In other words, it 
would have taken a larger appropriation to accommodate the error 
that our fiscal people made , but our fiscal people had reported 
everything to the Department of Finance , and they had reviewed 
it and approved it. On top of all of this, we had plenty of 
money in several accounts where, if we could have transferred 
it, we would have been perfectly at ease. I think also there is 
some general rule of the Department of Finance that you will 
always hold back a percentage of whatever appropriation you 
have. You never spend your whole appropriation, but there's 
always that hold-back for contingency. So there was money to 
answer this question. Veil, this fiscal error was discovered in 
January of a fiscal year ending in June , and there was no other 
way of correcting it except cutting 1.8 percent on salaries for 
the rest of the year since the legislature was not prepared to 
give special authority to make any transfer of funds. 

Now this meant that the faculty was getting all of the 
money that had been appropriated, anyway. They were not losing 
any money from the appropriation because we had paid an excess 
of benefit. 


Overpaid. But, of course, family budgets had been prepared on 
the basis of what the salary appeared to be, and the faculty was 
furious. I remember that we met down on the Northridge campus. 
We went for a while from campus to campus, and I'll tell you 
about that too- -the whole board would meet at different campuses 
on our monthly meetings instead of just meeting in one place 


such as Sacramento or Los Angeles or San Francisco, Ve met at 
Northridge, and a professor of English pointed his finger at us, 
and he said what we were doing was absolutely Immoral, to make 
this cut. He said if we wanted to prove ourselves to the 
faculty as being really for higher education, we would go to 
jail to prove our point. We simply told him that that was 
carrying the excess too far and we wouldn't do this. [laughter] 
But it's an illustration of what can happen when there is a 
total lack of authority to make a transfer of funds. 

Hicke: And also the lack of control by those responding. 
Heilbron: That's right. 

I said that we had gone from campus to campus to hold our 
meetings, and that was true, but we found that this was not an 
efficient way to do our business. We would arrive in the 
evening at the campus , and they always gave us a very pleasant 
dinner; then they had their band play, then they had the school 
choir, and they had a welcoming address from the president. So 
we were pretty tired when we got to bed. Then the next morning 
there were other introductions of the staff and talk of what 
people were doing in the community. We found that our working 
tine was seriously cut. So we decided that we would meet 
alternately in San Francisco and Los Angeles, where people could 
cone rather easily to an airport meeting or even when we 
established our own headquarters, to the headquarters. I 
believe at least once a year we met in Sacramento. That proved 
to be a good practice. 

Hicke: More efficient? 

Heilbron: More efficient, yes. 

Hicke: Although there probably was some value in meeting these people. 

Heilbron: There was a great deal of value. We really owed it to ourselves 
and to the college to make these initial visits. It may be that 
one college at a special time is still visited by the board or a 
committee. I don't know. But with the headquarters established 
for business in Long Beach, I assume that that is where 
practically all of the meetings are held. 

Hicke : 

Okay. So this is a good place to stop for today. 


Protests and Strike at San Francisco State College 
[Interview 8: July 1, 1992] ## 

Hicke: Well, last time we got pretty well into the sixties, actually 
through the middle sixties and towards the end, and covered a 
lot of the problems and impact of the state college system. I 
know that San Francisco State was one of the major issues that 
came up. 

Heilbron: That's true, and it had quite a substantial history during the 
last few years of the sixties. You can't understand San 
Francisco State without relating it to the student protests and 
unrest throughout the country. Perhaps the best analysis of 
that protest problem was stated in the government commission 
report of William W. Scranton, who gave the report on campus 
unrest in 1970. In general, the protest was composed of a 
number of parts. It derived partly from the civil rights 
movement- - 

Hicke: Can I just interrupt to ask if you are talking about San 
Francisco or the general countrywide- - 

Heilbron: I'm talking about throughout the country, because San Francisco 
State was just part of the scene. As I say, it derived from the 
civil rights movement, and it was accelerated by the 
assassinations of Martin Luther King [Jr.] and [Attorney 
General] Robert [F.] Kennedy. It moved onto the campus as a 
student expression of anxiety, of the determination to achieve 
social justice, and produced the black studies demands that were 
familiar in most of the universities and colleges. There was 
also the anti- Vietnam war sentiment, deeply held by many 
students who felt that the war was unjust and that we were 
violating our moral code and principles. And there was a 
feeling that the university was somehow responsible for allowing 
all of these things to occur; that if the universities assumed 
leadership of the country and the university was reconstituted 
as a political instrument of social reform, some of these 
terrible problems would be answered. In the end, you had a kind 
of combination of these resentments , so that the protest was 
against the "system": it all should go; something should take 
its place that was much better. 

Various universities throughout the country had to deal 
with the students and their problems. There was also some view, 
I think particularly enunciated by the SDS [Students for a 
Democratic Society] that what was at issue was a rebellion 


against the conformity of the fifties, a rebellion against 
materialism and cold war prosperity. There were other 
considerations of much greater value to them and to society. 
But in the end, as I indicated, it turns out that many students 
regarded the university administration as part of the 
oppressors. They were the establishment, and no matter how you 
attacked the establishment, it was in a good cause. They 
weren't particularly interested in any particular issue; so long 
as the issue served the protest, the protest was desirable. 

It all began, however, in Berkeley, like so many things 
have, with the Free Speech Movement in 1964 at Berkeley. 
Originally it was simply a protest there, as I understand it, of 
a change in a university rule that was amended to prohibit 
political organization and activities on campus. It started 
with a non- threatening protest around Sproul Plaza. Then when 
the rule was not changed, there was a sit-in the administration 
building, and the sit-in occurred over a couple of days, and the 
governor sent- -this was Governor Pat Brown- -sent in the police 
to remove the students who were sitting in. 

Well, violence erupted when one of the students was 
arrested and placed in a car, in an automobile, and was to be 
taken down to the Jail. Students surrounded the car, and the 
car couldn't move. The pushing and the shoving was reported in 
the newspapers and on television, and pretty soon we had the 
beginnings of the protest movement in Berkeley. Now other 
colleges, as I indicated, followed suit. Perhaps Columbia 
[University] was the most violent. There five or six buildings 
were occupied, and a great deal of damage was done and injuries 

These protests came relatively late to the state colleges, 
to the campuses in California, perhaps because many served in 
more or less rural or suburban areas where students reflected a 
more conservative environment. But in varying degrees the 
protests took place, in Los Angeles State [College], in 
Northridge at San Fernando, at San Jose State [College], Fresno 
State [College], and at San Francisco State, where the heavy 
action took place. 

Hicke: Is that chronologically? 
Heilbron: No, that isn't chronological. 
Hicke: It doesn't matter. 

Heilbron: I don't think it matters. I think that the Los Angeles State 
and San Francisco State were more or less contemporaneous. 




I would say that it began at San Francisco State during the 
tenure of Stanley Paulsen as acting president. He was also a 
candidate to be permanent president, but the faculty and the 
trustees search committees determined to bring someone from the 
East who had had soae experience in minority problems. 
Professor John Somerskill was a professor of clinical 
psychology, but he had been vice president at Cornell 
[University] , and his many activities there in the community 
brought him into contact with urban problems. 

That this college was going to be in trouble was evidenced 
on the day of his inauguration- -President Somerskill 's 
inauguration- -in May, I believe, of 1967. Colorful ceremonies 
were held in the stadium. A platform had been built on the 
stadium grounds, the trustees were there and many dignitaries, 
the usual customary academic parade and platform 
representatives . 

You were there? 

Heilbron: I was there, yes. I was one of the trustees at the time. But 
it was beyond my chairmanship. 

Before the actual ceremony began, an unusual incident 
occurred. A hippie-clad young man, a rather thin person but 
with a puckish demeanor, danced his way around the platform and 
then onto the platform, went to the microphone, and turned 
around and pretended to be taking notes on the trustees and the 
dignitaries, then danced up and down the platform, and he 
thumbed his nose at the trustees and the dignitaries and then at 
all of the surrounding audience of students and faculty and 
friends. Chancellor Dumke hissed to Somerskill, "Do something!" 
Somerskill got up and whispered something into the ear of this 
young man, who suddenly, as quickly as he appeared, disappeared, 
ran out of the stadium, ran off the grounds, and never was heard 
from again, as far as I know. Somerskill, who wrote a book 
about his stay at San Francisco State, said that what he 
whispered to the young man was, "You are about to be arrested." 

Well, that accomplished the exclusion of this young fellow 
from the proceedings, but not the disturbance. The SDS had 
picketed and boycotted the cafeteria before the inaugural event, 
because the cafeteria had raised its prices. 

When you say "boycotted it" you mean prevent- - 

Heilbron: They prevented students from going to the cafeteria and stopped 
the operations of the cafeteria. Of course, they had an antiwar 






policy, which specifically asked that whether or not students 
wanted their grades sent to their draft boards, the university 
should not comply with the draft regulations and the students' 
requests to send their grades to the draft boards. The 
university refused, Soaerskill refused, to honor that request in 
accordance with the policy of the entire system. 

Veil, in front of the platform and facing the trustees and 
the dignitaries were about two dozen students, or perhaps 
student invitees, carrying signs, protests with respect to the 
war and the draft. These students were noisy throughout the 
ceremony, throughout Somerskill's inaugural address. He tried 
to ignore them, but after a plea for some kind of fairness, 
there was enough quiet so that at least a good part of his 
address was heard by those who had come to the inauguration. 
After this melancholy event was terminated and the trustees and 
dignitaries left the platform, they were followed and annoyed by 
students who walked alongside and ran alongside and in one or 
two cases did a little shoving. Of course the trustees were 
very unhappy. Veil, that was the inauguration. 

Shortly afterward, there were two other areas of activity 
that came to the attention of the college, the headquarters, the 
trustees, and the legislature. A paper was published called 
Open Process that had a columnist who advocated all kinds of 
activities that offended many students and citizens. 

Vas this a weekly publication or a one-time thing? 

No, I think it was published from time to time, but not 
regularly. It advocated nude bathing and more. It supported 
the use of marijuana, recommended free love, was anti-Vietnam 
war. Just the kinds of things that could be expected to 
irritate a great many people in the state. Copies were sent to 
the trustees and to members of the legislature by a couple of 
students who were tied into some kind of conservative political 
program and somehow were financed to the point where they could 
reproduce the photos, the paper, and so on. The president did 
suspend this paper for the kind of publication it was and 
established a board to provide regulations with reference to the 
student press that faculty and students contributed their ideas 
to, so that there were some guidelines that could be referred 
to. Now the real student newspaper, published by the students 
association, was called The Gator, and they had an editor. 

As in alligator? 

As in alligator. They had a staff of about ten students, all 
white, and the black students had found their policy, in their 


Hlcke : 




opinion, to be racist. Apparently they had not reported black 
news as the black students felt they should, they failed to 
publish a photo of a black candidate for campus beauty queen, 
and a number of blacks felt that this was a white-run newspaper 
not recognizing an important minority in the midst of the 
campus. Close to ten of them went into the Gator offices and 
ransacked the offices, and also went into the office where the 
editor sat and took hold of him and beat him up. The students 
were tried in a college disciplinary proceeding according to 
college due process , and four of them were suspended and I 
believe five of them put on warning. In addition, the student 
editor filed complaints with the police, and there were arrests 
of the four who had attacked the editor. 

In view of commitments and promises, the Open Process paper 
was permitted to resume publication, but the columnist who had 
promised that he would reform revoked his promise and said to 
the paper that he had decided to do that. He was immediately 
suspended by the president, but the general counsel for the 
state system had to advise Somerskill that the suspension was a 
penalty imposed before any process had been followed and so, for 
purposes of a hearing, he had to revoke his suspension. 

"Well," said the blacks, "If you can revoke the suspension 
of a white person, you should revoke all of the suspensions of 
the students who had attacked the student editor." 

But they had had a hearing? 

But they had had a hearing. Nevertheless, that was the stance 
of the black students. And they stirred up the entire campus as 
to the question of justice to blacks. Overlooking for a moment 
the clear violation implicit in the assault, what were the 
circumstances that drove black students to do these things? A 
big protest was promised for some day in the early winter; I 
guess it was now close to December of 1967. 

Let me interrupt. Were there arguments back and forth among the 
students, or was this all one big protest? 

I think that at this point a great number of students were 
indifferent, and the more radical and liberal elements were 
minded to protest. Later on, there was a group of about eighty 
committed conservative students who opposed the radical students 
in a very clear-cut fashion, but at this stage I would say that 
it started out with the December protest to be some students 
highly motivated and willing to sit in, and most of them 
attending classes and wanting to escape the problem. 


In any event, the administration building was broken into. 
There was a window open, and one of the professors who was quite 
sympathetic to the students went in the open window and led part 
of the charge. However, the students milled around in the 
hallways and in the offices and did not do much daaage . They 
were there, they were obstacles to any kind of office operation, 
they sat in, but they were not violent. Somerskill had made 
arrangements with the police so that the principal police crowd 
control officer was at his side to advise him, because- - 


Hicke : 

Hlcke : 

Hlcke : 


The expert on crowd control from the police was at Somerskill 's 
side and told him that it would be his decision as to when to 
call in the police, whose attack force was close by, a few 
minutes away. But he didn't feel that the situation had gotten 
out of control. 

Somerskill didn't or the police? 

The police advisor. So Somerskill did not, in spite of the sit- 
in and the milling around in the administration building, call 
the police. Finally the students got tired and drifted away. 
This situation was pretty much repeated the next day. One of 
the newspapers applauded Somerskill 's restraint. 

One of San Francisco's? 

Yes. And the other one criticized it and said that when there 
is any kind of trespass, or equivalent In their opinion to a 
violent taking, that the police should be called. 

Now the reason that the police were not called by most 
presidents of most campuses until sometimes the issue was too 
well drawn was that the presence of police usually escalated the 
violence, because the police started arresting, the students 
protested and resisted the arresting, there were struggles and 
sticks were used and people dragged out, and there was an 
escalation of violence. So in a special meeting by the trustees 
called in Los Angeles, there was sufficient concern about what 
was happening in San Francisco State, we asked for a review of 
what was happening. 

Let me ask how closely you were following all of this, 
reports getting to you? Did you see it as a problem? 


Veil, the San Francisco trustees were more familiar with the 
situation there than other trustees, because some administrative 


officer or faculty member might call them up and indicate what 
the problems were. 

Hicke: So somebody actually called you? 

Heilbron: I believe that we had some notification. As a matter of fact, I 
think it was the other way. If we saw it in the newspaper, we 
called the president to see what was happening. 

But the governor, who was by this time of course Governor 
[Ronald] Reagan, was very much upset, and a meeting was called 
in Los Angeles, and the two star performers would be the 
president of San Francisco State and the president of Los 
Angeles State. I haven't gone into the Los Angeles State 
situation, but the Dow Chemical Company was there recruiting for 
employment on that campus , and someone threw a stink bomb into 
the van that they traveled in to the campus. That caused a good 
deal of protest. So President Greenleigh of Los Angeles State 
was also called to appear. 

For three hours on this Saturday, the trustees and 
administrators and, of course, the political ex-officio 
trustees, questioned these two men, Somerskill taking much more 
questioning than the president of Los Angeles State. 
Irrespective of how the situation came out, some of the trustees 
asked Somerskill why he hadn't called the police. It was his 
decision. There could have been grave damage instead of minor 
damage to the administration building, there could have been 
injuries, hurt. Max Rafferty, at that time superintendent of 
public instruction, was particularly sharp and hostile in his 
questioning. Everyone had a little bit of a say. I think in 
the course of the discussion, I pointed out that once at Oxford 
[University], a great many years ago, the mayor had called out 
assistants to quell a disturbance on the campus at Oxford, and 
for five hundred years since, annually, he had come to apologize 
to the university. [laughter] This was a light moment in our 

Hicke: Trust you to provide that! 

Heilbron: In the end, when it appeared that most people seemed to agree 
that Somerskill had handled the matter quite effectively, 
Lieutenant Governor [Robert] Finch, I believe, proposed that a 
committee of the trustees investigate the stewardship of 
President Somerskill. This action, of course, enraged many 
people on campus and seemed, under the circumstances, to be 
unfair and certainly undermined the president's authority. 

Hicke: Did the trustees have to agree to that? 


Heilbron: Oh, the trustees approved the authorization. There was a vote 
for and against and the majority won. I know I voted against 
the resolution, as did Albert Ruffo and a number of others. The 
vote was reasonably close, but I think all of the ex-officio 
members voted for the authorization. 

I don't know how many months after, or whether it was the 
next meeting of the trustees or the second meeting after, the 
trustees vindicated Somerskill by unanimous vote , although 
nobody told him about it, and the way he learned about it was 
when I asked him, "Aren't you pleased with what happened today?" 

Hicke: Let me ask one other thing: on this committee, was there anybody 
who had voted against the original- - 

Heilbron: I can't remember who was on the committee. 
Hicke: I wondered if they made an effort to balance it. 

Heilbron: I would think that it was a balanced committee, and I can't even 
remember whether I was on it. But after all of this discussion, 
he got their support. In a book he wrote, he said that Dumke 
phoned him and congratulated him and he got a favorable 
telephone call from Governor Reagan. 

However, the troubles of this campus continued. A Third 
World Liberation Front, which was Hispanic -led, took over the 
anti-racist program, and this front included, of course, the 
black students union. They demanded the admission of hundreds 
of minority students irrespective of qualification and wanted a 
black studies program set up under student control, student 
direction, employing the administrator or director of that 

Hicke: Sort of the medieval concept of a university where the students 
hired the professors? 

Heilbron: That's right. That happened in Bologna at a very early stage. 
Bologna is an old university, 800 years old or more, and the 
students then, of course, hired the professors. But they ran 
out of money and they had to go to whomever was the mayor or 
prefect or the head of the city to restore the professors and 
the professors' jobs. So this issue has been pending for some 

Somerskill felt that his authority had been diminished, and 
in fact he had also faced the trouble with his faculty. One of 
the leaders of the student front was a faculty member and 
Somerskill fired him for his action. I can't recall precisely 


Hicke : 


what the action was, but I think the behavior warranted 
discipline. But it hadn't gone through the faculty due process, 
and the faculty were enraged by that. So he was getting it from 
all sides. He resigned, but he was going to stay on for a while 
until a new person was procured. But a person who resigns under 
these circumstances loses authority and soon finds that he isn't 
governing. One fine evening, when things looked pretty bleak 
for another campus outburst, he took off for Ethiopia, 

Now this is not quite as farfetched as it appears. He was 
looking for another position. The Ford Foundation offered him 
this position as an advisor to Emperor Haile Salassie for Haile 
Salassie University, and he had a rather brief period when he 
had to accept or refuse, and unless he accepted, he may not have 
had any office to look to. But it was a sudden departure, and 
the campus was not only ungovernable but ungoverned. 

So another acting president comes into play, Robert Smith, 
who had great support from the faculty and whom a great many 
students respected. He had a long experience with the 
university. I believe he was dean of the School of Education. 
He answered the call to do what he could to deal with a much- 
wounded college. 

What did he think he could do? 

He felt that if there were enough discussions with all parties 
and they had their talk -outs and teach -ins --maybe 1 should say 
talk -ins- -that in the end reason would prevail and that order 
would be restored, but that the militants would have to have 
their day in court, and I don't mean judicial court, but their 
day in the sun rather than just in the administration building. 

Problems and protests still continued. He was a target of 
protest, notwithstanding his liberal attitudes and perspectives. 
He felt that he could not continue and keep the university under 
control unless he was assured of the support, the clear support, 
of the trustees. The trustees were still divided on many 
protest issues. That is, there was the law-and-order group, who 
felt that you had to be firm, you had to call the police, you 
had to show who was in authority, and you could not appear to be 
weak under pressure. There was a minority- -well, I don't know 
whether it even was a minority- -there was the other side, who 
recognized that you could not dictate conduct from headquarters 
in Los Angeles, that each college was an institution on its own, 
that it had its particular problems, that all of them weren't 
the same, that some of them could be dealt with in one way and 
others in another way, that there were differences in 




demeanor- - it was different when a senior protested and did more 
than protest, got into some kind of violent conduct, than when a 
freshman whose hero was a senior was also involved because of 
being brought into the fray. So there were questions of why the 
behavior was brought about, what motivated the person, and there 
were adjustments that had to be made in the structure of the 
colleges to accommodate, for example, the black studies program. 
So the difference was really one of giving the college 
presidents some flexibility in meeting their particular problems 
or having automatic responses more or less dictated from the 

Veil, Smith resigned because he could not get the support 
that he felt that he deserved or had to have, and the new acting 
president was Sam [S. I.] Hayakava. Now Hayakawa had been 
pretty much the representative of that part of the faculty that 
was conservative, more or less establishment, more or less of 
the older group on the campus that wanted a quiet campus where 
studies could be pursued, and he wanted to get rid of all of 
these protest problems. He had declared himself to be for law 
and order and had, I believe, written statements that had been 
circulated on the campus, stating that if there were going to be 
illegal acts, they had to be punished, and the proper people to 
come on the campus to do it were the police. But he said that 
he felt that he could speak to the students. He was, of course, 
a well-known semanticist, and he thought that if the proper 
words were used, the proper results would follow and he would 
try to go softly at first. Softly meant that he distributed 
flower petals all over the campus to show that there was a soft 
side to the campus and that people should more or less feel that 
there was going to be a spring renaissance, a resurgence of 
civility. That didn't last very long. All of the protests for 
the same reasons continued. 

Are we in the midst of 1968 now? 

Ve are in the midst of 1968 and the latter part of 1968. The 
demonstrations took a very- -well, they went to a pattern. The 
campus was absolutely quiet until close to noon. The television 
cameras would be set up around noon and the students appeared, 
[laughter] And many of the faculty now appeared in support of 
the students and particularly in support of the black studies 

Now the faculty here were quite divided. Some supported 
the idea that there had to be a pretty independent black studies 
school or department. Others said that the curriculum of such a 
program, its administration, would have to go through the same 
deliberation for quality as any other curriculum program. The 


trustees had agreed to this black studies program provided the 
procedure that I just outlined for quality control, let's call 
it, was followed. That didn't satisfy many of the others of the 
faculty, and as I indicated, there was this feeling that when 
the problems arose at San Francisco State, they would be going 
to headquarters 450 Biles away for solution, that the system was 
wrong. Smith, actually, had risen to prominence 
administratively quite a long time before he became acting 
president, maybe a year or two before that, when he led a 
protest calling for decentralization of operations. 

Hicke: In the system? 

Heilbron: Of the colleges in the system. Of course, there were answers to 
that from the system point of view, but I'll not go into those 
answers at this time. It was the whole idea of getting a system 
together and of being able to finance the system and being able 
to support the very colleges. They wanted all of the money but 
none of the controls, but that's a separate question. The 
system meant not only the system, but the college; it meant the 
system in the country, it meant the social system, it meant the 
justice system, it meant the-- 


Hicke: You just said it meant the racial relationships? 

Heilbron: Yes, and the faculty were joining the students in their 

protests- -the white students who had all of these social issues, 
the black students and minorities who wanted the minority 
programs and admissions almost uncontrolled. And we had, by the 
time of the so-called strike in San Francisco, close to 300 
faculty supporting the students. 

Hicke: It sounds like the original Pandora's Box. 

Heilbron: So in the meantime, the trustees in some effort at relating to 
the college but recognizing the fact that it was located many 
miles away from headquarters, appointed a regional committee of 
trustees from the bay area to relate and work with the college 
administration and faculty if necessary to bring about some kind 
of peace. It was recognized that if we could solve the faculty 
problem, the student problem would be solved with it. 

Hicke: Did you head that committee? 

Heilbron: I headed the committee relating to the faculty. There was a 
community committee that was dealing with the students. The 
students, however, were getting tired of the struggle. Now I am 


Hicke : 


Hlcke : 

referring to a period of time somewhat, I believe, around 
November of '68 through January of '69. Our committee met with 
the leaders of organized labor in San Francisco whose children 
were attending San Francisco State, and with some of the 
administrative and faculty leadership, to determine what could 
be done. The faculty dissidents had employed a labor attorney 
by the name of Van Borg to represent them, and we had to meet 
with him from time to time. 

There was no authority in the statutes for negotiating with 
faculty. There was only a requirement that we meet and confer. 
Now if you meet and confer with a person and have a discussion 
with him, sooner or later you will find that you are in 
agreement with some of the things that he says or in 
disagreement with some of these things. The exchange of views 
in themselves may produce results, but these results would have 
to be unilateral and declared and could not be the results, so 
it appeared, from negotiation. So it was a narrow line that we 
had to walk. And a good deal of sympathy was developing, for 
various reasons, for the students. 

As they protested and demonstrated, Hayakawa did call in 
the police, the tactical squad, and he regarded the way that 
they circled around the students and narrowed the grip on 
student protests and finally made their specific arrests as a 
beautiful ceremony! [laughter] But it didn't help provide 
peace to the campus. We met mostly off -campus, although we had 
a couple of meetings on-campus with faculty and wound up with 
midnight meetings at my house with faculty. 

Were there some members of the faculty that you met with 
particularly, or how did that work? 

I'm going to try to--. I know that there was a Pentony, and I 
know we met with the deputy of Hayakawa, and we met with 
representatives of the academic senate, I think Professors 
Bierman and Axen, and there were others. We met with a group 
selected by the faculty that we had nothing to do with choosing. 
But we met with other people as well, in an effort to work out a 
solution, because a good many people were being arrested. 

Counsel for the system had obtained an injunction against 
the so-called strike and against threatening picketing, in other 
words not picketing for information and communication but what 
can be termed "violent picketing." No arrests were ever made 
under that injunction. I had grave concerns about it. 

From a legal-- 


Heilbron: From a legal standpoint. The injunction was obtained on the 

theory that a strike against any part of the state was illegal. 
Now there was a [United States] Supreme Court case with a dictum 
to that effect- -not a decision, but what's called a "dictum", or 
kind of an insert of an opinion- -and there was very much of a 
lower California court case which indicated that any such strike 
would be illegal. But to make arrests of faculty on a criminal 
contempt charge of the injunction, the publicity that would 
bring- -without discussing it, I had my own estimation of what 
the liberal Supreme Court of that time would do if the case ever 
got up to it, and what the damages could be to the state in back 
pay and everything; there was also a question as to whether 
there was a strike. Many of the picketers were teachers who 
would go to teach their class and then come back on the picket 
line! So was there a strike or wasn't there? There was a 
statute, however, that was a kind of absentee statute that 
conservative people, and I believe the governor, wanted to rely 
on. It stated that any employee of the state who left his 
position without consent and remained absent without any kind of 
reporting- - 

Hicke: No notification? 

Heilbron: --no notification, would automatically be deemed to have 

resigned in five days. So the question was, for many of these 
professors, some of whom really did not go to class, were they 
under that statute? Had they resigned? There was a provision 
in the statute that allowed them to apply for reinstatement for 
cause, and that turned out to be a very important escape hatch. 

Meanwhile, Hayakawa had canceled the college period before 
the end of the term, he abbreviated the term by one week, with 
the intention of putting that week later on an extended term, in 
the hope that a longer Christmas vacation would quiet things 
down. But when the students came back and the faculty came back 
in January, it was to the same old places, although we had made 
considerable effort to try to bring about peace. 

Through some kind of faculty organization and, I believe, 
the labor people in San Francisco, they brought out a man from 
Wayne State University by the name of Ronald Haughton, and he 
became a facilitator of discussion. The committee consisted of 
Albert Ruffo, James Thacher--Thacher was from San Francisco, 
Ruffo had been mayor of San Jose and had been chairman of the 
board- -George Hart, also from San Francisco, Karl Wente, from 
Alameda County, and me. 

Hicke: Wasn't he with the Bank of America? 


Heilbron: No, this is the younger Karl Wente. Hart was an extremely 

conservative member of the board. He hardly participated in any 
discussion whatever, but he took copious notes on what we were 
doing and where these notes went, I don't know. I suspect. 
Vent* was an appointee of governor Reagan. He was a very 
honest, receptive person who wanted to be of help to the 
committee and to the board, but he finally was persuaded by the 
governor to resign the committee because he would be doing 
things contrary to the governor's wishes. So the active 
commit tee was down to three of the five. 

Hicke: I take it not all of you were appointed by the governor? 

Heilbron: We were all appointed by the governor. I was appointed by 
Governor Brown. 

Hicke: Oh, the previous. I guess I was thinking he was appointed to 
this committee, but you meant he was appointed as a trustee? 

Heilbron: He was appointed as trustee by [Reagan]. Yes. 
Hicke: And then he had to resign as a trustee? 

Heilbron: No, no. Just from the committee, because 1 guess the assumption 
was he would be embarrassing the governor's position. 

Hicke: Okay. Thank you. So you were down to three active -- 

Heilbron: Did I mention that the Teamsters were really involved in this? 
Because the Teamsters were potentially much involved in the 
situation. If they stopped deliveries in support of the strike, 
the party was over. We had to have the Teamsters remain 
neutral . 

Hicke: And who was the head of the local Teamsters? 

Heilbron: I don't remember the head of the local Teamsters, but I do 
remember that the secretary of the San Francisco Labor 
Federation, Johns, was one of the people we dealt with, and he 
was able to convince the Teamsters to remain outside of the 

Hicke: And you were able to convince him? 

Heilbron: Well, we worked with him. Haughton was greatly responsible -- 

Haughton became a member of the federal commission handling all 
labor problems within the civil service of the United States for 
President Johnson. So he was a first-class person. 




Vith these almost-daily demonstrations and arrests, the 
community was getting pretty tired of San Francisco State, the 
students themselves were getting tired, and the faculty were 
shouting at each other. Classrooas were disrupted. John 
Bunzel, who becaae president of San Jose State, was then the 
chairman of the political science department, and when he 
appeared in his classes, students in the front row stamped their 
feet so that neither he could be heard nor the other students 
who wanted to listen. He dismissed the class. His tires were 
slashed; his automobile was damaged. So matters were physical 
and occasionally brutal. 

Finally, I worked out what 1 thought would be a plan of 
action in the form of a letter. First, we'd give amnesty to the 
faculty protesters. Second, we would recognize that a black 
studies program in line with faculty traditions was operative 
and was to be encouraged at San Francisco State. Third, that 
the faculty members who had been absent from their classes and 
had participated in the so-called strike would be expected to 
file with the state Personnel Board an application for 
reinstatement, and fourth that a new grievance procedure, which 
had been approved by the state senate and was up for 
consideration by the trustees, would be recommended by us as 
individuals. Indeed, this whole letter was by three of us as 
individuals, the three that were named. 

You and Mr. Thacher? 

And Ruffo. But this draft of communication was not to be the 
act of the committee, it was to be agreed to by the San 
Francisco State College. I got the deputy of Hayakawa, who was 
authorized by Hayakawa to sign for the college, and I got hold 
of Van Borg, who had just come back from vacation in Hawaii, I 
got hold of him, and he came to our house close to midnight, and 
he approved the letter, or was satisfied by the letter, let's 
put it that way. It wasn't a question of whether he would agree 
to the letter as a kind of a contract or not, this was what the 
college was willing to do. Would he advise his people to act 
accordingly? That was all that could be involved. The faculty 
accepted this idea. 

Of course, in the meantime, the governor was against any 
kind of transaction involving the faculty. They should either 
cone back or quit, and any kind of implied recognition of their 
interests was not acceptable. You will recall that the same 
pattern was followed with the air traffic controllers when the 
governor [Reagan] became president. In that situation, however, 
there was unquestionably a statute which made action against the 
government of the United States --the strike- -illegal. So he did 


have that legal position, but there was the same question as to 
whether that action was in the best interests of the United 
States. There are divided opinions on that. In any event, he 
had the saae position regarding the teachers. He also felt, for 
some reason, that we had no authority to deal in the way we did 
with the faculty and the other people who were involved in the 
effort to settle the dispute. 

Hicke: As trustees? 

Heilbron: As trustees, that we were a regional committee to be somewhat 

advisory to the trustees but had no real authority to discuss as 
we had, or confer as we had, and try to work out a solution as 
we had. 

Ted Merriam was the board chairman at the time-- 
Hicke: Chairman? 

Heilbron: Chairman of the trustees. He was a Republican. He confirmed 
that we had the authority that we claimed we had. 

Well, we came to a meeting in Los Angeles -- 
Hicke: Of the trustees? 

Heilbron: --of the trustees, and the question then was, would all of this 
effort at settlement be rejected? It was obvious that the 
trustees were not giving anything except for permitting the 
faculty to resume their positions and their livelihood on 
application to a neutral agency, that what had been done had 
been done by trustee and college action with the exception of 
our individual recommendations for the grievance procedure. 
That was the story. This came as somewhat of a surprise to the 
governor. I believe he was advised by all of the people that he 
later brought to Washington, including [Edwin] Meese. But the 
question then was raised, since the deputy under Hayakawa had 
signed the letter- - 


Heilbron: --and Hayakawa was in the room, he was asked, "What is your 

position, President Hayakawa?" I was very much interested in 
his answer. His answer was, "I think Mr. Heilbron is right, and 
I think that this matter should be resolved in the way that this 
letter states." 

Hicke: Oh, terrific. What a relief. 


Heilbron: That was a relief, and then I got a standing ovation. Then the 
governor, of course, did not reappoint me. [laughter] 

Now, there is possibly a little postscript to this. J. 
Hart Clinton, the publisher of the San Mateo Times and an 
attorney in San Francisco and perhaps at that time the leading 
negotiator for management in labor relations in town, had 
written a letter advising the governor to reappoint me. He had 
also written Caspar Weinberger, who was then the governor's 
director of finance, to ask the governor to reappoint me. Both 
newspapers in San Francisco had asked the same. Ve know how the 
governor finally acted, that he felt that I had participated in 
a situation where we didn't have authority. Mr. Clinton, after 
hearing from Mr. Weinberger's explanation of the governor's 
failure to reappoint, said that he still felt the governor made 
a mistake, and here is what he said: "In fact, although the 
governor's position on the handling of the college problem is 
undoubtedly popular and is gaining him many votes, I still feel 
that Louis Heilbron and I have as much dedication to law and 
order, and we dislike rioting and activism fully as much as the 
governor. However, the situation is not going to be settled by 
complete polarization of viewpoints, and if it were not for 
people like Heilbron, who stuck out his neck in order to bring 
the San Francisco State situation to an acceptable conclusion, 
the governor would not be in as comfortable position as he is 
today. He looks good because he gives everybody the impression 
that he took a tough position and won, but it was Louis Heilbron 
who did much to bring the matter to a successful conclusion, and 
yet he not only fails to get the credit, but ends up by losing a 
job. All of which means to me that the governor has profited 
greatly and good people like Heilbron have ended up as 
sacrificial goats in the process." 

Hicke: Wow, that's pretty strong. That is truly significant. That 
accomplishment of yours is really a major one, and it's 
unfortunate that it was so unappreciated by Governor Reagan, 
though not by everybody else. 

Heilbron: Well, the letters I got were sure approving. 

Hicke: You have a file there that looks like it's an inch and a half 

Heilbron: And they were all letters. And they came from people like Kerr 
and Dumke, a beautiful letter from Dumke, and [Norman L. ] 
Epstein, who was general counsel but who has become a justice in 
the [state] court of appeal. They were very good letters. I 
didn't know whether to bring this thing out or not, because it 
is self-serving. 


Hicke: But !' glad you did, because it really indicates the support 
that you actually did have. 

Heilbron: Oh, I had a great deal of support. Much of it is not evident 
here [indicates file]. There were communications sent that 1 
never saw. 

Hicke: When you were actually negotiating, or not negotiating, 
conferring, what kind of support were you getting? 

Heilbron: Well, the comunity was anxious that the affair be settled, and 
it's a good question. 1 don't know what the papers then 
actually said. I think that the papers were quite supportive. 
I'd have to check and look that up. I haven't got any of the 
papers at the time, but there was one interesting thing, and 
that is that Van Borg went down to Joseph [L. ] Alioto, who was 
then mayor [of San Francisco] and told him that the whole thing 
was settled and that it was a great victory for labor. 

Hicke: Oh really? 

Heilbron: I was invited to go down, and I didn't, because I regarded this 
as something San Francisco State was settling, and I was not 
going to be a principal in that affair. Alioto had wanted an 
end to the turmoil, and he had sympathy for many of the 
professors, and of course he was a political opponent of 
Governor Reagan. That introduced a kind of an amusing note. 
However, it really was extraneous to the settlement. 

Hicke: What was Hayakawa doing all of this time? 

Heilbron: Hayakawa had done one very important and symbolic thing in all 
of this situation of student protest and strike. The students, 
before the noon gatherings, had a truck, and on top of that 
truck a loudspeaker to call the faithful to action. At a 
somewhat early point in his career after the flower drum song 
didn't work, he went up to where this truck was, and he climbed 
up that truck, and he disconnected the wires himself. The 
mouthpiece was silenced. That twenty -five seconds earned him 
the senate position in the United States. There was practically 
no other thing that he had ever done that warranted his 
elevation. But it so captured the imagination of the people, it 
so did what the community -at -large wanted to do to the violence 
of students, that he sailed in with little of a campaign. 

Hicke: And of course what he was doing was cutting communications, 


Heilbron: That's right. He cut communications in order to have the 

greatest communication, I guess, in political senate history. 

For much of the time that we were sweating out the 
situation with the deputy, he was examining the clippings about 
this very important act in disconnecting the student megaphone. 
He didn't participate in much of the discussion, either with 
faculty or with us. From time to time, I called him and kept 
him aware of what we were doing, and I'm sure that the faculty 
and senate tried to do the same thing, but he had done his job 
and that was it. 

Hicke: Resting on his laurels? 

Heilbron: He rested on his laurels. But there are two pieces of 

importance . One of them was what he did with that loudspeaker 
and the other was what he did at that meeting. 

Hicke: Supporting it? 

Heilbron: That's right. And for my part, the rest of it can be forgotten, 
[laughter] That was critical; he backed his deputy. That was 

You might be interested in some of the things that the 
committee talked about and what its viewpoints were during our 
discussions. We stressed that violence was an unacceptable 
route for a university with the traditions of American and 
English universities. 

Hicke: Vas that with the idea of not calling in the police any more 
than necessary? 

Heilbron: Well, the calling in of police was not our prerogative. It was 
definitely the prerogative of the president of the university. 
But we wanted to make clear that we were not supporting violence 
in any form by student or faculty or anybody else; that the 
university was a place for reason, and if the university 
couldn't solve its problems, the society-at-large was lost, too. 
We agreed on the basic right to protest, to dissent, but not to 
disrupt. We pointed out again and again that most of the 
concerns that the faculty had had already been answered; they 
didn't realize that. We went over these items. We recognized 
legitimate complaints, such as the fact that the college should 
have more flexibility in financial and in other areas, but much 
of this program was controlled by statute. I told you before, I 
think, that we didn't have line item authority to transfer 
between items. You could protest about it, but the place of 
protest should be the legislature. I indicated that we 


recognized that the faculty needed a grievance procedure that 
they felt protected their proper interests, that there had to be 
due process but not endless process. It was important that the 
campus be kept open, that it should not be shut down. It was 
not right that an institution that should be open to discussion 
and reason and arguoent should be shut down. 

And I will add that we paved the way for an administrative 
conference between the faculty and the representatives of the 
headquarters administration. They came within a very short 
distance of resolving the conflict after we had prepared the 
way, but at the last minute they simply could not bridge the 

Hicke: Well, I thank you for going through your files and your careful 
preparation. That really makes it a full account. 

Heilbron: Well, actually I have a number of files that I haven't 

consulted, but my main file in this area, as in others I think I 
told you, got lost when we moved to this apartment. I had 
written out the whole situation and would have saved you all of 
this valuable time, if I had taken it with me. Why I had only 
one copy, I don't know, but that's all I had. 

Hicke: Now we have it. 

Let's just switch gears here for a minute and back up to 
Clark Kerr's part in the original Master Plan planning. 

Heilbron: Well, President Kerr had a great deal to do with the formation 
and the implementation of the Master Plan. Of course, he 
represented the university along with two of the regents in most 
of the discussions with the other segments, but beyond the 
procedural , he drafted much of what was agreed to and when the 
issue arose as to whether the university would find the 
compromises acceptable, he called a large meeting and it was 
agreed to support the plan from the university's standpoint. 
This included the constitutional position of the new board of 
trustees for the state colleges. President Kerr was reluctant 
to permit it to decline into a statute, as we discussed before. 
And then he supported the idea of a board of trustees modeled 
after the regents ; he wanted that board to have broad fiscal 
authority that was denied in the legislation finally passed. He 
was quite supportive during the operation of the plan to give 
the college administration as much leeway and authority as the 
university had, provided that it kept within the confines of the 
legislation and did not aspire to turn itself into a competitive 
research institution. Does that do it? 


Hicke: Yea, thank you. But what about President Dumke? 

Heilbron: Let me quote what I said at the dedication of the CSU Archives: 
I said, "I pay tribute to Chancellor Dumke, an extraordinary 
public servant by any standards, who has given direction to this 
system over almost its entire life and whose imprint will last 
far beyond the two decades of history that we are celebrating 
this evening. His survival in his post is already a legend in 
the annals of American higher educationat times it reads like 
an account of the Perils of Pauline or even of the Raiders of 
thf Lost Ark, but actually survival is not the mark of his 

"Rather his persistent efforts to achieve quality education 
throughout the CSUC, to provide new approaches in educational 
methods, and to maintain this segment's commitment under the 
Master Plan of which he was a principal architect- -these are 
among the contributions that will mark his era." 

I think that this was a fair assessment. 

Coordinating Council for Higher Education 
[Interview 9: July 15, 1992] ## 

Hicke: What I had in mind today was to start off with the coordinating 

Heilbron: You mean the Coordinating Council for Higher Education? Yes, 
that was part of the Donohue Act, the provision for such a 
coordinating council. You may recall that there had been a 
liaison committee between the State Board of Education and the 
University of California at an earlier time, that is prior to 
the Donohue Act, whose purpose was to adjust conflicts between 
the state colleges and the university, and yet that had not 
proven sufficiently satisfactory, so the coordinating council 
was made part of the program for monitoring the implementation 
of the Master Plan. 

Hicke: So this came into being along with the Master Plan? 

Heilbron: At the same time. The coordinating council consisted of 
representatives from the various segments of the higher 
education system. That is, there were three representatives 
from the University of California, there were three from the 
California State Colleges, there were three representatives of 


the junior colleges, who at that time had not been gathered in 
to any single organization where there was oversight --they were 
still individual. 

Hicke: And they were locally funded? 

Heilbron: They were locally funded, but with substantial state subsidy. I 
think it was nearly fifty-fifty. So the representatives were 
chosen by sone kind of association that they had together. The 
private colleges were also represented, and there were three 
public members. So that, I think, made fifteen members. I 
believe that originally, in the first council, Dr. Kerr, Ed 
Pauley, and Mr. Carter represented the university, and Dr. 
Gallagher, who was the chancellor of the CSC system, and I, and 
Alan Sutherland represented the California State Colleges. 
Father Cassasa, president of Loyola College, and Dr. Arthur 
Coons, who was president of Occidental College, and Helen 
Milbank, a noted international reporter, represented the public. 
Robert Wert, who was vice-provost of Stanford [University] --he 
became president of Mills College- -and Warren Christopher either 
represented the private colleges or was a public member. I may 
have the public members and the private institutional members, 
or the time of appointment, mixed up a bit. But the theory of 
representation I have given you. I know that Roy Simpson and 
Joseph Cosand and perhaps Andrew Kay represented the junior 
colleges- -no, Eleanor Nettle was the third person for the junior 

The idea of this council was that it would advise the 
segments regarding their functions and levels of expenditure 
under the Master Plan. 

Hicke: You mean the university and the state colleges? 

Heilbron: And the junior colleges, too. That it would interpret the 

purposes of the Master Plan as it applied to these segments. 
And that it would advise the governor, the legislature, as well, 
on the higher education problems of the state, in addition to 
specifically advising the segments. 

The liaison committee had operated privately. This council 
was a public institution whose meetings were open to the public, 
and it was thought that by airing any difficulties the segments 
might have between themselves or among themselves, the public 
would benefit and higher education would benefit. By compelling 
the discussion to be public, we expected a principle established 
of cooperation and civility. I think both of those objectives 
were accomplished. It could not order the university or the 
state colleges- -certainly not the junior colleges that were 


locally organized and authorized- -it could not order these 
segments to do any particular thing. But it could recommend, 
and its recommendations would be public, and the governor would 
know about them and the legislature would know about them. As a 
matter of fact, in one area, the legislature flatly declared 
that it would not approve or authorize any new campus or 
facility unless the coordinating council approved and 
recommended it. So it did have a certain amount of let's call 
it clout, not only because of its public character, but because 
of the people who were on it. The top representatives of the 
segments (when I say "top" 1 mean in their official 
responsibilities within the segments) were present on the 
council, so that they didn't have to go back to anybody for 
approval as to what their views would be. 

Hicke: Was there the support of the governor? 

Heilbron: Yes, most of the members were well known to the governor and had 
his confidence. 1 know that Varren Christopher was chairman for 
some time, and he had been an advisor to the governor. 
Christopher has had an extraordinary career in California, at 
O'Melveny & Myers, as president of the Stanford Board of 
Trustees, in the southern California community, and as U.S. 
Secretary of State. Most of the segment representatives had 
worked with the governor. Robert Wert served as the first 

The subjects of consideration by the coordinating council 
were pretty much the following: they reviewed the general level 
of support sought by the segments. In other words, they 
reviewed the budgetary requests of the segments. 

Hicke: Which had gone into the legislature? 

Heilbron: Were about to go into the legislature, and the legislature 
wanted to know what the viewpoint of the council was. Of 
course, if there was disagreement between the representatives of 
the segments, it would be shown in the discussion and in the 
minutes. That was one important function. 

The council monitored the manner in which the 
differentiation of function was being handled by the segments. 
In one case, for example, the Presbyterian [Medical Center] in 
San Francisco asked the state colleges for approval of a 
hospital to be attached to San Francisco State College, and the 
trustees of the state colleges immediately forwarded the 
communication to the coordinating council. They recognized 
immediately that if they would have any participation in 
instruction, the proposal was violative of the Master Plan since 






medicine and the training for medicine was solely a university 
prerogative. But the trustees preferred not to turn the 
application down directly but that the council advise them that 
they had no authority with respect to the matter and that the 
situation could be politely resolved, not through a direct 
refusal, but through the reply from the most appropriate agency 
advising that they had no authority to consider or accept. 

Of course, the monitoring was usually directed to others 
than the university. The university was constitutionally 
organized and could practically do anything in higher education 
that it felt was appropriate. I think, however, that if the 
university had stated that it was going to concentrate on the 
training of teachers, that the council would have recommended to 
the legislature that in some way they use their financial 
leverage in budgeting to prevent that which had been for years 
the prerogative or the function of the state colleges. 
Actually, the state colleges grew out of the normal schools, as 
you know. So much for monitoring. 

The council had this very important duty to review the 
requests from the segments for the establishment of new 
campuses, and adopted one very critical criterion involving the 
junior colleges, and that is that no new campus would be 
established for the university or the state colleges unless 
there was adequate junior college opportunities covered in the 
primary area to be served by the new campus . 

In other words the junior colleges should come first? 

The junior colleges would have to be there to offer the 
opportunity for lower division instruction before an upper 
division or graduate program was established. This held up, for 
a little while, the Sonoma State College program. It had 
intended to include freshman when it was to open in 1962. At 
that time, Sonoma County had not been adequately covered by 
junior colleges, that is all of the cities and towns of Sonoma 
County and Marin, and that was remedied before the Sonoma State 
College opened. 

Who determined what was 
already set up? 

adequate"? Maybe there were criteria 

Of course, the junior college district would have to raise the 
money to establish the college campus itself. The principle of 
the council was that the majority of students would have to live 
within twenty- five to thirty miles commuting distance from this 
new college to be established. At the time of the establishment 
of the council, 1 suppose there were somewhere close to 100 


junior colleges. That grew to around 107 rather speedily. I 
don't know to what extent that has been increased since then, 
but it can't be a great deal, because we were pretty well 
covered in the state of California with junior colleges. What 
the council sought to do was to protect the junior colleges 
against unwarranted competition from new state institutions and 
to protect the principle that there had to be complete 
opportunity for young people to get through the higher education 
system from the first year on by being able to go to a junior 
college within their residential area. 

Mow this expansion worked pretty well. Those state college 
institutions that had been approved by the legislature before 
the Master Plan, before the Donohue Act, were not limited, or 
were not to be reviewed. We had an institution down in the 
Valley (Turlock) , and Sonoma State had been approved under the 
old regime. But the new ones and the sites for the new ones 
were reviewed and approved. When I say sites, the council would 
approve the area where the new institutions would be 
established, but not the particular site. They would say you 
can go ahead and we will recommend to the legislature that a 
state college be established at Bakersfield. But the particular 
place in and around Bakersfield for that college would be a 
matter for the trustees of the state colleges and the same 
principle applied to the university. 

The coordinating council staff was separately chosen by the 
director of the coordinating council. The first one was John 
Richards, formerly chairman of the Oregon State higher education 
system. In some cases, the experts were lent by the segments to 
make as complete use of personnel as possible, at the least 

The council was charged with looking forward and planning. 
When the Master Plan began in 1961, growth was projected by the 
State Department of Finance and by people in higher education. 
So the council recommended expansion, looking forward to 1975- - 
this was 1960-61- -for all segments. They reviewed the needs for 
medical education for the next ten years. They had special 
studies concerning salaries and working conditions and fringe 
benefits for faculty and administrators in both the university 
and the state college systems. They reported on the progress of 
"articulation," the facility with which junior college graduates 
were accepted for transfer by the university and the state 
colleges. The state colleges were always pressing for more 
equality in compensation for teachers who were teaching the same 
subjects as those in the university, but whose teaching loads 
were greater. Of course, their research obligations were less, 
and those adjustments were not easy to make, particularly since 


the legislature was always holding back a bit on equalizing the 
compensation. I'm not talking now about expertise in mining or 
in physics. 


Heilbron: I' talking about the professor who teaches American history in 
a state college and in one of the university campuses. 

Hicke: Were the salaries equalized? 

Heilbron: They were brought up quite well, I think, during the sixties. 
As a statter of fact, in the earlier part of the sixties, when 
the state colleges were expanding at a rapid rate, in order to 
draw and recruit personnel, it was necessary, and the 
legislature recognized it, to raise salaries. I think that at 
least with respect to comparable institutions, the California 
salaries for the state colleges were higher than comparative 
institutions in the United States with whom we were competing. 
I think later on that has dropped. 

Hicke: But compared with the university they have come up? 

Heilbron: The state colleges did come up, but not to the same level. Now, 
of course, it is the California State University. But that 
research requirement in the university is still the 
distinguishing one, although the state college (university) has 
always contended that the person with the greater teaching load 
is nevertheless performing an equal service. 

The council, in order to make its projections, asked for 
uniform accounting and reporting procedures so that its data 
were comparable . 

The Liaison Committee between the State Board of Education 
and the university had a great many agreements on specific 
matters. The question was raised whether they would survive the 
creation of the council. 

Hicke: Were these formal agreements? 

Heilbron: These were formal agreements, and the decision was made to 
review every one of them. Those that were approved to be 
continued would be continued, and those not approved would be 
cancelled. That worked out to everybody's satisfaction. 

One of the problems that came up early on in the council 
referred to the matter of tuition. There was always a materials 
fee charged by the university and the state colleges, and one of 


the sources of pride In California was that it had a relatively 
free higher education system. Even the increase in materials 
fees would be a matter for considerable discussion in the 
council as to how far increases should go when the whole purpose 
of the California system was to have a tuition- free program, and 
there was always a question as to how much the materials fee was 
really a kind of a substitute for partial tuition. 

But tuition itself, as a means of supporting the 
university, became a question even in the early sixties. With 
the burgeoning student population, there were those who felt 
that tuition was inevitable, and some of us fought that idea to 
the last trench, although in our hearts we knew that the time 
had to come when the tremendous college/university population 
pressure on the universities, the tremendous costs for 
expansion, the costs of administration had to be paid for by 
something besides the general appropriation and general tax 
money. But I believe for most, if not all, of the time that I 
was on the council, the free tuition principle held. 

Now, whether it was going to hold in the future- -as I 
indicated, it appeared to most council members that it was a 
question of time. But the idea of opposing tuition really 
translated ultimately into holding the amount of tuition down. 
If you start with the idea that there shouldn't be any tuition 
and then have to charge tuition, at least you want to make it a 
minimum tuition. For years, I think that the California 
institutions did remarkably well compared with the situation in 
other states and compared with the opportunities given to 
students throughout the state. So that the idea now, that you 
go up 40 percent in tuition in a single year, as I believe the 
California State University is going to do, would be impossible 
to think about in the days when we were serving. A few percent, 
yes, but the transfer of this amount of burden, no. But that 
is, of course, the difference between two eras of state 
financial resources. 

Even Governor Brown, who was so supportive of public higher 
education, if he were the governor now, would not be able to 
carry out the ideas that he may have had then. 

But 1 suppose it's worth mentioning the obvious, that in 
the sixties, even with all of the protests and the period of 
troubles with students, those in charge of higher education were 
very proud of the system that had been developed. Ve had this 
open door opportunity where we felt that everyone would have his 
chance to take advantage of higher education at truly minimum 
costs. I realize that these days it's more and more difficult, 


even vith extended scholarships and government aid, for the 
institutions to hold onto that premise. 

I think that during the period of the sixties, the junior 
colleges more and more becaae dependent on state subsidy, and 
when it got beyond 50 percent, the state took more and more 
authority and created an organization to monitor the junior 
colleges, and they have felt the pinch perhaps more than any 
other part of the higher education system, because that is where 
the great influx of college population begins. 

Hicke: I just heard this morning that they have turned down over 
100,000 applications in the last school year, the junior 
colleges , which were supposed to be open to everyone . 

Heilbron: That is correct. Just as the university at Berkeley has cut 

down on admissions (1 understand now unfortunately being unable 
to admit many people with 4.0 average from the high schools) and 
the California State University [system] is closing off on 
admissions and classes, not having sufficient faculty and 
classes to accommodate the students who want them, the junior 
colleges also are in the situation where they have had to turn 
back people. I will say that this is an unexpected and 
unfortunate problem for the Master Plan. The Master Plan 
contemplated full opportunity, and that isn't now available. 
The Master Plan in effect is being amended by financial 
circumstance. I assume that it will be some time before the 
state's fiscal situation can restore that opportunity, if ever. 

Hicke : Let me ask you to comment on what part you think is played by 

the fact that people's expectations were raised of having a free 
or at least easily accessible higher education in California, so 
that perhaps parents didn't save for a college education like 
they did elsewhere, and now a big part of the problem is that 
their expectations are not reality. 

Heilbron: I'm inclined to think that their expectations were more or less 
based on the system as they understood it to be. I'm not sure 
that they would have saved too much. Ve are not, unfortunately, 
a saving population. I think that's one of the lessons that's 
being learned during this recession-depression, that the 
American people have to take a longer view of economic prospects 
and opportunities and plans. I know people do, now, save for 
the higher education of their children where they did not do 
that before. But somehow you've got to have the disaster first, 
before you learn the lesson. 

Now as to the quality of education, I can't comment on the 
present, because I don't know enough about it. But I believe 


Hicke : 

that the quality of education is being maintained by limiting 
the opportunity and holding onto faculty pretty well. But when 
I read that early retirement is being provided to induce faculty 
to leave, and this means senior faculty, I get deeply concerned 
about it. 

But the higher education program has to be taken along with 
public education generally in California. That is suffering 
seriously from kindergarten through grade twelve. It is also 
rather interesting that even during our period of expansion 
during the sixties and early seventies, perhaps even later than 
that, there were many people who said that too many students 
were going to college who shouldn't really be going there, that 
they weren't really taking advantage of the opportunities that 
were given, that some of it was remedial, that the equivalent of 
the European high school was the fellow who had gone as far as 
being a junior in college or at the university. Unfortunately, 
now very good students are not getting the opportunities that 
they deserve. 

The private universities were not given too much 
consideration with respect to the Master Plan, although lip 
service was given to the fact that they often are the sources of 
innovation and are more flexible than state institutions. But 
it can be that the private universities now will take up some of 
the burden that the state institutions are unable to carry. 
They have become more important in the general scheme of things . 

And individual people, parents and students, will have to take 
more responsibility for the financing there. 

Heilbron: The difficulty always is, for the private institutions, that 

they usually cost far more than the public institutions, so when 
you say carry the burden, what you mean is that those 
financially able to go over to private institutions will 
probably take advantage of that opportunity, but others will 

Hicke: There are a lot of scholarships available, 1 think, and maybe 
that's another way that society can-- 

Heilbron: Yes, I think that the development of the federally and state- 
financed scholarship programs during the years has been notable. 
Far more scholarships, grants, and loans exist than were 
available during the early period of the Master Plan. 

To get back a little bit on organization of the 
coordinating council, in due course there was a good deal of 
comment on the fact that the California State Colleges and the 


university got along quite well. Maybe It was because they 
supported each other's aspirations and were willing to support 
the financing of each other's programs in the legislature. 
There was a little log rolling between these two venerable 
institutions. That caused a change: first, either the 
coordinating council or its immediate successor added a number 
of public members so that the majority became public members. 

Later a more representative body was created consisting of 
seventeen members, nine from the general public, six from the 
segments, and two from students. The public members are 
selected by different high government officials- -these each 
appointed for six-year terms by the governor, the senate rules 
committee, and the speaker of the assembly. The governor 
appoints the students. I suppose the idea is that the public 
majority may be educated by the segment representatives on 
segmental matters, but are conscious of the interests of the 
respective appointing powers and practical and political 
considerations as well as educational. The six from the 
segments are trustees, or regents. The agency is called the 
Post -Secondary Commission. 

Theoretically, this widely representative organization 
should carry more influence than the original coordinating 
council had. It should, but I don't know the evidence to prove 
it. Certainly now (1993-1994) is the time to demonstrate 
effective leadership. Clark Kerr in the fall of 1993 addressed 
both the Regents of the University of California and the 
Trustees of the California State University and then the Post- 
Secondary Commission outlining the challenges to higher 
education in the state in clear and stark terms. He said that 
what was needed was vision and planning in the management of 
resources on a scale equal to the academic master planning of 
the 1960s. Higher education must come up with its own solutions 
in order to raise legislative participation. The higher 
education community- -all segments --must devise programs of 
tuition, teaching load, consolidations, terminations, contract 
arrangements , emphases and technological uses that will preserve 
California higher education as a model- -and not permit it to 
sink into mediocrity. And in doing so they must look to provide 
for a future of student applicants equal to or exceeding the 
demands of the baby boomers of the sixties. Will they meet the 
challenge? Are the leaders there? Will the huge alumni of 
California higher education respond with coordinated and 
effective support? We are struggling in one of the historic 
periods of the state and for its own future well-being the state 
must face and solve its higher education crisis. 


My estimate is that the real, creative solutions and 
adjustments will cone up from the segments directly affected, 
including saving the vested research function of the University 
of California. 

Hicke: Why were public members increased to become a majority? 

Heilbron: That was done partly to provide an overall "independent" 
monitor, theoretically, with greater influence on the 
legislation with respect to advising on planning and 

Of course the university's constitutional protection is 
inviolate, but the university is substantially dependent on 
appropriations from the state. Then again, I have talked about 
public and private institutions, but the private institutions 
have become more public and the public institutions have become 
more private in the sense of their funding. The University of 
California goes out for money that was impossible to think about 
in the time that we were there. 

Hicke: Private funding you mean? 

Heilbron: Private funding. UC Berkeley raised $400 million in the 

campaign for "Keeping the Promise" for example. When some years 
ago $300 million was raised by Stanford in one year, that was 
considered a great achievement. Here the public university has 
raised $400 million, and of course Stanford now raises much 
more. But at the same time, who makes possible all of the 
students [at Stanford]? The federal scholarships and loans and 
the state scholarships and aid make it possible. We've always 
thought of Oxford University as being a "gentlemen's 
university." I don't know about Cambridge, but Oxford is 
mostly, I believe, filled with students with scholarships from 
the government of Britain. 

Hicke: And the British universities are- -I met a man who was coming 
here- -met him on an airplane --coming over here to learn how 
universities raise funds, because where they had always had 
government funding before, they were now having to raise their 

Heilbron: That's right. Well, when Great Britain expanded their college 
system to be much more decentralized, as ours is --that is, when 
they created comprehensive universities that were not on the 
Oxford or Cambridge level, they succeeded to some of our 
problems . 






Hicke : 

Hicke : 


Hicke : 

You had just said, which was lost on the other tape, that the 
people cane over here from Great Britain to study both of the 
systems in California, including the coordinating council- - 


--before they established this new system. 

Well, when you say before the establishment, I would say in 
connection with the expansion of their higher education program 
throughout England, and 1 assume Scotland. 

That's pretty interesting, 
came over? 

Did you talk with them when they 

Yes. I don't want to give the impression that they wouldn't 
take action until they really looked at us, but they were most 
interested in how we functioned. 

How long did you stay on the coordinating council? 

During the entire time that I was a trustee. After I ceased to 
be chairman of the board, I was always appointed and reappointed 
as one of the representatives of the state colleges. 

Okay. That was 1969? 

Well, 1961-69. I'll just conclude this part of our discussion 
by saying that 1 think the coordinating council's most important 
function was to oversee and substantially control the orderly 
growth of higher education in the state of California. 

And how do you assess its success? 

1 think it was successful where the legislature followed its 
guidance, and when 1 say that, I'm referring to the fact that it 
approved areas for expansion that the legislature did not act 
upon. In some situations, it may have been in error, but I 
think generally speaking it was correct in foreseeing where the 
growth was going to be. For example, and I think I told you 
about this before, it approved the recommendation for a state 
college in Contra Costa County, and the state colleges did 
receive 200 acres at a bargain price for a fine college campus 
at Pleasant Hill. Ultimately, the state sold this property. 

Incidentally, it also identified Ventura County as a place 
for another college, but merely to set it aside and not to 
authorize the campus. They also approved an area around Redwood 
City to relieve the pressure on San Francisco State. That 


property was owned by the City of San Francisco (even though it 
was in the County of San Hateo) and was going to be made 
available, but it was not implemented. And in Los Angeles 
you've got the San Fernando Northridge canpus, the Dominguez 
Hills campus, the Long Beach campus, the Riverside (UC) and San 
Bernardino campuses, and San Diego State. It may be that a 
project in San Mateo was fully warranted. 

There is no doubt in my mind that the original council did 
look far ahead and wanted to equip the state with higher 
education facilities effective to this day. Had they done so, I 
suppose that we'd be in further deficiency and we would not be 
able to maintain and keep up the expansion. 1 always cautioned 
both the state colleges and the coordinating council that one 
always should be very careful on expansion, because the more 
branches you get, the weaker the other branches may get to be. 
There develops more competition for funding, and you should be 
pretty certain that you can fund the old institutions, this new 
institution, and all of the other new institutions when you get 
to them. Expansion can be a weakening as well as a 
strengthening factor. 

I would like to add a note that John Richards and A. G. 
Spalding were thoughtful and skillful directors of the 
Coordinating Council. Keith Sexton should receive special 


Hicke: The next thing I guess we are going to talk about is 

Heilbron: Yes, accreditation of public and private universities has become 
a vital part of the education scene. I was appointed to become 
a public member on the Federation of Regional Accrediting 
Associations in 1970, and subsequently that developed into the 
Council on Post Secondary Accreditation, where I also served for 
six years- -I think three years on the regional federation and 
six years on the council- -and then I served for about six years 
on the recognition committee, which was a subordinate though 
probably the pivotal agency of the council. Perhaps I should 
outline a little bit of how this whole operation is organized. 

Accreditation is a quasi-public function, but it is 
privately organized in the sense that it is a nongovernmental 


Hicke : 

It deals with both public and private schools? 

Heilbron: Yes, in this way: there are about six regional accrediting 

agencies, dividing the United States and Hawaii and Alaska into 
a Western Section and a Northwestern Section and a Middle States 
Section, an Atlantic Section, New England, and a Southern 
Section (I believe I have named the principal ones). These 
agencies accredit individual institutions on an institutional 
basis. Is their general operation a quality operation? What 
should be done to iaprove the operation to make it a quality 
institution? All of the institutions that are accredited in an 
area comprise that particular association. They will include 
the most prestigious institutions, such as Stanford University. 
These lead institutions may not need accreditation to survive; 
they have an important part in determining accreditation. 

Hicke: Standards? 

Heilbron: In setting the standards for accreditation. But all of the 

other institutions of higher education are subject to a regional 
accreditation body. Then, on a national scale, there are about 
sixty- five or more professional and program accrediting 
agencies. These may be huge operations like the American Bar 
Association accrediting law schools, the American Medical 
Association accrediting medical schools, the engineers have 
their association [the IEEE], the business schools have theirs, 
those in chemistry have theirs, and the nursing profession and 
the anesthesiologists have theirs respectively. 

Hicke: These are professional? 

Heilbron: These are professional organizations, and there are vocational 
organizations, too. It gets down to that level. But, of 
course, they simply accredit schools or departments within their 

Now, there has been a proliferation of these agencies. If 
you can't get accredited by your agency, form another 
accrediting agency yourself so you can get accredited. But that 
runs up against the problem of the Council on Post Secondary 
Accreditation, because that body accredits every one of these 
professional and vocational bodies in addition to the regional 
bodies, so that a university may receive accreditation for a 
five- or ten-year period by the regional accreditation body, but 
they will have the chemistry organization come in to see how 
their chemistry program is going, the business people to 
accredit their business school, et cetera. They don't have to 
have that. If they don't want to be accredited, they don't have 
to apply for it. Regional accreditation is quite essential to 


the existence of an institution that is going to have much of a 
quality claim on the public, but accreditation by a professional 
body may or may not represent a similar necessity. 

Now, you certainly are not going to be a nurse if you don't 
go to a school with an accredited nursing program. 

Hicke: So state licensing agencies look at these accreditations? 

Heilbron: No, that's not true. No, I'll amend that. State licensing 
agencies in many states simply accept the accrediting body's 
accreditation as sufficient to show good proof that they can be 

Hicke: I guess my question was: do the state licensing agencies depend 
on the accreditation agencies? 

Heilbron: To some extent, but the state licensure is a very limited 

operation in most states. I think that if you had- -I don't know 
what the situation is today, but- -if you had five hundred 
dollars and you said you wanted to establish an educational 
institution, you got a license from the state of California. 
The licensing of institutions is simply to assure that some 
minimum amount of money is going into an institution, and the 
quality of the education is not part of the purview. 

I'll come to that in a little bit, because many people 
wanted the accrediting agencies to do what licensing agencies 
should do, and that is to supervise and to prevent fraud. They 
[the licensing agency] should be the people who should say that 
these correspondence degree mills should be put out of 
existence. Licensing agencies really should be a system that 
protects the public against nonaccredited institutions, because 
if a fly-by-night organization knows that it never will be 
accredited and doesn't want to expose its operation to 
examination, they are never going to apply for accreditation. 
So licensing is something different from accreditation. 

Now, what accreditation does is really to put its seal of 
housekeeping approval on an organization. But the Council on 
Post Secondary Accreditation on which 1 served recognized and 
approved and in effect accredited the accrediting agencies about 
whom I'm speaking. The work of accrediting single institutions 
or programs fell to the accrediting agencies that were 
recognized by the council. 

The process of the accreditation is rather uniform. An 
institution may apply for accreditation or apply for the renewal 
of its accredited status. It engages first in a self -study, 


where it analyzes every part of its operation, and that self- 
study is examined by a team of around ten people usually 
representative of the particular interests of the institution. 
If, for example , a regional accrediting procedure involves a 
four-year college, they will want people from the humanities, 
they will want some people from the sciences, they will want 
some people from administration and finance to make up this team 
of ten. 

They come into an institution for a couple of days and talk 
with the administration and talk with the faculty and talk with 
the students, and sometimes with trustees. They've already had 
the benefit of looking at the self -study, so they are testing 
performances against the self -study; they are testing the 
program of the institution against the statement of its own 
mission and objectives. They come out with a recommendation to 
their regional commission. The regional commission then makes 
its determination. 

If it is completely a new institution, it may be placed on 
probation for a while and then go to the second stage of 
approval. If it's an institution that has already been 
accredited, it may renew accreditation, and it is sent a letter 
that states, "You have generally been accredited for a period of 
years," but may add, "We want to call your attention to certain 
deficiencies that you will wish to consider and correct." Or it 
may find that it's difficult to justify an approval or re- 
approval, and thus place the applicant on probation or take 
steps to revoke the accreditation. 

Now, let's take an accredited institution. Not only do you 
file an application which sets forth what your institution does 
and how it does it and what the background is and shows the 
self-study, you also have an opportunity to appear before the 
commission itself and argue your case for renewal. Then after 
that hearing, you get a judgment. The Judgment may be 
accreditation; it may be, as I indicated, accreditation with 
recommendations for you to improve in certain areas; it may be, 
if you are already accredited, probation or maybe a warning that 
you may be placed on probation if you don't improve certain 
areas of the program; it may be probation itself, which says 
you've got to do certain things within a certain length of time, 
say one or two years, or else we will question your 
accreditation and maybe even consider revoking it; and finally 
it may be revocation. This has to do also with the procedure of 
the professionals. It is possible, for example, to have your 
general institution approved and accredited, but lo and behold, 
your business school is no longer accredited or your nursing 
school is no longer accredited. 


The point of it is that while all of this is self- 
regulating and privately done, in the sense that it is not 
controlled by a ministry of education, it still can mean life or 
death to an institution because, as a practical matter, if an 
institution is not accredited and a student has any designs 
whatever to be become trained and recognized in his work and 
profession, he's not going to go to that institution. So the 
accrediting bodies are rather hard on granting applications for 
first- time accreditations, because they are getting a new 
institution into the system and this institution will be 
seriously injured if it is not reaccredited. And on the other 
hand, an accredited institution must hold onto its accreditation 
if it is going to be a successful institution. So there is a 
lot of power here, and sometimes reluctance to use it because of 
the economic penalties. Sometimes too much eagerness is shown 
to use it as an expression of authority and power. 

That brings me , perhaps , to some of the problems . One of 
the problems is from the national standpoint. I mentioned that 
if you don't feel you can get accredited, you like to form your 
own organization that will accredit you. Veil, that 
organization must prove its credibility as an accreditor to the 
national body, and the national body has been very sensitive to 
the danger of proliferation. At the same time, if a body that 
is solid comes before it with pressures from the local 
population, the institution, the congressmen, and others 
interested, it's not always easy to prevent proliferation. And 
new bodies are often admitted and justified. Some of the 
religious organizations, for example, have excellent secular 
programs and yet they have certain special characteristics of 
their institutions that they want to maintain, and they may get 
approved for limited programs- -consistent with those provided by 
secular institutions. 

Then also, some organizations want to expand. The physical 
therapists and the American Medical Association had quite a 
struggle -- 


Heilbron: --with respect to the right to accredit physical therapist 
programs in various institutions. Of course, the American 
Medical Association said that to protect the consumer needs the 
attention of the medical profession, and the physical therapists 
said we do a better job than they do because we know our 
therapists and we know our program better. The council had to 
make a judgment. It finally determined that the physical 
therapists should also be accredited- -that you can be accredited 
by either. Actually, most of the physical therapists wanted to 




be accredited by their own body, and it worked out all right. 
Finally the Aaerican Medical Association agreed that they [the 
physical therapists association] were doing quite a good job, 
but it was a long, drawn-out struggle. 

Regional organizations see the university as one, big, 
complete institution. Its law school is part of that 
institution. The American Bar Association sees the law school 
as an independent group that is a professional group that could 
just as well stand alone and therefore the university shouldn't 
be putting its fingers into the way that the law school is run; 
it has nothing to say or do about supervising quality; it 
wouldn't know the quality if it looked at it. [laughter] 
However, when this issue becomes reduced to dollars and cents, 
when the law school makes a great profit and the university is 
in dire straits, the university feels that they are one body. 
When the law school loses money, it suddenly feels the need for 
parental guidance and support, and the university says, "Well, 
that's all right, but will you help us when we are in trouble?" 
and they say, "We would love to do it, but we don't know what we 
can do about the ABA, and we'll ask them to see if we can do 

Well anyway, that has been a problem nationally and it has 
been a problem locally, but the bar association has pretty well 
won out; the bar association feels that the institution is 
fortunate to have the privilege of having a law school 
associated with it, medical schools feel the same way, and I can 
see some justification for that. I have had to be on both sides 
of this. When for the Golden Gate University, we bailed out the 
law school-- 

When you say "we , " whom do you mean? 

The university trustees bailed them out from general university 
funds for several years until they got on their feet; now they 
are making a great deal of money, and the university would like 
part of it. They have already been repaid; the bar association 
agreed that that was all right to repay the advances, but they 
still insist the university keep its hands off of the profits, 
because they say a rainy day will come again and the law school 
should have its own earnings to protect against that rainy day. 

So there are two sides to this question. It is not 
anything that you can quickly answer, but that's one of the 
interesting problems that we had to deal with. 

Then there is the question of what about nontraditional 
programs? Big adjunct faculties taking care of the university 


program. In other words, teachers who are practitioners, not 
academically involved. How far do you go in recognizing and 
persuading your regional agencies to be receptive to innovation? 
You can Imagine a science prograa being developed by, let's say, 
a space agency, and not a single person teaching who is part of 
any university systen, and the space agency asking for 
accreditation. Although why the space agency would want to do 
it, 1 don't know, because if it is just training its own people, 
it could care less about accreditation. But if its people want 
to feel that if they need another job doing that kind of work-- 
I'm just using this as a made-up example of innovation- -they nay 
want the accreditation. Without any of the academic oversight 
customary of institutions, there is a problem. 

Correspondence schools raised this question. Conceivably a 
program that teaches by television and only has the person take 
examinations at school, or perhaps a combination of a couple of 
days a week there and examinations, that would be an innovative 
program. To what extent does that agency have a right to 
accreditation? They may want to be accredited because they want 
to say that the people who teach in our television program are 
really good; the next guy may be a talk show fellow and not be 
that competent. 

Hicke: The University of Maryland has a lot of extension organizations 
overseas that are taught to servicemen by servicemen. Would 
that be an example? 

Heilbron: Well, yes. That is an example of an institution that I know 

about and an extensive program in our military camps. Military 
students were taking accounting, they were taking graduate 
degree work- - 

[tape interruption] 

Heilbron: In military camps, when you don't have a full-time professor in 
residence but rely on adjunct people coming out from near the 
camp, no direct supervision and so on, it may be highly 
questionable whether your degree program would be accredited. 
And, if it is a part of regional accreditation, it is a big part 
of your institutional program, the question is presented whether 
your whole institution will be accredited. So all I want to 
indicate is that the accreditation of nontraditional programs is 
one of the issues that national accreditation has to consider. 
Although they do encourage the accreditation of nontraditional 
agencies, provided that they meet the standards of the regional 
accrediting agency, they also try to indicate to the regional 
accrediting agencies to adjust their standards if quality can be 
proved by the innovative procedures. 



That's good. So it is a little flexible. 

Heilbron: It's a little flexible in theory, but the application of it may 
not be as flexible as you might want. It's so much easier in 
accrediting to say that a library should have so many thousand 
books and an institution should have so many full-time 
professors; particularly if you are engaged in a professional 
operation. However, I think that the organized medical 
profession is pretty generous in permitting doctors to teach and 
also engage in their practice. I guess, in a certain sense, the 
AMA has encouraged the nontraditional approach more than other 
groups . 

Hicke: That's unusual. 

Heilbron: Well, it is tradition with them to have their best doctors 

teaching, too. But generally, full-time teachers do not wish to 
have half-time teachers be their competition. It is all right 
in extension work, but not in the academy in general. 

Also, one of the questions that private institutions 
sometimes raise in accreditation is that public institutions, 
particularly in the Vest, are far more numerous than private. 
They have usually had support from appropriations by 
legislatures. Until recently they haven't had to look too hard 
at their financial situation; they knew what it was. They asked 
for the money, they knew they got a budget, they knew that the 
money was there, and so they knew how to proceed. A private 
institution has to raise its money by solicitation unless it is 
entirely tuition driven. The viewpoint of some of the teams 
that have gone into private institutions has been: "Well, how 
are you people going to assure us that you are going to be able 
to operate in the next few years? Look, you just made your 
budget this year, you are going to have increased costs," and 
they kind of get shocked when reviewing institutions where 
tuition is the major part of their financing. I think that many 
of the professors and administrative leaders in public 
institutions are now recognizing that financial stringency can 
happen in their own institutions; that what they thought was 
certain assured financing is not there. This may result in a 
better understanding as public institutions are increasingly 
faced with less state funding and a more helpful attitude in the 
accrediting process as applied to private institutions. 

The accreditation system seeks to deal with the quality of 
education, and that refers to the curriculum, the scope of the 
subject of curriculum, the kind of teachers you have, whether 
they have doctorates or not, the kind of library you have, now 
the number of computers you have got, and all of these 



quantitative things that also go into quality and qualitative 
things that really can't be measured: you have a Ph.D. but 
really it is where you got it from that may be more indicative 
of what it's worth than anything else. A part-time adjunct 
faculty drawn from outside the academy may deliver quality 
courses . 

But as a matter of policy accreditation does not wish to be 
charged with determining the adequacy of long-term financing or 
to monitor discrimination statutes. They just have not got the 
facilities to do it. The federal government, for financial aid 
purposes, uses accreditation as a basis for making its monies 
available. If you are an accredited institution, they see fit 
to advance scholarship money to your institution. I think 
around 1976 a statute was pending which would have made probity 
of an institution a factor in its recognition, and the 
implication was that accreditation should look into the matter 
of probity. What was probity? Probity could mean anything from 
political purity to ethical purity to long- term financial 

Environmental impact? 

Heilbron: That's right. The accrediting agencies and the Council on Post 
Secondary Accreditation opposed, very directly, any assumption 
that the accrediting function, which deals with the quality of 
education, should go into these statutory rights. 

It's not too easy to draw the line. For example, certainly 
an institution would not be accredited that did not support 
academic freedom and where academic freedom was jeopardized. 
The idea is you can't have a liberal education and exchange of 
ideas if you don't have academic freedom. It's part of the 
first amendment, but it's almost beyond the first amendment. I 
think, to this day, the accreditation system does not monitor 
the anti-discrimination statutes, though it evaluates diversity 
in the student body and in faculty composition. 

The public has a consumer's interest in the kind of school 
that students are attracted to. If the school is selling 
practically nothing for money, it is a profit-making scam, of 
course it should be stopped. But California has been very 
loathe to get into that program of a licensure broad enough to 
stop these institutions. As I say, that's not an accreditation 
problem because accreditation is not applied for. Nevertheless, 
there is a consumer aspect of accreditation because students do 
want to go to schools that are accredited and to programs that 
are accredited. 


Hicke : 

When a team comes to review an institution or a program and 
it asks a lot of questions of students and it says, "Now you 
Just say candidly, does your professor know his stuff or is he 
just taking up your time and are you ahead of him?" The student 
will then candidly give his answer. The professor is asked, 
"How is the operation running?" He may answer, "The dean is 
terrible, I can't say enough." All of these things come out 
about an institution, and they are repeated or summarized by the 
team to the commission together with the facts as presented by 
the institution by way of self -study or factual correction of a 
team's report by institutional comment. The general requirement 
is that a team report can be released by the school, but if it 
is released, then it has to be released in its entirety, 
although many of the regional accrediting agencies say that it 
can be released only with the consent of the commission. 

At times there will be a negative decision in some way with 
respect to accreditation: either you show cause why 
accreditation should not be revoked or something of that kind. 
Of course, great reliance would be placed on the team report. 
Well, to what extent is the public entitled to know what's in 
that report? To what extent should it be confidential? There 
is quite a legal issue here. It's generally agreed that the 
decisions on accreditation, even though negative, after the 
appeal procedure has been completed, should be public. In other 
words, it should be published somewhere that such-and-such a 
school is no longer accredited or is on probation, even though 
it has a serious effect on the school. But there are some 
things that are said that really should not, in the interests of 
protecting either a personnel file or a candid statement file, 
that should not be covered and should not be public. The lines 
are not easy to draw. I once wrote a monograph on 
"Confidentiality and Accreditation," and it is-- 

What's the date on that? 

Heilbron: The date on that is July, 1976. It was published by the Council 
on Post Secondary Accreditation, and I don't know how much of it 
still holds, but it takes about twenty-nine pages to deal with 
this rather complex question. I began with quoting the then 
Attorney General of the Unites States, Edward H. Levi, who 
pointed out that confidentiality is something different from 
secrecy. That, "One reason for confidentiality, for example, is 
that some information secured by government, if widely 
disseminated, would violate the rights of individuals to 
privacy. Other reasons for confidentiality in government go to 
the effectiveness and sometimes the very existence of important 
governmental activities." In other words, if your operation 
can't function without some degree of confidentiality, then you 


lose the effectiveness of your function. At the same time, the 
public ha a lot of interest in knowing that you have a process 
based on published standards; that everybody knows these 
standards; that if you change your standards you have got to 
give notice to everybody interested before you approve then and 
publish then; that you have a hearing; that there's due process 
in that hearing; that the institution has a chance to see what 
facts the team finds and to correct the facts if they are in 
error; that if the institution feels that it has not been fairly 
treated that it has the right of appeal; that a different group 
will hear the appeal than the commission that heard the 
application or reapplication; that after the appeal is over and 
the decision is Bade, that decision will be made public; that on 
the commissions that deal with accreditation, there will always 
be public members to represent the public interest; that these 
public members have the same right of voting as the 
institutional members, the faculty, and the administrative 
people and that they be carefully selected and be representative 
of the public. I think that at least the minor contribution 
that I did make to the Council on Post Secondary Accreditation 
was to develop a policy and resolution on accreditation and the 
public interest that has become part of the standards of the 
national organization. 

Hicke: One more question about nontraditional education. I heard on 
the radio a story about a university that teaches classes by 
computer to students scattered throughout the country. 

Heilbron: The University of Phoenix must be the most nontraditional 

accredited higher education institution in the country. It was 
founded by John D. Sperling, once head of the American 
Federation of Teachers union that bargained for a segment of 
professors of the California State Colleges. As a union 
representative he sought recognition of the union and ultimately 
higher salaries and better security for the professors he 
represented. He was especially active at San Jose State. 

As chairman of the University of Phoenix, which he founded 
in 1976, he runs a for-profit institution that is reported by 
the Wall Street Journal to employ free-lance professionals 
(active in their business or professional fields) to teach at 
$1,000 to $1,200 per course and to provide courses in office 
buildings, motels, even through a home computer. The courses 
are designed by the university, carried or filled out by the 
teacher -independent contractors. Credit for degrees in part may 
come from life experience, such as in work or travel, though it 
is claimed that such credit has been very much restricted. 
Programs are in business and in several professions and 
vocations . 


Accreditation was given by the North Central Association, 
then headed by Thurston E. Manning. Subsequently he became 
executive director of the Council for Post Secondary 
Accreditation. (He is not the present director.) The Western 
Association of Schools and Colleges, the regional accrediting 
agency for California, had opposed the operation of Phoenix in 
its area. However, it Bust accept the status conferred by North 
Central. Opposition had been mainly based on the assertion of 
lack of qualified academic control. Supporters contend that 
Sperling's kind of cost-cutting adult education, based on 
enphaeizing the practical, and appealing to thirty- five- and 
forty-year-olds, is simply ahead of its time. The critics may 
be plentiful, but so are the profits. 

Chairman. Advisory Board. San Francisco State University. 1970- 

[Interview 10: August 13, 1992] ## 

Hicke: Today I think we should talk about the San Francisco State 
Advisory Board; is that the whole name of it? 

Heilbron: That's the name of it. Advisory boards for each of the college 
caapuses are authorized by statute, and they have a relationship 
with the system. They are appointed by the trustees, but are 
recommended by the presidents. They advise the presidents in 
particular, and their impact, I guess, is as effective as the 
president wants it to be or as the advisory board will permit it 
to be. If they aren't listened to, there will not be any 
advisory board. The presidents, having had the responsibility 
to appoint them, are usually quite prepared to take advantage of 
their presence. 

They consist of seven to thirteen members, and the San 
Francisco State board met quarterly. 

Hicke: Could we get the years that you were on this? 
Heilbron: Yes, I served between 1970 and '76. 
Hicke : Thanks . 

Heilbron: And most of that time as the chairman of the board. We had some 
effective community people on the board. There was North Baker, 
who was also particularly active in the California Historical 
Society; Mrs. Patricia K. di Giorgio, who was president of the 


Hicke : 


Hicke : 

United Nations chapter in San Francisco; Alfred Fromm, who 
founded the From Institute for Studies for Retired Persons, 
later connected to the University of San Francisco; Joanne 
Hendricks was the president of the Aluani Association of San 
Francisco State and was quite effective in developing the alumni 
association and in procuring a development fund; Richard 
Peterson had been executive vice president of PG&E; Zeppelin 
Wong, an attorney; Victor Bergeron, "Trader Vic," was on the 
board for a while, and I'll refer to him later; Mrs. James K. 
MacVilliams, a Giannini family member. So these were more or 
less typical of the people of the community who were active on 
the board during the period when I was active. 

The board functions were, I suppose, best performed when 
the president had a problem that should be understood by the 
community at large and where the community representatives of 
the board could be the interpreter of the institution. 

The board was a liaison between the community and the 

Veil, that was one of its purposes. When the Fullerton State 
College was in difficulty because of the performance of a 
controversial play, their advisory board stood by the president 
and was helpful in maintaining the university position. At the 
time when I worked on the settlement of the San Francisco State 
strike, the then advisory board under the chairmanship of Judge 
Albert Vollenberg was supportive of our position in our efforts 
to bring the strike to an end. When I say "our," I'm not 
referring to the advisory board; I'm referring to the trustees 
regional committee at the time of the strike. 

That was before you went onto-- 

Heilbron: That was before I went on the advisory board. 

Perhaps the most interesting and trying event during the 
period when I was on the advisory board concerned the problem of 
married students housing. Now, San Francisco State is not very 
much of a dormitory institution, but it did house a number of 
married students and their families. The structures were built 
during Vorld War II in the state of Washington, and at the end 
of the war they were acquired for very little by San Francisco 
State. They consisted of seven buildings. They were supposed 
to be temporary buildings even during World War II, and they 
were temporary now, up to I guess 1974 or there about. 

Hicke : 

They weren't quonset huts, were they? 


Heilbron: No, they were wooden structures, but in very poor condition. 
Over the years the university wanted to terminate the 
residencies of the faailies quite some time before our service, 
because the repair costs seemed to be insurmountable and the 
university adainistration was concerned about the hazards of the 
condition of the housing. 

But the married students --by the time of the issue in the 
mid- seventies --the married students had commanded the attention 
of the media, and the idea of throwing families onto the streets 
was of course quite an appealing public issue and immediately 
brought in legislators and others who were interested in the 
welfare of people in need. Of course the occupants were 
mightily concerned about their own welfare. The amount of 
rental was very low, and substitute rental arrangements were 
very hard to procure. I think that the buildings had a capacity 
originally of close to 100 units, but by the time we are talking 
about, fifty- two of them were occupied- -something in that 
number- -and because of the condition and location of the stoves 
and the dryness of the wood and other technical features, they 
were really not habitable. 

The state fire marshall came in to make a survey, and he 
made a report setting forth the nature of the hazards, and I 
think there is a state architectural commission also that had an 
interest in the affair. Between them they had a report that 
said that if the university didn't put in about $75,000 for a 
six-month period, the facilities should be closed. That only 
was good for the temporary period. Then the real improvements 
would cost somewhere between $1 million and $1.5 million, which 
in those days was a considerable amount of money, particularly 
considering the nature of the buildings and the few people 

The president elected to give notices of eviction and to 
explain as best he could to the married students and to the 
public why he was doing this: that it was a dangerous situation 
for occupancy. But some legislators wanted to be sure that all 
due process was taken and brought some pressure against the 
president and the institution. There was an interchange of 
correspondence between Mr. Bergeron and Senator [Milton] Marks. 

Hicke : I need to ask you who the president was. 

Heilbron: The president was [Paul] Romberg. He had succeeded President 
Hay ska wa . 

Mr. Bergeron wrote to Senator Marks, and I'm quoting from 
his letter dated December 23, 1974, so that gives you the period 


that we're talking about. "These buildings are in a sad state of 
affairs and some day they will have to stay out of them while 
they are being torn down and new ones built. Check into the 
length of time the buildings have been around the Pacific Coast 
and you will know what the hell I am talking about." [laughter] 
Bergeron was quite frank and rough in his conversation, and this 
was quite typical. 

Hicke: He made the point very clearly. 

Heilbron: He made the point very clearly. Incidentally, the buildings had 
acquired a name: they called them "Gatorville , " so the question 
was, would Gatorville be vacated or not? 

I can't quite locate what he thought the married students 
should do, but he reflected what we all recognized, and that was 
we cannot put people and their children to risk even if they are 
willing to take the risk. Our duty, we felt, and here I think 
we made some contribution, was to see to it that alternate 
housing was obtained. Between the San Mateo Development Agency 
and the San Francisco Development Agency, the institution found 
places at low- income housing for all of the eligible students, 
and found out in the course of doing so that a number of them 
weren't eligible at all: they didn't even attend the university. 
There were eleven of them, I think, who were totally ineligible. 
So that was a time when we were of use in supporting the 
president's position, even though he had to face legislative and 
media criticism. 

Toward the community, we did what we could to explain the 
image and the purposes of the university, especially during the 
earlier period of President Hayakawa. Remember he succeeded to 
the presidency first as an acting president then as a full 
president, during the period of the great protests. We gave a 
couple of civic affairs that were successful- - 

Hicke: Bringing people together? 

Heilbron: Bringing people, the business community particularly, together. 

Then when the state colleges, during the period of 
Hayakawa, became universities, there was an appropriate 
celebration of the event. For some reason or the other, the 
biggest event was held on San Francisco Bay in a ferry boat. It 
was an interesting issue in itself: were these colleges 
universities or not? Even casual research revealed the fact 
that institutions with three schools and a graduate program were 
entitled in the United States to be called universities. These 
institutions with between 15,000 and 20,000 students and 


Hicke : 


Hicke : 


extensive master's degree programs were certainly entitled to 
the status. 

The meaningful part of it was the attraction of the status 
Itself in the hiring of faculty, most of whom preferred to go to 
a university rather than to go to a college. Otherwise, it was 
a kind of change of name. Actually, in some cases institutions 
are proud to retain the name of "college." Dartmouth College 
wouldn't give up that name for anything, and most of the famous 
institutions at Oxford are still colleges, after all. But in 
the United States there is a different approach. So the change 
to the university during the period when I was on the advisory 
board had some significance. 

Toward the end of that period the institution established a 
long-range planning committee for looking forward for San 
Francisco State for ten years or more, and I was appointed to it 
especially in the light of the fact that I was active on the 
advisory board. We met over a period of a year at various times 
with the faculty and administrative members assigned to the 
project, and it was extremely interesting to weigh the 
demographic factors, the innovation proposals, the minority 
pressures envisioned for the future with these faculty people. 
In the end, this group produced quite a large document. I 
suppose what became of it was what becomes of most large 
documents produced by commissions, who argue over every word in 
the hope that they will be accurately represented. Somehow so 
many well -intended studies seem to rest more comfortably in the 
files than in the hands of people who should do something about 
the recommendations that are made. 

[tape interruption] 

I just wanted to ask you when you were appointed and for how 

1 was appointed October 8, 1974, and the estimated period of the 
service was eighteen months, and that's Just about what it took. 

Okay, thanks. Now you had one more thing to add? 

Well, one of the projects of great interest to the institution 
was to say that San Francisco State was the city's university. 
(It does on its stationery.) The difficulty with that approach 
is that several other institutions want to be the city's 
university. There is the University of San Francisco that has 
had a long tradition with respect to political affairs and 
judicial affairs in San Francisco, a long established liberal 
arts institution. 


Hicke: But a private school? 

Heilbron: A private school, but nevertheless many of its graduates were 
quite active in the public community. There was Golden Gate 
University, also a private institution, but with strong 
relationships to the business and industry of the city. There 
is City College that says it's the city's institution and is, in 
numbers, the largest of them all. 

Hicke: Is it? 

Heilbron: I would think so. And of course there is the University of 

California at San Francisco that is basically a medical school 
and health institution but has an enormous influence in San 
Francisco and economically as well as medically. 

My own thought is that all of these institutions are great 
contributors to the city and that the community should take 
great satisfaction that they all exist here side-by-side. 

There was one other item that I think you had mentioned. 

Hicke: Well, do you want to go back and get that quote from that paper 
on the "Gatorville" secession? 

Heilbron: Oh. [shuffles papers] Well, to give some idea of the kind of 

coverage that the Gatorville problem acquired, I can refer to an 
article in the San Francisco Examiner which is headed, 
"Gatorville Secedes From San Francisco State," and then it gives 
a description of what occurred. This group of buildings was 
located in the northwest part of the campus, and I assume there 
was a flagpole there --well anyway there are certainly flagpoles 
on the campus- -and someone from Gatorville put up a quilted flag 
on the pole, and according to the article, "A girl played 
'Yankee Doodle' on the clarinet, wearing a tricorn. A person by 
the name of Tom Proulx proclaimed in part, "We the people of 
Gatorville, in general congress assembled, solemnly publish and 
declare that this facility is and by right ought to be, free and 
independent . ' " 

Hicke: That's marvelous. 

Heilbron: That's the closing of the quote. Of course, if their secession 
had succeeded, I don't know how they would have funded their new 


International House. Berkeley 

Hlcke : 


Hicke : 



Hicke : 


Hicke : 

That's probably enough for now on San Francisco State, so let me 
ask you about some of your other activities, and I know one of 
the ones that had a major influence was International House over 
at Berkeley. 

Yes, that was a very interesting and rewarding experience. Of 
course, International House was established by the Rockefeller 
family and built around 1930. 

The one here on campus? 

The one here on campus. There was one in New York, one in 
Chicago, and now this structure in Berkeley. The purpose was to 
bring students from foreign countries and from the United States 
together more or less on a fifty-fifty basis to improve the 
mutual understanding of different peoples. It is quite a 
splendid- looking institution. It doesn't look like an ordinary 
dormitory and it's not. 

It's got tiled hallways or something? 
since I've been in there, but-- 

It's been a long time 


Yes, it looks as though it had a Moorish influence. This was 
the earliest part of President [Robert Gordon] Sproul's 
administration, but he immediately considered International 
House as one of his most important projects and assumed the 
presidency of International House as well as the presidency of 
the entire university. During the entire period of his 
presidency, he had this dual position. After he retired, 
successive chancellors have become automatically the president 
of the house . 


I was looking at this newsletter which says, "International 
House celebrates sixty years." You've probably seen many of 

Yes. And I was present at some of the celebrations during this 
later period. I know that I gave an address at the time of 
Chancellor [I. Michael] Heyman's retirement at the house. 

That brings up a good question: what were the approximate dates 
when you were involved with it? [Pause] You knew I'd ask that! 



Hicke : 



Yea. I'll give them to you before you leave, because I think I 
have a way of locating the dates. Somehow or other, I was there 
for about fifteen years on that board, and I suppose that I nay 
have skipped a little period here or there in order to be 
eligible for such a long period of service, but It was quite an 
interesting experience. 

Let oe Just interrupt. I've got it here: it's 1953 to 1977. 
I see. 

That's twenty -four years. 

The mystery is how it occurred, and I can't answer that. 

All right. Well, I interrupted you in the midst of the story; 
I'm sorry. 

It has been, I think, an unqualified success with respect to the 
foreign visitors. I think International House has more alumni 
who are cabinet ministers and heads of government and even 
people who have occupied high positions in the United States, 
than many full-blown educational institutions. These 
relationships reflect not only to the benefit of the house, but 
I think to the benefit of the country. 

For a time, the American mixture was not as successful as 
they wanted it to be. That is, the desire was that there would 
be a clear mixture of the American and the foreign elements so 
that people not only would learn respect for one another but 
mutually benefit from each other's cultural heritage. Now, a 
good deal of that did occur, but I think that the American 
graduate students, at least in the earlier days, were interested 
in having a very pleasant dormitory to be in and had just a 
passing interest in their relationships to the other groups. 

And I will say that students tend to get segregated into 
their national groups in the dining hall, or did. But that was 
improving during the period of my tenure considerably, and now, 
I believe, Is quite well taken care of. Now they have so many 
people wanting to get Into International House that they can 
almost recruit on the basis of the interest of students In 
participating in the affairs of the house. 

I suppose the foreign students also mix among themselves? 

To a considerable extent, although the relationship of the Arab 
students and the Israelis is a story again by itself. During 
the period that I was there, and perhaps It Is still the case, 


the Israeli students sat at the European table instead of at the 
Middle Eastern table. Maybe both sides were more comfortable 
that way, but it was a reflection of conditions in the Middle 

Hicke: When you say "tables,* were they-- 

Heilbron: Veil, they did have language tables. Of course everybody had to 
take instruction in English, so that all of the students were 
presumably English speaking, as a second language at least, but 
in relaxed periods they may want to be with their own groups. 
It is in the programming of events, the tours, the special 
Sunday evenings in which cultural groups entertain each other, 
that the mixtures take place. As I say, I think it has been a 
successful enterprise. 

There was one issue , I guess more than any others , to which 
I nay have made a contribution, and that is, the donors of the 
building were insistent in its charter that the house be 
independent of the university. On the other hand, this was not 
entirely practical with the housing of university students. 
During Sproul's period, because of his relationship personally 
with the Rockefeller family, the problem was not as difficult as 
it became after he left. The concern of the house was that it 
would become another dormitory of the university, and the 
concern of the university was that things could go on in the 
house that the university would not be able to control in the 
way of disparities in salaries and payrolls. So when Chancellor 
[Albert H.] Bowker became the president--! don't know whether he 
was chairman or president, I guess he was president and there 
was (and is) a director of International House. 

Hicke: The permanent staff person? 
Heilbron: The permanent staff person in charge. 

Bowker and I took the matter head-on and worked out an 
arrangement where undoubtedly the program and policy of the 
house is the province of the house trustees and administration, 
but the payroll and personnel procedures and benefit procedures 
are exactly those of the university. In fact, by the end of our 
arrangement, most of the International House staff were on 
university payroll, and I think under Chancellor Heyman this was 
completed so that everybody is on the university payroll 
receiving the same benefits and having the same commitments or 
responsibilities, fiscally, as all of the other university 
employees . 


Of course International House, through its charges and 
contributions, pays its own way by paying the university back 
for all of the services that it renders and all of the salaries 
that it pays and all of the benefits that it pays. So this has 
worked out to the satisfaction of all concerned and it is no 
longer an issue. Of course the house still rests on university 
property, and I don't think they ever changed the license 
arrangement, which is revocable in short order by the 
university, but the university can't abandon the trust either, 
so it works very well. 

Hicke: I have a note that in 1968 you chaired an ad-hoc committee on 
student governance. 

Heilbron: Yes, but part of the reply is that the institution has been 

fortunate, in a way, that there have only been three directors 
in the whole history of the institution. 

Hicke: In sixty years? 

Heilbron: Alan Blaisdell was the director for an extended period, and 

Sherry Warwick was director until a few years ago, and Joseph 
Lurie has come in and is the present director. Well, I know him 
quite well. 

But Alan, particularly, was- -and even his successor- -was a 
little restrictive in giving students control over program, and 
the students were always bringing some kind of pressure for 
defining their participation. I became chairman of that 
committee, and we worked out a program for student 
participation. I think that we saw to it that there was 
representation on the board itself and that they contributed 
substantially to what the programs were to be and how they were 
to be presented, always within overall administrative policy, 
but after all this is primarily a graduate student operation and 
they are responsible people. So my recollection is that we had 
very interesting meetings with the students, worked out some by 
laws, and I have not heard of any frustrations or protests 
since, although there may have been. 

Hicke: You certainly have spent a great part of your life bringing 

together opposing groups and creating harmony where there was 
disharmony before. That's a wonderful record to have. 

Heilbron: Well, that, in a way I have indicated, springs out of my legal 

Hicke: Of course. That's what you were doing in the law. 


Heilbron: In part; at least that's constructive. 
Hicke: Indeed. 

Heilbron: Recently, International House celebrated sixty years of its 

existence, and Dr. Lurie had tapes made of a number of us who 
had made soae contribution to the history of the house, and 
played these tapes over screens during the celebration dinner. 
He also put together a history of the house, and that's why I 
think I'll Unit my remarks to what I have given, because 
otherwise I would be repeating matters that have been more than 
adequately dealt with by the director, and more authoritatively 
than I could do at this point. 

Hicke: Good. Well, we wanted to get your perspective on it. Let me 
just go back to the period when you were on the board of 
trustees for the California State Colleges. I understand that 
you exchanged some correspondence with Governor Reagan at that 

Heilbron: Yes, that's true, and the correspondence occurred at a very 

interesting period. In a way, the period of protest and unrest 
is somewhat characterized by this correspondence. It was 
initiated by his writing a letter to every regent of the 
University of California and every trustee of the state college 
trustees regarding the ways and means of dealing with student 
activism, and inviting replies and comments. The governor used 
Robert [F.] Kennedy's assassination, which had just occurred, as 
a kind of springboard to a series of comments and questions 
concerning violence on the campuses of higher education. 

Hicke: This was 1968? 

Heilbron: This was in 1968. Indeed, his first letter is dated June 7, 
1968, and it follows a release on the subject of the Kennedy 
assassination dated on the 5th of the same month, so the 
incident was quite fresh in his mind. There was some 
implication that campus violence was, in a general way, related 
to this event. 

I wrote him a rather extensive reply. With respect to the 
assassination itself, I pointed out that Sirhan Sirhan, the 
assassin, had been a quiet student, according to the reports, in 
high school, and a dropout from junior college, and had in no 
way been involved or associated with any college campus or 
university campus, and that this terrorist attack had its roots 
far distant from the college scene. Furthermore, I pointed out 
that the college campus was affected by the violent world around 
it, that the extremists, the destroyers, were a small number and 


that they influenced the behavior of the vast number of moderate 
students only when the college authorities were viewed unfair in 
dealing with the problems or activities of students or in the 
treatment of students. The trustee policy condemned violent 
action in any form, but allowed individual college authorities 
to exercise discretion in making the punishment fit the crime 
rather than imposing automatic suspension or expulsion against 
the students for participating in some kind of violent action 
against a buildingbreaking a window or something of that kind. 

I think 1 mentioned in my previous remarks that there can 
be a difference between a freshman influenced by an experienced 
protester and particularly one who is really on the extremist 
side. The moderate student gets pushed forward. 

Hicke: Yes, that was a good point. 

Heilbron: And he is the one who gets the arrest. There have to be 

gradations of punishment dealing with students. You Just can't 
say, this person participated in such-and-such a protest; out 
with him. Particularly because of the long-time effect suffered 
by such a student: he can't get into another college or 
university. I think I went over that before, and I don't intend 
to review these letters and the points made in them paragraph by 
paragraph, but simply to refer to them. 

Hicke: He seemed to be saying that the disorders on campus were to 
blame for violence everywhere . 

Heilbron: It is not quite that strong, but you do get the kind of 

implication that it is because there is violence on the campuses 
that there may be young people's violence everywhere, rather 
than recognizing that it is because of the violence everywhere 
that the campus is affected; because the students are looking at 
the same televisions as the rest of the people, and reading the 
same newspapers, and particularly during the Vietnam period, 
when violent action was the scene on the screen everyday. 

Hicke: It seems like the campus reflected society rather than the 
society reflecting the campus, as it sounds in his letters. 

Heilbron: Exactly, but his point is that the regents and the trustees had 
a little area that they could make an oasis and somehow build a 
wall of good behavior that could not be affected by the things 
around them. But after all, the students were being asked to 
participate in a war across the seas, and they opposed that war. 
It was the world reaching into the campus, not the campus trying 
to define the world. 


Hicke: Exactly. 

Heilbron: He did send me a second letter somewhat modifying his first, and 
as I recall it, emphasizing the responsibilities of the trustees 
and administrators for the orderly conduct of their 
institutions. I could agree with this point. Unfortunately, 
the originals and my copy of the correspondence were 
accidentally lost, along with other papers, as previously noted, 
but I have done my best to remember the essential content. 

So it was a kind of an interesting exchange. 

Class of 1928 

Hicke: I understand that you are active in your 1928 undergraduate 
class at UC Berkeley, and it is still going strong. In what 

Heilbron: I can tell you that the class has had an annual reunion in one 
fashion or another- -cocktail reception, lunch, or dinner- -every 
year since graduation. It will have its sixty-fifth reunion on 
the day before the Big Game in November of 1993. 

Hicke: Who keeps the organization going? 

Heilbron: A more or less "permanent" class committee. Any classmate can 
become a member provided he or she will be reasonably faithful 
in attending the meet ings --about three a year. Presently the 
comnittee consists of eighteen members. Walter Frederick of 
Carmel is secretary and has kept in touch with many classmates 
and has reported their activities over the years. The alumni 
records indicate 600 to 700 survivors and we hope the numbers 
will diminish only slowly. I participated occasionally in 
earlier days, but since retirement have been a regular. 

The class is noted for its gift of thirty- seven new bells 
for the Campanile carillon, making it one of the finest in the 
world. When the bells toll, the class feels that, in a 
friendly, cheerful way, they toll for us. 


; ; oj i 

Perkins Street #308 
Oakland, Calif. 9^-610 

October 12, 1976. 

The Honorable Edmund G. Brown, Jr. 
Governor of California 
Sacramento, California. 

Dear Governor Brown: 

As a member of the Berkeley Fellows "an 
honorific society of one hundred fellows estab 
lished in 1968 on the occasion of the Univer 
sity's One Hundredth Anniversary", of which 
your father is a member, I would like to pro 
pose for your earnest consideration DDUIS H. 
Heilbron for one of the vacancies on the Board 
of Regents of the University of California. 

Mr. Heilbron is a distinguished San Fran- . 
ciscan whose career of public service is con 
siderable, as you can see from the attached 
record of his activities, particularly in the 
area of higher education in California. 

Thank you for your thoughtful deliberation 
on the needskof the University. 



Temcle Emanu-El 

[Interview 11: September 2, 1992] 

Hicke: I'd like to just start today by asking you, when did you first 
become associated with Temple Emanu-El? 

Heilbron: That goes back a long time. I went to Sunday school in the 

first grade. I suppose it was around 1912. I recall still the 
big sandbox on top of the table in the class- - 

Hicke: Inside the room? 

Heilbron: Inside the room, and it had desert tents. Of course, that's 
where Abraham was shown, and then maybe with some parsley or 
something like that a little Moses [laughter] was alongside the 
green cover [in the bulrushes]. I think a little bit to one 
side was some salt where Lot's wife [laughter] had become part 
of the environment. I remember these things to this day, 
because I went all the way through Sunday school at Temple 

This was long before the present temple was built. There 
was a second Temple of Emanu-El that was constructed in the late 
nineteenth century and occupied the site of the medical/dental 
building on Sutter Street. That's where I was Bar Mitzvah and 
that's where I was confirmed. 

But the Sunday school was in a different building 
altogether, a small building between Van Ness and Franklin 
streets on Sutter. When you entered the foyer of it, there was 
a banner that was located under the main light in the foyer, and 


it said, "I an early, what a pleasure! 

I am late, what a pity!' 

In any event, I proceeded through the classes and through 
the confirmation program at the temple. The pulpit was occupied 
by Martin Meyer during all of this period. Meyer was a 
relatively young man for the post; I don't know quite what his 
years were. He was an extraordinary person, had a great effect 
on the young people whom he taught. He was firm and yet 
flexible, and particularly interested in the development of a 
young leadership. 

After confirmation, some of the boys went into an 
organization that he developed called the Pathfinders. They 
were mostly self -selecting. I think if we missed someone whom 
he felt definitely should be in the group, he could persuade us 
to allow the person in, but the idea was that the young people 
were probably quite capable of indicating who had the potential 
for temple and community leadership. 

Hicke: Did this include both boys and girls? 

Heilbron: No, it did not. Later on, under the succeeding rabbi, a group 
called the Reviewers was organized, post -confirmation, but not 
during Meyer's day. 

We met in a large living room in his home. I'm trying to 
remember- -his home was on Jackson Street, near Presidio Avenue. 
Some remained active in that group pretty much through the first 
year of college. That meant some extra effort on the part of 
those who waited to go back to Berkeley and those who waited to 
go back to Stanford until after the evening session on a Sunday 
evening at his home. 

Hicke: You mean back to school? 

Heilbron: Back to school. So it commanded a certain loyalty. The topics 
were pretty much chosen by the group, although the ideas may 
have been thrown out by Meyer. 

Hicke: It was a discussion? 

Heilbron: It was very much a discussion group with topics such as should 
Jewish families be permitted to have Christmas trees? What 
about the play of R.U.R. [Rossum's Universal Robots: A Fantastic 
Melodrama]? It was a provocative play which had quite a run in 
the early twenties. It imagined a technological world- -which 
perhaps was later much further developed- -where robots were 
running most of society and the economy, and what that meant to 






society, to men and women. It was in advance of its time, but 
it was the kind of thing that was thrown out to this group of 
young people. And the prospects for the League of Nations, I 
remember, was a subject, and the general subject of war and 
peace and crime and punishment, which I think one of the 
Pathfinders said was a crime to write and a punishment to read, 
[laughter at play on words] 

You were discussing the topics and not the books though, I 

Of course. Although--. I guess it was the topic more than the 
book itself. 1 think we may have pledged to read R.U.R. in 
order to be able to discuss it. And we discussed the prayer 
book and what it meant, and discussed concepts of God and soul, 
things that were post-confirmation but were the kind of concepts 
that were being challenged in the universities to which we were 
going. So it made quite a lively group. 

In general, "Where does your religion fit into present day 

That's quite right. 

It was perhaps a good expression of reform 

Do you recall other people who were in the group? 

Well, I do. I remember James Moss, Robert Blum, Adolph Meyer. 
I'm trying to remember some of the boys from Stanford. 

As you said, it was a while back. 
It was a while back. 

Meyer's effectiveness was with high school seniors and 
students of college age. He had a feeling that he wanted to 
guide the community leaders of the future, even before the 
Pathfinders. I know Milton Marks, Sr., who was an assemblyman, 
and Ben Peigenbaum, who was another assemblyman, were stimulated 
by his influence. He died in the early twenties. 
Unfortunately, he had a tumor on his brain, and he was in great 
anguish. It was quite a blow when he left. 

Now, he was succeeded by Rabbi Louis Newman, who was only 
twenty-eight years of age when he was chosen to lead this 
congregation that had quite a mature membership. It was a 
little bit difficult for a man that young to be paternal to 
people much older. He too was an extraordinary man, brilliant 
and poetic, eloquent. He was tall, and when he ascended the 


upper pulpit at the temple- -this is the new temple that was 
completed in 1926 and which is at Arguello and Lake Streets and 
still flourishes- -he presented quite a prophetic figure. 

Hicke: Wasn't Lloyd Dinkelspiel part of raising the money for that? 
Heilbron: Emanuel Heller was. 
Hicke: Heller, oh, okay. 

Heilbron: That's right. Although Lloyd Dinkelspiel, who 1 believe was 
also one of Martin Meyer's proteges, became president of the 
temple, and much later I became president of the temple. 

When Newman ascended the upper pulpit and had the Torah on 
his arm and told the congregation, "Behold, a good doctrine has 
been given to you, forsake it not!" with a very rich voice and e 
very emotional pitch, you thought Moses was there or God was 
handing the tablets down from Sinai. 

I had a number of relationships with him. In the first 
place, he felt that the Sunday school was being taught by older 
volunteers who had no valid connections with the young students 
and who were not likely to have much influence on them, and so 
he selected a number of nineteen- and twenty-year-old people 
from the universities, who were eager, who didn't know much 
beyond confirmation but to whom he gave some training, to take 
over the school. I was one of the teachers. So was my wife. 
Indeed, that's the way we met, although we also knew each other 
from Berkeley, but we really met as teachers in this school. 

Hicke: About what year are we? 

Heilbron: Well, let's see. We're talking about maybe '25. 

I remember teaching a pre- confirmation class, I think, 
under his direction, and I would go over to his house for some 
discussion. He would talk to me while he was typing his sermon. 
He could do both things at once. He would type an original 
sermon while he was talking to me , and I was the most disturbed 
party of the couple. [laughter] 

He played tennis, and when he went down for his summers in 
Palo Alto, I once went down there and remember playing tennis 
with him. I was still fairly competent, being on the Berkeley 
team, and of course he used the sport as intermittent exercise, 
and I didn't know whether to play it hard or whether to show 
some mercy to the rabbi. I'm afraid sometimes I played it too 


Hicke : 

hard, because he had long legs and he could be easily chased 
around the court. [laughter] 

He also was willing to learn in this respect. Here was 
this rather tall, somewhat rigid character, who attended an 
event given for the teachers of the school. This is a weekend 
proposition I'm talking about; the whole teaching program was a 
weekend proposition, and by that I mean Sundays. But Berthold 
Guggenhiae- -an uncle of Richard, by the way- -gave a large party 
at the Fairmont Hotel for the teachers, and the Charleston was 
the popular dance at the time. My wife taught Rabbi Newman the 
Charleston [laughter] which I assure you was a spectacle. But 
he was willing and-- 

I'm sure she was able! 

Heilbron: --she was able. We still remember that occasion with pleasure. 

He, as I said, was a young man, and he had an older flock. 
Among them was Mrs. Max Sloss. She was a poetess. She was the 
wife of Judge Max Sloss, the Supreme Court Justice in 
California. She was a community leader known to everybody. She 
was president of the Browning Society that devoted its literary 
interests to nineteenth century poets. She compiled a book on 
nineteenth century poets. She was very much interested in 
social work, and social workers enjoyed her reading of poetry, 
particularly Browning. 

However, she was an anti-Zionist, and Newman was a Zionist, 
meaning that Rabbi Newman wanted the re-creation of a Jewish 
state and Mrs. Sloss was against it. The temple was somewhat 
divided on this issue, as were many American Jews during that 
period. I'm talking about the period of the late twenties and 
the thirties and even later. Furthermore, Newman was interested 
to be part of the intellectual life of the city from which he 
came: New York. When the invitation came to lead one of the 
leading congregations in New York, he left San Francisco after 
about four years of service . He had been inaugurated in 1924 
and he served through 1930, I believe. 

We saw him in New York on one of our visits there, Mrs. 
Heilbron and I. He was very, very cordial and had us sit with 
him on the pulpit. We were lifelong friends, but he enjoyed 
being in what he deemed to be the middle of the active life, and 
San Francisco was lovely, but it was no New York. 

He was succeeded by Rabbi Irving Reichert, who was- -not 
surprisingly- -anti-Zionist. The board still had Mrs. Sloss on 
it, and I think that may have had something to do with the 


appointment. Reichert was an intellectual. He thought he was 
going to be a lawyer, but then he went into the rabbinate. I 
don't know what considerations persuaded him. He would have 
made an excellent lawyer. In fact, probably he was a better 
lawyer than a rabbi. (And 1 don't mean to imply that all 
lawyers are intellectuals.) 

Hicke: Well, being a rabbi requires some knowledge of law, doesn't it? 

Heilbron: Of course, I say this lightly and partly advisedly. He was the 
arbitrator of a big strike in town, and he was a very much 
appreciated speaker at the Commonwealth Club; he had general 
community interests. He noted that I had taught the pre- 
conf irmation and confirmation classes. Incidentally, a teacher 
would teach them on Sundays , but in the midweek during the year 
before their confirmation, the rabbi would take the class, but 
then on Sundays one of the teachers was selected. I did that 
work for a time, and he asked me if I would be superintendent of 
the school, and I accepted. It was, after all, a weekend 
proposition, and I felt I could do it on my usual seven-day week 
schedule; so I did it and found it quite interesting. 

I went one or two steps beyond the Newman program. 
Reichert gave me fairly free reign. First of all, for the 
confirmation classes and the upper classes, I selected young men 
and women who had made something of a name for themselves at the 
university or were quite obviously going to be people of 
influence in the community: Stanley Ueigel, who became a judge 
of the federal district court, and William Cher in, who I suppose 
became the executive of the forerunner of the Jewish Community 
Relations Council in San Francisco. Then the younger teachers 
like Larry Rhine and Harold Levy, I'll mention them a little bit 
later. I changed the textbooks pretty much completely. They 
had been in use for some time, but they were rather stodgy 
books, I thought, and new ones were coming out with clearer 
language and illustrations, and were more attractive to the 
youngsters. I organized kind of a three-ring curriculum 
course -- 


Heilbron: --where the first to the third grades concentrated on heroes and 
festivals; then five or six years of various segments of Jewish 
history from biblical to the present; and then in the pre- 
conf irmation, a summary of Jewish history; and in the final 
confirmation year, current problems. At that time, I didn't 
have too much guideline from the Union of American Hebrew 
Congregations, but we sent the curriculum back to them, and they 
seemed to feel that it made something of a contribution. 


I recognized that It was rather difficult to keep the 
younger people of high school grade interested in coming on 
Sunday. The automobile had become a bit more common for 
everybody. The idea of going away over the weekends was a 
temptation, and we had to develop means of keeping youngsters 
interested in another day of school, although it was a different 
kind of school. 

I recall going the last mile on an assembly program, and 
that was to have a group of young musicians entertain the 
assembly. The group consisted of Yehudi Menuhin, who was then, 
I guess, in his teens; Isaac Stern, who was in the fifth or 
sixth grade of the school; and Ruth Slezinsky, who was also in 
the school. She was a pianist. I think Shakespeare said music 
has a quieting effect on everybody, and he almost was right with 
these youngsters. Actually, Yehudi Menuhin' s father had taught 
Hebrew at the school during the time that it was on Sutter 
Street; so there had been a long-term connection there. It was 
an extraordinary event because these were all proven prodigies 
at the time, even though the youngest children were in a state 
of awe or suspended animation. 

Later, I divided the assembly into a junior assembly and a 
senior one so that their separate interests would be recognized. 

An addendum to this time when I was the superintendent of 
the Sunday school and tried to do something about making history 
more vivid to the children. I had the help of all of our 
teachers , and one of them was Larry Rhine . 

Rhine had his children write a history that they were 
studying in terms of a current issue of Time magazine. He put 
out an issue which used the cover form of Time, and I think it 
was a Passover issue, in which the children, rather young ones, 
report on all of what Moses is doing, writing about his latest 
exploits and leading the exodus and the pharaoh following with 
his army and so on. All in vivid terms of the present. While 
he (and they) put out only one issue of Time, his general lesson 
procedure was of a similar kind. Rhine was creative and became 
one of the writers of the very successful All in the Family 

As I indicated, Reichert was broadly interested in 
intellectual fields and sought to take his doctorate at 
Berkeley, but, I think unfortunately for him, he was to take it 
under Professor Teggart, whom I mentioned quite some time ago 
when we began these interviews. Professor Teggart 's demand of 
scholarship would have required Reichert to leave the rabbinate 
and study for some years; so he never completed that endeavor. 


He was very active in the American Council for Judaism, the 
anti-Zionist organization, and that kept the issue with respect 
to Israel a matter of division among the congregants. 

Hicke: Was there a lot of strong feeling about this? 

Heilbron: A good deal of feeling about it. However, notwithstanding his 
personal beliefs, toward the end of the thirties, Reichert went 
to Germany, and he was extremely upset by the condition of the 
Jews in Germany and what he thought the future held for them. 
He came back and made a report to the congregation in what was 
probably one of the great events of the congregation's history. 
His warnings and his predictions, unfortunately, became true. 
But he brought it quite home to the congregation. I remember 
that one of his clear points was that if Hitler was successful 
in Europe, he would affect and influence and corrupt the United 
States. He gave an extraordinary report at the time. 

Hicke: Did you hear it? 

Heilbron: Yes, I heard it. Of course. I was the head of the Sunday 

school from '32 to '37. Then, number one it was getting to be 
quite a burden for me to carry with the other things that I was 
doing. I had many things in the law and in public service with 
the Emergency Relief Administration, and second, it was time for 
them to get an assistant rabbi, which they hadn't had before, 
who would take over the educational function. That was done in 

There was something of a hiatus after that with respect to 
my participation in the school. I think I became a member of 
the school committee, but it had rather limited functions until 
after the war. Then I came back for a while to be chairman of 
the school committee. I think my biggest activity on return was 
to be chairman of the 100th anniversary of the temple. 

Hicke: When was that? 

Heilbron: In 1950. The congregation had been organized in 1850. 

Actually, the two reform congregations in the city at the time, 
Sherith Israel and Temple Emanu-El, were under the same tent in 
1850 and then divided off, and there has always been a question 
as to whose incorporation and activities started first, but it 
was in 1850 as far as the temple is concerned. 

We had a number of interesting events for the 100th 
anniversary. The temple had always been known for its musical 
interests and activities; its choir has always been an important 


part of its program. I believe it was in 1950 we had Mark Lavry 
write a new holy day service for the temple. He was in Israel. 

Hicke: In Israel? 

Heilbron: Yes, he was an Israeli who was head of the musical programs, I 
think for Israeli radio and television. His music was quite 
interesting, lively, and modern for the temple. Stern and 
Menuhin came back and played. Dorothy Warenskjold, who had been 
with the choir and who then was at the Metropolitan Opera, came 
back to sing. 

The music program really was the achievement of Cantor 
Reuben Rinder, who was well known in local music circles, had 
helped both the great violinists in their earliest years, and he 
was able to obtain the assistance, musically, of anybody and 
everybody. He didn't know that Dorothy Warenskjold was going to 
appear at the musical service. She sang in the choir loft and 
he was below on the main pulpit, and he immediately said, "Why, 
that's Dorothy!" He was a marvelous little man. I say little 
only because of his physical size. I don't know whether he came 
in 1911 or 1913, but he represented the continuity of the temple 
through all of these various rabbis. In a way, he was the 
conscience and soul of the temple, and the symbol of its 
continuity. And helped many young musicians along. I don't 
think he had the greatest voice, but he had the greatest spirit. 
Succeeding cantors have carried on the musical tradition 
extremely well. 

Hicke: When did he retire? 

Heilbron: I can't give you the time of his retirement. He is, of course, 
deceased, died in 1967. 

Hicke: Anything else about this period? 

Heilbron: I suppose I did not end with Rabbi Reichert yet. Somehow the 
school (in the late forties) was losing students, and the 
pastoral side of the congregation was not doing well. There 
were other problems that had arisen with the board, and the 
division with respect to Zionism, even though the state of 
Israel had been just created, played a part. But in any event, 
Rabbi Reichert resigned toward the end of the forties [1947] and 
a new rabbi had to be selected. 

Harold Zellerbach and Daniel Koshland played the most 
active roles in the selection. They went back to Cincinnati to 
the Hebrew Union College. The president was Nelson Glueck, who 
was a well-known archaeologist. The assistant to the president 


was a young man by the name of Alvin Fine. I think he was about 
thirty- two years of age. In 1946 he got back from World War II, 
where he had been a chaplain in the China theater. Fine was in 
charge of the hiring, but when Zellerbach talked to him about 
candidates and discussed the future of the temple with him, 
Zellerbach became convinced that the man he wanted was the man 
that he was talking to. 

This was somewhat embarrassing to Rabbi Fine, but the 
matter was taken up with Glueck, and Fine accepted. Now, Fine 
had much of the eloquence and voice of Newman, but he was much 
more down-to-earth. 

Hicke: Was Zionism still an issue? 

Heilbron: He was a Zionist but was not interested in making that an issue. 
For example, Mortimer Fleishhacker was president prior to my 
time, just prior, and he had a high post in the American Council 
for Judaism, which was an anti- Zionist organization. They 
wanted to use the temple for a conference, and Fleishhacker said 
no even though he was a part of their membership. He had 
conferred with Fine about it and that was the determination. So 
that issue was overcome, although as the years went on, Fine's 
pro-Israel position became much more the position of American 
Jews everywhere. The state was organized: the state was a 
state. I also think that the Israel cause was by far the 
American Jewish cause and U.S. policy after the news of the 
holocaust was known to the world. 

Hicke: So it was much less of an issue? 

Heilbron: Yes, that's right. And after the state was created, the anti- 
Zionist group wanted to distance itself from the political 
aspects of the state. It was a state to which they did not want 
to express a special interest. It was another state like Italy 
or France. 

In any event, Fine took over. At the 100th anniversary, 
Earl Warren was the banquet speaker. 

Hicke: Did you invite him? 

Heilbron: Oh yes. 

Hicke: I mean, you, yourself? 

Heilbron: Well, I suppose I did. I think that I reached him through Judge 
Wollenberg, who succeeded me as president of the temple. 
Although I knew him, I went through the judge. As a matter of 


fact, the relationship of the temple to the chief justice 
continued. Of course, he was governor at the time when we asked 
him. But when the memorial service was held in the national 
cathedral in Washington [D.C.] for Earl Warren, three 
representatives of the major Western religions were asked to 
participate in the service, and Alvin Fine was one of them. So 
there was that continuity. 

I was the president in the mid- fifties. 
Hicke: I have 1954-57. 

Heilbron: It was either '54- '56 or I don't know how the months went. 
Hicke: Approximately. 

Heilbron: Yes, approximately '54- '57. It proceeded under Rabbi Fine. A 
number of important things happened during his sixteen-year 
period of service, but what particularly happened during my 
administration I have to think about. 

I know for one thing we had Friday evening services in the 
temple chapel, and instead of having the rabbi give a 
sermonette, we determined to have lay members of the 
congregation give some of their views, spiritual views, about 
religion or social topics. It worked extremely well. People 
were honored to be selected and worked very hard on their 


Heilbron: I remember I gave one meditation during the period of the 

protests of students at the colleges, a period of unrest and a 
kind of rebellious period of what is now known as the "Baby 
Boom" generation. I talked about the tale of Abraham and Isaac 
and the sacrifice of Isaac. I said that if the story were 
written as of this time, it would be Isaac taking Abraham up to 
sacrifice. [laughter] This meditation was not quite as solemn 
as it should have been, but it struck a chord I know. 

[tape interruption] 

Heilbron: I also established an Emanu-El Temple fund, which was a capital 
fund to which contributions could be made for the maintenance- - 
serious, substantial maintenance --and capital needs of the 
temple. Nothing of importance had been done with respect to the 
construction since 1926, and I felt that we should begin to 
provide for its future . In subsequent years , this idea was 
greatly expanded, and recently there has been an enormous amount 



of construction and expansion there with parts of the Sunday 
school being rebuilt and the temple earthquake -proofed and all 
that has to be done. At least 1 had some foresight in 
establishing the beginnings of a program to take care of the 
continuity of the temple building. 

A number of new activities were given effect during Fine's 
period, most of them under other auspices than my own time of 
leadership. The Sunday school had become so popular that they 
had to extend the pulpit area for confirmation by building an 
extension to accommodate 100 confirmands. The school that had 
been languishing returned to full strength. 

Hicke: When did they build this? 

Heilbron: Well, they simply built this extension for the purposes of 

confirmation and took it down immediately afterwards. It was a 
temporary extension. All I mean is that the school flourished 
at the time and it was partly due to Fine's selection of Rabbi 
Meyer Heller to be his associate rabbi for the temple and the 

He had a very cooperative relationship with Rabbi Heller. 
Fine was quite active in human rights; he was a member of the 
Human Rights Commission of the city for some sixteen years. In 
1958, he was given a sabbatical year, and that was good for him 
and his health and the temple. 

He was very much the opposite of Reichert in his delivery 
of sermons. Reichert wrote out his sermons, and the words were 
carefully put together; Fine spoke out without any notes 
whatever, and the result was that the sermons had more of an 
emotional drive. 

We encouraged him to participate in the community, as we 
did with all of our rabbis, and he did. He participated with 
Dean Julian Bartlett at Grace Cathedral, and 1 think Bishop 
Hurley on the Catholic side in an interfaith television program 
given on Sunday mornings . 

He was much more deliberate, I believe, in assembling his 
Sunday school staff than we had been by way of necessity. But 
he recruited teachers who were quite committed to teaching and 
possibly of Joining the rabbinate. Five or six of his teachers 
did go into the rabbinate. He introduced a high school program 
that kept students interested beyond confirmation. I would say 
it was in the nature of a similar program to the Pathfinders and 
Reviewers but included everybody who desired to participate. 


Hlcke : 

He interested Congregant Ben Swig in establishing a summer 
camp that attracted young people to an enjoyable vacation, but 
at the same tine to a place of learning about Judaism. This 
camp near Saratoga, Camp Swig, is still active. 

Rabbi Fine developed a heart condition and felt that after 
sixteen years it was a little too difficult for him to lead the 
temple. He wished, while he was young enough, to continue a 
professional career, but not with the pressures of leadership of 
such a large congregation, and he desired to teach. So I 
introduced him to the dean of humanities out at San Francisco 
State [University] , and they found themselves very much at home 
with one another, and Rabbi Fine was given a position for 
teaching there and stayed for quite a length of time and made an 
enormous contribution. 

They had a course out at San Francisco State called "The 
City," and they would take the students through the history and 
development of various cities in the world. That, of course, 
could involve all kinds of cultural and social conditions that 
related to cultural developments, political history, and so on. 
Rabbi Fine said to the dean, "I'd like to do one of these 
cities, too." He was asked, "What city do you want?" And he 
said, "San Francisco." He developed a course on San Francisco 
that started with one class and now has seventeen sections. 

He's no longer teaching, but it was his thought that 
California history and northern California history were so tied 
in with the development of this city that people should know 
about it and could learn a great deal from its development. It 
had all of the color that other great cities have. It didn't 
have the length of history; after all it really only started in 
the gold rush to mean anything. 

But that probably means they actually got up to the twentieth 
century, which most history courses don't do. 

Heilbron: That's true, and it's still a very, very popular affair. He's 
now retired from San Francisco State, also, and we continue to 
see each other, because he lives in one of the condominium areas 
of the Silverado Country Club, and we go up there from time to 
time and see him. In fact, I refreshed some of my recollections 
about the period of his service last week before our coming here 
together today. 

Hicke: I really appreciate all of the preparation you do for these. It 
helps so much. 


Heilbron: Well, I'm not certain, and sometimes when I see what happens to 
this babble after I'm through, I get very much upset. 

But in any event, we have another rabbi to go. I suppose 
one of my last official acts with the temple of any consequence 
was to be on the search committee that selected Joseph Asher. 
He had an interesting history. He left Germany in time to go to 
England before the holocaust was mounted. He left England for 
Australia the English didn't quite know what to do with their 
German refugees, and the tenseness of the war was coming on. 
His father had been a rabbi, he was a rabbi, and he organized a 
temple or was selected for a temple, I think in Melbourne. 

After the war, he married an Australian woman, Faye Asher, 
and he occupied a pulpit in North Carolina when we were 
interested in selecting a rabbi. He was a tall, angular man, 
scholarly, with a wonderful sense of humor, and after hearing 
him and comparing him with other candidates, we recommended his 

Hicke: You went back there and interviewed him? 

Heilbron: No, I didn't. He came out here. In all of the temple process 

for selecting a rabbi, some congregants go back to hear him, and 
then, if they are duly impressed, they then ask the candidate to 
address the temple. And of course, besides that, to meet with 
the temple fathers and mothers to indicate his pastoral 
interests and his interests in the young and interest in 
community involvement and everything else that would go to the 
selection. These people are not divinely chosen, [laughter] but 
they are selected after a considerable amount of investigation, 
much as a university president. But there is a spiritual 
dimension that a university president doesn't have to possess. 
The choosing of a rabbi is a major event. 

Incidentally, there had been a rabbi for a short period 
before Asher, Irving Hausman, who, after a very brief period 
because of a very difficult illness, had to leave. Asher was a 
very compassionate man. His sermons were somewhat complex as 
compared with the others we had known. They were always full of 
humor and they had considerable depth. Some congregants said 
that they weren't understanding what he was saying, other 
congregants enjoyed listening to a scholar who did not wish to 
be lighthearted in his discussions, although his humor was 
always very lighthearted and delightful. 

His great contribution, I think, to the temple and to the 
country, was his feeling that the time had come for 
reconciliation with Germany. He went back to Germany on several 


occasions, and he was appointed as the professor pf Judaism in 
the leading Berlin theological seminary and in due course became 
their most popular professor. This is attested to by others who 
investigated the matter. He found the whole subject of--. You 
know, we are talking about a section of the population that is 
not all of Germany but is in a position of theological 
leadership, and he had any number of people deeply interested 
and wanting to study more and more about Judaism. 

Hicke : These are non- Jewish people? 

Heilbron: These are non-Jews. In fact, he was teaching non-Jews. That 
was, he felt, the function of his acceptance. He would let 
these non-Jewish theologians encounter a Jewish theologian and 
see for themselves what his religion meant. 

Hicke: He wanted to build this bridge, then? 

Heilbron: He wanted to build this bridge. In fact, he wrote an article 

for Life Magazine which was on the general subject of the effort 
to reconcile Germany and the Jews and the Jews with a new 
Germany. Of course, the history of Jews before Hitler was that 
they were the most assimilated Jewish community in the world. 

Hicke: With the Germans? 

Heilbron: The Germans, yes. But Hitler's complete reversal of any social 
or human relationship, his savage treatment in his efforts to 
destroy all Jews (including descendants of the so-called 
assimilated through intermarriage), in his words, to "solve" the 
Jewish problem, left a very small Jewish community in Germany. 

I think that is Asher's contribution. He died a few years 
ago, and some of the leading theologians expressed their views -- 
the Jewish theologians- -in a book that was dedicated to his 
memory. It seemed to be quite fitting that this book, published 
by the temple, should honor his scholarship in this way. That 
was, "The Jewish Legacy and the German Conscience." The 
congregation also named a court in the temple compound after 
him, but I know his family was very much affected by the book. 

Hicke: That was a wonderful overview of the history of Temple Emanu-El 
and the people . 


Heilbron: Names of congregrants from the nineteenth and early twentieth 
centuries are well known here--Anspacher, Ehrman, Fleishhacker, 
Gerstle, Guggenhime , Gump, Haas, Hellman, Koshland, Levison, 


Lllienthal, Sloss, Steinhart, Zellerbach- -are some of them. An L. 
Dtnkelsplel was a member of the board 1865-1866 and an ancestor of 
my wife, Saswon Rosenblatt, was also a board member 1868-1869. 

Perhaps one of the most interesting people that I recollect 
was a aan who was president when I first became very active in 
Sunday school. His name was Louis Haas, and he called himself 
Louis the XIV because he was a bachelor, and whenever his 
friends gave a party and found that they had thirteen people , he 
would be asked. [laughter] He was a lovely man. 

[Interview 12: September 12, 1992] ## 

Hicke : You indicated that you had a few more words to say about the 
temple . 

Heilbron: Yes, I would like to amplify a bit, particularly with respect to 
the rabbinate. First, with respect to Rabbi Meyer's death, it 
was more or less accepted that it was caused by a tumor on the 
brain, but it started with the idea that he simply had a heart 
attack, and then no one knows precisely what occurred and what 
the anguish was that caused his death. 

Now, Rabbi Newman was inaugurated in 1924. He had been a 
protege of Martin Meyer. He had much to do with the planning of 
the new temple at Arguello and Lake Streets. It is, of course, 
one of the finest architectural works in northern California. 
His work was not so much with the architecture of the temple 
itself but with the temple house that is part of the temple 
complex. He insisted on an auditorium fully equipped as a 
theater, a library, a gymnasium, and he almost obtained a pool, 
a swimming pool. His idea was to build a temple community. His 
flock could pray and play in and around the synagogue . 

I recall that this project ran counter to the building of a 
Jewish Community Center, supported by Sidney Ehrman and Lloyd 
Dinkelspiel and Harold Zellerbach, all active congregants in the 

Hicke: How do you mean it ran counter? 

Heilbron: They felt a duplication, a duplication by the temple house of 
coonunity activities . And yet Newman won out on issues except 
the pool. [laughter] 

He was deeply interested in the theater. He was a 
playwright himself and encouraged the Temple Players to be 
organized around the temple , a group that sprang from the 


congregation itself under his leadership and that of Mr. Paul 
Bissinger, a congregant. The Temple Players became part of the 
civic cultural scene in San Francisco in the late twenties and 
early thirties. 

Hicke: What kind of plays did they put on? 

Heilbron: Well, the most arresting and successful of the plays was The 
Dybbuk, a play derived from Jewish medieval mystic tradition. 
Caroline Anspacher was the lead in that play. She was the lady 
who became one of the chief journalists later on at the San 
Francisco Chronicle. No one would have realized it as she 
played the part of Leah in that play. 

Both the temple and the center were built, the temple in 
advance of the center; the center completed, I think, in 1931 
and the temple in 1926. Over the years, the athletic, general 
cultural, dance, dramatic, and group activities went naturally 
to the center. But the temple house has been busy with its 
school assemblies, lectures, men's and women's auxiliaries, 
services to Russian emigres (and other emigres, German emigres 
particularly, in earlier days); the gymnasium was turned into a 
social hall called Guild Hall, after the women's guild. I think 
it still bears that name, although it has been recently 
remodeled. Indeed, the temple facilities have been recently 
remodeled at considerable cost. 

Hicke: When you mean recently, do you mean in the last five years or 

Heilbron: Oh, within the last couple of years. I'm not sure that the 
details are of particular interest, but that theater, that 
Martin Meyer Theater, has been divided, and the social hall is 
part of the facility, and the theater /assembly part is simply 
smaller. A number of other changes have been made. The social 
hall can be one great hall or divided into convenient sections. 

Martin Meyer and Newman were Zionists, Newman passionately 
so. Rabbi [Irving] Reichert, who succeeded Newman after Newman 
resigned to go to New York in 1930, was anti-Zionist with all of 
his heart and soul. He felt that all of the objectives and 
ideals of the liberal Jewish movement would be met in America. 
He was against a Jewish state that would lay claims to the 
loyalties of American Jews, and he conceived that it could be a 
Communist country; it could develop policies contrary to 
American policies. He convinced most of the power structure of 
the temple. He became vice president of the American Council 
for Judaism, to which I referred previously, that espoused his 
cause. And he tried to convince the rabbinate, but he lost. 


Yet he was deeply distressed by the Holocaust. He was 
perhaps the first American rabbi to warn of the probability and 
consequences of the Hitler policy, and he was prophetic in his 
sermons after his two visits to Germany in the thirties. I 
think I mentioned the first, and then he made another one, I 
think toward the end of the thirties. But he couldn't 
understand that the Holocaust survivors needed a place of refuge 
and opportunity and identity. 

Hicke: Israel? 

Heilbron: Yes. And while much of the argument was going on, I was with 
the military government in Vienna. I had seen the ovens of 
Dachau and Rothschild's hospital in Vienna, which was the 
transit station for the Polish and other Jewish survivors 
fleeing Europe in the thousands and perhaps hundreds of 
thousands . 

Hicke: Where was that, the hospital? 

Heilbron: The Rothschild hospital is a big hospital in Vienna, and it was 
a place where the Jews from Eastern Europe came in and were 
registered and coordinated, because they had to keep track of 
families and where they wanted to go. They went from there to 
northern Italy and took ships to Palestine. Of course, Israel 
hadn't been created. 

Now, I have an idea that during the early period 
immediately after the war, when it was not known and a public 
matter, the British actually helped facilitate the travel from 
Northern Italy to Palestine. But when it became a known fact, 
the British backed off, and they felt their mandate for the 
trusteeship of Palestine required them to restrict immigration. 
Then you had such incidents as [were depicted] in The Exodus [by 
Leon Uris] . 

But immediately after the war, and I don't think this is 
particularly known, I believe that there was cooperation even 
from the British side. I mentioned that I saw Bart Crum, the 
San Francisco attorney who was a member of an American committee 
of inquiry who were making a survey with reference to the 
question of whether to recommend the creation of a Jewish state. 
I think I told you it was an accidental and casual meeting, but 
enough for me to ask what direction he thought that the inquiry 
committee was taking. Judge Proskauer from the American Jewish 
Committee was a member of this inquiry committee, and I met him. 
Crum gave me the clear impression that the committee was 
contemplating a state. Not that the committee could create it, 


but that it could recommend consideration as a matter for U.N. 
and American policy. 

Hicke: Did they, in fact, or do you know? 

Heilbron: Well, this first committee of inquiry was chiefly concerned that 
Palestine be available as a place of refuge for the surviving 
displaced Jews of war-torn Europe and took a firm, united 
position on this aspect of the matter. 

When I returned to Heller, Ehrman in 1946, I heard 
rumblings of the controversy about Rabbi Reichert. It was not 

only a question of the division of the congregation over the 

issue of Zionism, it built up a year or more later when Harold 

Zellerbach headed the committee of investigation of his tenure, 

because his contract was coming to an end and the question was 
whether it would be renewed. 

Lloyd Dinkelspiel represented Rabbi Reichert in what had 
become a question, as I said, of contract renewal. 1 heard a 
great deal from congregants about both sides of the controversy. 
Zionism aside, I knew of Irving Reichert' s distaste for pastoral 
duties, and the terribly reduced enrollment in the Sunday school 
and that there was some issue of his handling of the Martin 
Meyer library. I thought that it was a sorry situation 
considering the talents of this man. 

Hicke: You mean it was sorry that he was coming under fire? 

Heilbron: Veil, yes, though understandable. He had the integrity of his 
beliefs. He was stimulating intellectually and had rendered 
extensive public service. He was not on the popular side of the 
Zionist issue, of course, and one had to take into account the 
matters with respect to the administration of the rest of the 
temple . 

In any event, Lloyd worked out a fair severance arrangement 
with the temple, and Rabbi Reichert logically went on to take an 
executive position with the American Council for Judaism. 

I aay have some supplementary remarks with respect to Rabbi 
Fine at a later time. 

Hicke: Okay. 



Hicke: Do you have tine to go on a little bit? 

Heilbron: Yea. 

Hicke: Okay, what's next in the Jewish community? 

Heilbron: Did I ever talk about the Jewish Community Center? 

Hicke: No, that's on my list. 

Heilbron: Well, all right. 

Hicke: You were president from 1949 to 1952, but maybe we can go back a 
little bit. 

Let's see if this Who's Who article tells when you were 
active in the community center. 

Heilbron: Yes, I was active, I think in the thirties, and certainly during 
the fifties. The center was built so that the Jewish community 
in particular could have a place for athletic and cultural 
activities and social activities that were not specifically 
religious in character, but on the other hand, definitely guided 
by Jewish interests, studies, and celebrations, although it was 
to be a place that would be comfortable for the community to 
participate in if they so desired. Sidney Ehrman was 
particularly active, and again we find Lloyd Dinkelspiel as its 
first president. 

I think this was developed in 1931 or 1932. About the same 
time as International House. It's still operative. It's across 
from the University of California, San Francisco, at California 
and Presidio avenues. 

Two things come to mind with reference to this center. One 
of them was its executive leadership. I don't know whether I 
have mentioned this before, but Louis Blumenthal was the 
director of the Jewish Community Center from its creation. He 
was a man who was perhaps the best theoretician on the 
administration of nonprofit organizations that I ever 
encountered. He knew the difference between policy and 
administrative detail. He knew what to bring to a board and 
what to omit bringing to a board. He also knew when to escape a 
difficult decision and leave it to the board. He had an 
associate, Emma- -I forget her maiden name. She married him and 
continued much of his style of directorship when she became 


director after his death. But he taught us a great deal, and 
the lessons with respect to what a board member should deal with 
and what a board member should not deal with, that kind of 
lesson can be learned by everybody who is engaged in nonprofit 
organization activity. 

The one big question was what age groups the community 
center should deal with. Blumenthal was not so interested in 
the elderly. He felt that they had their special institutions 
and that this was an organization whose primary interest was in 
young people and in people who were primarily interested in 
social and cultural programs. Over the years, this changed and 
had to change as the elderly became obviously more prominent in 
numbers and also their cultural interests were as strong, if not 
stronger, than some of the younger people. But it was up to 
Emma to make the change in program to accommodate this other 

Hicke: The elderly, you mean? 

Heilbron: Yes. Of course, it does affect the schedules, it means that 

there are transportation problems, that special attention has to 
be paid that is not paid to other groups; it is a question of 
allocation of funds. It was an interesting problem to work out. 
We didn't ever have that problem to work out, because there was 
never a special program for the elderly- -except as they would 
join in with the community- -during the period of my activity. 

One big question that always confronted the Jewish 
Community Center was how nonsectarian should it be? What made 
it a Jewish Community Center? Why wasn't it just a community 
center? It was agreed that there should be an essential element 
or ingredient of Jewish content, but what should that content 
be? One board member said, "When a Jewish man or woman is in 
the swimming pool, it has Jewish content." [laughter] Well, 
the observation of Jewish holidays and cultural programs in the 
Jewish tradition were presented, and adjustments were made down 
the line in program. But a person could be a member and enjoy 
the center and not feel committed to the Jewish aspects of the 

Hicke: Was it more or less self supporting or was it supported? 

Heilbron: My recollection is that in the beginning it was self-supporting 
in membership dues and contributions. Then in 1941 the old 
Jewish Federation of Charities with seven beneficiaries was 
reorganized into the Jewish Welfare Federation and the Community 
Center became a beneficiary of its united fundraising for fifty 
beneficiaries. Subsequently it has become the Jewish Community 


Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin, and Sonoma 
Counties, raising funds for a myriad of agencies in these 
counties and Israel. I recall participating in the first or 
second of these reorganizations. 

I believe that this consolidated community fundraising 
proved to be the model for the United Vay. 

I know that the Jewish Community Center was one of Mr. 
Ehnum's favorite agencies. I think Mr. Ehrman preferred to 
give to it directly rather than through the federation, which 
would give part of its funds to overseas activities. 

Hicke: Okay, does that cover the Jewish Community Center then? 

Heilbron: Well, with possibly two additions. One was that the Jewish 

Community Center established a camp called Camp Tawonga in the 
Lake Tahoe area, and that reflected for the summer (but with 
vacation, social, and recreational events) what was being done 
in the city at other times of the year. But then another camp 
was developed, and that was in back of the center itself, in San 
Francisco. The Blumenthals felt that there were some people who 
couldn't take advantage of going to the country for a number of 
weeks and yet they had their children out of school, and that 
there was a need for a city camp. Emma Blumenthal developed 
that camp quite beautifully in San Francisco. 

Hicke : A day camp? 

Heilbron: A day camp. It was quite a successful enterprise, 
[tape interruption] 

American Jewish Committee 

Heilbron: Well, I'll go to a subject which I may also amplify later, but 
I'd like to get the framework started. 

This is concerning the American Jewish Committee. Edgar 
Sinton, an old-line attorney from an old-line family in San 
Francisco, interested oe in this organization. It is a very 
effective institution in our national life. The premise is that 
what is good for American democracy is good for its Jewish 
population; what is good American foreign policy is usually 
supportive of Israel, though the committee can be critical of 


Israel on the merits of an issue. When I was most active in the 
San Francisco chapter, we had little influence on AJC policy. 

Hicke : 


Hicke : 


Can you just tell m 
start from scratch. 

what their main function is? I have to 

Hicke : 

Veil, they were organized way back in the early 1900s because of 
pogroms in southern Russia, and it was determined that American 
Jews should constitute themselves in an organization that would 
seek to protect the position of Jews everywhere in the world. 

So it had a world- - 

It had a world orientation from the start, but then, recognizing 
that its influence would be more or less proportionate to its 
participation in the affairs of the United States, it acquired a 
human relations perspective within the country, an understanding 
and relationship to civil rights activities and regarding the 
social and economic fabric of the country, wherever they touched 
upon democratic aspirations and institutions. 

I mentioned that the local chapters or provincial chapters 
throughout the country had little influence but seemed to give 
the benefit of a constituency of an organization that was really 
controlled in the East. I believe the situation has changed to 
some considerable extent over the years, although the program 
has been and still is controlled by influential industrialists 
and bankers and professionals in the East, in New York and 
Boston and Washington and Philadelphia. 

It is basically liberal with respect to domestic social 
programs and the treatment of minorities and women. It engages 
in a great deal of interfaith activity. It reaches out to 
blacks, Hispanics, and Asians here both on the national and 
local levels and gives a constructive support to Israel. Its 
procedure is the quiet approach: no grand demonstrations. It 
relates openly but rationally with those in power politically 
and economically. And, as I said, the local action and 
community affairs reflects this national policy. 

The national officer with whom I had the most contact was 
Morris Abram, originally an Atlanta lawyer, later a New Yorker 
who was appointed as an ambassador to the United Nations. He 
was a Democrat appointed by President Reagan to the United 
States Civil Rights Commission, probably because of his 
opposition to quotas as the objective of affirmative action. 
This, of course, was President Reagan's position. 

What was your position with the American Jewish Committee? 


Heilbron: Well, I was the chair of the local chapter for several years, 

and all ex-chairmen are on an advisory committee whose advice is 
rarely sought. 

Hicke: Let alone taken? [laughter] 

Heilbron: I don't know about that. They are always courteous. I always 
receive notice of the board meetings, but unfortunately they 
conflict with the sane day of our firm's meetings, and I'm not 
able to attend many of them. I attended two national 
conferences in New York and was deeply impressed with the 
thoroughness with which position papers and resolutions were 

1 know that I had some good times at the national 
conferences of the centers gathered together under the Jewish 
National Welfare Board and of the American Jewish Committee. In 
one case they had a substitute entertainer at a luncheon, and he 
was supposed to make us feel good about coming to New York and 
spending three days at our discussion. This was scheduled as 
comic relief, and they got a new man, but this new man was 
Johnny Carson. [laughter] In connection with another 
conference, I recall attending the second or third performance 
of My Fair Lady, which was certainly not part of the policy 
program of the organization, but it was a welcome diversion. 

I mentioned the purpose of protecting Jews from oppression 
and injustice anywhere in the world. It is a noble purpose, but 
it hasn't been possible to achieve. Witness Hitler and the 
Holocaust. But many efforts have met with success. Perhaps I 
will leave it there for further development. I did want to 
indicate my appreciation and respect for the agency. As you 
know, a few other things prevented me from being more active. 
On a national scale, I think I could have been, if I had 
indicated the time and interest, but these were not available. 



[Interview 16: March 22, 1994] 

Vorld Affairt Council 

Hicke: I'd like to start this afternoon with a discussion of the World 
Affairs Council of Northern California, and I want to reference 
the "Fortieth Anniversary Review." which you wrote in 1987. 
It's a history, it's a marvelous booklet with pictures and 
sidebars, and it starts, of course, forty years ago in 1947, 
when the Vorld Affairs Council was formed. I wonder if you 
could tell me, first of all, how you got interested and when you 
became active in this. 

Heilbron: Well, I got a postcard from Emma McLaughlin, who was a founding 
member of the World Affairs Council. I don't know where they 
obtained my name, but they asked if I'd be interested in 
joining. Since it involved world affairs and I had just 
returned the year before from my experience in occupied Austria, 
I did express an interest and did join. 

Hicke: So this was 1947? 

Heilbron: Close to- -it was in '48. I think the correspondence was in late 

Hicke: Okay. And your little booklet delineates the history pretty 

Heilbron: Yes. I did not write the booklet, I just wrote the history part 
of it, which involved the history of the World Affairs Council 
since its beginning, for all the years up to the fortieth 
anniversary and actually since that time, too. 

Hicke: So you're still actually a member? 


He on: 

Hicke : 


Hicke : 





Hicke : 

Hicke : 

Yes, I'm a menber, and I'm still a member of the board, because 
they have their past presidents continue as permanent board 
members . 

Now, I wonder if you could just illustrate some of this history 
with a few more details. It's grown quite a bit in membership. 

Yes it has. It now has ten thousand members, and is the largest 
world affairs council, citizens' council interested in 
international affairs , in the United States . For many years , 
the Chicago Committee on Foreign Relations was the larger, and 
we were second, but in the past couple of years, we have passed 
Chicago . 

What was it when it was formed? 
that's in here, too. 

Do you have any idea? Maybe 

No, no. I don't think that there were more than two or three 
councils of this kind in the country. Groups were beginning to 
be formed that expressed an interest in foreign relations, but 
they were varied groups. Some people were interested in Europe, 
some people in Asia, some people particularly in Russia, in the 
developing Soviet Union. But the merging together of those in 
the Bay Area who were interested in the international field 
started the council's organization in 1947. 

Do you have any sense of what the membership was like when it 
was formed? 

Well, it was in the hundreds. By 1949 it was over 2,500. 
So that's a huge growth. 

It is, it is indeed, and it reflects the understanding and 
growing interest of the people in this country that we are not 
living isolated from the rest of the world, and that our 
problems are theirs and theirs are ours. 

I know there's information in the booklet about the programs, 
but I wonder if you could give me some illustrations of some of 
the key programs that were presented. 

I believe that they now run about 250 programs per year. 
That ' s one a day . 

It began with a heavy emphasis on study seminars, and at the 
close of the seminar, an effort was made by those who were 
members of it to write a report. The report was not intended as 


an activist report, because the council is devoted to a 
nonpartisan study of international issues and not to become an 
advocate of a particular side on these issues. But a group was 
interested in coming to such consensus as it could, and 
indicating such dissent as it could. I remember I headed the 
group on the possibilities of European integration. A good deal 
of effort was made at the time of the Marshall Plan to develop a 
kind of United States of Europe, and we studied that program, 
that project. 

Hicke: Well, that may or may not be coming to fruition. 

Heilbron: We came to a couple of conclusions, and that was that there 

would be increased economic integration in Europe , but that in 
the next fifty years, there would be no political integration. 

Hicke: Well, you were right on the money. 

Heilbron: And that was pretty accurate. Wild Bill Donovan went over to 
Europe with the idea of pressing for political integration. 
Someone had the nerve to send him our report through a mutual 
friend. This was absolutely contrary to his mission, so I don't 
think it affected his activities, but I think that it indicated 
that this citizens' group had a pretty reasonable idea of what 
was going to happen. 

Hicke: Prophetic. 

Heilbron: We started with the Iron and Coal Community, and [it] has 

developed into the European Community and has certainly got a 
strong economic basis, that is, European cooperation and 
integration. But the politics of it are still quite clear. 
There is no United States of Europe, which Napoleon imagined, 
which Mr. Hitler was going to impose, or democratically, which 
ideally, a lot of people would have liked to see happen. 

Hicke: That's very interesting. 

Heilbron: The Asilomar annual conference is extremely interesting and 
worthwhile. Usually, a theme is chosen. It's not simply a 
general discussion of current international affairs. It may be 
the United States 's relationship with China. It may be the 
status of the United Nations. It may be developments in Africa. 
But it stays with that theme. 

And almost a thousand people each year go down to Asilomar 
to hear leading authorities develop and debate their views of 
what the current situation is and what problems there are and 
what solutions they envision. It's extremely worthwhile. 


People have a good time; there are social events mixed in. It 
begins on a late Friday afternoon and ends on a Sunday noon. 
There are many programs in between. 

The Council has been fortunate not only at Asilomar, but in 
its own general programming of being able to attract 
authoritative speakers in the international field. Every 
secretary of state has addressed the council, since the 

Hicke: Yes, there's some good pictures in here of guests. 
Heilbron: Many chiefs of state have addressed the council. 
Hicke: Senator [John F.] Kennedy. 

Heilbron: Yes, Senator Kennedy, I remember, was asked whether he was going 
to run for president, and he said that he could not reply, but 
he had a favorite candidate. [laughter] 

Hicke: Once again, you are ahead of the rest of us. 

Heilbron: Actually, as a senator, he was very much the center of 

attraction because of the possibility that he was going to seek 
the nomination. 

He was extremely quick at remembering names, or calling 
people by their names, even though he had scarcely met them. 
The council always had receptions for these participants. He 
came into the building where we were located, where we had our 
particular reception for speakers, and it happened that Delphine 
was at the door and he came in and put out his hand and said, 
"Mrs. Heilbron, it's very good to meet you." She had on a 
little card with her name, and in that moment he saw that name 
so quickly and expressed himself in that way. 

Hicke: Amazing, that's amazing. I also see pictures of Prime Minister 
Nehru, Nikita Khrushchev, Charles de Gaulle; they were all here. 

Heilbron: Oh yes, they were all here. In the history, I have told about 
their coming, perhaps not in any expanded way. I can say that 
Khrushchev had had a rather stormy time at the Los Angeles World 
Affairs Council, and almost decided to go home because of the 
kind of hostility that was expressed. And then he came up here 
and he was extremely well received in the sense that he was 
cordially received. 


I remember as we vent into dinner, walking down the 
corridor, a New York journalist was saying, "What are these 
people all so enthusiastic about? Didn't he say he wanted to 
bury us?" [laughter] And of course that was true, but he was 
quite mellow in San Francisco, and even referred to God 
favorably, and wanted all of us to destroy our respective 
munitions . 

I don't know whether this should be included or not. You 
can take it out, because it's of no importance. At the 
reception- -the cocktail reception before the dinner, big dinner 
--he was receiving and shaking hands. A line formed, and 
Virginia Myer and Delphine were in about the same place in the 
line. And it was rather tiring, and Delphine took off her shoe 
just about three or four people away from Khrushchev. Virginia 
Myer was Theodore Myer's wife. Mr. Myer was the head of 
Brobeck, Phleger and Harrison and also was a [University of 
California] regent. Virginia said to her, "Delphine, what are 
you going to do if you can't get your shoe on and you're meeting 
with the Prime Minister?" And Delphine said, "I'm going to say, 
'How do you do? My name is Virginia Myer.'" [laughter] 

Hicke: That's a great story, that's super. I think the character of 
the visitors indicates the significance of the World Affairs 

Heilbron: Well, that's true. And now there's a community arrangement with 
respect to chiefs of state so that there will be no competition 
between the Commonwealth Club and the World Affairs Council. 
They have agreed that they will jointly sponsor chiefs of state. 

However, there's something else I'd like to say beyond 
prime ministers, secretaries of state, ambassadors who have 
addressed the council, and other people in government who speak 
to us. The most effective speakers, the ones you usually get 
the most information from, who demonstrate the objectivity you 
want, are not from people currently in government, our own or 
foreign. The most penetrating analyses come from people who 
have had high places in government, but who have terminated or 
left service, and from journalists, from academicians, from 
people who haven't got a stake in any official or party line. 

So, if you'll just give me that little booklet, and I'll go 
over some of the speakers that we had in the fortieth 
anniversary to illustrate what I'm talking about. [pause] Let 
me see, maybe you ought to hold that while I find--. 

In the order of their appearance, these were the people who 
spoke to us: Marshall Shulman, professor and director-emeritus 


of the W. Averill Harriman Institute for Advanced Study of the 
Soviet Union at Columbia University; Charles William Maynes, 
editor of Foreign Policy magazine and former assistant secretary 
of state for international organizations in the Carter 
adainistration; McGeorge Bundy, professor of history, New York 
University, former president of the Ford Foundation, and former 
special assistant for national security affairs to Presidents 
Kennedy and Johnson; Walt Rostow, professor of history and 
economics, University of Texas at Austin, and former special 
assistant for national security affairs; Sanford Ungar, dean of 
the School of Communications, American University, and former 
managing editor of Foreign Policy magazine; Gary Sick, 
international affairs program officer for the Ford Foundation 
and the former principal White House aide for Iran during the 
Iranian revolution and ensuing hostage crisis; Stanley Hoffmann, 
chairman of the Center for European Studies; and Douglas Dillon 
Professor of the Civilization of France at Harvard University; 
William Colby, former director of the Central Intelligence 
Agency and former U.S. ambassador; Robert Scalapino, Robson 
Research Professor and director of the Institute of East Asian 
Studies at UC Berkeley; Dianne Feinstein- -now there's an 
exception, but of course, her duties were not in foreign 
relations, and she spoke as leader of the city delegation to 
Pacific Rim, Latin American, and European countries to develop 
trade relations with the city of San Francisco; James Chace, 
senior associate of the Carnegie Endowment for International 
Peace, and former international affairs editor for the New York 
Times Book Review; Edmund G. Muskie, former U.S. senator from 
Maine and former secretary of state; John Kenneth Galbraith, the 
Paul M. Warburg Professor of Economics emeritus, Harvard 
University, and former United States ambassador to India; Brian 
Urquart, he's a scholar in residence in the Ford Foundation, 
former undersecretary general of the United Nations, who was 
known as "Mr. Peacekeeping"; and Andrew Young, mayor of Atlanta, 
former United States congressman from Georgia, former United 
States ambassador to the United Nations; and one more exception: 
Richard Lugar, who at that time was senator from Indiana and a 
member and former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations 

I don't mean to indicate that people who have the 
responsibility for managing our governmental affairs have not 
got a great deal to say and are not extremely important in 
telling us what is in the minds of the administration and what 
foreign policies they believe the United States should follow 
and are following. But the general experience is that 
observations in depth come from the kind of people I have 
identified. I didn't give you their topics because I think just 
their titles and their experience would indicate that they were 


responsible people and they were not, at the time they spoke, 
bound by any conditions that were current at the time and which 
would inhibit their willingness to express their own views. 

Hicke: It also Bakes me think that we're making some use, I hope good 
use, out of the skills and expertise that people acquire, 
because nost of those people have gone on to teaching jobs or 
other positions where they're going to pass along their 
knowledge . 

Heilbron: That's correct, that's correct. One of the most important 

program* the council has deals with education. They have suoner 
training retreats for high school teachers in northern 
California, from Monterey to Eureka. And hundreds and hundreds 
of teachers have gone through their--! won't say training, but 
their exposure- -to the international concerns and issues of the 

Hicke: Who conducts that? 

Heilbron: Well, experts of the kind that I've indicated. Not of such high 
status as some of those, but people from the universities, and 
experienced people from the council itself. And the teachers, 
in turn, are able to alert and inform their students in 
elementary, middle school, and upper classes in the high school, 
and that means hundreds of thousands of students. I don't know 
by this time whether we're in the millions or not, but the 
program has been in existence long enough (fifteen years) to 
have had an effect on a great deal of education in international 
affairs in our schools. Certainly the quality of the 
instruction to students should be greatly improved by the 
quality of the instruction that the teachers have received, or 
if not instruction, at least informed exposure to what the 
issues are. 

Hicke: Am I correct in assuming this is a mostly nonpartisan body? 

Heilbron: That is extremely important. It seeks only to disseminate 

information concerning world affairs and its platform is open to 
advocates over a wide spectrum of programs . 

Hicke: Okay. Are there any more programs that you want to talk about? 
Heilbron: No. 


Heilbron: I might say a word about the organization and leadership of the 
council. It's had the same kind of financial problems as other 


Hicke : 


Hicke : 


nonprofits that cannot be supported simply by the dues of 
members. It has to have other resources. Of course its members 
do respond to annual fund drives , and there is corporate 
support, particularly those corporations that have international 
interests. And there is foundation support that makes many of 
its programs possible. 

But still there would be a gap in earnings , because they 
have to charge for certain of their programs even if you're a 
member; you don't get in free to all of the programs. They have 
an annual dinner where from seven hundred to a thousand people 
attend, honoring some person in the Bay Area usually, and that 
event has produced a good deal of money. 

But the wise thing that the council decided to do was to 
buy the building in which it is housed and to rent space to 
other agencies, nonprofits particularly, in the international 
field. So they purchased the building, which is now called the 
World Affairs Center, on Sutter Street, about two doors below 
the Sutter-Stockton garage, making it very convenient for people 
to attend even evening meetings. From the net earnings of the 
rentals, they are able to fill that important operational gap 
that threatens most nonprofit agencies with financial trouble or 

And what it seems to indicate is this: that many nonprofits 
in order to survive should have some basis of related or 
nonrelated income, whether it be the part of the building they 
own and don't occupy, or whether it be operating a gift shop 
such as the Museum of Modern Art provides . Apparently such a 
resource can be the key to success or failure of nonprofits that 
are having a harder and harder time . 

T-shirts are popular. 

Yes, yes. The council does not have any shop. It does have the 
largest and most current international library in the area, and 
members have the privilege of borrowing books . 

You can actually check books out? 

You can check books out, yes. The books are obtained in large 
measure from publishers who want exposure of their books to 
people interested in international affairs so that the costs are 
reduced by that fact. 

It has a very large board comparatively- -seventy -five 
members elected and then the chairmen of committees 
automatically become members of the board so that we've got 


perhaps close to a hundred board members. That should, under 
conventional wisdom, be the worst thing to do. How can you get 
any kind of consensus from so many people? For a long time, an 
executive committee of the board of about twenty-three members, 
or a little less, did the spadework and the everyday work. But 
they've come to the conclusion that by reason of the status and 
responsibility of the kind of board members they've been able to 
attract, that the board as a whole should have more to say, and 
the number of meetings has been extended from four per year to 
six. The attendance is close to 70 percent. 

Hicke: That's impressive. 

Heilbron: I think one of the reasons is that they get a summary report of 
the most important international developments as the director 
sees them and another is that they are advised as to all the 
programs that they may wish to attend. And they do deal with 
policy questions- -with whom should the council co-sponsor 
programs, what principles should govern the choice of topics and 
speakers, important budget decisions. 

In certain situations, major donors are invited to dinners 
with the key international authorities as they pass through the 

Hicke: The idea of having a large board was to add stature and-- 

Heilbron: The idea was to add stature and also to add to the financial 

support of the institution. As you know, if you want to raise 
money from others, your board had better raise money on its own. 
If you have a board that materially can begin a financial effort 
to raise capital monies for its needs, it helps greatly- -the 
precedent of the board's participation is very important from 
the standpoint of getting foundation support and other support 
from the community. But you have to have people who not only 
support and serve the programs and the cultural aspects of your 
organization, but themselves either can contribute or cause 
other people to contribute. And that's the other reason for the 
large board. 

And maybe I'll just close this area by referring to the 
kind of leadership- -the executive directors- -that we've had. We 
began with Eugene Staley, who was an economist at Stanford 
University. I think he was actually part-time, but he 
established rather high standards for the council. Howard Cook 
did everything for the council, including painting and 
decorating the walls of the first council headquarters, which, 
as it's pointed out in the history, was under the Arthur Murray 
Dance Studio, in a building on Sutter Street. Garland Farmer, 



who once occupied the African desk at the State Department, who, 
after he left the council, administered very substantial mining 
Interests in Europe, Africa, and Brazil. Eugene Bur dick, who 
was the co-author of a best-selling novel, The Ugly American. 

In one of the difficult financial periods, Easton Rothwell, 
who had been president of Mills [College] and who formerly had 
been in the State Department and had a particular interest in 
Southeast Asia, served as a Do liar- a- Year man to pull the 
counc i 1 through . 

The person with the longest service is Richard Heggie: 
twelve years of service between 1971 and '83. He had a good 
deal of experience in Asia with the Asia Foundation, and also 
started in the early days as an assistant to the director of the 
council. He was a splendid administrator. (Other posts: 
president of UC Alumni, mayor of Orinda, now on council board.) 
Peter Tarnoff, who's now the third position with the Secretary 
of State. Casimlr Yost, who is now in Washington with one of 
the think-tank schools at Georgetown University. 

Yes. Research organization of some kind. 

Heilbron: He wrote excellent columns for Bay Area newspapers on current 
foreign affairs issues. And now Ambassador David Fischer, who 
was consul general in Munich and also U.S. ambassador to the 
Seychelles. He has a broad international background, is very 
creative in programming, also gives commentary to the 
newspapers, and is president of the national association of 
world affairs' councils. 

Hicke: Well, that's quite a record of leadership. 

Heilbron: Yes, that's right. They've been dedicated men to the cause of 
the council. And quite correctly, the council has changed the 
title of director to president, and the old president has become 
the chairman of the board. 

Hicke: Is the presidency a full-time job? 

Heilbron: Oh, yes. It's a full overtime job- -made manageable for many 
years by the assistant director, now vice president, a superb 
organizer of organizers, Jean Fowler. 

I think that the history in itself takes care of the rest. 

Hicke: Okay, that's a very good addition to the history that you wrote. 
So I'm glad we have it on tape. 


[Note: Every year the council gives about 125 scholarships to 
Asilomar at $250 each for the weekend to college students 
interested in attending the conference. When the president of 
the council went to Washington on a trip this year, a young 
person in one of the departments there dealing with 
international affairs recognized him and told him what he was 
doing and that nine of the former Asilomar scholarship students 
were in Washington working in the international area.] 

California Historical Society 

Hicke: Okay, well let's switch then to the California Historical 
Society. When did you get involved with it? 

Heilbron: This is relatively a more recent interest than the others that 
we've been discussing. Eleanor Anderson- -she was Mortimer 
Fleishhacker' s sister--was on the board of the California 
Historical Society and was leaving the board but was, I believe, 
chairman of the nominations committee and asked me in 1978 if I 
were interested. I had very little understanding of the status 
or the program of the society. I knew it was organized to 
preserve and disseminate information about California history. 
I knew Mr. Ehrman had served as a trustee, and I remember his 
receiving books published by the society when I came into his 
room one day. I realized that it was a rather old institution 
in the community and after I joined it, I was informed-- 


Heilbron: After I had joined it, I understood it was over 100 years old--I 
think organized in the 1870s--counting periods of discontinuity; 
when they ran out of money, the society stopped and when it, 
maybe four or five years later, accumulated further interest and 
money, it began again. So I suppose that there are 100 full 
years by this time, and I think its last reorganization was in 

I joined a board that was quite dedicated to its purposes. 
In fact, I would like to say that I have been on many boards in 
the community, and I have been impressed by the volunteerism in 
our community. I think that San Francisco has been most 
fortunate in the people that it has interested in its cultural 
activity in its symphony, its opera, and in these cultural 
activities. These "points of light" existed long before Mr. 
Bush quite correctly talked about them. But nevertheless these 
activities organized by volunteers, I think, considering the 


scope of work done, are unique in the world. The British have a 
good many activities, too, but I don't believe that they have 
the force and influence of the American activities, and 
certainly the Bay Area must be pretty well up to the highest 
level . 

Well, when I came aboard, the long-time director had left, 
Pamela Seager was the acting director. She was doing two or 
three jobs. She was administering the agency, she was a curator 
of the art, particularly the paintings that were owned by the 
society or were on loan to the society. 

Let me outline, for a moment, what the society really 
consisted of. 

Hicke: You went on the board in '79? 

Heilbron: Yes, my active time began in '79; I believe I was invited in the 
late fall of 1978. I think I served for two years as a trustee 
and two years as a vice president, and then in 1983 I became 
president of the organization. 

The physical plants consisted of the Whittier Mansion 
located at Jackson and Laguna Streets, a fine residence of a 
successful merchant, erected around the early 1900s or maybe 
just before that in 1895 or 1896; anyway during what you might 
call the late Victorian period. The woods in the building were 
beautiful, and that's where all of the luxury of the building 
rested and made it notable. 

At one time, it was the German Consulate. In fact, we lived 
two doors away from there in the late thirties and up to 1942. 
Come to think of it, when Fritz Wiedeman was the German consul, we 
occasionally were able to look through the outside window and see a 
big swastika inside. As mentioned before, when Wiedeman and the 
consulate were thrown out by the U.S. government, which was 
emptying the German embassies and consulates from the United 
States, Wiedeman left in style: thirty-seven taxicabs and, 
according to the story, a $10,000 tip to make people think that the 
Germans at the time were nice people. 

In any event, there was a kind of historic association with 
this building. It was acquired, I believe, in 1963 when the 
society was fortunate to receive a rather substantial legacy. 

In addition, there was an older building at the corner of 
Pacific and Laguna, and next door to it another building that 
was acquired for the purpose of using it as an annex to the 
library, buildings that had been put up by the Spreckels family 



for their sons or daughters. These all were acquired by the 
society, I believe in the sixties and possibly one of the 
buildings in the early seventies. 

The society has, I think, the fourth largest historical 
library in California, particularly some very valuable diaries 
and communications and letters from the earliest Mexican period. 
The library has been widely used. Of course it is not nearly as 
extensive as The Bancroft Library [at the University of 
California]. At one time, there was a thought that the 
economics of the situation would have been favored if The 
Bancroft acquired this library, and The Bancroft was interested 
in the best selected items, but not to take in the library as a 
whole. One of the most interesting people to use the library 
was James MIchener. 

What did he use it for, do you know? 

Heilbron: I don't know which book he used it for. My guess would be 
Hawaii. Possibly Iberia, but I think Hawaii. 

The paintings are of early California, and a number of them 
are quite valuable and have recently been exhibited in the 
Crocker Gallery in Sacramento. But they have occasionally left 
the premises for exhibits elsewhere, at the De Young [Museum] 
and other places. And they have old costumes in use in early 

The society has a window in the south, El Molino Viejo, in 
Pasadena, near the Huntington Library, the old mill, which it 
leases for a dollar a year from the city of San Marino, but 
brings exhibitions to the mill to warrant the value of the 

I think it was during the earliest period of my association 
that the legislature recognized the society as the official 
historical agency for the state of California. 

Hicke: They did not, however, fund it. 

Heilbron: This is the deceptive part. We are recognized, but not 

supported. Therein lies much of the tale of the society. 
Almost every historical society of a state in the United States 
is supported by its state. I think Michigan is the only one 
that has a similar situation of dependence on private support. 

Now, it did originate, as I understand it, differently from 
most other societies. That is, a group of amateur historians 


net together and enjoyed each other's company and read each 
other's work and kept the whole affair a very closed matter, a 
closed organization. I think there is a club in San Francisco 
called the Chit Chat Club that also elects its members, reads to 
each other the writings and creative works of its members, and 
that's pretty much what this group did. They didn't want any 
outside interest. They called themselves the California 
Historical Society, [but] were completely a San Francisco 
organization. Well, when they started, what was California but 
San Francisco and its environs, in their opinions. I think they 
thought nothing about attaching the name of California when San 
Francisco was a city and Los Angeles was a village. 

Hicke: Also, probably they took California for their subject. 

Heilbron: Yes, for their subject. And they did, of course, have subject 
matter in the library from southern California. I am not sure 
where their art contributions came from. The society was 
relatively homogeneous in the kind of membership it had, but I 
understand there were great political rivalries within the 
organization. It wasn't until rather late in its hundred-year 
life that the society spread out and was interested in a larger 
membership and was interested in the preservation and 
dissemination of history for the citizens of California. 

Hicke: Were they still arguing about Drake's Plate? 

Heilbron: Yes, it's quite amazing that history can produce such bitter 
controversy. [laughter] 

Hicke: True. 

Heilbron: And Drake's Plate is one example. A gentleman who was the owner 
of the Nut Tree later was the great advocate of the authenticity 
of this plate. 

Hicke: Was it Robert Powers? 

Heilbron: Powers is the name of the man who is from the Nut Tree. 

Hicke: I think Alan Checkering was involved in it. 

Heilbron: And even in recent years, Dr. [J.S.] Holliday--and I'll come to 
him in a few moments- -was supportive of Robert Powers, who had 
been president of our society, too. He wanted new chemical 
tests to be made of the plate to see if the earlier 
determination by Dr. [James D.] Hart that it was not genuine was 
correct. So even during the time when I was active, this was a 
revived matter. 




Then another matter that Dr. Holliday introduced almost 
casually in an address when he resumed the presidency- -and I'll 
describe that in a few minutes --still caused quite a stir. Dr. 
Holliday Indicated that there was too much attention paid to the 
mission period of California history and then even that was not 
quit* accurately presented. A monsignor from Los Angeles took 
offense at what he felt was an injustice in statements with 
respect to the missionaries and the church's contribution to 
early history. That caused quite a number of communications 
back and forth with near apologies and explanations. So history 
can become quite an issue . 

Look at Columbus. The matter, practically dead for five 
hundred years, suddenly has become a national issue. A moving 
picture now has been made of Columbus. I haven't seen this 
picture, it recently has been issued, but there is bitter 
criticism, people protesting that he shouldn't be honored. I 
don't know what's going to happen to our statue of Columbus at 
Land's End. It's pointed the wrong way as far as welcoming is 
concerned to the new land, but there it is. These issues do 
come up. 

For some time , the idea of this kind of controversy was 
used by society members as stating why we should never accept 
subsidies from the state, because the state would politically 
control the history. Here we are independent and can do what we 
please and so on. That must mean that all of the other states' 
histories are politically written and so on. 


And that's not true. After about twenty- five years, the truth 
can come out without injuring many people. I will say that 
current history can be affected by the fact that the state 
subsidizes and appropriates for the support of an historical 
society, but in the long term, I don't think that what Hiram 
Johnson did in California will be affected by who writes and 
publishes these days, nor will anybody resent the publication. 

So that gives , perhaps , the general background of the plant 
and the program. Now, for most of the four years in my period 
at the society, Pamela Seager was the acting director, and as I 
explained, did the work of at least two people if not three. 
But it was recognized that the society needed a professional 
historian to be its head. We had two searches, both of them 
nationwide. We almost acquired two people, one from the Midwest 
and one from Arizona, but when the conditions were negotiated, 
they were simply not conditions we could afford. 


The search was quite earnest and complete, and people did 
want to come to San Francisco, but as I have learned from 
searching for other organizations , people want to come to San 
Francisco, but soon they find out what the cost of houses is, 
and unless an agency is prepared to make special arrangements 
for people coning from particularly the Midwest, it becomes 
quite costly. While these costs may not bother wealthy 
organizations like the symphony and the opera so much, they do 
concern the smaller organizations. 

Dr. J. S. Holliday had been, for seven years in the 
seventies, the director of the society. He was and is an 
excellent writer. He is passionately concerned with California 
history. I certainly think he and Kevin Starr are among its 
leading historians. Jim Rawls is also well known, all of them 
associated, incidentally, with the society at one time or 

Well, for reasons never entirely made clear and, I think, 
better understood as time went on, Dr. Holliday resigned from 
his first period of service from the society. The story was 
that he couldn't quite control the expenditures against the 
revenues. But on looking the situation over, there were some 
board members who had been with the old board and felt that he 
had not been properly treated and that he was certainly the most 
creative and most familiar with California backgrounds and 
history of any of the people whom we interviewed and that he 
should be our choice. I negotiated his new contract of service 
with us. 

When he came on board in March of '83, I had just begun my 
service as president. I had inherited a budget that was 
constituted on the theory that if you are going to make money, 
you are going to have to spend money. It is perhaps a little 
bit consistent with the spirit of national spending during the 
eighties, [laughter] but the government can do things that 
private organizations can't do after a while, and yet this was a 
budget $300,000 in deficit. Regarding the budget, Holliday said 
that he felt certain the deficit could be met and we went into a 
combined campaign. We were going to raise $7 million for an 
endowment, which a consulting agency thought feasible. With 
that amount of money, we believed that-- 


Heilbron: --our deficit could be taken care of from the earnings. Now we 
already had an unrestricted endowment of close to $750,000 that 
had been eaten into during the past years, but we were all very 
anxious to see if this campaign could be successful. 


I was encouraged by two trustees who were friends of David 
Packard, who had seen him and who perhaps were overconfident in 
what they would able to obtain. They thought that he was 
prepared to subscribe $300,000 as the beginning of our campaign 
solicitation, but Mr. Packard had never made such a commitment. 
He did finally give us $25.000. 

I found that I was in the money-raising business instead of 
the historical-society business. During that first year, by a 
big effort among our trustees and through a substantial gift 
from North Baker, who always was a supporter of the society, and 
through foundations and individuals, we did raise $300,000, a 
good part of which I raised on my own and knew that that could 
not be repeated. 

We raised about as much money during that first calendar 
year of my operation as we spent. I could see that we would 
have to cut down administratively if we were going to come 
anywhere near balancing the budget. We had expanded in southern 
California; as a California society, we felt that we had to have 
more than El Molino Viejo, we had to be in Los Angeles, and we 
rented a place in Los Angeles. As a matter of fact, the rent 
was zero- -a title company had given us the first floor of a 
building on Uilshire Boulevard- -and we had a branch down there 
with an exhibit. At least it gave some visibility to our Los 
Angeles trustees. And yet we had the cost of an administrator 
and assistants, and we had traveling exhibits, we had our art 
exhibit down at El Molino Viejo. We met down in Pasadena as 
well as in San Francisco. 

During the earlier days, before I was president, we met in 
Monterey and then in Sacramento. The meetings were well 
organized, mostly due to Pamela's expertise in organization. 
Everything that was done by the society was done with grace. 
The invitations that went out were always engraved, and they 
were beautifully done, but I had a feeling that this was part of 
our problem: we had more grace than money. 

I did introduce the idea that we had this lovely mansion 
and nobody used it for a social purpose. We did have luncheons 
catered in the mansion and invited our targets for solicitation 
to these luncheons, and it produced some results. We got 
capital funds for the improvement of the library. The Hewlett 
Foundation was most helpful in making it possible for us to use 
these new collapsible frames for shelves, and the Cowell 
Foundation was helpful, too. And what was the foundation that 
helped in the blood bank in San Francisco? [Flood] They were 
helpful with the money transfusion. [laughter] 


But we had to count on all of these. The membership 
floated around 7,000 or 8,000 in those days and, as Holliday 
quite correctly said, it's ridiculous that a society that is 
supposed to be the custodian of California history should have 
8,000 members. It should have at least 25,000 members. But 
it's a different issue to raise money for history where the 
consumer takes a book to read, and a performing arts 
organization that gives a good deal back for what it receives. 
The performing arts give mass enjoyment and have either an 
operatic tradition or a symphony tradition, and it is partly a 
spectacle- -ballet included. Performing arts can raise money 
that historical societies can't, and that's the reason why such 
societies, if they are going to be successful, have to have 
state subsidy. I assume that the university understands that 
quite well at this moment. But a private organization, like the 
historical society, has its own particular problems. 

On the asset side of the society, through the years 1 find 
that we did publish a fine quarterly that has been recognized 
throughout the United States, and I'm glad to see that the 
present is even better than it has ever been. That's because of 
an arrangement made after I left with Hayward State [University] 
where their history department is part of the process of the 
publishing of the magazine. While I had urged the relationship 
between the state university and the society, I had never 
brought it about completely. Now I believe that Robert 
Corrigan, president of San Francisco State, has served on the 
board, so that situation was improved. 

In my second year, when we started substantial 
retrenchment, Dr. Holliday was both happy and unhappy. He was 
happy that his book, The World Rushed In, was such a 
success and we were happy for him too, but I believe he felt we 
might be liquidating the society's empire. Apart from this, he 
had advised us that he planned a change in the direction of his 
career- -he wanted to concentrate on writing and a lecture 
program- -though he would always support the society. He did 
resign during the year and was awarded executive director 
emeritus in recognition of his contributions. 

We replaced him with a director, Joseph Giovinco, who was a 
professional in historyof course he didn't have the stature 
that Holliday had and he thought that he could manage to run 
the operation at a lesser cost. He made quite a number of 
personnel changes, but even the changes he made ultimately this 
is after I left even the changes he made did not content the 
people whom he employed. It was like Mr. [Mikhail] Gorbachev; 
he got all of his people that he thought were his people, but 
they turned out not to be his people. I understand that 
ultimately Joseph left. 


I felt that the most important thing I could do was to get 
our debts paid off. We had borrowed money for operations and 
secured it with a mortgage on one of our houses. We had a line 
of credit; because of the type of people who were on the board, 
the Bank of California was quite supportive and generous in 
lending us money. We were always quite wealthy at the beginning 
of the year when the dues first came in; it gave us a false 
sense of security. When the summer came and the revenues dried 
up, we had to borrow to get through the year. The borrowing, I 
felt, meant we would never get to face a balanced budget until 
we got our debts paid off and began anew. 

So that annex building that we thought was going to be 
necessary for the library, in view of the new ways of storing 
books and getting tapes and so on, did not prove to be 
essential. Although there was some debate about it, we sold 
that building, and I think after paying off mortgages and 
everything else, we netted $390,000; and that, together with our 
unrestricted endowment, put us pretty much in the same position 
we were in a good many years ago when all of these properties 
were acquired. 

The deals were completed after I left, but I followed 
through the deals until they were completed, and the conditions 
in the escrow were written so that various people got paid off; 
so I knew that when the transaction was over, we would be in the 
position, let's say, to start a new life. I knew that the first 
year, the year that I left in November--! had an extended term 
of about two-and-a-half years because of a change in the fiscal 
yearthat we would be out somewhere above $25,000, but that was 
a small cost compared to what we were losing previously. 

When my term was up, I left, though I was offered another 
year on the board. I declined and was given president emeritus 
status and got involved in other community services. By that 
time, Golden Gate University was becoming increasingly demanding 
of my pro bono time. Of course I followed the fortunes and 
misfortunes of the society with great interest. My successor, 
Nancy Maushardt, was totally dedicated and had high objectives 
but lost the battle of the budget, and there was a succession of 
new executives. 

However, I have noted that the current executive, that is 
the director, Michael McCone, is an experienced administrator, 
had extended experience in the city government of San Francisco, 
is sensitive to public relations, is creative in his approach to 
north-south relations and by that 1 mean recognizing that we 
are a California society. The society's albatross around the 
neck, the mansion, has been sold, and a new site for operations 



Hicke : 





secured near the Yerba Buena cultural center, and certainly the 
society has been helped by North Baker's key legacy of $2 
million. I don't know what the total amounts to that he has 
given over the years. The library is now named after him, as it 
should be, and I think that the society is now in a position 
where it can go to the state and say, "We are a viable 
institution worthy of support, and not of a bailout." I'm 
hoping against hope that that is what happens with the society. 

Unfortunately the state is not in good shape to help. 

Absolutely. The trouble is that the state has other priorities, 
which I'm sure it will recognize, and this is simply not a good 
time to facilitate that relationship. I believe, as I have 
advised informally when asked, that they may be in for another 
period of retrenchment. 

If you have any thoughts or questions, maybe I could 
respond to them, but I think I have given an overview of the 

It has been an excellent overview. It is really good, 
you have answered all of my questions in advance. 

I think 

What was the other thing that we were going to talk about? 
The Human Rights Commission. 

Let me see if I can find the notes somewhere on that. But 
first, I'd like to say a word about the program of the society 
which recognizes businesses and professions that have been in 
continuous existence in California over 100 years. The rule is 
that if the antecedent of a company sold out to a successor who 
continued the business, you could aggregate the years. 

Sold to a California business? 

Yes, that's right. So that, for example, there are many ranches 
in California and agricultural interests that go back over 100 
years, but naturally the people changed, although the families 
very often are intact. These 100 -year certificates have been 
given to businesses, especially at the State Fair. But I think 
some ten law firms have been given these certificates. As you 
know, we received ours (Heller, Ehrman, White & McAuliffe) a 
couple of years ago, in 1990. 

I would like to say a word about some of the trustees who 
have been contributors to the organization in time and funding 
and who were devoted to its interests. Besides North Baker, who 


was also active in the World Affairs Council with me, there was 
Robert J. Banning of an old southern California family, and the 
town of Banning bears their name. George Hale was treasurer; he 
has been active with the symphony. Mrs. Dix Boring has been 
particularly active for a long period of time. 

Richard Otter from Belvedere is a collector of Califomiana 
and a prominent broker. At the time of this oral history, he is 
president of the Commonwealth Club. Mrs. Earnest Bryant, from 
Laguna beach; Mrs. Robert Carter of Colusa, a representative of 
large agricultural interests; J. Hughes Crispin of Santa 
Barbara, who at one time was president of the San Francisco 
World Trade Club; George Dietz, who was an executive at 
McKesson' s; James Galbraith, who was an executive with 
International Hilton; James Green, who was the senior partner at 
the time at the O'Melveny law firm in Los Angeles; Donald Hata, 
who had been associated with the administrations of Sacramento 
State [University] and Dominguez Hills State University; Richard 
Reinhardt, a writer; Mrs. John D. Relfe, very active with the 
symphony, but she had great expertise in running auctions and 
raised considerable money in the biannual auctions that the 
society had; Rodney Rood, who was an executive with ARCO in Los 
Angeles; Earl F. Schmidt had an avid interest in history; 
Lockwood Tower, who came from Virginia and wrote a book about 
the Civil War; Charles Wollenberg, himself an historian- - 

Heilbron: --a California historian of note; and of course Albert Shumate, 
whose avocation is history and is also a president emeritus, and 
a luncheon honoring him will be held later this autumn of 1992. 

I have named people who were active at the time when I came 
into the presidency, and these have been replaced by people of 
equal interest, and I will say that they have solved the problem 
of north- south trustee meetings. That is, they hold a meeting 
with the trustees of the city where the principal meeting is 
held gathered together, say Los Angeles, and then the trustees 
who are near Sacramento meet at the same time there around a 
table, and the same is true of San Francisco, and of course if 
San Francisco is the place of the meeting, everything is 
reversed, but the meeting is held on conference calls with 
loudspeakers and everybody chimes in on this basis. ' That has 
meant a great deal, I assume, in eliminating the problem of 

I have omitted the names of good people, but these are some 
who come to mind and are representative of the kind of people 
who were active in the society. 


Hicke : 

Hicke : 



Western Jewish History Center 

Did you participate in any history group besides the California 
Historical Society? 

I served for a number of years on an advisory board to the 
Western Jewish History Center of the Judah L. Magnes Museum 
located in Berkeley. Janes Hart of The Bancroft Library was a 
distinguished member. 

When did it start and what does it do? 

This history center started in 1967. James Gerstley was the 
first chairman. His family and the Sloss family had operated 
the Alaska Commercial Company, a sealing company that had 
supervised the gathering of seal skins for commercial trade in 
the Pribilof and Komandorskiye Islands. Sue Warburg is the 
present chair, Dr. Moses Rischin, the director, and Ruth Rafael, 
the head archivist. 

The center gathers diaries, oral histories, photographs, 
memorabilia, and reports of Jews and Jewish religious and 
community organizations in the thirteen western states and their 
impact on the life of these states, from pioneer days to the 

A notable achievement has been the publication by archivist 
Rafael of an index to all of the center's holdings entitled 
Western Jewish History Center: Guide to Archival and Oral 
History Collections. The center, under the imprimatur of the 
museum, has published Architects of Reform, a History of 
Congregation Emanu-El, 1849-1980, by F. Rosenbaum. 

Does the center reach out to the public? 

Definitely. Staff give lectures, seminars, and workshops on 
western Jewish history and prepare traveling exhibits. 

Researchers- - 

Find it a superb resource . 


Tribute to Louis Heilbron Planned for October 29 

Mark your calendars for Friday, 
October 29 and join us in honoring 
Louis Heilbron at a luncheon at the 
Sheraton Palace Hotel in San Fran 
cisco. The event is sponsored by the 
CHS Activities Council. Mrs. John 
C. Williams, Council chair, and Mrs. 
Dix Boring, Luncheon Patron chair, 
are organizing the event. 

Louis Heilbron is a man who has 
served many organizations and insti 
tutions throughout the state with 
distinction. He is President Emeri 
tus of the Board of CHS, and we are 
pleased to have an opportunity to 
express our appreciation to him and 
to benefit the Society to which he 
has given so many years of service 
and counsel. Our keynote speaker 
for the luncheon will be Dr. Clark 
Kerr, former president of the Uni 
versity of California. 

Mr. Heilbron may be best known for 
his contributions to higher education 
in California and is much admired 
for his role in negotiations with 
striking students and faculty at San 

Francisco State University in the 
1960s. A 1969 San Francisco Chron 
icle editorial calling for his reap- 
pointment to the State College 
board of trustees praised him for his 
"moderate, flexible approach." A 
retired partner of the Heller, 
Ehrman, White & McAuliffe law 
firm, Mr. Heilbron was first presi 
dent of the California State Colleges 
board of trustees and is an author 
and community leader. 

He has served as president or chair 
of many organizations in the state, 
among them the California State 
Board of Education, San Francisco 
State University, Golden Gate Uni 
versity, the World Affairs Council of 
Northern California, and Congrega 
tion Emanu-El in San Francisco. 
Among the tributes he has received 
are an honorary doctorate from U.C. 
Berkeley and distinguished service 
awards from several universities, the 
San Francisco Examiner, and the 
NAACP Legal Defense Fund. He is 
a 1928 graduate of U.C. Berkeley 
and was awarded a law degree from 
the University of California Boalt 
School of Law in 1931. Mr. 
Heilbron resides in San Francisco 
with his wife Delphine. His sons 
David and John-one an attorney, 
the other a University of California 
administrator-share common inter 
ests with their father. 



Lon for San Francisco Cltv and County. 1969- 

Hicke: Okay, let's witch gears again and tell me about your work with 
the Hunan Rights Commission. 

Heilbron: Well, I was pleased to be appointed to the Human Rights 

Hicke: Now let me Just ask, is this national? 

Heilbron: No, this is local. I had served on state boards and had been 
engaged in national organizations, but I had never served on a 
public institution in San Francisco. 

Hicke : Really? 

Heilbron: Well, I had been in many private organizations, but this was a 
public institution. 

Hicke: When was this? 

Heilbron: I think the appointment was in 1969 or 1970. It was a [Mayor 
Joseph] Alioto appointment. I joined with a very effective 
group of people: Leonard Kingsley, who has since, I believe, 
been president of the symphony; Earl Raab, who was probably the 
most effective sociologist in Jewish affairs in this area- -he's 
got a national reputation; Dean Julian Bartlett, from Grace 
Cathedral; Rabbi Alvin Fine; Reverend Victor Hedearis; Sister 
Bernadette Giles; Joseph Garcia; and Eduardo Sandoval. 

The agency was advisory to the mayor and the public in most 
matters, but it did have control over minority contracts with 
the city. If the city made a contract with a supplier that did 
not have the appropriate antidiscrimination policies, the 
contract would not be approved by the Human Rights Commission, 
or it could be cancelled by the Human Rights Commission. That's 
where its clout was with respect to city contracts. 

With reference to nondiscrimination generally, it has 
simply had persuasive authority, but publicity is a strong tool, 
and while the agency was not quite in a position to argue with 
everybody, it could argue with a few. And also it could, Just 
by calling attention to a situation, be persuasive. For 
example, it discussed matters with Wells Fargo Bank, and they 
became really the first banking institution in the city to have 
a full employment policy regarding the employment of minorities, 
and that led other competitors to do the same. 


Hicke : 

One of the Issues that came before us was bilingual 
education. There were people in the Chinese and Hispanic 
communities who insisted that the only fair program, considering 
new immigrants particularly, was to have bilingual education 
from the kindergarten through twelfth grade, K-12. I recall 
that the board of education was engaged in establishing a policy 
that was sympathetic to this point of view and was going to 
adopt it as the policy of the city. As a matter of routine, it 
came over to the Human Rights Commission. I opposed this 
concept. I felt that it was entirely proper that the school 
system devote a number of years to children to equip them to be 
competitive with other children so that by the time they were in 
the fourth or fifth grade, they would be competing in English. 
But I felt that continuing this program through the high school 
would simply prolong the period when they would not be 
competitive. It seemed to me an erroneous procedure, although 
well motivated. 

The board of education nevertheless adopted three huge 
volumes of programs and policies supporting the idea of this 
continued bilingual education. That might have been their 
political answer, but it has never been implemented. In the 
first place, it would be an extremely costly program; in the 
second place, getting teachers to be competent and keep up the 
quality of education would be a very difficult matter. 

I remember that when I was president of the State Board of 
Education, I met with James Conant, and I told him, not with the 
purpose of bilingual education but with the purpose of improving 
foreign language education in the United States, I said, 
"Goodness, with all of the people who come from foreign 
countries and of course are fluent in their own languages, why 
can't these people be used on a special project basis in the 
public schools?" He said, "It won't work." He said that 
because a person is fluent in his language does not make him a 
good teacher, does not give him the background or the basis of 
teaching, does not give him a substantive understanding of what 
the subject is. He said, "It's not going to work, beyond the 
fact that none of the teachers' organizations will let them in 
and that it would be a political hot potato." 

But he was approaching it from the theory of education 
viewpoint, too. I'm not so sure that that's the entire story. 

Heilbron: Well, I hope I have quoted him correctly, but I do know that he 
opposed what I thought was possibly a good idea. 

Hicke : 

I would agree with you. 


Heilbron: But this would be doubly the case where you had big subject 
courses. We are not talking about language teachers. 

Hicke: Oh yes, you would have to teach chemistry and history- - 

Heilbron: You are talking about history and mathematics and everything 

Another problem that was beginning to manifest itself more 
and more and which I think later on took over a good deal of the 
tia* of the Human Rights Commission was the question of 
discrimination against homosexuals. I remember dealing with one 
of the utility companies that had an absolute prohibition 
against employment of homosexuals . We worked out a compromise 
arrangement that I think is holding to this day. 

Hicke: Well, if they had an absolute prohibition, they must have given 
up that idea. 

Heilbron: Well, they opened it up to homosexuals. The only thing that 

they were going to draw the line on was exhibitionists: people 
who in manner dressed in drag or something like that would be a 
disturbing element in the operation. That was the only line 
that they preserved. 

Hicke: So you effected a virtual turn-around? 

Heilbron: Certainly there, and before considerable specific legislation. 
Of course, with legislation and with the .whole situation 
developing in the city and elsewhere, the pressures are a great 
deal different now to do the work of the Human Rights 
Commission, which could only act in a persuasive capacity. 

Then we had a big argument over the International Hotel, 
which was a hotel housing elderly Filipinos on Kearny Street, 
Kearny and Pacific, I think. In any event, the owners wanted to 
tear down the hotel and throw out all of these people, evict 
them, and they were owners outside of the state. We did all we 
could to defer the permit for the destruction. It worked for I 
guess several years, but finally it was destroyed, and they left 
that hole in the ground for years and years, and still remains! 

Once again I had the problem of chairing a committee to 
select a new director in the field, and it was a hard choice. 
We went national in our search, but it wound up being an issue 
between a very good Hispanic and a very good black who was 
already in the city government- -both of whom were already in 
city government. The Hispanic was an acting executive, but the 
black was most impressive. We employed him. 


One of the unhappy parts of the experience was to find out 
how bitter coapetition is between these minorities for any job, 
particularly for an executive job. The person we employed 
lasted for thirteen years through several mayors , so I guess we 
made the right choice. 

Hicke: Indeed. 

Heilbron: And I think this is about the story I would tell of the Human 
Rights Comaission. The relationships among the board members 
were quite cordial, supportive, and these were people who felt 
that they were, in a way, acting out part of their mission as 
theologians as well as the moral commitment. 

Hicke : How long were you on that? 

Heilbron: About six years. I had two terms of three years each. 

Hicke: Was the religious diversity deliberately arranged for, as well 
as the cultural diversity? 

Heilbron: Well, you had Fine and-- 

Hicke: I didn't know if there was a Catholic and a Protestant and that 
kind of thing. 

Heilbron: Sister Giles certainly and probably the Hispanics were Catholic. 

Hicke: Oh, yes. That's right. 

Heilbron: And Dean Bartlett and the others were Protestants. 

Hicke: Well, it was deliberately arranged for that? 

Heilbron: I assume so. On the original appointments as they were 

organized, the mayor undoubtedly gave it careful consideration. 

Hicke: Do you have any idea how long it had been in existence? 

Heilbron: Not too long. My impression is that it was organized in the 

sixties. I believe Mr. Becker was the first executive, a very 
able person who went to some higher job, and he brought the 
staff together, which was a varied staff of minorities. 

Hicke: Would you say it has been fairly effective overall? 

Heilbron: In the specific area of city contracts, yes. The scope of its 

persuasiveness, I don't know. During the militant period of the 
homosexual situation after the assassination of the mayor, I 



don't know. It operates rather quietly. I suppose it was 
designed as an outlet for concerns and pressures, and it is a 
place where minorities can go and get on the agenda and have 
their say and bring issues to the attention of the city. It may 
well be that while the Human Rights Commission cannot address 
the problems, it can redirect them and make the mayor and board 
of supervisors conscious of a situation for them to deal with. 
It is not an agency that gets into the headlines and doesn't 
want to, so I would find it difficult to evaluate. I think that 
during the period I was active on it, it had the respect of 
minority groups and was considered to be sincere and caring, but 
its jurisdiction was limited and its influence was limited. 

That's it. 
Thank you. 

Golden Gate University; Board of Trustees. 1969-oresent 

[Interview 13: October 28, 1992 ]## 

Hicke: I thought we could start today with Golden Gate University. Was 
it the board of trustees you were on? 

Heilbron: It was the board of trustees and has been a very interesting 

Hicke: Could you start by telling me when you were appointed and how 
that came about? 

Heilbron: Well, I joined the board in 1969, not long after I completed my 
services with the board of trustees of the state colleges. 
Samuel Stewart, who was the general counsel of the Bank of 
America, met with me and told me about Golden Gate and believed 
that I would be interested and satisfied with the experience of 
being part of it. After a luncheon and a few calls and a little 
investigation, I agreed to serve on the board if elected, and I 
was elected, so I began my services. 

Hicke: What was it about it that appealed to you? 

Heilbron: First of all, I had not been engaged in a program with a private 
university, and second it was in San Francisco, and it meant 
that I didn't have to move back and forth over the state for 
trustee meetings, and it was a downtown institution in San 


Francisco, chiefly. So these were attractive elements. Most of 
all, as Stewart pointed out, the university was tied to the 
community in industry, in business, and in law so that one could 
feel that he was doing something related to the community by 
participating in this enterprise. 

As I indicated, it was a different experience from an 
institution of nineteen campuses that were comprehensive in 
nature, though they stressed the liberal arts very much in the 
traditional sense. 

Hicke: You are referring to the state college system? 

Heilbron: Yes. Here was a practical, entrepreneurial college that was 
chiefly graduate and oriented to the business and industrial 
needs of the Bay Area. Currently, I believe 40 percent of the 
tuition is paid by corporations interested in having their 
personnel move upward in responsibility with the additional 
knowledge and academic experience they receive through this 
institution. It has been primarily- -still is primarily- -a 
graduate professional institution with three areas of particular 
interest: business, public administration, and law. 

Until recently the prevailing view was that it began as a 
law school. Only a law school; a kind of part-time law school, 
commenced by the YMCA in 1901. For quite some time, it remained 
in that position, but it slowly expanded, still under YMCA 
auspices, into the economic and public administration fields. 
For a considerable period during the earlier parts of the 
century, it was a slow expansion. It was known as the 
university or college of the last chance; that is, people who 
otherwise didn't have the funds to go to college, who were 
disadvantaged, could go to this place which, after all, had a 
charitable foundation through the YMCA, and become a lawyer, 
become an accountant and in that way have an opportunity they 
otherwise would not get. The new president, Tom Stauffer, has 
traced the institution's beginnings back to 1853 when the YMCA 
offered a lecture series and essay readings. 

Hicke: Was it mostly part-time? 

Heilbron: It was night and part-time and, except for the law degree, took 
some time to have [the right to award] any degrees. It had its 
main quarters for a long period on Golden Gate Avenue in the 
YMCA building there. It broke away from the YMCA, but the 
arrangement has always been that three of the trustees be 
nominated by that institution. I'm not certain it is still a 
requirement in the by-laws, but it is honored, and some of the 
strongest trustees have come from that source. 


Hicke: How are the others nominated? 

Heilbron: The others are nominated as in the case of almost any other 
institution with self -perpetuating trustees: nominated by a 
board committee, reviewed by the board, and then appointed by 
action of the board, as are the YMCA candidates themselves. 

For a long time , the school was operated under directors , 
but they became presidents after a while. The stability of the 
institution is indicated by the fact that since 1930 there have 
only been three presidents. 

Hicke: That's unusual. 

Heilbron: Since 1930 there was Nagle T. Miner, who served as a director 
previous to his presidency. Then Russell T. Sharp, who served 
for- -I know one twelve -year stretch; he came back into the 
institution for a time. I don't know whether the twelve years 
is aggregate or not. Most recently, Dr. Otto Butz, who retired 
after twenty- two years of service this July 1, 1992. 

I would say that during the period of these last two 
presidencies, if not before, the slogan of "The School of the 
Last Chance" has been abandoned because of the changes that had 
to be made for the purposes of accreditation and because tuition 
costs have mounted to enable the institution to continue. The 
students who come to the graduate programs are not students who 
are of the kind that were admitted in the first years of the 
institution. In that sense, the institution has changed, I 
guess as all American universities in one way or another have 
changed. After all, the great Ivy League institutions began 
under theological auspices and they, too, have had marked 
changes through their careers. 

I might say, however, that Golden Gate, through its three 
presidents, has had somewhat the same experience that the older 
institutions in the country had during the nineteenth century. 
They were developed by single presidents who had been delegated 
considerable amounts of authority and were able, pretty freely, 
to establish the program of their institution. 

Hicke: And so there is a parallel here? 

Heilbron: There is a parallel in that apparently it takes one dominant 

personality to push an institution into prominence, and then it 
takes about eleven to thirty- five people to maintain the 
operation as trustees and to be careful about their appointment 
of presidents, and the career of the modern president is 


approximately five years. So it has shared in the developing 
experiences of American higher education institutions. 

[tape interruption] 

Heilbron: I might say that the university currently has an enrollment that 
makes it, in numbers, the third private California university in 
the state: Stanford [University], USC [the University of 
Southern California], and Golden Gate. 

Hicke: Are you going to tell me what the differences are that you found 
between the private university and the public system? 

Heilbron: Yes. I think I'll get to that. 

The board has consisted mainly of representatives of the 
business power structure of the Bay Area. Board chairmen have 
included Samuel Stewart, as I mentioned, and he also became the 
executive vice president of the Bank of America; Fred Drexler, 
who was president of the Industrial Indemnity Insurance Company; 
Stanley Skinner, who has been executive vice president of PG&E 
[Pacific Gas & Electric Company] ; John Neukom came from 
McKesson' s. Somehow I got in there between 1979 and 1981. 

I mentioned about the presidents, and the history of the 
institution has been and is being written by the presidents, 
with respect to their periods of office. Nagle Miner has given 
the years up to his departure from the presidency, and Russell 
Sharp has completed and published his book, and now Otto Butz is 
beginning on his book covering his period of presidency. 

Hicke: Is he still the president? 

Heilbron: No, he retired as of July 1, 1992, so he is just beginning. I 
mention this because I don't want to repeat a lot of material 
that will be available to anybody through these books. They are 
written in some detail, and considerable effort was made to make 
them accurate with reference to what occurred, when it occurred, 
why it occurred. But of course these books are likely to be a 
good and favorable record of the institution from the executive 
point of view and not too likely to be critical of any of the 
leadership that's writing the books. But they will be pretty 
objective nevertheless. So my comments should be from the 
viewpoint of the trustee engaged with policy and will not be too 
involved with the administrative detail. 

Hicke: It's good to have that in the record, though: the fact that 
there are these books that can be referred to. 


Heilbron: Yes, that's why I mentioned it. Because if people are 
interested, this will be called to their attention. 

I told you that there was the attraction of the board as 
being a local body within the city. It met approximately ten 
times a year for one-and-a-half hour noontime sessions on the 
last Friday of each month. The board was able to handle its 
business with expedition, due primarily to two conditions: first 
most of the detail and policy were developed between sessions by 
the executive committee of the board, consisting of the chairmen 
of its standing committees, and the other committees. 

Hicke: Were you an officer of this board? 
Heilbron: Well, I was chairman in 1979- '81. 

As I indicated, the bulk of the administrative decision- 
making, spilling over into policy, was delegated to the 
presidents in more or less the nineteenth and early-twentieth 
century tradition. Let's compare it a little bit to the [Robert 
Gordon] Sproul era [at the University of California] . Of 
course, that was well into this century. 

Now, in a book I wrote about college and university 
trustees in 1973, I wrote that I had admired this one-and-a-half 
hour efficient board meeting program, always ending at 1:30 p.m. 
after a working business luncheon. One of the chairmen, Harry 
Lange, used to proudly say, "...and we've concluded at 1:29!" 
[laughter] I commented favorably on the procedure, but soon 
after publication, as enrollments, curriculum, financial 
considerations became more complex, I realized that the board 
was not engaged as much as it should be in the program of the 
university. Its hold on finances continued to be effective and 
always has been, though the institution is tuition driven (about 
85 percent of the operational expense is derived from tuition) . 

Hicke: And the rest comes from the YMCA foundation? 

Heilbron: No, the rest comes from income derived from a small endowment 
and from contributions through estates and by individuals. 

The expertise and interests of the board were almost 
entirely business, and the board's relationships to faculty, to 
planning, and to development were limited. In the past two 
years, the situation has changed materially. Board meetings do 
not adjourn within an hour and a half after lunch, and 
committees have revived with their activities in some depth. 

Hicke: I would say that is more important than adjourning at 1:29. 


Heilbron: Of course. As I pointed out, it was because the committee 

structure was rather strong, with an executive committee meeting 
rather frequently, that made it possible for these shorter 
meetings. But the board has thirty-five people, the attendance 
is quite good, and they enjoy the meetings and that's why the 
attendance is quite good, but as I will detail a little bit 
later when the accreditation problems come up, the board needed 
to be more active and involved in the whole university program. 

Now, Russell Sharp, the second president, was a graduate of 
Harvard [University] , a literary man, and improved the area of 
the general subject matter, although he did not change the 
emphasis of the school. He had good wit and humor, was a very 
attractive speaker, and he kept the college running effectively 
during a period of gradual expansion. 

Hicke: He was a good administrator? 

Heilbron: Yes, he was a good administrator. He was particularly 

interested in, outside of the university, the accreditation 
field. He was the chairman of the Western Association of 
Schools and Colleges, and during his period, we stood very high 
with the accrediting agency. But this changed a little bit 

Dr. Butz was a Princeton [University] graduate. He had 
been vice president of Sacramento State College and had served 
at San Francisco State, and he was the embodiment of the 
entrepreneurial spirit. He didn't like the bureaucracy of the 
academy, although he was dedicated to the principles of the 
academy. By that 1 mean that he had the greatest respect for 
academic life, for the challenges of economic and political 
theory, but he didn't care too much about the traditional 
administrative set-up of the institutions, of higher education 
institutions. Thus, he didn't maintain very good relationships 
with the accrediting agency. 

Hicke: Did he maintain the academic standards of the school? 

Heilbron: Oh, yes. I'll get into that. He sensed the flexibility of a 

private university. If he felt there was a need for instruction 
in transportation in the Bay Area, he authorized courses to meet 
the need and graduate degrees to be given in this specialty. 
Thus any number of MBAs [Master of Business Administration 
degrees] became subdivided into specific areas. Deans were 
encouraged to identify and develop programs to meet the 
interests of local industry, and he was very successful in this. 
But the idea of giving an MBA, let's say in transportation 


because of some short concentration in that degree, didn't sit 
well with the traditional accreditors. 

Hicke: Did this have to do with fund raising, too? 

Heilbron: Well, it had to do with attracting students to the institution, 
particularly those who would be paid for by the interested 
corporations. It was good marketing. Actually, if you simply 
removed the particular degree and just called it an MBA, you 
were doing no harm to anybody, but giving the MBA as though you 
had done careful concentrated research in this particular area 
of business or industry in a way was not as precise and correct 
as it should be. Most of your courses were general management 
courses, not necessarily in transportation, not necessarily in 
telecommunications, and so on. Now this has been-- 


Hicke: You Just started to say this has been corrected? 

Heilbron: The degrees have been considerably reduced in the past few years 
so that the problem raised by this issue is well on its way to 
solution. But it illustrates that an imaginative approach to 
marketing increases student body enrollment. One course in 
transportation an expert in transportation does not make. It 
may have been two courses, but the standard of instruction was 
not depreciated. 

Take another area. Dr. Butz noted that there was a great 
military buildup in camps established throughout the country and 
these presented another opportunity. The army was emphasizing 
the idea that its soldiers should learn a civilian job or 
specialty while learning the skills of defense and soldiery, and 
he entered into agreements with army commanders at the various 
posts, and some navy and air force installations, establishing 
degree programs in camps and forts throughout the country. 

Hicke: Good for him. 

Heilbron: A great many veterans got a head start in civilian life through 
this program, and I'll talk more about this a little later. The 
college turned into a university in the seventies, I think, 
following the lead of many of our public institutions. I think 
I commented on this development when I dealt with the state 
colleges and I'll not repeat those statements. Somewhere I 
learned that if you had three graduate schools, I believe, you 
were entitled to identify the institution as a university. Be 
that as it may, Golden Gate did have business, public 
administration, and law. 


The university has an undergraduate division, but its 
thrust, day and night, Is In Its graduate programs. 

Hicke: Perhaps you are going to get to this later, too, but I know that 
it attracts many distinguished people who teach part- tine. 

Heilbron: That Is correct. The practical, the real-life issues, are 
emphasized, rather than the theoretical, in its curriculum. 
This decision partly derives from the university's origins and 
partly from the extensive use of adjunct faculty. I think 
that's what you were referring to. They get very many 
distinguished people in their part-time faculty. Some 700 
practitioners constitute the academic pool for much of the 
teaching, although I suppose no more than half of them are 
teaching in any one semester. 

It is estimated, nevertheless, that full-time instruction 
staff teach half of the courses, except in the law school, which 
is practically entirely full-time, that is, its professors. The 
question of the resulting education quality is met head-on by 
the Golden Gate community. What better instruction can you have 
if your teacher is an interested CEO setting forth the problems, 
the issues, the solutions, the failures of his experience when 
dealing with the substantive matters of the subject? How does 
that instruction compare with the professor's lecture at a 
traditional university followed by discussion sections led by 
graduate students? Of course, every adjunct teacher is not an 
established CEO past or present, but he's had considerable field 
experience as well as some teaching background. The institution 
is carried by its adjunct faculty. Take that away and you 
wouldn't have the kind of institution it is. 

Hicke: I've heard the question debated as to whether the art of 

teaching is more important or whether the science of knowing 
what you are teaching. Perhaps that depends on who and what age 
you are teaching. 

Heilbron: Well, it brings up the old question of methodology as against 
substance. I have always felt that in the usual situation the 
man who knows his subject makes it interesting and the man who 
does not know it might make it interesting through superficial 
expression of his talents. But I think there is definitely a 
place for both. I think that a man must know his subject in 
order to be an effective teacher, but there are creative methods 
of teaching, and some people who do know their subject 
nevertheless are not very able to be interesting, to arouse 
interest, to appeal to students. So I am not against some 
methods of teaching. In fact, I felt in many cases that while 
elementary and secondary teachers probably get an overdose of 


method in their training, university teachers practically get 
none and many see no commitment or obligation to be interesting 
to their students. [laughter] I felt a little introductory 
course or two with respect to how to shape a lecture might not 
be amiss, even among those who know their subjects. 

Maybe I should talk about some interesting problems that 
have come along the way. The law school, for a good period of 
time, was engaged in public interest law as against traditional 
subjectswell, not so much against traditional subject matter 
as interesting students to participate in public interest law 
after they graduated. For quite some time during that period of 
expansion, when civil liberties were most attractive to 

Hicke: The sixties? 

Heilbron: --the sixtiesthey attracted considerable enrollment because of 
that emphasis. 

Hicke: Would you say they differed from other law schools perhaps a bit 
in that emphasis? 

Heilbron: Only perhaps in giving courses and stressing courses in the 
area. Real estate law is real estate law, whether you are 
negotiating a lease for a millionaire or trying to get a rental 
for a disadvantaged person, and the essential courses that make 
up a law-school curriculum as a professional curriculum are 
pretty much the same no matter. It just is in some cases you 
would give one or two more courses in antidiscrimination fields 
and the labor area than other institutions do. 

Now it is quite a traditional school. It has visiting 
professors who are outstanding in their field. The ABA 
[American Bar Association] thought perhaps we had too many 
visiting professors, which cuts down on the need to have tenured 
professors, but that is a balance that has been worked out. 

The school ran into financial difficulties about five years 
ago or more. In other words, its tuition didn't carry its 
operations, and it was a fairly serious deficit. So the board 
had to decide whether to take from the net earnings of the other 
parts of the university and support the school with a plan for 
gradually expanding enrollments and making it self-sufficient. 
I believe we did that to the extent of $5 million. Before the 
end of the period it was a five-year period and I don't know 
whether the figure is correct here, but I know we guaranteed the 
deficiency for a five-year period the school righted itself, 


and within four years was making ends meet and within five years 
was developing net earnings. And still does. 

Hicke: By raising tuition? 

Heilbron: Well, its tuition has always been competitive with other law 

schools, that is USF [University of San Francisco], Santa Clara 
[University], McGeorge [Law School], and it simply put more 
energy into its program and interested more students. It always 
had more applicants than it admitted; it always had that. But 
you have to have a certain quality to a law school to have it 
endure, because if you admit everybody and carry everybody and 
everybody flunks the bar examination or almost, you are not 
going to have a law school for very long. 

Hicke: No, you will be out of business. 

Heilbron: What the law school finally hit upon was to be liberal in its 
admissions but very strict on its retention after the first 
year. In other words, give opportunity, but close it down if 
there isn't obvious potential. They've followed that pretty 
well although now, within the last few years, they have been 
able, with their enrollment applications, to maintain fairly 
high quality in their first-year students as well as in the rest 
of the school. They don't have this curtailment at the end of 
the first year, and the law school is doing quite well. As a 
matter of fact, it has cut down on the total number of students 
it will accept for the entire law school. That gets reflected 
in the costs of operating the school, the more students you 
have. In order to be more certain of its viability, they cut 
down on the total number in the school at any one time . 

The ABA has taken an interest; it's an accredited school. 
But after the financial issue developed, the ABA said that all 
net earnings from the law school must be put into its own 
account and used only for purposes of the law school. If there 
is a surplus, that surplus simply gets added to it, with the 
idea that if the time of depression occurs again, as it did five 
to eight years ago, there will be a cushion to see the school 
through. And this prevents the rest of the university, no 
matter what its financial condition, from utilizing the monies 
developed by the law school. 

Hicke: Is this the ABA acting as an accrediting-*? 

Heilbron: It is the ABA acting as an accrediting body and making it a 

condition. Of course, the reverse answer of the board to begin 
with was, "Look, there is a law school because we bailed it out. 
We used the other people's money in order to do it. Now, if we 








meet a problem in the business school, you say that the 
university can't take funds from another part of the university 
which at that time is having substantial success?" Veil, that's 
what happens when you have a professional school attached to a 
general university. Both the AMA [American Medical Association] 
and the ABA are similar in this respect. They like the idea of 
being attached to a university so that there is the prestige in 
the commity--it's the Stanford Medical School, the UC Medical 
School, or similarly the law schoolsbut they want the 
professional schools to be as independent as possible. 

And what do they do? They withhold the accredit? 

They can put you on probation until you implement the 
requirements . 

Whatever requirements they decide to make? 

Well, the requirements are specifically, usually, for the 
curriculum of the law school, the compensation of the 
professors, the adequacy of library and the usual elements of 

I guess 
power . 

I didn't realize that the accrediting body had such 

Accrediting bodies have a great deal of power, and some suspect 
that maybe there is some abuse of power. The critics of the 
American Bar Association's position indicate that they are the 
most effective union for professors, law school professors, that 
could possibly be imagined, because if you don't pay your law 
school professors a certain amount, they can't be that good, 
they can't be that effective. I believe that we almost had to 
double the salaries of the same professors in order to maintain 
the ABA accreditation. Now, it may be that some of these 
professors were doing outside practice to an extent not 
permitted by ABA regulations when applied to law school 
teaching, but not too much of that was taking place. 

I have been on both sides of this problem. Naturally, we 
want the best possible law school and so we have to pay 
competitive prices for our professors , but when I was on the 
COPA board, I always felt that the ABA was perhaps going too far 
in cutting the law school off from the university, making it an 
independent body except for the minimal purposes. It is still 
an interesting relationship. 

The ABA does not oppose the idea that there should be a 
relationship between the law school and the university; in fact, 


Hicke : 

I think we don't have enough of it in Golden Gate and probably 
in many other universities. By that I mean I think that some 
courses in introductory political science concerning the 
Constitution probably should be given by the law school 
professors in the undergraduate field, and there should be more 
of a free flow of academic relationships between the law school 
and the rest of the university. I think that the model of such 
a relationship was symbolized by Justice [Roger] Traynor, the 
chief Justice of the California Supreme Court who got his Ph.D. 
in political science and his J.D. in law in the same year. 

Another area of interest has been the public administration 
side. When I first came into the Golden Gate program, there 
were a number of police officers and people from the civil 
service departments in the city taking courses that would 
upgrade them in knowledge and effectiveness. That area of 
public administration fell off for a while; I understand it has 
revived. To me, there should be great possibilities in public 

You mean for the school, for the university? 

Heilbron: For the university. Here we are, in a presidential election, 

arguing about how costs should be reduced in government, and in 
every segment of our governmental operations- -city, state, and 
federal- -they say there are too many bureaucrats. Are there? 
Just what can be done with respect to streamlining the 
government? Without making any kind of a judgment on it, it may 
be that research has developed what should be done all over the 
country through the universities. That is simply not paid 
attention to by government itself. It may be that government is 
not as bloated as it is reported to be. It may be that some 
parts of government are bloated and other parts are terribly 
under -represented. It just seems to me that the universities 
should have a partnership here with government that would be 
beneficial to both. It is a problem that has arisen, and I hope 
that is the direction that we'll take. 

I know that when I was on the state university board, at a 
very early stage when they were still colleges, the board said 
that Sacramento State [College] should be the place where the 
programs of public administration should be developed. It 
should be in somewhat the same position as [the University of 
California at] Davis is with respect to agriculture in the 
graduate field. And now it is, but it took- -I don't know how 

Hicke: They now have that Center for California Studies, but that's 
fairly recent, maybe five, six, seven years ago? 


Heilbron: That's right. 

Hicke: And that's what you are referring to? 

Heilbron: That's what I'm referring to. Let me see. I would say that it 
certainly took from twenty- five to thirty years to have it 
occur, and it wasn't due to anything that I did or the board 
did. It finally developed within the institution that that's 
what they should do. 

Hicke: Lat me just ask a question here. I've talked to people in 

Sacramento who have tried to set up relationships between the 
University of California, say, and state legislators or staff of 
the legislators, and there seems to be a certain amount of 
suspicion or distrust between the two. 

Heilbron: Well, I don't know the story with the University of California 
and I don't really know the present situation with Sacramento 
State [University], as there may be that suspicion, too. There 
is always suspicion when government enters into a partnership 
with private industry or the education field, because the 
question is, who is trying to influence whom? Is the university 
trying to get its position and ideas across to the bureaucracy, 
or is the bureaucracy trying to utilize the instrument of the 
university to promote its own interests? Similarly with 
business; is it going to make the academic more material in 
attitude to the detriment of creative scholarship? 

So these partnerships are always rather difficult, but that 
doesn't mean that they shouldn't be encouraged and made to work 
if they can be, because each has a lot to offer the other. 

Heilbron: We'll go to another problem, that is, research. 

Any university worth its salt is supposed to have a 
research program that will keep its curriculum up to current 
needs. If you have a small, full-time faculty and they have a 
teaching load of twelve units for the week, and they must in 
addition attend to counseling, and they must participate in 
faculty governance, there isn't a great deal of time left for 
research. However, it is remarkable that the really interested 
teacher who wants to keep up with his field is able to do 
research and publish. And I don't mean overpublish. But even a 
teaching institution requires or needs faculty who keep up with 
their subjects through essential research. This has been 
something of a problem at Golden Gate, as it has been in the 
California State University system. 


Hicke: So would the board discuss the requirements for research? 

Heilbron: Yes, the board has discussed and has encouraged the effort to 

obtain grants for particular research projects and also has been 
willing to authorize release tine for a full-time faculty member 
who engages in research. It's not an insoluble problem, but it 
is one that exists . 

I mentioned that perhaps Golden Gate has had too many 
degrees, and these are being reduced, have been greatly reduced 
already. It's all right to have your MBA, for example, showing 
a concentration in a subject, but nevertheless it should be an 
MBA. There is some effort to say, "Veil, why should an 
institution of this kind be solely a degree institution? Maybe 
industry is interested to have the people learn those things 
that apply to their particular industry. Maybe they are 
interested in the management aspects of telecommunications and 
not much else." This particularly is a problem with respect to 
undergraduate programs. Corporate institutions do not wish to 
pay for general education. 

Hicke: No art history? 

Heilbron: They'll pay for what they believe assists them. However, I do 
hope that there isn't fractionalizing of the university through 
Just spotty concentrations to assist individual companies. It 
may, however, be part of the wave of the future, as companies 
cut down on their participation and the amount of tuition 
they'll pay. 

Hicke: So maybe some specialized center or small schools -- 

Heilbron: Veil, what we are talking about is simply non-degree students, 
that's all we are talking about. That kind of an operation 
makes it difficult to estimate enrollments, difficult to predict 
financial needs and requirements, difficult to know what space 
needs there are. 

Golden Gate University first moved into a warehouse during 
Dr. Sharp's time, which became remodeled into the university 
building. Then its main campus building on Mission Street was 
built during Dr. Butz's time, a very fine building. Alan Temko, 
who does not usually praise architecture in this community, 
considered it one of the best adaptations of land building use 
in town. One of the current problems is that the earthquake in 
1989 did severe damage to the old warehouse building, and it is 
costing us a great amount of money to restore and earthquake- 
proof that building. 


With over 40,000 alumni, It Is hoped that the endowments 
will greatly improve. They are now getting older, more 
successful, more affluent and should support the institution. 
They do, to some considerable extent, but this commuter school 
doe* not have the traditions of the homecoming queen and the 
football victories and the dormitory life and the tree- lined 
paths that the traditional institution has. The nostalgia for 
night school [laughter] is not likely to develop. On the other 
hand, there are people who can point back to their service and 
their student days at Golden Gate and who feel a great 
obligation to the kind of instruction they've had. George 
Christopher, who was mayor, had that feeling and is most 
supportive of the university, and Dick Rosenberg, who is 
president of the Bank of America- - 

[tape interruption] 

Hicke: --Dick Rosenberg, you were saying, is-- 
Heilbron: --is a very loyal supporter. 

One of the most interesting developments is the 
establishment of branch campuses throughout the state, 1 think 
even outside as far as Seattle. These do not give the full 
complement of courses that the San Francisco campus does but 
meet the needs of the particular area and are established in 
places that the great universities of the state don't reach, nor 
the state university system. I'm talking about Monterey and 
Contra Costa and San Jose, although that's alongside San Jose 
State. But even where it's alongside or near an established 
university, it concentrates in an area that that university, at 
least at this time, does not cover, or fully cover. 

With the budgetary crisis and the cutting down of classes, 
students increasingly turn to places where they can get the 
classes they want when they want them. One of the great 
advantages of an institution like Golden Gate is that its 
classes are small, and if you have a class of fifteen or twenty 
in a course that you want at a time you can get it, if you can 
afford it or get somebody else to pay the tuition, you are 
perfectly happy. That seems to be the source of enrollment at 
this time. 

Hicke : 

Do you have a scholarship program that helps out with tuition? 

Heilbron: Well, of course we engage with the federal and state scholarship 
programs , and we have individual scholarships granted by 
institutions, by individuals, and are constantly promoting 
scholarships because a scholarship is part of a tuition- driven 




Hicke : 


institution, whoever pays for it- -the student, the parent, the 
donator . 

Most of the problems that I have been talking about, and 
others, have developed as a result of recent accreditation 
experiences with the western association. 

Beginning in 1986, WASC had warned the university of 
certain deficiencies, as they saw them, in the operation of the 
institution. The faculty did not have a basic responsibility 
for the institution, as they saw it. The board was not 
sufficiently involved in the operations of the university; 
faculty research was not sufficiently supported; the institution 
was what they called "market-driven"; the university required 
development from outside sources to lessen its tuition 
dependency; there should be more full-time faculty, particularly 
with respect to supervising the branch campuses, that is, more 
resident faculty at the branches to assure academic quality; 
they didn't believe that the adjunct faculty was sufficiently 
tied into the life of the university; they thought that there 
wasn't the kind of review of the president each year that there 
should be. 

This started not all at once, all of these items at once, 
but developed over a period of five years, 1986 to 1991. In '91 
the tone of the review by the accrediting agency was hostile and 
I didn't think consistent with the objectives of accreditation. 

Are they supposed to be helpful? 

They are supposed to be constructively helpful, and it may be 
that they didn't feel that sufficient--. Well, things had been 
changing in accordance with warnings previously issued, but not 
fast enough to satisfy them. And there were certain elements of 
the faculty who were not happy with the way things were going, 
and the inspection more or less tied in with one element of the 
faculty. The president permitted a self-study to be made by the 
faculty without any real supervision, and so all of the 
complaints mounted up into quite an unflattering 
characterization. The result was that the institution was put 
on probation. 

What year was this? 

This was '91. Dr. Butz resigned, but he had advised previously 
that he had only stayed to eliminate the problems with respect 
to accreditation. But since it was going to be quite some time 
before these things could all be attended to, he thought he had 
just as well discontinue. Indeed, he said he had planned to do 


it previously. Some people questioned that, but nevertheless 
that's what occurred, and we have a new president by the name of 
Stauffer, Tom Stauffer, who has had a great deal of experience 
with accreditation. He came from one of the Houston 
universities. He had developed strong liaison with the space 
industry in Houston. He had been the head of the Association of 
American Colleges and Universities, a well-known educator 
throughout the country. He has been organizing a complete 
attack on problems which the accrediting agency has raised. 

Now, some of these problems were perfectly legitimate 
issues. The objection could have been more to the tone, to the 
way that they were presented than whether they were legitimate 
questions. So the situation at present appears to be quite 
under control after all. USF has been put on probation; the 
University of the Pacific is also on probation. These things 
occur while an accrediting agency flexes its muscles; so there 
is nothing really threatening that I see in the situation. 

But there is a fundamental problem for both the accrediting 
agency and the university that has to be resolved. They have 
standards which are, in many respects, quantitative. You know, 
your library is adequate if it has got so many books; I don't 
know how they fit in the computers with the situation or tapes 
for the situation; you have to have so many full-time 
professors, and meet other standards. Although they are phrased 
in terms of quality, they are frequently applied in terms of 
quantity. At the same time, the accrediting agency believes 
that the university has an excellent chance to become a kind of 
a model for specialized institutions in American education, and 
they recognize that there are special problems related to a 
university dependent on adjunct faculty, and so on. They are 
going to have to make some adjustments in their standards, and 
the university is going to have to make some adjustments in its 
operations to be certain of its educational quality. 

Although, the peculiar part throughout this whole 
investigation is that there seems to be no questioning of the 
quality of the education that is being produced. Here is an 
institution that has never been otherwise than in the black, 
that has a narrow endowment base, that's true, but its financial 
assurance comes into question because its endowment Is not great 
and it depends on tuition. Most of the accrediting people come 
from public agencies , and look what has happened to their 
financial base. There is practically no existing basis for 
estimating long-term planning in state institutions. At least 
there is some basis for private institutions to estimate their 
long-term needs and what they have to do for the future. So I 
think that this whole issue with respect to this institution is 


going to be resolved beneficially for both accreditation and for 
the institution. They both need to look differently on the 
higher education program. 

Hicke: I guess I was under somewhat of a misapprehension because I 

thought that accrediting had only to do with academic standards, 
but you are saying they reach into other aspects of the 

Heilbron: They are primarily academic, but they reach into the financial 
aspects as well, because how can you assure that your present 
students will pass through the four years that they plan to pass 
through if you haven't got the financial background in order to 
assure that future? They do go into the financial aspects now. 
How qualified they are to do it may be another question. 

Recently, or not so many years ago, I had occasion to 
borrow money for an institution, a nonprofit agency, and the 
bank didn't want to take the real estate of the institution as 
security, because they felt that the last thing they wanted to 
do publicly was to foreclose on the institution's real estate. 
It's like a religious institution borrowing money. But they 
simply looked to see what its income was and how they might 
expect to be paid from its income. But more than anything else, 
they gave a line of credit for one year because they looked at 
the board and they said, "These people on the board are simply 
not going to let an institution like this go and their 
reputations go with it." Similarly, part of the financial 
integrity of Golden Gate are the people who occupy positions of 
status in the community; how can they afford to let an 
institution like that down? No matter if they have to go to 
their own boards or go through all of their contacts in order to 
deal with the university's problems, they'll do it. So you have 
to weigh that in the balance and not merely cash on hand. 

Hicke: That's an interesting insight also. 

Heilbron: It is very difficult to raise money for endowments. Walter 

Haas, Sr., whom I knew pretty well, was against giving money for 
endowments. He said, "What you are doing is to take succeeding 
generations problems and try to absorb them by your own efforts. 
Let each generation pay its own way." Now, that may be an 
extreme point of view, and it is a peculiar point of view for 
the Haases who give everything to everybody, but on the other 
hand, I think if you analyze their projects, they are all 
specific. You give $15 million to a building, but that is not 
money that you draw from for income, that is capital investment. 


Hicke: For a specific purpose. 

Heilbron: That's right. Yes. Well, I don't know. I'm sure that 

everybody wants endowments and if it weren't for endowments some 
of our major universities these days would have collapsed. 


Heilbron: I have no views against endowments except that they are 
extremely hard to raise at this time. 

I think that probably what is interesting about this Golden 
Gate University is that it raises questions about what the 
university of the future will be like. This applies to public 
as well as private universities. The great institutions --the 
Harvards, the Yales, the Berkeleys, the Michigans- -will probably 
pretty much continue in their present ways. But the small, 
private, liberal arts college will have tough sledding. The 
kind of equipment that will be necessary in future institutions 
will be very expensive. 

I don't think we realize what is going to happen with 
respect to the access to libraries through computers and the 
access to lectures. You can get the greatest lectures in the 
world through telecommunications. I'm not sure you will need 
the spacious plants that you now need if part of education is 
going to be derived in the home through contacts with your 
central institution and maybe beyond. At least, plenty of 
periodicals have discussed this question and indicate to me that 
there are going to be changes, particularly because of the costs 
of education that will have to be considered and met. The 
capital requirements are going to be considerable. 

It would be unfortunate, on the other hand, if the liberal 
arts elements of higher education should suffer on account of 
this, because even the highest business executives say they 
prefer a person who has not only his professional background but 
a general liberal arts background to the person who has only a 
professional background. As Golden Gate tries to work out what 
its undergraduate core courses should be, the core programs 
can't be as extensive as they are in most of our institutions, 
but what will they be? Economics? Political and social 
institutions? Some basic science and the scientific method? 
Ethics? Literature? To what depth has to be determined, but 
these are some of the core subjects that it seems to me have to 
be covered for higher education to be as significant as it has 


Hicke : 

The ethics aspect is rather interesting. Law schools have 
changed considerably in this respect and have an ethics 
component in many of their courses and in separate courses. 
Medical education is also reflecting this situation. All of 
these anti- discrimination statutes have alerted education to 
this necessity. To continue your bar license, you have to 
undergo instruction in ethics that you have never gone through 
before. After all, ethics is a kind of application of the old 
morality in philosophy. It is revived in a kind of a different 
form and Bade specific and taken partly over from religion, but 
has now become not merely something that's part of core 
education- -but I don't know that this is something so new. The 
ethical conduct, it would seem to me, was part of the Greek 
philosophical discourse, an important part of it. It occupied a 
lot of Socrates' thinking and Plato's Republic, so I'm not sure 
that this is particularly new in concept, but it probably is 
quite new in application considering the emphases in higher 

Maybe we just lost sight of it for a while? 

Heilbron: We lost sight of it for a while, yes. Or it got buried in other 
courses . 

I haven't made any allowance here for multicultural course 
programs. I would imagine that a somewhat restricted core 
curriculum at an institution like Golden Gate would have them in 
its undergraduate area. Its cultural information and discussion 
would be part of its political and economic classes and its 
ethics component included rather than have lots of multiplicity 
of courses giving separate cultural instruction in African, 
Asian, Indian and so forth. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if 
there isn't some relaxation of that emphasis, or at least not so 
much a relaxation of emphasis as a distribution of cultural 
considerations in all of the areas that it legitimately applies 
to. The important African literature should be included in 

Hicke: Mainstreaming? 

Heilbron: Mainstreaming, well, yes. In dealing with social problems the 
cultural differences between groups have to be noted. In 
history, the injustices done to certain cultural elements should 
be part of it. But fractionalizing it, cutting it into 
segments--! don't know- -ghettoizing culture seems to be not the 
wave of the future . 

Well, do you think that's it? 


Hicke: That's an encouraging note. But I have one more question: we 
talked about the University of Phoenix that offers a degree 
program by video or computer. I think it's an MBA program, 

Heilbron: Th University of Phoenix operates without any adjunct faculty, 
I believe, or practically any regular faculty. Maybe it does 
operate with adjunct faculty. 

Hicke: What do you think of that as a possibility for the future? 

Heilbron: In the end, the greatest teaching is the teacher and the student 
over a bench. 

Hicke: Interaction, yes. 

Heilbron: If you have a television lecture, for example, and you are at 

hone and the phone rings and it is something that you forgot you 
have to do and you leave the lecture for a while. Then maybe 
you put it off or put it on hold and come back to it, and it is 
all coming at you, that is, the information is coming at you 
from the screen, do you write it down as you would in a 
classroom? Is there an atmosphere conducive to an academic 
discipline when you are by yourself? Some people can do it 
well. Nobody wrote better than Abraham Lincoln, but how many 
Lincolns are there? 

Hicke: As I recall it now, this was a course done by computers so that 
the lessons were all on your computer, and you communicated with 
other members of the class and the professor by the computer and 
modem . 

Heilbron: Well, that's different from television. It may be a big thing 
in the future, although it will be very complicated. 

Hicke: Good for special kinds of work, I suppose, and for special 

people. I think these students were people who worked all day 
and found it very difficult to drive across town to get to a 

Heilbron: Well, it is certainly better than not having anything at all. 
Whether it is the equivalent of a class discussion, I don't 
know. I would say it is better than a class discussion in a 
huge class where there is very little discussion and a few 
people get up and air their particular views. I've often 
compared the conference meeting over the phone with a meeting 
that would be held with all of the people around the table. It 


accoaplishec a great deal and it saves all of that 
transportation. The question is, is it as good? 

Hi eke: What is your answer? 

Heilbron: Well, my answer is that you can't have the free flow of 

discussion with only the voices over a distance that you do when 
you are around the table. You don't see the person, you don't 
see how the person feels when he is talking, the interaction 
isn't as good. But, in the net it is maybe better than having 
people running all over the country to meet for a short time and 
waste all of the rest of the time in hotels and transportation. 

Hicke: What about with a video component? 

Heilbron: I think the video component improves it a great deal. It also, 
I think, produces a little bit of tension. When you are talking 
and you want to get it all in as best you can, you can stop and 
start better when the person is opposite you than when he or she 
is part of a group on a screen. When you are on camera, you may 
be in a little different situation, but everybody will learn the 
mediua and give a better message. 

Hicke: That has interesting implications for the art of negotiation, 
though, for your special expertise. Could you ever, do you 
think, negotiate by a conference call like that? 

Heilbron: Well, you do a good deal of negotiation over the telephone, now, 
as it is. 

Hicke: That's true. 

Heilbron: There are just certain times when face-to-face becomes essential 
because you can't accomplish it any other way. You do negotiate 
by letters. 

Hicke: That's right, so it is just one more added dimension, I guess. 

Heilbron: But I don't think that you can have a court trial with the 

defendant in one place, the judge in another, and the attorneys 
arguing in two other places . 

Hicke: Now that is an interesting thought. [laughter] 

Heilbron: I think that there are certain things that you have to do when 
you are all present and seeing each other and noting each other. 




Okay, well, this has been an outstanding overview of Golden Gate 
University, with lots of information about education in general, 
so I thank you. 

A little bit free-flowing, but maybe we got somewhere. 
1 think so. 

IQKD Television: Its History 
[Interview 14: November 11, 1992] ## 

Hicke: The topic for today is KQED, and let's just start with how you 
got involved and what your official positions were. 

Heilbron: I got involved during the fifties with KQED in a nonofficial 
way, which I will explain later, and in the course of that 
involvement learned something of the beginnings and the history 
of the organization. 

Hicke: Oh, good. Can you elaborate on that? 

Heilbron: Well, in 1951 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) 

proposed a rule that would set aside Channel 9 for educational 
use, and seven school districts outside of San Francisco- -not 
including San Francisco- -with Stanford [University] and Mills 
[College] met to support and implement that rule if possible. 
The Public School Council was formed and the Bay Area Television 
Commission started, and they petitioned for such a channel to be 
established in the Bay Area. 

The mover and shaker in this program was Vaughn D. Seidel, 
who was the supervisor of schools of Alameda County. Now, 
commercial television generally was not too enthusiastic about 
the establishment of a public service channel. Probably they 
didn't know what direction it would take, how much it would 
possibly interfere with their own programming, and most of them 
felt- -or many of them felt at least- -that the public service 
hours, the so-called pro bono hours, that they were required by 
the FCC to devote to public service programming were sufficient 
for the purpose. There was an exception. Phil Lasky of KPIX 
was quite supportive of the movement and later on actually gave 
the first transmitter to KQED, that is, KPIX did. 

In June of 1952, the Bay Area Education Television 
Association was incorporated and that became known as BAETA, and 


that becaae the operator of KQED. It had its initial office in 
Oakland. For some reason Herbert Clish, the superintendent of 
schools in San Francisco, opposed this project. Whether it was 
because it originated in Oakland or not, I have no idea. A 
compromise finally was worked out whereby Clish became the 
chairman of the board of BAETA and Vaughn Seidel its first 

Then, lo and behold, BAETA gets notified that school 
districts can't support the project financially because it will 
not be devoted strictly to research as required by California 
lav. Thus this board of school district supervisors with this 
new project in view could not implement it. The theory 
originally was that it would be self-supporting through 
producing educational programs that would be given to the 

Hicke : And then who would pay for them? 

Heilbron: The school districts would pay for the programs. 

Hicke: Okay, so they would be leased to the schools or sold to the 

Heilbron: It would be sold to the schools. Evidently that was not 

feasible in the way that they had originally planned it, and it 
became obvious that a broader participation by the public that 
could help with the financing was necessary, and that would have 
to be --well, the scope of education would have to be defined 
more broadly than the education of school children. 

Hicke: Can I just ask if this was a very early instance of public 
service television or were there others? 

Heilbron: This is the beginning of the whole business in the United 

Hicke: That's what I wanted to get clear. 

Heilbron: KQED is in the vanguard of this whole new program which was 
going to affect everybody, sooner or later. 

J. Paul Leonard, the president of San Francisco State, 
succeeded Clish as chairman of the board in 1955, and I recall 
going out to see him with Cap [Caspar] Weinberger [then a 
California assemblyman] with the purpose of developing 
legislation to authorize the participation by school districts 
and junior colleges in educational television that had 
previously been frustrated, as I indicated. 


Hicke : 

Would this be state or national legislation? 

Heilbron: This would be state legislation, because it involved state 

school districts and state Junior colleges and state colleges 
and the university, too, I assume. Weinberger did introduce the 
legislation, and it was passed, so that it opened a pretty wide 
door. It opened a wide door to participation, but it still was 
obvious that if this program was to flourish in any large way, 
it would require considerable infusion of private money, whether 
through foundations or individuals. That really was provided by 
the Ford Foundation. The Ford Foundation was the principal 
supporter of public televisioneducational television- - 
throughout the United States, extensively at least from the 
early fifties through 1975. I believe that their participation 
nationally was around $289 million, and KQED had a substantial 
share of this largesse and made possible the development of the 

By '57, after two years of service, the board was 
reorganized to reflect the community interests and Fuller 
Brawner succeeded Leonard as chairman of the board, Brawner is 
B-R-A-W-N-E-R, and Mortimer Fleishhacker II became the 
president. These positions, a little later, were modified so 
that Janes Day, who had been the manager of the pioneer days of 
the station, became president of it in 1968 and Fleishhacker 
became the chairman of the board and he served in that capacity 
until 1972, or through 1972. 

My other participation, before joining the board which I 
think was in '59, was as the moderator of World Affairs 
Council's television program, which I may have referred to 
earlier. We migrated from station to station, and we finally 
wound up on KQED. I know one of our programs was called "The 
World of 1980," which was a prediction kind of program, 
considering that we were doing it in the fifties. [laughter] 

Hicke: Now we are looking back on it. 

Heilbron: Now we are looking back on it and I'm certain we didn't nearly 
anticipate the huge ups and downs of what did occur in the 
interim and by 1980. 

Hicke: That would be fun to go back and see again, wouldn't it? 

Heilbron: It would. The only thing I can be certain about was that we did 
not predict that Governor Reagan in 1980 would be president of 
the United States, because he hadn't yet become the governor of 


Hlcke : 




Hicke : 

That's right. 

Of course all kinds of details had to be developed. An 
incidental one was to adopt the call letters of the station, 

I have always wondered how they choose those . 

Veil, Mr. Janes Day's wife was responsible for these letters, 
and she took then fron the Latin, quod erat demonstrandum, 
meaning "which was to be proved." 

Of course I have seen that before, but 1 never connected it. 

There is another QED station in the United States, but the claim 
is that their use of the letters is purely coincidental, not 
derived fron such a legitimate, ancestral source. 

That is interesting. 

I would like to make two other remarks about personnel and then 
go into a kind of program under several topics that I think are 
pertinent to this agency. One of them is that James Day, who 
had been active in the Vorld Affairs Council with respect to the 
radio program, became the first manager and then president of 
KQED. He continued in that capacity, I believe, until 1972. At 
least, he continued for twelve years from the time of 
appointment. Day was an extraordinary, creative person who 
becane president, after leaving KQED, of NET, which was the 
National Educational Television station, the predecessor of PBS 
[Public Broadcasting Service], so they recognized his abilities, 
and he had demonstrated them. 

Another person who came up from Los Angeles--! believe had 
been employed by a station in Los Angeles- -Jonathan Rice, became 
the program director. Until fairly recently he has been the tie 
that bound the history of the organization and shares a great 
deal of the responsibility and credit for the programming of the 
station. 1 think that he probably had much more to do with this 
aspect of the programming locally during the first ten to 
fifteen years of the activity of the station, because more and 
more it has developed as part of a network. 

Are you going to talk about this? 
raising of the funds? 

Were you involved in the 

Yes, I'll do some talking about funds. I can say that I don't 
think there has been a time that KQED has not been wanting for 
financing. It began quite modestly. In 1954 its budget- -its 


revenues --were $69,500; in 1991 it was spending over $33 
million, so there has been an extraordinary growth and some 
substantial changes in programming and financing, and I will get 
into that as we go on. The days of operation started out three 
days a week, and of course it's now around the clock. 

The first full-fledged plant was on 4th and Bryant Street 
in an old warehouse and a place where perhaps most of the 
nostalgia relating to KQED is centered. It was a terrible place 
for office operations, studios--! think there were posts in 
studios that had to be somehow circumvented, and it was in every 
way a bare -bones operation. But I doubt whether there has ever 
been a greater exhibition of collegiality and working together- - 
under crowded and unfavorable conditions- -and great, almost joy 
in the operation as there was in those early days. There have 
been three important moves since that time, and they have just 
lately opened a new state-of-the-art building on Mariposa 
Street, but it is the 4th and Bryant Street plant with which I 
have worked mostly. 

Hicke: Are we talking just about the television station now? Did the 
radio station come along later? 

Heilbron: The radio station came along later. 
Hicke: Okay. 

Heilbron: The heart of the station is its programming, assuming it can be 
financed, as the heart of all education is its programming, and 
the rest of it is facilities and equipment and so on. 1 think 
the station for many years occupied a rather unique spot in 
education television because of its creative and somewhat 
controversial character with reference to some of its programs. 
It was highly praised by the national press for this rather bold 

I would like to give some illustrations of what seems to be 
the creative side of this programming. They had one show where 
Edward Teller, who always refused panel participation, agreed to 
debate Linus Pauling on the testing of the H-bomb [hydrogen 
bomb]. In '59 Caspar Weinberger began his program of "Profile: 
Bay Area" where he took the issues that confronted the Bay Area 
and developed them in very interesting panel discussions. He 
was the moderator. 

Hicke: Did you suggest that? 

Heilbron: No, I didn't suggest that. I completed my moderating service 
for the World Affairs Council in the late 1950s, and I knew he 



was interested, and I gave some assistance to the start of the 
prograa. He had some extraordinary programs. In 1961, for 
example, he had a program on homosexuality, which was quite 
daring for the tine. In 1963 he had a program on comparison of 
Los Angeles and San Francisco and the differences between the 
two cities, which was quite interesting. About the same time he 
had a prograa on whether gun laws should be strengthened. 

In '64 he had a program on "Where is Jim Crow?" I believe 
that was his prograa, but whether or not it was, it was 
broadcast and it was a provocative discussion of race problems 
in the Bay Area. This was followed by a program involving James 
Baldwin, who described what he saw in San Francisco at Hunter's 
Point and the Fillmore District from a rather radical point of 
view, his own. Some viewers and some people on the board 
thought that it was inflammatory or distorted, but it did 
represent his opinions and it shook up the community. 

There was a program--! don't think this was on "Profile: 
Bay Area," but there was a program on teenagers, and they 
frankly discussed sexual morality. Now we are talking about the 
early sixties here, or the mid-sixties, where the protest 
generation was having its day, but a lot of the material was 
quite new to most of the viewers, and it provoked another long 
board discussion as to whether this kind of program was 
appropriate for KQED. I believe there was still another family 
program along the same lines that caused a good deal of concern 
to soae . The important part is , and I was on the board at the 
time, that the board determined that it would not interfere with 
its program director's determinations, that the programming was 
a professional matter and if the board ever got into that 
detailed administration it was just going to get into a great 
deal of trouble; it was better to bear the trouble that you 
would get into by art or errors of your staff than to take on 
the task of censorship. 

Is that a way that boards have gone at other public television 
stations, do you know? 

Heilbron: I don't know because the only station that I know about- - 


Heilbron: --is this one. 

There was an interesting program by Hayakawa on "Language 
in Thought and Action," a political program where [Richard M. ] 
Nixon versus Brown debated in connection with their respective 
election campaigns. 


Hicke: Pat Brown? 

Heilbron: Yes. A progran on San Francisco's elderly. 

Hicka: It sound* like they covered the spectrum: politics, economics, 
social issues. 

Heilbron: They did, but I emphasize that these are locally produced 

affairs. They had a program on poetry with Allen Ginsberg and 
Laurence Ferlinghetti. They were aware of the cultural 
revolution and had a program in 1968 on that subject. 

Hicke: In China, you mean? Is that where you are talking about? 
Heilbron: No, it was a cultural revolution in society in California. 
Hicke: The flower children type of thing? 

Heilbron: Yes, well now I can't recall the contents, but it had to do with 
the protest generation. As a matter of fact, in the late 
sixties I participated in one of the panels, because at that 
tine I was still a trustee on the state college board and all of 
our boards were experiencing a considerable amount of student 
protest. I don't recall whether I appeared after the San 
Francisco State strike or not. I know that I would not make 
such an appearance during negotiations. Hayakawa appeared, 
however, with respect to the handling of the strike and didn't 
like the questions; so he walked out in the middle of the 
program, [laughter] which caused a great deal of comment. 

It was amazing during the fifties and early sixties how 
successful the station had become. 

Hicke: In terms of viewer audience? 

Heilbron: In terms of recognition and awards. It was named at one time 
the best pubic education station in the United States, and I 
think that it is pretty much close to the top even today, 
although I'm not certain. 

Toward the end of the sixties, there was a newspaper strike 
in San Francisco, and San Francisco had no way of communicating 
with its citizens except that KQED developed the newspaper of 
the air. It took on reporters who were on strike and some of 
the best reporters in town. I remember Jim Benet of the 
Chronicle and I probably could look up others to insert, but the 
interesting part of the program was that they not only gave the 
news but they gave some of the circumstances and the causes as 
they saw them of the news. It was a very much appreciated 


Hicke : 


Hicke : 

ervlce. It gave KQEO immediately an identity with all of the 
people of the city, where it was appealing only to segments 
previously. I think it probably laid the foundation for its 
further very large expansion. 

Now when the strike was over, the reporters went back to 
their posts, and they didn't continue with their TV appearances. 
But a new prograa substituting for it called "Newsroom" was 
developed, and the station had to select new people as reporters 
for this purpose. It too became a very effective and successful 
one-hour prograa. Later it was cut down, for financial reasons, 
to half an hour, but that was one of the financial problems. 

Another program that developed was "World Press," moderated 
by Roger Boas. Now I recall in one of World Affairs Council 
programs that I had people come in with newspapers from foreign 
countries and read clips from them and comment on them, and it 
was only a one-time program. "World Press" was largely 
developed along the same lines. I don't say that one suggested 
the other, but certainly the format of Boas' program was more 
highly developed and the participants were established for the 
prograa; they continued from program to program, and they had 
identities with the viewers. The person who read the French 
newspapers was always the same person. I remember [Professor] 
Leslie Lipson from UC [Berkeley] on the British side. Paul 
Zinner of [UC] Davis did the Russian comment. It was simply the 
United States as others saw us. "World Press" was purchased by 
other stations and was quite successful. 

In the meantime there were other developments. But before 
I go into them, (we are still talking about creativity), one of 
the early projects was the auction over television to raise 
funds. It became quite a community event, with civic leaders 
auctioning the contributions from stores and individuals and 
raising considerable sums. It was a great deal of fun and 
lasted for about a week I think. I believe it still continues, 
although there are also pledge nights, which there hadn't been 

I renember when we moved here I was drafted to go around to 
local stores and ask them to donate gifts for the auction. 

Well, ultimately they got some pretty large gifts. They got 
sailboats and Gump's was quite generous. When you say 
'participate' now that I recall, I did obtain some gifts from 
Guap ' a . 

I can believe it. 


Heilbron: And I did some selling, too, which was fun to do. 

Hicke: But it was interesting. I live down the Peninsula, and they had 
this whole network all over the Bay Area to get volunteers to 
canvass their local stores, and that was just a snail part of 
it. That was just getting the materials to auction. 

Heilbron: They had an enormous number of items, enough to keep them going. 
When a very important item was to be auctioned, the bells rang 
and the cans were hit and there was a great deal of action that 
the viewer could see. Now that auction model was followed in 
other communities, but it was started here and I think was one 
of the most creative. 

Hicke: Do you know whose idea it was? 
Heilbron: I think it was Day's. 

We had a problem with another station, KCED, Channel 32. 
This station repeated some of the programs that were on KQED, so 
that if you missed the program you could catch it later on on 
KCED. I have in mind particularly McNeil-Lehrer was re- 
broadcast at ten o'clock I think, and there were other programs. 
But they also had community interest programs. It was hard to 
develop community interest programs, and I am talking 
particularly about minority programs, that would satisfy those 
people who had direct minority interests that the station was 
doing all it should in that direction. I presume for close to 
ten years there was a running battle , and I am talking now about 
a time that was after I left the board, long after I left the 

As a matter of fact, the commercial stations became well 
satisfied with the activities of such local stations, 
particularly here. At the very beginning, I mentioned KPIX 
giving the transmitter that was just on the floor below the Top 
of the Mark [in the Mark Hopkins Hotel] and for some time before 
the station moved its tower to San Bruno, it broadcast from 
close to the Top of the Mark, and that transmitter was a gift of 
KPIX. The equipment and plant with respect to Channel 32 was 
given by another commercial agency, so there has been a pretty 
good relationship. One reason, I suppose, is that the burden of 
providing pro bono programs has been taken off the commercial 
stations by reason of the existence of PBS. Another reason is 
that commercial stations on their own have found formats greatly 
competitive with public service programs. This is a question 
that perhaps we should give some attention to. 


Before doing that and still going with the minority 
programing , back in the late sixties I recall one of our board 
meetings at a restaurant in San Francisco being invaded by 
minority protesters carrying caaeras, taking pictures, making 
rather nasty comments, questioning board members including the 
president and chairman of the board as to when they were going 
to give them the time and programming that they deserved, 
particularly under their own direction. It was part of the 
general sixties protests; if you wanted to get your point across 
you occupied the president's office or you went directly to the 
board meeting and disrupted it. So this is a long story. Maybe 
I should finish this point by saying that finally the license of 
KCEO was lifted for the minority station and was transferred 
sometime in '91 to a minority- owned operation. 

Hicke: This is for Channel 32? 

Heilbron: Yes. That station has had its problems. I understand that six 
months later it was in considerable financial difficulty. What 
the status is right now, 1 don't know. But this is a long 
standing issue, and I think that minority programming has had 
difficulty in developing solely minority programs of interest to 
their own minority. But that is a story that I really am not 
equipped to evaluate . 

Hicke: How long were you on the board? 

Heilbron: I was on the board from '59 to I think '72 or '73. 

Hicke: 1 might even have it here in this. 

Heilbron: I recall that I think Mr. Fleishhacker served through '72 and I 
know he asked me whether I was interested in succeeding him. 
Not that that would automatically have meant that I would have, 
but 1 realized it would be impossible for me to take over that 
job with the other things that I was doing and be able to 
practice law. Particularly at the time he left, the dark clouds 
of financial problems were looming. It was pretty well 
indicated that the Ford Foundation was phasing out and that 
fundraising would be a very important part of any chairman's 
job. So it was sometime around the end of '72 or '74. I don't 
know. I would think that whatever biographical statement that 
you've got there would- - 

Hicke: This is Who's Who and it says "Trustee 1966 to '72." So that is 
a little bit different than- -maybe you were something else 
before '66? 


Heilbron: Oh, I'm surprised. I think I made a mistake in giving them '66 
because I became a trustee shortly after I became a member of 
the State Board of Education. My recollection Is that it would 
be around '59. But the '72 is correct. 

Hicke: Well, maybe you Just gave them the wrong date or they mistook 

Heilbron: Well, then I failed to correct it. 
Hicke: It is up at the top of the second column here, 
[tape interruption] 

Heilbron: One of the difficult times of the station occurred when the 
engineers and production people went on strike and it lasted 
about nineteen weeks . 

Hicke: When was this? Just approximately. 

Heilbron: I should be able to give that. It was in 1968--oh no, that was 
the newspaper strike. 1974. The engineers and the production 
workers. It chiefly was a strike for Job security and was 
vigorously participated in by the newsroom staff, who felt that 
the newsroom was being phased out and they wanted to be certain 
of continuing their jobs. They were unable to settle the 
strike. The station felt that it could not afford to give the 
kind of security that the strikers wanted, because it would make 
any adjustment of the labor force so difficult and expensive 
that the station couldn't bear it. On the other hand, the 
strikers felt that they had less security at KQED than at 
commercial stations and they deserved the treatment that 
commercial stations gave. 

After nineteen weeks practically every issue that had been 
presented at the beginning of the strike went into arbitration, 
which it could have done at the beginning. I guess one of the 
forces that persuaded all of the parties to arbitration was 
Walter Johnson, who became a member of the board, and of course 
he was completely a labor man. I would say that the strike was 
lost by the strikers, because it develops that a TV station is 
largely automatic. Particularly when it has a large-scale input 
from tapes delivered from national sources, a small staff can 
continue to operate. The station did not go off the air. 

Hicke: Not during the strike? It never went off the air? 
Heilbron: No. 


Hlcke: So the strikers don't have any-- 

Heilbron: The strikers don't have the leverage that they otherwise might. 
Now it >ay be that a more coordinated strike would be effective, 
but it was a bitter experience for all of the parties. 

Hicke: Did you participate in the arbitration? 

Heilbron: I did not participate in that. I handled negotiations- -after I 
left the board and even before- -on labor contracts, and I didn't 
have any trouble. But these were later developments. 

Hicke: Let me just change the tape here. 


Heilbron: 1 mentioned that substantial changes were on the way with 
respect to programming. The network of public television 
developed such programs as McNeil-Lehrer, Bill Meyers' "A World 
of Ideas" and "Washington Week in Review" and Louis Rukeyser 
["Wall Street Week"], like the commercial stations with their 
own nightly and special broadcasts. I mean, if you are going to 
listen to international affairs, you would probably prefer 
listening to the Secretary of State than to some under -secretary 
who happens to be traveling to San Francisco and be available on 
a local panel show. Many of the kinds of programs that were 
created here have been superseded by national programs or 
network programs with the very top officials and talent in 
Washington and with top talent of foreign visitors, so local 
news programs on international affairs were curtailed. Now to 
some extent the station has preserved local programming in our 
own area; "This Week in Northern California" is really the 
substitute for "Profile: Bay Area." 

But criticism began as early as the seventies and I believe 
continued by some viewers, some of them organized into a kind of 
"Save KQED" group and who were always striking at the door of 
authority through advancing candidates for election to the 
board. The criticism is that other stations somehow are able to 
develop the capital to produce local programs which then become 
sold to PBS or PBS authorizes the financing of them. Why 
shouldn't a station located in such a highly educated cultural 
area as ours do the same? Why aren't more locally created 
programs of national interest produced here? I am not in a 
position to comment in any informed way on the situation. It 
takes a great deal of money to produce a program, and I can see 
that to a considerable extent national figures are available in 
the East that are not available here. However, I think the 


station is currently working on the development of some new 
locally produced programs . 

I think most of the viewing audience doesn't care where the 
programs are produced so long as they are interesting and good. 
If your whole diet came from programs produced elsewhere but 
distributed here, I don't think people would care too much. 
However, a little more representative local creativity would be 
in order. 

Hicke: This may not be quite to the point, but on radio- -I don't know 
about television, but the public radio station makes use for 
commentary of experts from all over, often from the academic 
world. If there is something on the news on Yugoslavia, they 
call up an expert for an interview for a couple of minutes. 

Heilbron: That's right. That's for "All Things Considered", isn't it? 

Hicke: Even the news in the morning. I hear the news and they 

frequently call somebody and on the telephone ask them for a one 
or two minute brief summary of what the expert thinks. 

Heilbron: Well, I know that KQED has always been quite proud of its radio 
operation though, I imagine, economically it is the least 
draining of any of its operative assets. 

Hicke: I do hear segments produced by the radio station here that come 
through the national distribution. As I said, I don't know 
about the television. 

Heilbron: Well, whether the same procedure--. Let me see. Come to think 
of it, it seems to me that the commercial stations tend to use 
local people from the universities to comment as much as KQED 
does now. I know that Marshall Windmiller is frequently called 
on from San Francisco State and this is on a local news program. 

[tape interruption] 

Heilbron: Well, the whole concept of news being entertainment has 

developed since public television was more or less the source of 
news and other stations didn't care about the news- -the news 
divisions of the networks were not important until they found 
out that people really were as interested or more interested in 
the news than in other areas. So that interest has affected the 
extent to which local public television can be effective if you 
are competing with every other news station in the area. 

With the broadening of interest in KQED, the effort to make 
every possible viewer a member- -they claim that six out of seven 


Hicke : 


are riding free and there is always a large number of people to 
attract to membership- -the programming has adapted to many new 
audiences. I think that public television was perhaps the first 
to recognize that tennis was a sport that could be accommodated 
by television as well as almost any other sport. The local 
tennis tournaments involving Arthur Ashe and others were 
broadcast, and now, of course, Wimbledon and Flushing Meadows 
have become prime broadcasting programs for the major commercial 
stations. So KQED is not the only station broadcasting that 
kind of event. 

In addition, they have broadcast what they consider to be 
exhibits of cultural interest and history- -the American 
entertainment industry's old films, Lawrence We Ik shows, the 
type of program that the early station would never have thought 
of broadcasting, because I think they would have believed that 
it lacked the intellectual content that would attract their 
viewers. But KQED is now attracting all kinds of audiences and 
claims that there is a need to recognize their interests in 
legitimate cultural programs. 

When did they start getting programs from the BBC? Did they do 
that all along? 

I don't know, but I would imagine that that came in with the 
development of either NET or PBS. It would be distributed on 
that kind of a basis. I don't think it would be directly 

KQED is also partly financed by the magazine Focus, which 
it purchased. It now has sponsors who give a notation of what 
they do that is very close to commercial advertising. It is not 
quite advertising, because they ordinarily don't show the 
picture of the automobile and don't ask you to buy the 
automobile, but they just show the symbol, let's say of Ford, 
and they show the symbol of a bank and it is not advertising but 
it's a contribution the people will recognize and presumably 
accept and a reminder that these things exist. 

Hicke: There again, I don't know about television but on the radio they 
will say something like "This news broadcast was made possible 
by GM, makers of blah-blah-blah" and so you are right, that is 
not really advertising. 

Heilbron: And occasionally there is an individual. 

Hicke: Oh yes, and foundations, also. 
I know. 

Heller, Ehrman has contributed, 


Heilbron: Yes. And on the radio there is a law firm that is structured, 
Thelen, Marrin, [Johnson & Bridges] for quite some time. And 
individuals, like Mrs. Eccles, have co- sponsored "McNeil - 
Lehrer." Golden Gate University sponsored "Washington Week in 
Review," which is an interesting relationship between nonprofit 
agencies. [laughter] It is almost like public universities 
going into private fundraising and private universities getting 
public funding; the lines have become blurred. But I have not 
heard of any objection or concern from the commercial stations 
that PBS stations have gone too far. As I say, the commercial 
stations are relieved of a lot of programs they wouldn't want to 
put on anyway or couldn't afford to put on. As far as I can 
see, commercial stations are using commercials up to the hilt. 
You can barely watch a miniseries which doesn't have as many 
interruptions in the aggregate as there is a showing of the 

But I think KQED tries to maintain some of its traditions. 
Take the controversial side. Recently they made an effort to 
televise an execution, the first execution to be held in umpteen 
years at San Quentin. The court denied their right to televise 
but permitted reporters to take notes and describe the 
proceeding. A limited number of reporters were to be admitted. 
The station claimed that it had no position with reference to 
the capital punishment issue but did have a position on what 
they claimed was the people's right to know, or I guess the 
people's right to see. I have mixed emotions about that, 
because it seems to me that the people's right to see is now 
being used by commercial television without almost any temperate 
effect whatever. 

Hicke: There is also the people's right to privacy. 

Heilbron: The people's right to privacy, that's right. I can't imagine 

that the violence and many of the sexual scenes--! can't imagine 
that they don't have an effect on viewers who watch. The 
difficulty seems to be to get television to become more 
responsible, and I guess it is a matter of taste. If the taste 
of the whole country goes to hell, it will be reflected in 
television, and television can help cause that effect. 

Hicke: That's right. So television is both on the receiving and the 
giving end of it? 

Heilbron: Just as newspapers are too, but I think that the newspapers, 
apart from the tabloids, seem to be exercising a little more 
care than commercial TV. I don't think that educational TV has 
crossed the lines of taste on many occasions. I think that in 
exploring the subject candidly and in context, if there has been 


Hicke : 

any offense to some viewers, it is understandable and yet 
justifiable as required by the context of the subject. I am 
talking about educational TV. 

I guess 1 am rather a selective viewer and so I think that 
by and large, public television stations do a pretty good job. 
I think if you subtracted their contribution, you would lose a 
good deal. We haven't mentioned the broadcast of operas and 
ballets and "Masterpiece Theater." If you choose what you are 
looking at, you can get a pretty good visual diet from 
television. If you are stupid enough to look at it all of the 
time, you should get all of the stomachaches that you deserve. 
[ laughter ] 

In the last analysis, the public can vote with its feet or its 
fingers, or whatever you want to say, by turning it off. They 
find out that you aren't watching, so that's your vote. 

Phi Beta Kappa. Northern California Chapter 

Hicke: Okay, well let's switch gears here for a minute. I know you 

held some office with Phi Beta Kappa. Could you tell me about 

Heilbron: Well, there is a regional chapter called the Northern California 
Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, and I became interested in joining 
the chapter and for a period led it. The organization met 
annually for a dinner, a social/cultural event, obtaining some 
speaker that had something to say about the problems of the 
culture of the times. It had two functions: it assisted the 
national organization in admitting new Phi Beta Kappa chapters 
in a college that applied for the right to have a chapter. It 
was a question of helping in the evaluation of an institution as 
to whether or not it merited a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. 
Another one was to establish scholarships for new Phi Beta Kappa 
members that wished to continue their education. 

Hicke: I know it is a fundraising body. 

Heilbron: Yes. Now the one thing I think I contributed was to establish a 
teaching award for good teaching. There are plenty of awards 
for excellent scholarship, but I thought Phi Beta Kappa should 
demonstrate its interest in university life through this means 
as well as scholarships for students. 


The organization has grown considerably through the years. 
It has a number of social/cultural events now that would be akin 
to events sponsored by the California Historical Society. I 
think that's very pleasant, that people of similar interests who 
declare their rather serious attitude towards study should get 
together and enjoy themselves. That doesn't particularly mark 
the institution. I think what marks it is that they have 
increased the teacher awards , they have increased the 
scholarships, and their annual meetings are quite well attended. 

Hicke: You said they established criteria for a chapter. What are 

they? Are they based on the acceptance of the institution? I 
mean, the standards of the institution? 

Heilbron: Veil, the criteria are set by the national body, and the 

national body is the one that admits and makes the decision. 
The chapter out here simply helps in that evaluation. I don't 
recall what the specific criteria are. 1 am sure it has to do 
with the validity of the institutional program, the strength of 
the faculty, the kinds of graduates they turn out, and so forth. 

Hicke: So it is based on the institutions? 

Heilbron: Oh, it is based on the institutions. I think that during my 
period or around my period, for example, San Francisco State 
gained its chapter. 

Hicke: I have here that you were president in 1972 and '73. And I 
don't know when you were a member. 

Heilbron: Well, I was a member in 1927. 

Hicke: Well, of the fraternity, but of the Northern California chapter. 

Heilbron: I joined many years after graduation. I think somebody asked me 
if I would be interested, and I accepted around 1967 or '68. 

Hicke: What happened during your tenure as president? 

Heilbron: I know that we had two or three universities under consideration 
during that time, and we also had representatives present at 
chapter initiations. We gave new graduates a free membership 
for a year in order to encourage participation in a place where 
they might meet people of similar interests. And we established 
the teaching award. 

Hicke: Okay. 

[tape interruption] 



Hicke: Let us again change gears here a little bit. I would like to 
ask you to give just a little illustrative anecdote about 
attitudes toward philanthropy. 

Heilbron: Mortimer Fleishhacker--that is, Mortimer II--had an interesting 
viewpoint with respect to charitable giving. He was asked about 
an agency for whom he was making an appeal, because some skeptic 
felt that the agency had not balanced its budget and that it was 
trying to perform somewhat beyond its resources. His answer was 
that he felt charitable institutions did their best when they 
were hungry; when they were pushing against the upper levels of 
their needs they becamewell, it did not reflect adversely upon 
a charity having trouble to balance its budget, which is the way 
all of us should operate, but he felt that if a budget reflected 
a challenge that it was a good thing. 

Hicke: You told me before about Walter Haas, Sr., who did not want to 
provide endowments but give only for present projects. Don't 
you think those two philosophies sort of fit together? Because 
if you have a permanent endowment and therefore an assured 
income, you are not really very hungry. 

Heilbron: Yes, I think that is a good observation. I think that is 

exactly what Mr. Haas meant when he said if your endowment is 
large enough, somebody in the past is paying for your needs. 

Now, I suppose that there are some universities that would 
disagree with his philosophy [laughter] because perhaps they are 
able to manage at this time, this somewhat difficult time for 
higher education, because they do have endowments. Even then 
they have had to cut down, but what would they have had to cut 
down if they didn't have these great endowments? 

Hicke: Well, any charitable operation would prefer an endowment, I 
would think. 

Heilbron: Of course. I suppose in a way it depends on how the endowment 

is built. If it is built partly through savings, partly through 
many contributions, partly through frankly asking for reserve 
funds at the time that you are asking for general funds, it may 
be satisfactory. 

I am not saying that I agree with that philosophy. I don't 
know where Harvard or Stanford would be if they didn't have the 
large endowments that they have. Founders want to erect a 
living memorial, alumni often want to maintain it. 


Hicke: But I suppose that philosophy reflects partly the tendency to 
get bureaucratic if you have a certain assured income? 

Heilbron: Yes. 



; Interview 15: December 22, 1992] 

Hicke: I would like to start this afternoon by asking a little bit 
about Dellie--Delphine, as her full name is. While you were 
very, very busy all of the time, she was busy, too. Can you 
tell me about some of the things she was doing? 

Heilbron: Veil, she was quite a participant in civic and sectarian 
activities. I think I mentioned to you that we met when 
teaching Sunday school, and while I was overseas she continued 
to do teaching, but later on she became interested in various 
community enterprises. 1 had been a board member of the Jewish 
Community Center, and she became one. She was on the Women's 
Guild of Temple Emanu-el. She was on the Florence Crittenden 

Hicke: It is for unwed mothers? 

Heilbron: Yes, particularly dealing with unwed mothers and children. It 
still does. She has been on the board of the Jewish Welfare 
Federation, and she became quite interested in the YWCA [Young 
Women's Christian Association], particularly their Buchanan 
Street operation that dealt with the minority population in San 
Francisco. She became president of that body and then later on 
succeeded to the presidency of the YWCA in San Francisco and the 
Bay Area. 

She was especially people -oriented. She was extremely 
successful with various minority groups, and had an interesting 
time at the YWCA. After all, she was the first Jewish president 
in this area- -I guess in the United States --of a regional 

Hicke: You mean of a regional YWCA? 


Heilbron: Yes, a regional YUCA. 

At the time she was invited, they gave her the oath form 
that all good YUCA presidents had to take. She agreed with all 
of the principles of the YUCA or she wouldn't have been in it, 
but she had to take the oath by her faith as a Christian, 
[laughter] This she would not do. The local chapter didn't 
realize that that was in the oath, so they petitioned the 
national organization for either a waiver or a change, and the 
determination was made that it should be changed if it was going 
to be done at all. So Delphine said she was interested in the 
work of the agency, but the matter should be straightened out. 

They invited her back to their convention. 
Hicke: Where was that? 

Heilbron: In Cleveland. I can't give you the year. She was asked to 

address about 3,000 delegates on this issue. She had not done 
much in the way of large-scale public speaking; so this was 
quite a challenge. She gave her statement. 1 saw it before she 
delivered it. It was an excellent statement, among other things 
I believe showing the Judeo-Christian background of the very 
principles that they wanted to be adhered to. Well, they gave 
her a standing ovation and amended the oath. It took a while 
for the amendment to go through. I think they had a successive 
convention or two, and still she wouldn't take the commitment 
until there was this change. My understanding is that it is out 
of the statements that are required to this day. I haven't 
reviewed it, but they had something of an article about the 
matter in a recent YWCA publication. 

Hicke: Did she become acting director or whatever? 

Heilbron: No, when the time came, she became president. 

Hicke: Oh, she just waited until she could take that vow? 

Heilbron: Yes. That's right. It was a very interesting episode. 

I will say that she has been extremely helpful to me on 
many occasions. When I was president of the State Board of 
Education, when we had one of our meetings, I invited all of the 
members and wives present and college personnel in the Bay 
Area- -some college personnel in the Bay Area- -there were about, 
I think, forty-two or three for dinner. Delphine didn't know 
more than one or two of them, and she memorized the names of all 
of them and was able to greet them when they came in. 


If I had a major address, she was a great person to try it 
out with, because she was very frank and critical. As a nutter 
of fact. Rabbi Fine, when he gave his sermons , always said that 
he looked at Dellie as she sat in the pew, and if she were 
frowning or in any way skeptical, he knew he was on the wrong 
track. [laughter] 

Hicke: She had quite a responsibility. 

Heilbron: She has always been frank and candid and so that is helpful. 

Hicke: How long was she president of the YWCA? Do you know? 

Heilbron: It was either a two- or three-year term. It was quite a 

successful term. Of course, whenever there is a final dinner 
saying good-bye to a president, always very kind things are 
said, but I felt that they were not only said but meant. 

Hicke: Wonderful. Then perhaps you could tell me a little bit about 
your two boys? 

Heilbron: Well, I think we did talk a little bit about their childhood. 

They also went to Lowell High School, as did Delphine's father, 
as I did, so it has something of a background. 

John was a debater and won a room full of cups. He also 
played the clarinet in the school orchestra. David was very 
much interested in athletics and was a very good swimmer and 
played basketball. As a matter of fact, much later when he went 
to Oxford [University] , he had a chance to play basketball for 
one of the Oxford colleges and go to Moscow, but he chose 
marriage instead and did not make that trip. 

I think that some of the most pleasurable times were after 
I came back from the war and we all traveled together, but 
before I go into that, something else reminds me of the period 
when I was overseas some twenty- seven months and we wrote 
frequently. Well, we wrote practically every day to one 
another, Delphine and I. And I wrote, of course, to the boys on 
many occasions. She had them feel that their father was on a 
long vacation- -somehow made them feel that I was there with 
then, so that when I did come back in 1946 close to April, we 
could carry on, even though they were older by that lapse of 

Hicke: You weren't a stranger? 

Heilbron: No, I wasn't, and I think that was a wonderful achievement of 
her parental care . 


So, when we did get together, we wanted to have some 
projects together, particularly when they weren't in school. I 
think our traveling days began in 1948 to 1950. There were a 
number of centennial programs throughout the state, because the 
state was nearing its one -hundredth year, and the gold rush had 
begun in 1848 , so there was a spread of a couple of years . We 
attended the ones in Columbia [State Historic Park] and Monterey 
and at the San Francisco Presidio. We knew one of the 
actresses, who was a friend of ours who played several foreign 
parts, especially Spanish, in the history about California that 
was developed for the occasion. It was a fun period. I 
remember panning for gold up in Columbia, which 1 think they 
still do, and riding on the old Wells Fargo stagecoach, and they 
became rather conscious of the fact that they were Californians 
and that California had a history. 

Then 1 remember in 1951 we went up to Canada. We drove up 
through Oregon and Washington to Vancouver, left the car and 
went by train to Banff [National Park] and had a period of time 
in Banff and Lake Louise and then went over the Columbia Ice 
Fields to Jasper National Park and came back by Canadian 
National [Railroad] to Prince Rupert, where we caught a ship to 
take us to Victoria and to Vancouver. It was a great scenic 
trip, primarily, although I guess some characteristic may have 
been revealed when we were in the back of the train- -that is 
when we went to the back observation platform- -and there were 
these splendid Canadian Rockies on each side of us, and John 
reading a book. [laughter] 

Then the next year, in 1952, we revisited Mexico. I say 
revisited because Dellie and I had gone down there in 1935. We 
went to Mexico City and Oaxaca, where we had lovely rooms facing 
the square where the very colorful rugs were hanging or were on 
a fence. They saw a good deal of picturesque Mexico. The air, 
I think, was much cleaner then than it is now. 

We were in Mexico City for some time. We had an experience 
in Mexico City that the boys didn't forget. They had just had 
an election, and the person who had lost the presidency, his 
backers and adherents, staged a protest in the park across from 
the hotel, and they were pretty violent. They were shooting 
rifles, and we were confined to our quarters for about six hours 
while the shooting went on; so the boys learned a little bit 
about politics and revolution at an early age. They weren't 
frightened; in fact, they pressed their noses against the 
windows to see whatever they could. [laughter] You couldn't 
see much, I'll say that, although we saw some smoke and gun 


From San Francisco, Marin & San Mateo 
YWCA Newsletter, Winter 1991 


Dellie Heilbron: Leadership for a More Inclusive YWCA 

by Betsy York 

Director of Development 


he joys of summer for Dellie 
Heilbron began with Camp 
Milhurst, a YWCA camp in 
the Chicago area. In 1919, when 
she was 12, she was volunteer 
ing at a YW nursery day 
school. By 1927, she had 
moved to California, met her future 
husband, Louis, and graduated from 
the University of California at Berkeley 
with a degree in Economics and a 
special interest in Social Econ (Social 

She began working as a statistician 
with a local brokerage house, but she 
also found time to fulfill her interest in 
social work by serving on the board of 
community organizations such as the 
Jewish Community Center and later 
Florence Crittenton Services. Her love 
of people kept her busy and involved 
even while raising her rwo sons and 
following her talents as a potter. 

The historical context of that time 
for the YWCA and the city of San 
Francisco must be understood in order 
to appreciate the philosophy and 
position of the YWCA and its impact 
on volunteers like Dellie. 

In the late 40's, her friend Louise 
Reider asked her to join a special 
project in which the YWCA was 
involved in with the YMCA. Louise 
thought Dellie could bring valuable 
experience and the right attitude to the 

According to one account from the 
early 40's, "The YWCA took leadership 
in the study of interracial conditions in 
San Francisco, especially those affecting 
the Negro residents." The YWCA had 
adopted a new Interracial Policy provid 
ing a more definite practice of inclusive- 
ness in all Association facilities. 

After WWII many Japanese-Ameri 
can citizens returned to San Francisco to 
find that African Americans, Caucasians, 
and other ethnic groups now lived in the 
neighborhoods that had once been 
occupied primarily by Japanese Ameri 
cans. As a result, many of the former 
residents felt angry and displaced. The 
YWCA reached out to the Japanese girls 
to be involved in programs with girls 
from other backgrounds. 

It was in this atmosphere that 
Dellie Heilbron renewed her long 
connection to the YWCA. The 
Buchanan Street YMCA-YWCA was a 
unique project dedicated to meet the 
special needs of the neighborhood. 
Located in the heart of the Fillmore 
Street District in a community 
heavily mixed with peoples of 
various cultural and racial 
backgrounds. The staff and 
Board reflected this diversity. 

Dellie became a part of the YWCA 
Committee working with the Buchanan 
Street Center. She later moved to a 
similar position at the YWCA 1830 
Sutler Street Center in the Western 
Addition. She recalls, "It was very 
interracial. I loved it. You were never 
asked what you were. You were who 
you were." 

At 1830 Sutter, they began innova 
tive programs to develop leadership 
and job skills for teens. Dellie served 
on the Committee of Management as 
Vice Chair, and then Chair, acting as 
liaison to the Association Board. She 
was involved in the organization of the 
Pearls of the Orient, a program to orient 
Filipino women to the dominant culture 
while maintaining and nurturing pride 
in their own cultural roots Today, the 
Pearls are a successful YWCA-affiliated 

Because of her leadership abilities 
and long-standing commitment to the 
vision of the YW, Dellie was asked to be 
president of the Association in the late 
60's. She was about to accept the honor 
when she happened to see the back of 


the membership card, which said in 
effect that members were, ". . united 
in their faith as Christians .". Dellie, 
being Jewish and never realizing that 
the religious connection was still 
evident in print if not in spirit, refused 
the presidency unless the wording was 

With the support of Executive 
Director Lucy Schulte, an effort was 
launched to adopt a more inclusive and 
accurate membership statement. They 
concurred with other YWCA's around 
the country and found strong support 
because not only were there active 
Jewish members, but also Moslems, 
Buddhists, atheists, and others. In 1964 
they brought this issue to the YWCA 
National Convention in Cleveland. 

It took three years but the wording 
on the membership card was finally 
changed to a more inclusive statement. 

Soon afterwards, Lucy sent Dellie a 
telegram which read, "Hail to the 
Chief!", for now she could accept the 
presidency. Dellie served as the 
Association's leader from 1967-1969. 

Her fond memories of the work of 
the YWCA have remained a valuable 
part of her life, Dellie says, because she 
had such a rewarding experience 
getting to know all the other volun 

Thank you Dellie Heilbron for 
your time and energy in service to the 
community and for making the YWCA 
a more welcoming and uniiving 
organization for all. 

Quote* Hot directly attributed ta Dellie 
Heillmiii are from the His/on/ i>l tlie YWCA hi 
Sm Francisco (continued) 1930-195.3 compiled 
(M/ Rosii/iv Venable. * 


Jewish Bulletin 



Hicke : 

Hicke : 



You probably hadn't been that close to a revolution yourself 
very often. 

No, I don't think I had been at all. Well, now wait a minute. 
I did tell you that I was in Sarajevo when the Archduke got 
assassinated. I think that was close enough. [laughter] 

That's right. That was probably even closer. 

They were very impressed with Monte Alban. I think it is a 
Toltec stadium where the ball playing [Tlatchli] took place, and 
a temple of astronomy. Of course, the Indians were quite 
advanced in their observation of the planets. 

We were at Teotihuacan, too. I recall that Dellie wanted 
to be sure to see everything. She wanted to see the Pyramid to 
the Moon as well as the Pyramid to the Sun. So she and John 
started walking over there, and suddenly people were shouting, 
and then John noticed that there was a snake or two in the 
grass. So they came back before visiting the Pyramid of the 

Oh, dear, 

There weren't as many tourists then as there are now, 

No, and at that time the ride from Xochimilco was very 
interesting. We got into the boat and had the usual family 
tourist picture and enjoyed our lunch as we went down the canal. 

At Monte Alban there was an old Indian cemetery. There 
were trenches that had been dug. I don't know whether it was 
for further exploration. I remember that we had some discussion 
where Delphine disagreed with what the boys were saying and they 
took her up and here was this trench. They said, "This is the 
place for you, Mom." [laughter] 

That ends that discussion! 

I mention these episodes because I think they developed a desire 
to see other places, to go to other countries, as part of their 
essential learning. Certainly they have done a tremendous 
amount of traveling ever since. 

I recall that when David was competing for the Rhodes 
scholarship as the nominee from Berkeley, he was quite concerned 
about the kind of tests that the committee would give them. The 
stories went that somebody might tell an off-color story just to 
see how they would respond in a social situation of that kind, 
that they observed table manners as well as academic matters. 


He also heard that they tested them at breakfast by giving them 
soft-boiled eggs and seeing how they broke them and took care of 
putting them in the egg cup. 

Hicke: Oh, yes. The egg comes in the shell like they do in Europe. 

Heilbron: That's right. It is the breaking of the shell and so on just to 
see how they behave in England. That was the assumption, 
anyway . 

So David said he needed some training, and Delphine gave it 
to him. She took a number of eggs and put them in the boiling 
water and at the right time took them out and gave them to David 
to break and pour into a proper cup. It wasn't long before the 
kitchen was a grand mess. [laughter] 

Hicke: He just couldn't get it right? 

Heilbron: The eggs were all over the place. David said, "If this is the 
test, they can have the damn scholarship!" However, he did go 
to breakfast down in Los Angeles and they offered the candidates 
eggs cooked to their choice. David was the only one to select 
boiled eggs and triumphantly they moved no further than the 
plate. [laughter] 

The other interesting part, I think, of that experience- -I 
think both of our sons are quite independent -minded. In David's 
case, though his father was a lawyer, that didn't necessarily 
mean that he was going to be a lawyer. As a matter of fact, he 
may have been an English major; I think he was. He gave some 
indication of wanting co continue his English studies and 
possibly go into academic life. At least that was what the 
Rhodes committee thought when they awarded him the scholarship. 

Because he was going over for quite some time and the 
brothers were quite close, we sent John over with David for a 
summer in Europe, and they had a most enjoyable time, but when 
they came to England, John had to get back to the U.S. and David 
had a few days alone in London. 

To occupy his time, at least part of it, he went to the 
Inns of Court, and he saw trials there and heard the opposing 
counsel- -the barristers- -heard the evidence and saw the 
defendants. He spent two or three days witnessing these scenes, 
and apparently he felt that law wasn't a bad place after all. 
He realized that the committee had been told by him that he was 
greatly interested in literature and that was one of the reasons 
for wanting to go to Oxford. So he called them up, called them 
in the United States (I think the headquarters were at 


Swarthmore College) , and he asked whether it would be in 
accordance with the terms for him to change the area in which he 
wanted to read- -that's what they call it. They said the 
scholarship was his, he should do with it as he wished. So he 
went into the reading of law and, as you know, has become a 
trial lawyer. 

Hicke: Just in the space of two or three days he made that decision? 
Heilbron: I think those were the days that were the influential days. 
Hicke: But he must have been aware of the possibility? 

Heilbron: Veil, he had the background. He had done enough debating in 
high school to satisfy himself, but it was the Inns of Court 
that became decisive. 

Hicke: It is so different from our way of practicing the law. And he 
is a litigator? 

Heilbron: He is a litigator, and he is also an appellate lawyer. He did 
extremely well. He got a congratulatory first, and that meant 
he had to go back to Oxford for an extra degree- -not that it 
took any time, but there was a little ceremony in connection 
with it. 

Hicke: He was awarded an extra degree? 

Heilbron: No, it was more of an honorary recognition. 


Heilbron: And meanwhile our older son, John, had been married a year 

before, so we all went over to the wedding of two San Francisco 
people married in a chapel outside of Oxford. [laughter] 

Hicke: She was attending Oxford also? 

Heilbron: No, no. His wife was his sweetheart from Lowell. 

Hicke: Oh, I see. She went over, too? 

Heilbron: Well, she went over to get married. Of course she went over. 

Hicke: And everybody else went along? 

Heilbron: Actually, Delphine went before I did. I, at that time, had my 
responsibilities with the board of education and was scheduled 
to give a commencement address at San Francisco State, so I 



remained. Delphine had not been to England before. We had been 
to Europe five years before. So she went over there for three 
weeks alone, and David met her, even though it was during 
examinations . 

[tape interruption] 

David wrote part of the service, and they selected the 
remainder. It was a nonsectarian service. He was marrying a 
non-Jewish girl, and Cantor [Ruben] Kinder from Temple Emanu-El 
sent part of the service, so it was somewhat of a conglomerate 

Hicke: Eclectic? 

Heilbron: Eclectic. It was a happening. 

Getting back to Delphine, who had gone there three weeks 
earlier, after she had done her London sightseeing, she went up 
to Oxford, and she went "pubbing" with David and his friends 
almost every evening, and she said she was running out of money 
feeding Oxford. [laughter] But she had a good time. 

Then we all gathered. I forget the name of that old Oxford 
hotel that no longer functions as a hotel, but it went back a 
great many years. Oh yes, it was the Mitre. The floors were 
inclined. She had the queen's bedroom, which meant--! don't 
know--a long walk down a hallway to her own bathroom. As I say, 
the floor had a grade to it from sinking with the load of 
centuries. They had their wedding dinner there, too. Then all 
of us took time to pay a visit to the continent, and they 
interrupted part of their honeymoon, so that we all met in 
southern France at Antibes and again in Bellagio in northern 
Italy on Lake Como. So these were very pleasant times. 

Hicke: What is his wife's name? 

Heilbron: David's wife's name is Nancy. They have three lovely daughters, 
Lauren, Sarah, and Ellen. And through my sister, Juliet Krasne 
(an award volunteer buyer for hospital gift shops), I have a 
jolly niece, Diane, a former buyer for I. Magnin. 

Hicke: And John's wife? 

Heilbron: John's wife's name is Pat. Nancy is quite a talented pianist, 
and when Arthur Fiedler came out on one of his summer concert 
tours to San Francisco, she played the solo part with the 
orchestra, with the San Francisco Symphony conducted by Fiedler. 


But after a time, she decided that she did not want a career 
with the piano, and so she has played for pleasure. 

Pat--Lucero was her name, Patricia Lucero, John's wifewas 
from San Diego, and a teacher of art at Acalanes High School in 
Contra Costa County. She is a painter of abstracts and has done 
excellent work. I believe John and Patricia met in 
International House, where they both lived during postgraduate 

John had faced his own problem of a career choice. He 
started out to be a physicist, acquiring a master's degree in 
the subject. But when Professor Tom Kuhn heard him give a paper 
on Galileo in a graduate seminar, he persuaded him to consider 
committing himself to the history of science. After weighing 
the matter, John decided to obtain his doctorate in history and 
to make his lifetime work in this field. 

After he received his doctorate, he spent a year doing 
research at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen and then 
joined the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania and stayed 
for three years. He was delighted to accept an invitation to 
become an assistant professor at Berkeley, taking his chances 
for promotion. Many satisfying and productive years have 

He has written a dozen or more books and numerous articles 
in the field of the history of science; he is a recognized world 
authority. He has served as professor in the History 
Department, director of the History of Science Department, 
director of the History of Science Center, chairman of the 
Academic Senate, and currently as the Vice Chancellor at UC 
Berkeley. Among the many honors he has received is an honorary 
doctorate from the University of Bologna as part of its 800th 
anniversary celebration. He is a member of the Royal Swedish 
Academy of Sciences and fellow of the American Academy of Arts 
and Sciences. Among his best known books are: The Dilemmas of 
an Upright Man: Max Planck as Spokesman for German Science', 
Electricity in the 17th and 18th Centuries; Lawrence and His 
Laboratory (with Robert Seidel) ; and Historical Studies in the 
Theory of Atomic Structure. His list of publications runs to 
five pages. 

licke: Yes, he would be a good candidate for an oral history. 

Jeilbron: Equally, David has made a great many things happen. He has been 
president of both the San Francisco and the California state 
bars, and he has had a lot of high-level trial and appellate 
experience all over the country. He is a fellow of the 


California Academy of Appellate Lawyers and of the American 
College of Trial Lawyers. He is often called upon to arbitrate; 
his interest in alternate dispute resolution has resulted in his 
beoming a director and member of the Executive Board of the 
American Arbitration Association. He has served as managing 
partner of his law firm, McCutchen, Doyle, Brown & Enersen. 

Best of all, they are good men, good company, and possess 
good senses of humor, but as you can see they have their own 
tales to tell, and these I feel certain will prove to be much 
more interesting than mine. 

Hicke: In any case I appreciate the start you have given on their 

tales. And I'd like to thank you for the time you have devoted 
to this project. 

Heilbron: Thank you. It has been a busy life, often made possible by the 
use of a seven-day week. 

[Post interview editorial note: Delphine R. Heilbron died in August of 1993 
and Patricia Heilbron in December of the same year. The memorial services 
in each instance were moving and memorable.] 

Transcribers: Elizabeth Kim and Kian Sandjideh 
Final Typist: Shannon Page 









Memorial Service 
for Delphine R. Heilbron 








Tape 14, side B 




his inte 





good sen 
tales tc 
more int 

Hicke: In any c 
to this 

Heilbron: Thank yc 
use of i 

[Post interview ed: 
and Patricia Heilbi 
in each instance w 

Transcribers: Eliz 
Final Typist: Shan r 




At the request of many friends, I have published 
the eulogies for my beloved Delphine, given by 

Rabbi Alvin Fine and our sons, John and David, 6 

on September 2, 1993 at the Memorial Service in 12 

Temple Emanu-El. The sensitivity, beauty and !6 
humor of these remembrances celebrate a life 

fully lived, widely shared. 2 o 


Louis Heilbron 3 1 






Tape 14, side B 210 

his int 


good s 
tales 1 
more it 

Hicke: In any 
to this 

Heilbron: Thank : 
use of 

[Post interview e< 
and Patricia Heill 
in each instance \ 

Transcribers: Eli 
Final Typist: Sha, 

Rabbi Alvin I. Fine , 05 

To the living- 122 

Death is a wound. Its name is grief. 

Its companion is loneliness. 

Whenever it comes whatever its guise, 135 

Even when there are no tears - 148 

Death is a wound. 155 


But death belongs to life - 

As night belongs to day 

As darkness belongs to light l 

As shadow belongs to substance - 

As the fallen leaf to the tree, 16 

As time to eternity, 

So death belongs to life. 


9 f\ 

Life's meaning is not measured r: 

by how long we live 

It is measured by how much we do 

to make life good. 34 


Delphine Heilbron lived her life with a 
profound understanding that a good and mean 
ingful lifetime just doesn't happen to happen. She 
had the wisdom to know that one has to devote 
oneself to whatever human talent it takes to make 

life good and meaningful for oneself, one's 77 

family and one's community. That is certainly no 
simple or easy task; but Delphine had all the 
necessary talents, and she devoted her life to 

making life good and meaningful. How nobly and 96 

graciously and creatively she did it. For her, 188 


Tape 14, side B 210 

Hicke : 


his in 


good s 

more i 

In any 
to thi 

use of 

[Post interview e 
and Patricia Heil 
in each instance 

making the most of life was to help others to make 
the best of it. 

Delphine brought a rich array of talents to 
the art of living: her intelligence and energy, her 
determination and optimism, her insight and 
idealism, her forthrightness and honesty, her 
cheerfulness and humor, her compassion and love. 
If things sometimes seemed too much, she intu 
itively understood the rabbinic teaching: "It is not 
incumbent upon you to complete the work, but 
neither are you free to desist from it altogether." 

There was no affectation or pretense in her 
character. She was the same Delphine Heilbron in 
every part of her life. Whether at the Emanu-El 
Sisterhood Board or the Florence Crittenton Board. 
Whether at the Jewish Welfare Federation or as 
president of the San Francisco YWCA. Whether as 
a teacher, in earlier years, along with her husband, 
at the Temple Emanu-El Religious School or, in 
more recent years, as a member of the Advisory 
Board of San Francisco State University. In every 
role and in every endeavor, she was always the 
same person of unchangeable honesty and integ 
rity. I cherish a personal anecdote that reflects this 
quality in Delphine's character. After Sabbath 
morning services, as the congregation came 
through the reception line, I would learn immedi 
ately from Dellie Heilbron whether my sermon 
was good or otherwise. She was always warm 
and friendly, and always candid. 

Most precious of all she who never 
stopped trying to make life good and meaningful 
for others, did it superbly as a devoted and loving 
wife and mother and grandmother. From their 
days together as students at the University of 

Transcribers: Eli 
Final Typist: Stu_ 

California, the long wonderful lifetime that 
Delphine and Louis Heilbron created in their 
marriage and with their family is the greatest 
fulfillment of her optimism and determination 
that: Yes, we can make life good and meaningful. 

The concluding chapter of the Book of 
Proverbs in the Bible pays homage to A Woman of 
Valor. In poetic praise, it describes the qualities 
and virtues and ideal character of a valorous 
woman. It is a beautiful tribute. However, words 
alone do not quite complete the portrait. If you 
want to fill out the verbal description with a por 
trait of a woman of valor just remember 
Delphine Heilbron. 

May her memory be a blessing. 











Tape 14, side B 




his ir 


good s 

more i 

In anj 
to thi 

use ol 

[Post interview 
and Patricia Hei] 
in each instance 

John Heilbron 

My mother was a wonderfully rich and 
complex personality, abounding in energy, full of 
love and compassion and curiosity, fiery, fearless, 
inventive. She made friends instantly and every 
where. I am astonished at the number of people at 
the University, who had met Mother only once or 
twice, who expressed their condolences to me in 
ways that showed that she had touched their lives. 

Another long suit in my mother's personal 
ity is that, as a mother, she was a Jewish mother. 
Or, perhaps I should say "is" a Jewish mother. 
For, as the acts of loving kindness we perform are 
supposed to live on after us, so, too, does the work 
of the Jewish mother, in her children and their 
psychiatrists. Mother wielded the instruments of 
the Jewish mother with great skill and accuracy. 
She knew when to comfort and indulge, when to 
be stiff and silent, when to praise and when to cry, 
and, most effective of all, when to utter those 
awful words, "I'll tell your father." She ruled us as 
children without resorting to blows, by wiles and 
guile, by love and example. 

We were brought up in the Jewish tradition, 
attended Sunday School and Summer Camp. But 
Mother's concept of religion and service went well 
beyond Judaism and the Jewish community. She 
also supported the YWCA and rose to be presi 
dent of its San Francisco chapter. And so we grew 
to maturity and confusion with a Jewish mother 
who ran the Young Women's Christian Associa 

Transcribers: El: 
Final Typist: Shi. 

Mother supported honest and effective 
causes wherever she found them. Unlike Dickens' 
Mrs. Jellaby, who labored unceasingly in the cause 
of the natives of some faraway island, while myri 
ads of children, including her own, went hungry 
and in rags around her, Mother worked hard as a 
volunteer to alleviate suffering almost at her 
doorstep. Hence her long-time involvement with 
the Y and the Florence Crittenton services. 

Mother had a genius for friendship. This is 
scarcely news to you, many of whom were friends 
of hers for even longer than I. Yes, I, and my 
brother David, and our wives Pat and Nancy, 
were not only relatives but also good friends of 
my parents. The six of us liked to linger over a 
good meal together and to travel in company. We 
have been with one another on trips to Europe, to 
the East Coast and Canada, and within California. 
Although Mother did not qualify as tour guide, 
since she never could be persuaded that maps 
related in any useful way to the ground, she 
nonetheless often took the lead. Thereby she 
inculcated two important lessons: you can form 
close friendships across generations, even with 
your parents, and it is not necessary to be able to 
distinguish north from south to know your place 
in the world. 

Mother was an excellent teacher. Because 
we moved East during the second world war and 
then back to San Francisco when Father went 
overseas, my brother and I missed some important 
bits of grammar school. Among the bits I missed 
was the multiplication table. In those days, chil 
dren were expected to be able to multiply up to 12 
times 12. Mother taught me, in a week or so, by 










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making a game of it. She was very good at 
numbers, if they did not involve fractions. 

She could add up the cost of groceries faster 
than the cash register, and usually more accu 
rately, since the clerk could make errors punching 
in the price, and Mother never made mistakes in 
addition. When she and the cash register dis 
agreed, she would tell the clerk, even if the error 
were in her favor. And so she made mathematics 
both a game and a morality play. 

Mother's interest in education was requited 
more than she could reasonably have expected 
when Father became head of the first Board of 
Trustees of the California State Colleges. (So well 
have they done following the line he set forth that 
recently they have become State Universities.) 
Like the children of Mme Lafarge, who prattled 
about the names in her knitting, so our dinner 
conversations foretold the fates of chancellors and 
the fortunes of curricula. Mother scarcely com 
plained about the heavy burden of travel and 
entertainment that Father's educational good 
works put upon her. She endeared herself to a 
generation of college presidents. 

Of course, Mother was no mere warm and 
hospitable hostess. She was also an academic 
leader in her own right. I can well remember at 
one of her parties her attempt to elucidate the 
more obscure Oz books, on which she was an 
authority, to the president of San Francisco State 
College. He was an Asian and had never mastered 
L. Frank Baum. A little later, Mother was invited 
to join the advisory board of the college. There 
with I learned another of Mother's mixed mes 
sages: children's stories are a good preparation for 

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an administrator of higher education. I have found 
this lesson particularly useful. 

Mother liked the fey and the cockeyed. She 

loved the operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan, espe- L 12 

daily the most nonsensical of them all, lolanthe, 122 

whose hero, Strephon, was the offspring of a 129 

lawyer and a fairy. As his mother liked to say, 

with a delicate Victorian ellipsis, "He is a fairy 135 

down to his waist, but his legs are mortal." His 148 

father's dictum, "The law is the true embodiment 155 

of everything that's excellent" naturally guided 
our household. Poor Strephon had the difficulty, 
which each of us must feel in his or her own way, 

that only half of him could go through a keyhole. 1 

Mother gave us a great fondness for the whimsical 
and whacky. Two of my greatest pleasures in life 
are turning on a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, and 
turning it off. 

Naturally, she liked The Tempest best of all 20 

Shakespeare's plays. She liked the make-believe 
with a message, the fantasy and allegory. She 
sympathized with the sufferings of the unruly 

American underdog Caliban at the hands of the 34 

noble Italian wizard Prospero. After staging a 41 

show of his spirit control to impress his future 
son-in-law, Prospero gave a famous speech that 
Mother, with her intuition of the essence of things, 
fully appreciated: 57 

.... These our actors [Prospero said] 7 7 

As I foretold you, were all spirits and 

Are melted into air, into the air: 

And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, 



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The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous 

The solemn temples, the great globe itself, 
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, 
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, 
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff 
As drerms are made on, and our little life 
Is rounded with a sleep. 

The last lines are not perfectly apt. Mother's 
life is now rounded in sleep. But it was big and 
full, not little, and too powerful and effective to be 
likened to a dream. 

Mother had something in common with 
Prospero. She was very inventive. Those of you 
who know her pottery will remember the original 
ity of shapes and glazes. No two are alike. She did 
not want to do the same thing twice and, in any 
case, she measured more like a cook than a chem 
ist, and her glazes were literally inimitable. 

Mother's latest invention was just that, an 
invention. After she became ill, she noticed that 
older people who faint are often treated by mouth- 
to-mouth resuscitation. Ever fastidious, she felt the 
indignity, not to mention the danger, of the 
method. What would you do about it? She worked 
out a mechanical, pneumatic, safe and simple, 
disposable manual resuscitator. She obtained a 
patent on this device at the age of 84. 

The resuscitator illustrates Mother at her 
best: perceptive, clever, concerned with the prob 
lems of her fellow human beings, determined to 
improve life in however small a way, and not 
deterred in the slightest by the fact that she was an 

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old woman with no training or experience in any of 
the arts and sciences usually thought necessary to 

the inventor of a medical apparatus. 100 

Mother's sufferings during her last months 105 

were a great trial to her and to those near her who 
loved her. We watched as her sense of fun, her 
perceptiveness, her interest in others, her beautiful 
spirit, slowly drained away. At last, a week ago last 
Saturday, she could sing with the Psalmist [8:20-21], 

[The Lord] delivered me, because he 163 

delighted in me. 169 

[He] rewarded me according to my 










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David Heilbron 

If there is an afterlife, the Lord has a 
handful here. She had better have a cloud with a 
view. I don't mean that Mom was a character; she 
was much too centered for that. But she was a 
wonderful piece of intricate work: A full-on per 
son, as her granddaughters would put it. Her 
spirit danced, as one of her granddaughters put it. 

She had a great zest for life, she was a true 
enthusiast, and it was infectious. She had a rich 
laugh. She laughed from the belly and a good part 
of the rest of her. She played the piano, by ear, 
with a sort of disciplined, demonic abandon. She 
loved to bang out "Alexander's Rag Time Band" 
and "I'll Be Down to Get You in a Taxi, Honey" 
and the "Beer Barrel Polka." It was a great joy to 
listen to her go at it. She was having so much fun 
doing it, everyone listening to it just had fun, too. 

She was gentle. She was good at taking off 
World War II-vintage non-ouchless bandages 
she was of the all-at-once school. And when we 
were small, she liked to sing the "Owl and the 
Pussy Cat." It delighted her as much as us, I think. 
She sang softly. It was nice. 

She had a friend from the South who had 
a big old two-story house. The friend told Mom 
that when her kids called from the upper story, 
she'd answer, "Yo motha is on the first floor." 
That just tickled Mom. She loved telling it, but 
she never did it. The fact is that she was never on 
the first floor, or otherwise unavailable, for us or 
anyone else. 

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She was a dedicated, card-carrying, 
unrepentant, bleeding heart liberal. She felt for the 
poor, the disadvantaged, the weak basically 

anyone whose luck had turned bad. She did not L 12 

love humanity just in the abstract. She loved 122 

people, one by one. She liked to make friends, and 129 

she seemed to make friends with almost everyone 

she met. She gave herself to you. She put herself 135 

out there for you. It was almost impossible not to 148 

be touched by her. 155 

She had opinions about a lot of things. She 163 

held her convictions deeply, and sometimes she 
was contentious when she expressed them. She 

was not afraid of conflict. She was proud that her l 

father allegedly belted some hoods who attacked 6 

him when he was in his late sixties. She liked to 
say, "I'll knock your block off," or "I'll give you a 
klop mit fallah fish." She would sort of chortle 

when she said it, although whatever she meant by 20 

it, the record does not show she ever did it. 26 

John and I had our share of fights growing 
up. We were more or less the same size, and no 

one got maimed. I don't remember Mom ever 34 

breaking any of them up. She seemed, as I look 41 

back on it, content to let us fight it out and work it ^ 8 

through. Whatever she did about it, she did it 
right. John and I are the very best and closest 

friends to this day. And that's something, because 57 

John still isn't all that easy to get along with. 64 

Mom loved words. She was a strict gram- 1Q 

marian, a vigilant defender of the language. You 
couldn't get away without comment with "me and 
John" went somewhere, or "between you and I," 
or even "whomever" instead of "whoever," or vice 
versa, whichever was right. 188 


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She was a voracious, eclectic reader. She got 
a kick out of mysteries. She read stacks of them, 
and liked to solve them before the author did. She 
liked Shakespeare and remembered it. She liked to 
hear Dad read Browning he was very good at it. 
She loved Gilbert & Sullivan. She was particularly 
fond of the Lord High Executioner, whose list no 
one would be missed from, and the Captain of the 
Pinafore, who was never, never sick at sea well, 
hardly ever. And she'd sing out "well, hardly 
ever" with a great, throaty gusto. 

She loved objets d'art things. She loved to 
buy on sale and get a good bargain. Not really so 
much to save money she was not tight at all - 
but just for the sheer hell of it. It was like getting 
away with something. She had a lovely sense of 

She was, however, scrupulously honest and 
law-abiding. She was paying Social Security taxes 
on people who worked in the house before Zoe 
Baird was in high school. She never bought a drop 
of black market gas during the war; she just 
thought it was wrong. 

Once when I was about 14, 1 asked Mom 
whether she were pretty when she was young - 
she was in her early forties at the time. Dad, as we 
all know, is an extraordinarily cool and patient 
man, but the cosmic imbecility of that remark was 
too much for him. He said, sort of Gallahad-like - 
forcefully: "Of course she was beautiful then, she's 
beautiful now, you dunce." It was better said than 
that Dad was speaking, not me but that was 
the substance of it. Mom, however, was not Lady 
Guinevere. She said, "No, Louie, he has other 
forms of prettiness in mind; I don't fit; that's fine; 

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it's exactly as it should be." And she meant it. That 

ended that. I don't know if it was because she got 100 

me out of a jam with Dad or that the clean wisdom 105 

of what she said was striking even to me, but that 

stayed with me. She was often wise. 

Dad and Mom loved each other very much, 
and it showed. They were pals, lifelong mates in 

all ways. Louie and Dellie were sort of one word. 135 

They planned trips and dinner parties, with a sort 
of military precision, together. They talked about 

plays, movies, sermons, and argued about them, 169 

and everything else, together. They wrote each 
other every day during the war. 

Mom kept us a family during the war. She 

was sometimes a mother away from home to our ^2 

cousins, too who are here today. She made us 16 

think she was happy, and that all was swell with 
her. That was something. She was really quite 

young, she had lost both her parents shortly after 26 

Dad went overseas, and she must have been sad 3 1 

and scared for him often. 

When Dad came back, we drove up to 

j / 

Marysville there was some kind of Army post 

up there to greet him. We had an old jalopy 48 

with a rumble seat that Mom bought during the 53 

war I can't believe she let us ride in that seat, 
but she did. Mom's mood on the way up was 

excited and ecstatic, and also semi-cool, as in Cool. 64 

When we got there, Dad was in the hotel room 70 

waiting for her. And when she met him again, she 
embraced him we closed in on him, too and 

our cup runneth over. 83 

Mom was not perfect she couldn't have 90 

put up with us if she were. Small things griped her 96 

sometimes. Maitre d's and guys who assign hotel 


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rooms were presumed enemies, and the presump 
tion was close to irrebuttable. But she dealt with 
things that mattered calmly, and she played the 
big points well. She was proud of us, and made us 
feel she was. She gave us many gifts. She made us 
all feel loved. 

"The days are not full enough, and the 
nights are not full enough, and life slips by like a 
field mouse, not shaking the grass." Ezra Pound 
wrote that about most of us, but no one could say 
that about Mom. She shook the grass. She played 
and laughed and argued and loved in it. She had a 
full life. 

She used to say that her mother used to say: 
Never do for pleasure what isn't. In the end she 
was sick, and life was not such a pleasure for her. 
She said she was ready to go, and she meant it. 
She said she was ready to meet her maker, and I 
have no doubt she was. 

The Lord has a handful and a treat - 
in store. Down here, her spirit dances in us. 
Peace, Mom. 

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TAPE GUIDE--Louis H. Heilbron 

[Interview 1: April 25, L989] 
Tape 1, side A 
Tape 1, side B 

Tape 2, side A [side B, not recorded] 
Tape 3, side A 
Tape 3, side B 

[Interview 2: May 5, 1989] 

Tape 4, side A [side B, not recorded] 
Tape 5, side A [side B, not recorded] 
Tape 6, side A [side B, not recorded] 
Tape 7, side A 
Tape 7, side B 



[Interview 2: November 18, 1991] 
Tape 3, side A 
Tape 3, side B 
Tape 4, side A 
Tape 4, side B 

[Interview 3: December 3, 1991] 
Tape 5, side A 
Tape 5, side B 
Tape 6, side A [side B, not recorded] 

[Interview 4: January 3, 1992] 
Tape 7, side A 
Tape 7, side B 
Tape 8, side A 
Tape 8, side B 






[Interview 5: February 5, 
Tape 9, side A 
Tape 9, side B 


Tape 10, side A 
Tape 10, side B 

[Interview 6, 

March 11, 

Tape 11, 

side A 

Tape 1 1 , 

side B 

Tape 12, 

side A 

Tape 12, 

side B 

[Interview 7: 

May 27, 

Tape 13, 

side A 

Tape 13, 

side B 

Tape 14, 

side A 

Tape 14, 

side B 










[Interview 8: July 1, 1992] 

Tape 15, side A 

Tape 15, side B 

Tape 16, side A 

Tape 16, side B 

[Interview 9: 
Tape 17, 
Tape 17, 
Tape 18, 

July 15, 1992] 
side A 
side B 
side A 

Tape 18, side B 

[Interview 10: August 13, 1992] 
Tape 19, side A 
Tape 19, side B 

[Interview 11: September 2, 1992] 
Tape 20, side A 
Tape 20, side B 
Tape 21, side A 
Tape 21, side B 

[Interview 12: September 12, 1992] 
Tape 22, side A 
Tape 22, side B 
Tape 23, side A 
Tape 23, side B 

[Interview 13: October 28, 1992] 
Tape 24, side A 
Tape 24, side B 
Tape 25, side A 
Tape 25, side B 

[Interview 14: November 11, 1992] 
Tape 26, side A 
Tape 26, side B 
Tape 27, side A [side B, not recorded] 

[Interview 15: December 22, 1992] 
Tape 28, side A 
Tape 28, side B 

[Interview 16: March 22, 1994] 
Tape 29, side A 







300, 326 





AppendixSelected speeches from From the Beginning: Commencement Addresses and 
Selected Papers of Louis H. Heilbron, California S Cate University Long Beach, 1983 

Commencement Address 

Humboldt State College 

June 4, 1961 

President Siemens, members of the graduating class and friends: 

A little over a year ago I had the pleasure of announcing to a conclave 
at Humboldt State College that the Master Plan for Higher Education 
had been enacted into law and that all of us entertained great expecta 
tions for its success. Today we are well started on the project of bring 
ing life and meaning to that plan, of translating the resounding words 
of the statute into practical deed. The Trustees of the California State 
Colleges and the distinguished Chancellor, recently appointed Dr. Buell 
Gallagher, assume full responsibility for their operation on July 1st of 
this year. I can assure you that while one of our purposes is to bring 
about the same standards of excellence on all of our college campuses 
and the same efficiency of procedure, we have no desire whatever to 
impose uniformity of physical appearance or curriculum content. I am 
confident that we shall make no effort to establish a school of forestry 
in San Francisco State College or a Department of Oceanography at 
Fresno State. Each State College will be encouraged, to the fullest 
extent possible, to retain a distinctive character appropriate to its 
history, its location and its capacity for service to the community and to 
the state. There will be nothing quite like Humboldt and its trees. 

Indeed, I am persuaded to base my remarks at this Commencement 
on an idea suggested by these very trees. It is not that the trees are so 
beautiful, or the groves like so many columns of a cathedral, or that the 
light filtering through them has the mystic quality of the noblest poetry. 
Great artists and poets have painted and sung these praises on a thou 
sand canvases and in a thousand books, and I could not hope to 
emulate them. Moreover, I have a suspicion that you people of this col 
lege and this community have heard something about redwood trees 

So I will not speak further about the trees, but only about part of a 
tree, a cross section of a tree. You have all seen such cross sections of a 
great redwood, with its face marked for history. You know what I 
mean. There will be a tree between 2,000 and 3,000 years old, and 
various dates will be superimposed on the appropriate annual rings. 
You can note the size of the tree in the year 323 before the Christian era, 
800 after the Christian era, 1066, 1492, 1588, 1620, 1776 and 1914. I will 
not identify these dates for you because as college graduates I assume 
you know them all. But no matter how large the tree, very few annual 
rings are marked. The idea, of course, is to suggest to the viewer: look, 


all these things took place and dissolved into history during the life of 
this single tree. However, a further thought occurred to me in the 
course of preparing these remarks: suppose that every annual ring from 
the very beginning of the tree was marked by an important historical 
event of that year. And suppose that a college graduate knew all of 
these dates and could identify all of the events literally thousands of 
them by name. Would he be an educated man? Would he have 
fulfilled the aims of this college? 

Certainly he would be the possessor of a unique collection of facts. 
As a competitor on a television quiz show, an honest one, he might win 
large prizes. Yet all he would actually know would be bits and pieces of 
knowledge; he would be like the wandering minstrel in the song "a 
thing of shreds and patches"; he would be little more or less than a 
freak in an intellectual circus. 

This suggests a rather interesting question: if you divided your own 
experience into a sequence of annual rings, and you wanted to mark on 
those rings the events which were truly significant in your college educa 
tion, which truly marked your intellectual growth, what would you 
mark? What should you mark? These queries bring us face to face with 
the aims of a college education. 

All students will not score or underline the same achievements. The 
marks will be lighter or heavier in the case of each student. Let us 
explore together the nature and purpose of these imaginary marks and 
see how well we fare. 

First of all, there is the matter of knowledge itself. Isolated pieces of 
knowledge have little value. As for isolated dates, I remember what an 
English professor of mine once said: "I shall not require any of my 
students to remember the birth date or the date of death of any author 
studied in this course because I am satisfied that the two days on which 
the author did not accomplish anything very much were the day he was 
born and the day he died." On the other hand, related fragments of 
knowledge have vast importance, and when they form a body of facts 
and theory which constitute some major division of knowledge, they 
constitute a discipline. The day that you have acquired a sufficient 
mastery over a discipline so that you have a grasp of its essentials, so 
that you perceive its whole outline and understand, at least generally, 
the relation of its parts that is a day you can mark upon one of your 
annual rings. This feeling that you have acquired a body of knowledge, 
that you know something, is more likely to be held by a student of one 
of the natural or physical sciences or of engineering than of arts and 
letters. I am aware that it has been said frequently that the liberal arts 
graduate is supposed to acquire values other than mere knowledge, that 
his education is merely the residue of what remains after everything else 
is forgotten. I do not believe that this evaluation is fair to the liberal arts 


curriculum or to the students of liberal arts subjects. The student of 
English literature who is able to pass a comprehensive test on the works 
of the principal authors and poets of our language knows something; 
the student of economics who has studied the various theories and com 
plexities of production and distribution, of the acquisition and the use 
of wealth, of the joint and separate objectives of management and 
labor, knows something. The student of history who has studied the 
movements and the interrelationships of events and peoples over even a 
few centuries, knows something; and I could extend the list to every 
liberal arts subject. Such students, if they have taken advantage of their 
opportunities, also have undergone a discipline, and they are entitled to 
make their marks. Their knowledge may not be as utilitarian (in the 
accepted sense) as knowledge in certain of the physical sciences, but if it 
adds materially to the enjoyment of life, it has its own kind of utility. 
And if it enables the person who has it to deal more easily and more 
effectively with his fellowmen than would otherwise be the case, it has a 
certain utility in the accepted sense though it requires no such 

A second event for marking an appropriate ring is that time when you 
really began to think. I do not mean about what dress you should wear 
to the Junior Prom or, in the case of a young man, about whom he 
should take although these are problems I would be the last to 
deprecate they might have lifelong results. Nor do I mean reviewing 
your notes and making the best estimate of what your professor will ask 
in a final examination so that you will be reasonably well prepared to 
give him back quickly what he has given to you slowly though this is 
a technique that can bring results. Rather, I have in mind the time when 
you first wrestled with an abstract idea or theme, something elusive and 
hard to grasp, something you relentlessly pursued up and down the cor 
ridors of your aching brain until (Eureka!) you pinned it down. And 
when you finally held it firmly you may have found it your concep 
tion of a truth comparatively simple. Or the time when, after a con 
siderable intellectual struggle, you discovered interrelationships where 
previously you thought there were only independent ideas. Or when you 
reconciled and synthesized several apparently competing ideas until 
they resulted in a theory or a fragment of philosophy. Thinking is a 
painful process, and those who know what 1 am talking about at this 
moment will have no trouble in their minds' eyes marking some notable 
instances on their annual rings. 

Then there is the matter of being skeptical or critical. I am referring 
to the skepticism of a Senior, not to that of the Sophomore as 
caricatured in my college days of the 20's. That Sophomore was 
inclined to debunk everything. He doubted everyone's motives, in high 
places or low. He agreed with one of the characters in a play who, when 


asked what history would say about an event, exclaimed, "History will 
lie as usual." He did not believe that any man in politics could be 
honest. He repudiated the tenets of his religion, and he did not believe 
that science could provide any worthwhile answers. He was not skep 
tical; he was negative. He had eaten too much fruit from the lower 
branches of the tree of knowledge and he had indigestion. But with you 
graduates it should be different. You know that there are many things 
true that are not new and many things new that are not true. You also 
know that many things, new and old, are true. If you have acquired the 
habit of asking for proof, of demanding that claims or statements, par 
ticularly in the field of controversy, be supported or substantiated 
before you accept them, you are exhibiting a characteristic of a college 
graduate who has achieved one of the purposes of a college education. 
Your mind is open to a new idea, but first you must investigate, then 
weigh the evidence. You just want to be shown. 

With this critical attitude you will read your newspapers, you will 
listen to your radio, you will view your television. (Regarding the latter, 
you may still find yourself unable to determine which permanent wave 
will make you permanently beautiful, what kind of unsurpassable car is 
essential to your happiness, and what dentifrice you must purchase to 
give you peace of mind.) You will be aware that almost every major 
newspaper carries varying and often conflicting interpretations of the 
news. You will question a news article in the light of an editorial; you 
may question both in the light of a columnist. You will know and dis 
count the bias of national magazines. You will note that it is not always 
easy to find the truth, but you will seek it before you vote, before you 
take a position on an issue, before you decide to join or not to join an 

There are further qualities which college can give you and which you 
can mark upon your record. Take the matter of being creative. The time 
when you thought of a novel approach to your term paper, or 
developed a new and apparently sound argument which you had not 
heard before, or performed an experiment in the laboratory for which 
you had no direction any of these days was notable. They were 
important because they helped to establish you as an individual. The 
liberal arts curriculum particularly has this purpose; it accords with a 
primary objective of American higher education. In spite of the great 
numbers attending our colleges in California and elsewhere, we do not 
want to turn out standard products at the end of an educational 
assembly line, all neatly and uniformly packaged and stamped with a 
degree. The more creative a person is, the more likely he or she will 
exhibit an individual character. Our aim to educate individuals, all a 
little different, is best achieved by affording full opportunity for the 
student to develop his creative ability. 


Perhaps the most important aim of a college education is to develop 
reasonable men and women. This quality is something beyond mere 
logic or skepticism. This is a habit of mind, an overall attitude toward 
all the problems a person may encounter. It is the greatest attribute of 
the founding fathers of our Constitution and form of government. 
They were reasonable men. They developed a constitution and form of 
government for reasonable men. They argued, debated, compromised 
as reasonable men. If you have learned that the facts of political and 
social life are not always easy to ascertain, and that once ascertained the 
solutions are not always easy to agree upon and once agreed upon, not 
always easy to implement and that in matters of social action there 
are wide areas for adjustment and accommodation without sacrifice of 
basic principle you should celebrate your achievement and mark one 
or all annual rings with it. For what this world needs more than 
anything else in these troubled days is men of reason. The hysteria of 
advocates on the extreme left or the extreme right may agitate but will 
not solve problems. True enough, reason will not convince anyone who 
refuses to listen to it. In the tense relations between states it is evident 
that certain countries and leaders do not want to listen to it. In the end, 
however, the world will either be guided and controlled by reason, or it 
will blow up. Let the men and women of reason come of age annually 
with each Commencement in this country. They give the support our 
nation needs to preserve our ideals and in the struggle for survival; they 
hold our own ship of state in California on an even keel; on the personal 
level they will find the best adjustment to daily living. 

There is one other mark you should identify on one or more of your 
annual records. It is the time or times that one of your professors by an 
anecdote, by a casual remark, possibly by an entire lecture, illuminated 
a whole field of thought or knowledge which until that time was confus 
ing or obscure. I can recall a number of such instances from my own 
undergraduate years. Four or five stand out in every detail. I can hear 
them still after the passage of more than three decades. Before you leave 
this campus you might do well to fix in your memory such incidents 
from your own experience representative of the best relationship 
between teacher and student. When much is forgotten, these episodes 
will remain. 

Now what about your own goals for the future? The rings of your 
own life experience will continue to grow. What are a few things you 
may expect to mark upon them? 

1. You owe it to yourself to develop your maximum potential. 
Have you completed your education to accomplish your own goal? If 
not, go on, continue with your education, complete it, do it when and 
while you can. Work or borrow if you need to, obtain a grant if you are 


eligible but do it. You will never regret developing and strengthening 
your talents and proficiencies. 

2. Remember that self-development is based on freedom, and that 
the college is a place for the free expression of ideas. There are always 
people, some with the best of intentions but with a limited point of 
view, who, for one reason or another, will exercise pressure to suppress 
that freedom. Yet that very freedom with its risks of sometimes being 
ill-advised or abused is the edge which a free society has over a 
totalitarian in the competition which has become part of our daily life. 
As graduates, remember and support the academic freedom you wanted 
your college to have when you were undergraduates. 

3. As citizens you have the privilege and responsibility of voting. 
Anyone who participated in or observed the last presidential election 
understands that every vote is important; a citizen's vote is a decision of 
government. Yours should be an informed vote based on a fair analysis 
and evaluation of issues and candidates. The most powerful symbol of 
freedom in the world is the American citizen entering the cloistered 
privacy of his voting booth. 

4. Your generation will determine the success of desegregation in 
schools, in housing and economic opportunity. You will have to over 
come the prejudices of the past and the present. If you help solve this 
problem, each of you by some concrete act, you will be fulfilling the 
promise and the challenge of your citizenship. Collectively you took a 
firm step, later confirmed by the trustees, when you determined that 
you would not engage in any future football games which would involve 
discrimination against any members of your team. 

5. About the cultural level: establish homes where your children 
hear good speech from you and from those around them, have good 
books in the house, be selective in your television programs for the 
family and you will strike some blows for American culture that will be 

6. Many of you will be teachers: this is a great calling and your 
opportunities are immense. In your hands will be the education of 
future generations of Americans. From a layman's point of view you 
might remember this it's the subject that counts, it's the hard core of 
knowledge that counts, it's developing the critical and creative faculties 
of your students that counts and the methods of teaching are simply 
means to an end. Particularly in junior high and secondary schools the 
subject is the thing: learn it, know it, teach it, and if you are one of 
those adventurous souls (and I am afraid this must come after some 
home experience) who wish to spend some time in teaching and training 
teachers in underdeveloped countries, we can spare you: the good you 
can do humanity will more than make up for the inconvenience you 
may cause us. 


7. If you are a science or business major who had to forego the 
humanities in large part because of curriculum requirements, take some 
arts courses in graduate school, in adult education, in extension, over 
TV, if any are available. If you are an arts major who neglected to 
investigate the world of mathematics and physics, at least take a general 
course in science from one of the same sources. 

8. If you are a foreign student, I hope that you have enjoyed your 
studies and your life here. If there have been some difficulties, try to 
help a fellow countryman avoid the same pitfalls. Under any circum 
stances you should know that we want you to return to your country to 
do your best for it; to remember that in extending educational oppor 
tunity to you we have had nothing to propagandize or sell to you, and 
have nothing to ask of you except to remember three things: 

i. Our ideals here are for a free society stressing the worth of 

each individual; 

ii. We have been making steady progress toward these ideals 

since 1776; and 

iii. These ideals are for all men everywhere. 

Many people worry about college students and graduates and the 
uncertainties you and the rest of us face. I look upon it differently. I 
think you have almost unlimited goals. You are the first generation that 
can reach for the moon and actually touch it. To many of you will come 
the opportunity, in some degree, to participate in the growth of the 
great State of California; to many the opportunity of developing much 
further the vast natural resources of this region; to all of you will come 
the opportunity in some degree to help hold this small planet together; 
to make it a better place to live for all men; to enjoy and share a richer 
personal and community life and to help strengthen this country so that 
its great influence among the nations will effectuate that peace with 
freedom which is our most cherished goal. There will be many annual 
rings for you to mark. 

I congratulate you on these opportunities and pray that you will make 
the most of them. 


Commencement Address 

California State College at Dominguez Hills 

June 9, 1967 

Chancellor Dumke, President Cain, members of the graduating class 
and friends: 

It is a privilege for me to participate in this particular commencement 
ceremony, to speak to the first graduating class of the California State 
College at Dominguez Hills, the newest of our colleges. In the years to 
come this institution will graduate 40, and later 400, and in about 20 
years, 4,000, but there will never be another occasion like this. Now you 
are four the pioneers, the beginners of the beginning, destined, we 
hope, to be the four patriarchs of Dominguez Hills. 

When the halls of learning are completed across the way and the 
auditoria and gymnasia are in place and the courts filled to overflowing 
with undergraduate fauna and California flora, you will come back to 
your Alma Mater as venerated alumni of an ancient era. Special pic 
tures will be taken of you for the yearbook, you will be asked how it was 
in the rough log cabin days when the wild boar and pterodactyls roamed 
the countryside and cattle grazed on the campus site, you will be 
prodded to explain how it was possible to learn enough to qualify for a 
degree in such primitive circumstances, and you will answer with tall 

You may or may not tell the future generations of undergraduates 
some of the unusual advantages you have enjoyed: having the educa 
tional facilities under one roof and easily available and taking your 
instruction under near tutorial conditions. The ratio of students to 
faculty during the period of your instruction has been about five to one, 
while the average throughout the State Colleges is approximately 17 to 
1. The ratio of library books to enrolled students during the period of 
your instruction has been 333 to 1, while the general state college 
average is 30 to 1 . Your opportunities for close association with your 
faculty and quick access to books have been unrivaled and I understand 
that you have taken due advantage of them. 

Some of these special conditions will disappear as the campus is 
developed. The day will come when your successor students will have to 
walk substantial distances from class to class, when full-scale athletic 
fields and equipment will replace your meager facilities of ping-pong 
and volleyball, when long registration lines and complicated admission 
procedures will have to be substituted for the simple and more direct 
procedures now available, when it will take longer to obtain a book or 
an interview with a professor. But I do hope and indeed I know that 



under the wise leadership of your able and resourceful president, Leo 
Cain, that certain of the unique qualities already evident in this small 
campus will continue and be augmented. 

We have high hopes that the distinguished faculty which has been 
brought to this campus will in turn recruit men and women of like 
character and ability to make up the enlarged faculty required to serve 
the expanded enrollment. We trust that succeeding generations of 
students will be able to share some of the benefits of the individual 
attention you have received (as you know, there are plans for a Small 
College, to be formed within the larger institution, and to be of an expe 
rimental nature which will help accomplish this objective). 

In many respects it is extraordinary that a college so young has been 
able to achieve such well-defined purposes and procedures and such a 
mature educational program. I daresay that thorough planning was one 
of the fringe benefits of the unusually long period of gestation which 
gave birth to this college. 

I know that the faculty, administration and students are engaged in 
planning additional unique and important programs. Your concern 
with bringing the culturally disadvantaged into the academic commun 
ity, your initial efforts in the urban problems field, as evidenced by a 
Conference on Urban and Environmental Design to be held under the 
college auspices next week, show your concern for the community 
around you. Your efforts to bring the students into more meaningful 
association in the governance of student and academic affairs 
through student participation on faculty committees and vice versa 
indicate that this college desires to grow with the times. 

But the burden of my remarks this evening will not be directed so 
much to the unique methods and programs that this college thus far has 
developed and is planning for the future, with the encouragement of the 
Trustees and the Chancellor, as it will be to the objectives which this 
college shares with the other colleges of our system, serving close to 
172,000 students. 

In substance I would like to talk a few moments about the values of a 
"liberal education," a phrase in very common use (frequently stated to 
be the goal of our State Colleges), but rather difficult to define. 

A liberal education includes instruction in the liberal arts; there were 
seven of these in medieval times grammar (including literature), 
logic, rhetoric (including law and composition in prose and verse), 
geometry (actually more in the nature of geography and natural 
history), arithmetic, music and astronomy. Now we usually refer to the 
liberal arts as letters and science or allocate them as your three major 
schools have done. The term liberal education has a long history and 
meaning. It is more than letters and science. It seeks to develop certain 
intellectual virtues. As Mark van Doren has said, "The aim of liberal 



education is one's own excellence, the perfection of one's own intellectual 
character" so that one is educated "not merely to know, but also 
and indeed chiefly, to be." 

A liberally educated man has achieved a large measure of objectivity; 
a habit of thinking; an appreciation that substance and good form 
usually go together; a state of mind that reflects more of idealism than 
of cynicism and a deep concern that if any factor in a problem is more 
important than any other, it is the human element. Although true 
liberal education deals with relatively exact subject matter (mathematics 
and the sciences) as well as subjects more usually considered inexact, the 
popular meaning of "liberal" has always emphasized the inexact or 
uncertain areas and, in particular, has opposed the subject matter of a 
liberal education to technology. 

There was a time after Sputnik when the idea of a liberal education, 
in this narrow and conventional sense, was under serious criticism. The 
feeling was rife that American education had neglected technology and 
the exact sciences and that we were providing a 19th century education 
which was wholly inadequate to meet 20th century problems. 

Unquestionably it was advisable to stimulate an interest in the 
sciences and in mathematics from the grade schools up. But it was soon 
recognized that what we required was coexistence between the sciences 
and the other areas of learning and not the substitution of one set of 
requirements for the other; actually, we needed to restore the unity of 
the "liberal arts." As I have mentioned previously, your college has 
recognized very well the interdependence of the principal fields of 

We now understand that the decisions on the most important prob 
lems affecting our daily lives will be made either by broad-gauged men 
trained in the liberal arts (in the broad traditional sense) and stressing 
the human element or narrow-gauged men trained technically or 
without much respect to them. 

This is a most important matter. The ability to produce, to build, to 
publish, to make weapons, to manufacture quantity, does not assure 
quality or progress. It makes a great deal of difference to know in 
whose hands the control of modern techniques is delivered and for what 
purposes. Whether science and technology will improve society depends 
greatly on the kind of people who are the leaders of that society. The 
world stands a better chance if men and women of liberal education 
have their (reluctant) fingers on the triggers, their hands on the budgets, 
their direction of mass media, their guidance of education itself. The 
liberally educated man is more inclined to put the human element first 
in the determination of problems, more likely to entertain divergent 
points of view, more concerned to be reasonable in making decisions. 



This does not mean that the man principally educated in the liberal 
arts, other than science, is not the product of discipline. Humanities 
and the fine arts and the social and behavorial sciences are less exact 
than the sciences per se, but in recent years the sciences themselves have 
discovered that in many of their most fundamental assumptions they 
have had to make adjustments; (hey have not been exact. Perhaps what 
the sciences have done for the less exact liberal arts in recent years is to 
make them more conscious of their own formal requirements, of their 
own disciplinary needs. There seems to be no question but that the 
college classroom, whatever the subject, has become a harder test and a 
more sophisticated experience than it was in my own generation. 

The academic dialogue in the classroom has a number of distinctive 
attributes. It is free ranging, it is unhurried, it is unafraid. Yet, it seeks 
to be pertinent to the issues discussed, and opinions are usually respon 
sible since they are subject to comment and criticism from professor 
and student alike. It is expected that the discussion be of such form and 
substance that it is relevant to a discipline. 

In a small college such as this you would find it somewhat ludicrous 
to leave your classroom building and suddenly find yourselves involved 
in discussions and actions almost entirely contrary to the discussions 
which you had just left. In other words, if the main interest, as soon as 
you were out of the classroom, was to seek to hear speakers from off 
campus who were irresponsibly extreme and if they were expected to 
ignore most of the criteria of fact, reason, and good taste that are 
assumed in the classroom, you would be participating in a kind of slum 
intellectual project which many of you would find distasteful. This is 
what is happening on a number of the larger campuses in America. 

In addition, on some of the larger campuses we find students engaged 
in extracurricular activities of two kinds activist and escapist. The 
activists are usually involved in supporting or opposing some local, 
national or political program. Such participation and commitment are 
often commendable and, indeed, essential, but on occasion groups of 
students engage in political or social action which, in substance or form, 
is far out from reasonableness. A complex problem becomes simplified 
out of all context; mass action and demonstration become the substitute 
for responsible argument and discussion. Slogans are substituted for 
sentences, shouts for thoughts. Regular channels which are provided 
for protest are ignored. It is hard to reconcile a liberal education with 
this kind of activity. 

I have in mind an incident which occurred in one of our own colleges 
when a president was being inaugurated. A small group of students with 
picket signs, some of them personally insulting to the college leadership, 
entered the stadium where the ceremony was held. The subject of most 
of the signs was a protest against the present college policy of sending a 



student's academic rank, at his request, to the Selective Service Board. 
The pickets waved their signs during the ceremony, they occupied a 
position on the commons between the stadium audience and the 
speakers' platform, and from time to time they yelled their demands 
that class rank be ended instantly, which apparently meant that the 
ceremonies should be interrupted while the petition of the pickets was 

Unquestionably there are certain questions about draft procedure 
which are serious questions of policy and upon which students, as the 
individuals directly concerned, have every right to express their views. 
But when this group conducted itself as it did at the time and place 
and in the manner described it violated a number of important 
academic precepts and freedoms. In the first place, the inaugural was 
part of the educational program; it was a ceremony symbolizing the 
dedication of the college to the objectives of higher education and to the 
classroom ideals to which reference has previously been made. This 
group of young people was perfectly willing to interfere with the right 
of the vast majority to hear and learn so long as it exercised its own 
right of freedom of speech. It sought at a ceremonial occasion for a 
solution that was at the moment patently impossible, namely, an instan 
taneous remedy in a disputed cause. It substituted insult for argument 
in many of its signs. It was a negation of higher education. No campus 
should dissolve its self-respect to such a degree of permissiveness that it 
allows such conduct to take place. I am not suggesting that student 
forums or protests should refrain from the consideration of the most 
controversial issues, I am not passing on the merits of the case, but I am 
saying that standards of responsibility, procedure and good taste must 
apply to the argument. 

Another example of negation is student escapism. There is a minority 
of students on American campuses who retire into a world of drugs and 
dreams to evade the realities of the academic world and the world out 
side. In their way, they seek a kind of instant happiness and a surcease 
from the pain of disciplined thinking. Instead of seeking to be or 
become, they want to lose themselves. They too seem to have turned 
their backs on the values of a liberal education. 

However, I have the very optimistic conviction that the leaders and 
faculty of this college are so ordering its affairs that the students here, 
as the college grows, will remain faithful to their liberal education com 
mitments. You seem to be appropriately sensitive to the values to be 
obtained by in-depth learning, by keeping your minds and curricula 
open to experimentation, by bringing teacher and student together in a 
close and constructive association, by involving students in the actual 
social problems of the community around them, by keeping genuinely 




busy and thus should be able to a' oid the pitfalls that some older 
institutions have fallen into. 

Unfortunately for the vast numbers of undergraduates throughout 
the land and for all of us, there is at this hour more to consider than the 
normal expectancies of peaceful pursuit. Within the past few days the 
dark clouds of a widening war hung heavy over this disturbed and angry 
world. The times were out of joint and the mood was one of worry and 
uncertainty. In the midst of this current crisis when survival itself 
threatened to become an issue, some of our other concerns seemed 
trivial: long hair, short skirts, objectionable words and signs. It is not 
that we wished to discount our other important and pressing 
problems: the elimination of poverty and political and economic 
discrimination at home, help to the have-not nations abroad, the settle 
ment of Vietnam. It was simply that the outbreak of bitter hostilities in 
another part of the world directly involving our interests and com 
mitments placed our true problems in perspective. No problem has 
meaning if we do not survive to meet it. 

The greatest instruments for the achievement of peace and remedy of 
wrongs are those which have been placed in your hands: moderation 
and reason, the disciplined, humane voice of a liberal education. At this 
hour we pray that the leadership of the victor and the vanquished, and 
of the United States and of the United Nations, will use these very same 
instruments to establish the conditions of a constructive peace. One of 
our most difficult problems stems from the fact that the values which 
we have learned, in the hardest way, to believe vital are not the same 
values which seem to control the thoughts and actions of all nations. 
This does not make our mission impossible, but it certainly complicates 

We can assume only that the values of which I have spoken will be 
vindicated and that a somewhat tormented but relatively intact world 
will be handed over to your generation to struggle with, to serve, to 
govern and to improve. In assuming your responsibilities you might 
remember that the values which you have learned here, in this very 
building, are those that will pull you through when the going gets tough, 
are the values which constitute the underpinning of a decent, civilized 

It is a parlous time, but as the young and the strong always say in 
moments of crisis, it's as good a time as any to begin. 


APPENDIX B--Louis H. Heilbron, Family and Childhood 

[This section was written by Louis Heilbron in 1995 at the request of the 
Regional Oral History Office] 

Grandparents- -Paternal 

As previously noted, my paternal grandparents moved West in the early 
1880s, settling in Sacramento. My grandfather owned and operated a large 
market downtown on J Street. My grandmother was a Sachs, one of fourteen 
children, born in Louisville, Kentucky. Her sister Fanny married Ben 
Steinman, who became mayor of Sacramento in the 1890s. The families in 
Sacramento were close--my father Simon and Irving were the children of 
Louis and Julia; Etta, Lillian, and Irving were the Steinman children. 
Louis and Julia followed Ben and Fanny to San Francisco in April of 1906; 
indeed they bought and furnished a house in the downtown area below Van 
Ness Avenue four days before the earthquake and fire of 1906, which 
completely destroyed it. They spent the rest of their lives in two 
residential hotels a half block apartthe Bristol and the Normandie--on 
Sutter Street. 

Louis was a small man, with a light mustache. He was studious, had a 
wry sense of humor, and was very caring and attentive to me. Julia was 
much taller than he, statuesque would be an apt termshe had been a very 
beautiful young woman- -"Queen of the Strawberry Ball" in Louisville, 
whatever that might have meant. The Congregation Emanu-El Sunday School, 
which I attended from first year to confirmation, was located on Sutter 
Street between Van Ness and Franklin Streets, so after Sunday School I 
would visit my grandparents for about an hour on the way home. Grandpa 
always gave me a warm welcome. He was not the hugging kind, but he was 
always interested in what I was doing. Since in Sacramento he had been the 
lay assistant to the rabbi, taking over if the rabbi was ill, he was 
particularly interested in asking what, if anything, I learned in Sunday 

He wanted to give me a good time. He took me across the bay, via the 
ferry, to Idora Park in Oakland and Neptune Beach in Alameda, two zones of 
family entertainment and fun. But he couldn't participate in it; he would 
sit on a bench, give me some coins, and tell me to do as I wanted. I would 
buy a ticket to the magician's show, ride the roller coaster, eat a hot 
dog, et cetera, and return in about an hour. I would report, we would talk 
a bit, and proceed to the gate. Once he invited me to bring a friend along 
on one of these transbay excursions. We had too noisy a time, grabbing and 
punching each other, and the experiment was never repeated. On his 
seventieth birthday my mother gave him a birthday party, and the menu was 


headed by a photo of our respective heads, with the bodies drawn in, 
entitled, "Just a couple of kids." He did try hard. 

He would take me to the movies, fall asleep, and when he woke up, he 
would say, "I think this is where we came init's time to go." This was 
usually fine with me, because I would have seen the full show plus almost 
half of it again. I told him so. But on one unhappy occasion, he awakened 
before the film was half shown and insisted we had to go and that I had 
seen enough, as usually I had. It was quite disappointing and we had a 
silent ride home. 

One memorable year in my childhood was the Panama Pacific 
International Exposition of 1915. This was a fantasy land that was for 
real. Our family attended many times, and going down the steep Fillmore 
Street hills by cable car to reach the Fair was an adventure in itself. 
The Tower of Jewels surrounded by its for courts and palaces was another 
world. Three of the tall redwood trees standing outside the Oregon 
building eventually were transplanted to Lyon Street near Green, where we 
had our home for close to thirty years, and thus helped preserve some of 
the memories. My hero was Art Smith, the stunt pilot who took his fragile 
biplane up into the darkness every night, streaming colored smoke from the 
back of the plane as he looped the loop and made all kinds of patterns in 
the sky. My grandfather forged Art's signature in a warm greeting to me on 
his autobiography and gave it to me for ray birthday, and it was only close 
to the time when I wanted to thank him personally that I learned the truth. 
I should have known that Art could never have written such beautiful 

My father had taken up the violin at an early age and had formed his 
own little quartet or quintet in Sacramento that played at school, 
weddings, other social functions, and concerts. The family and friends 
were confident that they had a musical genius among them and sent him to 
Germany to develop his art. He went to a Dr. Singer's conservatory in 
Stuttgart for six years (about 1898 to 1904). Attending another 
conservatory for the piano was Flora Karp, originally from Vienna. They 
met, fell in love, and were engaged before he left to establish a home in 
the United States. He brought her over the following year; they were 
married, and settled in Newark, New Jersey. 

Flora had been confronted with a big decision (previously indicated) . 
The impresario who had brought Schumann Heink to the United States asked to 
bring her. Why she refused is something of a mystery, but the most 
plausible answer is that she had injured her arm during her last grand 
recital at the conservatory, an injury that gave her trouble throughout her 

Simon and Flora opened a studio in Newark. Simon organized and led a 
symphony in that city and played occasionally in leading New York 


orchestras. Flora taught piano. Their prospects were widening when I came 
along with a health problem that caused them to move to San Francisco and, 
in effect, join the family. 

They were welcomed in music circles and gave several local concerts. 
Simon continued to teach and to lead or play in orchestras in hotels, 
theaters, and elsewhere for close to ten years. But my father always felt 
that, while he was a well-trained and competent musician, he would never 
attain the top concert level, and so when an opportunity developed to go 
into business as a partner with Arthur Frank (husband of the former Etta 
Steinman) , he took it and phased out his professional life. (He had had 
practical experiencehe had worked part-time in the San Francisco 
assessor's office during his musician's days.) The business they started 
was the Frank Food Co., a food processing company that eventually produced 
over fifty items, including all the hot dogs sold for a good many years to 
Seals Stadium. 

Mother Flora, I believe, was of a different order. She was a musical 
genius. She could read and play a concerto for the first time and then 
play it from memory. My father said that no one anywhere played Chopin 
better. But for her accident, she might have had a notable career. With 
the passing of the years, she spent less and less time at the piano. My 
last recollection of her playing was at a small dinner party for the Monroe 
Deutches given in our home on Lake Street. She died of cancer at the age 
of fifty-four in 193A. 

The closest friends of my parents were the Frank and Steinman 
families to whom my father was related. Other very good friends were 
Marian, Adelaide, and Pansy Lewis. Marian (married name Rose) was a singer 
(not by profession) and spent many happy hours with my mother at the piano. 
Adelaide was an ardent supporter of Mills College. Pansy was a close, 
lifelong friend to me and later to Delphine as well as to my parents. 

The Franks had a summer home in Atherton, and Sunday was open house. 
We frequently visited there for the day, and it was not unusual for the 
tables in the outdoor area to be set for thirty guests. The Frank 
daughters, my cousins Bernice, Elinore, and Lucille, and other children 
were there for me to play with, later to walk, ride, or swim with, plus 
their swains. These excursions to Atherton continued for many years and 
included Delphine after our marriage. 

My mother became an inveterate bridge player, and that was her main 
social diversion. She was dexterous and artistic with her needle and made 
beautiful tablecloths, napkins, and even curtains. She was a loving and 
devoted mother, supportive when we had problems, over-caring when we had 
illnesses, who lived and taught family values, inspired achievement, 
required responsibility. 


My father was a hard-working man. He had been schooled in music and 
missed a formal higher education in other cultural areas, but made up for 
part of it in reading 18th and 19th century history. He was clear thinking 
about himself, his abilities and potential, and somewhat skeptical of 
religious verities, especially immortality. "This is your life, this is 
all," he said. He lived to be 100, and when asked by a reporter from the 
San Francisco Chronicle about the secret of his longevity, replied, "No 
exercise." (He was referring to his last few years, but the answer stopped 
the interviewer in his tracks.) 

I do not have many recollections of my mother's family. I was only 
seven when I met them in Austria in 1914. I am not sure I saw my maternal 
grandmother; I have a dim recollection of a very old lady. Frieda, one of 
my mother's sisters and so my aunt, was a buxom, friendly lady. Her 
husband was an invalid in a wheelchair. I played hopscotch and traded 
stories (in a unique combination of German and English) with my cousins, 
Bubbi, Eda, and one other whose name escapes me; they were fun to play 
with. Mother's other sister, Genya, in Sarajevo was a more worldly, say a 
more American kind of woman. My father kept up some correspondence with 
both families between the wars. As far as I know, none was taken to 
concentration camps before or during World War II, though several died. 
Eda was reported to have gone to Israel, but our search through the Joint 
Distribution Committee proved fruitless. Bubbi was a chemist in Rumania, 
and after World War II my father offered to sponsor and bring him to the 
United States, but he wrote that he had secured a promising job and 
declined. (Immediately after the war, when I was in Austria, I had tried 
to go to Bucharest to locate him, but the army would not grant permission 
because the city was in the Russian zone, conditions were chaotic, and no 
one could assure safe transportation to return. Bubbi 's letter of 
declination came in the summer of 1946, after I returned home.) 

As for my growing up in San Francisco: it was a good life. I 
attended Pacific Heights School from the second grade on. Edward Brantsen 
of the MJB coffee family, much later to become president of the company, 
was a classmate in the fourth grade and still is a friend. Paul Bissinger, 
deceased, was a few grades ahead of me, ultimately to become head of 
Bissinger & Co., a large tanning operation in San Francisco. Paul was most 
interested in the theater and became the leader and producer of the Temple 
Players, part of Temple Emanu-El, in the late twenties (but with a city- 
wide audience) and brought an innovative variety show to the old San 
Francisco Orpheum a little later. Robert Seller was two grades behind me, 
but we became good friends on and off the tennis courts beginning in the 
last of the 'teens. 

Tennis became the center of my life from age ten for over five years. 
I learned to play at the Alta Plaza public courts (near where we lived on 
Steiner Street). In a few years I played competitively as described in the 
main oral history. I enjoyed good relations with my many co-players and 


competitorsMarty and George Liebes (Liebes Fur Company), Bobby Seller 
(turned pro for a time and in his senior years has probably the best record 
nationally in old-timers' tennis), Tom Stow (later coach of Cal tennis and 
pro at the Silverado Country Club), Cranston Hohman (later a doctor from 
Stanford), Helen Jacobs (whom I first met playing in Lafayette Park and 
later played as one of her "sparring partners" before her trips to 
Wimbledon), and many others. I came to know many of the tennis greats of 
the Bay Area and, at the time, that meant of the worldthe Kinsey brothers 
(national doubles champions), Bill Johnston (who on hard courts I maintain 
was better than Bill Tilden) , Helen Wills (very casually; she would not 
remember me), Edward Chandler (intercollegiate champion). I don't mean to 
imply close relationships with these people, but only to indicate that they 
were part of my world, and together with my contemporaries had an influence 
on me. They provided models of courage, fair play, sportsmanship, and, of 
course, of form, strategy, and technique. 

Naturally you learn mostly on your ownwhat it feels like to fight 
on in a match when you are tired and down, but still have a chance to win. 
For the most part the values of athletic competition have been rightly 
praised, perhaps best in the context of amateur sports. 

Recreational Activities 

We usually went away for a few weeks in part of the summer- -several 
years to Capitola (near Santa Cruz) with the Franks, their children, Edith 
Hirsch (later married to Dr. Charles Fletcher), and other friends. The old 
Capitola Hotel was a rambling, friendly wooden structure, like Paso Robles, 
Coronado, and the Claremont, not quite as large or fancy. The manager, a 
Mr. Wood, something of a prankster, let a horse in the lobby to show how 
welcome an inn he ran, especially for the children. The beach was our 
playground, but the waves at Capitola were intimidating. We took a house 
in Palo Alto for a few summers, and that facilitated exchanges with the 
Franks in Atherton and friends in Los Altos. We spent a summer at Fallen 
Leaf Lake in the Tahoe area and at a resort in Lake County called Stuperich 
(spelling doubtful), modeled after a Swiss mountain resort with its 
separate cottages. By the way, it took us six and a half hours, by ferry, 
train, and stage (a wheezing bus) to get to Lake County. One could feel 
away even in Boyes Hot Springs in Sonoma or in Byrom Hot Springs in Contra 
Costa because of the time it took to get there. 

I remember it was about 1920 in Stuperich. Prohibition was in 
effect, but the resort served wine. My father and another gentleman 
contrived with a new arrival to have him enter the dining room and shout 
that everyone was under arrest for violating the law. There were several 
moments of panic until the ruse was uncovered or discovered, and then there 


were toasts all around. The guests realized that Lake County was too far 
away for the Federals to reach. 

I have a sister, Juliet, who is ten years younger than me. As a 
result we did not come to know each other well until we were both pretty 
much grown up as adults. When I was about fifteen, my mother had our 
pictures taken at a photographer's; in one hand I held a tennis racket, 
with the other I held hers, both of us staring straight ahead, a children's 
version of Grant Wood's "American Gothic." Juliet was a very pretty child 
and deserved better. Fortunately, as the years rolled by, the gap closed 
and a warm relationship developed; now at seventy-eight she holds the 
racket and does the tennis playing. 

My uncle Irving (father's brother) was the store manager of Sherman 
Clay, its piano and music store in Sacramento. He was a soft-spoken, 
easygoing man, and when he visited us would hand me a bright fifty-cent 
piece or a dollar. (This meant something to a youngster in 1915.) Quite 
some time after our marriage, Delphine and I spent a pleasant weekend with 
him and his wife, Irene, at a Lake Tahoe resort. 

What kind of social life did I have growing up? Well, besides with 
my tennis friends, Marty Liebes, Bobby Seller, and Frank Dunn, I suppose it 
was mostly boys and girls with whom I attended Sunday school at Temple 
Emanu-El. I have looked at the lists of the confirmation classes of 1921 
(mine) and 1922. There were about fifty in each class, and I can say that 
I have had continuing relationships with at least a quarter of them and 
lifetime relationships with about fourteen of them. I became a law partner 
with Richard Guggenhime and Frank Sloss, with social ties as well to them 
and their wives. Helen Joseph married Gilbert Gates (resort operators in 
Weaverville) , Robert Rothschild (architect) married Elizabeth Rosenblatt, a 
first cousin of Dellie. Florence Sommer (Sommer & Kaufman) married Rafael 
Sampson, also lifetime friends. Adele Harris married Sidney Kay, the same. 
Frank Triest became a roommate in college. George Lavison, Frederic Kahn 
(Sather Gate Bookshop), and Adolph Meyer (accountant, son of Martin Meyer), 
also fraternity brothers. Even those I was to encounter sporadically, like 
Esther Ehrman, remained easy to meet. Long after Dellie and I were 
married, and Esther had married Claude Lazard and lived in ducal splendor 
in Paris, we were invited to visit with her and Claude when we went to 
Europe. The disturbing part is to recognize how many of all of them are 
now deceased. 

During my high school period there were many dances, either with 
suppers or late night snacks given at the major hotels--St. Francis, 
Fairmont, Palace. (A punch and snack affair at the St. Francis cost 
seventy-five cents per guest.) Parties of fifty or more were not unusual. 
Or even previously in grammar school, one would be invited (as many as 
twenty) to the Orpheum matinee, the vaudeville palace, and then to 


Townsend's on Powell for a soda. These events kept the young people of the 
Reform Jewish community together. 

There were public school affairs, too, and at these there was a 
student mix. I dated a few non- Jewish girls in high school. But mainly 
social events--Protestant, Catholic, Jewishwere with one's own religious 

Student activitiesnewspaper, theater, debating, athletics, service 
--brought us together from many backgrounds. Jewish children were 
generally comfortable and secure in San Francisco. There was a strong 
Jewish component in the city's life from the Gold Rush days on. Reform 
Jewish families adopted the mores of the general society on some occasions 
which the rabbis deplored. For example, many participated in Christmas: 
the shopping, present-giving, and Christmas trees (excluding religious 
ornamentation). They regarded Christmas as a national holiday, part of the 
culture, and disregarded the religious connotations and motifs. Parents 
allowed their children to participate in Easter egg hunts. Yet this 
participation did not affect observance of their own holidays and rituals 
or the continuity of the Reform Jewish community. 

You ask the question, did religion or Jewish identification present 
an issue in my young life? The answer is, on one memorable occasion. I 
was in Emanu-El's confirmation class 1920-1921. I was also a member of the 
Third Class (youngest) in Mr. Marvin's Golden Gate Park tennis club at the 
same time and reached the finals of its tournament scheduled to be played 
on a day that turned out to be Yom Kippur. That day, I knew, I could not 
and should not play. My mother called Mr. Marvin to explain and ask that 
the match be rescheduled. Marvin refused, saying he could not recognize 
religious holidays in relation to athletic contests. So I was defaulted, 
disappointed but understood that it had to be. But toward the end of the 
spring, I had another chance. I again competed successfully to the point 
of the singles final of the same tournament, scheduled to be playedon the 
Saturday morning, lo and behold, of the dress rehearsal of my Sunday school 
confirmation class. Rabbi Martin Meyer had made it clear that no excuses 
whatsoever would be accepted for missing the rehearsal. 1 had the closing 
prayer. I knew it thoroughly backwards and forwards; he knew I knew it. I 
tried to explain the importance of this tournament's cup the names of 
former winners Maury McLaughlin and William Johnston were engraved on it, 
these were the world's all time greats, and the winner would keep the cup. 
Meyer said it was my choice chance for the cup or the part. I said 
tearfully 1 would play the match. I so much wanted to play; if I didn't, I 
would always have a bad feeling toward confirmation. So I played, won the 
cup, and lost the part. The confirmation took place the Saturday after the 
Saturday of the dress rehearsal. I was confirmed. Shortly after 
confirmation, Rabbi Meyer took me aside and said, "You know, a rule is a 
rule, but the incident is over, I want you to join the post-confirmation 
leadership boys group of the Pathfinders that will meet with me at my 


home." We understood each other. I also understood Mr. Marvin, but in a 
different way; I never believed he was just enforcing a rule requiring play 
on that day of Yom Kippur. 

In short, despite an instance or two, being a Jewish child in San 
Francisco posed no difficult issue when I was growing up. Not that we 
weren't conscious that there were social or other limits. You could join 
the Assembly dance group up to your early teens irrespective of religious 
differences, but not the social groups beyond. We vaguely knew that 
Eastern colleges had quotas, that big companies did not have Jewish 
executives, that the prestigious law firms in San Francisco (other than 
Heller, Ehrman) rarely employed a Jewish associate. But public school and 
its activities were quite open, the same was true of Berkeley and Stanford. 
True, few fraternities at either university would pledge Jewish members, 
but Jewish students at Berkeley preferred a Jewish fraternity. I joined 
Zeta Beta Tau because my friends were there. I was "rushed" by a couple of 
non- Jewish fraternities, with what seriousness I don't know, but it didn't 
occur to me to be serious about them, because for several years in high 
school I had been a comfortable guest at ZBT. After joining I found that 
its fraternity members were just as active in extracurricular affairs on 
campus as the most active non- Jewish fraternities. We had some exchange 
dinners with non- Jewish fraternities. Our open houses and parties were 
pretty much filled with Jewish guests. The future of Jewish communities 
was pretty much assured by these social considerations. 

Now under the nondiscrimination policy of the university at Berkeley, 
the membership of ZBT, as I last heard about it, was at least 50 percent 
non- Jewish and Jewish students were members in many, if not most, of the 
fraternities. In the outside world in the Bay Area, over half of the 
marriages are interfaith. Acceptance has become the problem for Jewish 
continuity in America. Integration is the right course for democracy and 
society, but the erosion of ethnic or religious identity is a matter 
commanding a great deal of attention from Jewish community leadership and 
scholars. It is also the subject of a thoughtful and provocative recently 
published book entitled Jews and the New American Scene by Seymour Martin 
Lipset and Earl Raab. 

Perhaps I should add this note. From campus days to the present and 
through law firm, government, and community activities, I have worked and 
had close associations with any number of non- Jewish colleagues. I have 
made lasting friendships among them and they are fully part of my life as I 
am of theirsmutual interests in education, world affairs, and California 
history have developed these relationships. We are at home with one 
another, personally and socially. People who segregate themselves within 
their particular ethnic or religious group miss a great deal of the 
richness of life, in losing the opportunity to enjoy diversity and yet, at 
the same time, to discover how much their fellow human beings are alike. 

As for my model of a live-in college campus, it is one where all 
students are accommodated in dormitories. 


By Russell Schoch, Editor 

upright man 

Iohn Hcilbron is a triple-degree 
alumnus of Cal, an administrator 
of the division he created on cam 
pusthe Office of the History 
of Science and Technology and 
irrent chairman of Berkeley s Aca 
demic Senate. He also is one of the finest 
historians of science in the business. On 
page 14 of this issue. Professor Heilbron 
provides a look at both the history and 
the future of science. 

Heilbron was horn in San Francisco, 
in 193-4. and followed the example of 
his parents and countless otlicrs by 
mending Lowell High School and then 
coming to Berkeley. "It never occurred 
to me to go any place else," Heilbron says. 
"I had friends who went to Harvard, 1 
even had friends who went to Stanford 
1 could never understand that ." Heilbron 
met his wife, Patricia, on campus "She's a 
foreigner From San Diego " 

Al Cal. Heilbron received his B.A. 
(1955) and MA (1958) in physics and 
then began Ph D work in the subject. But 
he soon found he was more interested in 
the history of science than in the actual 
work of physics ("I decided this when 1 
was in the middle of my physics calcula 
tions; I realized that I didn't care how 
they came out.") Then he learned that 
there was a young faculty member in 
history studying and teaching the history 
of science. This was Thomas Kuhn. who 
has been recognized as one of the world's 
leading historians of science since the 
publication, in 1962. of his epoch-making 
book. Tlje Stntcture of Scientific Kefotn- 
tions Heilbron became Kuhn's first Ph. I), 
candidate, completing a dissertation on 
the history (if atomic physics. He says his 
encounter with Kuhn and with the his 
tory of science changed his life com 

Heilbron went next to tlie University of 
Pennsylvania, where he set up a new 
program in the history and philosophy of 
science By then, Kuhn had been stolen 
away by Princeton, and, in 1967, Heil 
bron was hack at Berkeley. In 1973. he 
founded and became the director of the 
campus' Office of the History of Science 
and Technology, which is now located in 
Stephens Hall. 

Why is it important to study the his 
tory of science and technology? "There 
are all kinds of reasons," he says, "but the 
fundamental one is the reason for study 
ing history And if you're interested in 
studying modern history, you have to be 
interested in studying the history of sci 
encc and technology, because those en 
deavors have driven so much of modem 

The field has changed since Hcilbron 
entered it. "The purely intellectual his 
tory of science has declined somewhat. 
aid the interest in science and Its place in 
society has grown. 1 think that's quite 
healthy, and my own work has changed 
quite a bit as a result I still keep my hand 
in the intellectual history, but I'm also 
quite interested in the development of 
scientific institutions, which is a kind of 
locus where science as a product meets 
the social concerns. Ernest O. Lawrence 
i> fascinating example of this. His notion 

was that the machine drives the labora- 
tory and that money drives the machine. 
Also, that there is money out there if only 
you know how to get it. And he did." 

Early next yeai; UC Press will publish 
the first of a three-volume biography of 
Lawrence written by Heilbron and Rob 
ert Scidel. one of his former students. 

Heilbron is a prolific writer, author or 
co-author of 14 books and dozens of arti 
cles and book reviews in the field One of 
his best-known and most highly regarded 
books is the 1986 biography. TbeDilem 
mas of an Upright Man: Max Planck 
as Spokesman for German Science "I 
was attracted initially to Planck's life 
as a whole." says Hcilbron. "because it 
encompassed science, politics, and the 
enormous changes in circumstances in 
Germany between the turn of tlxr cen 
tury and World War II. His life was so 
interesting I figured I'd have to be a real 
hack to mess it up ' 

Hcilbron's current research includes a 
look at what he c