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University of California Berkeley 

University of California Bancroft Library/Berkeley 

Regional Oral History Office 

Newton Bishop Drury 

With Introductions by 
Horace M. Albright and DeWitt Nelson 

An Interview Conducted by 
Amelia Roberts Fry and Susan Schrepfer 


1972 by The Regents of the University of California 

Newton B. Drury 

Photograph by Ansel Adams 

All uses of this manuscript are covered by a legal 
agreement between the Regents of the University of 
California and Newton B. Drury, dated October 18, 1972. 
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 at 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 at Berkeley. 

Requests for permission to quote for publication 
should be addressed to the Regional Oral History Office, 
4-86 Library, 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 Newton B. Drury requires that he be notified 
of the request and allowed thirty days in which to respond. 





20 December 1978 

Errata for Newton Bishop Drury oral history memoir, Parks and Redwoods, 
1919-71. Vol. I 

p. 8 - Berkeley Fire 1923 

p. 13 - Berkeley Fire 1923 

p. 110 - (bottom of page) Gib should be Big 

p. 112 - not exorcised, exercised 

p. 161 - Berkeley Fire 1923 

p. 177 - Joseph Shenck, not Shenek 

p. 208 - (lower) Margaret Owing s 

p. 7 65 - Margaret Owings 

p. 343 - married 1918 

TABLE OP CONTENTS -- Newton B. Drury 


INTRODUCTION By Horace M. Albright 11 

INTRODUCTION By DeWitt Nelson vill 





Family Tree 

Mother. Ella Lorraine Bishop Drury 3 

Father, .Wells. Drury ** 

Early Childhood 4 

From Indian Interpreter to Printer 

Wells Drury and Other Journalists 

Newspapermen Then Versus Now 

Politics and Views 2^ 

The Mobile Drurys 

The Earthquake and Fire 29 

Family Life 31 
Theater and Music 

Church 3 

Schools 37 

High School 39 

Newspaper Work ^2 

Issues and Youthful Politics W 

Alameda and Berkeley, Quiet Villages 50 

Early Growth of Berkeley 51 

College Days in Berkeley. 1908.-1212 5 

Academic Life 56 

Student Activities of the Drury Brothers 60 

The Illustrious Class of 1912 6? 

Aubrey Drury 191^-1917 ?* 

The University 1912-1918 77 
Formation of the College of Letters and Science 77 

Drama and Lectures 79 

Bob Sproul, Assistant Comptroller 85 

Benjamin Ide Wheeler, President 86 

World _War I_ and the Balloon Corps 9 7 


Formation of the Drury Advertising Company 102 
Organizing the Save-the-Redwoods League 105 
Pre-Save-the-Redwoods Conservation Efforts 110 
Structure of the League 112 
Men in the Early Years of the League 116 
Funds for the League 119 
Publicity and Mail Campaigns 119 
Personal Contact and Influence 126 
Acquisition Processes and Problems: Humboldt 

County " 133 

Early Holdings 133 

First Appropriation 135 

Lumber Company Negotiations 137 

Comments on Condemnation 1&3 

Cruising and Appraising, Enoch Percy French 1^7 

Aubrey Drury in the 1920's and 1930*5 152 

Metric System Campaign 153 

Educational Institution Accounts 156 

Conservation 158 

Avocations 160 


Composition of the Bond Issue Bill - 

A Critique by Hindsight" 163 

Sup-port and Opposition in the Legislature 169 

California State Parks Council 17^ 

Campaign Techniques 176 

The State Press 178 

National Conference on State Parks 182 

The State Park Commission 186 

Its Formation 186 

The First Commissioners and Governor Young 191 

Political Turnover in the Commission 195 

Olmsted's Survey 201 

The Team 201 

Problems in Maintaining Balance 203 

Frederick Law Olmsted 209 

Protection Through Planning 213 

Pressures Against Protection 21? 

Commercial Pressures 217 

Fires and Floods 223 

Parks, Highway .Development, and Planning 229 

Financing the Parks 23^ 

Park Money From Private Sources 23*4- 

Community Tax Problems 238 

Decreased Taxable Land with Increased 

Land Values 238 

In-lieu Taxes 2^3 

Organization of Funds 2^5 

Park Operations 2^-9 

Park Personnel 2^9 

Ranger and Naturalist Programs 2^9 

Civilian Conservation Corps, State 

Emergency Relief Agency, and Parks 255 

Civil Service 261 

Accommodations - Public Versus Private 


The Oil Royalties 269 

General Financial Picture 269 

Royalties and the 1955 Legislature 2?2 

Planned versus Unplanned Distribution of Funds 2?2 

Administration of Parks by Legislative Action 277 

Individual Legislators 288 

Acquisitions; Case Histories 292 

Policy Questions 292 

Transfers and Trades 295 

Installment buying 298 

Butano Redwoods 300 

Santa Cruz Redwoods and Point Lobos 302 

Calaveras Sequoias 307 

The North Grove 308 

The South Grove 309 

Corridor Land 313 

Pueblo de Los Angeles 318 

Hearst Castle 319 

Comments 321 

Angel Island 321 

Golden Gate Headlands 322 

Monterey Sites 323 

Emerald Bay 32& 

Men and Parks 326 



"Tho Team" - Aubrey and Newton 338 

Wife, Elizabeth Frances Schilling and Family 




The Initiation 
The Appointment 

Working Conditions of the Job 355 

Policy 358 

Wildlife 361 

Plants 366 

Related Activities 369 

Organization 377 

Parks and Monuments 3?8 

Historical Areas 332 

Parkways and Local Parks 336 

Program 389 

Planning 389 

Problems: Artificial Lakes, Inhold.ings 393 

Budget Requests 
Deferred Maintenance 
Land Acquisition Funds 
Pork Barrels 

Internal Division of National Park Service Budget 
National Redwood Park Proposals 
Congressional Committees and Hearings 
Bureau of Budget 


Insects and Disease 
Public Use and Park Interpretation 
Ranger Naturalist Program 
Fee Structure 


Advisory Committee 14.72 
Government-owned Plant, with Operations 

Changes in Demands of Public 


Jackson Hole 4-88 

Grazing 507 

Dams 511 

Bureau of Reclamation 511 

Ar che olOKi cal Pre s ervat i o n 518 


The Rise of the Assistant Secretaries 521 

Drury's Resignation and Secretary Chapman 522 



John Ise's National Park Policy 528 

Herbert Evison's Manuscript in Preparation 5 34 

AlbrlKht-Drury Interview 53^ 



First World Conference on National Parks 536 

Trip Abroad 5^0 
Recent Activity of the Save-the-Redwoods League 






Fund Raisins 569 

Acquisitions: General 572 

Prairie Greek Park Additions 577 




Douglas Bill 583 

Grant s -In- A Id 586 

Jedediah Smith State Park (Mill Greek) 588 
Revival of the Redwood National Park Project 

in 1960*3 590 


Position of the National Park Service 593 

The Sierra Club and the League 595 
Alignment of Forces (Governmental and 

Conservation Groups) 604- 


Four Washington, D. C. Conferences 608 

June 25, 19 64 White House Meeting 608 
December 15-17, 1965, Meeting with Foundation 

Representatives 609 

Meeting of Sierra Club and League 612 
Senate Committee Hearing, Subcommittee on Parks 

and Recreation, April 1?, 196? 613 
in__Gojiferenoe Committee (Conference Report 
H. Kept. 1890 'for S 2515. September 11, 1968) 6lb 

U.S. Forest Service; Redwood Exchange Unit 61 6 

Congressman Wayne Asplnall 618 


Ejionomio Problem; Del Nor te County 619 

Residential Opposition to Park Acquisitions 622 

Miller-Rellim Lumber Company 6 2 7 

Redwood Lumbermen: United or Divided 6 32 


Rounding Out the Watersheds 635 

Transfer of State Parks to Federal Government 6^3 

Future; Save -the -Redwoods League 650 

Conclusion; Was the National Park Worthwile? 650 


INDEX 750 


The following Oral History memoir with Newton Bishop 
Drury was begun in 1959 in order to document Mr. Drury's 
long career in conservation as Director of the National Park 
Service, Chief of California State Beaches and Parks, and 
Secretary of the Save-the-Redwoods League. It took more 
than a dozen years to complete the memoir, in large part 
because Mr. Drury continued to make history, and his 
continuing achievements required further tape recording. 
The memoir is now completed, not because its subject has 
retired, but because it has reached maximum size for two 
volumes, and researchers are waiting to use it. 

The Regional Oral History Office wishes to express 
thanks to the Board of Directors of Save-the-Redwoods League 
and especially to Assistant Secretary John B. DeWitt for 
engineering, unbeknownst to Mr. Drury, the donation of 
sufficient funds to bring to completion the memoir. Thanks 
are also extended to the two men who wrote introductions 
for this memoir: DeWitt Nelson, Drury's successor as Chief 
of California State Beaches and Parks, who comments on Drury's 
role in the state; and Horace Albright, Drury's predecessor 
as Director of the National Park Service, who comments on 
his role as a conservationist. 

Willa K. Baum 
Department Head 

30 October 1972 

Regional Oral History Office 

^86 The Bancroft Library 

University of California at Berkeley 



by Horace M. Albright 

(An address given on June 16, 1968, at a dinner 
in Eureka, California, commemorating the 50th 
Anniversary of the Founding of the Save-the- 
Redwoods League . ) 

Mrs. Albright and I are grateful for the privilege of 
attending the ceremonies commemorating the 50th anniversary 
of the founding of the Save -the -Redwoods League. We were 
especially excited and thrilled by the dedication of a grove of 
majestic redwoods to Newton B. Drury, recognizing his forty- 
eight years of unselfish, patient, courageous devotion to the 
cause of saving California's heritage of coast redwoods the 
sequoia sempervirens. 

I am grateful for the opportunity to speak in tribute to 
Newton Drury. When I speak of his extraordinary achievements 
in preserving groves of these magnificent trees, I do not forget 
or overlook the devotion to this noble cause by his late 
brilliant brother, Aubrey, who managed the Save-the-Redwoods 
League while Newton administered first the National Park Service, 
and then the Division of State Parks and Beaches of California. 
Newton was always available to Aubrey for advice and assistance, 
although the very able and skillful Aubrey, as the partner of 
his older brother, performed with gratifying success in Newton's 

The dedication of a handsome grove in honor of Tom Greig, 
of course, was another feature of the program yesterday, and 
that immensely pleased all of us who are familiar with the 
enormously successful work accomplished by him here in this 
redwood country, Tom's home land. 

I would like to pay more tribute to Tom Greig and Aubrey 
Drury too, but my assignment is, for a brief part in this 
evening's program, to review my long association with Newton 
Drury and express, also briefly, my appraisal of him and his 
works. So, while I hold Tom in highest esteem, and revere and 
pay heartfelt respect to Aubrey, I will talk about Newton. My 
time is short, and you will understand why I will not review 
what you already know about his part in raising nearly $1^,000,000 
which was matched by the State and devoted to acquiring redwood- 
bearing lands now worth a quarter of a billion dollars. 


I have known Newton Drury for sixty years. We entered 
the University of California in August, 1908, as freshmen members 
of the Class of 1912. And here let me add that Mrs. Albright, 
then Grace Noble, lays claim to a longer friendship, for she 
and Newton were in the same class in the Berkeley High School, 
as was also Elizabeth Drury *s sister, Elsa Schilling. Both 
girls went on to the University just as we boys did. 

It was not long after matriculation at Berkeley, when 
Newt and I met as classmates, and we have been friends ever 
since. It did not take us long to review family history and 
find out that our mothers were in private school together in 
Reno, Nevada, in the late 1870 's; that our fathers were both in 
Virginia City in the boom days of the famous Comstock Lode; and 
that later both were members of the Nevada Legislature in the 
lower house, the Assembly, of which Newton's father was the 
Speaker. While we seldom found ourselves in the same courses 
in the University, there were class and other social affairs 
where we were together until we both entered the School of 
Jurisprudence as juniors in 1911. 

Newton was in extra-curricular activities. He was the 
outstanding debating champion of the class and of the University, 
the year he won the coveted Carnot Medal in the intercollegiate 
debate with Stanford University. In his senior year, he was 
the president of the entire student body, then called the 
Associated Students of the University of California the A.S.U.C. 
Since students in our day did not engage in rioting nor otherwise 
disturb the tranquility of the University or the city of Berkeley, 
Associated Student Body President Newton Drury was not sought 
after by the current news media to express views on dissatisfaction 
with the administration of the University. Of course, had there 
been television In those days, that medium might have been 
attracted to him because he was a handsome fellow. Nevertheless, 
Newton often spoke to and for the student body and made his 
influence for good felt in University affairs. 

After college days, he was Secretary to the President of the 
University, the great Benjamin Ide Wheeler; he also taught 
classes in public speaking, and then was in partnership with his 
brother, Aubrey, in a public relations firm which was successful 
from its beginning. Then there was World War I when both Newton 
and Aubrey were in the Army. It was Just at the end of the war 
that the Save-the-Redwoods League was founded. 

My long association with Newton Drury has been In resource 
conservation to which both of us have devoted much of our 
active lives; Newton more than I. 


We are now near the scenes of Newton's great achievement 
as the Secretary of the Save -the -Redwoods League. He has been 
engaged in saving redwoods since 1920. As I have already 
mentioned, even during the years when he was directing the 
affairs of national and state park agencies, he was closely 
following the League's progress under Aubrey's management. 
After his brother's untimely death, Newton, deciding to go it 
alone, resumed the administration of the League as its Executive 

Newton Drury's first venture into the national conservation 
field was in the late 1930 's when he was appointed to a special, 
non-paid, committee to advise on the protection of Yosemite 
Valley. This committee was composed of the late William E. Colby, 
long an associate of John Muir and a distinguished lawyer 
specializing in the law of mines and water; Frederick Law Olmsted, 
the famous landscape architect; John P. Buwalda, Professor of 
Geology at the California Institute of Technology; and Newton 
B. Drury, Secretary of the Save- the -Redwoods League. 

Before undertaking this assignment, and while engaged in 
it, Newton devoted much time to planning a California state park 
system, and when legislation was enacted authorizing the design 
of such a program, on Newton's advice, Mr. Olmsted was employed 
as the director of the planning stage. Newton's advice and 
assistance was enormously important in the assembling of informa 
tion and consulting on the proposed state park system; also in 
the review of the master plan report, which is a classic document 
in the outlining of criteria for selection of worthy parks, their 
establishment and management policies. The report also identified 
many scenic, historical, and recreational areas suitable for 
addition to the few state parks already created, such as the Big 
Basin Redwood Park. The Legislature authorized a State Park 
Commission, which was first headed by William E. Colby. Newton 
Drury, out of the abundance of his experience and thought on 
park policy, was a wise counsel for the Commission, and his advice 
guided its members as it did Mr. Olmsted' s pioneer work. 

Then came the National Park years. In 19^0, Newton B. Drury 
became the Director of the National Park Service, the fourth man 
to head this bureau, created in 1916 to administer the national 
parks, national monuments and historic areas of the United States. 
For more than ten years, he was the chief executive officer of 
this great national park system. In his first years of leader 
ship, he suffered a misfortune and severe handicap: the United 
States entered World War II, and to make room for war agencies 
many government bureaus and offices were moved to Chicago for 
the duration of the conflict. The National Park Service was one 
of these agencies. Only a liaison man, a budget officer, and 

necessary clerical and secretarial help were left in Washington 
for contact with the Secretary of the Interior and with the 

While having several hundred miles between himself and 
the irascible Ickes might seem to have been a blessing, operation 
of a large government bureau under such an extraordinary handicap 
was indeed Director Drury s idea of a burden that he would gladly 
have foregone. He had. no fear of the Old Curmudgeon, as Secretary 
Ickes called himself, so absence from Washington had no advantages. 
Newton and his Bureau were in Chicago five years of his more 
than ten years as Director. Many of the highest and most 
experienced executives and technicians went into the armed 
services, appropriations were seriously reduced, legislation 
and other vital affairs were delayed or defeated. Projects were 
advanced to invade the national parks for utilization of their 
resources of minerals, timber, and pasturage for livestock. The 
military establishments sought permission to install communication 
and other equipment on mountain tops, and in areas where impair 
ment or destruction of natural features could result. All these 
invading forces, except in a few cases where the nation's safety 
was involved, were successfully met and defeated by the strong, 
clear- thinking, really tough Director Drury. Thus he carried 
his great federal agency through World War II just as had the 
first director of the National Park Service, Stephen T. Mather, 
one of the founders of the Save-the-Redwoods League, in World 
War I. Our magnificent national parks emerged with no permanent 
scars or precedents to plague future generations. 

Time does not permit enumeration of Director Drury 's 
positive and constructive achievements in developing new projects 
and new policies, promoting long-range planning for the future, 
and other courses of action of vital importance. However, I 
cannot refrain from mentioning one project that Newton Drury had 
to face after his return to Washington from Chicago. It was a 
Reclamation Service plan for a dam on the Green River below the 
Junction of the Yampa River with the Green in the Dinosaur 
National Monument in Utah. The Secretary of the Interior, 
apparently without due consideration of all factors involved, 
at least partially committed himself to the project which if 
carried out would have ruined the scenic and recreational values 
of the area and created a precedent of such magnitude as to 
endanger outstanding natural features of the whole national 
park system. Realizing that the Secretary would be embarrassed, 
Director Drury rejected this Echo Park project, and his 
opposition defeated the legislation in Congress. It was brought 
up again in a later Congress and again defeated, this time for 


Leaving the National Park Service voluntarily in 1951 to 
accept Governor Earl Warren's appointment to the office of 
Chief of the Office of State Parks and Beaches in California, 
Newton spent nearly ten years in the administration of this 
fine system, rendering conspicuous service that brought him 
acclaim from all parts of the State and Nation. Of course, he 
had many kinds of state parks to supervise: scenic areas in 
mountains; forests; and along the sea, beaches; deserts with 
their native flora and fauna; and recreation attractions. 
Among these were the giant trees of the North Calaveras Grove. 
The even finer South Calaveras Grove was still in private hands 
and in grave danger of being destroyed in logging operations 
in the broad watershed of which its limited valley was a part. 
After long and difficult negotiations, Chief Drury, with the 
aid of the Governor, the Save-the-Redwoods League, and Mr. John 
D. Rockefeller, Jr., at a total cost of $2,800,000 acquired 
this South Calaveras Grove for the California Park System and 
with the untouched Beaver Creek's almost pure stand of sugar 
pine timber. Again I have to avoid attempting to list Newton's 
achievements in the broad field of his State Park jurisdiction. 

The year 1959 was his last as Chief of the Division of 
State Parks and Beaches. The time had come for his retirement 
from public service. It was then that he returned to his old 
field of activity, doubtless his first love, the Save-the-Redwoods 
League, resuming the office of Executive Secretary left vacant 
by Aubrey's death. 

He has constantly been successful in raising funds for 
cooperation with the State for buying mature redwood groves, 
securing them directly with League funds, and subsequently 
donating them to the State, or with matching funds securing 
them for the State Park System, and always moving forward to 
the completion of the League's program. Moreover, he has taken 
an active part in the movement to secure the authorization from 
Congress for the Redwood National Park, testifying before 
Congressional committees in Washington and up here in the 
redwood country. He is a little discouraged at the moment 
because of the delays in Washington, and for other reasons, but 
I think he will get his national park. 

This is a brief account of the achievements of a great 
conservationist in all parts of the nation, and especially in 
California. Newton B. Drury is indeed one of the outstanding 
conservationists of all time. While he has not written essays 
or books as did Henry D. Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, or John 
Burroughs, and other naturalists, he is a naturalist in every 
fiber of his body. He could have written extensively, but he 
dedicated his life to saving and protecting segments of America's 


heritage of primitive and unspoiled features of our natural 
environment, not by words alone but by deeds. He belongs to 
the rare species of preservationists, a group considerably 
higher than the resource conservationists. 

So here is Newton B. Drury, a calm, diplomatic, dedicated, 
leader, distinguished protector and conservator of the finest 
natural features of America; honored by his University, by 
societies and associations devoted to secenic and historic 
preservation, admired and respected by thousands who know of 
the magnitude of his accomplishments and beloved by his friends 
who are legion. My thanks to all of you. 

Horace M. Albright 
Director, National Park 
Service, 1929-1933 





"by DeWitt Nelson 

The story of Newton B. Drury, as Chief of the California 
Division of Beaches and Parks from 1951 to 1959 can be made 
more revealing by summarizing his background and motivations. 
What influenced his early life and the intervening years before 
he was appointed Chief? 

He had a rich cultural background in family and home. He 
was born in San Francisco in 1889, the elder son of the pioneer 
editor, Wells Drury, renowned for his writings about the 
Comstock Lode. He had a generous education In liberal arts 
and law. He was an aggressive debater both in high school and 
in college. He had worked as a reporter for an Oakland news 
paper, which later became the Oakland Tribune and was purchased 
and published by his friend and colleague, the Honorable Joseph 
R. Knowland, whose term as Chairman of the California State 
Park Commission under three Republican and one Democratic 
Governors resulted in an effective working partnership between 
the two men. 

Newton graduated from the University of California with 
the famous class of 1912, which included such leaders of the 
future as: Earl Warren, Governor of California whose third 
term was foreshortened by his appointment as Chief Justice of 
the Supreme Court of the United States; Robert Gordon Sproul, 
destined to become President of the University of California; 
Horace Albright, who followed Stephen Mather as the second 
Director of the National Park Service; and others of the class 
of 1912 who became prominent in their special fields and with 
whom Newton continued friendship. 

After graduation, Newton spent the next six years, except 
for war service as an observer in the Balloon Corps, at the 
University, where he was an instructor in English and public 
speaking, a teacher in argumentation and secretary to President 
Benjamin Ide Wheeler. Later, in 19^7 > his alma mater was to 
confer on him the honorary degree of Doctor of Law as "a 
conservationist who has applied rational imagination and 
boundless industry to the public service of his State and 
Nation. " 


In 1919 the Drury Advertising Agency, which was established 
by Newton and his brother Aubrey, was employed by the newly 
formed Save-the -Redwoods League to conduct their drive to 
solicit private funds for the purchase of redwood groves. 
Newton already had a keen sense of the values of the American 
heritage and the natural landscape. Here again he was associated 
with men of vision: Dr. John C. Merriam, Henry Pairfield 
Osborn and Madison Grant, founders of the Save-the-Redwoods 
League; and Stephen T. Mather, Franklin K. Lane, Ray Lyman 
Wilbur, and Congressman William Kent, who soon became supporters 
of the League. 

In 1927, the California State Park Commission was created 
by the state legislature. Working together, the Park Commission 
and the League were able to get the $6,000,000 State Park 
acquisition referendum through the legislature and to the voters, 
who approved it in 1928 by a 2-1/2 to 1 margin. 

The bond issue required that bond funds be matched by 
money from sources other than the State in purchasing state park 
lands. Thus began the first expansion of California's great 
State Park System, and particularly the purchase and preservation 
of large blocks of magnificent redwood groves, as well as Point 
Lobos State Reserve, ocean beaches, mountain parks, desert 
areas and historic monuments. 

In 1929 Newton was drafted by the Park Commission to serve 
as its acquisition officer on a part time basis. Since this 
was prior to Civil Service In California, he continued to serve 
as secretary to the League and as a partner in the Drury 
Advertising Company. This proved to be a useful coalition, 
for the Park Commission and the League had common objectives. 
Through the League's ability to secure private contributions 
for matching fund purposes, many choice park properties, 
particularly redwood groves were acquired. The magnificent 
Rockefeller Forest near the Junction of Highway 101 and Bull 
Creek is an outstanding example. The caliber and prestige of 
the League's directors and the skill of the advertising company 
established an enviable record for raising money to match the 
state bond funds. After retirement from state service as Chief 
of the Division of Beaches and Parks in 1959 > Newton returned 
to the League, and as of this writing (October 1971) he is 
still active in raising money and negotiating for redwood land 

Newton was an adroit acquisition officer. He was therefore 
able to take advantage of the depression of the 1930 's when 
many people and firms were anxious to be relieved of property 
tax burdens. With Newton as the prime mover, forty-nine of the 

most important parks, beaches and historic monuments of the 
California State Park system were established from 1928 to 

It was during this period that Newton became intimately 
familiar with the redwood country to which he had been most 
devoted. But he had a keen sense of history, an eye for the 
delicate landscape of the desert and the concept of ocean 
beach preservation. He was disappointed in his failure to 
raise matching funds for valley and river parks and choice 
parcels of the Sierra Nevada, other than the Calaveras Big 
Trees and Bliss Park at Lake Tahoe. 

As a result of his many contacts through the League, his 
sharp sense of values and his talents and accomplishments 
became nationally recognized. He was vice president of the 
American Forestry association, a director of the National 
Conference on State Parks, a member of the Yosemite National 
Park Advisory Board, an honorary life member of the Sierra 
Club, and a research associate in Primitive Landscape for the 
Carnegie Institute of Washington, B.C. He modestly declined 
offers to become President of the Carnegie Institute and Director 
of the National Park Service so that he might finish the state's 
acquisition program under the State Park Bond Act. 

With the sale of the last unit of the 1928 bonds in 19^-0, 
his services as park acquisition officer were virtually 
completed. In addition there were internal conflicts with 
Governor Olson's administration. Also Newton was ready to 
meet new challenges. By this time his conservation concepts 
and philosophies had crystallized. His sense of the value of 
preservation of nature's wonders and beauty was thoroughly 
established in his own mind. His concept of saving and 
preserving choice natural features became an objective from 
which he never deviated. 

On August 16, 19*K), in his last official act as state 
park acquisition officer he outlined a ten year ($200,000 per 
year) program of land acquisition to the Park Commission in 
which he emphasized the purchase of southern California beaches 
and completion of the existing park units. Years later as 
Chief of the Division he was to find himself still working 
on that objective. 

On August 20, 19^4-0 Drury severed his California connections 
to become the fourth Director of the National Park Service, a 
position he held until 1951. During that period his brother 
Aubrey administered the League's affairs in an exemplary manner. 


Up to this point the opportunity of my knowing Newton 
Drury personally had never occurred, although I knew him "by 
reputation. I had followed some of the controversy in the 
establishment of the Grand Teton National Park in which he 
played a strong role. When I became State Forester in 19^4 
I soon became acquainted with many of the State Park field 
and headquarters staff. 

I first met Newton shortly after he took over the Division 
of Beaches and Parks in 1951- Our two Divisions were then in 
the Department of Natural Resources. We in the department held 
him in high regard, for here was a man who had been at the 
fountainhead of action in Washington, D.C. , and a man who had 
dared to cross swords with Secretary of Interior, Harold Ickes. 
But it wasn't until after I became Director of the Department 
of Natural Resources that I really learned the quality, 
competence, devotion and objectivity of the man. 

Those were years of contraction and expansion of the Park 
Commission's budgets. We were still acquiring lands, particularly 
beach lands under the 19^-5 $15,000,000 general fund appropriation, 
which also required matching funds from other than state sources. 
In these transactions the coastal counties were providing much 
of the matching value by contributing beach properties which 
they held. In some Instances the resulting beaches were leased 
back to the counties for development and operations. 

In 195^ the impounded oil royalties obtained from drilling 
on State-owned tide and submerged lands were released to the 
state by Congressional aption, resulting from the U.S. Supreme 
Court's decision acknowledging the continental shelf out to the 
three mile limit to be state property. Planning in anticipation 
of this windfall became an urgent problem. 

Because of Newton's intimate knowledge of the state and 
because of his earlier experience as an acquisition officer 
and his prior planning experience coupled with a dedicated 
staff the state-wide plan moved forward with surprising speed. 
He created an enviable loyalty among his employees. The planning 
was centered primarily on outstanding natural, scenic and 
historic values along with some non-urban recreation lands. 
While considering these values it was also necessary to consider 
the political possibilities for legislative approval. The 
pressures from southern California were heavy. When the 1956 
plan for 123 projects at an estimated cost of $30,000,000 was 
presented to the legislature only one change was made. The 
proposed purchase of Cascade Lake and adjacent lands near 
Emerald Bay on Lake Tahoe was stricken and the old mining town 
of Bodie in Alpine County was substituted as an Historical 
Monument . 


It was during this post-war period that demands for 
outdoor recreational lands were mounting. Boaters were 
pressing for harbors, marina and launching facilities; riding 
and hiking were becoming popular; more wilderness areas were 
being demanded along with public access to lakes and ocean 
beaches plus the establishment of a system of roadside rests 
which the Division of Highways had refused to recognize. 

With all due respect, Newton was less enthusiastic about 
recreation and playground areas than he was for the acquisition 
of scenic and historic areas. He was a "park man" in the full 
sense of the word. In this, his great monument, is the chain 
of 2? redwood state parks in which he has played a leadership 
role for many decades. Of all the fine things he has 
accomplished the redwoods stand out sharp and clear. He has 
never taken his eyes off the redwood target, nor did he ever 
sacrifice quality for quantity. He fought for state appropri 
ations and he has been instrumental in helping the Save-the- 
Redwoods League raise nearly $16,000,000 in private contributions 
to make the redwood dream a reality. 

Newton was not particularly popular with a number of the 
legislators. He did not like to retreat from what he thought 
was the right objective. Because of his command of the English 
language and his ability to debate Issues he tended to confuse 
rather than to enlighten. However, when the votes were counted 
he usually had the support of those legislators who had the 
power to put the program through. 

There was one notable exception. In 1958 when the 
legislature was debating the appropriations for land acquisition 
and development for support of the I960 Winter Olympic games 
at Squaw Valley, Newton presented the most logical plan of all. 
It simply was to acquire the key lands held by Alex Gushing and 
Wayne Paulson and the other scattered private holdings within 
the Squaw Creek drainage. It was a bold recommendation and 
had it been successful it would have prevented many problems 
in the years ahead. But the legislature and the administration 
were looking for the short range and cheap solution. The 
proposal was dismissed and both Newton and I were requested to 
stay away from future hearings on the subject. Ironically, as 
soon as the games were over the entire unhappy situation was 
dropped into the lap of the Division of Beaches and Parks. It 
is still one of the Division's biggest problem areas. Happily 
the games were extremely successful. And so is Alex Gushing! 

The Hearst family's donation of the Hearst Castle at San 
Simeon is another landmark for which Newton can take much 
credit. Due to his contacts over the years with the Hearst 
family and the Hearst organization he had entree that helped in 


working out the details of that property transfer. The 
"La Casa Grande" situated on top of the mountain overlooking 
the blue Pacific has proven to be one of the most popular 
Historic Monuments in the park system. Prom the beginning 
it has been financially self-supporting. 

It is difficult to describe Newton Drury as Chief of the 
Division of Beaches and Parks in a few pages. He has left 
his monuments on the California landscape for all to enjoy 
through future generations. I believe this has been possible 
because of several inherent characteristics of the man. First, 
his dedication to preserving some part of the American heritage 
and of nature ' s grandeur, particularly in his native California. 
Second, he fixed his eyes on a given target at an early age 
which fortunately led him to people and positions where he 
could pursue that objective throughout most of his life. He 
was firm but yet flexible. He did not believe that a half 
loaf was better than no loaf but he was willing to take a half 
loaf and get the rest later. As Chief he did that on many 
occasions because he never lost sight of the total objective. 
He lost few issues because he never gave up. 

An example of Newton's tenacity occurred in 192?. The 
legislature was about to adjourn and the State Park Bond Act 
had not been taken up by the Senate Finance Committee. Newton 
left the Committee hearing room, dejectedly, as one of the 
senators left, leaving the Committee without a quorum. Newton 
rode the down elevator with the senator, all the while expressing 
his regret that the Bond Act had not been taken up by the 
Finance Committee. "What?" exclaimed the sympathetic senator. 
"Let's go right back up and take it up." They did, the senator 
did and the bill, already guided through the Assembly by 
Newton, was passed by the Senate at the eleventh hour. 

To Newton Drury the State of California and the nation 
owe a debt of gratitude that can be paid only by the Inspiration 
which people down through the years will receive as they visit 
the redwoods, mountains, deserts, beaches and historic sites, 
to which he devoted so many years of his life. 

On August 21, 19?1, the Council of the Save-the-Redwoods 
League, meeting in the Eureka Inn, where the League was 
founded in 1918, elected him President. 

October, 1971 
Sacramento, California 

DeWltt Nelson 

Director, retired 

California State 

Department of Natural 
Resources, 1953-1966 



Earl P. Hanson, Chief Deputy, Division of Beaches and 
Parks under Drury. 

James E. Warren, Superintendent, Redwoods District under 

Elmer A. Aldrich, Supervisor, Conservation and Education 
under Drury. 

Dr. Aubrey Neasham, Park Historian under Drury. 

"Newton Bishop Drury - Park System Executive." A thesis 
by Ion Eugene Spharler, Sacramento State College, 
June 24, 1968. 



Newton Bishop Drury had long been regarded as a Berkeley resident 
whose career could be of great interest to University history and to con 
servation historians of his era. The Regional Oral History Office of The 
Bancroft Library further knew that he had been a newspaper reporter in his 
youth, a champion debater, then an English instructor at the University of 
California, all indicating that he would probably produce an especially 
articulate, literate autobiography via tape recorded interview. 

When we first approached him in 1959 about taping some interviews, 
neither of us foresaw anything more than perhaps a year of off-and-on 
sessions. Neither of us realized that our project was to defy the perimeters 
of an ordinary oral history interview (an outline with a beginning, middle 
and end) and become a dynamic creature with a life of its own. It would not 
only foster the proper number of recording sessions but also send out off 
shoots to other interviewees, spawn whole families of interviews of even 
greater proportions and in worlds other than its own, and, once at age five 
and again six years later, pause to nurture its own growth again with up 
dating sessions on progenitor Drury. 

In 1959 he no longer was coping with the daily pressures of "The buck 
stops here." In April he had left the chief's chair of the California State 
Beaches and Parks and returned as a consultant to the scene of his first 
conservation career--the Save-the-Redwoods League in San Francisco. It looked 
as if, for the first time in his life, he would have time for an autobiogra 
phical project. But we were wrong. A sudden tragedy put him back at the 
executive's desk in November of 1959: his brother, Aubrey, who had been the 
head of the League ever since Newton had gone to Washington to head the 
national parks in 1940, was suddenly stricken with a fatal heart attack. 
Nonetheless we went on with our plans for the interview, and decided to 
include as much material as possible on Aubrey's life as writer, avid history 
buff, and League head. 

Our records show that the interviews were held on the following dates: 

1960: March 16, May (?), September 23, November (?) 

1961: January 18, June 15, July 17, July 28, November 2, November 9, 
November 27, December 11, December 20 

1962: January 16, February 6, February 20, February 28, March 14, March 30, 
April 19, April 26 

1963: June 6 
1970: March 17 


The Interviews 

As I write this in the fall of 1972, we can look back over a dozen years 
of digging through papers, taping, transcribing, editing, checking dates and 
names, and taping again. At first there were three years of Fry-Drury taping 
sessions, an hour here and an hour months later, interspersed with hiatuses 
because of his League duties and sometimes because of supplementary sessions 
with his associates; there was also his trip to Europe in 1962--his first visit 
abroad. Always Drury doggedly worked in time to swing by the Berkeley campus 
for an interview whenever his crowded schedule would permit. In between 
were our phone conversations to discuss outlines for the next recording ses 
sions. (In these Drury 's wry wit sparkled with more off-the-cuff ironies 
than did the more straight-forward taping sessions.) There was research done 
apace, to bolster his memory and my questions, usually reflecting material 
on the history of the League that had already been deposited in The Bancroft 
Library. In addition, he made available to us anything he still held that 
would help contribute to the pre-interview investigations, from past masters 
theses on the League to Congressional hearings on the battle for national 
park appropriations during the bottom-of-the-barrel Forties. 

By the time Drury finished recording and editing the "last" section 
the account of the challenges, battles, and survival techniques of NPS-- 
his career in the Save-the-Redwoods League had continued behind our backs. 
Among other achievements, the League had acquired two-thirds of the water 
shed above spectacular Rockefeller Forest to control Bull Creek, whose roar 
of destruction had twice ripped out redwood giants in floods in the fifties; 
in one year $900,000 had been raised. So we recorded an addendum in 1963 
to cover such successes and purchases since last we talked. 

By the time this was edited and final typed, the complex efforts to 
establish the Redwood National Park had recently materialized, an event 
captured in another addendum in 1970, along with further enlargements on 
the battles against freeway construction in parks and further purchases in 
the Bull Creek watershed. By happy coincidence, Susan Schrepfer, a Ph.D. 
candidate writing her thesis on the history of the League, was hired at this 
time by the League to sort out their old files. She agreed to assist in 
the interviewing and editing on the final addendum, and Assistant Director 
John Dewitt authorized this use of her League time. The high level of her 
documentary scholarship is obvious in this section. 

That last addendum was recorded in Drury "s suite in the Grant Building 
in San Francisco, where the League has had its home office since the early 
twenties. Most of the prior interviews occurred on the Berkeley campus, 
where Drury stopped by in the mornings on his way to San Francisco. The first 
sessions were noteworthy for their primitive environment, for ROHO has no 
interviewing room and generally has to conduct the recording sessions in the 
memoirist's own home; it was a mark of Drury 's genteel ways that he insisted 
on coming to us in the library and not vice versa. Our recording conditions 
progressed from an empty echoing room to an empty echoing room in which we 


devised our own studio by propping against our chairs large paintings stored 
there by the library, then draping an old quilt over the top for an acous 
tical aid. Our impromptu engineering increased the fidelity of the recording, 
but since the art did not pass the critical teat for either of us, we even 
tually turned the huge paintings back-side-to. After a few weeks, the uni 
versity language laboratory made available a tiny recording booth in Dwinelle 
Hall, which caused some claustrophobic fatigue through the sessions, although 
the acoustics were excellent. The point is that Drury suffered through it 
all like the trooper he is, never losing a rare ability to formulate his 
answers in meticulous English and in complete, often complex sentences. 


Although his oral English is probably the best we have encountered, 
he fretted that the transcripts read like the "babblings of senility" (or 
some such phrase) and that we had gone far too much in detail for anyone's 
interest in the topic. When he received our rough-edited manuscript, he 
agreed to restrain his normally eloquent pen and leave it conversational; 
he was most conscientious at this point in digging into his copious files 
to check facts and dates before returning it for final typing. Understandably, 
his skepticism of the basic worth of an autobiography of Newton Drury, plus 
the pressure of his rushed schedule, led to many delays in his own editing. 
One has to appreciate the fact that the man who was enduring the loose, con 
versational style of oral history was the same National Park director whose 
eloquence was held in such awe that a number of his employees had collected 
and produced a booklet of the more delightful quotations of their chief. 

After reading a portion of the rough-edited transcript, Drury wrote 
on March 7, 1963, 

"I don't want to bore or offend you with repitition of my 
chronic theme, but I can't help wishing that you or some 
dispassionate editor could make it more direct and less 
(the Latins had a word for it) prolix. Anyhow, thanks." 

Undaunted, the office sent him another section to review a month later, 
with the note: [April 15, 1963, letter from Fry to Drury] 

"Here are the first two sections of 'The Newton Drury 
Interview' for your bedtime reading....! know what you 
will say, and I project my rebuttal now: I did cut out 
and edit down. Frankly, I cannot feel free to tamper 
with your speech any further by myself. I have to 
assume this is what you meant to say and the way you 
meant to say it, and if I did more editing, then it 
would be more of me than you.... It reads now as an 
informal, authentic conversation." 

But he never veered from his contention that the mansucript was 
shamefully incohesive and historically irrelevant, all the while supremely 
resistant to my complaints that his misplaced modesty was giving us the 
story without his role in it, a Hamlet without a Hamlet. 


As the Sixties wore on, the success of his fund raising and timber 
purchasing tightened his already busy schedule and reinforced his 
natural reluctance to go over the unwelcome transcript. February 17, 
1966, he wrote in a letter referring to the first addenda: 

"Thanks for yours of February 15. You heap coals of 
fire on my head. I have intended to call you and tell 
how Henry Morse Stephens was harried to his end by the 
unfinished history of the 1906 earthquake. 

"I am apparently of sterner stuff, for although I 
wake up in the middle of the night with guilty recol 
lection of the unfinished proofreading job, it has 
not undermined my health, so far as I know. 

"I'll call you and arrange for us to talk, so that 
I can present my newest alibis...." 

It is ironic that Drury's skepticism about the value of this slice 
of 20th century conservation history occurred at the same time that scholars 
were knocking on the office door in their eagerness to use it. One in par 
ticular is pertinent: Lon Spharler relied heavily on the rough manuscript, 
with Drury's permission, for his thesis at Sacramento State College.* 

In spite of, perhaps because of, such give-and-take, Drury developed 
a sort of bemused tolerance of the whole process. September 18, 1968 he 
wrote, "Inevitably, I suppose, one becomes an 'historic relic,' notable 
principally for longevity." His aesthetic sensibilities may have been 
bruised by the conversational prose, but he shared at least some of his 
brother Aubrey's respect for history, for The Bancroft Library, and for 
his alma mater. His participation actually was so wide ranging that our 
joint project threatened to become endemic. It was his initiative that 
enabled us, between his own interviews, to have tandem recording sessions 
with other persons who were in important auxiliary positions at various 
stages in Drury's career: Harold Bryant, pioneer in the naturalist program 
of the national parks [January 23, 1962]; Enoch Percy French, the major 
timber cruiser in the redwoods who also served as the first administrator 
of Humboldt Redwood State Park for many years [September 16, 1961 and Jan 
uary, 1963]; and Herbert Evison, the national parks public relations man 
who earlier had headed the Civilian Conservation Corps for the National 
Park Service [April 20, 1961]. At that time he was officially retired but 
had been engaged by the National Park Service to write its history. Although 
his final manuscript was never published, he not only deposited with us many 
of the transcripts of the interviews he had conducted during his research, 
but also provided his own highly knowledgeable queries with which to question 
Drury for a chapter on the inner workings of the National Park Service. 

*Spharler, Lon Eugene. "Newton Bishop Drury - Park System Executive." 
Master's thesis, Sacramento State College, 1968. In Drury supplement, 


When past director of the National Park Service and old friend Horace 
Albright came to the campus in 1961 for an honorary degree, Drury brought 
him into our makeshift recording room in Dwinelle Hall on March 14 for a 
duo session on their long friendship (since college days) and their views 
of national park policy. Albright had already recorded a comprehensive 
autobiography for the Oral History Office at Columbia University, so he and 
Drury agreed to allow their respective manuscripts to be the objects of a 
trade between Berkeley and Columbia. Both men have since become the holders 
of ROHO's unofficial title of deus ex machina . for each has helped whenever 
called upon to suggest a prospective foundation for funding, to serve as a 
mutual friend in arranging an introduction to a potential interviewee, or to 
advise on lines of questioning. 

Their tasks have been too diverse and too numerous to mention them all, 
but one in particular has proved extraordinarily significant. In 1962 it 
was Drury, Horace Albright, and his wife, Grace, who provided our earliest 
contact with their classmate, Chief Justice Earl Warren, during the 50th 
reunion of the class of 1912. As the three had promised beforehand, they 
steered ROHO director Willa Baum and myself to the former California governor 
at a reception in The Bancroft Library for the first conversation of what was 
to become a long series of negotiations for an Earl Warren oral history. 
The five-year project, currently underway, documents not only the life of 
Earl Warren but the political and governmental history of the state during 
the Warren Era in California. Throughout the years preceding the actual 
work, it was Newton Drury and Horace Albright who, at every opportunity, 
reminded their fellow alumnus that he had a task to do for his alma mater. 

Meanwhile, it was the Drury interview itself that served as a catalyst 
for a subsequent series of interview with more than twenty pioneer forest 
conservationists in the formative years of the U.S. Forest Service, a project 
under the auspices of Resources for the Future. This in turn became a nucleus 
around which further interviews were done with West Coast figures for the 
Forest History Society, which was then at Yale University. 


By the time we reached the stages of final editing, typing, and 
assembling, costs of production had risen so much that the university funds 
under which the interview had been initiated were hopelessly inadequate. 
At this point, a bit of benevolent duplicity (to use a Drury phrase) between 
John Dewitt and the Board of Directors produced --without Drury 's knowledge 
at firstthe funds necessary to record the Redwoods National Park addendum, 
finish the editing, do the indexing, and organize for use the large boxes 
of papers pertinent to the interview, those selected documents which Drury 
and I had used throughout the project. Some are included in the manuscript 
as illustrative and appendix material and some form a supplementary collec 
tion accompanying the manuscript in The Bancroft. Ruth Rafael fortunately 

could take time from her archivist's schedule at the Judah Magnes Memorial 
Museum in Berkeley to come over to ROHO for the latter job. Drury collected 
a few photographs, after some urging, for use in the manuscript, then located 
negatives and in some cases additional prints. The entire collection of 
Drury ' s personal papers, now in his house in Berkeley, is to be deposited in 
The Bancroft also, as is the remaining accumulation of League papers that 
presently reside in a storeroom six floors beneath the League offices. 

One final point is that Drury has been honored with resolutions by 
Congress and by the California legislature, with an honorary degree from 
his alma mater, with a redwood grove preserved in his name, and with most of the 
bestowable conservation medals, the latest of which the Yellowstone centen 
nial medal--was presented to him two weeks ago during a seventy-nation 
conference at that site. Cavalier about admitting to such awards, he makes 
it difficult for a researcher to document them. (A partial list is in 
Who's Who.) When faced with incontrovertible evidence, he retorts that the 
whole thing was grossly exaggerated, but that he has also been accused of 
atrocities he never committed, so perhaps the award serves to balance the 
record. We believe that, minimally, this interview does the same. 

Amelia R. Fry 


Regional Oral History Office 

2 October 1972 
486 The Bancroft Library 
University of California 
Berkeley, California 

National Parks Centennial Commission 


the outstanding contributions of 

to the 
National Parks of the U.S.A. 

Given <tl the 

Second World Coiijerencc on Niilioiinl Paris 

Yillowstone Grant/ Telua Njlioiitil Pinks 

18-27 Sel>lember, 1972 


Senate esolution 

Srlattur to 

rrttrrmrnt of Nrurtmi V. Intrg 

Bg *r natnr Jfrrft 0. Jrr 

flew ton Bishop Drury retired from the Division of Beaches and 
Parks, Department of Natural Resources, on April 30, 1959, having served with 
distinction as its chief since April 1 , 1951; and 

He was a leader in promoting legislation which established the 
California State Park System in 1927, including a referendum for a $6,000,000 
bond issue, which was overwhelmingly approved by the California voters; and 

UJberedS, In 1940 the then President of the United States, franklin Delano 
Roosevelt, appointed him as Director of the National Park Service, Department 
of the Interior, a position which he held for 1 1 years; and 

During the period since 1951 his leadership resulted in adoption by 
the California Legislature of the five-Year State Park Program, which provided 
for the use of some $80,000,000 from off-shore oil royalties for the extension and 
development of the State Park System, thereby making this System a model 
throughout the United States; and 

Under his guidance, the parks, historical monuments and recreational 
areas of the (California State Park System have increased to more than 1 5 in 
number, which are visited by more than 50,000,000 people annually; now, there 
fore, be it 

ReSOlPed by the Senate of the State of California, That the Members of the 
Senate hereby express to Newton Bishop Drury their gratitude and appreciation 
on behalf of 15,000,000 Californians, and hail him for his outstanding achieve 
ments, and specifically commend him for the foresight and the faith which has 
enabled this State to acquire, preserve, and maintain a part of the original Cali 
fornia scene as a heritage for this and future generations; and be it further 

ReSOlVed, That the Secretary of the Senate is hereby directed to transmit suit 
able copies of this resolution to Newton Bishop Drury. 

Senate Resolution read, and unanimously adapted June / 5, /959. 



rml of Ibt Sntll 



Srcrrlir) of Ihr Snu/r 


Newton Bishop Drury 

Director of the National Park Service 


.Service, and to cMput* a 

\\ ( I'd OUI 
You li.iw IH-I u 1 

the vaiiu- time our uncere regret that thoH- servite* *houli 
iriti'i. mi- in Mm when you entered upon your dunes, a 
)tmihcd. completely and abundantly 
e chid (uMinliiii ot ur loumrvA greatest IUMMHC-- u 

I now come to an end. 
id our high hopes for your 

itjiK- ami irreplaceable, the 
peplc >'<m luve guarded 
M genciaiioiis to tome, and 

You have held higl 
lo\ah\ i. them, and vou 
On behalf ol ourv 
those tnilliom of out Id 

in. ideal* 
lave main 
ve and 

>l a blanch 
ained and 
the assoti 

>f the public senite which has beei 
nhanced its great tradition, 
lions which HI have the honoi u 

notable lor its ideals and us 
represent, and on behalf of 

* mi-, whuh vou and >our a&Mxuies ol the National Park Service make | 
Nun have deserved well ul the Republic 

hem. we thank you 



Pry: How far "back would you like to begin? 

Drury: Well, I might make reference to this Lineage Record Book 
which was found in my brother Aubrey's effects after he 
died last October [1959]. He had voluminous files, the 
depths of which we haven't yet fathomed. Among them is 
a considerable amount of data about the Drury family and 
my mother's family, the Bishops. 

Fry I think we ought to mention that you are giving a great 
deal of this to Bancroft Library. 

Drury: Yes; Aubrey Drury 's files and the files of the Save-the- 
Redwoods League and related conservation organizations 
at the Drury Advertising office in San Francisco. They 
have a bearing on the history of the conservation ef 
fort, preservation of forests and establishment of the 
parks in California. Both my brother and I, at various 
times, have been associated with the Save-the-Redwoods 
League and the state park movement. 

Pry: You were just about "it" there for a while. 

Drury: I was in the thick of it and bear the scars of many bat 

Pry: Your father's book* reminded me of how much of a family 
tradition you seem to have carried on. 

Drury: Well, I'm afraid that both Aubrey and I, and for that 

matter my sisters Muriel and Lorraine, are typical sons 
and daughters of the golden west. We have all taken 
pride in the beauty of the state and its rich historical 
background . 

*Drury, Wells: An Editor on the Comstock Lode. Foreword 
by Ella Bishop Drury, Ferrar and Rinehart, Inc., New York 
and Toronto, 1936. Also Pacific Books, Palo Alto, 1948. 

Family Tree 

Fry: Uttiile we are speaking of relatives, somewhere on your 
family tree is an Apperson of the Phoebe Apperson 
Hearst forebears. Where does that occur? 

Drury: My maternal grandmother's name was Elsie Helen Apperson, 
according to Aubrey Drury 's Lineage Record Book which 
contains information that he so meticulously ferreted 
out from authentic records and publications. To go 
back even further, the first generation in America on 
my mother's side was Simeon Bishop, and Aubrey writes, 
"probably our family dated from old Rhode Island 
records." Simeon came from England at an unknown date 
and lived near Providence, Rhode Island. If you follow 
the Bishop line, you find that my grandfather, also a 
Simeon Bishop, was the fourth generation in America, 
and he's the one that was born in Erie County, Pen 
nsylvania, April 11, 1833, snd died in San Francisco 
in February of 1920. His wife was Elsie Helen Apperson 
whom he married at Louisville, Illinois, in 1854. She 
was born in Clay County, Illinois, in 1836 and died at 
Reno, Nevada, in 1868 or '69. Her father was Francis 
Apperson who resided in Washington County, Virginia 
and later in Clay County, Illinois. He was my mother's 
grandfather . 

I think my mother and Mrs. Phoebe Apperson Hearst 
were of the same generation. As I recollect, my mother 
indicated that she and Mrs. Hearst were second cousins, 
that her mother and Mrs. Hearst's mother were first 

Fry: So Francis Apperson was the brother of Phoebe Apperson 
Hearst's grandfather? 

Drury: It 'a all too deep for me! (Laughter) 

Mother Ella Lorraine Bishop Drury 

Pry: Did your mother have any other brothers and sisters? 

Drury: Yes, she was one of eleven children; her father, Dr. 
Simeon Bishop had two wives. My mother's mother died 
when she was very young and he remarried. (Incidentally, 
Dr. Bishop's second wife was named Harris, and she was a 
cousin of the Miss Harris who was in the box at the Ford 
Theater when Lincoln was assassinated, an interesting 
association.) My mother was the oldest child, and she 
had a sister Persia and a brother Simeon. They were 
from the first marriage and the rest of them were half 
brothers and sisters a very wonderful and very capable 
family. Most of them were in some form of literary 
work. Fred Bishop and Harry Bishop were both newspaper 
men, and Charles Bishop had been in the newspaper pub 
lishing business. He was many years in charge of the 
press room of one of the leading New York newspapers. 
Minnie Bishop was an actress for a while, a very 
talented one and quite a talented musician. And Clara 
Bishop, the youngest one, in her early years became a 
practicing attorney up in Oregon. The last of her 
half brothers, Frank Bishop, I think is still alive in 
Southern California. He was a singer for a while and 
then he was in business; he is retired now. 

Fry: The propensity for something creative, then, stood out 
in all her brothers and sisters. 

Drury: It was also true in my mother. She always took the 
position that my interest in conservation was an in 
herited tendency, and she cited the fact that when 
she graduated from Mills College in the eighties she 
gave the valedictory address and the title of it it 

Drury: was a pretty high-flown poetical sort of a paper was 

Nature's Voices. [Laughter] 

Pry: Was this specifically on the redwoods? 
Drury: Oh no, but she was a great lover of nature and things 


Father, Wella Drury 
Early Childhood 

Pry: Where was your father born? 

Drury: He was born in New Boston, Illinois, September 16, 1851. 

Pry: But he didn't live there very long, did he? 

Drury: No, at the age of about two months he was brought across 

the plains in a covered wagon by his family and settled 

in Oregon. 
Pry: Do you know what it was that urged his family to start 

Drury: I haven't a very clear idea and my father, having been so 

young, of course didn't have any knowledge of the family 


circumstances or history. I think they had the same urge 
as a great many middlewesterners to better themselves. 
His father's name was Squire Thompson Drury; he was born 
in 1817 and died in 1852. That was when they were cros 
sing the plains. Both my father '' s father and his mother 
were stricken with Asiatic cholera, as so many others 
were, and they died out in Wyoming somewhere. There was 
a general epidemic at that time and it was a very often fatal 
disease. I revisited New Boston, Illinois in the 1940 's 
when I was making one of my tours of the national parks. 
I visited the old farm of William Drury, who was my 
father's uncle and who had offered to adopt my father 
when he was visiting Illinois in his twenties. He wanted 
my father to move to Illinois and become a rancher, or 

Drury: farmer as they call them there, but he had the spirit of 
adventure and he preferred to return to the West. 

By the time of my visit all of the people who had 
any touch with William Drury were gone, though his name 
remained there in the William and Vashti College, which 
had been established near New Boston and which was later 
merged with another college. It was named for William 
Drury and his wife. 

But to return to my father's youth. There were 
several children in the family, five altogether, of which 
he was the youngest. Melissa, Emily Prances (of whom I 
have no knowledge at all), Gelinda, Newton and Wells; 
they were born in that order. Aunt Melissa and Aunt 
Celinda I remember very well. After the death of their 
parents on the wagon train, the five orphaned children 
separated because it was a very difficult thing for any 
family en route across the plains to take care of so 
many. I think each one was taken by a different family 
my father by a very wonderful man named Elf red Elder, 
who went up to Oregon and established himself there. 
The other children joined other parties in the wagon 
train. That again we don't have much record of except 
what Aunt Melissa, who was about eight years old at 
that time, waa able to remember. In later years, as 
my father tells it in his book, Editor of the Comstock.-* 
the family was reunited. They had kept in touch with 
each other by correspondence. 

Fry: I have a note here that Elf red Ridgely Elder was a 
friend of Lincoln. He was a minister, wasn't he? 

Drury: I don't believe he was a minister by profession; he was 
a very pious man, but he was a farmer and they went up 
into Oregon southernOregon and established themselves. 

#Drury, Wells: Editor of the Comstock Lode. Ibid. 

Drury: I think that he had eleven or twelve children already. 

Pry: Yes. That's what your mother wrote in the introduction 
to your father's book. 

Drury: But I imagine my father more than held up his end be 
cause he was a very energetic youngster. He was full 
of stories about his adventures as a boy in Oregon. He 
naturally got a great deal of pleasure from activities 
out-of-doors. I remember one of the things he used to 
say to my brother and me was that he felt sorry for 
boys of our generation because they never had the ex 
citement or pleasure of a raccoon hunt. He'd give a 
very graphic account of how they'd go out by the light 
of the moon and the dog would tree a 'coon and they'd 
cut down the tree and capture or shoot the 'coon. Ap 
parently that was one of his vivid recollections of 
the excitements of youth. That was before the days 
of forest conservation! [Laughter] Trees were a drug 
on the market in those days. 

Another story my dad told about his early youth 
was when he built a raft and went down the Willamette 
River. He had to get down for some reason or other, 
and in time of flood he made this trip only by the skin 
of his teeth. 

Pry: Does he have this written down anywhere? 

Drury: I think it's probably in his Editor book; he wrote a 
lot of discursive asides in that book although it was 
primarily about the Comstock. And it may be in some 
of his other papers. 

I have here some files on my father's biography 
and his correspondence, and quite a few on the Drury 
family history including the family history of my 
mother, Ella Lorraine Bishop Drury. Those materials 

Drury: I can make available to Bancroft Library as well as 

this genealogical record which my brother Aubrey made 
with the help of the American Genealogical Society. 

Pry: What was your father's attitude, by the way, toward 

Drury: He was an outdoor man; as a boy he was in the woods 
of Oregon and Washington, and he had many stories to 
tell about his early youth. He drove sheep. In fact, 
as a small boy he had his own flock of sheep and his 
own dog. 

Pry: Would you say that you had your father's love of nature? 

Drury: Yes, although in his later years and in most of the 

years I knew him he was rather sedentary in his habits; 
but he was a very robust man. He lived to be eighty- two, 

Prom Indian Interpreter to Printer 

Drury: One of the earlier experiences of my father up in 

Washington Territory, where they moved from Oregon, 
was as an Indian interpreter when he was ten years 
old during the Lincoln administration, during negotia 
tions for the Medicine Creek Treaty. 

Pry: That was pretty young, wasn't it, to be an employee of 
the Federal government? 

Drury: Yes. His foster father, Elbert Elder, had been a 

neighbor of Abraham Lincoln in their youth in Sangamon 
County, Illinois. When Lincoln was elected, Mr. Elder 
wrote to him; I suppose he asked for a government job 
or something he could do. And having confidence in him, 
Abraham Lincoln appointed him as interpreter to the 
tribes that speak the Chinook jargon; they are along the 
Washington coast. He was asked to name deputies. My 
father as a boy had mastered the Chinook speech; they 


Drury: called it jargon. It was a sort of pidgin English, I 

think, or at least it was a rather elementary language. 
Elder wrote that he would like to appoint his stepson, 
who was then about ten years old. And after consider 
able argument about it he waa appointed. 

Fry: Do you have any letters now in your files about that? 

Drury: I have a copy of the letter that my father wrote to a 
cousin, Marion Drury, in 1872. It was addressed from 
Monmouth, Oregon, and it gave the history of this ap 

Fry: I was wondering if there would be any Abraham Lincoln 
letters in the files. 

Drwry: I don't think so. One of the unfortunate things is 
that in the Berkeley fire, I believe in 1924, my 
father's scrapbook, which had a tremendous amount of 
interesting material, was burned along with the other 
family records. The things we have now were either 
gathered afterwards from his sisters or were in the 
files of the Drury Advertising Company in San Francisco. 

Fry: That's an argument for getting these things put in an 
archives library as soon as possible. 

Drury: That convinced me, yes. 

Fry: How did your father happen to learn this Chinook jargon? 

Drury: Oh, I think by playing with the Indian boys. 

Fry: There was a lot of free socializing, then, between the 
Indian families and the white? 

Drury: Oh, I imagine so, yes. I don't think they were one of 
the most highly developed tribes. One of the things I 
remember was that my father had a hole in the muscles of 
one of his legs which he said came from having been struck 
by a spear that some angry Indian had thrown at him. It 
wasn't an Indian war, but it was a quarrel and he got 

Drury: this wound. Something had happened that the Indian 

didn't like. Maybe he thought he hadn't gotten a good 
deal from the government, or something. Nothing 
serious. I notice in these papers--! have no recollection 
of my father talking about it a letter from a Mr. Owen 
to his friend or relative, a Mr. Pottol, telling the 
fact that my father was engaged in some of the Indian 
wars in the early days. This letter was addressed from 
Oakland, California, to Mrs. Laura Leed Pottol's father. 
It says that "One of my boyhood associates, Wells Drury, 
became a captain in the state militia, and was sent east 
of the mountains to fight the Warm Springs Indians who 
had started on the warpath. He knew enough to hold 
their confidence and was quite influential in getting 
the Indians to return to the reservation without a 
fight . " 

Apropos of that, I remember my father talking about 
his days in the militia, including a visit that they had 
from General U.S. Grant when he was touring the West. 
He mentioned the fact that they were in their best uni 
forms and all spruced up. Grant looked at him and he 
said, "Young fellow, in all my military career I never 
had as fine a uniform as you have." (Laughter) Grant 
wasn't noted for his military spic and span qualities. 
I think it happened up at Olynpia in Washington; that's 
where they had their headquarters for the Indian service. 

Pry: Your father was also an apprentice printer at a very 
tender age. How did he get into printing? 

Drury: Well, he was quite studious. I know that he went to 

Christian College in Monmouth, Oregon. I imagine that 
while he was at college he got interested in printing 
and editing. He told me one thing that I've never 


Drury: verified and I doubt that it would be possible to 

verify, but there would have been no reason for him 
to tell me unless it were fact: When he was a very 
young man, twenty or so, running the newspaper which 
he owned, called the Monmouth Messenger, he made a 
trip to San Francisco and Grilled on President Durant 
at the University of California. The University was 
just establishing its printing office and, knowing 
that my dad had been a printer, Durant asked him to 
inspect the printing presses and type and other 
machinery that they were buying for the University. 
He just mentioned that casually. 

Pry: But your father never did attend here, did he? 

Drury: No. He talked about the possibility, he said, but by 
that time he was a master printer, a journeyman 
printer. He'd had this newspaper up there in Oregon 
which he sold as soon as he founded the printing 
business. Apparently printing was one of the early 
organized crafts because they had their own typo 
graphical union, I think; in fact, to his dying day 
he had a card as a member of the typographical union. 
Later he came to San Francisco as a printer and then 
branched out into editorial writing. 

Fry: Was he active in the unions? 

Drury: I don't know that he was a union officer, but he may 
have been. Printers apparently were one of the top 
crafts in those days because he said that printers al 
ways wore plug hats--top hats and all dressed very 
stylishly. He told of this episode where he and some 
of the others were getting ready to go to work, but 
cases of type were being delivered to the paper and 
the question came up as to whether the printers 


Drury: should help carry them in. And someone in the typo 
graphical union, I guess it was, said, "No, sir, that 
isn't part of the job for a printer to carry in the 
cases. Let the other fellows do that." 

Pry: So the union did have some strength. 

Drury: Apparently they had very definite strength. They were 
what they called "journeymen" printers. That and the 
fact that he was a newspaperman and all newspapermen 
are rovers was why we moved from one place to another. 
That's how he happened to go up to the Comstock early 
in his life when he found that the mines were paying 

Pry: In his book I believe he mentioned that while he was 

in San Francisco he had put some of his money into some 
mining stock that really paid off, so he went across 
the state to look at the mine and didn't come back for 
several years. 

Drury: When I was a small boy in Sacramento my father was the 
editor of the Sacramento Union. They woke us up in 
the middle of the night to say that one of the prin 
cipal stores was burning, Weinstock-Lubin Company, 
up there in Sacramento. That was before the days of 
automobiles, or even street cars that ran all night. 
I remember very clearly our dressing and rushing down 
town to see this store, and of course the paper had 
to get out an eztra on it. Well, the printers hadn't 
appeared. So my father went down into the composing 
room although he hadn't set type for many many years, 
and he picked up a case and started to set the headings 
for this extra so as to be a little ahead of time. 
But he cautioned me not to tell any of the union printers 
that he had done that! 


Wells Drury and Other Journalists 

Pry: I wanted to talk about the papers that your father 

worked on after he left politics and married and set 
tled down to the life of a newsman in the Bay Area 
and Sacramento. 

Drury: My father and mother were married in Reno, Nevada, on 
May 23, 1888. Then almost immediately as soon as his 
term as speaker pro tern of the Nevada House of Rep 
resentatives ended they moved to San Francisco, where 
my father for a good many years worked on various 

Fry: And you were born, then, about a year after they were 

Drury: Yes, I was born in San Francisco. 

Fry: Do you know which paper he worked on at first? 

Drury: I think that he first worked on the Examiner, as re 
porter, city editor, and night editor, because in 
compiling my father's book, Editor on the Corns took 
Lode, my brother Aubrey performed a remarkable feat 
of digging up the old files of the Examiner and 
finding the signed columns. It was very unusual in 
those days for anybody to sign any articles in the 
papers. But Wells' story has him coming down from 
the Comstock with a great store of interesting mining 
stories. He wrote that column for many months under 
I guess it was his own name, but he had a favorite 
character, Colonel "K.B." Brown, a very portly gen 
tleman who was the honorary president of the Virginia 
City Fire Department, which was a most important post 
in those days. The fire departments were the social 
clubs of the day, like the Bohemian Club today. It's 
a matter of deep regret to me that my brother Aubrey 


Drury: wasn't interviewed to give from his wealth of recol 
lection much more than I can give you, particularly as 
to the time of events. The compilation of my father's 
articles was an act of devotion on my brother's part, 
because my father had had a stroke in his later years, 
and then the original manuscript that he had written 
several years before was burned in the Berkeley fire 
of 1924. So except for segments of the manuscript 
that happened to be in the office in San Francisco, 
my brother had to piece together this book from the 
files of the old Examiner, taking this series of ar 
ticles, and he did a remarkably fine editorial job. 
He was full of it and he maintained the idiom that 
my father used. Of course my dad belonged to the 
old school. The writers today are not quite as 
flowery as they were in the gay nineties. Then my 
father went over the manuscript with Aubrey's help. 
That's how the book came out. But it's essentially 
my father's material. 

Pry: He wrote these articles, then, not very long after 
having the experiences at Virginia City? 

Drury: Yes, he wrote them right after coming down to San 

Fry: Do you remember any other things your father told 
you that could provide some measure of the type of 
experience he had in Virginia City? He was a very 
young man when he went, wasn't he? Fresh out of 
college, and young even for that. 

Drury: Yes. Well, according to all of his accounts in that 
book and what he told us in his yarns about the 
Comstock, it was a pretty wild place; it apparently 
lived up to some of the fictional episodes and char 
acters that they attribute to it to this day. 


Fry: Your father knew Mike De Young, too, in San Francisco? 
Drury: Very well, yes. In fact, Father was news editor of 

the Chronicle for a while. Newspapermen moved around 
from one job to another, you know. 

But the most responsible position my father had 
for some years was as managing editor of the San 
Francisco Call in the mid -nineties. It was then the 
morning newspaper; it was owned by Glaus Spreckles and 
Charles Shortridge, and was later a part of the Hearst 
interests. The Spreckles-Shortridge combination broke 
up when they discovered that both Spreckles and 
Shortridge had an ambition to run for United States 
Senator and they couldn't decide between them which 
should be it. My father was in the middle of that 
controversy and it ended unpleasantly for all of them. 

Fry: Did your father prefer Spreckles or Shortridge? 

Drury: I don't know. His job was to get out the paper. In 
his later years my father for a while was city editor 
of the Oakland Tribune that incidentally was before 
Mr. Knowland owned the paper. It was when it belonged 
to William Dargie. 

Fry: Did your father know the other journalists of the day? 
I'm thinking particularly of people like John Barry. 

Drury: Of course, John Barry was a great friend of his in his 
later years. When my father died John Barry wrote a 
very fine tribute to him and he ended it up by quoting 
something that my father once said to him. Barry had 
written an essay on Loneliness. He recalled that my 
father, a very merry sort of a person, very much of 
an extrovert, said to him, "Well, you know, you may 
not believe it but I can't remember in my whole life 
that I've ever been lonesome." Which Barry thought 


Drury: was a very remarkable thing, unlike most people's ex 

Pry: Does this mean that he always had friends around him, 
or that he never felt lonely when he was by himself? 

Drury: He always had inner resources that he could call on. 
That's what Barry pointed out. 

Fry: Did John Barry appear to be a sensitive sort of person? 

Drury: I think so. Of course he was a much younger man than 
the others my father knew. 

Pry: A different generation? 

Drury: Yes. 

Fry: He changed to another newspaper, too. 

Drury: Most of these men did. They were professionals and 
sometimes there were recombinations. I have friends 
today who have been on most of the newspapers in San 
Francisco, just as my father was. In fact, as a boy 
I never got beyond the reporter stage but I worked on 
the Examiner . the Chronicle, the Call, the now-defunct 
Berkeley Independent, the Oakland Tribune and doubtless 
others wherever they needed a reporter. 

Pry: Your father's times were studded with writers of the 
new West. 

Drury: Well, so many of the famous names of course, Mark Twain 
and Dan DeQuill and Alf Doten and a whole series of them 
he knew in Nevada on the Comstock. He was very well 
acquainted with Ambrose Bierce, and Joaquin Miller was 
quite a friend of my father's. 

Pry: Did any of these men visit the home when you were little? 
Drury: Yes, I can remamber Joaquin Miller visiting our home. 

Pry: Could you describe him? 

Drury: He would have gone over well in Hollywood. He was a 
large man with a great flowing beard and flowing tie 


Drury : 

Drury : 

Drury: and he wore high boots and conducted himself the way 
a westerner was supposed to. I think he had assumed 
all of that costume when he went to England where he 
was lionized quite a lot. But, I know, my father when 
in the newspaper business published quite a few of 
Joaquin Miller's poems, just as he was later on the 
one who happened to have bought from Edwin Markham 
his poem, "The Man With the Hoe," which was the 
thing that made Markham 1 s reputation. That was when 
he was on the San Francisco Call. 
And your father was the one who picked that up? 
Yes. He and Markham were very good friends. I men 
tioned Ambrose Bierce, who was quite a character. 
Were you able to know Bierce also? 
I don't remember him. I do remember Sam Davis, who 
was quite a writer in his day both in prose and poetry, 
In fact in his book my father quotes one of Davis' 
poems, "The Lure of the Sagebrush." I remember Sam 
Davis largely because when he visited our home my 
mother didn't approve very much of him and the stories 
he told of his misspent youth. ^[LaughtejJ She told 
Father afterwards that she preferred not to have her 
offspring hear such kinds of talk. 

Fry: Fremont Older was editor of the Bulletin. I believe, 
and later on of the Call . Was he an editor later 
than your father? 

Drury: Yes, he comes along afterwards, but he was a good 

friend of my father's. And Mrs. Fremont Older also. 
And Lincoln Steffens was a good friend of my father's. 
Another very dear . friend of his whom I remember was 
James H. Barry, who ran a weekly newspaper in San 
Francisco. Barry was probably older than my father. 
My father thought very highly of him and I think 


Drury: sometimes wrote things for The Star, as I believe his 
paper was called. Barry was quite an advocate of the 
Henry George doctrine of the single tax, as was my 
father, who knew Henry George. In fact, one of my 
father's associates was a single-taxer, a very capable 
attorney named Joseph Leggett. They had quite a group 
who believed in the theory of the single tax, which is 
still a sound theory even though it might not work out 
in reality. Life isn't as simple as ^enry George ap 
parently conceived it to be .although chances are if 
they had established in his day a system of taxation 
based on economic rent or on unearned increment we 
wouldn't be plagued with making out our income tasea 
every year. (Laughter) It would come out of values 
created by the community. I was always a very mild 
devotee of the single tax theory, but I still think 
it's sound. You still get echoes of that theory every 
so often in discussions of taxation. Just recently 
the Commonwealth Club issued minutes of their hearings 
on the report of an attempt to revise the tax system 
of California, in which some attention but not much 
emphasis was given to the idea of capturing more of 
the so-called unearned increments on land value. 

Pry: Your father worked for Hearst newspapers. Could 
Hearst have been for the single tax? 

Drury: I'm not so sure he couldn't. Hearst was pretty 
much of a radical in many things . 

Pry: Was he? 

Drury: Yes, indeed! But I don't think he ever had any views 
on that subject. 

Pry: My rather simplified view was that the single tax 

probably would not be favored by men who had a great 
deal of land, and therefore a reporter or editor in 


Pry: favor of the single tax might have a little trouble 
getting his views published if the owners of news 
papers were rather wealthy. 

Drury: But it made no difference to a reporter. Then, as 
now, reporters held views on economics, government, 
and many other subjects that were quite different 
from those of the proprietors of the papers. But 
in those days there was less coloring of the news 
in accordance with the views of the writers than 
there is today. My father was never a rabid single 
taxer, or anything else. 

But I'll say this to you about my father. Above 
everything else my father was a patriotic American. 
There was another single tax publication besides 
the Star, called the Post I think it was pub 
lished in Philadelphia and I 've forgotten the ed 
itor *s name. I believe it was a German name. But 
I do know that when World War One came along my 
father felt that the Post was disloyal to the 
American government, and he immediately dropped 
all associations with any of those people, and I 
don't think I ever heard him refer to the single 
tax again. In other words, his patriotism was far 
greater than his concern about any economic theory. 

Newspapermen Then Versus Now 

Pry: Do you think that the modern press man is much dif 
ferent frB the one of the 1880s and 1890s? 

Drury: No. I think the motivation of the average reporter, 
if you want to call him that Well, take a top-flight 
reporter like Bob Considine, or my friend William 
Randolph Hearst, Jr. I think those men write and ob 
serve for the joy of the game. It is pleasurable 


Drury: exercise to them. And their desire, of course, is to 
hold people's interest and to inform them, which is 
all that writers of the earlier day did. The style 
of the 1870s and even the gay nineties was a little 
more elaborate and flowery than the style of today, 
but there was some pretty direct writing. The ornate 
language was part of the manners of the age. 

Fry: The newspaperman then did have a keen sense of what 

the public wanted to read and wrote for this, just as 
he does now. Is that what you are saying? 

Drury: Yes, I think so. They addressed themselves to the 
same kind of audience, but perhaps the audience has 
different tastes today from what it had then although 
sensationalism was just as common in the Territorial 
Enterprise as it is today in the San Francisco Chron 
icle or Examiner . Naturally the main happenings were 
violent deaths and accidents, robberies and that sort 
of thing. 

Fry: You mention that you thought that the same type of 

thing motivated all newsmen. What is this motivation? 
Could you describe it a little more? 

Drury: Well, it was the same kind of appeal athletics has to 
people of robust temperament meeting a deadline, 
skating continually on the thin edge, having something 
new and unexpected turn up every minute. I got a taste 
of that kind of thing not only in journalism, but also 
in government. I found in administrative work in gov 
ernment there was never a dull moment. 

Fry: Maybe journalism is good training for our government 
officials. (Laughter) 

Drury: There are many disappointments that you have to inure 
yourself to in both fields. They say that to be a 


Drury: good administrator you have to have a high frustration 
tolerance. I certainly learned that in government, 
and I think it's true in the newspaper business. 

Pry: We do have a number of newspapermen who go into politics 
or into serious government positions. 

Drury: My dear friend Joseph R. Knowland was an example of that. 

Pry: How about the wide range of different types of news 
papermen? I was reading what your father said about 
DeQuill. He had to have his own private shed to write 
in at first because he couldn't bear to be in the hub 

Drury: And according to accounts I got from my dad, Mark Twain 
was much that type of man, too. Mark Twain was quite 
retiring and they considered him a tenderfoot. One of 
the stories, and I guess there is some accuracy to it, 
was that Mark Twain wasn't as popular as some of them 
because sometimes when he entered a saloon he would 
drink by himself and not treat the gang, which was 
more or less an order of the day at that time. 

Pry: I got the idea, too, that even in his non-drinking 
activities Twain never became one of the boys. 

Drury: That's the impression my father got in those early 

Pry: One thing that interested me was that not only Mark 

Twain but Mr. DeQuill often took great liberties with 
the truth when their newspaper was a little low on 
print. I think everybody around there knew that this 
was with tongue-in-cheek. 

Drury: Of course, the buffoonery and practical jokes and the 
tall stories were the mode in those early days, but 
they were always labeled as such. They were great 
people for hoaxes of various kinds and they'd play 


Drury: very elaborate practical jokes, but I think the code 
of the newspaperman of that day was probably higher 
than it is today, so far as the coloring of news is 
concerned. They'd tell the news story straight, as 
my dad brought out in his book. After all, the man 
who wrote it would have to defend its veracity, some 
times, with his life. In my long observation of my 
father's career as a newspaperman I don't know of his 
ever condoning the coloring of news, or mixing edit>- 
rial comment with the straight news, as you find 

Pry: Do you think that this has anything to do with the 
fact that newspapers are no longer connected to 

Drury: I think that probably has a great deal to do with it, 
and I think it also has a great deal to do with the 
effect of the advertising and circulation departments 
on the editorial department. In those days the ed 
itors were king, and their circulation was just what 
they could get and their advertising was about the 
same. They were not usually very profitable enter 
prises and they weren't run on a mass production 
basis primarily for profit, as newspapers are today. 
But I think the general standard they tried to main 
tain, from a newspaper standpoint was a pretty high one, 

Fry: Did Dan DeQuill [William Wright] work for your father? 

Drury: No, I think he was an older man than my father. He 
was on the Territorial Enterprise for a while. He 
was quite a friend of Mark Twain. One of the inter 
esting things my father told me was that as contemp 
oraries Dan DeQuill was rated much higher as a writer 
than Mark Twain. Everybody thought Dan would be the 


Drury: famous writer of western tales. You are probably 

familiar with his book, The Big Bonanza. That book, 
according to what I've been told, was more or less 
financed through the generosity of Mark Twain after 
Twain had the same success, because Twain himself 
felt that Dan DeQuill was a very effective writer 
and that he had the spirit of the early West, so he 
was a party to seeing that -Big Bonanza was issued. 
But it didn't catch the public imagination as ^ark 
Twain's books did and obviously Twain painted on a 
broader canvas with bolder strokes. He caught more 
of the spirit of the life of America, not just in 
the mining camps but on the Mississippi and o*iir 

Pry: I wonder why DeQuill doesn't rank, say, with Bret 
Harte, who wrote the mining stories earlier? 

Drury: Well, it's pretty hard to tell. It may be that 
The Big Bonanza by Dan DeQuill will become just 
as much of a classic as any of the works of Mark 
Twain a century or so from now. 

Fry: I wonder if any of his newspaper columns have ever 
been gathered anywhere. 

Drury: Oh, yes, I think among my father's papers there were 
a lot of them. [But they were among those burned in 
the Berkeley fire.] 

Pry: Have they ever been published as a collection? 

Drury: I don't know about that. 

Pry: How was advertising handled in those days, so that 

they didn't feel pressure to please a large account? 

Drury: Well, I don't really know very much about that except 
what I've read, but I do know that the editorial de 
partment was dominant. In his later years my father 


Drury: regretted that he didn't go in for the business side 
rather than the editorial side. I remember his 
saying to me, "You know, those fellows downstairs 
in the business office, they say it don't and he 
ain't, but they're the ones that make the money!" 

Fry: Well, I was wondering if the advertising was almost 
a week-to-week-affair 

Drury: It was, and usually just the card-to-the-public 
type, you know, the arrival and departure of 
steamers and trains and listing of supplies that 
had arrived and were for sale. It was news almost 
as the chronicle of events was. We've gone far away 
from that today. 

Pry: Were the newspapers like the Enterprise and the Gold 
Hill News that your father worked on more like 
public service institutions in the community? 

Drury: I don't know that they were, and having been a 

reporter myself in a small way and having had touch 
with them in the public relations business over all 
these years, I would say that the motivation of the 
average newspaperman is not much different now from 
what it was at that time. To his dying day my 
father always wanted to get back into the newspaper 
business because he liked the movement and the color 
and the excitement of it. That's the compensation 
that the average newspaperman gets. The reporters 
and the editors of course weren't like the printers. 
They weren't so well organized. But today the news 
paper guild carries considerable weight and I have 
noticed that the lot of the average newspaperman is 
much better than it was, say, a generation ago. 


Politics and Views 

Pry: It might be a good idea to tell something about your 
father's political life, although his days as a law 
maker antedated your life. 

Drury: There are memoranda about my father that I've given 
Bancroft Library which contain something about his 
political experiences. He was deputy secretary of 
the state of Nevada, 1882 to 1886, and then was a 
member of the Nevada legislature in the lower house, 
speaker pro tern, 1887-1888. He took quite a prominent 
part in Republican politics; he was a delegate from 
Nevada in the 1884 convention that nominated James G. 
Elaine for the Presidency. I remember his telling me 
about being seated next to Theodore Roosevelt who was 
a delegate from the state of New York. They had the 
states arranged alphabetically and just across the 
aisle from Nevada was New York. Teddy Roosevelt 
was then just as vociferous as he was later on, and 
was bursting with the desire to make a speech. But 
they had a very suave but very firm temporary chair 
man who every time Mr. Roosevelt got up put him down 
again. My father said that Roosevelt never did get 
to make his speech and he looked as though he were 
going to have a stroke of apoplexy. [Laughter] 

Pry: Did your father get to know Roosevelt very well at 
this time? 

Drury: Over the years I think he knew him fairly well. 

Pry: Was this the type of Republican that your father 
was, a Theodore Roosevelt Republican? 

Drury: Yes, we were all of us more or less Progressives. 
In fact, my only claim to respectability under the 
New Deal when I served as director of the national 
parks was that at one time I'd been a Hiram Johnson 
and Theodore Roosevelt Progressive. I was registered 


Drury: as a Progressive, as practically all of us were 
here in California, for about four years. 

Pry: I guess being a Progressive wouldn't put you in the 
camp of sinners as readily as if you had been a Taft 

Drury: I was never an ultra-conservative, although I find 
myself becoming more and more conservative every 
day. A lot of good it does you. 

Fry: Do you think you're more conservative now than you 
were, say, when you first got out of college? 

Drury: I think so, yes. 

Fry: I've heard a number of people say that. I wonder 

if this is the result of more wisdom or just kind of 
getting tired of being progressive. [Laughter], 

Drury: Tired of contention. I don't know what it is. 

Fry: So at any rate your politics and your father's 

politics were just about the same, is that right? 

Drury: Yes, and my mother's father, Dr. Bishop, was also a 
Republican. He was also a Nevadan. That's where 
my mother and father met. 

Fry: Your father didn't use his columns, then, to put 
forth any political viewpoints on current events? 

Drury: Oh, no. He wrote editorials over the years. Of 

course, those usually weren't signed so you couldn't 
identify them, but the columns he wrote on the 
Comstock and other things later were usually nar 
rative, telling of incidents. 

Fry: I'm trying to get here a pretty clear picture of 
where he fitted in as a Progressive Republican. 
It was during about the same span of years that 
the trustbusters and the muckrakers were in the 


Pry: headlines. What were his ideas about this? 

Drury: I think the doctrines of Theodore Roosevelt were 

just about what my father believed. He always sup 
ported him. 

I will say this that I narrowly escaped voting 
for William Jennings Bryan. I was less than two years 
from becoming twenty-one when Bryan ran for President 
in 1908. All of our family at that time were swept 
up in the enthusiasm for Bryan and his progressive 
ideas, which nowadays would seem almost ultra-con 
servative. Just as the other night on a newscast I 
heard Norman Thomas, the perennial old socialist 
candidate for President. William Winter introduced 
him. Today, in the light of what's gone on in the 
New Deal and afterwards, honestly, socialist Thomas 
almost sounded like a conservative. 

Fry: I think that what you say is true, that William 

Jennings Bryan had become a symbol for the progres 
sives at that time. 

Drury: I think my father voted for him. But four years 
later my eyes were open. I've voted Republican 
ever since. 



Fry: I'd like to get a picture of your home, as far 
back as you want to take it. I don't want to 
strain your memory, or make you draw pictures 
where there are none. 

Drury: We lived in what I consider the best part of San 
Francisco then, climatically and as far as the 
neighborhood was concerned. It was up on the 
hill at Twenty-first and Dolores, about four 
blocks up the hill from Mission Dolores. I 
think that Dr. Sproul was born in that same 

The Mobile Drurvs 

I myself was born on Gurrero Street, 
whih is downhill from where we lived later. 
In the early years in San Francisco we lived 
in flats which were the typical dwellings of 
a good many families in San Francisco. I re 
member the one at the corner of Twenty-first 
and Dolores had the most magnificent panoramic 
view of the whole bay region. And we had a 
little porch outside the window which was a mat 
ter of concern to my mother because she was 
afraid the children would drop down two stories. 

Fry: [Laughter] You and your brother were just two 
years apart, weren't you? 

Drury: Yes. 

Fry: Did you have an older brother or sister? 


Drury: No. My brother Aubrey was a twin and his twin 
died at birth. And my sister Muriel was born 
six years after I was. Quite a few years later 
my other sister, Lorraine, was born in Berkeley. 
We moved to Sacramento in my youth where we 
owned a house that still seems to be in pretty 
good condition on the corner of 16th and Q Streets. 
I went by it occasionally when I was working in 
Sacramento in this last shift with the state parks 
in the 1950s. 

Aubrey and I had very interesting boyhoods in 
Sacramento. Perhaps not typical; we had a lot of 
outdoor life; we were just a block from the R Street 
levee which has since been leveled. As far as we 
could see were open fields except when the river 
would break through and all that country would be 
flooded. In the wintertime there would be at 
least a foot or two of water standing just fryond 
this R Street levee. It was a common thing for 
much of the agricultural land just outside Sacra 
mento to be flooded. 

Pry: When did you live in Sacramento? 

Drury: We lived in Sacramento tvice. My brother was born 
there in 1891. That was the first time we lived 
in Sacramento, and my father had his own newspaper, 
the News,. He finally decided to give it up, partly 
because of my mother's poor health, partly because 
the newspaper business was a pretty tough game in 
those days. He published this paper about the same 
time that the Sacramento Bee was established. The 
Bee, in fact, was the rival paper. There was quite 
a rivalry between my father and the McClatchys, 


Drury: but I'm glad to aay that the later generations of 
McClatchys and Drurys have always been very good 

My father was also on one of the newspapers in 
Los Angeles at various times between the San Fran 
cisco and Sacramento episodes. We lived in Los 
Angeles for a few months, around 25th Street near 
Main. Everything beyond us was undeveloped open 
fields. We had fruit trees; we had a horse and 
buggy and barn. I was in grammar school, I think. 
Then we went back to Sacramento for the second 
time, and that year I believe my father was the 
editor of the Sacramento Union. It must have 
been around the time I was in the eighth grade. 

We moved 'to the San Francisco Bay Region in 
1906, just after the earthquake. The family has 
been around the bay ever since. At the time of 
the San Francisco earthquake we happened to be 
in San Francisco on a visit. A few months later, 
in 1906, we moved from Sacramento to Berkeley, 
where the family has been established. 

The Earthquake and Fire 

Drury: On the occasion of the earthquake I, as a music 
student, had tickets to the grand opera which 
was playing at the Metropolitan Opera Company. 
I had 500 tickets in the uppermost gallery for 
every one of about 20 operas that were playing. 
Well, as you know, about the second night or 
the morning after the second night the earth- 


Drury: quake came. I was, that night, sitting in the upper 
most gallery; they were playing Bizet's Carmen with 
Caruso. Frejeatad sang Carmen, unusual for a 
contralto. Louise Homer and Antonio Scotti and Marcel 
Journet were in the cast I remember all of them. 
The building had been condemned; when an usher ran 
across the floor in that upper gallery you could 
hear it creak and feel it sway. The earthquake oc 
curred during the next morning and they tell me 
that that building came down just like a pack of 
cards. So I've figured some way that all the time 
I've had since 1906 has been velvet. [Laughter] 

We were all there in this apartment house on 
Larkin Street when the quake came. It was a pretty 
severe shaking and we looked out the windows and saw 
all the disturbance. But we thought that was that 
so we all went back to bed again. [ Laughter] Of 
course another quake came on and that jarred us 

My mother was of a very affectionate disposi 
tion, and at one point when it seemed to be going 
pretty bad she said, "Well, anyhow there is great 
comfort in the fact that we'll all die together." 
I was young and alert; I wasn't quite as philo 
sophical as she was. 

But we stayed for, oh, over a day, over 24 
hours in that building, until the fire came up to 
it and they warned us they were going to dynamite 
it and we had to get out. Some of my mother's 
family were living near the Presidio, so we 
started out there. We had to walk, of course. 


Drury: We had an express wagon take our trunks to Van Ness 
Avenue. They deposited those trunks on the sidewalk 
opposite the old St. Mary's Cathedral. Then another 
expressman came along and for a consideration he 
agreed to store the trunks in a warehouse in the 
Mission district. We went on up to the Presidio 
and stayed there a day or two, until we got a con 
veyance to take us down to the ferry, and we went 
back to Sacramento. We gave up the trunks for lost 
because we heard or read in the papers that the 
warehouse to which they'd been sent had been de 
stroyed by fire. About a year later we got a 
notice that before the fire came they had trans 
ferred the things from the warehouse and we got 
back the trunks. They had lost our address, and 
the only reaeon we got them back was because as 
a small boy I scribbled my name on some of the 
papers that were in the trunk with my address 
in Sacramento. 

Family Life 

Pry: Could you give a picture of what it was like to 
live with a newspaperman? 

Drury: Then, as now, a newspaperman worked very hard. 

His hours were long; there wasn't any eight-hour 
day then. Usually my father worked on the morning 
paper, and that meant that our sleeping habits 
probably never were normal because he'd get home 
late at night and sleep late in the morning. In 
San Francisco in those days they didn't have taxi- 
cabs and the street car stopped running around 

Drury: midnight. My father would come home maybe at one- 
thirty or two in the morning so he often rode a 
bicycle, which was a rather common conveyance in 
those days. 

My mother was a little wistful woman but she 
had the courage of a lion. They'd been having a 
lot of what they called "foot pads" holding people 
up in the streets in San Francisco. One night, 
looking down at the corner below our house, she 
could see a man standing in the shadow. She 
convinced herself that he was lying in wait to 
rob my father when he came homft. So what did 
she do but put on her coat and go down to the 
corner and ask this fellow what he was doing 
there. It so astonished him that he moved on. 
She didn't weigh a hundred pounds, but as I 
say she had courage; it might be called fool- 

Fry: Your father would be asleep after you left for 
school in the morning. 

Drury: Yes. Oh, but we saw him Sundays and holidays. 
We had a great deal of family life together. 
My father was a great hand for dealing with all 
children, but particularly with boys. He re 
membered his youth. Both he and my mother were 
more tolerant than most parents. I don't re 
member ever being chastised for anything. 

Fry: He wasn't the old Victorian father, then. 

Drury: Oh, not at all; he was very liberal. Years 
later when we lived in Berkeley, there was a 
fraternity house, across from us, on Euclid hill 
that burned down in the Berkeley fire and wasn't 
rebuilt. Periodically the boys would have an 


Drury: initiation and keep everybody in the neighborhood 
awake all night with their hilarity. One morning 
after an initiation one of our neighbors met my 
father going to work and said, "Did you hear all 
that noise last night?" My dad said, "Yes." 
"It didn't make you mad?" 

And my father said, "It sure did. It made me 
mad that I wasn't young enough to be over there 
with them." [Laughter] 

Pry: He must have taken you and Aubrey on a lot of 

Drury: We used to walk in the San Francisco hills. We 
used to pick wild strawberries up on Twin Peaks. 

Fry: What sort of reading material was available to 
you in your home? 

Drury: We had almost anything you could think of. My 

father was an inveterate reader; all his life he 
was a student. Although he didn't graduate from 
Monmouth College he had three years there, and 
he continued his studies on his own as a young 
man. He read some Latin and Greek and he was 
interested in the classics. My mother was even 
more inclined toward literature. When I say 
that we didn't have normal hours one factor in 
it was this: Because my father came home so late 
from work, many nights we'd sit up in bed and my 
mother would read to us. She read all of Scott's 
novels and Dickens, and Thackeray, and all the 
stand-bys. Unquestionably this reading aloud 
by my mother was of great help to my brother 

Drury: and myself in later years, 

Theatre and Music 


Drury: The other phase of our education occurred in the 
old Clunie Theatre in Sacramento where as editor 
of the local newspaper, my father always had at 
least two complimentary seats. En route to San 
Francisco from the East, the theatrical companies 
stopped over for a one-night stand in Sacramento. 
Many a night when we should have been in bed my 
brother and I would be sitting in the front row 
in this theater hearing all the things that came 
along, and that was everything in those days. I 
remember Ward and James, the tragedians; they 
played in Shakespearian plays. Mrs. Carter and 
Patrick Campbell, and I don't remember for sure 
that Barrett and Booth played there but I think 
they did. I'm sure if they played in Sacramento 
I heard them. All the musical comedies, like 
The Merry Widow, would stop there for just one 
night, apparently to get reorganized before 
coming to San Francisco getting the baggage 
together and rehearsing their parts. So their 
Sacramento performance was probably pretty 
rough. They had repertoire companies in those 
days, you know. They called them the ten, 
twenty, thirty-cent companies, like the Eller- 
fords, who for two or three weeks would play a 
different play every night. East Lynn, and 
Shenandoah and Ten Nights in a Barroom all 

Drury: those old-timers. Well, whether that was good or 
bad education, we had it. 

Pry: At least you were introduced to Shakespeare live 
that way. 

Drury: Oh, we heard practically all of the Shakespeare 

plays--King_Lear and The Tempest and As You Like It, 
Merchant of Venice and all played by those who were 
then the leading Shakespearian actors. 

Fry: You mentioned your interest in music. Where did 
that come from? 

Drury: My mother played the piano, and she first taught 
me to play it, but my interest in music was not 
particularly deep although I'm still interested 
in it. I studied with a man named Anderson in 
Sacramento and I got a great deal from him. I did 
a little composing and later I played in an 

Pry: What sort of things did you compose? 

Drury: Very conventional waltzes and marches and things 
like that very inconsequential. 

Pry: Did you put words to them too? 

Drury: No, I never went that far. I thought at one time 
that I would make music my profession, but I got 
bravely over that because I had sense enough to 
realize that I wasn't good enough for that. 

Pry: How old were you when you had this great interest 
in music? 

Drury: About sixteen. As I say, that's what brought me 
to the San Francisco Opera House. And a month 
after the earthquake the Metropolitan Opera Com 
pany refunded every cent that I paid for my 


Drury: tickets, which was a windfall. 

Fry: What did you play besides the piano? 

Drury: I played the cornet, which has now been super 
seded by the trumpet, and I occasionally played 
the flute in an orchestra. 


Fry: Did your family attend any particular church? 

Drury: All of us are nominally Episcopalian. My mother 
and my sisters were very devout Episcopalians. 
My brother and I were not quite so regular in 
our attendance as the ladies of the family. 

Fry: I was going to ask you if going to church was 
a regular family ritual when you were a child? 

Drury: Well, we went to church a great deal and we 
were very fond, particularly in our youth in 
Sacramento, of the Reverend C.L. Miel, who 
later came to San Francisco. He was a rather 
unorthodox, too-progressive minister for those 
days. He finally left Sacramento. One of the 
deadly sins he committed was smoking a cigar 
ette, which then was beyond the pale. 

Fry: Did he have a better reception in San 

Drury: I think he did, yes. He was out on North Beach. 
He was always very friendly with the Catholic 
priests wherever he was; he was sort of inclined 
toward High Church. But neither my brother nor I 
were confirmed in the Episcopal Church, although 


Drury: we kept very close to men like the Reverend W.R.H. 
Hodgkin who had married five or six members of our 
family. My wife and I were married by Reverend 
Hodgkin. He was at All Souls Church in Berkeley, 
a very wonderful person and still a great friend 
of the family^ He officiated just recently at 
my brother's funeral, and before that at my mother's 
and father's funerals, all at All Souls. 

Fry: You still maintain contact with All Souls. 

Drury: Yes. My sisters go there, and we do occasionally. 

Pry: Were there any special trips that your family took 
that you think left a distinct impression on you? 

Drury: Oh, not anything special. We used to travel in 
California quite a bit. I can remember going to 
Long Beach, for instance. We went down there 
about noon and we got a little tired about four 
o'clock in the afternoon, and we had to wait over 
an hour before we could get a train back from Long 
Beach to Los Angeles. I do remember one trip we 
made to Denver, Colorado. I think it was on news 
paper business but the family all tagged along. 
Later on, of course, we traveled quite a bit. We 
went frequently to Nevada, where some of my 
mother's relatives were. 

But as far as I'm concerned my travels, 
most of them, were during and after my college 

Pry: Didn't you attend Edison and Horace Mann schools? 


Drury: Yes; Edison primary school, where I had my elem 
entary education, and Horace Mann, which was my 
grammar school. I also went to certain schools 
in los Angeles. I think my last two years in 
grammar school were in the Sacramento grammar 
school, and then I had two years in the Sacramento 
High School before we left in 1906. I went to 
Lowell High School in San Francisco one term, 
and then we moved to Berkeley. I graduated 
from Berkeley High School. It's debatable 
whether moving so often is a benefit or a de 
terrent to your education. I don't know. I 
know I resented the fact that I had to memorize 
Milton's L' Allegro and Il'Penseroso twice, 
first at Lowell High School and then again at 
Berkeley High School. I just wore the covers 
off The Merchant of Venice at different 
schools. I think I had it three times. 

Pry: What about school activities? 

Drury: Well, I was active both in Berkeley High and 
in college in debating. That was an interest 
that my father undoubtedly encouraged. Both 
my brother and I were on the same debating 
teams at Berkeley High and at the University 
of California. 

I think moving around was an advantage. 
I was glad I went to the University of Calif 
ornia, rather than to college in the East, be 
cause afterwards most of one's associations 
are with people from one's own community. I 
think I got the most out of the Berkeley High 

Drury: School because I was quite active in student af 
fairs. I didn't know any better than to run for 
President of the Associated Students there and 
four years later at the University of California. 

Pry: You became President both times? 

Drury: Yes. Sometimes just by the skin of my teeth. But 
I think that's probably educational, although it 
makes me tired to think of it now. 

Pry: You have had all these executive jobs thrust upon 
you in later years, and I wondered ? you had had 
this leaning when you were in junior high or high 

Drury: I have done, as I say, a lot of discussion and de 
bating and things of that sort. And the newspaper 
business is inclined to divest one of modesty. 
It's not exactly a vocation for anyone who is too 

High School 

Pry: Which high school did you first attend? 

Drury: I went two years to Sacramento High School which, 
incidentally, was an excellent school. They had 
an outstanding faculty quite a few of them 
University of California graduates. I remember 
particularly my teacher in English, Mrs. Molly 
Morton, who was much more than an English teacher. 
She was a philosopher and a wonderful person. I 
trace the effect of my teachers upon me more to 
Sacramento High School than perhaps to any of the 
other institutions I attended. Then there was a 


Drury: Miss Kate Herrick who gave me my grounding in 
Latin. She was a stern taskmaster but an ex 
cellent teacher. There were several others 
that were outstanding. 

Pry: Do you remember whether Mrs. Morton, your English 
teacher, inspired you in your writing, or pri 
marily in understanding others' writings and 

Drury: I think primarily the latter. Her forte was 
literature. We had another teacher, a Miss 
Maude Green, in composition. I learned a few 
things from her. One of them was how to spell 
the word, "buses." I always spelled it b-u- 
double s-e-s. She corrected that, saying that 
that was the plural of the old English word, 
"buss," meaning a kiss. 

Fry: That squelched that. Laughter] Did Miss 
Herrick start an interest in Latin for you? 

Drury: V/ell, I took four years of Latin and it must 

have been because she more or less inspired me 
to do it. I've always found it stood me in 
good stead. 

In the fall of 1906 we moved to San 
Francisco because my father was asked to 
come down to be city editor on the Examiner ; 
at that time I went to Lowell High School in 
San Francisco. Then in the fall of 1906 we 
moved to Berkeley, where my father was sec 
retary of the Chamber of Commerce, and I spent 
my last year and a half of public school in 
Berkeley High School. I suppose that's the 
reason I headed toward the University of 


Drury: California. 

Pry: But you really think that Sacramento High School had 
a superior faculty. I was wondering if there were 
some factors in Sacramento that might be responsible 
for this at that time. 

Drury: Oh, they just happened to be good teachers. They 
had a very fine principal, Prank Tate, a very able 
administrator and scholar. I think he was a gradu 
ate of the University of California. He later quit 
teaching and practiced law until he died. 

One of my classmates in Sacramento High School 
was Herman Phleger, who was to become so notable as 
the chief legal counsel for five years for the U.S. 
State Department and a member of the World Court, 
and just recently haa conducted a hearing as chair 
man of the American delegation in the meeting on 
Antarctica. They had this session in Washington 
for some months and, as a result, drafted a treaty 
which outlined the rights and privileges of the 
different nations who laid claim to portions of 

Pry: Did you know him very well in high school? 

Drury: Oh, yes. In fact, I knew him in grammar school. 

His mother, who was a widow, was one of my grammar 
school teachers in the Sacramento grammar school 
and was herself a wonderful teacher. 

Pry: Did you notice any intimations of his future in 
grammar school and high school? 

Drury: He was always very aggressive. I go to meetings 
now occasionally where the old boys reminisce and 
one of the stories I tell about Herman Phleger 

Drury: was when we were small boys at the Sacramento gram 
mar school. We ran a little printing office and 
got out a school newspaper. We had very elementary 
and inferior type; it had been there a great many 
years. One day when we were getting out the Wash 
ington's birthday edition we found that we were 
running out of commas. Herman simply took out a 
chisel and cut off the dot in the semicolons and 
we had plenty of commas. [Laughter] 

Pry: In high school was he active in extra-curricular 
affairs, or debating? 

Drury: Quite active in both athletics and debating. 

Fry: You were, too, weren't you? 

Drury: I took part in some debating more after I got to 
Berkeley High School and then in college. But 
while I played quite a little baseball, I was 
never in the class that made varsity teams or 
anything of that sort. 

Newspaper Work 

Fry: You began working on newspapers while still in 
high school? 

Drury: I started rather early up in Sacramento. I was 
an occasional writer under my father's guidance 
for the Sacramento Union when he was the managing 
editor. Once in a while he'd send me out to cover 
some affair. 

Fry: How old were you then? 

Drury: I was about sixteen or seventeen. But when I was 
even younger I remember that a local resident, 
Colonel Harris Weinstock, gave a talk to the 


Drury: Sacramento grammar school on the subject of the 
George Junior Republic. I wrote an article for 
the paper (which was about as good as I can write 
now, for that matter), and Mr. Weinstock, who was 
a prominent merchant there, was very much pleased 
with it and he sent me a check for five dollars 
probably the largest honorarium I ever received, 
relatively speaking. [Laughteij 

Fry: What is the George Junior Republic? 

Drury: It was a sort of reform colony where they had 

self-government and so forth for teen-agers who 
were a little hard to manage. It was a new idea 
then and Weinstock, who was a very benevolent man, 
had gone there to study it. 

In my high school days one way I eked out my 
income was by writing music and drama criticisms. 
I used to do that for some of the Berkeley papers 
and for the San Francisco Examiner . When their 
chief critic, Ashton Stevens, was otherwise en 
gaged or incapacitated, they used to send me up 
to the Greek Theater now and then to write up 
the concerts and plays. 

Fry: When you went to Lowell High School, did you work 
on a newspaper? 

Drury: Not when I was at Lowell High School. After I 
came over to Berkeley I worked on various news 
papers. One of the things I did for the Examiner 
was to act as an automobile reporter. I used to 
get paid by the line, a cent a line or something 
like that. I reported automobile news; the auto 
mobile was more of a novelty in those days than 


Drury: it is now. They had a page, as part of the sports 
section, that had to do with exhibitions and races 
and things relating to automobiles. 

Pry: You did other sports reporting too, didn't you? 

Drury: Yes. One of my adventures was reporting the base 
ball games with the Sacramento team in the state 
league. I had to get there on time because I was 
official scorekeeper, too, so my father always 
gave me a note to the principal of the grammar 
school asking that I be excused fifteen minutes 
early on Friday afternoons because I "had an 
important engagement." For about a year I got 
away with it; they didn't know that I had been 
going to the baseball game until the truth fi 
nally leaked out when one of my schoolmates com 
plained to the principal. So they canceled my 
fifteen minutes leave on Friday afternoons. 

I s sues and Youthful Politics 

Drury: I remember that in my senior year I spent a 

summer as the Alameda reporter for the Oakland 
Tribune . It was on that job that I first met 
Mr. Joseph H. Knowland. I've had an association 
with him for over forty years in park and his 
torical matters. The Oakland Tribune was then 
owned by a Mr. Dargie. Mr. Knowland was a rel 
atively young man who had spent his first session 
in Congress. Alameda was his district. My first 
meeting with him was when I interviewed him for 
the Oakland Tribune , neither of us dreaming that 


Drury: one day he would be the proprietor of the Oakland 
Tribune and would build it up as he has. I have 
always told J.-^, that it was lucky for me that I 
gave him a good send-off because otherwise we 
might not have had as pleasant relationships in 
later years. [Laughter] 

Pry: Do you remember what you interviewed him about? 

Drury: One of the issues that he was particularly in 
terested in was free tolls for American shipping 
in the Panama Canal. The Panama Canal had only 
recently been constructed, and he introduced leg 
islation that would allow American shipping to 
pass through without tolls, on the grounds that 
the United States had built the canal and there 
was no reason why they should pay tolls. How 
ever, his legislation failed to pass. 

Pry; I wonder if this also fell in line with his feelings 
about the tariff at that time. Do you know? 

Drury: I don't remember his feelings about the tariff, 
but although I think J.R. was a very liberal man 
in his general outlook, throughout his political 
career he was what you might classify as a con 

Pry: What do you mean? 

Drury: Well, he was just whatever a conservative is one 
who believes in holding to what's good in the 
present and changing only when it can be demon 
strated that we can improve our lot by doing so. 
I'm sure he was not a free trader. 

Pry: Was he a Theodore Roosevelt man? 

Drury: No. He was a conservative Republican. Later he 


Drury: ran for the Senate on the regular Republican ticket 
after several terms in Congress, when Theodore 
Roosevelt and Hiram Johnson were at the head of the 
Progressive Party. And some Progressive I think 
it was Francis J. Heney ran on the Progressive 
ticket. The Republican vote was split and James 
D. Phelan, a Democrat, was elected United States 

Pry: So he was a victim of the Progressive movement then. 

Drury: Yes. At the time, I was a young Progressive, pres 
ident of the student's Progressive Party Club on 
the campus. We did some campaigning for Roosevelt 
and Hiram Johnson. 

Pry: Were you old enough to be aware at all of the Ruef 
and Schmitz debacle in San Francisco? 

Drury: Oh, yes. I didn't do any reporting on it, but I 
remember very well the day that Mayor Eugene 
Schmitz, who was under indictment, came back from 
Europe. For a long time I had among my memora 
bilia a printed card that the people who met him 
at the Ferry Building stuck in their hats which 
said, "Welcome home, Mayor Schmitz." I think I 
probably have that around and if I find it I'll 
give it to the California Historical Society. 

Yes, I remember Abe Ruef quite well, too.. 
When I was a small boy in Sacramento I used to 
go to the capitol building occasionally with my 
father when he was on his newspaper rounds. One 
day he introduced me to this little smiling gen 
tleman with the diamond stick pin a very dapper, 
pleasant sort of person, Abe Ruef. That's when 


Drury: Abe Ruef was in his prime and more or less control 
led things. I remember, of course, the Calhoun trial 
and the conviction of Abe Ruef. Eugene Schmitz was 
acquitted, some thought, because the trial came 
around Christmastime and juries are notoriously more 
charitable at that season. 

Pry: Did you have any personal feelings about the trial? 

Drury: Not especially. I think it was an open and shut 
case of attempted bribery or extortion. 

Pry: What about the few other people? For instance, 

Patrick Calhoun, the railroad man. Did you know him? 

Drury: No, I was just a boy then, but I knew what I read in 
the papers and what was told me by my father out of 
his experience. 

Pry: I was just wondering if you knew any of the news 
paper representatives on the San Prancisco Repub 
lican League. They tried to get a representative 
from each newspaper in San Prancisco. Did you know 
anything about that? 

Drury: No, I don't even remember one by that name. 

Pry: It lasted just a couple of elections, but I thought 
maybe you knew it. You mentioned Phelan. Did you 
know Mr. Phelan? 

Drury: Yes, I met him. 

Pry: If you have any pertinent comment to make about 
these men we would like to have it. 

Drury: Phelan was a very dramatic or at or- -somewhat of the 
old school. One of the episodes that I remember 
was the time Herman Phleger and I went to the Civic 
Auditorium in San Prancisco when William Jennings 
Bryan was making his last stand in 1912. That was 


Drury: the election with Roosevelt, Taft, and Wilson. 
We were "both Republicans, but we wanted to hear 
Bryan, so we worked our way in and the only place 
we could sit was among the delegates on the plat 
form. So there we sat. That's the only time I 
ever heard William Jennings Bryan. He could 
charm a bird down off its perch. There's no 
question about his supreme oratorical ability. 
James D. Phelan presided at the meeting and I 
remember one embarrassing episode. This was an 
audience ostensibly of Democrats, but inadvert 
ently James D. Phelan mentioned Theodore Roosevelt 
and there was uproarious applause, which he had 
great difficulty in quelling. He tried to do it 
by telling the story of TT,S, Grant who was re 
fused a third term. He tried to apply a parallel 
to Theodore Roosevelt. And his audience just 
wasn't going along with him. 

Fry: Do you remember the California campaigns for 
women's suffrage? 

Drury: I don't remember what year it became a fact, but 
I do remember that in my high school at gradua 
tion I made a few remarks, and in order to get 
on the good side of the girls in the audience I 
predicted that woman suffrage would come about 
in a few years. But in college I was on an inter 
collegiate debating team where the assigned topic 
was the subject of women suffrage. We were as 
signed the negative but nevertheless we won the 

Pry: Was your victory attributable to your own per 
sonal feelings? .Daughter] 


Drury: Not at all, no. It was just a job to do. 

Pry: What were some of the other subjects of debates 
that you had in high school? 

Drury: At the Friends of the Bancroft Library the other 
day I told about my earliest debate. Little 
thinking that in later years I would have some 
thing to do with the conservation of scenic re 
sources, I was in the Senate Debating Society at 
the University and we were assigned the topic of 
the Hetch Hetchy Dam, which was quite a live con 
troversy at that time. It, as you know, invaded 
Yosemite National Park. There was a great deal 
of argument pro and con; it was all Greek to me, 
frankly. But having been assigned the side in 
favor of building the dam in the park, I'm ashamed 
to confess that we won the debate. 

Pry: I guess you lived to rue that. 

Drury: Well, I think it was a grave mistake to have built 
the Hetch Hetchy Dam because it took them a long, 
long time and it cost more money than some of the 
alternatives proposed. I made up for that lapse 
of my youth in later years when I was in the midst 
of many controversies where we were successful in 
the National Park Service in fending off the 
building of dams in Glacier National Park and sev 
eral other national areas. 

Pry: Were you old enough at the time of the Hetch Hetchy 
controversy to know what it was that finally made 
the dam materialize? 

Drury: It was purely academic to me then. If the truth 


Drury: were known I rather thought the argument about 
spoiling the beauty of Yosemite was sentimental 
nonsense. And I think I so stated in the debate, 
(Laughter) Of course I hadn't been to Yosemite; 
I hadn't gotten religion then. 

Alameda and Berkeley, Quiet Villages 

Fry: To move on to Alameda and Berkeley, could you in 
dicate how the community of Alameda differed at 
that time from what its character is now? 

Drury: Yes; there were more open spaces. In fact, one 

of the pleasant features of Alameda was that they 
had great fields of what they called Alameda sweet 
corn; it was quite famous in those days, growing in 
among the scattered houses. Gradually all of that 
land has been taken up and improved. The beaches 
of Alameda were much more pleasant than they are 
today; one summer my family took a home in Alameda 
just to be near the beaches and we had a very 
pleasant time there. But I was not particularly 
familiar with Alameda; it was a quiet lazy vil 
lage just as Berkeley was more or less. 

Berkeley at that time was really a series of 
stations on the Southern Pacific line. What's 
now Alcatraz was called Lorin, and there was also 
the main Berkeley station. Then there was one up 
at Berryman Street which was the end of the line. 
That was in the steam car days. 

Pry: These were relatively disconnected communities? 


Drury: Yes. They were little groups of homes that de 
veloped almost like little villages and there was 
a good deal of undeveloped land, as there has been 
until recently between Ashby and Alcatraz. Berkeley 
was a rather attractive settlement; I remember the 
main street with its old-fashioned stores. Being a 
wide street it was more impressive than most main 
thoroughfares. Alongside the Southern Pacific 
station there was quite a little park which, as you 
know, has disappeared. They now have a building 
and loan association office where the park used to 
be. The old-timers all felt that it was a mistake 
that they let the charm of downtown Berkeley dis 
appear before so-called "improvement." 

Early Growth of Berkeley 

Fry: Was your father working for the Examiner while 

you lived in Berkeley? 
Drury: For quite a while, yes. 
Fry: He had something to do with the Berkeley Chamber 

of Commerce didn't he? 
Drury: Yes, he later became manager of the Berkeley 

Chamber of Commerce. That was about the time 

I was in college. 
Fry: It seems that all of a sudden something made 

Berkeley wake up and decide to make itself a 

city. I was wondering if you were aware of 

what might have caused this. Or do you think 

it's true? 
Drury: It's just natural growth. Of course the steady 

growth of the University unquestionably has 


Drury: contributed to it. I think the splendid loca 
tion of Berkeley as a place of residence, the 
Berkeley hills and the panorama of the bay and 
all that sort of thing made for it. 

While my father, representing the Chamber 
of Commerce, was more or less instrumental in 
bringing new industries into Berkeley, I must 
confess that my sympathies were more with the 
people who wanted to keep Berkeley a simple 
residential town. But observation of almost 
every city in the United States shows that for 
various reasons, one of which is to increase 
their tax base, they all try to encourage in 

Fry: I've often wondered why the industries were 

put down by the bay front. Is that basically 
the most desirable place for them? 

Drury: Oh, I think so. It was level land and land 
that was not particularly desirable for res 
idences; it was close to transportation. 

Fry: Recreation? 

Drury: Well, nobody worried much about recreation in 
those days because all the Berkeley hills were 
open and beaches were not fenced in and weren't 
polluted the way they are now. I never was 
much of a swimmer, but my wife tells about how 
they used to swim off the Berkeley wharf. I 
guess nobody would dream of doing that today. 
During the years I was with the state parks 
every so often a move would be started to es 
tablish a recreational beach on the waterfront 

Drury: of Berkeley, but there were insurmountable ob 
stacles, not the least of which was the fact 
that the Santa Fe Railroad owns quite a strip 
of land immediately east of the shoreline in 
Berkeley, which made it very difficult. The 
other obstacle was the presence of industry 
already there. I think the Berkeley master 
plan, which calls for dredging and building 
of islands and residential areas and parks on 
the tidelands owned by the city of Berkeley 
beyond this Santa Pe strip, is a wonderful 
plan. As I understand it, Berkeley owns the 
tidelanda by grant of legislation almost 
halfway out to Angel Island. It is a very 
wide strip of frontage there. That master 
plan was issued four or five years ago. Mr. 
Frederick B. Confer was chairman then, I think, 
of the planning commission that issued it. 
It's like a great many other things that have 
been evolved, a counsel of perfection, but 
it calls for the development of open spaces 
both parks and playgrounds in various parts 
of the hill community, and the creation of 
islands and lagoons and the allocation of a 
certain amount of that land to residential 
and apartment purposes. 

Fry: Were you aware of the campaign to move the 
state capital from Sacramento to Berkeley 
about 1907? 


Drury: I have a recollection of that. I was in high 
school then, and my father was in the Berkeley 
Chamber of Commerce. He had quite a lot to do 
with the campaign; he was hand in glove with 
Duncan McDuffie, who was then a young realtor 
who had bought out Mr. Mason and organized the 
Mason-McDuffie company. That was one of their 
campaigns. I never was sure whether it was a 
publicity stunt or a genuine desire to move the 
capital down to the Bay. Anyhow, my recollec 
tion of it is rather dim but I know there was 
a lot of excitement. And when we got the first 
returns on the vote from right around here it 
was thought that the capital was going to be 
moved here. But when we got the vote from 
Southern California and the Sacramento Valley 
it was quite another story. Duncan McDuffie 
once told me that the site his firm had of 
fered to give to the state for this capital 
is out there in the Thousand Oaks District. 
My home is on Mendocino Avenue; he said that 
was right in the center of this block of view 
lots they were going to give to the state of 
California for the capital. [Laughter] I 
think that the capital is just as well in 

One of the interesting controversies of that 
day, speaking of capitals, was the movement 
toward the division of the state of California. 
I remember as a boy in college there was a great 
deal of debate and at least one prominent state 


Drury: senator I think his name was Work or Works 
who was an out-and-out advocate of separating 
Southern California from Northern California. 

Fry: He was a Southern Calif ornian, I presume. 

Drury: He came from Los Angeles, yes. Only recently 
there's been a slight revival of that thought, 
the idea being, I suppose, that there are really 
two centers in California, one in San Francisco 
and one in Los Angeles. I think somebody said 
that the state of California was like an egg 
with two yolks. The resultant competition 
between the north and the south many people 
felt made against the best interests of either 
community. Of course in the old days there 
used to be a lot of rivalry, some of it rather 
bitter, between the north and south. That's 
when Southern California was relatively un 
important in affairs of the state. 

That, as you know, is where the institu 
tion of the cafeteria, which is commonplace 
today, originated. When they talked rather 
scornfully of dividing the state, some of the 
northerners said, "Well, if they do, they 
should call the northern portion of it California 
and the southern portion Cafeteria." [Laughter] 

Fry: Do you think the division of the state had any 
thing to do with the move to put a branch of 
the University in Los Angeles? 

Drury: I think there's no question about it. Benjamin 

Ide Wheeler was an advocate of one strong, central 
University he tried to fend off as long as he could 


Drury: the establishment of branches of the University. 
That was something that came later, 

College Days in Berkeley. 1908-1912 
Academic Life 

Fry: What year did you enter the University of 

Drury: August, 1908. 

Pry: Could you give a description of what your aca 
demic interests were at that time? 

Drury: I was enrolled in the College of Letters and 
Science and at graduation took a B.L. degree, 
which I think has been supplanted by the A.B. 
degree; it was a general cultural course 
pointing towards the study of law. In my 
junior year I took some law courses, and in 
my senior year I practically completed the 
law course. I was within about three units 
of taking the Doctor of Law's degree, but 
about that time I got diverted into teaching 
because of my correlative interest in English. 
Because of the persuasiveness of Professor 
Charles Mills Gayley, who was the head of the 
English department, I never did practice law. 
However, in the administrative work that I've 
done and in business, also, I 'have found that 
the grounding in law was a great advantage to 
me. At least I could always ask the lawyers 
questions which they couldn't answer. In my 
bouts with the Attorney General of California 


Drury: it was a definite advantage. 

Pry: It seems to me that with your background in 
English, and your considerable debating ex 
perience, you might have eyed a field more 
closely related to writing, 

Drury: Yes. Well, that is why I veered away from the 
practice of law to teaching English. Writing 
was a matter of considerable interest to me. 
I used to think that I wrote with some facility. 
I know better now, but as I went through my 
course I came under the influence of two very 
wonderful teachers, Chairman Charles Mills 
Gayley of the department of English and Pro 
fessor Martin C. Flaherty of the same depart 
ment, later of the department of Public Speaking. 
I taught for both of them. I started as a 
teaching fellow in my senior year in the depart 
ment of English, and I also eked out my income 
by giving a few commencement addresses at high 
schools and Extension lectures. (University 
Extension was formed about that time.) 

Pry: In English or Speech? 

Drury: In English. Being young and bold, I had no 

hesitation about giving a course covering the 
whole sweep of English literature. [.Laughter] 
I was just a jump ahead of my class each time. 

Pry: You probably learned more that year you taught 


Drury: Oh, yes. Of course, that's the great advantage 
of teaching. You do learn more. Yes, I had the 
advantage of the Oxford History of English Lit- 


Drury: erature. At each, session of this Extension 
course that I gave on literature it was up 
in Stockton, once a week as I say I'd be just 
a little ahead of the class. It was a wonder- 

ful experience for me, if not for the class. 

Then I did teach courses in public speak 
ing and argumentation, both in the University 
Extension in the night school and the YMCA in 
Oakland. In fact I did that when I was a sopho 
more in college. Down at the YMCA one night 
they had an announcement that the teacher for 
salesmanship was not going to appear. He was 
ill or something or other, and without any 
ceremony they hustled me in to give his class. 
They handed me the text and I finished up the 
whole course in salesmanship. That was one 
thing which quickened my interest in adver 
tising and public relations. 

Pry: Was this your first exposure to salesmanship 
as a serious field? 

Drury: No. In my sophomore year I made a little vaca 
tion money by going up into Siskiyou County 
representing a magazine called Success, which 
shortly afterwards failed. It obtained sub 
scriptions by offering various books at a very 
moderate price. I cut my teeth as a book agent 
also, and had some very interesting, if not very 
profitable, adventures. 

Fry: You did find a certain modicum of success in 
actual selling? 


Drury: Oh, I was able to keep on eating and traveling. 

It was not highly profitable, though highly educa 
tional. All of those activities, it seemed to me 
later on when I went into administrative work, 
gave me a certain amount of background, partic 
ularly as to the techniques of presenting ideas 
to people. 

I give great credit to Martin C. Flaherty, 
who was the debating coach, for the very splendid 
training that I got under him. 

Fry: How did you think that your experience in debating 
at U.C. helped you later on? 

Drury: Oh, I think it is invaluable to anyone who is 
going to have to compile data and work out the 
special issues. I feel sure that anyone and a 
great many men in public life have had debating 
experience profits from that kind of training. 
Anybody who's been in business or politics or any 
other kind of activity where there's competition 
knows it ' s just as important to know how your 
competitors are thinking as it is to work out 
your own line of thought. And debating is the 
best training I know of in examining both sides 
of a question, particularly since most debates 
are won on rebuttal, in your ability to put a 
hole into the other side's argument. 

I don't know of any phase of public admin 
istration where all those processes aren't ab 
solutely essential: the weighing of evidence, 
the determination of the time to be spent on 
different phases of the subject, the use of 


Drury: the twin elements of persuasion and conviction. 
One is intellectual and the other is emotional, 
but both have to be used in order to get the de 

Whenever you're weighing a cause you use all 
the principles that are involved in both expository 
writing and in argumentation. I have over the years 
recommended to a great many of my colleagues a book 
that we used when I taught argumentation by Profes 
sor Baker of Harvard University. He had a partic 
ularly fine chapter on "finding the special issues" 
with three or four key questions which have to be 
answered before you get a decision, which I think 
a great many men both in business and in public 
service could very well study quite effectively. 
There are a great many people now who don't know 
a fact when they see one. They don't know how to 
test the validity of evidence. 

Student Activities of the Drury Brothers 

Fry: Could you give us some idea of how cognizajrt the 
students seemed to be of outside issues, or were 
they pretty well insulated? 

Drury: We were pretty well insulated as far as I was con 
cerned, and I think that applies to most of them. 
I was rather with Theodore Roosevelt and Hiram 
Johnson. They were Progressives and we formed a 
Progressive club. It didn't go very deep. 

Fry: The students were trying their political wings, 
I guess. 


Drury: Yea But it seems to me we developed campus 
politics to as fine a point as the national 
conventions have done today. I think we were 
way ahead of the national parties at that tine 
as far as organization was concerned. 

Fry: What were the two main groups? Or were there 
more than two on campus to put up candidates? 

Drury: There were a lot of splinter groups, I'd say. 

There weren't any right-wingers or left-wingers 
in those days. 

Pry: I wasn't thinking so much in terms of that as 
perhaps divisions "based on independents and 
fraternities or pro-athletics and anti- 

Drury: Well, I know that between the fraternities and 
non-fraternities there was no competition to 
speak of, especially in college politics. I 
did not belong to a fraternity. I lived in 
Berkeley and didn't see the Heed of it. Yet 
when I ran for President of the Associated 
Students of the University of California most 
of my supporters were fraternity men. 

Pry: Was there any common element in your supporters? 

Drury: No, just the fellows who were my friends and not 
my enemies. I don't know how I drifted into it. 
It was an interesting experience, too. In that 
position I had some very valuable association 
with the key men on the faculty, particularly of 
course President Benjamin Ide Wheeler. I re 
member Dean Thomas Putnam and James Button, the 
recorder of faculties, a very wonderful gentleman, 


Pry: As President of the ASUC did you have to deal 
with the question of regulating the role of 
each class, such as freshmen and sophomores? 

Drury: Well, there was a distinct class consciousness. 
In fact, it was expressed in my day by the 
wearing of the junior plug and the senior plug, 
which were old top hats which had been battered 
down. The junior plug was a gray plug hat which 
was painted in lurid colors and various designs. 
The senior plug was a black beaver hat which had 
been crushed down. I never wore either of them 
but most of my friends did. The custom went out 
about my time. 

Pry: When you wrote the foreword for Blue and Gold, the 

Drury: Did I write a foreword to the Blue and Gold? 

Pry: Yes, you did, and it's residing majestically 

Drury: You'll have to give some of the testimony. I've 

Pry: It gave me a clue to the class distinctions be 
cause you made an appeal for the seniors to live 
up to their responsibilities of helping the whole 
student body. 

Drury: In fact, I remember that with my class I had no 

great part in the Blue and Gold. But the editor, 
my good friend and classmate, Robert H. Clark, 
got pretty well submerged in it. It was a ter 
rible, terrible job. 

Pry: I was wondering about other campus publications. 

Pry: There seemed to be a rash of them: Razzberry 
Press, Mystic Istic, Dill Pickle, and Squali- 
yellofornian. Did everybody suddenly turn 

Drury: There was quite a literary group, and in that 

group my brother Aubrey Drury was much more ac 
tive than I was. Of course Sidney Coe Howard, 
who was later a Pulitzer Prize playwright and 
who did a great many things for the movies I 
think he wrote some of the dialogues for the 
Dr. Kildare stories--was perhaps the leading 

Pry: Did you know Sidney Howard with Aubrey? 

Drury: Oh yes. I knew Sidney Howard very well. 

Pry: Did you ever visit his home in Oakland? 

Drury: I don't think I did, no. Of course I knew 

his sister, Mrs. Duncan McDuffie, very well. 

Pry: I was wondering if you could tell anything 

about Mr. Howard anything future biographers 
might be interested in. 

Drury: He was a wonderful fellow. Some people thought 
he was a little cold and abrupt, and some even 
went so far as to accuse him of snobbishness. 
But the real truth of the matter apparently 
was that he was very near-sighted. Many times 
unless a person was right up next to him he 
wouldn't recognize him. He was quick to form 
opinions; he had a very incisive mind, quite 
quick in his speech and action. He showed 
great promise even in his undergraduate days 


Drury: as far as reading and writing were concerned. 

Pry: Did you see his plays here, the extravaganzas? 

Drury: I think I did but they didn't make any deep 
impression on me. 

Pry: Some of his themes, such as the overbearing, 

oppressive mother, came out in later years. I 
wondered if you detected any while you knew him? 

Drury: No, I didn't. I think "They Knew What They 

Wanted," which was a story of pastoral life up 
in Napa Valley, was probably his most celeb 
rated work. 

Pry: Yes, he got the Pulitzer for that one. 

I believe Pred Paust was on the campus 
about that time, too. 

Drury: Yes. Frederick Schiller Paust wrote his 

paperback novels under the name of Max Brand. 
He and Howard and another man, John L. School- 
craft, who was quite a writer, were great 
friends of my brother Aubrey. Kenneth T. 
Perkins, who later had a successful career 
as writer and dramatist, was in the same 

They got their start, really, under a 
wonderful teacher of creative writing whose 
name was Frederick Thomas Blanchard. I took 
some courses from him and I learned a good 
deal from him about things like the use of 
connotative detail and the technique of short- 
story writing and that kind of thing. In fact 
I later on lectured for Extension on the 


Drury: writing of the short story. It was part of the 
broad net that I carried over the years. 

Pry: Have you published short stories? 

Drury: Nothing of any kind. My brother Aubrey has 

done more of that than I have. I just lectured 
on them, told the other people how to. Blanchard 
later transferred to UCLA. 

Then there was a very interesting teacher 
named George A. Smithson who also encouraged 
this group. There were quite a few other writ 
ers. There were one or two women. Mary Carolyn 
Davies became quite a poetess. She wrote some 
fine verse. Seemingly in Aubrey's class of 1914 
there was more activity in writing than in most 
classes. I know there was more in my brother's 
class than there was in my class of 1912. 

Fry: Could you give us a rundown of what Aubrey did 
in school and the things that he found here 
which he was able to use in later life? 

Drury: Aubrey did about as much debating as I did, 

both in high school and in college. His course 
was primarily literary from the beginning. He 
took every course in English that he could get 
admitted to. The story was that when the names 
came up for Phi Beta Kappa he was way up on the 
list in high grades but they felt that he had so 
much English that he didn't have a balanced 
course. So they didn't elect him to Phi Beta 

Pry: What were his extra-curricular activities be 
sides debating? 


Drury: He was on the staff of the Occident and wrote 
quite a few essays and stories for them. 
Neither of us did much in athletics in college. 
He was quite a ballplayer in high school. He 
played some baseball in college. 

Fry: I was wondering if you could give us a picture 
of Aubrey as a budding literary man here? 

Drury: Well, he just worked for the fun of it, the way 
most of them did. I can't recollect any partic 
ular thing that Aubrey wrote but I know that he 
was quite prolific in those days, as he was 
later on. 

Pry: This was during a time of increasing social 
consciousness among established writers, but 
this wasn't the sort of thing he wrote, was 
it? Was he interested in just seeing how he 
could develop his ideas at this point, or 
writing for the sake of writing? 

Drury: I think that was it. He enjoyed creative 

effort. That was true of all those men. And 
you have to give credit to men like Gayley and 
Blanchard and Flaherty for being able to in 
spire these lads to want to create. 

Fry: Did these professors ever entertain groups of 
students in their homes? 

Drury: Yes, particularly Gayley. G-ayley's home on 

Sunday night was a place where a great many of 
the students gathered for discussion and coffee 
and perhaps a glass of beer. He had a very 
wonderful household. 

Pry: Was he married? 
Drury: Yes. He had two daughters. 
very charming lady. 

Mrs. Gayley was a 

The Illustrious Class of 1912 


Fry: Morse Cartwright was a classmate of yours, 
wasn't he? 

Drury: Yes, he was. He was editor of the Daily Cal 
if ornian, and he was quite prominent in the 
student body, a member of the Golden Bear and 
the Winged Helmet. He was a student of law. 
Later he managed the University Press and was 
Secretary to the President. 

We had quite an aggressive group there in 
my class in law: Herman Phleger, later a chief 
counsel for the State Department, who's now one 
of the leading attorneys in San Francisco in the 
firm of Brobeck, Phleger, and Harrison; the 
present Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, 
Earl Warren. 

Fry: Could you tell us something about these men? 
What sort of people they were as students? 

Drury: The Chief Justice was a good student; he ma 
tured a little later, I think, than some of 
them did. 

Fry: What were Warren's interests when he was here 
on campus? 

Drury: He was a hail-fellow-well-met. Earl Warren, my 
brother Aubrey, and I belonged to an organiza 
tion known as the Gun Club which used to meet 


Drury: in the Rathskeller down in Oakland once a week. 
We drank beer and read poetry. It was called 
the Gun Club because it had been formed some 
twenty years before by a group of fellows 
thinking that if they went to a tavern there 
on the edge of the city they could borrow some 
guns and shoot some ducks in the Berkeley 
marshes. But they never got any farther than 
the tavern, so instead of the hunting expedi 
tion they decided to form the Gun Club. It 
would be submerged now on this campus. But 
the old one is still in existence, in name, 
anyhow. I remember just before Earl Warren 
went to the 1952 National Convention, I was 
working in Sacramento, and some of my class 
mates who also belong to the Gun Club decided 
to have a meeting at the Sutter Club. But I 
had to miss it because my home was still in 
Berkeley so I came down that night. When I 
returned the next week they told me that 
Governor Warren and quite a few of the boys 
had gathered at the Sutter Club and had a 
Gun Club reunion. When we were in college 
we'd have beer and poetry, and we'd get a 
big porterhouse steak for 500. 

Pry: Who read the poetry? 

Drury: Oh, we took turns. Each man had his own stein. 
I imagine it was patterned after the German 
student clubs. But it seemed a good idea at 
the time. 

Pry: You said Earl Warren was very hail-fellow-well- 


Drury: Well, I'm really thinking of the Gun Club. 

And he was very popular, of course, and he 

had the same wonderful personal traits that 

later carried him to success. 
Fry: Was he with you in the student Progressive 

Drury: I don't think he was much interested at that 

time. No. One thing I remember was that he 

had a part-time job handing out law books in 

the law library. He was just as robust then 

as he is today. 
Fry: But he didn't make a splash in student politics 

or debating? 
Drury: No, he didn't seem to take part in those things 

especially, just because he wasn't interested. 
Fry: Do you know what his social life was like? 
Drury: Oh, I think about normal. He married somewhat 

later in life. 
Fry: You said that he matured later. He really began 

to reflect seriously on major issues after he 

got out of college? 
Drury: I don't think he bothered himself much about 

the issues of the day when he was a student, 

although I may be mistaken on that. I didn't 

know Earl as well then as I got to know him 

later on. 
Fry: I see. 

And Herman Phleger was interested in law 

from the very beginning? 
Drury: Yes. He was .a very brilliant student, even in 


Drury: grade school and on up through college, with an 
aggressive personality. You could have pre 
dicted for him that he would be a great success 
in practicing law and civic affairs generally. 

His brother Carl was also a very strong 
character. Carl was about a year and a half 
older than Herm but he was in the same class. 
In fact, as a football player he was more 
prominent on the campus than Herm was during 
his senior year. Both of them were good ath 
letes but "Cap" was a little better known. 
We played rugby in those days. 

Pry: When you said that Herman Phleger was aggres 
sive I'm not sure I know what you mean. 

Drury: I mean he was equal to any occasion that arose 
and he took initiative when necessary. He 
wasn't inclined to hold back. Both of the 
Phlegers were very popular, but Herm probably 
made more enemies than Carl because he was a 
little more definite in his ideas on some of 
the controversial things. 

Fry: Was he aware of issues in politics around him? 

Drury: Oh, I'm sure he was, yes. He was very thought 
ful and mature as a student. 

Pry: Was he in the Progressives with you? 

Drury: I'm not sure that he was. I think he always 

was a little more conservative than some of us. 

Pry: I talked to Mr. Parquhar on the telephone be 
fore he left on his last trip, and he said to 
be sure to ask you about the time you and 
Herman Phleger went to the Napa Valley. 


Deary: Oh, that was right after we graduated from col 
lege, H e was a young lawyer and I was a young 
college instructor and neither of us was par 
ticularly well to do. We traveled by train 
and stage and on foot, 

He and I decided to go on a trip to the 
Napa Valley and stay at the old Toll House, 
which was a celebrated landmark in the old days. 
It was on the toll road that led from Napa 
Valley to Sonoma County. We were going through 
the town of Napa, and passing a school we 
heard applause and voices, so we decided to 
go in. While we sat there, just as a joke 
Herman sent a note up to the principal who 
was presiding, saying that there was a profes 
sor from the University of California in the 
audience. I was only an instructor, or maybe 
only a teaching fellow; but anyhow they stop 
ped the proceedings and invited us up on the 
platform, and it ended up with each of us 
making a commencement speech, [Laughing] 

Then we went on to the Toll House, which 
was operated by Molly Patten, who was quite a 
character, stayed overnight, and the next 
morning very early we climbed Mt. St. Helena. 

Pry: What can you tell us about James Black? 

Drury: Yes, James Byers Black, who later became pres 
ident and then chairman of the board in the 
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, one of the 
largest utility corporations in the United 


Drury: States, was also a member of that class. He 

was a mechanical engineer. He was an athlete, 
a football and baseball player. I remember 
that he had a leg injury that gave him a lot 
of trouble and kept him out of athletics for 
quite a while. 

Fry: Did you know him very well? 

Drury: Yes, quite well. He was a member of the Stu 
dents' Affairs Committee of which I, as presi 
dent of the Associated Students ,was chairman. 
The committee was a group of five students 
which passed on disciplinary questions refer 
red to it by the President of the University. 

One thing that should be noted about 
Benjamin Ide Wheeler is that he was given 
credit, and I think justly, for having in 
troduced the concept of student self-govern 
ment in which the students themselves, when 
ever it was feasible to do so, would pass 
upon matters of discipline. 

Pry: I wanted to ask you if you thought that 
Wheeler supported this wholeheartedly. 

Drury: Well, it surely was an accepted thing. Of 
course, in our time we had pretty sensible 
fellows in the student positions. I think 
probably the policies of the University ad 
ministration were more carefully heeded by 
students in those days than they are today. 
There wasn't the spirit of rebellion abroard 
that there is now. 

Fry: No sharp dichotomy between the administration 
and the students? 


Drury: No. In fact, I'd say in general that we were 

inclined to be conformists, well satisfied with 
things as they were. 

Fry: I wondered if there were as many rules under 

Wheeler as there were later on for students to 
rebel against. 

Drury: I don't think so. I think, from my experience 
in government, the longer it continues the more 
complicated it gets. You first have to have 
somebody to watch you, then you have to have 
watchers to watch the watchers, and so on ad 

Pry: There was another promising classmate of yours, 
Ray Sidney, who is Controller of the Currency 
this is in the Treasury Department? 

Drury: Yes. 

Pry: What were his interests in his student days? 

Drury: I think he majored in economics. I'm not 
sure whether he was in law school. 

Pry: Was he active in student politics at all? 

Drury: No, not particularly. Oh, all of those fel 
lows had a healthy interest in student gov 
ernment but they didn't take it too seriously. 

Pry: Would you like to give a run-down on Victor 



Drury: I didn't know him quite so well as the others 
then. I think he was rather passive in campus 
affairs. He became an executive in the Ameri 
can Telephone and Telegraph Company, and it 
was from there that he went into the Department 
of Commerce. He has just retired as Assistant 


Drury: Secretary of Commerce. 

There were several very successful attorneys 
in San Francisco who were in my class. C. S. 
Wheeler, Jr., whose father was a regent of the 
University, and I think "Tod," as we called him, 
was also a regent when he was president of the 
Alumni Association. He was quite successful in 
the practice of law. There was Archibald 
Tinning, who was the District Attorney of Contra 
Costa County; Joe Sweet, who was practicing at 
torney for many years; and several superior 
Judges today: Judge Ralph McGee in Jackson, 
Amador County; Judge Chris Fox, who is just 
retiring, in Oakland; Judge Tom Ledwich. 
They were all in the law school in my time. 
And Horace M. Albright, who is one of my 
predecessors as director of the National 
Park Service, was a member. He was also in 
the law school. 

There are several whose names I don't 
mention, who are undoubtedly the ones who 
made the most money. My friend Amos Elliott, 
who was the varsity football captain and who 
spent his years after graduation as a play 
ground director, finally got into the oil 
business and made a fortune in California. 
He became a wealthy man. There were others. 

Aubrey Drury 1914-1917 

Fry: What did your brother do after he got out 
of college? 


Drury: After he graduated he took an extra year in 
graduate work in English. He did a lot of 
writing at that time. 

Then he went into the advertising de 
partment of the Southern Pacific Company. He 
did a great deal of their early writing, 
their travel booklets and that kind of thing. 
One of his tasks was to travel the so-called 
Apache Trail from Globe to Phoenix in Arizona, 
and he found that practically all of the out 
standing landmarks were unnamed, so that from 
his store of knowledge of the history of that 
region he proposed names for a great many of 
the peaks and valleys and streams, and the 
National Board of Geographic Names later 
adopted them. That was incidental to his 
advertising writing for the Southern Pacific 

Then he was for a while associate editor 
of the Journal of Electricity under Robert 
Sibley, who was then the editor. Sibley later 
became, as you know, alumni secretary and made 
a great success of that job. 

I think it was from there that Aubrey went 
to war, went into the army in 1917. He was in 
the first wave of recruits. 

After he came back he very soon got into 
the advertising business. 

Fry: I was wondering if he had to stand much gaff 
from your Progressive acquaintances for going 


Pry: to work for Southern Pacific? 

Drury: Oh no. By that time Hiram Johnson, as he prom 
ised, had kicked Southern Pacific out of poli 
tics, and I think the Southern Pacific was 
probably more satisfied than anyone else. I 
can't remember any animosity toward the 
Southern Pacific by that time. 

Pry: Well, I'll admit I looked through the litera 
ture to see what Southern Pacific was doing, 
and apparently they were just running a rail 

Drury: That's right. And I think they were relieved 
not to have to try to run the state in ad 
dition to the railroad. 

Pry: Since he was in their public relations office 
did he publish anything in Sunset magazine? 

Drury: I don't doubt that he did. I don't remember 
anything specific. There may be some things 
there. A good many of his things probably 
weren't signed, but he wrote most of their so- 
called travel literature. 

Pry: Was it about this time that he and your father 
put out a book on California? 

Drury: Yes, the early guidebook that he and my father 
got out, patterned after the Baedeker guides 
of Europe. Then later, considerably later, 
he produced this book: "California: An In 
timate Guide" which still has quite a hold. 
It went through several editions, published 
by Harper Brothers. I'm prejudiced, but I 
think it's one of the best guides of Calif- 


Drury: ornia that's been written. It's more than a 
guide. It's really a series of essays on the 
regions of California. 

Fry: He started this interest while working with 
your father? 

Drury: Oh yes, very definitely. 

Pry: Your father was still in chamber of commerce 
work here in Berkeley at the time they wrote 
the earlier book, wasn't he? 

Drury: Yes. After he left the newspaper business he 
went into chamber of commerce work for a few 
years, but he always had a hankering to go 
back into the newspaper business even when 
he was in his eighties. He had a lot more 
yen to do battle than either of his sons had. 
He liked to live dangerously. 

The University 1912-1918 
Formation of the College of Letters and 

Fry: It was after your graduation and while you 
were teaching at the University that the 
faculty went through a shake-up to combine 
some of the departments here on campus into 
one big school of liberal arts and sciences. 

Drury: Well, for the degree af bachelor of arts. 

Fry: Apparently the faculty wanted separate degrees. 

Drury: Yes, the classicists like Charles Mills Gayley 
and the professors of Latin and Greek, like 


Drury: William P. Merrill, the head of the Latin de 
partment, deplored the decline of classical 
learning and the cheapening of the bachelor 
of arts degree "by giving it to almost anyone 
who could read and write English. I remember 
I had five years of Latin, one year of Greek, 
one year of French and four years of German. 
But for some reason or other I wasn't elig 
ible for the bachelor of arts degree. 

Pry: I don't think they gave the general B.A. 
degree until 1916 or so. 

Drury: They gave the bachelor of arts degree, but 

only to the students in the purely classical 
course Latin, Greek, Sanskrit. 

Pry: As I understand it, the regents were the ones 
who favored the bachelor of arts degree for 
graduates of any of these liberal arts science 

Drury: Frankly, I think that happened after my time. 
Oh, I remember the disputes in the Academic 
Senate. I was a young instructor when it 
first came out and I attended meetings of 
the Academic Senate, where the embattled 
classicists tried to prevent what they con 
sidered the cheapening of the B.A. degree. 

Pry: At the same time the modern languages were 
getting more of their requirements into the 

Drury: Yes. 

Pry: President Wheeler, as a professor of Greek, 
okayed this and seemed to be in favor of the 
broader degree. Was he really in favor of 
this or was he pushed into it? 


Drury: I don't remember. In fact I don't recollect 
that President Wheeler ever gave any aid to 
the movement proposing the degree. I think 
this happened later. It was sort of an un 
settled question, I remember, when I left 
the University to go to the war. 

Drama and Lectures 

Pry: When you were working for President Wheeler 
before World War I do you remember anything 
about the Committee on Music, Drama and 

Drury: I remember very well Billy Armes, as we cal 
led him Professor William Dallam Armes who 
was a very charming person, a bachelor; he 
lived at the Faculty Club and prided himself 
on first-name acquaintance with all the great 
people of the theater and the world of music. 
He was the Music and Drama Committee. I 
imagine there was a committee, but he was 
the chairman and no one ever paid any at 
tention to the rest of the committee. He 
was a professor of English Literature, but 
he devoted most of his time and his consider 
able talent to his duties as a sort of impre 
sario for the University. &e had charge of 
the Greek Theater, and he was the one who 
brought a great succession of outstanding 
productions to the Greek Theater. He had 
Margaret Anglin, who played some Greek drama; 


he put on several of the plays of Euripides and 
Sophocles, in the original Greek, in which Profes 
sor James Allen of the Greek Department took one 
leading role. He brought to the University the 
Ben Greet Players from England, and the Constance 
Crawley Players also. It was from one of those 
companies that the University got Garnet Holme, 
who for twenty years was the drama coach for the 
Associated Students and for the University gen 
erally. Holme, when he came here, played the 
role of Bottom in "A Midsummer Night's Dream." 
Now, this was while you were in the President's 
Office, wasn't it? 

No. Some of it was and some of it wasn't. 
Professor Armes was chairman of the committee 
when I was in the President's Office, but some 
of what I'm talking about occurred before that, 
and was part of the career of William Dallam 

There's been a great gap in the information we 
can get on this and we couldn't find anything 
before World War I. 

What I'm speaking of is way before World War I. 
The Greek Theater was much smaller than it is 
now, but it was used, I think, much more in 
tensively than it is today. For instance, I 
think under the inspiration of William Dallam 
Armes, they had a half hour of music every 
Sunday, which was free to the public. It was 
part of the public relations program of the 


Were these invited guest soloists or were they 
from on campus? 

The half -hours of music were invited soloists 
from around the Bay region, visiting musicians. 
They seemed to welcome the opportunity to intro 
duce themselves to the public. Then there were 
other concerts and plays, for which admission was 

One of the figures in the University who was 
quite prominent for a while and who, I believe, was 
brought here by Professor Armes was Dr. J. Frederick 
Wolle, of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, who for eight or 
ten years was professor of music, and who organized 
the Bach Choir. For several years they had an an 
nual Bach Festival similar to the festivals that 
he had conducted in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The 
public apparently finally got a little tired of 
Bach pretty strong meat for the average person 
and in any event Dr. Wolle finally went back to 
Bethlehem. Succeeding him was Professor Charles 
Louis Seeger, a tall, rather interesting per 
sonage, who had his term in not getting along 
with all of the faculty. 

Did Seeger have a special interest, like Wolle? 
He composed some, I think, but he was generally 
a teacher of music. Then, following him, my long 
time friend Edward Stricklen. We used to call 
him Houge, because he had red hair like Eric the 
Red, that is such hair as he had. He had a 


Drury: fringe of red hair; a very interesting, burly 

sort of a fellow. He didn't look or act like a 
musician, but he was for perhaps ten years head 
of the Department of Music, following Seeger. 
That was not during my time, however. I knew 
him when he was an instructor in harmony. 

Pry: Y/hen these concerts weren't in the G-reek Theater, 
did they go to the gymnasium? 

Drury: Sometimes when the weather was inclement they went 
to the gymnasium, yes. One institution I remember 
when I was secretary to the president was the 
Berkeley Musical Society. Professor not profes 
sor, well, I suppose he called himself professor 
. Weber, who was the father of my classmate Robert 
Weber, was the manager of the Berkeley Musical 
Society, which was a subscription group who put 
on very high class concerts in the Harmon Gym 
nasium. I remember Mr. Weber particularly be 
cause I, as secretary to the president, had a 
running feud with him because in good weather 
or bad he would insist that they should not 
open the doors of the gymnasium until fifteen 
minutes before the concert started, and I took 
the very lofty ground that he should abide by 
the good American principle of first come, 
first served. If people wanted to come in at 
seven o'clock and sit themselves down, there 
didn't seem to be any good reason why they 
shouldn't. Professor Weber, however, felt 
that that was unfair to the people who lin 
gered over their after dinner coffee and got 


Drury: there only a few. minutes before the concert. My 
reply to that was that the other people would be 
piled outside the doors anyhow, and there was no 
way of getting in ahead of them. [Laughing] But 
we never did settle that issue, except that he 
had his way with Benjamin Ide Wheeler and we 
kept on opening the doors at a quarter to eight 
which was then the time of the concerts and 
people would pile up sometimes by the hundreds, 
rain or shine. 

Fry: Was Weber a professor of music? 

Drury: He was a piano teacher. He wasn't on the faculty 
of the University. He and his family during 
World War I felt that it was patriotic to change 
the spelling of their name, if not the pronuncia 
tion to W-A-Y-B-U-R, where it was originally 
W-E-B-E-R. That was a time of strong anti-German 

I'll see what I have in my voluminous files 
on the Music and Drama Committee. I can't under 
stand how all those University records got lost, 
I wonder whether some of the San Francisco librar 
ies wouldn't have some of the material, or the 
San Francisco newspapers. 

Fry: We might get records of concerts given, but ac 
tually knowing who did what to bring them here 
is what we need. 

Drury: Well, William Armes was a bit vain about his 

acquaintanceship and friendship with the great 
stars of music and drama, but it was justified 


Drury: in that he was able to bring people with big 

names to the University when no one else could 
have accomplished it. After my time a contemp 
orary of mine, Samuel J. Hume, had charge of 
that phase of University activity for a long 

Pry: Can you tell anything about him? 

Drury: Yes, I knew Sam Hume very well, of course. We 
were members of the same societies. 

Fry: When did he come and what did he do? 

Drury: He still lives in Berkeley. He has the advantage 
of most of us in that he is now adorned with great 
bushy reddish-white whiskers, and he really goes 
over big when he lectures to women's clubs. He's 
quite a fine figure of a man, and was in his own 
right a very able student actor. He was some 
what older than I am. I think he was about 1907 
or '08 in the University. He took a prominent 
part in all the University plays and he did 
dramatic work on the outside for quite a while 
and finally came back as the University drama 
coach. I think he succeeded William Dallam 
Armes in charge of the Music and Drama Com 
mittee after World War I. He put on a great 
many pageants and things of that sort. He had 
done some of that kind of work in the East, but 
as I say that was during the period when I was 
not on the campus and I don't know at first 
hand just what his activities were. He is in 
Berkeley, however, and you could locate him. 
He'd be a very interesting person to talk to 


Drury: about music and drama at the University of Calif or- 

Bob Sproul, Assistant Comptroller 

Pry: What do you know about Robert G. Sproul f s career 
as a student? 

Drury: Well, to begin with I know he was a good student 
and highly popular and quite active in student 
civic affairs. But there again, I became better 
acquainted with him after graduation than I was 

I remember one day Ralph Merritt, the 
comptroller, came across the hall into the 
president's office. (I was in with the presi 
dent.) Merritt said he thought he had a good 
candidate for the position of, I think, cashier 
of the University. They felt that as an alumnus 
of the University Sproul would be loyal to its 
interests; we had just had an embezzlement by 
a cashier who left in something of a hurry. 
The upshot of that conversation was that Bob 
Sproul was engaged as assistant comptroller 
and for a short while he stood back of the 
cage and took in the students' fees. I re 
member him very well sitting at a double desk 
opposite Comptroller Ralph P. Merritt taking 
on more and more responsibility. When Merritt 
left he went in as comptroller. This ultimately 
led to his brilliant career as President of the 
University. I think the public relations of 
the University were more highly developed by 


Drury: Robert G. Sproul, both as assistant comptroller 
and finally as comptroller and as president than 
in any previous regime. 

Pry: Was Merritt not conscious of this aspect? 

Drury: Oh, he was very conscious of it and he was very 
effective, but I think that Bob Sproul worked 
at it more assiduously. I know that in his very 
early days with the University, right after the 
war, he made a fine impression on the legisla 
ture; he spent a good portion of his time up 
there. As a consequence both he and I have 
agreed between us that lobbying is not neces 
sarily an ignoble profession. I've done a lot 
of it myself, as he has. 

Benjamin Ide Wheeler, President 

Fry: Of course, Wheeler himself was the biggest is 
sue around that time. Could you give us a de 
scription of the Wheeler administration from 
the point of view of an assistant to the pres 

Drury: I sort of gravitated into it during World War I, 
or even before, when I was a public speaking in 
structor at Gal. Clare M. Torrey was the sec 
retary to the president. When the Hoover Pood 
Administration in Europe was established, there 
was another classmate of mine, Tracy Kittredge, 
who went to Belgium very early in the adminis 
tration. One day he sent back word to President 
Wheeler that he wanted somebody to come there 
and help out with the Pood Administration. 


Drury: Knowing that I was more or less footloose, just 
a young instructor and a bachelor, he mentioned 
me, and Clare Torrey. Both of ue were eager to 
go. President Wheeler called Torrey and me into 
his office and said, "One or the other of you 
fellows can go, but not both of you. If Torrey 
goes Drury will have to take his place while he 
is away," which is what finally happened. 
Torrey never came back; he went into the invest 
ment business in New York and has done very well 
there. That's how I happened to drift into this 
administrative position, which I held for two or 
2i years. That happened about 1916. I con 
tinued to carry some teaching, too, thereby 
augmenting my income a little bit. It was an 
experience I wouldn't take anything for the 
association with Benjamin Ide Wheeler and the 
touch with his administration. In those days 
the secretary to the president did most of the 
administrative work; there weren't all the as 
sistant deans and the supernumeraries that 
there are now. 

Pry: What were you doing for Wheeler? 

Drury: I acted as executive secretary for the Univers 
ity. A great many of the things that the multi 
farious deans do now was done by the secretary 
to the president, and I tried to represent him 
in many different ways. I remember one of the 
things I used to have to do was run off the 
physical arrangements for the Charter Day ex 
ercises. I also had to sign permits for people 


Drury: to come on the campus, and meet all comers. 

Pry: How many clerks did he have in his office to 
help him? 

Drury: There were not many people in the office in 

those days. We had Frank Stevens who was cal 
led the chief clerk and later was called sec 
retary to the president. We had two, maybe 
three stenographers and clerks. 

I was just thinking as I passed Wheeler 
Hall today, one of the most confusing tasks I 
ever had was after they completed that building. 
They turned over, to me, as secretary to the 
president, the job of numbering the rooms. It 
seems to be a very simple thing, but it wasn't. 
You have to make all kinds o^f decisions: At 
what corner of the building will you start? 
In which direction will you go, clockwise or 
counter-clockwise? Then it fell to me to as 
sign the offices to the different departments, 
and I had the head office of the departments 
of French and German and English and math 
ematics and two or three others, none of 
which was satisfied with their assignment. 

Fry: What about letter writing? I should think 

President Wheeler would exploit your ability 

Drury: Well, I got fine training from Benjamin Ide 
Wheeler, of course, and I think about the 
time I left I was getting to be very useful 
to him. He was not the kind of man who used 
any ghost writers, but routine letters many 


Drury: times were prepared by the secretary. I got so 

that I could reproduce his very distinctive idiom 
to some degree. He had a classical phraseology. 
You've read a great many of these inscriptions 
that he -wrote, like the one on the Agriculture 
Building: "To rescue for human society the 
native values of rural life." I remember the 
day when Benjamin Ide Wheeler sat down with a 
piece of yellow paper and wrote that out. And 
of course you've read his inscription on the 
Doe Library. It starts, "A man of simple tastes 
and orderly life"... and it ends up, "Now that he 
has yielded the stewardship of his goods, his 
last wish opens up the companionships he loved 
to all the recurring generations of the young." 
There have been dozens of inscriptions written 
by Benjamin Ide Wheeler. He had a mastery of 
the grand phrase. Of course he was a clas 
sical student; he taught Hebrew and Sanskrit. 
He represented an era that isn't with us any 

But on top of that he was a good admin^ 
istrator and a much misunderstood but really 
very warm human being. A lot of people 
thought he was a little aloof and cold, but 
having been his secretary for over two years 
and having known him for twenty, I can 
testify to the contrary. 

Pry: In his internal administration of the office, 
did he de'legate things to you well? 

Drury: Yes, but he was inclined, of course, to do 

more of his own work than a modern executive 


does. He could then because affairs were simpler, 

I remember his speech-making. Sometimes he 
would write out his speeches. Usually he would 
do that at home in his study. He always used a 
yellow lined foolscap paper. In the morning he 
would bring them to the office. His speeches 
were usually pretty short, just like the inscrip 
tions and his very eloquent language in con 
ferring honorary degrees. He had a sort of dis 
dain for some of the newspaper reporters who mis 
represented him. At one time he held up one of 
his manuscripts and said, "Now, I don't know 
what this will be like when the reporters have 
passed it through their muddy minds." [Laughter] 

Pry: It seems he would have made a very able leader 
in public service of any kind. 

Drury: Well, he took a very active interest in public 
affairs at the top level. Although I remember 
one case where he intervened locally when what 
he considered a cheap politician was about to 
be appointed postmaster in Berkeley. It was 
during the Theodore Roosevelt administration, 
and because of his close association with 
Theodore Roosevelt he was able to get the 
Postmaster General to block the appointment. 
They appointed a less spectacular man who 
hadn't done as much for the party, but he 
was a much better postmaster. That's the 
only case I know of where he took any part 
in what you might call local politics. On 
the national scale he was a great supporter 


Drury: of Theodore Roosevelt. In fact he was the Theodore 
Roosevelt Professor at the University of Berlin. 
He gave a series of lectures there about 1910 
while I was in college, hut before my tour of 
duty with him. And from that arose the unfor 
tunate and mistaken conception that too many 
people had in those days of hysteria; that 
Benjamin Ide Wheeler was a so-called "pro- 
German." Of course nothing was farther from 
the truth. And at the very time people were 
saying things of that sort; in fact before we 
had a war, President Taft had appointed him 
the head of a committee for the Pacific Coast 
on the League to Enforce Peace, which ultimately 
developed into a defense organization. 

There was much greater hysteria in those 
days than during World War II. They changed 
the name of the Hofbrau restaurant in San 
Francisco to The States." They called ham 
burger steak liberty steak. 

I will never forget a wonderful musician, 
Professor Paul Steindorff. He was a large, typ 
ically German gentleman with bristling moustaches. 
He had conducted orchestras and concerts for many, 
many years in the Bay region. He was finally ap 
pointed by President Wheeler a position called 
the University Choragus, which is director of 
the singing societies. I'm not sure that he 
ever conducted the Glee Club but in any event 
he conducted the University Chorus. He was, 
like some of his sons who served in World War I, 


Drury: a very loyal American. However, anyone who had a 
German name, and especially as he had a German ac 
cent, was subjected to what I always thought was 
very unreasonable persecution. But Steindorff 
stuck by his guns and he weathered it all right. 
I remember one social gathering during the height 
of the emotional stress that people were under, 
and in something of the spirit of bravado, I sup 
pose, when Paul Steindorff was introduced to make 
the rounds, he extended his hand and said, "Undt, 
my name is shtill Shteindorf." [Laughter^ You 
wouldn't completely understand the hysteria of 
those days; they even stopped teaching German 
in the high schools. 

Pry: And German professors left the University, didn't 

Drury: Well, the German professors didn't leave the 
University, but they had a hard time, some of 
them. And all of them to my knowledge were 
loyal Americans and very good citizens, and 
fine gentlemen. Of course the tensions of war 
were strange to the American people and they 
didn't understand. During World War II, it 
seemed to me there was very little of that 
kind of hysteria. Obviously our top generals 
and admirals couldn't change their German 
names: Eisenhower, Spaatz, Nimitz, and half 
a dozen others. But in World War I anybody 
with a German name or who had any German as 
sociations was a target for a lot of rather 
malicious peoplesome of them not even Amer- 


Drury: lean citizens. There were some on the faculty, 
for instance, one of whom I think was a British 
subject who was quite bitter against Benjamin 
Ide Wheeler. Some of the controversy occurred 
after I'd gone off to war but I saw the begin 
ning of it. It was a very unfortunate series 
of circumstances that unquestionably saddeaed 
him a good deal and lessened his influence. 
But I think the record that Wheeler established 
is recognized as really the foundation of the 
great University of California. I know that 
Dr. Sproul feels that way. He was in the 
class after mine, the class of 1913. Those 
two regimes, Sproul 's and Wheeler's, made 
the University the great institution that it 
is now. 

Pry: Under Wheeler the University changed from a 
small college to a complex institution. 

Drury: In the beginning, it had had a very unenviable 
history so far as tenure of presidents was 

Pry: How did Wheeler, who was accused of being 
cool and aloof, manage to take care of the 
public relations aspects required in such 
a job? 

Drury: Por one thing, he commanded respect as a man 
and as a scholar. He was very successful 
with large contributors like Mrs. Phoebe 
Apperson Hearst and the donor of the Doe 
Library and Mrs. Alexander and the Ploods 
and the Mackays and a great many others. I 
wouldn't say that he really was cold and 


Drury: aloof. It's just that there were some people who 
were inclined to criticize him on that score. 

Fry: Yes. I was thinking more in terms of his rela 
tionship to legislators, investigating committees 
and the like which didn't seem to rankle quite as 
much under Wheeler's regime. Previous to his time 
they had really wreaked havoc on the University. 

Drury: Well, he was quite a figure of a man, you know. 

He had a commanding presence and a marvelous grasp 
of the mother tongue, and his ideas were clear. 
He presented them forcefully, almost dramatically 
at times, so that very early when he came here 
they were very proud of him. He symbolized the 
University and its growing greatness. 

Pry: Was he a hero figure? 

Drury: I would think so, yes. He never sought the lime 
light that way; he stood on his merits. I would 
say that he was not politically minded and yet 
he was pretty shrewd in dealing with key people. 

Pry: When you were working in his office did you 

notice much direct contact between him and the 

Drury: No. I don't think there was the same conscious 
ness, of the legislature in those days as there 
is now. In fact, from my observation the in 
terposition of the legislative branch of gov 
ernment into administrative matters is a fairly 
recent development y in the last twenty years. 

Pry: I was thinking of the budget. 

Drury: Budget, of course, and the growing power of fis 
cal authorities, probably has come of necessity. 
That had its place to some extent in those days, 

.'ohn S foe 

Wells Drury - 1880 
John S. Noe, Photographer 

Newton B. Drury - 1935 
Print courtesy Commercial & Photo View Co. 

;old Discovery Banquet, San Francisco, January 21, 1956, honoring 
oseph R. Knowland. The Drury boys, left to right: Aubrey Drury, 
oseph R. Knowland, Newton B. Drury, Chief of Division of Beaches 
ind Parks. 

"The Illustrous Class of 1912" 50th Reunion. L 
James Black, Newton Drury, Ray Gldney, Tracy St 
Warren, Herman Phleger, William Kerr, Horace Al 
June 1962. 


Pry: You and Merritt were there together, weren't you? 

Drury: Yes. Merritt was comptroller before and after I 
was secretary to the president. 

Try: Could you explain in simple words what the re 
lationship was between the regents and Merritt 
and Wheeler? What was the power set-up there? 

Drury: No relationships of that sort can be explained 
in simple words. They are very complex, and of 
course there were currents and counter-currents. 
One of the strong men on the Board of Regents 
was Guy C. Earl. He made his mark on the regents. 
Largely through Earl and some of his associates 
on the board, I think, Merritt went in as comp 
troller, and he was a very successful comptrol 
ler for the University. Some of the most im 
portant phases of fiscal policy for the Univ 
ersity were worked out under Merritt. 

Guy C. Earl and Benjamin Wheeler did not 
always see eye to eye, but Ralph Merritt, so far 
as 1 know, was devoted to Benjamin Ide. He had 
a great affection for him and was very helpful 
to him. In fact he had once been secretary to 
the president. Merritt was, in some ways, a 
more practical man than the scholarly Benjamin 
Ide Wheeler. And of course that's what Merritt 
was supposed to be, as the fiscal man. 

Pry: I was interested in knowing the role that Earl 
played, for instance, in getting the Gayley- 
Jones-Stephens triumvirate to conduct the af 
fairs of the University there for a while. 

Drury: That occurred when I was at war. I wouldn't 


Drury: want to exaggerate and I might do so if I gave . 
my full opinion of the episode of Wheeler and 
the triumvirate. 

Y/hen I went to the army, Benjamin Ide 
Wheeler asked my friend and classmate Morse A. 
Cartwright to act as aecretary to the president, 
and Cartwright was the man who was here during 
most of that turmoil. I saw Morse not long ago 
down in Carmel. He's retired. I said, "Morse, 
you really ought to testify on that period." 
He said, "Newton, I couldn't do it and keep 
my temper." He felt strongly, as I did, that 
Benjamin Ide Wheeler was very unfairly treated. 

World War I and the Balloon Corps 

Pry: About when did you go to war? 

Drury; I left in February, 1918, to join the army 

somewhat reluctantly because I had applied for 
the first two officers 1 training camps and had 
been rejected because I didn't come up to the 
army's standard of weight in those days. When 
the draft came along my number was drawn fairly 
high but I was again rejected from the draft 
purely on grounds of weight. I resented that, 
so naturally, being a young man of some enter 
prise, with my father's help I got the congress 
man from our district to get a waiver from the 
Surgeon General of the United States Army, and 
I was allowed to be inducted into the Air 
Service of the U.S. Army. 


Pry: Was this your choice? 

Drury: Not particularly. That was the only thing that 
was open to me. I was in line for a commission 
after three months as a cadet. 

Benjamin Ide Wheeler always looked at me 
reproachfully for leaving and I think he was 
probably right, because what I was doing to 
help him in wartime was more important than any 
thing I ever did in the army, although I got a 
lot of interesting experience out of it. Many 
a time during the gloomy hours of the training 
period I'd sit in the barracks and regret that 
I'd had enough political influence to get that 
waiver from the Surgeon General. 

Fry: Was this yours or your father's political in 

Drury: My father's, through the congressman from the 

San Francisco district, Julius Kahn. Oh, well. 
I was obviously fit for military duty, so... 
You feel differently about those things in war 

Fry: My notes say that you were in the Balloon Corps, 
That sounds almost innocuous. 

Drury: It wasn't innocuous. You were up two or three 
thousand feet in the air swinging sometimes 
for four hours in that open gondola under the 
balloon. It was anything but innocuous on 
the western front where the balloon observers 
were being shot down all the time. 

I missed getting shipped across to the 


Drury: front by only about a week, which was all right 
with me. 

Pry: I think it would be interesting to get some 

stories on the Army Balloon School. Would you 
give us an idea of what you went through in 

Drury: We were trained for observation, primarily for 
the regulation of our artillery fire on enemy 
batteries. They used balloons because air 
planes were too elementary in those days; they 
had no radios for communication. We had tele 
phones in the balloons, and wires which extended 
sometimes two or three thousand feet down, and 
we telephoned to the ground the observations 
that we made from the balloon. 

Pry: What if you were to float over by the enemy? 

Drury: These were captive balloons; they were held on 
cable which was attached to a winch. 

Pry: You had to be high enough to see the enemy 
with your own eyes. 

Drury: Yes, and of course they could see us, too. 

Many of the boys that I trained with who went 
over there even if they weren't killed in ac 
tion never fully recovered from the nervous 
shock of being shot down sometimes two or three 
times in a day and having to jump out of the 
basket of the balloons in a parachute. Many 
times the enemy planes circled around them 
and machine-gunned them as they cam* down. 

The purpose of this type of observation 


Drury: was partly to detect the disposition and movement 
of troops, but mostly to locate batteries of the 
enemy through their flashing, spot them on the 
map and telephone down the coordinates so that 
they could be located. Then our own batteries 
would be trained on them to try to silence them, 
and the purpose of the observer then was to call 
the shots as to how far over or short or right 
or left they were, to regulate the artillery 
fire. It was a very fascinating game and a 
very expensive one. 

Pry: In human lives, you mean? 

Drury: No, I mean in cost to the government of training 
these observers. I think the government spent 
$30,000 to $40,000 on my training, and I never 
got to take part in any activity on the front 
because the war ended about that time. 

Pry: What did Aubrey go into? 

Drury: Aubrey went into the Air Force also. He went 
into the army much earlier than I did. He 
went to the first training camp in San Antonio, 
Texas, for air service officers. And while he 
did quite a little flight training he didn't 
become a pilot. He became an administrative 
officer, a ground officer. 

He spent quite a bit of time at various 
posts in the United States, at Kelly Field in 
San Antonio, Texas, and some field in Oklahoma 
for a while. He ended up in the personnel de 
partment of the Air Service in Washington, D.C. 


Fry: Did he do any writing? I was thinking in terms 
of writing for the Air Force, perhaps for public 
relations or information. 

Drury: No; and he wasn't in the historical section of 
the Air Force. That wasn't so well developed 
during World War I. 

In World War II, of course, they had a bat 
tery of historians. They had several of our 
historians from the National Park Service writ 
ing the history of the war. I imagine they have 
simply tons of material; they must have from what 
these men told me. My classmate Tracy Kittredge 
was the head of the naval historical project in 
Washington while I was there. 

In World War I both Aubrey and I ended up as 
second lieutenants. They weren't promoting them 
in those days the way they did in the next war. 
Afterwards we both were first lieutenants in the 
reserve for four or five years and there our 
military careers ended. 

Well, I finished the war at Arcadia, 
California, at the Army Balloon School. Benjamin 
Ide Wheeler sent me word asking if I wouldn't 
come back, and he brought me back as an assistant 
professor in oral English, or argumentation. I 
stayed about a year. 






Formation of the Drury Advertising Company 

Pry: After the war you and Aubrey decided to organize 
the advertising agency, is that right? 

Drury: Yes; that was in 1919 when I was teaching oral Eng 
lish at the University and Aubrey was associate e- 
ditor with the Journal of Electricity. For a short 
while he was also editor for the Extension Division, 
University of California. 

But fairly early in the year 1919, we decided 
to form a public relations and advertising agency 
in San Francisco which continued until Aubrey's death 
in 1959. At my age now, I think that I probably 
won't carry it on, and my offspring are all gainfully 
employed in other fields, so that much as I regret 
it, I imagine we'll dissolve the Drury Company as 
a corporation. But it did have a very interesting 
career and it was through it that both Aubrey and 
I were put in touch with some very worthwhile move 

Before I talk about the Save-the-Redwoods League, 
I might mention an early campaign of the 1920 's that 
the Drury Company handled for several years to help 
get the metric system of weights and measures adopted 
in the United States. 

Pry: So it would be standardized throughout the world? 

Drury: Yes; that was a very interesting campaign. It was 
chiefly Aubrey's concern and we can go into it more 


fully later on when I am describing Aubrey's con 
tributions to the activities of the agency. A great 
many educational accounts were handled by the com 
pany too, mostly by Aubrey. 

Fry: Helping schools advertise? 

Drury: Yes, to advertise and explain their programs. In 

fact, for several years, we acted as the public re 
lations agency for the University of California. 
We've always had a very close touch with them, either 
on a professional basis or as alumni. 

Pry: I wonder what prompted you and Aubrey to form an ad 
vertising agency instead of going into something else? 
You obviously had very broad talents and it must have 
been hard to narrow this down. 

Drury: Well, both of us had done newspaper work. It seemed 
to us that that was a field in which we could use 
whatever talents we might have, and we had opportuni 
ties to represent worthwhile causes. 

Then following that for several years, ten or 
fifteen years, a good 50 per cent of the Drury Com- 
pamy organization as it developed was in the more 
commercial field industrial and manufacturing adver 
tising, advertising for services like insurance and 
real estate, and that kind of thing. You must remem 
ber that we were about forty years younger then. 
[Laughter] We could put our full time on a lot of 
different jobs. 

Fry: I was just wondering about the general picture of ad 
vertising in the early twenties when you first started 
f this. Was your agency fairly typical then? 

Drurjjc No. Ours was a small agency, a service agency. There 


were half a dozen of the nation-wide advertising com 
panies who controlled the big accounts. Our accounts 
were mostly local manufacturers. We had a mattress . 
maker, a bedspring maker, a gas furnace maker A great 
many of our accounts had to do with associations. We 
carried on a campaign for the Pacific Coast Gas Asso 
ciation, which is made up of people who are in that 
general industry. There were associations like the 
Wholesale Grocers and others for whom we carried on 

Of course that kind of work involves, first of 
all, planning, programming. Next, it requires the pro 
duction of whatever informative material is needed to 
get the message to the right audience. Not the least 
important phase of that kind of work and this applies 
to everything else I've been in is some system of 
score-keeping, some way of keeping track of what you've 
done and what you've accomplished. It's surprising 
how difficult that phase of the matter is. 

Fry: Finding out if you've really influenced the people? 

Drury: Yes; as a basis for future planning, and to find out 
what you've already done. 

Fry: Did these commercial campaigns ever make use of bill 

Drury: We never went into billboards, partly because of our 
prejudice, I guess, against defacing the landscape, 
but also partly because unless you're in the big money 
you can't do much with billboards. The smaller accounts 
can't afford billboards, so that maybe we made a virtue 
of necessity. The media through which we worked in 
all types of campaigns were primarily newspaper and 


magazine advertising and the accompanying publicity, 
and direct -by-mail. 

But the commercial accounts made up only half the 
agency's business. The major interest of both of us 
personally was more in campaigns which had what you 
might call some degree of intellectual content. Per 
haps we were more serious as young men than we were 
in the later years. 

Pry: An appeal to a certain idealism? 

Drury: Yes. It was on that basis that in 1919 the directors 
of the Save-the-Redwoods League asked us to undertake, 
in a very small way at first, the publicity for the 
newly-formed league, the objects of which you know. 
It was established primarily to preserve the redwoods 
in Northern California that were just beginning to 
be cut extensively. And it was felt that there needed 
to be a concerted program to get more and more support 
for their preservation, to establish an organization 
with membership to solicit funds and to have some in 
fluence upon legislation and things of that sort. 

Organizing the Save-the-Redwoods League 

Pry: Who were the men who first had a vision of the redwoods 

Drury: That's something that I was talking about with Mr. 

Francis Farquhar today. I just got a letter from Horace 
M. Albright in which he raised the same question because 
a book was being written in which the part of Steven 
T. Mather, the first director of the national parks in 
the redwoods league, was being discussed. Unquestionably 


Mr. Mather was one of the first to help in bringing 
this about. But the formal history of the league in 
dicates that in 1917 there were three men, one of 
them Dr e John C. Merriam, then professor of paleon 
tology at the University of California and later pre 
sident of the Carnegie Institution at Washington; 
Madison Grant, a ]Sfew York attorney; and Henry Pair- 
field Osborn, president of the American Museum of 
Natural History. 

These three men made a trip up into the redwood 
country where the cutting was going on, and on the way 
back home they spent the night at Arcata, where they 
composed a letter to Governor William D. Stephens; 
urging that the legislature take some action to ac 
quire the finest of these redwood forests. And at 
that time, the way we have always understood it, the 
idea of a permanent, nation-wide organization such 
as the Save-the-Redwoods league was conceived. 

So these three men just named were looked upon 
as the founders. In fact, there is a redwood grove up 
at Dyerville called the Pounders' Grove, with a tab 
let that recites that they established the Save-the- 
Redwoods League. But in matter of time I'm sure that 
it will be established that Stephen T. Mather was, 
working right along with them. I believe that Stephen 
Mather knew about it possibly even before they were up 
there. I think he'd been through the redwoods before 
'17. William Kent, who gave Muir Woods to the fe 
deral government as the first redwood reservation, and 
quite a few others, were part of the group that formed 
this organization. It was formed in 1918 and incorporated 
in 1919. The first secretary-treasurer was Dr. Robert 


G. Sproul, who was then in the comptroller's office at 
the University, Dr. Sproul has continued ever since 
as the treasurer. 

At that time, Dr. Harper Goodspeed of the Univer 
sity was assistant treasurer and helped get the or 
ganization started, but he later withdrew, and that's 
when we were asked to undertake the promotion of the 
league. They asked me, as the representative of the 
firm that was handling the brunt of the work, to act 
as secretary. 

Pry: This was sort of executive secretaryship. 

Drury: Yes. I've been looking forward to getting from Dr. 
Goodspeed some of the early history of the league, 
even before my time. I have the old minute books that 
run back to 1919. In those are some of his notes in 
which he tells of meetings with Dr. Sproul and Dr. 
Merriamaod others. The first president of the Save- 
the-Redwoods League was Franklin K. Lane, who was 
then Secretary of the Interior* 

Pry: Was this just an honorary position? 

Drury: Yes; he lent his name and support to it. After he 
passed away, Dr. John C. Merriam was made president 
of the league and he took a very active part, both 
when he was here and when he was in Washington, with 
the Carnegie Institution. He came out here every sum 
mer and made extensive tours of the redwood region, 
and he is responsible for a great deal of the basic 
policy that has followed. He's written quite copious 
ly about the redwoods. The finest thing that he's 
written, probably, is a chapter on the redwoods in 
his book, The Living Past, which is a series of his 



He seemed to be an articulate verbalizer of values of 

Very much ao. He was a scientist and an administra 
tor and a very able man. 

Was the league modeled after any other particular orga 
nization like this, or do you think it was a trailblazer? 
More or less a trailblazer in that kind of thing. Of 
course there 'd been plenty of other organizations. 
One of the outstanding ones was the National Trust for 
Historic Preservation, which also concerned itself with 
natural areas, as well as historic sites. That was 
formed in Massachusetts under the inspiration of Pre 
sident Eliot of Harvard. And although most people don't 
know it, the great National Trust of England was later 
modeled after the Massachusetts National Trust. Both 
of them have been very successful, particularly the 
British organization. 

The Save-the -Redwoods League has had over forty 
years of existence and has been, I think, fairly suc 
cessful. Many of the things that they hoped to do haven't 
been accomplished as yet, perhaps never will be. But 
such success as they have had is due first of all to 
a very clear statement of program from men like John 
C. Merriam, Stephen T. Mather, and Madison Grant and 
their successors; and also to the fact that the di 
rectors and the executive of the Save-the-Redwoods 
League have stayed by that program relentlessly, have 
not been diverted from it. Singleness of purpose, in 
other words, is one of the great reasons why it has 
been successful. 

Could you say what specifically is its purpose? 
The best thing to do would be to give you the official 


statement of the purposes of the Save-the-Redwoods 
League. I've been working for it off and on for forty 
years, but I still have to read it. [Laughter] Its 
primary purpose was "to rescue from destruction, for 
the enjoyment of this generation and those to come, a- 
dequate tracts of the Sequoia sempervirens... , ** par 
ticularly in the northern portion of California. There 
were collateral purposes, such as the encouragement of 
the protection of roadside beauty, the encouragement 
of reforestation of cut-over lands. The league was 
largely responsible for preservation in a state park 
of the North and South Calaveras Groves (Sequoia gi- 
gantea). And at one time, the statement of objectives 
contained as a purpose the establishment both of a na 
tional redwood park and of state redwood parks. As it 
turned out, there never was any support from the fe 
deral government. Those were the days when congres 
sional appropriations for matters of that sort were 
practically nil. In fact, the early national parks 
were all carved out of the public domain; there were 
no appropriations to buy land. It was only very much 
later that the national parks got any money from the 
federal government to buy park lands, quite different 
from our experience in California. It happened that 
it fell to the state of California to bear the res 
ponsibility of buying up little by little these fo 
rested lands, usually just a jump or two ahead of 
the saw mills. In some cases, unfortunately, we had 
to buy the land after the forent had "been cut, some of 

*Save-the-Redwoods League, Annual Report, 1920 pamphlet. 


which lands bought over forty year ago are remarkably 
well-forested with second growth, which is an important 
effect of the program. 

I suppose there is still some of the virgin timber on 
those lands that would make it significant,.. 
Very little on the lands that were cut over. Most of 
the early logging was terribly destructive. In fact, 
it still is today. 

Perhaps you would tell us what the league does not try 
to do. 

One thing that the redwoods league does not try to do 
is administer lands. In the old days, the league oc 
casionally bought and owned properties. But right from 
the beginning, it was recognized that the actual ma 
nagement of lands was more a government function than 
it was of a private organization. The lands had to be 
protected from fire, their public use controlled, im 
provements added such as roads and trails, and struc 
tures built where justifiable. 

Pre-Save-the-Redwoods Conservation Efforts 

Drury: I think I ought to go back a little and give you the 

history of the preservation around the turn of the cen 
tury of the Big Basin redwoods in Santa Cruz County, 
because while that organization was not a prototype of 
the Save-the-Redwoods League, some of the people who 
took part in it were also in on the organization of 
the league. The organization which was responsible for 
preserving the Gib Basin, which is near Pelton in Santa 
Cruz County, was the Sempervirens Club. There were a 


number of individuals, the most prominent among whom 
was Colonel Charles B. Wing, who after his retirement 
from Stanford University he was head of civil en 
gineering for a great many years there acted as the 
first chief of the Division of Beaches and Parks in 
1928. Professor Dudley, who was a scientist, was also 
very active. Senator Herbert C. Jones of San Jose, I 
remember, was one of the leaders, and particularly his 
mother, who wrote an account of the Big Basin redwoods 
and of logging as it started there and of the necessity 
of preserving them. 

Pry: Was D. M. Delmas in on that too? 

Drury: I think so; yes, D. M. Delmas was an attorney in San 
Jose; he later attained a considerable prominence in 
connection with rather sensational criminal trials. 

Pry: And Andrew P. Hill, the photographer? 

Drury: Yes, Andrew Hill was another. He was also a painter. 
Some of the earliest oil paintings of the redwood fo 
rests were made by Andrew Hill. They were very good. 

Pry: He had a commission from the London Wide World to pho 
tograph the redwoods, didn't he? 

Drury: I imagine he came from England, but he was a resident 
of San Jose. There was quite a fine group of those 

Pry: Did Welch Grove itself later become Big Basin Park? 

Drury: No. Welch Grove was closer to Pelt on than the Big 

Basin and was an entirely separate grove. It was pro 
bably the first known of the redwood groves, "the 
Pelton Big Trees." It was right on the railroad that 
went through Pelton on the way to Santa Cruz and was 
the object of a great many excursions from San Fran- 


cisco and interior valleys, oh, way "back in the early 
days; I imagine the eighteen-sixties, anyhow the se 
venties. The Welch family owned only a part of that 
grove. The rest of it was owned "by the Cowell Cement 
Company, and it's now part of the Samuel Cowell Red 
woods State Park. 

Pry: The Muir Woods controversy came up in 1908, didn't it, 
when the water company planned to flood that poition? 

Drury: Yes. Muir Woods National Monument was established in 
1908 by a gift from William Kent. 

Pry: Yes, that's why I was interested in it, because later 

on, Mr. Kent was active in the Save-the-Redwoods League, 
wasn't he? 

Drury: Yes, and he was also the member of Congress who intro 
duced the bill that established the National Park Ser 
vice. That's where my friend and classmate, Horace 
Albright, will be helpful to you, because he worked 
very closely with Stephen Mather and \Villiam Kent. Of 
course, in 1908, both Albright and I were freshmen in 
the University of California, and we weren't unduly 
exorcised about saving the redwoods [Laughter] or even 
the national parks. The national parks as a unified 
service hadn't been established. 

Structure of the League 

Fry: At the time when the Save-the-Redwoods League was es 
tablished, there was no park commission for the whole 
state, was there? There was just a Redwoods Park Com 
mission which apparently had control only of the Big 

Drury: Yes. The Big Basin was administered by one commission. 


There were a half a dozen state parks, and those were 
administered by separate commissions, all of which 
were abolished when the State Park Commission Bill 
passed in 1927. 

The redwoods in Humboldt County acquired by state 
appropriation and by gifts from the Save-the-Redwoods 
League for a considerable number of years were adminis 
tered by the State Board of Forestry, and very well 
administered by them. 

Pry: I want to find out exactly how the new redwoods league 
and the equally new State Board of Forestry worked to 

Drury: We always worked together very well. I think there 
was some slight disagreement as to whether both the 
commercial forests and the state parks should be ad 
ministered by the forestry board. It was the belief 
of a great many, including some foresters, that it 
would be better to have a separate organization which 
was concerned with park principles, like management 
and operation, which of necessity are quite different 
from the principles of forestry management. 

The great difference between the park concept 
and the forestry concept is that the resource that's 
involved on park lands is one that is conserved intact, 
held because of its beauty or its significance, its 
scientific value and so forth, to be used by the pub 
lic in the sense that they enjoy it, but it is not 
to be used up. However, forestry management as practiced 
by the state forestry board or the U.S. Forest Service 
involves the sound utilization of forests as a com 
modity for purposes of manufacture of wood products, 
with a view, under the most enlightened modern concepts, 


of perpetuating the resource in so far as possible 
through sustained yield logging and reforestation and 
prudent logging methods. 

One is a program for enjoyment and the other is 
a program for consumption. So it was felt that the 
two philosophies were so different that not only the 
redwood parks but the seacoast parks and the moun 
tain parks and the historic sites could better remain 
true to their original purpose if they were administered 
by a board and by an administrative agency that was 
devoted solely to park principle. 

Pry: Weren't some of the members of the redwoods league 
also on the State Board of Forestry? 

Drury: Yes, I think some of them were. I know that Merritt 

B. Pratt, the state forester, was one of those who were 
in on the formation of the Save-the-Redwoods League. 
I believe that Mr, G. M. Homans, who preceded Mr. Pratt 
as state forester, was also on it. 

Pry: Now, Merriam went to the State Board of Forestry's 

first meeting to plead for an area to be set aside for 
redwoods, I guess in Humboldt County. Did the board 
help at all in getting state aid? 

Drury: Yes. An appropriation bill was passed by both houses 
in 1921, appropriating $300,000 to purchase redwoods 
along the highway between Miranda and Dyerville in 
Humboldt County, and Governor Stephens signed the bill. 
Later, an appropriation act passed both houses in 1925 
but was vetoed by Governor Friend Diehard son. He had 
been electtd on an economy-in-government platform and 
he didn't feel he could allow an appropriation for 
parks at that time. 


In 1927, the Park Commission Bill, the Park Sur 
vey Bill, and a $6,000,000 bond issue were passed and 
signed by Governor Young, the bond issue later, in 
1928, being ratified by the voters almost three to one. 

Governor Richardson, incidentally, later became 
a great friend and admirer of the state parks; I think 
he regretted that he ever vetoed the bill. It ended 
up by our naming Richardson Grove for him. 

Pry: Could you lay out the internal organization of the 
league, the relationship of the councillors to the 
members and to the board? 

Drury: The councillors are a representative group of people 
from pretty well throughout the United States who 
have the Toting authority in the last analysis* The 
general membership of the league consists of all the 
supporters of the program. There's no general bal 
loting for officers by the membership as in some or 
ganizations, although the redwoods league is in no 
sense an autocratic organization. By common consent, 
it was felt it was more workable to have the council, 
of whom there are sixty, and who are quite represen 
tative of different walks of life and different parts 
of the country, elect the board of directors and the 
president. And the board of directors then elects 
the secretary and the treasurer. That's primarily 
the organization. 

Pry: The staff consists of what? 

Drury: The staff consists of the secretary and whatever help 
he has in carrying on the work of the league. It's a 
very moderate-sized office always has been. 

And of course the efforts of the redwoods league 
have been supplemented in many quarters. The Sierra 


Club has "been of tremendous help in aiding many of the 
programs that the league conceived. There have "been 
organizations like the Sempervirens Club, which is now 
more or less inactive, and the Calaveras Grove Associ 
ation in Stockton, which had an important part in the 
preservation of both the north and south Calaveras 

I think one of the very significant facts is that 
whereas the total purchase price or appraised value of 
gifts in all these state parks comes to something over 
$17,000,000, an estimate of present-day values of red 
wood stumpage and the asking prices of the lumber com 
panies would show a present investment value of pretty 
close to $250,000,000. 

Then there's the additional consideration that 
many of those forests wouldn't be in existence now, 
even if we had the money to buy them, at that enhanced 

Men in the Earlv Years of the League 

Fry: Could you tell us about maybe one or two of the early 
leaguers besides those you've already mentioned? I 
wondered when the chief forester of the United States, 
H. S. Graves, entered the league. 

Drury: I'm sure he was on the original board of the council 
right from the start. Also among those who were very 
prominent were Horace M. Albright and Dr. Frederick 
Bade, who at that time was president of the Pacific 
School of Religion. He passed away many years ago. 
He was a very eminent man in the field of conservation, 


was president of the Sierra Club. He wrote the leading 
biography of John Muir, was a great mountain-climber, 
and was one of the pioneers. 

Of course, William E. Colby is dean of all park 
people out here in California. As a friend and helper 
of John Muir, he can tell you a great many stories a- 
bout his fascinating adventures with Muir. One thing 
that he was in on was the recession of Yosemite Valley 
to the federal government. I think your project inter 
viewed him. Right from the start, Mr. Colby was one 
of the members of the Sierra Club, as he was of the 
Save -the -Redwoods League. He was a great element of 
strength in the creating of the State Park Commission 
in 1927. He was the unanimous choice for the chairman. 
He served for several years in that capacity. 

Pry: Duncan McDuffie was primarily a real estate man, is 
that right? 

Drury: Duncan McDuffie was another wonderful character, who 
graduated from the University of California around 
the turn of the century. He was a fine figure of a 
man, a very kindly and cultured person. Both he and 
Mrs. McDuffie were patrons of the arts, particularly 
interested in horticulture and gardens; but also very 
broad cultural interests generally. Duncan McDuffie 
graduated from college as a classmate of Perry Tompkins 
of Berkeley, who died only a few years ago, and of 
C. C. Young, who later became governor of the state. 
McDuffie was interested in the Save-the-Redwoods pro 
gram by Dr. John C. Merriam; he and J. C. Sperry and 
Colby and some of the others gave it its great impe 
tus and start. 

Mr. George Cornwall, who was the editor of the 
Timberman magazine, Portland, Oregon, was one of the 


original people. Charles K. Field, who was at that 
time editor of ^unset magazine; Gilbert H., Grosvenor, 
president of the National Geographic Society and edi 
tor of their magazine; Beverly Hodghead, who was at 
that time mayor of Berkeley; G. M. Homans, then state 
forester; W. L. Jepson, who was professor of botany 
at the University of California, and who wrote pro 
bably the best description, from a botanical stand 
point, of the redwood forests. Several of his books 
have extensive chapters on the redwoods. I think he 
was one of the early persons to at least hint at the 
fact that there should be established reservations 
for these forests before it was too late. In The Silva 
of California, published by the University Press in 
1910, he mentioned it. He took a rather fatalistic 
view as to what was going to happen to the redwoods, 
but he lived long enough to see a great deal of the 
success of the redwoods league, and there's no ques 
tion that it was his writings and his interest that 
to a considerable extent inspired the movement. 

Vernon Kellogg of the National Research c ouncil 
of Washington, B.C.; Horace G. lorimer of the Satur 
day Evening Post, who really put the Save-the-Redwoods 
League on the map by having a series of articles run 
by men such as Joseph Hergesheimer and Samuel G. Blythe. 
In fact, the phrase, "the last stand of the giants" 
was the title of Samuel G. Blythe 's first article on 
the redwoods, drawing attention to the movement. And 
Albert W. Atwood, one of the special writers, wrote 
a series of articles for the Post. In the same way, 
"the -National Geographic for thirty or forty years has 
supported the Save-the-Redwoods program by descriptive 
articles on both the Coast and Sierra Redwoods. 


Cheater Rowell, who was editor of the Fresno Re 
publican, was in the early group, and, of course, Ben 
jamin Ide ItVheeler, who was then president of the Uni 
versity of California. 

One of the pioneers in the movement who is still 
active -- in fact, he is now president of the league 
was Mr. Arthur E. Connick, who, when the league was 
formed, was a young banker, president of the First 
National Bank of Eureka, later acquired by the Bank 
of America. He was part of the local movement and 
took a very active part in negotiations with the owners 
of these properties. 

Fry: These are not men of particularly great wealth. They 
are men who have either special knowledge or a portion 
of the mass media at their control. 

Drury: That's right. There were, however, a number of very 
wealthy men like Mr. J. D. Grant, for years chairman 
of the board of directors, who from the very beginning 
were involved in the league. Many of the early contri 
butions, particularly in San Francisco, were inspired 
by Mr. Grant. His father, Adam Grant, was a pioneer 

merchant in San Francisco, 

Funds for the League 
Publicity and Mail Campaigns 

^ry: You said the Drury Company used mostly newspaper and 
magazine advertising and direct-mail appeals. Were 
these media the major ones for the Save-the-Redwoods 
League campaigns too? 

rury: Yes. Direct-mail was the basis of the solicitation 


carried on by the Save-the-Redwoods League and by our 
other groups in the raising of funds. From the very 
beginning, the bulk of the operating funds of the Save- 
the-Redwoods League have been raised by mail, with 
follow-up by letters and personal interviews. Very 
little of the money for campaign operations has been 
given by individuals who have been interviewed. The 
mailings of the league at the present time run about 
100,000 a year, and we're expecting to step that up 
in order to meet the operating costs of the league. 
But the memberships in the league and the donations 
that are made at the same time of the memberships are 
in the so-called operating fund. 

Then, in addition, many of these people by mail 
donate to the land fund for the purchase of forests. 
The land fund contributions in small units usually ran 
between $150,000 to $200,000 a year, the bulk of which 
came through the mail. The larger contributions are 
usually made by people who want to establish the so- 
called memorial groves, which was a very successful 
institution. Those, of course, entailed contact by 
mail, but they also entailed a great many personal in 
terviews, trips into the redwood region, and that sort 
of thing. 

Today is this memorial grove idea widespread enough 
that these people actually come to you? 
Drury: In some cases yes, but in most cases they are identi 
fied by our friends' writing in about them or by their 
revealing their interest through the mail. That's 
why this persistent circularication on behalf of the 
league is its life's blood. The minute that stops, the 
returns begin to diminish. 


Fry: How often do you contact the average person in Save- 
the-Redwoods League by mail through the year? 

Drury: About four times a year. And of course they all are 
reached at the beginning of the year with their bill 
for dues. Then any who don't respond within three 
months get another. We have usually about four large 
mailings a year, both to our existing members and to 
prospective members. This is the present program and 
I'm working on the possibility of stepping it up. But 
that's a science and art in itself, the subject of di 
rect-mail advertising and solicitation. There are 
lots of angles to it. 

Pry: How have you kept tabs on all these people? Have you 
classified them according to income and interests on 
cards, or what? 

Drury: Well, we have our membership lists the life members 
and the sustaining members and the annual members. 
Then we have a classification of people who are occa 
sional donors who give no regular dues, but who are 
very generous from time to time. Those are all kept 
track of on a visible index system. We can generally 
go back for forty years through our current file and 
a supplementary file of those who have passed away, 
and we can indicate who has given to the Save-the- 
Redwoods League, how much they gave and when. But this 
is very much a counsel of perfection; every system 
has its shortcomings. 

yj You sometimes have selective mailings just to one par 
ticular group of people? 
Tury: Oh, yes. That is the heart of the whole problem in 

direct mail solicitation: the list. It takes a great 
deal of intensive effort to obtain lists that are 


worthwhile soliciting. That's one thing at which Aubrey 
Drury was a past master. He had an encyclopediac mind 
and he was a student of history and geneology. He was 
also a very rapid and very accurate reader. He had, 
being a bachelor, a little more time than some men do, 
and he also had the inclination to take the punishment 
that's involved in intensive work of that sort. But 
he would take, for instance, Who's Who in America, and 
comb through that volume and mark every name that seemed 
to be a likely prospect, applying criteria that were 
in his mind as to the kind of people who would ordina 
rily be induced to contribute to the Save-the-Redwoods 

We're carrying on that same system today. In 
fact, we carried it on in the early days, but not as 
thoroughly or as effectively as Aubrey did during his 
twenty years as secretary. 

There's also a very important aspect of testing 
the list. You may have a list of 40,000 or 50,000 names, 
and no one knows whether they are good, bad, or indif 
ferent prospects until you've tested, say, 2,000 or 
3,000 of them to find out what your return is. 

It's a very fascinating exercise, as you can ima 
gine, and it's sometimes a little surprising. Prom the 
very beginning, we used the social registers in the 
different cities in the Unites States, selecting those 
which seemed the most likely prospects. But there's 
a marked difference between the returns in some of 
what you might call the more cultured states like Mas 
sachusetts and New York and those in some of the southern 
states like Alabama and Georgia. Usually, the social 
registers prove advantageous. 


Pry: You get a better return from New York and Boston than 
you do from the South. 

Drury: Yes, decidedly so. I haven't the up-to-date figures, 
but there was a time when, in total money, by far the 
preponderance of our contributions came from New York 
State; Mr, John J. Rockefeller Jr. and Mr. Edward S 
Harkness and the ladies of the Garden Club of America 
are the outstanding contributors. 

Pry: Those very large contributions would kind of weight it 
in favor of the East. 

Drury: Yes. But even in the membership, there's a remarkable 
response from New York and also from Massachusetts. 
Just recently we have solicited the social directory 
of Philadelphia, and the returns haven't been nearly 
as good as past returns. That may partly be because 
we weren't as discriminating in marking our names. 
But even there, the returns were sufficient so that 
it would justify using the rest of the names. 

'ry: How have you found the prairie states doing in res 
ponding to your mailing? Prom Kansas up to the Dako- 
tas and Illinois. 

The Midwest is not as responsive as the East Coast. 
Of course, the return in California is very satisfac 

What about Chlcagoans? 

rury: I'm just speaking offhand without checking the returns, 
but Chicago I think is usually pretty satisfactory in 
its support. I remember among the wonderful people I 
knew there, Mr, and Mrs. Joseph P. Cudahy, who estab 
lished the Morton Arboretum in Chicago. Her grandfa 
ther was the man who established Arbor Day, J. Sterling 
Morton. He was Secretary of Agriculture. Her brother, 



Sterling Morton, who was also a large contributor to 
the Save-the-Redwoods League, was the head of the Mor 
ton Salt Company. He and his sister established the 
Morton and Arbor Day groves. Most of the family had 
done quite a bit for local parks and projects like the 
Morton Arboretum. So they were educated to this kind 
of thing. Well, there's always a group in any metro 
politan center who are interested in things of this 
sort . 

Pry: I see. What is your rule of thumb in determining the 
usefulness of a list, or is this a pretty complex 

Drury: It's a pretty complex formula, but the rule of thumb 
generally is whether or not you get enough return to 
come at least close to meeting your cost of production 
of the material that you send out from the first mail 
ing. In most cases, we get considerably more than 
that, so that the problem is primarily one of mecha 
nics of production, particularly getting sufficient 
lists to send out more mailings. But it also involves 
the other phases of direct mail solicitation w hich 
depends on the character of the material which you 
send out, the kind of appeal you make, and the me 
chanics of response. 

In general, with the kind of lists which we've 
been using, the first year we get back at least the 
cost of production, which I would say now runs about 
$150 a thousand names, including postage and addres 
sing and all the rest, but not including overhead. 
In the old days when we first started it, it 
used to cost us $100 a thousand, but it's gone up at 
least 50 per cent because of the extra costs of prin 
ting and extra postage and all that. 


Pry: I would think it would have gone up more than that, 

Drury: Well, we have worked on a quantity basis, and simp 
lified some of the material so that we've kept it 
around $150 a thousand. The average thousand names 
will return pretty close to that, and sometimes very, 
very much more than that. Sometimes it brings in 
large contributions, $4,000 and $5,000 or more for 
the land fund. That's the thing that primarily this 
circularization does keeps the operations fund 
going. Even if you don't quite get back your costs 
of production in the first mailing, it's worthwhile 
to do this thing because you have established members 
with recurring dues. 

An analysis we made about fifteen years ago, 
which I assume still holds good in principle, showed 
that after three years, about 65 per cent of those 
people continued to pay dues, and after five years, 
about 55 per cent, so that that's an interesting as 
pect. The turnover, so to speak, is pretty high, be 
cause people die and they move and don't leave a for 
warding address. Those percentages were the figures 
for about 1947 or 1948, the last analysis that was 
made by our accountant. As I say, I assume it still 
pertains, although we intend to make tests which will 
perhaps be more accurate than that. 

Pry: This sounds like a sociologist's delight. 

Drury: Well, it's a field in itself. Of course, in the East 
particularly, there are large concerns that devote 
themselves entirely to what they call direct-by-mail 

Pry: Do you ever buy lists? 

Drury: Yes, but most of them are no good for our purposes. 


Moat of them are snares and delusions. I remember 
once I paid I think $10 for a list of California mil 
lionaires. When I got the list, I found on it the 
names of one or two of my friends, who I knew darn well 
weren't millionaires, and I doubted if they were much 
better off than I was. [Laughter] 

Personal Contact and Influence 

Pry: Weren't large sums collected also through influential 
men in the league, just by personal contacts? 

Drury: Oh, yes. For instance, Mr. Grant was chairman of the 
board of directors, and Mr. William H. Crocker was one 
of the directors of the league. Those two men had a 
great deal of influence. They made financial contri 
butions themselves; they also inspired other wealthy 
people of their acquaintance to contribute. 

Speaking of Mr. William H. Crocker and his help 
and influence, I might mention one episode which shows 
how close you are to success or failure in any enter 
prise. The great Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park 
was being planned. We had an opportunity to buy a mil 
lion dollars' worth of property near Orick. It was of 
fered to us at a price which is about one-thirteenth 
of what we are having to pay for redwood stumpage to 
day. We didn't have the money. If we could have raised 
a half million dollars, -we could get the other half mil 
lion through matching by the state. 

Mr. Crocker was in New York, and one Friday he te 
lephoned me saying that on Monday he was to be playing 
golf with Mr. Edward S. Harkness, a large contributor 
to Yale University and Harvard and a very fine benefac- 


tor of many enterprises. Mr. Crocker thought that 
maybe if we had the right data to make the presen 
tation to Mr. Harkneas, we could get a half a mil 
lion dollars from him. He said, "But I suppose you 
can't get anything to me by Monday morning?" It 
just happened it was about that time that air mail 
across the continent had come to the fore as a means 
of communication that people hadn't previously used. 
Prior to that time, I don't think I'd ever sent any 
thing airmail. I said, "Mr. Crocker, we can get some 
thing up today, put it in the air mail tomorrow, and 
you should get it by Sunday night," which he did. 
He played his golf game with Mr. Harkness, and we got 
the $500,000. 

Pry: And if air mail hadn't -- 

Drury: If air mail hadn't been in existence, there wouldn't 
have been any way of getting the photographs and maps 
and all the data. He might have gotten the contribu 
tion anyhow, but then again he might not have. 

Pry: Speaking of men of influence and wealth, William Kent 
has a flavor all his own. I wonder if right here we 
could take time out and let you tell us what kind of 
a man he was. 

Drury: He was a very wonderful gentleman with quite a pep 
pery personality. His views were very definite and 
he expressed them with vigor. He was an exceptionally 
devoted conservationist. It was Kent who in 1916 in 
troduced the National Park Act, which created the Na 
tional Park Service. I was in Congressman Kent's of 
fice with Mr. J. C. Sperry, who was one of our early 
pioneers in the Save-the-Redwoods movement. I remem 
ber that Stephen T. Mather had arranged the meeting, 


and he had there George Horace Lorimer, then the edi 
tor of the Saturday Evening Poet, and Kenneth Roberts, 
the writer who was on tour with Lorimer and had "been 
writing a series of articles for the Post* I was 
asked there by Mr. Sperry because of the redwoods move 
ment and because George Horace Lorimer was beginning 
to interest himself in publicizing the redwoods, 

Kent had three sons and a daughter. His oldest 
son, William Jr., is a very good friend of ours, and, 
like his father, has been very helpful to conservation. 
They have been more than liberal in their dealings with 
the state on land that we bought from them on Tamal- 
pais to supplement what the government has in Muir Woods, 
He's the same kind of a somewhat excitable, volatile 
individual that his father was. 

The youngest of them, Roger Kent, is chairman of 
the Democratic Central Committee, while BUI s quite 
an arch-conservative Republican. And Tom, who was my 
closest friend, died about two years ago. He was quite 
active in the Mar in Water District. He helped us a 
great deal in the early days in our land acquisition 
program, particularly as an appraiser. They were a 
fine family. The Kent family came, I believe, from 
Chicago. They're among well-to-do people of the na 
tion who have taken very seriously their responsibi 
lity. They made investments out here. They have large 
ranches in Nevada as well as considerable property in 
Marin County. For many years, William Kent was a Re 
publican, nominally at least, but he was a candidate 
really for both parties in that northern district, 
just as Congressman Lea was later on. 
Pry: This was in the days of cross-filing. 


Drury: Yes, although Kent ran twice on the Independent ticket. 

Pry: Who was Mr. Sperry? 

Drury: J. C. Sperry was a wonderful gentleman who belonged to 
the celebrated Sperry Mills family. His father, Jim 
Sperry, was an early inhabitant of the Mother Lode coun 
try. He lived in Murphys. He built the Murphys Ho 
tel, which, incidentally, is still there. I'm going 
up the end of the week to Calaveras Grove and we're 
going to pioneer as roughly as we'd have to if we slept 
at the Murphys Hotel, but we're going to have our break 
fast and dinner there, in the old-fashioned dining room. 
I guess it is over a hundred years old. 

Anyway, Jim Sperry ran that hotel. He also owned 
the north and south Calaveras groves of big trees, 
back in the seventies. Then he sold the north grove 
to one lumber company, and the south grove to another. 
Many years later, we ransomed them and got them into 
the state park system. J. C. Sperry was a man of broad 
tastes and interests; I think the fact that his father 
had once owned those two groves and had disposed of 
them sort of inspired him to put in the invaluable 
time and effort that he did on Save-the-Redwoods League. 
He was really the key man for a great many years, not 
only because of the voluntary work he did in the of 
fice, but because of his wide connections. 

Also, contributions were made by various generous 
people including Edward E. Ayer of Chicago. In fact, 
one of my earliest recollections is traveling over the 
rather tortuous Redwood Highway with Mr. and Mrs. Ayer, 
who were then in their eighties. They had a Pierce- 
Arrow that was suspended on those air cushion shock 


absorbers, and to travel all day long was almost like 
an ocean voyage before you got through. They were 
elderly people and they had the car windows all closed. 

Those were the days when it took us a good day to 
get to Willits, which is about 150 miles north of San 
Francisco, and another good long day to get to Eureka. 
I frequently now fly in an hour and a half to Arcata 
and drive down or up into the redwood parks which lie 
on each side of that point, spend a full day in the 
woods, get an evening plane, and am back home by 8:30 
in the evening. It then took a good long week up and 
back. Most of my work was traveling in those days. 

So you see it became our task particularly to 
make the necessary contacts both with the organs of 
public opinion and with the individuals who were 

chosen to put up the money. 

Fry: Did you start the memorial grove idea early in the 

Drury: Yes. I think later on I could give you a summary of 
the memorial groves, of v/hich there are around two 
hundred. I have here the first report I got out for 
the Save-the-Redvoods League when I was executive sec 
retary at the end of the year 1920.*- In that report, 
we told of the establishment of the Boiling Memorial 
Grove, which was one of the very first of these me 
morial groves on the south fork of the Eel River. 
The money to buy it was given by a Dr. John C. Phil 
lips of Wenham, Massachusetts, in memory of Colonel 
Reynaud C. Boiling, who was the first American offi 
cer of high rank to fall in V/orld War I. Of course 

-x-1920 Annual Report, Save-the-Redwoods League, p. 8. 


we then referred to it as the World War; we didn't 
know in 1920 that there would be two or three more 
world wars. 

Pry: How was Mr. Phillips parted from his money? 

Drury: As in many cases, he was interested by people like 

Madison Grant, and probably also by Stephen T Mather", 

So far as I know, Boiling Grove was not threatened 
with cutting, but it was such an outstanding grove 
that Dr. Phillips made it the obvious choice for the 
memorial. We have a book on Colonel Boiling which I 
would put in your hands if you like, because it tells 
the rather dramatic story of his war experience. And 
it's significant, I think, because Boiling Grove was 
really the first so-called memorial grove. We later 
had the Franklin K. Lane Grove established, and it 
was Mrs. James Hobart Moore of Santa Barbara who made 
that contribution. She was the widow of the former 
ambassador to England, I believe, James Hobart Moore, 
and later became Mrs. Laura J. Knight. 

The appeal of the memorial grove idea carries on 
to the present day. Only last week, I had a call from 
a Mrs. Lincoln Ellsworth of New York who had been told 
that it would be a nice gesture if she would establish 
a memorial grove in honor of her late husband, Comman 
der Lincoln Ellsworth, who was quite a noted explorer 
and who died about ten years ago. He once made a trip 
to the North Pole with Amundsen by plane. He was an 
aviator; he made a number of trips into Antarctica and 
claimed some of that country for the United States. 
Mrs. Ellsworth decided that she'd like to see some of 
these redwood groves, so we went up last week with 
some of the foresters from the state parks, and she 


indicated her desire to establish this grove. That was 
primarily inspired by some friend in the East who pro 
bably was a member of the Save-the-Redwoods League, and 
by some of her friends who had already done the same 

You mentioned that one of your jobs when you took over 
was to maintain contact with the people who handled 
mass media, most of which was located in the East. I 
wondered how you managed that at the time. 
It was done mainly by correspondence, of course, and 
through travel plans of others we worked out the going 
back and forth. Dr. Merriam was one of those, and par 
ticularly Stephen T. Mather. 

We had wonderful support also from the California 
press. The Hearst newspapers, right from their begin 
ning, have always been strong advocates of conservation 
and historic preservation, and we had tremendous help 
from them. The same thing was true of the Los Angeles 
Times . Harry Chandler was a great friend of Stephen 
T. Mather. And it's quite significant that only last 
Tuesday, this being Thursday, I was in Los Angeles and 
completed the arrangements to establish a redwood me 
morial grove to be named after Harry Chandler, through 
the generosity of his son-in-law, Mr. John J. Garland. 
Mr. Garland was on the American Olympic committee that 
put on the winter games at Squaw Valley. He wa.s quite 
surprised when I informed him that $9,000,000 of the 
money earmarked for parks had been taken to create the 
Squaw Valley establishment, of which Governor Brown has 
had $5,000,000 returned to the general fund. I told 
Mr. Garland that if that hadn't happened, perhaps we 
wouldn't have had to call on him to contribute for the 






Harry Chandler Redwood Grove. 

Do you imply, then, that Southern California and Nor 
thern California have "been more or less united on this 
issue then, even at a time when they were beginning to 
be at loggerheads with each other over other issues? 
Yes. Right from the start, a good deal of the effec 
tive support was from the South. 

Humboldt County 

Acquisition Processes and Problems; 
Early Holdings 

Since one of the league's first objectives was acqui 
ring land, and one of the first things that you ac 
quired was the park that is now Humboldt State Park, 
I wonder if you could give us an example of just what 
and how much human effort was involved in acquiring 
land for that park. 

There was a great deal of effort involved, of course, 
and it comprised the combined efforts of a great many 
people.. The initial holdings were acquired in 1920 
along what is now U.S. Highway 101, the Redwood High 
way, in Humboldt County. Our program was not dissi 
milar to putting together a jigsaw puzzle. There 
were many, many relatively small private holdings a- 
long this new highway, and we raised money and pur 
chased them usually, as the saying is, just a jump 
ahead of the sheriff, or really just a jump ahead of 
the sawmills. 

When I came into the active work of the Save-the- 
Redwoods league in 1919, we were in process of acqui 
ring three properties along the highway, those known 
as the Vance Bottom, the Smith and Mains property, 


and the Ainn and Dimmick property. Toward this, Stephen 
T.. Mather and William Kent, who was then the congress 
man from the district, had contributed $30,000, and in 
addition, the county of Humboldt had appropriated an 
equal amount of money to match this, ao that you can 
really ascribe to Mather and Kent the initial impulse 
toward the preservation of the redwoods, 

Pry: Was there any special reason these tracts were the first 
to be acquired? 

Drury: The reason that these three properties, which comprised 
something over five hundred acres, were acquired first, 
was because it happened that there being a good mari- 
ket for split redwood ties what we call split o- 
perators were active on those three tracts. In other 
words, we had to devote our attention primarily to the 
immediate crises that had to be dealt with. So it 
became somewhat standard practice if any owner of red 
wood timber up there really wanted to make a sale, he'd 
send in some choppers and let them chop down one or two 
trees, whereupon he would come to the attention of the 
Save-the-Redwoods League and we'd try to raise the mo 
ney to buy him out. I remember that was the case se 
veral years later when Mrs. Clara Gould of Santa Bar 
bara gave us money for the Gould Grove. 

The transactions on the Vance Bottom, Smith and 
Mains, Dunn and Dimmick properties were carried on 
largely locally by Mr. Arthur Connick and a gentleman 
named James Fraser, a contractor who was one of the 
pioneers of the local Save-the-Redwoods League. We 
owe both of them, particularly Mr. Connick, a vote of 
thanks for the way they helped hold the fort. 
Mr. Connick knew these owners of the forest tracts be- 


cause they used his bank, I guess. 

Drury: Yes. I guess he knew the net worth of all of them, and 
he also had a very definite idea of the value or in 
those days, the lack of value -- of redwood stumpage. 
Those were the days when it was a buyer's market. There 
was relatively little demand for it, so that although 
we paid, by modern standards, very moderate prices for 
the timber, most of the owners were very glad to sell 
to us. Many of them were genuinely glad also, that it 
was possible to preserve some of these virgin forests.. 

First Appropriation 

Pry: Wasn't there a very early legislative appropriation 
for redwoods acquisition? 

Drury: Yes. There was a $300,000 appropriation in 1921 by 

the legislature to supplement what the league had been 
doing when it acquired the Humboldt properties. Of 
course, the legislature in those days met only every 
two years, and I remember that William Kent, and ei 
ther J. C. Sperry or Dr. Bade and I went to S acrame nto 
and appeared before a legislative committee, with whom 
we had no great difficulty. 

Fry: Could you tell us something of the make-up of that 

committee and what the hearing was like? Do you re 
member anything about it? 

Drury: To be honest with you, I don't remember very much about 
that particular hearing. There was quite a favorable 
sentiment in favor of saving the redwoods. We had re 
ceived tremendous national publicity. 

Later on, I had the pleasure of making quite a 
trip with Albert W. Atwood, who wrote a series of three 


article for the Saturday Evening Post. Also, the A- 
merican Museum of Natural History and several other 
organizations in the East through their publications 
had publicized the redwoods, and there was at that 
time a strong local sentiment in favor of saving the 

Pry: In this bill in 1921, wasn't there some support from 
organizations like women's clubs and the Native Sons 
of the Golden West? 

Drury: Yes; all of those. The California Federation of Wo 
men's Clubs were most effective, and of course the 
Native Sons and Native Daughters of the Golden West 
have always supported the Save-the-Redwoods movement 
and fraternal organizations like the Elks. The Ca 
lifornia State Automobile Association, as you'd ex 
pect, has always given support. All those, and others, 
joined behind the movement. In fact, I don't remem 
ber any opposition of any sort to the bill, except the 
hesitancy on the part of the governor to sign it for 
economy reasons. The difficulty came primarily in 
persuading the governor to sign the bill after it had 

fe been passed by the legislature. I remember the go 
vernor hemmed and hawed about it and said he was having 
difficulty balancing the budget, the state was growing, 
there was a need of economy. 

*ry: I think California was experienc ing an economic slump 
at that time. 

Drury: Yes, most everybody was, I guess. But anyhow, William 
Kent, who was usually a very even-tempered man, Sudden 
ly lost his temper. He had been in the congress with 
Governor Stephens and knew him quite well, and Kent 


finally said, "Oh hell, Bill, if you can't get the 
money any other way, why don't you fire a few police 
men or close the schools for a few days? This is 
something that can't wait." [Laughter] 

But I am told that far more potent than our argu 
ments with Governor Stephens were those of his wife, 
Mrs. Stephens, who was then prominent in the Califor 
nia Federation of Women's Clubs, and through that af 
filiation, her influence was brought to bear. In any 
event, the governor finally signed the bill. And the 
forestry board, largely through Solon Williams, did a 
splendid job of acquisition of several miles along the 
highway which gave us the nucleus of the Humboldt Red 
woods State Park* 

Lumber Company Negotiations 

Pry: I wonder if you could explain just how cooperative the 
lumber companies were with the Save-the-Redwoods League 
in the very early years. There's an interesting lit 
tle item about the Hammond Lumber Company donating a 
very small grove. How did this happen? 

Drary: In general, the lumber companies were not antagonistic 
to the Save-the-Redwoods program. In general also, 
they felt that they should have a quid pro quo, that 
if this lumber were taken from them, we should pay the 
going market rate, with which we had no quarrel at all. 
There's never been any friction on that score. H. B. 
Hickey of the firm of Standish and Hickey, who owned 
a great deal of the land along the south fork of the 
Eel and from whom we bought thousands of acres, dona 
ted a piece on the highway as a memorial to his son. 


The Hammond Lumber Company also had a relatively small 
parcel on this same highway on the south fork of the 
Eel which they donated to the state. In general, both 
of those concerns have always been very friendly to 
the state parks. 

The largest of the operating companies up there 
was the Pacific Lumber Company, which had its estab 
lishment at Scotia. They were rather strongly opposed 
to the acquisition of any such large area as we had 
outlined in the vicinity of Dyerville; they felt also 
that if we acquired it from them, we should pay them 
not only the going rate for the redwood stumpage, but 
they should add an amount to amortize the investment 
they'd made in their operating plant their mill and 
their yards and their railroad and equipment and all 
the rest of it. In other words, the prices they asked 
for the stumpage we wantedto buy from them were somewhat 
above what was considered the going market rate, although 
frankly, there wasn't much market for redwood in those 
days and there was absolutely none for fir. Until the 
thirties, we never paid for fir at all. 

Well, the Pacific Lumber Company -- and give them 
credit for being generous from their standpoint of 
fered to give a sizeable parcel, several hundred acres, 
in the South Dyerville Plat as a memorial to Simon J. 
Murphy, who was the head of the clan in Michigan. But 
they attached to it the restriction that the state and 
the Save-the-Redwoods League would refrain from agita 
ting for the preservation of any of their remaining 
Fry: Which as I understand were very large in the Bull Creek 



Drury: Yes. Bull Creek Flat is unquestionably the greatest 
forest in the world. It's a continuous stretch of 
1,000 acres for four miles up Bull Creek, which is just 
as level as the top of this table, a beautiful cathe 
dral-like stand of redwood. They also owned extensive 
holdings in the Bull Creek watershed. It wasn't con 
ceivable, even if the state and the Redwoods League 
had been willing to do it, that public opinion would 
have tolerated a compromise like that. So regretfully 
we had to say that we couldn't accept this gift, which 
amounted to many tens of thousands of dollars, because 
we had a larger objective. We wanted to continue ne 
gotiations with them. 

Well, they didn't want to negotiate. So one day, 
we suddenly got word from the ladies up in Eureka, 
who had their own little local chapter of the Save-the- 
Redwoods League, that the Pacific Lumber Company was 
beginning to fell trees in the North Dyerville Plat, 
and they felt something ought to be done about it. I 
don't know to this day whether the Pacific Lumber Com 
pany was really starting a logging operation or whether 
they were just testing out the situation. Anyhow, 
that resulted in our getting legal counsel to work with 
us on it, and our appearing before the board of super 
visors in Humboldt County. It fell to my lot to be the 
emissary of the redwoods league to ask the board of 
supervisors to file a condemnation and an injunction 
suit halting the cutting of the North Dyerville Plat, 
which we considered to be the prelude to the destruc 
tion of both the North and South Dyerville Plats, as 
well as the Bull Creek Plat. 


That meeting of the board of supervisors was ne 
cessary because the State Board of Forestry didn't 
have any authority to condemn, and the league of course 
had no such authority either. But the county had. 

We had a very stormy meeting in the court house 
before the board of supervisors at which attorneys for 
the lumber company appeared on one side, and I, not 
knowing what I was getting into, appeared on the other. 
I had the support of Albert W. Atwood, who was writing 
a series of articles for the Saturday Evening Post. 
That whole story is told rather completely in the old 
issues of the Humboldt Standard and Humboldt Times. 
The upshot of it was, hov/ever, that after considerable 
argumentation, we persuaded the board of supervisors 
to pass a resolution indicating their intent to con 
demn and enjoin the Pacific Lumber Company if they 
didn't cease cutting. 

It became very complicated after that. The at 
torneys for the lumber company took it into the fede 
ral court, and they in turn got an injunction against 
our side, so it was a stalemate. But that was the 
prelude then to negotiations with the company which 
finally ended very amicably. 

Fry: Your debating experience must have come in handy in the 

Brury: Yes, both in the courts and before the board of super 
visors. Well, I was given more than my share of cre 
dit by Atwood and others for the effect of my eloquence 
on the supervisors. I knew that public opinion local 
ly was behind us, so that I didn't have any illusions 
about that. Anyhow, it is described somewhat humorous- 


ly in these local papers. 

One episode involved very definitely my brother 
Aubrey Drury. At a certain point in the hearings, the 
attorneys for the lumber company said, "Well, here comes 
the Save-the-Redwoods League asking our client to cease 
and desist from using their own property, and they ha 
ven't indicated that they have any money to buy them 
out. They just have a circular to that effect." There 
I was all by myself, and in the hallway during one of 
our recesses, I remember that a Mr. Henry Brizzard, who 
was a merchant up there and a great friend of Duncan 
MacDuffie's, who came to me and said, "Now, you've got 
to do something to offset the effect of this argument 
that you don't have any money." 

Well, it happened that Mr. Rockefeller had given, 
us a million dollars. That was deposited in the Crocker 
National Bank in San Francisco. But we had never di 
vulged the amount of his gift. So I hastily got on the 
long distance phone and called Aubrey, and we arranged 
that he would go around and get three bankers in San 
Francisco: Mr. William H. Crocker, who was president 
of the bank where our money was deposited; Mr. J. D. 
Grant, then vice-president of the Redwoods League and 
the director of a half a dozen banks; and Mr. J. P. Sper. 
ry, who was quite prominent in financial affairs, and 
one of our most active people in the league. 

I went back into the meeting in the afternoon, 
hadn't heard anything from San Francisco. ''he hearings 
began; I got more and more anxious. Suddenly, there 
appeared and wove his way through the crowd a Western 
Union messenger. In those days they wore uniforms that 
were more prominent -- 


Fry: Yes, very dramatic. 

Drury: He came up to the front where I was sitting in the ju 
ry box and handed me a telegram which I silently read 
and folded and put into my pocket. A few minutes later, 
another messenger came in with another telegram. It 
happened three times, and each time I just glanced at 
it and put it away. I was in a prominent position where 
everybody could see what I was doing. Finally, when 
there was a pause, I asked the chairman of the board 
of supervisors if I could read these telegrams. By 
that time, everybody was very curious to know what they 
were. So I read them, and they all corroborated the 
fact that we had a sum of money in the neighborhood of 
$750,000 as a matter of fact, we had a million. 
And you could have heard a pin drop. [laughter] Short 
ly after that, the supervisors passed the resolution 
to condemn the Pacific Lumber Company property. You 
can credit Mr. Rockefeller and the San Francisco ban 

Fry: And a brother. 

Drury: And Aubrey for having influenced by telegram the board 
of supervisors. They not only were going to enjoin, 
but they declared their intention to condemn the pro 

Fry: Was Mr. Connick able to do any work personally? Did 
he know any of the people in the Pacific Lumber Com 

Drury: Yes. That was a great asset to us, too. He knew most 
of these people by their first names. 

One of the episodes of this Pacific Lumber Company 
incident following this meeting of the board of super- 


visors was that there was a terrific storm and there 
were washouts on the railroad, so we couldn't get any 
where south of Scotia, which was the headquarters of 
the Pacific Lumber Company. I'll always remember how 
gracious the president of the Pacific Lumber Company 
was. We had to put up at their hotel, and they asked 
us over for dinner, and we had a wonderful dinner to 
gether. It was very greatly to their credit because 
they had taken quite a beating at the hearings before 
hand, and much to our embarrassment, we had to be their 
guests immediately afterward. Mr. John H. Emmert, who 
was the president of the lumber company, was particular, 
ly friendly. So that partly as a result of our getting 
marooned there, we got together and they offered to re 
sume negotiations, and we ultimately acquired the pro 
perty and established the nucleus of what is now the 
Rockefeller Forest. 

Mr. Rockefeller later on made a trip up there, 
which is also described in one of these papers, and 
following that, he promised us another million if we 
could raise a million privately. This we did. 

Comments on Condemnation 

Pry: There was a Rosen shine bill that went before the le 
gislature, and I wonder if you could tell me if this 
had any effect. It was Assembly Bill 106, passed in 
1923, "to allow acquisition by right of eminent domain 
of timberlands for park purposes." Now, this really 
gave you an ace up your sleeve in your acquisition 
dealings, didn't it? 


Drury: I'm ashamed to say I don't remember if it was passed. 
I think I wrote the bill. [Laughter] 

This was in the days of the state forestry board, 
whose authority to acquire by eminent domain was con 
sidered doubtful, and it was undoubtedly because of 
that that the Rosenshine bill was introduced. I re 
member Al Roserishine very well. He was an alumnus of 
the University of California of one of the earlier 
classes, '06 or '07 or maybe before that. He was a 
regent of the University, a very wonderful gentleman. 
And I do remember now his introducing this bill which 
invested the State Board of Forestry with the right of 
eminent domain. 

So far as I know, the forestry board never had 
to use that authority in acquiring land for parks. 
After we created the State Park Commission by legis 
lation in 1927, there were a few, but relatively few, 
cases where we finally had to resort to condemnation 
proceedings. But it strengthened the hand of the state 
forestry board, which was then administering the state 
parks, to have this authority. The episode in connec 
tion with the Pacific Lumber Company that I spoke of 
before involved getting the county of Humboldt to ac 
quire the properties by eminent domain. There was no 
question under the statutes as to the right of the 
county board of supervisors to condemn for public pur 

But when in '27 we drafted the State Park Act, we 
saw to it that the right of eminent domain was included. 
Just a week ago today, I was up in Sacramento and I was 
confronted in some hearings up there with a stipulation 


that I was subpoenaed to make on a condmnation suit, 
with a change in the law which I knew but of whose 
significance I wasn't quite aware. Apparently, the 
last legislature passed an act which modified the 
right of the State Park Commission to condemn. Hither 
to, the law stated that the conclusion of the State 
Park Commission was sufficient evidence that the pro 
perty was necessary. 

Pry: What further evidence now is needed? 

Drury: You now have to produce evidence that would enable the 
judge or persuade him to decide that the property was 
desirable and necessary for park purposes, which is a 
somewhat difficult thing for him to do. 

Pry: That would almost depend on the judge's viewpoint. 

Drury: Well, it might depend somewhat on that. It depends on 
the character of the evidence that you present. Re 
cently in a case involving a seacoast park, the attor* 
ney for the defendent who didn't want to sell or have 
his property taken by eminent domain, contended that 
there was other property that was more desirable for 
park purposes, and, since the state had only a certain 
amount of money, they ought to take that first. That 
was the question to which I had to address myself in 
my testimony. 

Pry: California law on eminent domain seems to be a little 

different from some of the other states. I was reading 
the other day that every time New York wants property 
for park purposes, they simply declare it as under e- 
minent domain. 

Drury: They have what's known as the "declaration of taking." 
That, in California law, is the authority possessed by 


the State Highway Commission. The highway commission, 
after negotiation or even before, I imagine can 
simply file a declaration of taking with the court, and 
the court signs an order turning the land over to them, 
the value to be adjudicated and paid for later on through 
legal proceedings. 

We never had that authority. I always contended 
that we shouldn't have that authority. You can see why 
in the case of a highway or other public works, it 
wouldn't be fair to the public interest to allow any 
one owner to hold up indefinitely a total project. The 
appropriations might lapse. The cost of construction 
would go up. And anyhow, the proper body, whether it 
be the legislature that appropriated the money or some 
administrative agency, has determined that it is in the 
public interest to acquire this property, so that it 
seems not unreasonable that the Division of Highways 
should have this right after a proper negotiation which 
they usually undertake. In the old days, they had the 
reputation of being pretty high-handed, but by and large, 
I think that owners of property taken for highway pur 
poses are pretty well satisfied. Of course, for dra 
matic effect, they always pretend to be out and in 
jured. That doesn't tend to depress the value that the 
court or the jury puts on their property. 

But coming back to condemnation for park purposes, 
in my opinion, while parks are extremely important and 
while I believe that the right of eminent domain should 
be unrestricted, I think it should come only after full 
judicial proceedings and the introduction of evidence, 
and giving the owner of the property his full day in 


court, partly because I don't think it's quite as 
urgent as in the case of building public works, and 
also, because from a public relations standpoint, 
it's almost ruinous to establish an institution like 
a state park and be surrounded by the ill will of the 
local inhabitants, I always asked our representa 
tives to exercise infinite patience. Sometimes they'd 
go ten to twenty times to see an owner, and while 
some of them were accused of throwing their weight 
around, I think in general, they were pretty diplo 
matic in their dealings. And it's surprising how re 
latively few of the acquisitions needed to be acquired 
in the end by eminent domain. I'd say not five per 
cent of our purchases in the early days under the o- 
riginal bond issue had to be made through the courts.. 

Cruising and Appraising, Enoch Percy French 

Pry: Once the supervisors acted to condemn the property, 
were you ever able to make use of someone who lived 
in the community to help guide you in this business 
of getting a land appraisal? 

Drury: Yes, we usually did that in the old days. In the 

state parks later on, we usually used one local ap 
praiser and perhaps two from outside who were dis 
interested but who understood the values and under 
stood the methods of gathering the information of 
comparative sales. 


Drury : 



Was Mr. Connick out there right from the beginning? 
Mr. Connick, yes, v/as in Eureka as president of the 
First National Bank about the time when the Save-the- 
Redwoods League was formed. Because of his knowledge 
of the local conditions and also because of the fact 
that he was interested in seeing the redwoods forests 
preserved, as was Mrs. Connick, he was invaluable in 
helping get all of us started in the process of buy 
ing up the timber. He was a very shrewd trader him 
self and he liked to bargain; and he carried on many 
of the transactions. He v/as quite active in the 
dealings with the Pacific Lumber Company. 
Mr. Connick was telling me that for one particular 
cruiser, the Pacific Lumber Company and everybody 
else usually had a gentleman's agreement that what 
ever he estimated, they would cut 15 per cent off be 
cause he always estimated high, while another one 
was known to estimate rather accurately, so, fre 
quently more than one cruising was required. 
Frequently in a large deal, the services of several 
timber cruisers were used. The cruiser that Mr. Con- 
nick undoubtedly had in mind, whose accuracy was re 
lied upon by all, buyers or sellers, was Mr. Enoch 
P. French, "Percy" French, as we called him. Mr. 
French is a state-of-Mainer, six feet two or three. 
He's now approaching 80. He's straight as a ramrod, 
and, although the hills are getting steeper for him, 
he now and then goes out and cruises timber. As a 
matter of fact, he's making a report for us right 
now by using some slightly younger men of 50 or 60 
to do some of the heavy work. [Laughter] 


Pry: But the league used him a great deal then? 

Drury: That was where we first got acquainted with him. He 
cruised most of the timber up there in the redwood 
region for a number of concerns, particularly the 
Sage Land and Improvement Company, who sold us a great 
deal of the timber in both the Humboldt redwoods and 
the Prairie Creek State Park. I met Percy French 
first in 1919, when my brother Aubrey and I and Mr, 
J. C. Sperry made a trip up there. Over the years, 
I worked very closely with Percy French. Although 
I was about ten years younger than he was, even in 
my youth I had great difficulty keeping up with him. 

The other timber cruiser that Mr. Connick re 
ferred to I wouldn't know. I do remember that in 
connection with the Pacific Lumber Company timber, 
they furnished us with a cruise by a man named Herman 
Gutsch. But they also told us, and I guess that they 
had records to support it, that their experience in 
cutting lumber from the forest that Gutsch had cruised 
indicated that you should add 40 per cent to his 
cruise in order to get a true figure. Well, Dr. Mer- 
riam and some of the others took the position that 
any estimate or cruise that had to be increased by 
40 per cent wasn't much of a cruise. The answer to 
that was that this was made for taxation purposes. 
It wasn't a "selling cruise." However, Gutsch in ge 
neral was reputed to be a very capable cruiser. 

We ended up by having French check the Gutsch 
cruise. I've forgotten how it came out, but I know 
that Gutsch was way low. 

Fry: Do you have to pay higher prices now per tree because 

of the advent of plywood and other products which enable 


the lumber companies to make use of so much more of 
the tree? 

Drury: That applies particularly to Douglas fir, which as 

you know is an associated species with the redwoods. 
There are Douglas firs that they call peeler logs, 
logs that they can put on the apparatus in the mills 
and peel in a circular way, to make the veneer for 

Pry: You have to buy these along with the 

Drury: Well, yes, whatever the stumpage is worth, we have 

to pay for it. That is done not by the timber crui 
ser but by the appraiser, although the cruiser does 
classify, for instance, such trees that are -mluable 
as peeler logs and such trees that could be used simp, 
ly to make piling or ordinary lumber. Those factors 
all enter into it. That's a science in itself, and 
you could get somebody from the School of Forestry 
who could give you a much more detailed account. I 
think you've already talked to Professor Emmanuel 

Fry: I didn't talk to him about this. Could you tell what 
the Save-the-Redwoods League did once you received 
an estimate from a cruiser? Where did the appraiser 
come in? 

Drury: Then we would get someone who was conversant with the 
market, the buying and selling of redwood logs and 
redwood lumber, and get his appraisal in the light 
of comparable transactions. 

Fry: In effect, what Major David T. Mason did in his re 
port was an appraisal of the holdings of the Pacific 
Lumber Company? 


Drury: He tried to gather together all the facts as to the 
amount of stumpage in the forests, the study of the 
timber cruises, which of course never reflect with 
extreme accuracy the amount of timber. They're simp 
ly an estimate. He studied comparative transactions 
for the sale of comparable stumnage, or he applied 
a differential to allow for differences in accessi 
bility or what they call the logging chance: the 
ease or difficulty of felling the trees and getting 
sound logs out of them, and factors of that sort. 

Major Mason was a former member of the U.S. 
Forest Service and later professor at the Univer 
sity of California in forestry, where I first met 
him. At the time of our dealings with the Pacific 
Lumber Company, he had set up as a private consultant. 
Somehow or other, it came about that when he did make 
the study, he made it jointly for both the Pacific 
Lumber Company and the Save-the-Redwoods League, 
both having confidence in Major Mason. His field 
was the utilization of timber products, methods of 
logging, and so forth, although he was quite versed 
in other matters, particularly reforestation. 

Major Mason studied for several months and then 
he rendered a report, a copy of which is available 
in the files of the league. I must confess that at 
the time, we were not entirely happy with his report 
because it assigned stumpage values that we thought 
were excessive. However, in the light of our expe 
rience in later years, they were moderate indeed. 
It took a long time for Major Mason's predictions as 
to the enhancement of stumpage values to materialize, 


but at the present time with our recent purchases, 
we are paying considerably more than he ever dreamt 
that redwood stumpage would go to. 

By and large, although then we thought his va 
luation was too high, and while as a matter of fact 
in our settlement with the Pacific Lumber Company 
we did not pay as much as he had concluded was the 
value, in general, the predictions he made as to the 
rise in the value of timber have come about, and then 
some. He drew an analogy between the present redwood 
region and the forests of Michigan in the early days 
(I think he was a graduate of the University of Mi 
chigan) where suddenly towards the end of the supply 
of virgin forest, stumpage values took a tremendous 
increase. I believe he spoke of white pine selling 
for as high as $40 a thousand, but we have paid as 
high as $60 a thousand for redwood, so it's hard to 
view those things in perspective. 

Major Mason was a very fine courtly gentleman 
and quite a diplomat, and undoubtedly his mediation 
helped in bringing the Save-the-Redwoods League and 
the Pacific Lumber Company together. 

Aubrey Drury in the 1920 's and '30*8 

After the formation of the Save-the-Redwoods League, 
did Aubrey have an official position in the league? 
Not an official position, but all through the affairs 
of the Save-the-Redwoods League and related organiza 
tions, like the California State Parks Council and 
the Point Lobos League, Aubrey Drury participated in 


the programming and in many cases in the carrying out 
of the publicity and other work. 

The greater part of the routine and the campaign 
ing of the Save-the-Redwoods League fell on my shoul 
ders, with advice from Aubrey, partly because he was 
very busily engaged at that time in other programs. 

Metric System Campaign 

Drury: I've already mentioned the metric system campaign which 
he carried on very effectively. Just recently, his 
files on that campaign, which was well-nigh world-wide, 
have been sent to the weights and measures section 
of the library of Columbia University, who expressed 
themselves as being very eager to have these papers. 
Some of them show surprisingly wide support through 
the United States in the twenties and early thirties 
of the conversion of our weights and measures to the 
metric system; and surprisingly, that idea is still 
abroad. Papers like the San Francisco Chronicle with 
in the last year have run editorials advocating the 
gradual take-over by the metric system. 

Among these papers are some that I think may prove 
valuable as mementoes. For instance, he had letters 
from General Pershing, from Thomas A. Edison, Luther 
Burbank, and men of that type who in the early twen 
ties were in the public eye. There are two or three 
transfer cases of files of correspondence all over 
the world, and documents, arguments that were presen 
ted before congressional committees, publications, 
that sort of thing. While the campaign did not sue- 


ceed so far as the United States is concerned, it 
did generate a tremendous amount of interest inter 
nationally. Whether it's simply a question of post 
hoc, I don't know, but during the period of this cam 
paign, ten or twelve other nations, seeing the interest 
in the metric system in the United States, went over 
to the metric weights and measures. 

It was defeated in Congress, or rather it never 
came to a head in Congress because of various circum 
stances. The main opposition was from the tool in 
dustry, the tap and dye makers who make the gauges 
from which manufacturing tools are made. They were 
able to persuade the congressional committees that 
it would lead to tremendous scrapping of existing 
plants and tremendous costs. 

Pry: Who were the main supporters of the metric system? 

Drury: Congressman Fred Britton of Illinois introduced a 
measure known as House Resolution Number 10 which 
called for the gradual adoption by the United States 
of the metric weights and measures. This was a cam 
paign that was financed by fairly widespread contri 
butions but the primary contributor was a very inter 
esting gentleman who was a retired textile manufac 
turer from Bayonne, New Jersey. His name was Albert 
Herbert. He was the principal stockholder for many 
years and I think president of the firm known as 
Everlastic, Incorporated, which was one of the first 
textile firms to introduce rubber into fabric. When 
Aubrey and I knew him and Aubrey was much more 
closely associated with him than I Mr. Herbert was 


pretty close to eighty years of age, still very vi 
gorous, and carried on a correspondence with people 
that he knew in many parts of the world. For a while, 
he very lavishly supported this campaign. It made 
a dent in the consciousness, not only of the United 
States, "but of other countries as well. 

It's a small thing and probably of no consequence, 
but one dramatic phase of the campaign was this. We 
had a young man named W. Mortimer Crocker, who was 
our legislative representative in Washington, D.C. 
He appeared at the legislative hearings and called 
on the congressmen who seemed to be making considerable 
progress toward bringing the House Resolution Number 
10 to a hearing. One morning, we read in the paper 
that there had been an accident in a motion picture 
theater in Washington where the weight of the snow 
had caused the roof to cave in. Within an hour, we 
got a wire saying that W. Mortimer Crocker and his 
wife, who had just been married, were in that thea 
ter. She was unhurt, but he was killed by a piece 
of falling concrete. So we always felt that we lost 
momentum in that campaign because of his dropping 
out of it. He was our chief lobbyist and it was ;just 
fate that it happened as it did. 

I notice that Professor Teller of the University 
and a great many others are reviving the metric sys 

Pry; Medical research and all the exact sciences are mea 
sured metrically now, so perhaps the impression made 
way back in the twenties will have some effect in the 
future, with the aid of the sciences. 


Educational Institution Accounts 

Drury: Another type of account in which Aubrey was involved 
was educational publicity and advertising. He car 
ried for years the advertising campaign of Tamalpais 
School in Mar in County, and there were several other 
educational institutions whose advertising and pub 
licity the Drury Company carried on. 

Fry: Were these mostly West Coast schools? 

Drury: Yes, they were all West Coast schools. For some years, 
the Drury Company acted as public relations advisors 
to the University of California. We helped compile 
some of the annual reports and carried on quite a cam 
paign of informative publicity about the University, 
In fact, if I'm not mistaken, the University Explorer 
radio program, which is now a long-time institution 
with the University, was started during the time when 
we were the advisors to the president and the adminis 
trative staff of the University. Dr. Sproul was pre 
sident at that time. 

Fry: How did you fit in with his regular public relations 

Drury: My recollection is that George Pettitt, who was then 
assistant to the president, gradually took over as 
public relations man. When we started on that, we 
worked with George. 

Some of the things that Aubrey was active in were 
not University affairs exactly, but they related to 
the University. There's quite a file, I know, on the 
work of what they called the State-wide Committee on 
Higher Education, of which Aubrey was the executive 


officer. If I recollect rightly, the purpose of that 
committee was to try to stave off the establishment 
of branches of the University in different parts of 
the state. When I was secretary to Benjamin Ide Whee 
ler, he always opposed not only widespread branches 
of the University, but the move to a branch in 
Los Angeles!, He did all he could to prevent it 
because he had the theory, in which frankly I still 
sympathize, that the University should be a unique 
institution. Of course, time and changing concepts 
have surely altered the whole character of the Uni 
versity of California as an institution of higher 
learning. Who's to say whether it's for the better 
or not? 

Fry: This State-wide Committee on Higher Education is not 
to be confused with the function of the current com 
mittee which is constructing a master plan of higher 
education for the various institutions of the state. 

Drury: Oh no, not in the slightest degree, but it had the 
same title in the thirties and it carried on infor 
mative publicity about the University's purposes. 
As I say, one of its objectives was to avoid the dup 
lication of the University plant elsewhere. 

Pry: Was "&*Ls publicity aimed at the alumni? 

Drury: Working through the alumni and the general public and 
through organizations of one sort or another, using 
all of the established techniques of publicity. 

Pry: Was this also under Sproul? 

Drury: I think it started before Dr. Sproul 's time. 

Pry: I think Campbell had this idea, too. 

Drury: Yes, I'm sure Dr. Campbell was a conservative like 


Benjamin Ide Wheeler on that subject. I'll see if 
I can't locate some of the old files and refresh my 

memory as to just what the purpose of this campaign 


Pry: Was Aubrey the first to use radio and incorporate it 
into advertising campaigns? 

Drury: I know that he used it early in the game. In fact, 
one of Aubrey's many jobs as a student and a young 
graduate of the University was at the Panama Pacific 
International Exposition when they first introduced 
transcontinental telephone service. He had charge 
of the exhibit of the American Telephone and Tele 
graph Company at the 1915 Exposition, and gave lec 
tures on the then-new institution of transcontinental 
telephone service, and then would invite the people 
to talk to someone in the East. In that way, they 
got the institution well known. It's taken as an 
everyday thing today, but it was quite a curiosity 

Aubrey was just out of college. His work was 
primarily editorial those first few years. 


Pry: But in the twenties, working with the Save-the-Red- 
woods League and the other accounts of your adver 
tising agency, I gather he did much more than edi 
torial work. 

*Piles on deposit in The Bancroft Library. 


Drury: Oh, yes. 

Fry: Did he handle entire campaigns? 

Drury: He had a very definite part in the councils of the 
league and these other groups. He was at one time 
secretary of the Point Lotos League, which was formed 
by Mrs. Robert Hunter in San Francisco for the pur 
pose of furthering the interests of Point Lobos 
which later did become a state park. 

Fry: By this time, you were a family man, and Aubrey was 
not. I was wondering if because of that, he did & 
great deal of the spadework in the clubs around the 
state and things like that? 

Drury: No, Aubrey was more an office man than he was a field 
man. He did most of his effective work from his cen 
tral station in his office. 

Fry: How was Aubrey in making contacts with influential 
and important people who could help? 

Drury: Oh, he was very effective in that way, and as was 
evidenced later on when he became secretary of the 
Save-the -Redwoods League when I went to Washington 
in 1940, he very effectively won the friendship and 
support of very important people. 

I remember one case of Mr. James Irvine, the nral- 
ti-millionaire who at one time was supposed to have 
owned about half of Orange County the big Irvine 
ranch down there. For many years, I had tried to get 
an audience with Mr. Irvine on behalf of the Save- 
the-Redwoods League, but had never been able to do 
so. It happened we had a good friend, Mr. C. F.. 
Krauss, who had contributed to the Save-the-Redwoods 
League, had been very generous with it, and it de- 


veloped that Mr. Krauss was a brother-in-law of Mr. 
Irvine, and through him and his friendship for Aubrey, 
Aubrey got to talk to Irvine* Before they were through, 
Mr. Irvine had made very substantial gifts to the 
Save-the-Redwoods League, particularly in Prairie 
Creek Redwoods State Park. 

Aubrey had a faculty for inducing confidence. 
He was quiet and unassuming, and he was so definitely 
and obviously selfless that there's no question that 
many of these monied people were more inclined to 
contribute through him than they would be through 
anyone else. He was very unworldly as far as money 
was concerned, both his and other people's, and they 
recognized that he was utterly unselfish and wasn't 
"on the make" in any way. The consequence is that 
during the twenty years that he was secretary of the 
league, they built up several million dollars of pri 
vate contributions in addition to what the state did. 


Pry: Did Aubrey have a hobby besides something directly 
related to the &aving-the-Jbedwoods or other agency 

Drury: Aubrey's primary hobby was books and their many aspects. 
He had a large library which is now being catalogued 
by Mr. John Swingle, who used to be with John Howell 
Bookstore and now is running his own concern, the Al- 
ta California Bookstore. Aubrey got a lot of pleasure 
in browsing in old bookstores, and he accumulated a 
terrific tonnage of books as a consequence. He has 


some very interesting old Californiana still in hie 
library, and his family wants to try to keep it in 
tact. Some of his materials I've already given to 
the Bancroft Library and expect to send a lot more 
of them as time goes on. 

He had very broad interests in many things, and 
in his youth he was quite an athlete. He played 
baseball. He even did some boxing. But in his lat 
ter years, he was more of an indoor athlete and did 
those things as most of us do vicariously. But 
he was an expert on baseball and interested in all 
sports. He wasn't a hunter or a fisherman. In his 
latter years, he did very little hiking, although 
even after he'd had surgery on his two feet, I re 
member we made one trip to the Calaveras South Grove 
where it was necessary to walk several miles, and he 
seemed to do it without any great difficulty because 
he was determined to do it. 

He had a great many fields of study in which he 
was interested. You might call them hobbies, but they 
were really more than that. He was quite well versed 
in genealogy, for instance, and belonged to half a 
dozen of these societies that look up each other's 
pedigrees. He left quite a body of material like 

He was in the process of compiling a dictionary 
of Americanisms. In that work, he had a great deal 
of material. He had had a great deal more material 
which was burnt in the Berkeley fire in 1924 when 
the family home burnt up. But he set right about 
reconstructing the dictionary, and I'd say he was 


about a third of the way through before he died; that 
material will be put in the hands of somebody who can 
carry it on. 

One interesting aspect of that study was his con 
stant purchase of hundreds upon hundreds of these pulp 
paper Westerns and stories of that sort, which he 
bought partly to read but primarily to go through and 
mark the Americanisms that were used in them. We had 
to dispose of several hundred of those. [Laughter] 
But it's interesting that he used that material, and 
a great many clippings from magazines and papers. 
He was quite scientific in his running down of col 
loquial expressions that were characteristic of Ame 
rican English rather than English generally. 

Pry: Did he go around to bars and restaurants and just 

listen to the conversations in the various parts of 
the country? 

Drury: Oh, yes. He followed all the accepted practices of 
the philologist. 

He was, of course, primarily interested in his 
tory and took quite a part in building up the Cali 
fornia Historical Society. A great many of these 
things that Aubrey did he did just as a labor of love. 
That was one of them. 

Fry: He never did it halfway, did he? 

Drury: No. He was always very effective. Mr. Walter Starr 
in the little biography he wrote of Aubrey said he 
felt he kept the California Historical Society on the 
map during the difficult years of the war. 

He was quite a student of military tactics, too. 
In his library he had quite a few of the standard 
works on the great battles of the world. 


Fry: How did he get into that interest? 

Drury: As a boy reading history. He was very well-rounded 
in his interests. He was interested in music, but 
not technically. I'd say if there was one thing that 
was his primary concern, it was history, and then of 
course in his latter years, conservation. 



Composition of the Bond Issue Bill A critique 
by Hindsight 

Fry: I believe three acts were passed by the legislature 

in 1927 to set up the state parks, and in the follow 
ing year, the bond issue appeared on the ballot as 
the referendum for a constitutional amendment, "Amend 
ment 4". 

Drury: Yes. Previously, under Governor Richardson in 1925, 
two state park bills had passed the legislature, but 
were vetoed by the governor. When Clement Calhoun 
Young, an alumnus of the University, was elected 
governor, we were in the happy position of his having 
been a partner of Duncan MacDuffie, one of the prin* 
cipal pioneers in the Save-the-Redwoods League and 
in his own right, a believer in park conservation. 
With the blessing of Governor Young, we drafted the 
three park bills: the first to create a commission 
of five members who would establish policies aid 
determine park personnel positions, adopt rules and 
regulations and in general determine the character and 
extent of the state park system; second, the bill to 


authorize a $6,000,000 bond issue referendum; and third, 
the state park survey bill. 

Pry: Why a bond issue rather than tax money? 

Drury: Well, in those days when public officials talked about 
economy they meant what they said, and it wasn't con 
ceivable that any appropriation approaching $6,000,000 
would be made even over a period of years. These were, 
if I remember rightly, bonds that matured over a thirty 

year 'period, and that was the reason the state had 

only a short time before passed what seemed to them a 

gargantuan highway bond issue. Furthermore, the Uni 
versity of California had succeeded in 1914 in getting 
an initial bond issue in what today would be considered 
a very moderate amount, $1,800,000. When we came to 
drafting this bond issue for the state parks, we started 
with the University of California Bond Issue Act and 
adapted it for state park purposes. Attorney John 
N. Calkins and I worked on it. He was the attorney 
for the regents of the University of California. 

On the insistence of Governor Young and Director 
of Finance Alexander M. Heron, we put in the proviso 
that no state money should be spent unless matched 
with gifts, either from private or other governmental 
sources, of land or money. Now, that phase of the 
act had its good points in that it was easier to pass 
an act on the basis that if you voted $6,000,000 in 
bonds you'd get $12,000,000 worth of property. 

But it had its shortcomings, as we found many 
years later, in that there were certain parts of the 
state that had no friends who could put up matching 
money or matching lands, so that our program became 


somewhat unbalanced. In the redwoods, we were able 
to get matching grants, and up to the limit of what 
the park commission felt they should spend out of 
this original $6,000,000 within a relatively few years 
the Save-the-Redwoods League matched state funds. 
In acquiring beaches in the South, there was prac 
tically no cash money contributed for matching, but 
counties like Los Angeles and San Diego and Santa 
Cruz and Monterey conveyed land that they owned, and 
under provisions of the act that was counted as a 
matching credit, so that the beach program and the 
redwoods program, which were the main issues on which 
we campaigned for the bonds, were carried out rather 
satisfactorily. There are other phases of the park 
program that unfortunately lag, particularly in the 
mountain counties where there were very important areas 
that should be acquired. That was true along the 
Sacramento River. One of the great tragedies in Ca 
lifornia is that practically none of the river banks 
in California, except a few relatively small parks 
that have been established just lately, are assured 
of preservation. In fact, the whole process of flood 
control along river banks almost required at least 
in the minds of the U.S. Corps of Engineers that 
they cut all trees and remove all foliage, for various 
reasons. One of these points was that in times of 
flood, these trees are apt to provide leverage for 
crevices that will cause bank erosion. Another is 
that this cover is the habitat of burrowing mammals 
like rodents gophers, squirrels, badgers and bea 
vers, and so forth. So there haven't been any ade- 


quate areas set aside along the Sacramento and San 
Joaquin rivers. There have been a few on both of 
them, but nothing on a basis adequate to represent 
that phase of the California scene, which is too bad. 

Another thing that the lack of matching money 
kept us from doing was preserving some of the most 
typical stands both of the coast and the valley oaks 
and the California sycamore, the western sycamore, 
and some of the other native trees which are rapidly 
disappearing. All of this country had magnificent 
coast oak forests in the early days. Some of Ber 
keley still has. Now you hear the city of Oakland 
named and you wonder how it got its name. Even more 
so with the valley oaks. Take down around Merced 
and Visalia. Steadily, with the increase of agri 
culture and subdivisions, these very characteristic 
trees have disappeared. One of the great tragedies, 
it seems to me, is the disappearance on El Camino 
Real of the oaks which used to be very widely dis 
tributed between San Francisco and Palo Alto. The 
whole county was beautifully forested fifty years 
ago, and now, as my friend Frederick Law Olmsted says, 
some of it's pretty close to becoming rural slums. 

Pry: Was the matching money not available unless the bond 
issue passed? In other words, was this provision of 
matching private money contingent on the bond issue 

Brury: Oh, yes; although there were later appropriations 

from the general fund and from the oil royalty fund 
that also contained the matching principle. The ma 
tching principle as expressed in the State Park Bond 


Act after we passed it, required something pretty close fco 
a Philadelphia lawyer to follow all of its intricacies, 
I remember we sat for days and worked it out so that 
we thought it was explicit. But when it came to put 
ting it into effect, there were many, many questions 
and some of the deputy attorney generals were very 
vague as to how you could apply the matching princi 
ple under the language of the act, particularly when 
gifts of land were made. Again and again we had si 
tuations where even the attorneys thought that the 
land donated took the place of money in buying other 
land. Well, obviously it couldn't. So when we went 
ahead with a $100,000 project, which required the 
cash expenditure of $100,000, again and again people 
would insist that if they put up land that was worth 
$50,000, we ought to be able to release $100,000 to 
buy the property. It doesn't work that way. We could 
release only $50,000. It got so that some of us felt 
a little like the Delphic Oracle when they came to 
us and wanted to know what they had to do in order 
to make this act work and get $100,000 out of it 
when they had an admixture of lands and money. As 
you can see, my explanation here is just about as un 
clear as the act was. 

We did make it work, however. And just before 
I left California to go to Washington in 1940, I think 
we got authorization to sell the last unit of bonds. 
It was the period between 1928 and 1940. 

Fry: Did you ever convert land into money for purchases? 

Drury; No, the state never did that. The Save-the-Redwoods 
League in effect did that. Once the state gets title 


to a piece of land, the only way they can divest them 
selves of that title is through an act of the legis 
lature. And I personally think (and some of the law 
yers don't agree with me) that in the case of the 
lands we bought with this state park bond issue, which 
was a constitutional amendment, the state could not 
divest itself of title to those lands without a vote 
of the people. 

Pry: Was this why the act was made a constitutional amend 

Drury: I frankly don't know for sure. It was passed by the 
legislature as a constitutional amendment, I guess, 
primarily so that you could get a referendum to the 
people. Under the law at that time, it did not re 
quire a two-thirds vote by the electorate, it required 
a majority vote. It required two-thirds vote in the 
legislature and was so passed. It seemed to be the 
fashion in those days to make almost the simplest 
piece of legislation a constitutional amendment. That's 
why the Constitution of the Slate of California has 
been criticized pretty severely as patchwork. The 
University is protected by a constitutional amendment. 
The Division of Highways, which is practically a law 
to itself, is also under the constitution more or less 
independent of the regular authorities and other di 
visions of the state. 

And I guess it was following that kind of pre 
cedent that those who introduced the bill decided to 
make it a constitutional amendment. 

Fry: I wonder if there was any particular event or maybe 
purchase that prompted the amendment in 1931 of the 


Park Act to exclude the words "outside the limits of 
incorporated cities" from the definition of land that 
you could purchase? 

Drury: Yes; that to some degree was due, I imagine, to the 

need for matching and the availability of land in cities 
like Santa Monica and Los Angeles for that purpose. 
The fact of the matter and I know because I was 
in on the drafting of the original State Park Act 
is that that amendment shouldn't have been necessary 
if, first, the stenographers who copied the last ver 
sion of the act had been a little more careful in their 
punctuation; and second, if those of us who had proof 
read it had been a little more alert The omission 
of the comma before the phrase "outside the limits 
of incorporated cities" resulted in an ambiguity in 
the act that really called for that amendment. 

Pry: So this wasn't a difference in philosophy then, that 
the land inside cities should be developed by the ci 

Drury: No. Well... I don't know. Maybe the philosophy that 

we started with was more one of considering that state 
parks should be outside incorporated cities and that 
the cities should take care of their own recreation. 
But there came up numerous cases where it was neces 
sary to establish parks within the limits of incor 
porated cities. This was reinforced by the fact that 
the matching lands were more readily obtainable in 
the cities. 

Support and Opposition in the Legislature 
Pry: At that time, there were certain patterns of interest 


represented in the legislature which were stronger 
than the party system within the state. Which in 
terests gave you support and which ones opposed the 
state park bills as they went through? 

Drury: I have no recollection of any group representing in 
dustry that offered any concerted opposition to the 

The bills were introduced by Senator Arthur H . 
Breed, who was a leader in the legislature. He was 
a member of the Sierra Club and associated with men 
of the type of Duncan McDuffie and C. C. Young, the 
governor. His sponsorship of the bills was impor 
tant. He also was the principal sponsor of the high 
way bills that had been passed up to that time, and 
I think that was one of the things that gave pres 
tige to the park program, as Senator Breed did tre 
mendously effective work with the legislature on bills. 
The Calif ornian State Auto Association, of which he 
was a director, supported him whole-heartedly. All 
of that, I think, made for this success. 

Pry: Were there any other people besides Breed that you'd 

like to mention in connection with passage of the bill? 

Drury: There were quite a few members of the legislature who 
were very helpful. Mr. Breed dominated the scene, 
however. We had splendid help from the then State 
Board of Control. Mr. Radcliff, a former newspaper 
publisher from Watsonville, was a member of the State 
Board of Control. I think he was the chairman. Un 
questionably the work of his staff in some of the fis 
cal work we had to do in marshalling our figures was 
extremely helpful. Assemblyman Biggar of Mendocino 


County was one of the very active members of the As 
sembly. If you would like a list of those, and I'm 
sure that the file that I have already given you or 
the file I could get hold of would show them. 


Pry: It might be interesting for future historians. What 
about the legislators who were more or less represen 
tatives of oil, mining, or lumbering industries or who 
felt pressure from them? Did you have trouble with 

Drury: Not so much because we were not as industry-conscious 
in those days as we are now. California had a much 
simpler economy. As far as beach lands were concerned, 
there was relatively little, if any, drilling for oil 
on the tidelands in those days, and the value of the 
underlying oil deposit was undreamed of so that there 
was little opposition on that score. But I'm not con 
scious, coming back to your original question, of any 
concerted opposition on the part of even the lumber 
industry in the legislature. 

Pry: Well, I did notice that about ten years later, the 
oil and gas industries tried to get a bill through 
which allowed mining and drilling in the parks for 
minerals if it was decided that they would be of more 
value this way than as parks. I wanted to ask you, 
in view of that, if in your 1927 campaign you didn't 
have some opposition from oil and gas people. And 
perhaps public utilities too? 

*See appendix, 


Drury: Surprisingly little. It wasn't automatic, of course. 
It involved getting the support of influential groups 
like the state Chamber of Commerce who represented 
the industrial and financial interests of the state, 
and the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce. We had whole 
hearted support from the Hearst newspapers and also 
from Mr. Harry Chandler of the Los Angeles Times, who 
was very park-minded. 

We did encounter occasional opposition, of course. 
I was just this morning going over some papers that 
had accumulated and I found an old fact-finding re 
port of a senate committee in 1933 which didn't rep 
resent the attitude of the whole legislature, I'm glad 
to say. This report gave us very short shrift so far 
as the newly-formed Division of Beaches and Parks 
it was then called the Division of Parks was con 
cerned. The conclusion of this committee, which of 
course was frankly a committee to effect economy in 
state government, was that no undue stress should be 
placed upon parks and recreation because they stated 
explicitly that they felt that probably this was the 
least important phase of state government. So they 
recommended that the biennial budget -- budgets then 
were made up for two years be reduced from $227,000 
to $100,000 for the biennium. In the next-to-last 
year of my tenure as chief of the Division of Beaches 
and Parks in 1958, we had approp ria ti o ns of almost 
$50,000,000, of which $41,000,000 was for the purchase 
of land. 

Another thing this committee said was that while 
it was intended to make the state parks self-support 
ing, perhaps this could not be done right away. [Laugh- 


ter] Chief DeTurk told me his last operating budget 
in Sacramento was just a little short of $10,000,000, 
of which about $1,000,000 is returned through fees 
and concessions and things of that sort. 

Fry: So you left a pretty well educated state, probably. 

Drury: Yes, I think along with New York and one or two other 
states, like Indiana, California perhaps is as far 
ahead as any in state parks. I guess that's the rea 
son that Secretary Ickes did me the honor of giving 
me the nod. 

Support was automatic both before and after the 
members of the legislature were elected. They were 
informed by their own constituents ladies from the 
women's clubs and garden clubs, the service clubs, 
the automobile club in their own communities of 
their desire to see this program go through, so that 
whoever was elected to the legislature was pretty 
well educated. It was an intensive job in which our 
many, many friends took a very active part. And as 
I say, the Save-the-Redwoods League more or less guided 
the program, although they couldn't have done it with 
out the support of all these other groups, particu 
larly in Southern California. 

In Southern California we got tremendous sup 
port for the whole program because they were tourist- 
conscious long before we were up here. Also, there 
was a very wonderful group of people of the type of 
Harry Chandler, all the old families down there who 
loved California and wanted to preserve at least some 
of its beauty for future generations. And the lumber 
men up north were not unduly antagonistic to this pro- 


gram. They of course have always said, "Well, it's 
all right to preserve some of the virgin forests of 
redwoods, but you're doing too much." I heard that 
forty years ago and I hear it today. My guess is 
that fifty years from now, looking back on what lit 
tle we've done, they'll say we were pikers. But as 
far as the redwood forests are concerned, that ques 
tion is almost hypothetical because there aren't ma 
ny large virgin tracts except those that are involved 
in the primary state parks. There are second growth 
lands that should be added to the parks, to round out 
the boundaries. That again is something we can dis 
cuss later when we take up planning. Have I given 
you enough about the bond issue bill? 

Pry: Yes. 

Drury: There was a very concerted compaign all through the 
state in which these people I've mentioned and many, 
many others participated. I think that the prestige 
of the University of California in its link with the 
Save-the-Redwoods League had a great deal to do with 
the success of the program. 

California State Parks Council 

Pry: Was the California State Parks Council set up to help 
the passage of the bills and the referendum? 

Drury: The council was conceived and organized prior to pas 
sage of the legislation in order to have a central 
clearing house of information during the campaign. 
It also helped a great deal on the state park survey; 
for instance, in addition to being a center of the 



Pry: "It" being you and... 

Drury: Well, being a group of people like William E. Colby, 
who later became the first chairman of the State Park 
Commission, and Duncan McDuffie, J. C. Sperry, and 
Prank W. Wentworth, and of course Dr. Robert G. Sproul, 
who had been treasurer of the league since the begin 
ning, and a great many others. John C. Merriam, of 

The Redwoods League inspired the formation of 
the California State Parks Council. Their letterhead 
will show that there must have been thirty or forty 
influential groups like the California State Chamber 
of Commerce, the California State Automobile Associ 
ation, the California Federation of Women's Clubs, 
the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, rotary clubs, 
garden clubs, and a great many other groups who in 
formally joined their efforts to carry out the pro. 
gram of the California State Parks Council. 

There were others like the Sempervirens Club in 
San Jose, who really were the original save the red 
woods group. They were the ones who around 1900 got 
the legislature to preserve the Big Basin. Those peo 
ple, and the California Historical Society and the 
Native Sons and Native Daughters of the Golden West 
who were relatively more numerous and possibly more 
influential then than they are now because natives 
today are not such a great army. [Laughter] I just 
happen to be one and so is Joseph R. Knowland. Por 
most of his adult life he was life chaiman of the . 
committee on Historic Landmarks of the Native Sons. 


Hia influence and the influence of other publishers 
that I already mentioned were very important. 

Campaign Techniques 

In terms of present day campaigning, it would seem 
pretty small, but we built up what we thought was a 
pretty good war chest. I don't have the figures here 
right now, but I think they're contained in that re 
port that I furnished to you. 
About $10,000. 

Yes* Well, that represented the specific expenditures 
that the California State Parks Council made for things 
like printing and that sort of thing. But all the 
other organizations, the automobile clubs and the Red 
woods League and the Sierra Club, undoubtedly spent 
more than that out of their own funds to further this 

It was interesting, though, that in the Redwoods 
League we circularized all of our members and we got 
contributions from New York and the Midwest and the 
deep South. Thomas A. Edison gave, I think, $25 for 
the special campaign fund to put through the state 
park bond issue simply because we were able to con 
vince him that it was worthwhile. Of course, it was 
more or less unique in those days; there weren't ma 
ny states that had state parks. New York had a splen 
did system, and Indiana had a good one. We issued 
certain very simple things like a leaflet that showed 
the virgin redwood forest on one side and the dese 
cration of the forest when it's cut on the other. 




Another showed an ocean beach with men, women, and 
children desporting themselves on it, and on the other 
side there was the same "beach with a high "barbed wire 
fence with a sign: "Private Property ~ Keep Off," 
and appropriate texts. Those leaflets were not more 
than three by five, but if I remember rightly, we 
printed a million of them in Northern California and 
a million in Southern California, and in those days 
that was a lot of literature. These were distributed 
through women's clubs and the Native Sons and Daugh 
ters, and many other organizations. It's all outlined 
in the manual in the file that you have. And we had 
a tremendous body of testimony from people whose o- 
pinion the public respected. Luther Burbank made a 
statement about saving the redwoods, and there were 
a great many other people of that caliber. It was 
all part of a concerted campaign that resulted in the 
overwhelming vote almost three to one in favor of 
the parks, 

I noticed Mary Pickford was on your council. 
Yes, and she contributed toward the war chest on the 
bond issue. 
Did she do anything? 

She only lent her name, I think. The motion picture 
industry was very helpful. They gave us a film that 
had been taken in the Giant Forest in Sequoia National 
Park in connection with a current movie. The setting 
of the film had to do with the redwoods. We also had 
a film that the Ford Motor Company gave us. When 
Joseph Shenek, the movie producer down there, saw it, 
he said, "Well, these redwoods may be several thou- 


sand years old, but by the look of the costumes worn 
by some of the ladies in these pictures, they were 
almost as old as the redwoods." [Laughter] It wasn't 
a very Hollywoodish picture. 

We had films that were distributed pretty widely 
in which we took representative views in the forests 
and the mountains and the seacoast and the desert. 
These were distributed to the cluba. Most of them 
I've turned over to the Bancroft Library. The cam 
paign was distinctly grass roots. 

The State Press 

Pry: In your publicity around the state with the newspa 
pers who were cooperating, did you ever have to re 
sort to creating a news situation in order to get 
coverage or anything like that? 

Drury: We relied on the fact that in the Olmsted survey 
there were certain outstanding projects emerging 
in different communities. When we went to those 
communities, we didn't ezactly play them down. 

Some of us made rather extensive tours inter 
viewing editors throughout the state of California. 
Elmer Reynolds was one of those who made the trip 
with us. He was the editor of the outdoor edition 
of the Stockton Record and had done some wonderful 
things to help the national parks* 

Pry: As I went over your records of the 1928 campaign, I 
was quite interested in your notes on all the news 
paper editors you saw. You must have met almost e- 


very editor in the state. 

Drury: The file you're referring to was made during our very 
intensive canvass of the whole state. We had quite 
a few very influential friends, one of whom later be 
came governor Friend W. Richardson, at that time 
the editor and proprietor of the Berkeley Daily Ga- 
_zette Richardson was originally a newspaperman in, 
Bakersfield, and then he bought the Berkeley Gazette 
and moved here. For many years, he was the president 
of the California Newspaper Association, and he was 
a great friend of my father, Wells Drury. We got 
quite a lot of help from him, in gaining entree to 
the press of the state. And of course, we had the 
larger papers supporting us because of associations 
of one sort or another. For instance, Steven T. Ma 
ther, who was the first director of national parks, 
worked very closely with Harry Chandler of the Los 
Angeles Times, and through him we got tremendous sup 
port for the California state park program, inclu 
ding the bond issue. The Hearst newspapers from the 
earliest days have always been very warm supporters 
of conservation and historical projects. Even in his 
youth, William Randolph Hearst was quite active in 
conserving the historic sites of California. He and 
Mr. Knowland, although they perhaps represented dif 
ferent poles so far as ideology was concerned, were 
fellow members of a committee of the Native Sons of 
the Golden West that acquired the gold discovery site 
at Coloma and the Sonoma Mission, and ultimately the 
Custom House at Monterey and other outstanding turn 
ing points in California history. 


I don't know whether you want to interlard this 
with the kind of whimsical anecdotes that my friend 
Horace Albright indulges in, but turning again to Go 
vernor Friend W. Richardson, he was a great fellow 
to poke fun at himself. He had a rather racy sense 
of humor and used to tell how he came up from San 
Bernardino and edited this Berkeley paper, which was 
something of a step upward; then he was appointed 
state printer, and then he was elected state trea 
surer, and finally he managed to be elected governor 
of the state. When he was installed in his office, 
one of his fellow townsmen from down in San Bernar 
dino called him and they talked about the old times. 
Finally, Friend Richardson said, "Well, Bill, what 
did the boys down in San Bernardino say when they 
learned I'd been elected governor?" (Friend Richard 
son tells this himself.) "Oh," he said, "they didn't 
say much of anything, they just laughed." [Laughter] 

And another story he told on himself is about 
when he was first elected and he made a tour of the 
state institutions, including the insane asylums. 
When he was at Napa the superintendent called in all 
the employees and inmates and had a general assembly 
to which the governor addressed a few words. Right 
in the midst of the governor's speech, one man in the 
audience rose and clapped his hand to his head and 
said, "Good Lord, I can't stand any more of this." 
Amid considerable commotion, he was led out of the 
room. The meeting adjourned, and as they were going 
out, the governor asked the superintendent what was 
the matter with that man. "Well," he said, "I don't 


know, it's a queer case. We thought that man was in 
curably insane. This is the first evidence of sa 
nity he's shown in years." [Laughter] That isn't 
entirely historical, but it provides footnotes to 

Pry: While we're discussing editors, do you know anything 

about Mr. Lutgens and the California Press Association? 

Drury: I knew Harry Lutgens quite well. He was an associate 
and more or less an assistant to Friend Richardson in 
the press association, and later he was Governor Ri 
chardson's chief secretary. Very able man. 

Pry: How strong was the press association? If you got its 
backing on a campaign, did this lead to a certain a- 
mount of automatic cooperation for you in getting 
stories into less enthusiastic newspapers? 

Drury: To a certain extent in such circles, the word goes 

around that this is a worthwhile cause, and we never 
had much trouble getting publicity for the park pro 
gram. It was something that appealed to the public 
perhaps more then than it does now, because the idea 
was newer. 

Pry: I noticed going over your old notes last night from 
the 1928 campaign, that you had noted some editors 
were convinced on one count, such as the matching 
funds, while others were convinced on a different 
count. Did Harry Chandler, in Los Angeles, have a 
particular reason for backing this, or was he just 
a conservationist from the beginning? 

Drury: He was generally favorable to the whole program. He 
was very historically minded. It was through Mr. 
Chandler's efforts ttat, for instance, our present 


atate park at Olivera Street, which we call the Pueb 
lo de Loa Angeles, the last vestige of the original 
Mexican settlement of Loa Angeles, was established. 
This was done only a few years ago, but its accomp 
lishment even then was due to the help of the Los 
Angeles Times and moneya that Mr. Chandler contribu 
ted, and his encouragement of Mrs. Christine Sterling, 
who was the key person in the program to clean up and 
preserve Olivera Street. 

Mr. Chandler's son-in-law, Mr. Jack Garland, who 
incidentally was quite prominent in connection with 
the Winter Olympics and is on the International Olym 
pic Committee, has followed up. He's a great aupporter 
of the Save-the-Redwoods League; he's contributed funds 
for three memorial groves, two of them in honor of 
his father and mother, one to commemorate Harry Chand 
ler, and another to commemorate his grandfather, Jo 
nathan May Garland. Mr. Garland has been active in 
the Save-the-Redwoods League for twenty years. He 
also was quite active in establishing a redwood grove 
through gifts from the California Real Estate Asso 
ciation several years ago. My brother Aubrey handled 
that, and in fact, he knew Mr. Garland much better 
than I do. 

National Conference on State Parks 

Pry: I kept running across allusions to a meeting of the 

National Conference on State Parks in Berkeley in 1928 
and the way that it was an additional shot in the arm 
for an already healthy campaign. I was wondering how 


they just happened to meet out here at such a well- 
timed period. 

Drury: It didn't just happen, it was promoted. Just before 
we had our big campaign in '28, Mr. Mather and the 
National Conference on State Parks came to San Fran 
cisco. We had a conclave, at which a great deal of 
good medicine was made. I sent Dr. Hammond of the 
Bancroft Library, about six months ago, one of these 
old-fashioned panoramic photographs of all the peo 
ple at a session in Muir Woods, and in that are a 
great many rather notable people Colonel Richard 
Lieber of Indiana, for instance, who really headed 
up an important park movement ahead of California, 
and several from New York whose names I don't remem 
ber, Miss Pearl Chase of Santa Barbara, who's still 
going strong as a promoter of good works, national, 
state, and Santa Barbara-an. I don't think Horace 
Albright was there that time, although he was at most 
of them. The names insofar as I could remember them 
are on the back of that photograph. 

Pry: Besides making additional good copy for your campaign 
and the causes you were espousing, what other ways 
did it help your campaign? Were you able to use these 
people when they were out here? 

Drury: Oh, yes. One of the men in that group who was later 
chairman of our National Parks Advisory Committee was 
Captain Charles G. Sauers of Indiana. He was an as 
sistant to Colonel Lieber and later succeeded him in 
charge of Indiana parks. He came to California prior 
to the bond issue and made a very splendid report on 
park possibilities. He was an expert anyhow, but the 


fact that he came from gome place far enough away from 
home made him even more so, so far as the local peo 
ple were concerned* 

Pry: And were there others who would do this sort of thing? 

Drury: Yes, there were others. They were all in that group 
that I was telling you about. One very active person 
was Miss Beatrice V/ard, executive secretary of the 
National Conference of State Parks. Also, Miss Ear- 
lean James, of Washington B.C., who later was secre 
tary for many years. Miss James, I think, more than 
anyone else is entitled to credit for keeping the or 
ganization alive and augmenting its usefulness. But 
on the other hand, Horace Albright has been with it 
from the very beginning, and when he wasn't president, 
he was chairman of the board or was in there pitching 
on some important phase of it. 

Pry: Mr. Parquhar told me that the National Conference on 
State Parks, which was just beginning in the middle 
twenties, I guess, asked you to be their head in 1924 
or '25. Do you remember about that? 

Drury: No, I don't remember that. One thing Mr. Parquhar 
might have had in mind was that during the Coolidge 
administration I was asked by Mr. Chauncey J. Ham- 
lin, who was the chairman of the President's Conference 
on Outdoor Recreation, to come to Washington to take 
executive charge of that investigation and study, but 
it was a time when we were just hitting our stride 
in the Save-the-Redwoods in the state park movement 
and I felt that I could be of more use to the state 
of California and to myself by remaining here, 

I do remember the inauguration of the National 


Conference on State Parks. Mr. Albright could tell 
you a lot more than I could about it. In fact, he 
still is chairman of the board of directors. Ste 
phen T. Mather promoted the formation of the National 
Conference on State Parks (although there were relatively 
few state parks in the country then) because he was 
anxious, as some of the rest of us later were, to have 
the states take their share of responsibility in park 
and recreational matters. Mr. Mather also had the 
motive that I was moved by later on, sometimes to my 
sorrow, of inducing the states to take responsibility 
for areas that were being promoted for national parks 
but which didn't measure up to the highest standards 
of national parks. Of course, that was a battle that 
none of us ever could win. 

What was your personal relationship to the National 
Conference on State Parks? 

I've been on that board quite a few times. I got 
off the board when I was director of national parks 
because there were so many other members of the Park 
Service on it, that I felt that it was a little top 

And then I felt anyhow that it would be better 
to be on the outside rather than too closely asso 
ciated with it. I had a conviction, and I still have 
it, that the states' rights theory is a pretty good 
one, but that it also implies states' responsibili 
ty. I used to give pain to some of my bureaucratic 
friends by some of my utterances along the lines that 
the object of the National Park Service should be to 
encourage the states to stand on their own feet and 


not lean on the federal government. 

The State Park Commission 
Its Formation 

Pry: Could you explain a little bit about the history of 
the State Park Commission bill? 

Drury: Yes. Up until the State Park Commission was estab 
lished, there were a half a dozen separate commis 
sions, one for each park. The Save-the-Redwoods 
League felt that what we were building up was so im 
portant to the state of California that there ought 
to be some specific body to take the responsibility 
for it. It was quite a question in the early days 
as to just how these redwood groves that were pre 
served should be administered. It was finally con 
cluded that only the state had sufficient continu 
ity to warrant putting them under that jurisdiction. 

Intermittently over the years, I have had 
some misgivings, and so have others, as to whether 
that was the wisest course to have followed. The 
trouble is that regimes change, and you have a pe 
riod of very dependable trusteeship, and then per 
haps you have a period (we've had several) during 
which all functions of the government are administered 
on a more or less political basis, rather than on a 
basis of policy and principle; and there is a pre 
ference for pressure groups, or currying to politi 
cal favor. But that risk the Redwoods League felt 
they had to take. 

In 1925, during the regime of Governor Richard- 


son, two bills were introduced: one to create a state 
park commission; another to authorize a state park 
survey. ril hey passed the legislature almost unanimous 
ly, but they were vetoed by the governor. He took 
the position that they represented potential tremen 
dous increase in state expenditures, and he doubted 
the wisdom of it. There was also a certain amount 
of opposition because the lumbermen felt that the state 
parks should be administered by the State Board of 
Forestry. That board's chairman, George C. Pardee, 
former governor of the state, is entitled to a great 
deal of credit for the part the state took in saving 
the redwoods. Solon V/iiiiams was also on the board 
and was a great help. The state forester was Mer- 
ritt Pratt, and his deputy was William Ryder, both 
of them very fine conservationists and both very much 
interested in the redwoods. 

After several years, we finally got to the point 
where it was felt that it was highly desirable to have 
a separate commission to administer all state parks 
and build up the state park system. Not that there 
was anything wrong with the forestry board, but their 
approach to the matters of the forest policy was dif 
ferent from that of a park agency. Their primary 
purpose was to conserve for consumption, while the 
parks were for the purpose of preserving for enjoy 
ment and maintaining the pristine condition of the 
forests. There was a slight degree of dissent, but 
not anything very serious. The forestry board was 
very broad-minded about it when some of us felt we'd 
better draft legislation which would create a dis- 


tinct state park commission and centralize under their 
control all matters of policy and acquisition, rules 
and regulations. 

Well, anyhow, Governor Richardson vetoed the 1925 
bills and in 1927, when C. c . Young became governor, 
we drafted new "bills. 

Fry: Before we get off the park commission bill, I would 
like to ask if you tried to write into this bill a 
safeguard against future commissioners who might want 
commission membership just for their personal profit 
real estate speculation, or even graft. Some states 
have had very unhappy experiences. 

Drury: No. The bill is, rightly or wrongly, drafted in ra 
ther simple form. One of the things that I have since 
regretted is that we didn't have a clearer statement 
of the purpose of the state park system. Y/hen the 
National Park Act was adopted it contained a very clear 
statement of the purposes of the national parks: to 
preserve the parks and the scenery and the objects 
of scientific and historical interests therein, and 
to make them available for public enjoyment in such 
manner and by such means as would assure their pre 
servation for the enjoyment of future generations. 
The assumption in everyone's mind was that the state 
park system would have a similar purpose, which in 
deed it has had. Since then, we have had adoption 
of principles by the State Park Commission. 

There were no stipulations as to qualifications 
of the commissioners, if that is what your question 
implies; and I would seriously doubt that there should 
be such restrictions. Later, as you doubtless know, 


the legislature increased the commission to seven mem 
bers, and before that, after very considerable dis 
cussion and the vetoing of several bills, the legis 
lature put the terms on a staggered basis so that no 
single administration could control the entire com 
mission immediately. There's been some question as 
to whether they shouldn't be put back on a simultaneous 
term basis. Under the staggered term system, about 
midway through a governor's administration, he controls 
the majority of the commission. 

That was the commission's experience under Olson and 
Merriam, then. 

It was during the war administration that Governor 
Warren finally, with some reluctance, signed the bill 
which had been vetoed by him and by preceding gover 
nors, which provided the staggered terms. I don't 
think the Redwoods League had any primary part in it, 
but there was a general feeling that it would be bet 
ter to have staggered terms. 

When we were writing the 1927 bill, we had some 
interesting discussions with Governor Young's direc 
tor of finance, Alexander Heron, who was a sort of 
brain-truster in the Young administration and did a 
splendid job of reorganizing on a departmental basis. 
We brought up this question of staggered terms, and 
Heron was adamant that all commissioners should hold 
office upon appointment by the governor and that their 
terms should terminate with the governor's termination. 
His theory was that an administration would have a 
free hand so far as policy-making bodies are concerned. 
They shouldn't be hampered by hold-overs from previous 


regimes. In the light of long legal experience, it 
is found that that works very well when you have a 
beneficient administration; not so well when you have 
a turn for the worse. So all of us finally became 
convinced that staggered terms are desirable, and I 
still think that this is true. However, it doesn't 
make much difference nowadays, because legislation 
passed last year [1959] divested the State Park Com 
mission of its policy-making or administrative au 
thority, and made it more or less a rubber stamp for 
the Department of natural Resources. 

That probably is what Mr. Heron, and possibly 
Governor Young, would have wanted. On this theory 
of direct-line administration, the chief executive 
assumes responsibility for everything that takes place 
in the administration. 

To go back, though, that was the first piece of 
legislation in the 1927 parks program, and it was 
largely devised by the Save-the-Redwoods League. 

Of course, along with the new commission, the 
dominant personality shaping our early program was 
Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., the eminent landscape 
architect, who was engaged by the park commission to 
carry on the state park survey, in which quite a few 
of us acted as assistants to Mr. Olmsted. He enun 
ciated principles that have been followed to this 
day as to sound and appropriate use of state park 
areas. That again is a long story. Y/e might devote 
a session to that. [cf. pp. 209ff. ] 


The First Commissioners and Governor Young 

Pry: What part did you play in seeing that the right men 
were appointed to the board? 

Drury: I wouldn't say that I played any important part. The 
most important person in that was Duncan McDuffie. 
I think I've already told you that the fortunate as 
sociation that helped us tremendously in the state 
park program was the fact that Duncan McDuffie was 
a partner in the Mas on -McDuffie Company with C. C.. 
Young, who in 1927 was elected governor. They were, 
I imagine, classmates; at least they went to college 
about the same time, along v/ith two or three other 
very splendid gentlemen Elmer Rowell, who was the 
brother of Chester Rowell, the publicist, and Perry 
Tompkins. During the one year that I went to Lowell 
High School in San Francisco, all three -- C. C. Young, 
Perry Tompkins, and Elmer Rowell were high school 
teachers. I took courses with Rowell and C. C. Young. 
Young was a teacher of English, I remember; he col 
laborated with Charles Mills Gayley in issuing a 
book on English poetry, Principles and Progress of 
English Poetry. 

When these young men had made enough money teach 
ing school, if it's possible to do any such thing, 
they found an opportunity to buy out the firm of a 
man named Mason in Berkeley, a very elderly gentleman 
who wanted to dispose of his real estate business. 
These men, McDuffie, Young, Rowell, and Tompkins, 
formed the firm of Mason-McDuffie Company, with Dun 
can as president. Duncan McDuffie, who was a fine 


figure of a man and had a character to match, had been 
in various commercial enterprises, one of them in the 
firm of Taft and Pennoyer in Oakland, and, as he ex 
pressed it, as one of their employees he "took his 
turn on the floor;" in other words, he was for a while 
a "floor-walker," and a very imposing one in this de 
partment store. 

Pry: He was rather tall? 

Drury: He was well over six feet; yes, six feet two or three. 

Pry: Could you describe C. C. Young? 

Drury: C. C. Young was a very vigorous, wiry sort of a man, 
of medium height, much more serious than the rest of 
them, but a very capable and able gentleman, and his 
four years as governor of California unquestionably 
contributed a great deal to conservation of scenic 
and historic spots. Because, having such complete 
confidence in Duncan McDuffie, he more or less fol 
lowed the pattern that McDuffie set. 

When it came to appropriating money, he was more 
the Calvin Coolidge type than the current types. I 
remember that in the case of the state park survey, 
they appropriated $30,000, which in those days was 
thought to be a lot of money, and under his prero 
gative as governor he cut it in half before he signed 
the bill. Governor Young W as an ultra-conservative, 
but with some difficulty Duncan McDuffie persuaded 
him that this was a very important program and the 
state should put something into it. It was with the 
governor's blessing and support that the State Park 
Commission was appointed. 

The two organizations that were most influential 


with the governor were the Sierra Club and the Save- 
the-Redwoods League. As a matter of logic, the go 
vernor, I think, chose the members of the first State 
Park Commission from among them and also from among 
a very influential group in Los Angeles, who were 
also members of the Save-the-Redwoods League and al 
so quite active in the Los Angeles Chamber of Com 

The first State Park Commission was headed by 
William E. Colby, one of the founders of the Sierra 
Club and a great conservationist, a friend and lieu 
tenant of John Muir. He was by common consent made 
the chairman of the first park commission. Then 
there was Henry W. O'Melveny of Los Angeles, a pro 
minent attorney and of a pioneer family down there; 
he had long been interested in California history 
and conservation. Frederick Russell Burnham, the 
celebrated scout who served in the Boer War and was 
a friend of Cecil Rhodes in South Africa; William 
P. Chandler from Fresno, a former state senator; and 
Ray Lyman Wilbur, president of Stanford University, 
who later became secretary of the interior and was 
of tremendous help to California state parks in that 
position. When Dr. Wilbur was appointed secretary 
of the interior by Herbert Hoover, Mr. Arthur E. Con- 
nick, who has for many years been president of the 
Save-the-Redwoods League and was one of the pioneers 
of the movement, was appointed in his stead. He 
served until the complexion of the state changed from 
Republican to Democratic, which it did for four years 
under Culbert L. Olson, beginning in 1938. 


Pry: Why wasn't Duncan McDuffie on the commission? 

Drury: At the time the governor wanted to appoint Duncan Mc 
Duffie, but "being the man that he was, Duncan refused 
because he felt that because of his business relation 
ship to the governor, he'd better not take any offi 
cial position, which he never did. 

Pry: That brings me naturally to my next question. Mr. 
McDuffie was a real estate man, and since some sub- 
dividers seemed apprehensive about the Olmsted state 
park survey, I was wondering if this put Mr. McDuffie 
in a difficult position with his fellow realtors when 
he was working so closely with the park commission? 

Drury: No, I don't think so. In the first place, there wasn't 
as much intensive subdivision then and there was much 
more available land. And second, Duncan McDuffie was 
a man of supremely high principles and wouldn't have 
been worried about the concern of subdividers or any 
other interests in a matter where he knew he was right. 

The other person who should be mentioned with 
the commission is Colonel Charles B. Wing, who was 
appointed chief of the Division of Beaches and Parks, 
and was a very able man in many respects, particularly 
in his engineering knowledge. He was a retired Stan 
ford professor of civil engineering. 

The group I have mentioned got the state parks 
system off to a very good start. In other words, in 
the early days we were very fortunate in having good 
friends at court. 

Pry: It seemed to set a pretty good precedent. 

Drury: Yes, it was auspicious. It was utterly non-political; 
the appointments were all based on merit and the men 
were all actively interested. 


Political Turnover in the Commission 

Pry: In the Oakland Tribune files, I found some notes on 

some of the appointees of various governors which in 
dicate how men came and went on the park commission, 
but they don't tell the full story, 

Drury: Well, as I have said, the theory under which the Young 
administration operated was that the people had selec 
ted the governor and they should hold him responsible 
for everything that happened. It sounds very well 
in theory, but it didn't always work out well because 
when Governor Young went out after four years, Gover 
nor Rolph came in and he appointed a totally different 
commission. When Governor Merriam came in, he made 
some changes, not as many as Rolph had made, and when 
Governor Olson came in in 1939, there was a clean 
sweep, a totally new park commission. 

That was particularly hard on the staff members 
who happened to survive; I was one of them. The edu 
cational task involved in having every four years 
five new commissioners was considerable; it took a 
lot of time. My experience with political employees 
generally is that although they get their jobs by po 
litics, they don't want to hold them that way and 
they try to measure up to their responsibilities. 
Most of the time they do. That was surely true of 
most of our park commissioners. We had one or two 
that were of mediocre caliber, but by and large they 
were men of good will and after they'd gotten a pret 
ty complete education, just before their terms ex 
pired, they functioned pretty well. Then you'd have 


to start all over again. 

Pry: Mr. Colby told us he resigned when Mrs. Gregory was 
fired by an incoming governor. Apparently he felt 
that she had been one who more or less held the com 
mission together because she was the main secretary. 

Drury: She was a very able woman, still is. She lives in 

Alameda. It was a great calamity when she and Colo 
nel Wing were dropped out at the beginning of the 
Merriam administration. 

When that happened, I was traveling in the Sa 
cramento Valley. It was about ten o'clock at night, 
and I called up home to explain why I was late and 
my wife told me she just got a message that Colonel 
Wing and Mrs. Gregory had been displaced by Governor 
Merriam. Well, it happened that Governor Prank Mer 
riam was a first cousin and boyhood friend of Dr. 
John C. Merriam, president of the Save-the-Redwoods 
League, who was then in Washington, D.C., as presi 
dent of the Carnegie Institution. So it must have 
been eleven o'clock or later when I got on the phone 
and called Dr. Merriam in Washington, not realizing 
that it was one o'clock in the morning there. We 
didn't have a very satisfactory discussion, but he 
called up after he'd had a good sleep and breakfast 
the next morning and he did intercede with his cou 
sin. But the die was cast. If we had knowuin time, 
they were devoted to each other and Frank Merriam 
would have unquestionably acceded to Dr. John C.'a 
insistence and kept these two very capable people. 
It was a great blow to the state park system when 
they were lost. 


I had persisted through the Young and Rolph ad 
ministrations and even lasted through the Olson ad 
ministration, which gave me a reputation for being 
a much better politician than I really was. The fact 
of the matter was, I didn't care except for the good 
of the cause. And then when I was appointed by the 
Democratic administration in Washington, why, it sort 
of tended to spread confusion, since I was a Repub 

Fry: Well, you know it looks like, superficially at least, 
that you took that position in Washington right af 
ter Olson came in and began his big reshuffling. 

Drury: No, I was there a year or two under Governor Olson. 

Fry: Was your going the result of any great confusion on 
the California level? 

Drury: No. It was just that my friend Cammerer had had a 
nervous breakdown and wanted to be relieved, and so 
wonder of wonders, Harold L. I ekes invited me again 
to come back there which he subsequently repented. 

Fry: Would you like to compare Darwin Tate and A. E. Hen- 
ning, who served their respective terms as chiefs of 
the state parks in the thirties? 

Drury: They're both good fellows. Henning was an engineer; 
I don't know what Tate's background was. Tate is 
now running a concession in one of the state parks 
and I imagine making a great deal more money than he 
ever made in a political job. 

Fry: It was a little hard for me to understand exactly 
where the power of the State Park Commission came 
from and where it went to, and what its relation- 


ship was to the Department of Natural Resources. 
Drury: Prom 1927 until 1959, when the legislature virtually 
abolished the park commission, or at least stripped 
it of all but the power to recommend, there's been 
considerable doubt; it partly is due to circumstances 
none of us anticipated, that there was from the start 
an ambiguous relationship between the Department and 
the commission. Due to the over-eagerness of Mr. He 
ron, who may very well have been entirfeiy right, as 
soon as his bill creating the Department of Natural 
Resources was passed, he immediately went to the go 
vernor and got the governor to sign it. Then in due 
course, our bill creating the State Park Commission, 
which meanwhile we had in a half-hearted way tried 
to amend to conform to his departmental bill, went 
to the legislature and was signed by the governor as 
a routine procedure, after the measure creating the 
Department of Natural Resources. 

The great difficulty was that our bill, like a 
great many that were passed in those days, contained 
a final clause: "All acts or portions of acts incon 
sistent herewith are hereby repealed." Since the 
departmental bill was signed first and became law 
first, the State Park Commission bill, being signed 
later, took precedence over anything in the previous 
bill and gave the State Park Commission some autho 
rity which perhaps in theory ought to have been ves 
ted in the Department of Natural Resources. There 
it stood for a great many years. About 1949, they 
codified the act, but that simply compounded the con 
fusion because the Department of Public Resources 


Code tried without changing any enactments of the le 
gislature to embody it in the code. You can turn to 
one part of the code and find something which was more 
or less inconsistent with something you would find 
in another part. Now, that all has to do with the 
principles and practice of government by commission 
or by direct line administrative action, and I don't 
think the last word has been said yet on that subject. 

It's my opinion that it's highly desirable in 
a state like California, with its diverse interests, 
to have a body of at least five members who are rep 
resentative citizens, presumably are above local or 
political pressure and who are vested with authority 
to determine basic policies. By that, I mean not 
only how the parks should be run, but what their 
character should be, which is determined pretty largely 
by the lands which you buy and also the purpose for 
which you buy them. It depends also, of course, on 
the regulations as to how the park should be used by 
the public. That kind of a body is a sort of judi 
cial agency before which interested citizens can pre 
sent evidence for adjudication on policy questions, 
such as whether a new freeway should be built through 
the redwood parks. The Emerald Bay Bridge is another 
good example. The park commission took a position 
on both of those issues on the basis of discussions 
in open meetings at which opponents and proponents 
of the building of these freeways could present their 
arguments. I think that's the American way of doing 
things . 

And having operated under both systems in the 
Department of Interior for the National Park Service, 
and under the State Park Commission for the state 


parka, I think it's better to have, as I say, some 
quasi- judicial body of that sort that can pass on 
policy issues on the basis of evidence. 

Pry: Would this be more likely to respond to the true 

needs of the community than a legislative committee 
that would have a hearing , or a governor ' s . . . 

Drury: Well, a legislative committee is just a sounding 
board. It is very rare that any appeal to reason 
or even to emotions very definitely affects the fi 
nal vote in a legislative committee. Those things 
are more or less predetermined. Members of legis 
lative committees are of course subjected to pressure 
from their own communities, or in many cases, from 
the groups that they represent or from which they 
come. If they are undecided, it's inevitable that 
the people they know best and regarding whose opinion 
they are concerned should bring almost irresistable 
pressure upon them to take a certain position. 

I remember in some of our national park hearings 
there were issues in Oklahoma where one of the se 
nators [Kerr] was a man very high up in the oil in 
dustry. We didn't have a chance in the world of win 
ning out on any issue that involved a question of 
drilling for oil, so far as he was concerned. And 
the same thing applies to lumbermen and to other state 
groups, and to special local projects which in the 
minds of their representatives are necessary if they 
are to survive in office and the public is still to 
get the benefit of their indispensable services. So 
there you are on that. 


Olmsted's Survey 

Fry: The park survey act came right on the heels of the 
act for the bond issue, didn't it? 

Drury: Yes; the second park act, passed in 1927, had to do 
with a state park survey. We asked for a $30,000 
appropriation, but Governor Young cut it to $15,000. 
When you think that we spent about $300,000 over a 
period of three years for the recent California rec 
reation survey, you can see how extremely modest 
both the State Parks Council and Governor Young were 

Pry: Why did you have the state park survey plan written 
as a law when it was already legal? 

Drury: For one thing, so that it could carry an appropria 
tion, and for another thing, because of the public 
interest it would generate as it passed through the 
legislature and the bond issue became the subject of 
a campaign before the general voting public. 

The Team 

Fry: I guess the first task of the new park commission was 
that of putting into effect the survey legislation. 

Drury: Yes. The commission engaged Frederick Law Olmsted 

to conduct the survey. The $15,000 didn't more than 
pay routine expenses. Olmsted was a very capable 
planner and landscape architect, and he very generous- 
ly put a tremendous amount of time into it. 

Fry: I noticed there was a deadline of a year to survey 
the whole state until December, 1928. 

Drury: It was too exacting a deadline. That's always done 


in legislation of this sort. Otherwise, some peo 
ple might work on it forever. But you'd have to 
know Frederick Olmsted to appreciate the heroic ef 
forts he went through. I have a file of projects 
that were suggested originally as potential state 
parks, some of them after the survey was authorized 
and many before, which I'm going to put in Bancroft 
Library. There must be several hundred. Some were 
quite worthy projects which have long since mate 
rialized; others were more or less half-baked* Fre 
derick Olmsted outlined the mechanics of bringing 
them in. The many suggestions were handled by a 
team of which he was the head; some important mem 
bers were Professor Harry Shepherd, who recently 
retired from the landscape architecture department 
of the University; Daniel R. Hull, who had been the 
landscape architect with the National Park Service 
and who later joined us in the state parks as our 
state park landscape architect; and Emerson Knight, 
who passed away recently, a San Francisco landscape 
architect. And I remember several others: George 
Gibbs, who was with the firm of Olmsted Brothers; 
Richard Sias, who is now head of regional planning 
for the National Park Service in San Francisco; 
L. Deming Tilton, planning director in Santa Bar 
bara and later in San Francisco, who has since passed 
away; and quite a group of younger men, a great 
many of them from the firm of Olmsted Brothers. 
They examined the proposed projects and correlated 
and classified them, and then Mr. Olmsted wrote his 
report. It's referred to as California State Park 


Survey , which perhaps is a little misleading. It's 
more a reconnaissance of state park possibilities. 
I had the pleasure of compiling the California State 
Park Survey and putting it through the state print 
ing office in 1929, gathering the illustrations, and 
writing some of the text. In fact, I even found one 
of the illustrations with my name on it as the pho 
tographer, which is a talent I never really had, but 
the picture they credited to me was surprisingly 

Problems in Kaintaining Balance 

Fry: In the survey Olmsted speaks of balance in the park 
system and how necessary this is. I'm referring to 
Olmsted 's rule of proportion among scenic, recre 
ational and historical parks, as well as geographi 
cal balance, and also balance between types of parks 
redwood, seacoast, mountain, desert, lake, river, 
and historic. In the ensuing years, were you able 
to follow this three-way design for balance in 
your policies regarding actual acquisition? 

Drury: Surprisingly well. The great obstacle to obtaining 
anything like a perfect balance was the requirement 
of matching provisions in state appropriations, be 
cause you had to get money either from private indi 
viduals or from local communities to match state 
money. It was sometimes impossible to carry out our 
projects in communities where money was scarce or 
unusually difficult to raise. 

Pry: But the commission adopted this ideal of balance as 


an official policy anyway, is that correct? 

Drury: They of course approved the Olmsted plan which sta 
ted this principle. It was a principle which we fol 
lowed in succeeding years as we gained more experi 
ence in rounding out the state park system. That's 
all pretty well expounded in the recent five-year 
master plan, which we issued in 1956 and which you 
have on file. The commission started out with Olm- 
sted's general assumption, but it wasn't as clearly 
defined as it was later on. Most principles, like 
the rules of grammar, are codified after the event 
rather than "before. [Laughter] 

Pry: Olmsted in his report says a great deal about the 
problemsof seacoast parks on tidelands, where pri 
vate lands end and the state lands begin. How could 
you function within the legally defined tidelands? 

Drury: I think legally, the definition of state-owned tide- 
lands was clear right from the beginning: they run 
from the line of mean high tide, sometimes referred 
to as ordinary high tide, which is the average of 
all the high tides, out three miles to the point where 
state jurisdiction ends and federal jurisdiction be 

I think there was undue reliance upon the own 
ership of these state tidelands in the early think 
ing about beach preservation, because when we started 
to survey the line of ordinary high tide, we found 
that in many cases, it was pretty far out in the wa 
ter, and it gave us no upland, or course, from which 
the public could enjoy the use of the beaches. So 
the beach program involved primarily the acquisition 


of private properties that lay inland from the line 
of ordinary high water. 

Pry: Olmsted also mentions the importance of getting up 
land properties from the private riparian owners by 
gift, purchase, or condemnation. 

Drury: The summary of the state parks will show the number 
of millions of dollars' worth of upland that have 
been acquired since 1927. It's pretty well balanced 
with the other types of area such as redwood parks 
so far as monetary value is concerned. 

But in point of usable land adequate to meet 
the recreational needs of the people, I must con 
fess that we fell far short in the beach and shore 
preservation program. One of the reasons was the 
matching principle, which made it almost impossible 
to release state monies since private gifts were un 
obtainable. Most of the early acquisition was made 
in los Angeles County where it happened that the 
county had already acquired certain lands and in 
some cases, cities like Santa Monica had acquired 
them. These lands were conveyed to the state to meet 
the matching principle. 

That, for instance, was the case at the mouth 
of the Santa Monica Canyon, where the county of Los 
Angeles owned 1,000 feet of frontage which half a 
dozen appraisers back in the late twenties appraised 
at $1,000,000 or $1,000 a front foot. I remember 
the state took title to that property. We filed 
the appraisals and indicated the matching value, 
and that released $1,000,000 of state money with 
which we bought 3,300 feet at $300 a foot just north 


of the mouth of Santa Monica Canyon. That was the 
beginning of Santa Monica Beach State Park, which 
since has been added to, for instance, by the gift 
of the Will Rogers property and by other acquisitions 
both by the county and by the state of California. 

It was a case there of almost any port in a storm, 
but looking back on it, I wonder whether we wouldn't 
have been better off if we'd just let the county of 
Los Angeles hang on to their properties. Later on, 
the state-owned beaches were in several cases, as 
at Santa Monica, turned over to the county for ad 
ministration under permit or lease, a practice that 
I never particularly believed in. I thought that 
the state ought either to administer its own parks 
or reconvey the lands to the counties if they were 
primarily of local or neighborhood interest and 
not on a scale to appeal to visitors from all parts 
of *he state. 

Pry: The difficulty of getting less populous beaches has 
continued through the years, then? 

Drury: Yes, until in 1956 or '57 the legislature abandoned 
the matching principle. In 1956, they adopted in 
essence our five-year plan and appropriated approxi 
mately $31,000,000 for land acquisition. 

Pry: Were there any distinct blocks to other worthwhile 
projects besides that of the matching principle? 
You have mentioned the Sacramento River, I believe. 

Drury: Yes; the Sacramento River situation is always of a 
piece with the enhancement of land values in Cali 
fornia. In the old days, a river bank ranch was 


relatively of low value per acre, but as land be 
came more and more valuable, there was more and more 
agitation to protect every square inch of it for 
agriculture preferably, of course, with appropri 
ations from Uncle Sam through the Army Corps of En 
gineers. The thing that river bank control has 
done is to denude the banks of a great deal of the 
vegetation and to destroy a great deal of the charm 
of some portions of the Sacramento River that, whe 
ther park or private land, enhanced the attractive 
ness of that whole region. 

A case in point is in the vicinity of Rio Vis 
ta, where in the old days the river had great sce 
nic quality, but where the river was also more or 
less unbridled and changed its course and sometimes 
added land to one holding and took it away from a- 
nother. Now, at the expenditure of hundreds of 
millions of dollars, an attempt is being made to 
control the river, largely for the protection of the 
riparian land owners. 

But there are other obstacles, of course to 
rounding out the state park system. In many cases, 
there was decided resistance by various groups ha 
ving to do with activities essential to the state's 
economy, like agriculture and grazing, lumbering, 
and to some degree mining, and other forms of ac 
tivity, including subdivision. There were many who 
felt a certain percentage of the lands of the state, 
particularly along the seacoast, should remain in 
private ownership subject to subdivision for home- 
sites. I think that Mr. Olmsted, who was a sort of 


middle-of-th>road thinker, shared that view. 

He was the landscape architect and planner for 
the Vanderbilt development at Palos Verdes and he 
had had a great deal to do on the eastern seacoast 
with the laying out of private subdivisions. So he 
took the position that is perfectly understandable, 
that a reasonable proportion of the seacoast and 
other recreational scenic lands should be in state 
ownership available to the entire public, but a cer 
tain percentage of them should remain open to pri 
vate development. The grave question in my mind is, 
just what percentage? 

And in my opinion most of California's coast 
line scenic or recreational should belong to 
the public. Another difficulty is that there ne 
ver has been found a method of control of the ma 
nipulation of the landscape according to any very 
sound aesthetic principles under subdivision. An 
attempt is being made now with possibly some degree 
of success, on the South Coast highway between Car- 
mel and Big Sur to obtain zoning ordinances under 
which the county oould prescribe rather rigid rules 
as to the location and the character of develop 
ments, limiting them, of course, to residences and 
prescribing how many structures there should be 
per acre and perhaps other limitations. That's 
been the dream of planners ever since I can remem 
ber, and we'll hope that it will come to pass. Na 
thaniel and Margaret Ousings, and Nicholas Roose 
velt have taken the lead in this. 
Fry: I guess getting this carried out through all the op- 


position that the government oan encounter from or 
ganized groups is a little difficult. 

Drury: Well, you speak of obstacles. In the beginaing al 
most unanimously throughout California, the county 
governments were promoting rather than opposing 
state park acquisition and development. As time 
went on and the population increased, "bringing with 
it the need for a pretty substantial tax base in or 
der to support county institutions, particularly 
schools, there has been increasing opposition to the 
acquisition of any large segments of land. That 
still, however, is not universally the case. There 
are still some communities that are pressing very 
hard to have state parks established within their 
boundaries. Under the circumstances, it's surpri 
sing how closely over the years since 1928 it's 
now been thirty-two years we have adhered to the 
proposals in the Olmsted survey. So it shows that 
the methods that were used were pretty searching. 
There are very few major projects that have come 
up for state parks or historic monuments or even 
for recreational areas that aren't by inference, 
at least, named in the Olmsted survey. 

Frederick Law Olmsted 

Pry: I'd like to ask you about Mr. Olmsted himself. I 

copied these notes from Bell and Fitzgerald's book, 
History of Parks and Recreation. Why don't you take 
time to read it and see if you can either supple 
ment or refute what they say about him as a man? 


Drury: It's true that Frederick Law Olmsted was not physi 
cally a big man, as your notes say, but he was a 
man of tremendous vitality. He was a terrier. He 
never left a problem until he'd gotten out of it e- 
verything there was to get. 

Pry: He had a long span of service? 

Drury: Yes. His father before him, Frederick Law Olmsted, 
Sr., was the first superintendent of Yosemite when 
it was a state park, back in the 1860 's. Frederick 
Law Olmsted, Jr., of course, grew up as his assis 
tant and inherited a great deal of his ability, 
knowledge, and good taste from his father. His fa 
ther laid out Central Park in New York, conceived 
the idea of having that great open space which has 
been a boon to New York City, and he worked on an 
infinite number of projects, as at Biltmore, North 
Carolina, with the Vanderbilt family, in laying out 
their grounds and the management of the Biltmore 
Forest. This is where the first forestry school 
in the United States was established under Dr. Carl 
Schenk, for whom a grove was recently named in the 
redwoods. He was out here for its dedication about 
ten years ago. Frederick Law Olmsted was an admi 
rer of Dr. Schenk, who had retired and was living 
in Germany, so he brought Schenk out here, raised 
the money for the grove, and they had a wonderful 
time. In fact, Mr. Olmsted, who was near ing eigh 
ty, worked so hard on it that he never did attend 
the dedication. He was in the hospital. But he 
recovered from that and only recently he passed away 
at a ripe old age. 


Mr. Olmsted arranged for dedicating this red 
wood grove with the help of my brother Aubrey, The 
man who particularly believed in Frederick Law Olm 
sted was Duncan McDuffie. He had engaged Mr. Olm 
sted in connection with real estate subdivisions 
he'd developed. Olmsted belonged to the school of 
thought that was not afraid to admit that sometimes 
the landscape architect does his best work when he 
doesn't do too much of anything, but fast leaves it 
as it is. All my dealings with him were highly edu 
cational, and we can credit him with really setting 
the tone, not only of the state parks, but of the 
national parks. 

It was Olmsted who phrased the key words in 
the act creating the national Park Service. I'm a 
great admirer of Mr. Olmsted, but I never felt that 
his prose style was easy to read, and despite the 
fact that I was director of national parks, I never 
was able to memorize the precise wording in that 
act because it was so involved. You remember what 
the basic act says, "to preserve and make them a- 
vailable for human enjoyment in such manner and by 
such means as will render them available for enjoy 
ment by future generations." One of Olmsted 's pet 
devices in his memoranda was the use of "and/or," 
which doesn't tend for clarity. 

He had so many wonderful characteristics, but 
aside from his wisdom and his vision and good taste, 
probably his outstanding quality was his indefatiga- 
bility. He never gave up. He'd work all hours of 
the night. He could work just as well in the back 


seat of an automobile as he could in an office on 
Park Avenue in New York. 

Pry: And he wasn't deterred, was he, by lack of staff? 

Drury: No. He'd send his notes into the office and they'd 
process them, but if they didn't, he'd do it. My 
brother told a story where Frederick Law Olmsted was 
working on some of the master plans for the redwood 
parks and was in our office. He had a great map, 
about ten feet long, and no table to put it on, so 
they put this map down on the floor and here was Olm- 
sted, the leading landscape architect in the United 
States, lying on the floor when some visitors came 
in. [Laughter] It didn't faze him at all. I think 
I told you the story about his relative who com 
plained that when he was working on the park survey, 
he was at a funeral sitting with the mourners and 
there was an interminable delay. Finally he got so 
fidgety that he pulled out his notes from his inner 
pocket and started working on the report. Well, she 
ought to have known him as well as I did and known 
that he meant no offense to the dear departed. 

Fry: I imagine that he was happy to get to work on a 
place like Point Lobos. 

Drury: Yes. He governed the study, working with George 

Vaughn, who lived there for close to a year. That 
report has been published; I sent a copy of it, the 
Point Lobos Advisory Committee Report, to the Ban 
croft Library not long ago. It represents a coun 
sel of perfection as to the preservation of natu 
ral values that you can't match in very many public 
park areas because of the almost irresistible pres- 


sure to use lands for something other than their high 
est purpose. 

Pry: Big Sur was established nearby for those v/ho needed 
camping areas, wasn't it? 

Drury: Yes; Big Sur was primarily a mass recreation area, 

although that was a very beautiful spot in the begin 

Protection Through Planning 

Pry: You mentioned that the Division of Beaches and Parks 
was able to establish particular lands for picnic 

Drury: Yes. There's a master plan which we all helped de 
velop and which the park commission approved. It 
allots to different areas the functions that they 
are to perform. 

Pry: And the corresponding type of protection that you 
would use in each area. 

Drury: One of the men of the Division of Beaches and Parks 
who contributed a great deal toward this accomplish 
ment was Mr. Clyde Newlin, the district superinten 
dent with headquarters in Stockton. He, I think, 
was one of our best public relations men and he was 
able to convince the community leaders up in that 
country that the kind of concept that we established 
at the Calaveras South Grove was the right one in 
the long run to keep this magnificent grove free 
from artificial intrusions, as a sort of museum Piece. 
And to develop for human use facilities on lands of 
lesser caliber near by. 


Pry: At what point in all this were those policies es 

Drury: Those policies have more or less been at the base 
of the whole state park program. But one instru 
ment through which they're effectuated is direct 
action of the park commission. In the case of Ca- 
laveras South Grove, we made a summary of the po 
licy as to development, which was approved by the 
State Park Commission, as I remember it. 

Then of course, there's the development of the 
so-called master plan for each park. I think one 
of the things we might well put in our appendix is 
an example of a master plan for a park area both 
in the national parks and in the state parks. We 
have in various stages of completion for every park 
some kind of a master plan, first of all determining 
what was the highest value of the area; why the pub 
lic acquired it; what's it to be used for? Of course, 
uses are varied and there are differences of opinion 
as to what's the highest use of any piece of land. 
But by means of the master plan, which designates 
the use of each portion of an area and outlines what 
developments go into each, or what areas are to be 
without development, you more or less crystalize the 
policy. I can't overemphasize the importance in all 
work with any institution and especially with parks, 
in having a basic plan right from the beginning. 
Otherwise, steps are taken that would not have been 
taken had there been a comprehensive view of the fu 
ture of the area. 

I can't help thinking of a very fine city park 


at Chico. John Bidwell, the pioneer, gave this park 
of about 2,000 acres to the city of Chico* It has 
some marvelous tree growth, particularly some of the 
best specimens of the valley oak, Quercus lobata. 
One of them, the so-called Sir Joseph Hooker Oak, 
named after the English botanist, is probably the 
greatest in spread of any of the valley oaks. It 
covers pretty well the area of an acre. Over the 
years, there have been various devices used to pro 
tect the feeder roots next to the tree from tramp 
ling feet. Yet the last time I was there, I found 
the terminus of a baseball diamond about a hundred 
feet from the Hooker oak one of the many examples 
of what might be very damaging from an ecological 
standpoint, if you don't have a master plan. 

Another example is the mounting tendency to 
ward commercialization of the shoreline of San Fran 
cisco Bay, and even of filling in a considerable 
portion of it by realtors who try to create new worlds 
to conquer, particularly if it can be done at govern 
ment expense. The Save-the-San Francisco Bay Asso 
ciation, in which Mrs. Clark Kerr is quite promi 
nent, and Mrs. Donald Mclaughlin. These people are 
starting something that's very fine. The only trou 
ble is that I think the barn door is being locked 
after the horse has been purloined. It's something 
that should have started two generations ago. 

Fry: [Laughing] When your father first began bringing 
industry here. 

Drury: Yes; when my father was manager of the Berkeley Cham 
ber of Commerce. I'm not sure that he was simon-pure 


either, in his idealism. He thought that they ought 
to have industry on the waterfront, the way any com 
munity promoter does, to create a tax base and to 
improve the economic status of the community. How 
ever, he also appreciated the beauty of Berkeley. 
The Berkeley waterfront now ia not particularly 
attractive, but there is a master plan for the city 
of Berkeley that seemed to me struck a pretty rea 
sonable compromise, between the development of re 
sidential and recreational areas and zoning for in 
dustry. But the blight, as Lewis Mumford and other 
people point out, is that so much of this develop 
ment is haphazard. There's no basic central plan. 

Fry: Do you think it would be a good idea to have a na 
tional plan like this? 

Drury: Yes. There are of course redevelopment projects 
under the federal government where they bring ta 
lented men into the task of trying to win the com 
munities over to a unified program. The great trou 
ble is that they don't often succeed. Every local 
master plan is sheer compromise, under all kinds 
of pressures, most of which don't lead to amenities 
in the landscape, to say the least. 

Fry: Was there any attempt on the part of the state to 

purchase land for parks as the county planning com 
missions saw their scenic areas diminishing? Did 
the park commission ever work with the county plan 
ning commissions to save these areas? 

Drury: As far as county planning was concerned, that came 
considerably later. In the late thirties and par 
ticularly in the forties, there was an upsurge of 


county planning, which was a splendid thing for the 
state. Some very able planners are being brought 
into this work. The main difficulty is that they 
are without authority, and about the only tribunal 
before which conflicts in concept can be adjucated 
is the County Board of Supervisors. Rarely is such 
a group an adequate judicial agency. 

Pressures Against Protection 

Commercial Pressures 

Pry: Was there early policy about non-conforming uses of 
the parks? 

Drury: Yes, because there had been plenty of experience 

in the national parks. The policy of the State Park 
Commission from the beginning had been against any 
non-conforming use of park lands. It isn't expressed 
as clearly in the basic act as perhaps it might have 
been, but the assumption right from the beginning 
was that in such matters the basic policies of the 
National Park Service would govern. 

Pry: Was the Save-the-Redwoods League instrumental in this 
policy development? 

Drury: Yes, very much so. 

Later opinions of the attorney general confirmed 
that policy by taking the position that any uses of 
park lands for purposes other than parks and recre 
ation were not legal. That was a great help to the 

Pry: I wonder about the unworthy projects that were pressed 
on the commission by an influential person or group, 


and how these situations were handled so that you 
could gently say no. 

Drury: In general, the commission was absolutely indepen 
dent of the cheaper kinds of pressures. At the be 
ginning, Governor Young appointed outstanding men 
of vision who commanded the respect of the entire 
state. For a great many years, the operations of 
the commission were on that basis. One of the great 
mainstays of the park commission over more than a 
generation, was Mr. Joseph R. Knowland, first as a 
member of the commission and then its chairman, a 
man who surely is capable of exercising a state-wide, 
unbiased viewpoint on matters of great concern from 
a long range standpoint for the future of the state. 
I don't say this as criticism of any of the park 
commissioners, however. 

Pry: I think some of them have had their difficulties, 
though, springing from party politics. 

Drury: Well, there has been surprisingly little of that. 
However, there's been some local pressure, and un 
worthy projects at times have been approved because 
of it. A great debacle occurred during the Knight 
regime when a tremendous amount of tidelands money 
descended upon us all at once from the oil royalties, 
through their release by an act of Congress. Im 
mediately, since there was so much money at stake, 
the representatives in the legislature, undoubtedly 
spurred on by their local chambers of commerce and 
other pressure groups, looked upon this as a sort 
of pork barrel program, a melon to be cut. That was 
when our main troubles with Southern California came 



Pry: In the thirties, did you find that the commission, 
being dependent on matching funds, had a problem 
with the people whe were able to give matching funds 
for parks in an inferior setting? 

Drury: That was no problem, no. On the other hand, the 

matching provision, which we all agreed was a good 
thing at the start, was a wonderful defense in that 
respect: people who are politically or commercially 
minded might press unworthy projects on the commis 
sion, but if they had to put up half the cost, they 
weren't quite so assiduous. 

Of course, any portfolio of investments has 
some cats and dogs, and there were a few areas that 
weren't particularly worthwhile that found their way 
into it, but that wasn't a problem. 

The problems of pressure for the park commis 
sion before that were largely those that related to 
attempts to use park properties for other than park 
purposes for commercial uses of various sorts. 

Fry: Apropos of this, in 1940, how did this Proposition 
13 get on the ballot? It was a measure to enable 
the state to "sell or lease state parks if they could 
be proved to be more valuable for extraction of gas 
and oil." 

Drury: It was primarily the oil industry that promoted that. 
It turned out to be a good thing for our side, be 
cause the people defeated it overwhelmingly. 

The act was rather faulty I think, in that it 
didn't provide any satisfactory tribunal for the de 
termination of the relative value of these lands for 


oil and gas, as against park use, and it didn't de 
fine fully the term "value," If it meant monetary 
value, that was one thing; "but if it meant human 
value, that was something quite different. Anyhow, 
we beat the measure. 

Pry: How did you beat the measure? Did you gather up 
your forces and go to battle? 

Drury: Yes; the same groups that put through the state park 
bond issue and got the basic legislation: the con 
servation organizations, women's clubs, and garden 
clubs, and many of the chambers of commerce, and 
commercial organizations that sided with the con 
servationists on it. My memory is a little dim on 
that particular controversy because I went through 
so many similar controversies in the national parks, 
and still later in the state parks again. 

Pry: Did you notice any activities of the oil companies 
in wanting to use park land, before Proposition 13 
in 1940, which would have allowed other uses of park 

Drury: Oh, yes. That was a constant threat, but mainly on 
the beaches in the south. In most cases, it was 
possible for the state, if it owned the oil depo 
sits (as it does underlying the state tidelands), 
to harvest them without impairing the beaches, 
through slant drilling. 

Pry: You mean to allow the oil companies to do this? 

Drury: To allow the oil companies under proper leases to 

extract the oil. Surface drilling in the state parks 
has never been allowed. In fact, the attorney ge 
neral very early advised that, under the law, the 
park commission had no authority to authorize the 


sinking of oil wells on actual state park property, 
but he relaxed to the point of giving the opinion 
that they could authorize the drilling from adjoin 
ing areas, so as to drain the pools of oil and gas 
underlying the state parks, which didn't in any 
way impair their park value. That has been done in 
many cases. I think that was done down at Tupman, 
at the Tule Oak Refuge. 

Pry: This was the place the oil industry had in mind when 
it brought to bear Proposition 13, in 1939, to allow 
drilling in the parks. 

I wonder if you experienced the same type of 
pressures from farmers wanting grazing rights? 

Drury: Yes. But fortunately, the grazing in most of the 
state parks is not a large item. Our history in 
the state parks, as it was in the national parks, 
was one of gradually, by infinite patience, eli 
minating grazing. At the present time, with the 
possible exception of Del Norte Coast State Park, 
I don't think there's any grazing in the state parks. 
We eliminated it completely in the redwoods. 

Pry: Was this brought to bear by an already established 
organization, such as the Grange? 

Drury: No; usually it represented a very understandable 
desire on the part of people who had previously 
grazed on these lands to continue the privilege. 
It has not been a major issue. 

Pry: On the highway problem: early in 1933 or '34, wasn't 
the new highway up in Del Norte County about to go 
through new park lands? 

Drury: There have been several cases. 


Pry: Was that the first one? 

Drury: Yes; I think that was the first one where the park 
and highway authorities got together and agreed on 
an alternative route, as we've done subsequently in 
several other places. 

Pry: Did that set a precedent? 

Drury: Well, at least it set a precedent for a realization 
on the part of the highway authorities of the rights 
and obligations of the park commission. There has 
never been any hostility in this. There have been 
various acts introduced in the legislature which 
would have violated park principles, but those acts 
have always been defeated. 

There was an act about 1954 or 1955 I'll have 
to get you a copy of it. It's described in one of 
our bulletins in the Save-the-Redwoods League with 
respect to the proposed route of the freeway through 
the Avenue of the Giants north of Dyerville, and 
one south of Dyerville also. That's a long story, 
and perhaps it had better be taken up in another 
chapter. This legislation would have given the 
highway commission carte blanche to plow through 
the redwood parks. It was defeated in the legis 
lature, and there was a subsequent compromise mea 
sure, which surely was infinitely more satisfactory, 
although not perfect, which allowed us to persuade 
the highway authorities to build the new freeway on 
a line that skirted the finest redwood groves in 
stead of bisecting them. 


Fires and Floods 

Fry: Since we are on protection of the parks, I wonder 
if we could talk about fire protection in parks. 

Drury: In the state parks, the fire protection was pri 
marily in the hands of the Division of Forestry, 
working very closely with the Division of Beaches 
and Parks. My experience as far as their cooperation 
was concerned, was very satisfactory. There are 
some inevitable clashes of personality between the 
representatives of different agencies, but forestry 
and parks were both under the same director, and I 
always enjoyed a very cordial and cooperative rela 
tionship with the state forester, just as in the 
federal government I did with the chief of the U.S. 
Forest Service, Lyle Watts. 

In the California parks, v/e had our own ranger 
forces which sometimes consisted of one lone ranger 
and sometimes a dozen or more at parks like the 
Big Basin and Humboldt Redwoods. Of course, when 
fires broke out, it was first of all the duty of 
the park staff to take the initial steps in sup 
pressing them. But the state forestry crews which 
were stationed at strategic points through the 
state were called upon as quickly as possible and 
took over. The state park crews then, just acted 
as assistants to forestry. There are some disad 
vantages to that system. 

In the national parks, it v/as different. We 
took full responsibility for fire suppression; but 
of course, we had much larger and much more varied 


crews and very much more equipment, especially in 
the large national parks. But even there, espe 
cially in small areas, a large part of the fire 
protection was done by the crews from the adjoining 
national forest. I remember that particularly be 
cause they always rendered us a bill for services 
rendered. I imagine if we had fought fires on the 
national forests, we would have done the same to 

Fry: That's what I wanted to ask you about. How was all 
this budgeted? 

Drury: In the federal government, the costs to the forest 
service of fire suppression on the national parks 
were taken out of the national park budget. In the 
state parks, I don't think we had any such procedure. 
At least, it never required any action on my part. 
The State Division of forestry acts under a quite 
different law from that governing the parks. They 
administer one or two state forests, but in the main, 
they are engo.ged in fire suppression on private 
lands outside of federal and state reservations. 
They operate in rural lands on the theory that it 
is in the interest of the state to minimize fires. 

Fry: What about jurisdiction in fighting the fires, es 
pecially here in the state? If a fire spreads into 
an urban area which has its own fire department -- 

Drury: They usually work in concert. That sometimes re 
sults in highly intricate legal questions, but they 
work it out fairly well, I think. I've had very 
little experience with urban fire-fighting de 
cidedly suburban. What I'm certain about is that 


in every crisis of that sort somebody has to be the 

Fry: How is this arranged? Who decides who will be the 

Drury: Mostly, the man on the ground. Time is of the es 
sence with fires. 

Pry: There was a pretty bad fire in California somewhere 
around state park lands in 1934, I believe it was. 
Maybe this would help you peg in your memory about 
what it was like to fight fires then and how you 
contrast it with present-day fire-fighting methods. 

Drury: Yfell, frankly I don't consider myself an authority 
on fire -fight ing. I always was fortunate in having 
colleagues who were trained in that. My task as ad 
ministrator was to make sure that the men in charge 
knew their business and that they knew their tech 
niques, and that at each fire it was understood who 
was in charge. 

Pry: Has the administrative structure for this changed 
any since you first became acquainted with it? 

Drury: I imagine it has. The U.S. Porest Service and the 
State Division of Forestry would be the best peo 
ple to speak with about that. 

This is again going many years beyond the pe 
riod that we're talking about. But one thing that 
beaig on the question of fires and also on the pre 
sent-day program of the Save-the-Redwoods League is 
the record I've just received from the state fores 
ter as to the Bull Creek watershed, which, as you 
know, we're trying to protect from further erosion. 
One of the main causes of the erosion which resulted 


in terrific floods down below in the Bull Creek flats 
and the destruction of, perhaps fifty acres of the 
Rockefeller Forest was the fact that so much of this 
privately-owned upper watershed had been cut and 
burned over. 

I was very much interested to receive from the 
state forester his maps for the period of ten years 
from 1949 to 1959 showing how much of that water 
shed, which is about 18,000 acres, had been burned 
over. One map here shows the number of fires over 
100 acres in that ten year period and I would say 
from the shading on this map, that practically half 
of this area had been burned between 1949 and 1959, 
all of it primarily following small lumbering opera 
tions which left lots of slash and debris on the 

Then, in addition, he furnished me with a map 
of the same period of the fires under 100 acres, of 
which there were I'd say forty individual smaller 
fires that were suppressed in time, including one 
I note right in the heart of our Bull Greek flood 
area. It was not a large fire, but it did a cer 
tain amount of damage. Then this map also has a 
very interesting record of affidavits filed by ow 
ners of this Bull Creek watershed as to land con 
version, which means that instead of having it re 
vert to timber, they want to turn it to some other 
use, such as grazing, which would give them the 
right to cut the land completely and even in some 
cases, under permit, to burn it so that it could be 
used for grazing. 


Fry: Do they get this permission from the forestry service? 

Drury: As the law was explained to me "by State Forester 

Francis Raymond, the owners have to file an affida 
vit to the effect that they are no longer operating 
this land as timberland. That takes them out from 
tinder the restrictions imposed under the redwood 
code of the forestry division as to logging practices. 
Now, this is of interest to us because we have con 
tended right along that in order to protect the Ro 
ckefeller Forest, we have to have unified management 
of this whole upper Bull Creek watershed. The only 
possible salvation of that country down below, the 
only protection from recurring erosion, we were con 
vinced was the public ownership by some agency, whe 
ther it be the parks or the Division of Forestry. 

Fry: Are you able now to have a fairly unified operation 
in the Calaveras Grove area? 

Drury: Yes; and our relationships with the U.S. Forest Ser 
vice there were always very fine. They still would 
be our mainstay if there were any serious fires; and 
there have been serious fires in that country. 

Fry: From the standpoint of overall protection, which 

state park do you think was the easiest to maintain 
adequate protection standards for? 

Drury: Well, there's one principle: the more remote a piece 
of land is, the easier it is to protect. The great 
est form of erosion, as you know, is the so-called 
human erosion. This is what even great areas like 
Yo Semite have suffered from. The areas that will 
be the easiest to protect in the future, I think ?/ill 
be those where we have been able to establish what 





I would consider a sound concept of management as 
we have at Point Lobos, where the use is necessari 
ly restricted because of the fragile nature of the 
landscape. We need definiteness of policy and com 
mitment both by the higher authorities and the lo 
cal citizenry to that policy. Fortunately, Point 
Lobos is adjacent to Carmel which, as a center for 
artists and the intelligentsia, is rabid in its in- 
sistende on preserving the natural beauty of Point 
Lobos. If somebody even one of the park rangers - 
cuts a limb off a single tree, there's a great up 
roar among the citizenry of Carmel. This makes it 
wonderful for those of us who are supposed, as John 
Ise says, to be purists. To a lesser degree, the 
same thing is true of the South Calaveras Grove. 
And then the fact that the South Calaveras Grove is 
on a park road rather than a thoroughfare highway 
makes it easier to protect. 

Is the citizenry surrounding South Calaveras pretty 
well educated about all this, because it took such 
a long campaign to get it? 

Yes, I think so. Of course, the center of local 
interest in the Calaveras Grove was not in that vi 
cinity at all, but was in the city of Stockton. 
Stockton was the center of the Calaveras Grove As 
sociation and there are some very fine conservation 
ists there. 

Did they raise some money? 

Yes; they raised some money both for the ITorth Grove 
and the South Grove. They worked with the Save-the- 
Redwoods League very closely. 


Fry: Well, I guess that's one compensation for having to 
squeeze money out of every available source. At 
least you get population educated for protection 
after you have the park. 

Drury: Oh, yes; and the more the local people put into one 
of these areas by way of investment, the more apt 
you are to have their sympathy in protecting it ac 
cording to reasonably austere standards. 

Parks. Highway Development, and Planning 

Fry: You have mentioned the threat to the parks of high 
way building. Do you have any keys for a solution? 

Drury: This California Tomorrow group, who I think are not 
so much an organization as a study group for the 
purpose of spreading certain main ideas, are on the 
right track when they point out the importance of 
a comprehensive master plan for the use and devel 
opment of the resources of the state. The great 
trouble is that the word "planning" fell into dis 
repute during certain regimes, and it's very diffi 
cult to rescue it from that status. But time and 
time again, when there was a conflict, for instance, 
between parks and highways as to whether it was in 
the highest public interest to desecrate a beauti 
ful park area by building a freeway through it, or 
when there were certain resources needed, as in time 
of war in the national parks, it was very difficult 
to find any tribunal before which you could present 
your evidence dispassionately and then get a rational 


Even the governor in California generally referred 
matters of that sort back to the department heads 
concerned, and said, "Here, you gentlemen get to 

One of the pernicious things in government is 
overcooperation, the desire to be a good fellow and 
to accede to the wishes of another government de 
partment just to keep peace in the family. It's a 
very dangerous thing. That surely has been our ne 
mesis as far as highway building in the parks is 
concerned. I never was in favor of these joint 
meetings to determine the fate of a park; I always 
tried to get the State Park Commission to take a 
firm stand and then stay with it, even though they 
were defeated; the minute you compromise in the in 
terest of amity, you've in a sense not lived fully 
up to your trust. 

The great case was Emerald Bay. Our oath of 
office was to the effect that we would protect the 
state parks. It didn't say anything about coopera 
ting with the highway commission. That's a semi- 
political phase. I've done my share of compromising 
with other agencies; it would be foolish not to do 
it. But when it comes to something basic, it's a 
very dangerous tradition. 

Fry: I noticed in the interim reports that the senators 
were quite anxious that you or Director Nelson call 
meetings regularly with all the other agencies con 
cerned with recreation in the state, so that you 
could each know what the other was doing. 

Drury: Yes. Well, that's all to the good. The great trou- 


ble there again is that sometimes you have so many 
conferences, you don't have any time left to do any 

Pry: Do you think that now that these divisions and de 
partments have been reorganized [1961] that that 
part might be a little less time-consuming? 

Drury: I don't think that will have any particular effect 

except that it may perhaps give us a little stronger 
position in dealing with the governor in that the 
resource agencies are under one man who has sort of 
a cabinet status, and he's a very good man, William 
Warne. I don't really believe, though, that it's 
necessary to the efficiency of the operation. The 
crying need, as I say, is for some council or tribu 
nal before which the governor could place conflicts 
of interest between two departments, such as parks 
and highways, or parks and forestry, and try to get 
a long-range view of the preponderant public in 
terest. It's almost impossible to do, of course, 
but that's no reason why it shouldn't be tried. 

Pry: In the mid-fifties, you had the problem of your red 
wood highway being widened. This was settled large 
ly by the legislature, wasn't it? 

Drury: No; that was settled in a compromise that frankly 
was a sort of Pyrrhic victory for us. We did win 
our point in holding the existing highway, which is 
one of the most beautiful scenic highways in the 
world, in its existing state. 

Pry: Apparently, there was great pressure from the people 
who live north of the redwoods and have economic in 
terests for a fast highway to come down to San Pran- 



Drury: Also, every community except San Francisco naturally 
is in favor of mult i -mill ion expenditures in their 
bailiwick. Assemblyman Belotti, who was a pretty 
good friend of the parks, was very effective and a- 
droit in getting appropriations for this freeway. 
The thing I objected to, to no avail, was that two 
and a fraction million dollars of our oil royalty 
funds, intended to be expended on parks, were ap 
propriated one year toward building this freeway. 

We, I think properly, made much of the fact that 
we induced the Division of Highways not to destroy 
the beauty of the existing road. They call that now 
the Avenue of the Giants. But there's no question 
that tremendous damage to scenery was done by the 
building of the freeway, especially at Dyerville. 
The ideal would have been to bypass the park entire 
ly instead of going through it on another route. 
We advanced such a plan. However, finally we had 
to proceed on the basis of half a loaf being better 
than none. 

If we had had the sort of impartial tribunal 
I've been discussing, we might have been able to 
produce enough evidence to show that it was in the 
long-range public interests of the state for the 
Highway Commission to spend the extra money and con 
struct the extra mileage necessary to bypass the Hum- 
boldt Redwood State Park and the Rockefeller Forest. 

Fry: Isn't it legally possible for one branch of govern 
ment to bring suit against another? Could you have 
preceded through the courts? 


Drury: Yes; I think we could have, but the tendency in go 
vernment is to avoid that kind of washing of linen 
in public. It could have been thrown into the courts, 
and frankly I think that's what should be done in 
cases like the Emerald Bay bridge and other matters. 
There were certain statutes that Governor Brown him 
self has said he's going to have changed, which ap 
pear to vest in the Division of Highways almost ar 
bitrary power with respect to park lands. Those 
statutes have never been tested in the courts, to 
my knowledge, so far as state parks are concerned. 
They have been tested in relation to local parks 
properties that have been given for instance to a 
city like Los Angeles for park purposes but I have 
always contended, and may have to try to demonstrate* 
that parks purchased under our State Park Bond Is 
sue of 1928, for instance, which was a constitution 
al amendment ratified by vote of the people, are 
surely subject to a trust, and that it's a legal mat 
ter to be adjucated by the courts as to what is the 
highest public use. 

We did have some cases that dealt with that 
principle in the lower courts; one in which they 
wanted to condemn some of our park land at Big Sur 
for a school. The attorney general was successful 
in fending that off, and the lower court ruled that 
use for school purposes was not a higher public pur 
pose than use for park purposes, and since these 
lands were dedicated for that purpose, they couldn't 
be diverted. I was down there the other day, and 
that land that was in controversy has been so but 
chered by diverse developments, that I think they 


might just as well have built the school. There's 
a Forest Service station there and a corral for 
horses and half a dozen other things. But anyhow, 
the principle was involved there, and so far as I 
know, that's the only case where we've had a clean- 
cut adjudication and one that's been favorable to 
the parks. 

Financing the Parks 

Park Money from Private Sources 

Fry: I wonder if we could go into some of your stories 
on getting financial support for the park projects 
after the bond issue passed, and the commission was 
set up ready to receive funds. I was going to spe 
cifically ask you about the Carnegie Institution 
funds and how they were obtained. 

Drury: Well, the Carnegie Institution of Washington, D.C., 
had as its president Mr. John C. Llerriam, who ear 
lier was a professor of paleontology and dean of 
the faculties in the University of California. He 
was also, as you know, for many years president of 
the Save-the-Redwoods League. He was able to get 
some monetary support from the Carnegie Institution. 

Dr. Merriam used to spend most of his summers 
out in California, particularly in the redwood region. 
He never told me this, but I always rather imagined 
that when he took the position as president of the 
Carnegie Institution, he stipulated that he could 
spend his summers in California rather than in Wa 
shington, D.C. f because that's where he always was. 


The amount of time and thought he gave to the state 
park program was invaluable. The Carnegie Institu 
tion has granted funds for various scientific and 
other studies relating to our parks; just yesterday 
I got action from the directors of the Save-the-Red- 
woods League disposing of the residue of a fund that 
the Carnegie Institution gave us about twenty years 
ago for publications on Point Lobos. In fact, the 
Point Lobos Reserve itself came pretty largely as 
a result of the interest of the Carnegie Institu 
tion and of Dr. Merriam. This fund that they gave 
us to get out a publication on Point Lobos is in the 
state treasury now and has increased, which is un 
usual for grants of that sort. The reason is that 
it was used to get out sales publications, and in 
quantity the sales publications have a rather low 
unit value in the standard price which the printers 
don't seem inclined to reduce, and this allows a 
considerable margin of profit, so that out of that 
we'll be able to get more publications on Point Lo 
bos and also some on the redwoods. 

Pry: We've covered pretty well the fund-raising methods 
used by the Save-the-Redwoods League. Were dif 
ferent methods used by the state? 

Drury: In the state they were not particularly different. 

The money was a little harder to get for certain pur- 
poses in the state park program other than the red 
woods because the redwoods movement was such a tan 
gible thing and it cried out so much to have proper 
help. The element of its timeliness also helped, 
although I laugh at myself a little bit because I 


read things that I wrote thirty years ago and freqeuntly 
in these writings occurs the expression that if we 
don't act within a year or two, it will be too late. 
[Laughter] We're still playing that tune, but it's 
still appropriate. On the other hand, we don't ad 
vertise our failures, and there are a considerable 
list that I may sometime outline, of the opportunities 
that we didn't grasp because we moved belatedly. 
That's particularly true of the cost now of the red 
wood forests. 

Pry: In the early thirties, there was a little trouble 
getting matching funds for some of the purchases, 
wasn't there? 

Drury: Yes. In the state park program, as I think we've 
brought out already, the accomplishment was very 
spotty. There were some interior parks where there 
was some matching, but on nothing like the scale on 
which we were able to get gifts for the redwoods. 
Of course, when you talk about gifts as far as the 
redwoods are concerned, the name of Rockefeller bulks 
very large; pretty close to a third of the matching 
moneys has been contributed by the Rockefellers. 
A large gift also was made by Edward S. Harkness of 
New York. I already told you how, through Mr. Wil 
liam H. Crocker of our Redwoods League Council, we 
got Mr. Harkness interested. 

Pry: One thing that has stuck in my mind was something 

about the Smith River acreage and the Del Norte Lum 
ber Company in 1931: it seems in the records of 
the Del Norte Lumber Company that you never quite 
had the funds at the times when Del Norte made its 



Drury: That's right. We finally did succeed in getting e- 
nough money to buy what they called then the Mill 
Creek redwoods. It's now the Jedediah Smith Red 
wood State Park, northeast of Crescent City. We did 
raise enough money through gifts to buy an initial 
area from the Del Norte Lumber Company, at a ridicu 
lously low figure something like 49 cents a thou 
sand and then we took an option on the remainder 
of their property, over a ten year period, divided 
into ten equal units at a considerably higher unit 
value, but still ridiculously low for redwood stump- 
age as viewed today. That was one of the big pro 
jects in which my brother Aubrey Drury was so suc 
cessful. He conceived the idea of having this forest 
made what he called "the National Tribute Grove," 
a memorial to those who had fallen in the world wars, 
and over a period of ten years, they raised about 
another half million dollars to match the state and 
take up this option. They were always just a jump 
ahead of the sheriff, so to speak, getting about e- 
nough money in each year to release an equal amount 
from the state for matching, in order eventually to 
take up the option. 

Pry: Did the commission get the California legislature 
to agree to the purchase of lands in installments 
through lease options over a period of time? 

Drury: I don't think it was ever put up to the state legis 
lature. The attorney general in the early days, was 
much more liberal than he later became, and passed 
our transactions as did the fiscal authorities, un- 


der which we purchased properties in units. I know 
that in addition to the Del Norte options, we did 
that on Mount Diablo, and I think that legally they 
still could do it, but the attorney general didn't 
encourage it in the later years. 

Pry: This was outright purchasing of one tract of land 
at a time, but no lease options? 

Drury: No; we never had authority. Well, I'll take that 
back. There is a provision of law that the state 
can lease land for state purposes, including parks, 
but only if the contract contains a proviso that if 
the land is purchased, whatever has been paid in 
rental for the lease shall be applied to the purchase 

Pry: 100 per cent of it? 

Drury: Yes; and I don't think that we've ever been able to 
consummate any purchases that way. In fact, I can't 
conceive of a seller being willing to agree to such 
a thing, because it really in effect, is asking for 
a discount on the ultimate purchase price of the land. 

Community Tax Problems 

Decreased Taxable Land with 
Increased land Values 

Pry: Did you find that your own acquisition of land for 
a park raised the value on what you wanted to buy 
later to round it out? 

Drury: Yes; of course it did. Despite all the protests that 
people have made in some quarters about establishing 
parks, my observation has been that the assured pre- 


servation of scenery and other resources through 
park management in a new region almost invariably 
tended to increase the values of surrounding lands, 
A good example of that is the town of Weott up 
there in Humboldt County. When Mr. Percy French 
was a young man, he and one of his co-workers had 
an option on eighty acres of land, which is now the 
town of V/eott. It had just "been cut over, and in 
those days, the standard price for cutover land was 
$10 an acre, so that between them had an option for 

Well, his partner didn't put up his $400, so 
Percy backed out, and not long ago on the highway 
there, lots were selling for over $100 per front 
foot. It'd probably be around $40,000 an acre. [Laugh 
ter] But that was because of the so-called site 
value, and also the fact that we had bought up all 
of the land for several miles around it for parks 
and that was the only piece of private land that 
could be used for commercial development. 

Fry: This would help increase the tax base then, around 
park areas. 

Drury: It unquestionably has helped in the taxation picture. 
Right now up in Humboldt County, we're facing con 
siderable hostility, on the part of the county su 
pervisors and the taxpayers' association and other 
groups, to our acquiring some relatively presently 
worthless land that ' s been cut over in the upper 
Bull Creek watershed. There are 18,000 acres of 
that land, and the total taxes now paid by it with 
the timber gone, amount to some $16,000 a year. One 


sizable community built up for taking care of recre 
ational travel in a community like that would pay 
several times that amount of taxes. Both in the na 
tional and state parks we have shown to many commu 
nities the computations of the enhanced value of 
lands and the increased amount of taxable improve 
ments that had come as a result of park establish 

The great example that I think of offhand is 
the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where we 
were able to adopt a policy of placing no motels or 
hotels or lodges or facilities of that sort within 
the park, but leaving them to private enterprise 
outside. The little town of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, 
which lies at the north entrance to the Great Smo 
kies National Park, suddenly prospered, and some 
of the old hillbilly families are reputed to have 
become millionaires through the enhancement of land 
values and through having the only available sites 
for hotels and other institutions that catered to 
the tourist. The Great Smoky Mountains National 
Park has around 2,000,000 visitors a year, as I re 
member the last statistics. There's bound to be a 
tremendous backwash of value that comes from that 
many tourists. 

Pry: Do you remember if the commission ever suggested 

the idea of taxing the area surrounding an acquisi 
tion on its increased value? 

Drury: There has been theoretical discussion about that, 
and there needs to be much more thorough analysis 
of it. 

Fry: Do you think the park people would be in favor of 



Drury: Well, I think the park people have enough trouble 
without initiating that kind of program. It would 
be anything but popular among the voters of any gi 
ven county or particularly the school district. 

The great problem in taxation in some of the 
districts, and it's one with which we all sympathize, 
is the rapid increase in population with a simul 
taneous decrease in the taxable area for various 
purposes, not just for parks alone, but for freeways 
and for state institutions, schools, and all sorts 
of properties that can't be taxed. 

The economic benefits of the state parks I think 
are pretty well acknowledged, except in arguments 
on this taxation question. The state of Oregon has 
just issued a publication in which they have analyzed 
the dollar value of state parks to the communities 
surrounding them. 

Pry: Were most lands that the park commission bought, par 
ticularly the redwood lands, pretty far down in the 
tax rate tables anyway? 

Drury: Yes; that was true, particularly if they were owned 
by the local residents. [Laughter] We found that 
absentee owners contributed quite liberally in taxes. 
Taxes increased about in the same ratio as their re 
moteness. For instance, lumbermen in Michigan who 
owned a claim, 160 acres in Humboldt County, would 
pay three and four times the tax of a comparable 
claim just south of it which happened to be owned 
by one of the reasonably prominent local citizens. 
That's true all over the world; it isn't confined 


to Humboldt County or to the redwoods. 

Fry: Mr. Arthur Connick told me in an unrecorded inter 
view last month that there was not much increase 
in community income as a result of the Humboldt 
Park. But he did say that there really wasn't much 
tax loss when that area was bought. 

Drury: Mr. Connick was "born in Humboldt County and lived 

there a good part of his life, and was more familiar 
than any of us with the local conditions. I don't 
think, though, that he meant there weren't values 
added to the tax base, because obviously the tourist 
travel which I think to a considerable degree has 
been attracted to the redwood region, has resulted 
in hundreds of thousands of dollars of improvements 
in motels and service agencies like garages and 
restaurants and that sort of thing. All one has to 
do is note the condition of little towns like Gar- 
berville, for instance, before the Redv/ood Highway 
became so famous, and they can see the great differ 
ence. There are some who apparently think it would 
have been famous as the Hedwood Highway even if all 
the virgin redwoods had been cut, but that's, to say 
the least, a debatable question. 

Fry: I believe he would agree that the taxable improve 
ments have increased a great deal. V/hat he ques 
tioned was the increase in total community income 
from the tourist trade. He felt it was too season 
al to make much difference. 

Mr. Connick was on the Save-the -Redwoods League 
committee to study this whole tax problem in the 
thirties. Did they come up with any proposals that 


would overcome the objections to the decrease in tax 
able lands? 

Drury: Wo. The league, of course, recognized that that was 
one of the problems which in fairness had to be dealt 
with. However, it was anything but a major problem 
in the early days. Humboldt County, for instance, 
appropriated $50,000 to acquire one property on Prai 
rie Creek. They put up $30,000 or $40,000 in the 
very early days of the Save-the-Redwoods League to 
acquire certain other properties. The county super 
visors in those days were almost militant in their 
support of the Save-the-Redwoods program and the state 
park program. 

In-lieu Taxes 

Fry: Was there any thought of the commission doing what 
the State Division of Forestry does, that is, con 
tinuing to pay taxes on land that it took over? 

Drury: Yes ; there was consideration of that, and neither the 

league nor the State Park Commission, to my knowledge, 
have opposed any of the measures to pay in-lieu taxes 
to the county. But some of us have our inner thoughts 
about it. V/e can't see why parks should be singled 
out for taxation as against state armories or state 
hospitals or motor vehicle headquarters or other 
state properties, although we have never voiced that 
thought in committee hearings. The position that 
"both the park commission and the Redwoods League took 
was that this was primarily a state-wide fiscal ques 
tion, and the reason that the various bills that have 


passed the legislature for in-lieu taxes for parks 
haven't been enacted into law was that in each case, 
a long list of successive governors has vetoed them. 

Pry: Do you know why they vetoed them? 

Drury: They vetoed them on the ground that it would open 

the flood gates to general state subsidy of all kinds 
of activities, that once the parks were safely put 
in the fold, other properties would follow. I've 
had that expressed to me specifically by representa 
tives of the county supervisors' associations too. 
But, as I say, it would have made our course easier 
in acquiring land if the at ate had paid taxes to the 
counties, whether in theory that's sound or not. 

On our current Bull Creek watershed project, 
one of the things we're debating is whether or not, 
at least in the preliminary stages, we shouldn't in 
corporate such lands as we acquire in a state fo 
rest, which will obviate that tax loss objection by 
the local people. 

The state has paramount authority; the county 
supervisors can't veto action of the state, although 
the last legislature had a bill that came close to 
passage which would have provided that no state park 
lands could be acquired except with the approval of 
the local county board of supervisors. They defeated 
that; I think Governor Brown would have vetoed it. 
I hope so. It surely would be poor government when 
you remember that the counties are simply artificial 
segments of the state; they aren't entities. Any 
how, some of us have come to believe that in-lieu 
taxes probably are inevitable like a lot of other 


welfare projects that we accept and benefit from 
without really believing in them implicitly. 

Pry: I was wondering if the difficulty that the small 

owners have in getting access roads through so that 
they could get their timber out isn't so discour 
aging that it is frequently better for them to turn 
this land into a park? 

Drury: It was in the early days, and that's why we were 

so fortunate in getting started so soon. Of course, 
we also went through the period of the great de 
pression where almost any kind of property could be 
picked up at 20, 30 cents on the dollar. And look 
ing back on it now, we feel that circumstances were 
very favorable to us then. 

Organization of Funds 

Pry: Maybe you could clarify the financial structure that 
existed in the state in the thirties. There was a 
"contingent fund," and I was wondering if you could 
explain how this functioned. Specifically, was all 
the money that was given by private sources to the 
commission put into the contingent fund, and did all 
of this money have to be matched by state money be 
fore it could be spent? 

Drury: No, it did not have to be. Private gifts went into 

the contingent fund and might or might not be matched 
by state money. In some cases, it was given with 
the stipulation that it should be matched. That's 
the basis on which most of the Save-the-Redwoods 
League money was given to the state. But there were 
other cases where money was given to the state to 


buy land or perhaps to develop it where it could be 
spent on a 100 per cent basis. 

Then a little later on, we established the state 
park maintenance fund, into which all of the revenues 
of the state parks went. And there was also the fund 
made up by the appropriations, which up to the 1956 
act, had to be matched. Now, all three funds are 
consolidated into what they call the state park fund. 

Fry: If you lacked a little to purchase something, could 
you simply take private money from the contingent 
fund without its being matched to supplement the pur 
chase money? 

Drury: If the gift had been made for that purpose, or with 
out stipulation. 

Pry: So it gave you a little flexibility. 

Drury: Yes; the money in the state park contingent fund 
could be expended for whatever purpose was stated 
when it was given, or if it was given for a general 
purpose, it could be spent for anything. 

The state park maintenance fund money, on the 
other hand, went into a reservoir from which it 
could be appropriated, but it couldn't be expended 
until appropriated. It's been a long time since any 
government agency in California has been given a 
blank check. The overall ruler of the fiscal fate 
of California, perhaps properly, is the State Depart 
ment of Finance. The legislature twenty years ago 
passed an act which states that the director of fi 
nance can hold up any transaction, any contract, any 
purchase, any transfer of land, if in his opinion 
it is not in the best interests of the state of Ca- 


lifornia. There's no hearing, no presentation of 
evidence, or anything. 

Pry: That's a carte blanche veto, isn't it? 

Drury: He's the sole arbiter, and it's made quite a dif 
ference to the state park program and a great many 
other programs. 

Fry: What have their attitudes been toward the state 
parks? Have you had any who were hostile? 

Drury: No. It has just increased the work that the state 
park authorities and the Division of Beaches and 
Parks had to do. It just involved that much more 
argumentation . 

The nresent director of finance is John Pierce, 
who in his younger days, had been an assistant tax 
expert of the California Taxpayers Association. In 
going through the archives of the state parks, I 
came across an old copy of the publication of the 
taxpayers association in which John Pierce had an 
article which deplored the fact that the expenses 
of the state parks v/ere mounting by leaps and bounds, 
and that the appropriation for the state park system 
for the biennium the state legislature used to 
meet only every two years in those days had reached 
the staggering total of $250,000 for the two year 
period, [laughter] And here we are for one year 
with almost twenty million dollars in I960. 

I think I've already mentioned that in our ac 
quisition program in the state parks, we made a chart 
of a typical transaction from the time that it was 
approved by the park commission to the time when it 
finally emerged in the consummation of a deal. 





Drury : 

We found that it juat took a year to go through all 
the different avenues and surmount all of the hurd 
les that by state law had been established. 
Without going into the procedure that was involved 
in the State Park Finance Board, I wonder if you 
could explain what that board had to do with the 
commission and to whom it was responsible? 
As far as I can remember, only to the governor. It 
may have been answerable to the State Board of Con 
trol, which later became the Department of Finance, 
The State Park Finance Board was established, I 
think, entirely to serve for the state park bond 
issue of 1928. And I think legislation provided 
that only by action of that board could bonds be put 
up for sale and the proceeds turned over to the park 

But it still functions... 

I don't think it exists now. I think with the ex 
penditure of all the bond money it became a dead 
letter. I may not be right. 

It was in the 1958 Blue Book, if the Blue Book ia 

Then it may be. I know this, that I put through some 
transactions and put money in escrow up in Humboldt 
County for the purchase of lands. And one thing or 
another delayed it. I went to Washington for ten 
and a half years. I came back to Sacramento, and 
in about the second or third year of my tenure in 
the fifties, we finally spent the last $225 from the 
state park bond issue of 1928! So I suppose the 
State Park Finance Board was in existence then be 
cause the law required, I'm sure, that the State 


Park Finance Board had to ratify the sale of these 
bonds. Now, it may still exist for other purposes. 

Fry: The connecting link between the finance board and 

the park commission was the chairman of the commis 
sion, who was also on the finance board. 

Drury: I think the controller was also on it, and the chair 
man of the State Park Commission. But if my memory 
doesn't fail me, the State Park Finance Board exis 
ted before the Department of Finance. Then, when 
the Department of Finance was established, it took 
over, of course. 

Park Operations 
Park Personnel 

Ranger and Naturalist Programs 

Fry: I'd like to ask you about the state park personnel 
policies and how they developed. The first guides 
in the state parks began in 1934, is that right? 
Two women, apparently. 

Drury: I think there were naturalists, or, as we called 

them, "nature guides," before that. Mr. Earl Han 
son, who now is the deputy chief up there in Sa 
cramento in the Division of "Beaches and Parks, was 
I believe the first guide in the major redwood parks. 
That's how he got into the service. He was stationed 
for quite a few years at Richardson Grove and then 
later was assistant superintendent of the northern 
redwood parks. 

Miss Alice Goen and Eleanor Armstrong I remem 
ber well when we engaged them. They were very ca- 


pable women. Then there was a Miss Harriet Weaver, 
who about the same time was the nature guide in the 
Big Basin. She has written quite a few pamphlets 
and books on the redwoods and just recently the Sun 
set Press has issued her very fine (ostensibly) 
children's book called Here Stand the Giant a. Have 
you seen that? 

Fry : No . 

Drury: Well, I think very highly of it. Professor Fritz, 
with whom I was just talking, went over it and made 
suggestions and they sent it to the Save-the-Red- 
woods League and also to the California Redwood Ma 
nufacturers' Association, and as a result of all 
the collaboration, they got out a very interesting 
book, beautifully illustrated. Y/hile it's supposed 
ly for children of grammar and high school age, it 
contains about all the average untutored adult could 
absorb of the lore of the redwoods, and I'm trying 
to get the Save-the-Hedwoods league to distribute 
it as a publication that their members might well 

Fry: After the nature guides, what became the next need 
as you saw it? 

Drury: The next step was to pattern the state park natural 
ist work after that in the national parks. Gradu 
ally, we had a few more guides like Mr. Earl Hanson, 
but not until the forties did the state parks have 
anything like a naturalist section. Mr. Elmer Al- 
drich, who was a graduate of the University of Ca 
lifornia and an official with the Fish and Game Com 
mission, was appointed as the first chief natura- 


list of the state parks, a permanent employee in Sac 
ramento, but except for that position, all of the 
naturalist positions were, and so far as I know still 
are, seasonal. There are no resident naturalists, 
aa in the national parks. 

Pry: What are your state foresters' duties? Did that be 
gin back with the nature guides? 

Drury: I guess it began later, because it was during my 

time, between 1941 and '50, that we put a man on the 
staff and actually called him the "state park fo 
rester," to be distinguished from the State Division 
of Forestry officers. We have a Mr. Fred Meyer, a 
very talented man who was a graduate in forestry at 
the University of California, and had also majored 
in landscape architecture. He spent quite a little 
time with Frederick Law Olmsted, when Olmsted made 
his second supplementary survey of the state parks 
about 1945 to '50. Fred was for a while connected 
with the land section which later I had split down 
into two sections, one for land acquisition and the 
other for what we call land planning, investigation 
of properties and reporting on their suitability for 
park purposes. But he was primarily a forester, and 
when we could get the funds, we created the position 
of state park forester, which he now holds with con 
siderable distinction. 

Mr. Charles DeTurk, the chief of the Division 
of Beaches and Parks, is a landscape architect and 
quite versed in the physical sciences, and in his 
own specialties he's a good interpretive officer, 
and a good planner. He places a great deal of de- 


pendence upon Fred Meyer in all matters that have 
to do, for instance, with silva culture (the grow 
ing of trees where, in rare cases, planting is in 
dicated), the protection of the state park forests 
from disease, the organization of the fire-fighting 
program within the division (although, as we've al 
ready recorded here, primarily fire-fighting in the 
California state parks is carried on by the State 
Division of Forestry). 

Fry: I'm a little hazy on the difference between the state 
park foresters in the parks and the ranger force. 

Drury: The state park forester is primarily a planner and 
a technician. The state park rangers do the poli 
cing, the handling of the public, and information 
services and all that sort of thing in the parks. 
Some of the larger parks have a chief ranger, while 
some parks have only one man who doubles in brass 
as the park supervisor and the park ranger and the 
interpretive officer and everything else. 

Fry: These rangers do have to do a certain amount of na 
ture education, I guess. 

Drury: Yes; although they try to shove it off onto the na 
turalists, particularly in those parks where they 
have a seasonal naturalist. Even some of the fo 
restry graduates are not very strong on botany, which 
is the main field in which people ask questions. 
I can sympathize with them because I've soent a life 
time up in the redwood region and still, unless I 
keep brushed up on it, I can't recollect the names 
of a lot of the minor plants. I can identify most 
of the trees. But I took comfort from the fact that 
during a trip of about a week I made with Willis Lynn 


Jepsen, who was head of the botany department here 
at California and who wrote the primary book on 
California trees and flowering plants* he occasionally 
had to refer to his own book to refresh his memory 
when he wanted to identify a flower or a shrub. 

Fry: The rangers, then, primarily are the ones who protect 
the parks? 

Drury: Yes; they're the administration and protection offi 
cers and they pitch in on anything that has to be 
done. In the off season, they sometimes paint the 
buildings . 

The rangers are not above doing all sorts of 
manual labor, but in the last few years I was up 
in Sacramento, we established a quite different ca 
tegory from that of ranger, called a park assistant, 
and then later on we created a seasonal position 
called a park attendant. 

The park attendants don't have to have civil 
service status; they can be hired on a temporary 
basis. There is an examination now for park assis 
tant. Some are permanent and some of them are just 
seasonal, but they don't make any pretense of pro 
found knowledge of forestry or botany or geology or 
any of the other sciences that are involved in gi 
ving interpretive information to the public. 

Pry: Did this evolve from a Save-the-Redwoods idea on 
taking care of the parks? 

Drury: In the redwood parks, I think it did, although even 

there at Big Basin, which was established twenty years 
before the Save-the-Redwoods League, they had nature 
guides in the early days; but the Save-the-Redwoods 


League more or less inspired the idea of giving the 
visiting public some conception of the meaning of 
what they saw in the parks. In fact, I think, if 
I'm not wrong, that Earl Hanson for a while was en 
gaged "by the Save-the-Redwoods League as a natural 
ist, '^hen the state parks took him on. At various 
times, the Save-the-Redwoods League has engaged men 
under the supervision of the parks to act as guides 
in the Garden Club of America Grove, the azalea re 
serve up north, and possibly others. 

I don't know whether I've told you, but the 
present dean of chemistry at the University of Ca 
lifornia, Robert E. Connick, son of the late Ar 
thur E. Connick of the Redwoods League, started his 
career as a high school boy as an employee of the 
Save-the-Redwoods League driving up and down the 
highway picking up the litter. He ascribes his 
present eminence partly to the training he got on 
the job with the State Park Commission and the Red 
woods League. That was a long time back. I remem 
ber he drove an old Buick touring car that had belonged 
to me for five or six years, which I had bought from 
Professor Joe Leconte, who had used it in his ex 
peditions in South America. I bought it second-hand 
for a very small price, and finally left it up there 
in the redwoods. It was so long ago that the gear 
shift was the original gear-shift, which is just the 
opposite of the present gear-shift. The low is on 
the right side, and the high was on the left. I think 
we finally sold it for #25. Last I heard, some far 
mer was using the engine to work his pump. 


Civilian Conservation Corps, and 
State Emergency Relief Agency, & Parks 

Fry: In the thirties, did the California State Emergen 
cy Relief Agency help you any in getting and fi 
nancing personnel to work in the parks? 

Drury: Yes; it provided labor forces for doing certain 

things. I've always had a sort of a complex about 
that type of labor. I've tried to be open-minded 
and revise my views as the facts were revealed, and 
I feel somewhat different about that kind of labor 
now than I did back in the thirties. The great 
problem was to avoid so-called "made work" that 
might do more damage than good. The position we 
always took in the parks was that we didn't want 
any labor unless we had a clearly defined project 
that they could work on. But many, many times in 
that emergency conservation work and also in the 
later C.C.C. we had labor forces crammed down our 
throats in places where we didn't particularly need 
them or want them. 

The crux of the whole matter was the super 
vision. If they could be supervised by men who un 
derstood park operations and park planning and de 
sign, and they had enough supervision so that the 
work didn't get out of hand, it was worth while. 
I went to Washington in 1940 prejudiced against the 
C.C.C. because of some of the experiences we'd had 
in the state parks where we simply couldn't control 
the so-called improvement work, much of which des 
troyed the natural character of the parks. That was 


partly due to the fact that we had no money to en 
gage landscape architects and engineers to do the 
initial planning; we couldn't get state appropri 
ations for them. In fact, when I went back to Sac 
ramento in 1951, we had only one landscape archi 
tect, and I think we had two engineers. Now I'll 
wager they have at least twenty landscape architects 
and about an equal number of engineers. 

Midway in the C.G.G. program, the spoils system 
emerged in the state park C.C.C. corps. In the ear 
ly days, most of the work project supervisors were 
people who through no fault of their own were out of 
jobs landscape architects and engineers, some of 
them highly qualified men. I remember one architect 
who was one of the leading architects in California, 
but nevertheless he wasn't much of a business get 
ter, and to keep him from starving almost, we put 
him on one of these emergency work projects. I don't 
think I'll name his name, but he was a very able man. 
And there were a lot like him; civil engineers had 
to get jobs selling ribbon over counters (quite the 
opposite of what I found in Sacramento in the 1950' s, 
when we ran out of engineers and finally had to ad 
vertise all over the United States. They opened up 
the Civil Service regulations so that anyone from 
anywhere could take the examinations, whereas most 
persons under Civil Service in California have to 
have at least a year's residence and be citizens of 
California) . 

Just to follow that a little further, in the 
state parks, particularly in the redwood parks, we 


had a plethora of these C.C.C. camps. There was one 
park I remember, Humboldt Redwoods State Park in 
Burlington, where we felt that we'd gotten all the 
good out of the C.C.G. camp and had tried again and 
again to shift it somewhere else, or to abandon it, 
but with no success. Well, about the first week I 
was in Washington as the new director of national 
parks, the man of the National Park Service in charge 
of the C.C.C. camps in the United States came in and 
said, "I'm sorry, but out in California there are 
two parks and we've only got appropriations for one 
camp. You'll have to decide whether to give up a 
camp down in Southern California or the Burlington 
camp," I'd been trying from this end for ten years 
to get the darn thing out, so you can imagine how 
I decided it, 

Pry: Supervision in C.C.C. seems to have been handled 

from many angles, from the state of California and 
from Y/ashington, and then didn't some private or 
ganizations like the Save-the-Redwoods League also 
do something to contribute planning? 

Drury: No, I don't think so. The Save-the-Redwoods League 
has always been what you might call the "friend of 
the court," There's been a very fine relationship 
between the state government and for that matter, 
the federal government and the Save-the-Redwoods 
League, But there's no desire on the part of the 
Save-the-Redwoods League, never has been and is not 
now, to dominate the scene. 

Fry: I didn't mean that. Someone said, speaking especially 
of Big Basin, that where the planning and supervision 


was provided by the government fell short, the Red 
woods League offered aid and assistance. 

Drury: I think that's true in the matter of advice, and 

in these few cases where they put in guides for spe 
cial reasons. 

Fry: When you were short on funds for planning and ar 
chitects and so forth, were you able to use the mo 
ney appropriated in the 1936 Park, Parkway and Rec 
reation Area Study Act in Washington? It was one 
of a long string of acts. 

Drury: No. Of course, that was an act that was passed be 
fore I went to Washington. 

Pry: I mean when you were in California. 

Drury: I don't remember any state law or state appropria 
tion. That was a federal program and my friend 
Conrad L. Wirth, who is now the director of national 
parks, has been for about the last ten or tv/elve 
years, was more or less in charge of that work for 
the Department of Interior. 

Fry: I thought that this money was made available to 

Drury: It was, but it was paid for by the federal government 
and the employees were federal employees, not state. 
Oh, Uncle Sam was always very cooperative in consult 
ing with the state authorities, except toward the 
last three or four years when the politicians ganged 
up on the federal authorities and more or less insis 
ted on jobs being provided as camp supervisors and 
foremen and all that. The.;e were congressmen who 
couldn't stand the pressure from their constituents 
in the districts. And, as I say, many of these peo- 


pie that were appointed were highly capable, but 
toward the end as the capable men got better jobs, 
we had sort of the dregs of the pool of supervisory 
talent and some of them were pretty terrible and 
did quite a little damage. But by and large, the 
benefits of that program were tremendous and set 
us ahead for several years, perhaps as much as ten 

Now, in the national parks where they had mas 
ter plans, of a sort anyhow, and they were being 
perfected, where they had strong men as superin 
tendents of the parks and a competent ranger force, 
the C.G.C. camps immediately paid dividends because 
they had specific projects that had been on the 
shelf for ten to twenty years and they could put 
them to road-building and landscaping and erosion 
control and projects of that sort. The disadvantage 
in California, was tha.t we had so small a techni 
cal staff that we had a superabundance of riches 
as far as labor was concerned. 

Pry: You had Dan Hull for your engineer? 

Drury: Dan Hull was our state park engineer. He was really 
a landscape architect by profession, and for years, 
probably ten or twelve years, he was the sole land 
scape architect. When he finally retired, a man 
named Steven War dwell went into that place, a very 
capable fellow who is now the chief landscape archi 

Fry: When I was talking with Professor Emanuel Fritz, he 
said to be sure and get from you your way of obtain 
ing work superintendent s. He credits to you a great 


deal of success ia getting good supervision during 
C . C .0 . 

Drury: Well, we put on a fight for capable people. We 

weren't trying to pay political debts or anything 
of that sort. It may sound a little Machiavellian, 
but I can tell you one method we used in a highly 
political state administration in which any jobs 
that were open with the state were sought after by 
a great many of the faithful who'd happened to sup 
port the authorities in power. We would find in a 
place like the redwood region a capable young man 
whom we'd like to have for this kind of work, and 
the next problem was to make sure that he belonged 
to the right political party. Then we had to make 
sure that not we, but the political boss of the coun 
ty started to bring pressure on the governor's of 
fice to get him appointed. Then we'd get a call from 
the governor's office to consider this man and we 
would put up a token resistance and suddenly would 
yield. And he was appointed. [Laughter] Well, 
that happened 

Pry: Did he have to do ward work first? 

Drury: Oh, no. He just had to be sponsored by the top man. 
And it wasn't as bad as I make it out, but there 
were not too many cases like that. And almost uni 
versally, these men made good because they were men 
that we'd put our finger on beforehand and then saw 
to it that they were presented not entirely on their 
merits unfortunately, but on the basis, partly at 
least, of political pressure. That was during one 


The next administration that came in was a lit 
tle too smart for us. They got onto that dodge very 
quickly. And about that time, the people of the 
state of California passed the Civil Service Act. 
It was a constitutional amendment which by and large 
has done a great deal of good, I think, for state 
employment, although it's pretty wooden and it has 
its defects, like any other system. 

Civil Service 

Pry: Does it sometimes manage to overlook the very well 
qualified people? 

Drury: There are cases where the public interest would be 
served better if the appointing authority had more 
leeway. I think of one example up in Del Norte 
County. Possibly it's an isolated exception, but 
this was a man who had been the county sheriff for 
a good many years, and then through the local poli 
tical overturn had lost that job and needed another. 
He was a descendant of one of the survivors of the 
Donner party, of very sturdy pioneer stock, who had 
settled in Del ITorte County. This was before the 
Civil Service. We put him on as a park supervisor 
up at Patrick's Point, which is not a large park. 

About that time, the Civil Service law was 
passed, so that we could only have him as a tempo 
rary employee, subject to his right to take the Ci 
vil Service examination and be confirmed. So we 
encouraged him to make application, which he did. 
His application was rejected on the ground that he 


hadn't had sufficient administrative or managerial 
experience. Here was a man who was in his fifties, 
who'd been sheriff of a rough and ready county, and 
who on the side was employed by one of the larger 
timber owners to watch their holdings against tres 
pass and fire and so forth. He had organized a Boy 
Scout troop. He was this kind of sheriff. When 
the local bank was robbed, he pursued the robbers 
and found them hiding in the basement of an old mill. 
Single-handed, went down and brought them up. And 
yet the Civil Service Commission had said that he 
wasn't qualified even to take the examination. Of 
course, we put up a fight and we got him to take the 
written examination and by gosh if he didn't flunk 
it. Yet, we knew he was a competent man by the way 
he'd managed the area. So you can't always tell by 
rule of thumb. 

They're not infallible, but by and large, the 
Civil Service has done a wonderful thing, I think, 
for the state of California. It's like a great ma 
ny other institutions that tempt a certain type of 
person to coast along, knowing that if only they 
can survive long enough, just by sheer inertia, they'll 
move up and get more compensation and more fringe 
benefits and finally retirement pay. Both in the 
national and state parks, however, my experience is 
that 99 and a fraction per cent of the people that 
finally land in positions of responsibility are ful 
ly competent and equal to them. If you do have an 
incompetent, it's very distressing to have to try 
to get rid of him. You practically have to brand 


a person as a malefactor in order to accomplish this 
if they're unwilling to transfer or drop out. I 
think the system is too exacting in that respect; 
it doesn't leave the appointing authority enough 

Pry: Does the California Str.te Employees' Association have 
much influence? 

Drury: Oh, yes; they have tremendous influence. They're 
a very potent organization, more in the last fif 
teen years than during my early daj^s. They've done 
a lot of good for state employees; on the other hand, 
they have tended, as have the labor unions, to pro 
mote this idea of coasting along. A great many peo 
ple, even young people I've seen up there in Sacra 
mento, go into a job with their eye on the retire 
ment pay twenty-five or thirty years hence, which 
is not my idea of how America was built up. 

Pry: There was a first conference of state park employees 
in 1938, and I guess that's what began all this. 

Drury: It was down at Asilomar, I think: actually a con 
ference of the employees of the Department of Na 
tural Resources. Mr. Richard Sachse, who was a 
wonderful gentleman, director of natural resources, 
organized that. He later went to the Federal Power 
Commission. He was a member of the California Rail 
road Commission for a while. He was an engineer 
and consultant to pov/er companies. He was in those 
days, considered to be rather far to the left. Those 
things change; today he probably wouldn't have gone 
along with a lot of the welfare state ideas that are 
accepted as commonplace now. I always found him a 


wonderful person to work with, though some people 
felt he was too radical. I know that he did some 
fine things for the department, and one of them was 
this organization of it as a corps of workers and 
having this conference. 

Fry: \Yere you able to communicate by "you" I mean the 
park commission and the director in the thirties 
then with this corps of workers for better operation 
of the parks? 

Drury: No, not particularly. I think all of the improve 
ments in the method of operation that amounted to 
anything came about through the internal efforts 
of the Division of Beaches and Parks. The first 
chief who served under the Young administration was 
Colonel Charles B. Wing, a retired professor of ci 
vil engineering at Stanford University, who really 
organized the corps and did it superbly. He was a 
very capable man, had been a colonel in World War I 
in the engineers. I think the foundation of the o- 
perations of the Division of Beaches and Parks was 
built primarily by him. 

AccoBunodatione Public versus Private 

Pry: In the thirties, did you have to deal with the prob 
lem of concessions? 

Drury: Only in a small way. That wasn't in my province 

then, but of course I was the land officer, and what 
little land planning was done, I did. 

Fry: You never did consider putting in things that would 
compete with motel owners? 


Drury: I had my views on all that, and of course I surely 
got a full dose of that sort of thing in the na 
tional parks. 

Pry: But not on the state level? 

Drury: No. My feeling always has been that if you can a- 
void having concessions in a park, that's so much 
to the good. The rule both in the national parks 
and the state parks is that the concessions are 
there for the benefit of the public, and not for the 
benefit of the concessioners. There are some areas, 
like Yellowstone National Park, aad in the old days 
I think Big Basin was in the same category in the 
state parks, so remote that it was only reasonable 
to have overnight accommodations. But the present 
tendency in Yellowstone is to build up the tourist 
accommodations outside the park. 

Pry: Prom my own observation of the state park map, I was 
wondering if there was a reason for there being so 
few campgrounds in the great valley or the desert? 

Drury: Well, they're rapidly being expanded. Of course, 
we didn't have many parks of any great extent in 
the central valleys because of the lack of private 
matching money for those areas. That's one reason. 
The other reason is that people liked to camp at the 
seashore or in the forests. Also, the absence of 
overnight campgrounds is largely due to the lack of 
space in many of the parks. They weren't adequate. 
And yet, against that we had the constant resistance 
on the part of the local authorities to taking lands 
off the tax roll. It's a moot question in my mind 
as to whether overnight camping shouldn't be provi- 


ded by private enterprise. But I think that if in 
the beginning when we'd acquired a lot of these areas, 
we had gotten twice as much land, then on the peri 
phery we could have provided for this type of mass 
recreation, camping and the rest of it, in a way that 
would have minimized the impact on natural values. 
That's what they're working on now, and Mr. DeTurk 
and his staff up there in the Division of Beaches 
and Parks I think are planning it wonderfully. I 
only hope that they'll be able to get adequate ap 
propriations for it. 

Fry: Speaking of these marginal lands around parks, back 
in the thirties did California have any of the na 
tional recreation demonstration areas which were de 
veloped on sub-marginal land? 

Drury: Yes; we had several of them. One of them up at Men- 
docino Woodlands was developed quite elaborately by 
the federal government. The architecture of the 
cabins that they put in was attractive, but not very 
practical. However, for "group camping" outfits, 
it proved quite satisfactory. Rightly or wrongly, 
I wasn't very strong for the Division of Beaches and 
Parks taking it over, largely because at that time 
we had very little money for administration, and 
there was a tremendous amount of development neces 
sary to put it in use for the public and a very large 
overhead to maintain it. It was turned over finally 
to the State Division of Forestry, who practically 
farmed it out to Y.M.C.A. groups and people of that 
sort. That again, it seemed to me, was not primarily 
the kind of a function that a park agency should per- 


form, and I have always had in my mind grave mis 
givings about whether that kind of public accommo 
dation should have been provided by private enter 
prise. I think the reason that it has been done as 
it has is partly that the land was available in pub 
lic ownership, but also it is easier to subsidize 
that kind of an enterprise by some public agency than 
it would be by a private foundation. Operation for 
profit is impossible when private camps would have 
to compete with government operated camps. 

Whether you like it or not, there is a substan 
tial subsidy. Yte found that the cost per party per 
night for providing overnight accommodations in the 
state parks back in the middle fifties ran around 
$1.98. We finally got the overnight parking fee in 
creased to $1,00, but there was great resistance on 
the part of Governor Warren and a good many members 
of the legislature. That surely is not half of what 
the state spends on giving that special service. 
Some of us felt that the capital investment in lands 
should be made by the taxpayers generally, but they 
surely shouldn't subsidize any special uses of fa 
cilities by any particular person or group, 

I noted here in my scrapbook a clipping from 
the New York Times of November 22, 1959. The So 
ciety of American Foresters, which is a professional 
forestry organization, asked me to make the keynote 
speech, and I guess I'm quoted correctly. It said 
that I "called for a greater role for private capi 
tal in outdoor recreational development." I said, 
"The surface has not yet been scratched in encourag- 


ing private investments to that end." And I do think 
that's so. When they started this state-wide recre 
ational study in I960, as a member of the guiding 
"board, I more or less insisted, and my colleague El 
mer Aldrich readily agreed, that they include in 
their study the facilities that private enterprise 
was providing for recreational uses of one sort or 

About the only other impression that I made on 
Aldrich was my insistence that they give full recog 
nition of the fact that by far the predominant form 
of recreation in the United States is sight-seeing, 
which means that these scenic areas in a sense are 
the most important recreational facilities that we 
have, and that their highest use in many cases is 
just to perpetuate their beauty and let them alone. 
If you took a census of the uses of the national 
parks, you'd find well over 50 per cent of the vi 
sitors go just to see them. 

They also go because it's a new environment, 
and there is a social aspect to it: believe it or 
not, lots of people like to be herded into crowds 
like sheep; they feel lonesome. 

For mass recreation, camping and picnicking, 
lesser lands could be used, and gradually I think 
the tendency is toward that. 

The question is whether in some places which 
are very fragile, and in which the vegetation and 
the general aspect of the place is easily marred 
the desert is one of those, by the way it wouldn't 
be better to leave that role of providing overnight 


accommodations and the social centers to private 
enterprise. They'd never do it unless the govern 
ment got out of that business. I'm not rabid on 
that subject at all, but that was always what I 
believed and that was probably why John Ise* refer 
red to me as a "purist." [Laughter] 

*Ise, John, National Park Policy. A Critical History. 
New York, 1961. 


The Oil Royalties 
General Financial Picture 

Fry: Would you like to begin your discussion of the 1950' s 
with a description of changing financial patterns 
and pressures of the state parks? I wanted to note 
here that two reports of the Senate Interim Committee 
on Recreational State Beaches and Parks during the 
fifties,* give a good picture of some of the con 
troversies that were going on. 

Drury: The state park system, like the national park system, 
has undergone an evolution due to changing times and 
population pressures and changing concepts as to 
what the function of government agencies should be, 
and my part in it has always been a little on the 

*Failure of the Department of Natural Resources to 
Carry Out Decentralization of Development Planning 
in the Division of Beaches and Parks as Approved by 
the Legislature During the 1959 Session, Prepared 
by the Legislative Analyst, December 11, 1959. State 
of California, mimeographed. 

Also: The Fiscal Problems of the Division of Beaches 
and Parks, Prepared by the Legislative Analyst, De 
cember 11, 1959. State of California, mimeographed. 
["The solvency of tie Division of Beaches and Parks 
as a special fund agency is now at a crisis* 11 ] 


conservative and perhaps unrealistic side. I some 
times felt that I was like the boy who held his fin 
ger in the dike, but didn't get away with it. 

Pry: Let me back up so that we can approach this chro 
nologically. I guess the big story in the financial 
picture in the 1950 's was the use of the tidelands 
oil royalty money, a question that began in the late 
thirties when you were still with the Park Commission. 
Why did the legislature decide this money should go 
to the parks instead of into the general fund? 

Drury: There's a great deal of rather tangled history re 
lating to the whole subject of offshore drilling for 
oil. The oil companies, which of course were very 
potent politically, several ti^es came very close 
to getting legislation through which would have been 
decidedly beneficial to them and probably detrimental 
to the state allowing private drilling on state-owned 

I don't know how it came about, but someone con 
ceived the idea of using as an extenuating argument 
the fact that revenues derived from a natural resource < 
the oil underlying the submerged state lands should 
be applied to some definite program of conserving 
another resource, namely, the parks and recreational 
areas, and it was on that basis that they finally 
got the laws passed that permitted offshore drilling. 
Before I left for Washington in 1940, a certain per 
centage was allocated from the oil royalties for the 
state parks; in my final report as the acquisition 
officer I recommended 15 per cent, and they put into 
effect 30 per cent. There were a great many conflict 
ing issues. When I came back from Washington in 1951 


and Governor Warren asked me to undertake the job 
as Chief of the Division of Beaches and Parks, the 
state was getting a considerable amount of revenue 
from the oil royalties, which was applied to the 
state parks. 

Fry: My notes say that in 1943, the 30 .per cent - 70 per 
cent formula was reversed, so the parks got 70 per 
cent. In 1947, the whole fund was impounded. But 
do you know why this was reversed? 

Drury: No. I was in Washington in '43. Through Aubrey I 

undoubtedly had in my reams of correspondence an ac 
count of it, but I don't know just why it was. 

Pry: Didn't the parks also receive funds other than those 
from the oil monies? 

Drury: The legislature appropriated almost entirely out of 
the special oil fund; it also appropriated a little 
out of what was called the state park maintenance 
fund, which represented the collections of entrance 
fees, automobile tolls, percentages from concessions, 
and that kind of thing. Unlike the national parks, 
the state park revenues were put into a special park 

Fry: Do you think it really would have been better if the 
oil money had been put into the general fund? 

Drury: Yes; I always felt that. I could see the peril of 
depending on a special fund. It's great while the 
fund lasts, but when, as happened, they changed the 
regulations as to offshore drilling and curtailed 
the volume of drilling in the midst of our park pro 
gram, the funds became inadequate, and our needs be 
gan to expand beyond the resources in the fund. I 



was in favor of the oil royalty funds in the early 
days, as any port in a storm to support state parks, 
"but I could see as we went along that we'd be much 
better off if we took our chance in the general fund. 
We came to a point in the late fifties where the re 
venues dropped way down, and while we had this ap 
propriation of $41,000,000 for land acquisition, not 
all of it has been spent because it wasn't there to 
be spent. 

Royalties and the 1955 Legislature 

Planned versus Unplanned Distri 
bution of Funds 

Pry: Could you describe some of the difficulties you en 
countered when all this wealth was suddenly released? 

Drury: Yes. During the impoundment, a tremendous fund built 
up, and in 1954 in one session of the legislature, 
we received an appropriation of around $58, 000, 000, 
of which approximately $41,000,000 was devoted to 
acquisition of lands. A great amount of money like 
that thrown on the market at once was a bad thing 
from many standpoints. It became a grab bag; there 
was quite a scramble to have this money appropria 
ted, not on the basis of the intrinsic worth of the 
projects, but on the basis of local pressures and 
the desire to distribute it on a geographical basis. 
It also presented a colossal task of organizing and 
undertaking the program of acquisition. We had a 
relatively small organization when the legislation 
was passed, and we suddenly had to expand manyfold 


not only our land acquisition organization, "but 
correspondingly other phases of it. We had a great 
deal of dissatisfaction, which all of us shared, 
with the slowness of the program, which was aggrava 
ted by the complexities we've already talked about 
in the over-supervision by the Department of Fi 
nance and the Public Works Board and the attorney 
general and innumerable other agencies. 

However, the Department of Finance did endeavor 
to have the $41,000,000 expended over a period of 
years, and in the governor's budget, that provision 
was made. I think an annual ceiling of $12,000,000 
was set. Personally, I was very much in favor of 
that approach, but midway in the legislative process 
some of the senators from the smaller counties, who 
wanted to make sure that their districts got their 
share of the fund, were successful in amending the 
budget so as to take out that provision. Members 
of the legislature jumped the gun in the sense that 
they introduced individual appropriation bills for 
their projects instead of conforming to the corapre- 
hensive five-year program (1955-1960) which we had 
prepared.'' If I ever had any ambitions to enter a 
popularity contest, they were blasted by that one 
circumstance, because it was my unhappy lot to go 

Five-Year Master Plan, Division of Beaches and Parks, 
Department of Natural Resources, State of Califor 
nia, March 1, 1956. 


before the legislative committees and, with every 
attempt to be fair and candid, tell them which of 
these bills embodied projects that were in our five- 
year program and which were not. It was an unenvi 
able position to be in. As some of them said to me, 
"It's just possible that you might not be infalli 
ble," which I was frankly willing to admit, and which 
before we were through I recognized fully. [Laughter] 

Fry: Could you give us an example of a project that really 
shouldn't have been supported by state park funds? 

Drury: I'll tell you one that's still very much to the fore, 
the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. That has 
come up in every session since Cap Weinberger, my 
good friend, has been in the legislature. For se 
veral years, we always recommended against it, not 
on the ground that v/e were unconcerned about pre 
serving the Palace of Fine Arts, but because we felt 
that it didn't meet the qualifications of a state 
park area. It was a thing of beauty and it repre 
sented a fine accomplishment in the 1915 Exposition, 
but it wasn't a site of a turning point in Califor 
nia history. The local authorities in San Francisco, 
with whom I also unpopularized myself, thought of 
it more in terms of providing an auditorium for con 
certs and an art gallery and things of that sort than 
they did in terms of a structure that because of its 
beauty and its reminiscences might be preserved. 
Furthermore, it represented (as they have now found) 
a cost of restoration far out of proportion to what 
they would accomplish. V/e made one report in which 
we indicated that it would cost at least two and a 


half million dollars to restore the exterior of the 
building, simply keeping it as something to admire 
and look at; now estimates have gone up to seven or 
eight million dollars. 

That was one example. Then there were a great 
many small nubbins of land in localities where ei 
ther because the owner wanted to sell or because 
the local chamber of commerce wanted to have a state 
park, they pressed for their purchase, and some of 
those were successful. I think the little park down 
at Cayucos near San Simeon in San Luis Obiepo County, 
is an example of this. There was a fishing pier that 
the county got tired of maintaining and about an 
eighth of a mile of beach, to which we later added. 
That project was more or less forced upon us as some 
thing that the state should do. 

Pry: How did the legislators who were behind these pro 
jects get support? 

Drury: The process that goes on, of course, is trading, so 
that when Senate Bill 1729 came to Governor Knight 
in 1955, I think he was fully justified in vetoing 
the bill. We didn't actully recommend that he veto 
it; we seriously considered it; but I met with the 
Sierra Club and several other groups of conserva 
tionists, and we talked it all over and the conclu 
sion that we pointed out to the governor was that 
while it was not a complete or representative pro 
gram, in the main, it did accord with the five-year 
program the state had worked out and which the State 
Park Commission had approved to recommend to the 
governor. But the governor had so much pressure 


brought on him by people who had real or fancied griev 
ances because they were left out that he vetoed the 
whole bill. 

Pry: What did this do to your five-year program? 

Drury: Prom the standpoint of planning, it turned out to 
be a good thing, because the next session, we were, 
able to put in a more comprehensive program, based 
upon the relative worth of the projects, their rea 
sonable geographic distribution and their classi 
fication into different types.'' It was in that sur 
vey that we developed the fairly clean-cut distinc 
tions between scenic parks, recreational areas, and 
historic monuments, which categories are still main 
tained. The 1956 park acquisition bill embodied the 
new Five Tear Master Plan almost in its entirety. 
The only item struck out, with an inferior area sub 
stituted, was Cascade Lake up by Tahoe. We are still 
awaiting an appropriation for that. 

But the omnibus bill (S.B. 1?29) and the rather 
bitter recriminations that followed its passage and 
led to the governor's veto was a good example of how 
government servants get maneuvered into a position 
which is not of their making but for which they more 
or less have to take the responsibility. 

The impoundment of the oil royalty funds was 

Five Year Master Plan, July 1, 1956, to June 30, 1961, 
Division of Beaches and Parks, Department of Natural 
Resources, State of California, March 1, 1956. 


in some ways a good thing, but in other ways was our 
undoing. That came about because of the action of 
Congress following the adverse ruling of the Supreme 
Court as to the title to minerals underlying state 
tidelands. All of it is still a moot question. 

Pry: How did Yterren feel about this when you were using 
the tideland oil royalties in the state? 

Drury: When he was governor of California of course, he 

thought that the royalties should come to the state. 
When he became a member of the Supreme Court, he 
disqualified himself in any question that related 
to oil royalties. 

Pry: I wondered if you could comment on the natural re 
source "fund" that was proposed by the Legislative 
Analyst after the oil monies became available. Ap 
propriations from your special investment fund were 
to be widened to include more than just the Park 
Service: air pollution, soil conservation, forestry, 
mining research, water problems, boat harbors, fish 
and game, and so forth. Could you tell me what was 
behind this idea to widen the field for which the 
oil royalties would be appropriated? 

Drury: No, I can't frankly, I'm not familiar with any 
strong movement to make that a general natural re- 
source fund. 

Pry: It must not have been a serious threat, then. 

Drury: No; I think it was just one of the many bills that 
were thrown into the hopper in the legislature. 

Administration of Parks by Legislative Action 

Fry: The five-year plan was based on an estimated $12,000,000 


in the yearly funds, but the legislature then limi 
ted the annual ceiling to $7,000,000. The Senate 
Interim Committee subsequently asked for $10,000,000, 
and apparently you got the $12,000,000 which was in 
line with the five-year plan. Could you make some 
comments on the authors of the Senate Interim Re 
port and the consultants they hired? 

Drury: Senator Sutton, who was chairman of this interim com 
mittee, was a great friend of the parks and did a 
great deal for them. It was too bad when he left 
the legislature. One of his assistants was Dr. Hu 
bert Jenkins, who passed away several years ago, a 
retired professor of biology from Sacramento State 
College and a very able man. Then in addition, Del- 
bert Sarber, who had been at one time manager of the 
Berkeley Chamber of Commerce, an excellent investi 
gator, was the principal consultant. In general, 
the analysis that he made of the state park program 
was surely in accord with my observations. I think 
this report of Barber's is an excellent one. There 
were a great many others. My friend Sam Wood I know 
made one report that I didn't think was quite as 

Senate of the State of California, California's State 
Park Program. Two Studies of Current and Selected 
State Park Problems. Senate Committee Preliminary 
Report, Senate Resolution 125 - 1955, J. Delbert 
Sarber, Consultant. Also see Fourth Partial Report 
of Senate Interim Committee on Recreation. State Beaches 
and Parks, 1957, J. Delbert Sarber, Consultant, pub 
lished by Senate of the State of California 

Report of the Senate Interim Committee on Recreation. 
State Beaches and Parks. May. 1959. Louis G. Sutton f 
chairman; Report prepared by Pacific Planning and Re 
search: Samuel E. Wood and Philip G. Simpson; Senate 
Resolution No. 121-1957; published by the Senate of the 
Stale of California 


sound as the Barber report, but Sam V/ood has recently 
issued a splendid volume, "California Tomorrow" (for 
the organization of the same name), which accentuates 
the disappearance of landscape beauty by the inroads 
of commercialism, subdivision, highway building, and 
various other forms of exploitation of resources. 

Pry: "California Tomorrow" seemed to sound the same warn 
ing note that you've sounded, that we need overall 

Drury: Well, that's it. The big trouble was that we had too 
many bosses. We had not only the governor and his 
staff and the director of the department, but we had 
the two houses of the legislature and all their in 
terim committees, which more and more usurped the 
functions of the administrative arm of the govern 
ment. Even minutiae like the architectural charac 
ter of structures in the parks would be the subject 
of a rather detailed recommendation by the agents 
of the legislative interim committees. 

Pry: With the legislature's detailed interest in park ad 
ministration for a while, what did you do specifi 
cally as chief of California state parks? 

Drury: Well, for one thing, I spent interminable hours in 
the legislature with four primary committees: in 
the Assembly with the Natural Resources, Planning 
and Public Works Committee and the natural resources 
subcommittee of the Senate Finance Committee. One 
in each house was the Policy Committee, and the o- 
ther was the Fiscal Committee. We had to make up 
our programs and illustrate them as best we could 
with maps and charts and photographs and tabulations 


of data, and present them to these committees. That 
was particularly true of the Senate Subcommittee on 
Natural Resources. 

The hearings sometimes developed into sort of 
a Donnybrook, each representative being very soli 
citous about the items that had to do with his own 
bailiwick and only mildly interested in those that 
had to do with others. Sometimes we had, as in the 
case of the Polsom Dam, very aggressive representa 
tion which resulted in disproportionate amounts of 
the total fund being devoted to those projects. 

One of the most atrocious examples of that 
was Squaw Valley, where all told, close to $8,000,000 
of state money was diverted to that project on the 
ground that it was to be a general state recreation 
area at the end of the Olympic games. Fortunately, 
the Olympic games were triumphantly successful. The 
only objection that the division and I and the com 
mission had was that park money should not have been 
spent on something which really was a diplomatic ma 
neuver in maintaining international good will. 

Long before they put money into it, we recognized 
the handwriting on the wall and set our planners to 
work to try to present a logical plan for the use 
of Squaw Valley after the winter Olympics had taken 
place. My recollection is that our minimum plan in 
volved about two and a half million dollars and the 
maximum about three and a half million dollars. This 
was at a time when the state had only put three or 
four million into it, out of the money allocated to 
park purposes. The power s-that-were always refused 


to present this plan because they apparently were 
afraid that it would "be the straw that broke the 
camel's back. As it turned out, four or five mil 
lion dollars more were needed just to put the show 
on the road, most of which came out of the state 
park money. The State Park Commission approved our 
over-all plan, but we never could get the Depart 
ment of Finance or the governor or any of the lead 
ing legislators even to consider it. My recommen 
dation was that we either do this adequately or at 
the end of the games dispose of the whole property 
at whatever the state could get out of it, because 
anyone who knows that kind of business could fore 
see just what has happened. It's run into terri 
fic deficits in operating expenses and maintenance 
which have to be made up from the only available source, 
which is state appropriations. Our engineers found 
that most of the improvements put in were designed 
for one winter, not for fifty years, the way our 
park structures and utilities are designed. Squaw 
Valley was a good example of undue local pressure 
in these committees to get a disproportionate amount 
of funds allocated to one project and one district. 

Pry: Did you ever have commissioners go with you to these 

Drury: Rather rarely. Mr. Knowland used to go with us oc 
casionally to the hearings and it was always a great 
help to have a member of the Park Commission who was 
a highly respected citizen and had great prestige 
in the state. 

Leo Carrillo spoke eloquently when we had our 


hearings about approving the acquisition of the Hearst 
Castle, by gift from the Hearst estate, as a state 
historical monument. At the time, Leo said that the 
property would meet its own cost of upkeep and main 
tenance, and I had grave misgivings as to the accu 
racy of that statement, but it has paid its way pretty 
well. None of us counted on the million dollars' 
worth of publicity that the Hearst papers and the 
press throughout the United States gave to it, nor 
did we count fully on the pulling power of the in 
trinsic worth of the project from an aesthetic and 
somewhat historical standpoint. 

Pry: [Laughing] It's certainly one of your most diffi 
cult parks to get into. 

How did the move begin for the state hiking and 
riding trail? 

Drury: The riding and hiking trail system, which was started 
during the time that I was absent from California, 
was primarily for the benefit of the horsemen; at 
least it was promoted by them. Governor Warren gave 
it his blessing, and they put it under the aegis of 
the Division of Beaches and Parks. It was an extra 
vagant and perhaps grandiose plan dfor a horseback 
trail extending from the Mexican border along the 
coast to the Oregon border and then down the Sierra 
or the interior again to the Mexican border. I've 
forgotten how many thousand miles it was, 2500 miles 
of trail I believe. Obviously out of all proportion 
to the amount of either hiking or horseback use that 
you could get. 

Fry: A great deal of support was found for this in the 



Drury: In some localities. There were some counties where 
they had well-developed systems of horse trails, 
which of course are a fine thing if you have the 
horses and the horsemen to use them, but I found 
when I came back that they were building at consi 
derable cost hundreds of miles of trail that per 
haps didn't have a horseman a day traverse it, so 
that the cost of maintenance of the trail was con 
siderable just to keep it from being obliterated by 
natural growth. It was a useless expenditure. Af 
ter some years of effort, we were able to get the 
act amended so as to give priority to local devel 
opments in trail building in communities where 
they could be widely used. Santa Barbara County 
was a good case in point; down the peninsula from 
San Francisco was another. But it was a recrea 
tional device that was unquestionably of merit. 
The plan still exists, and it may be when next 
year California becomes the greatest state in po 
pulation in the nation that they'll revive it again. 
I don't know what our population of horses is. 
[Laughing] Having supported the horse that my dau 
ghter had for a good many years in her youth, I 
know that to be very active in horsy circles you 
have to be relatively affluent. 

Pry: What about the establishment of roadside rests? 

Drury: Roadside Etsts were recognized as a need of the state 
as soon as population and development began to make 
it necessary to fence off the motorists from the 
roadside. It's unquestionably a good thing. I al- 


ways contended, and so did a great many others, that 
it was primarily a function of the Division of High 
ways to provide the roadside rests, because they 
were really an adjunct of the highway system. They 
give people places to stop and relax, thereby tend 
ing to reduce accidents. They provide perhaps a 
fireplace where fires may be built under controlled 
conditions, which reduces the fire hazard. The road 
side rests were said by some to promote the move 
ment to keep the roadsides clean, because people 
could restrain themselves from disposing of litter 
until they arrived at these rests. 

These and other arguments were used, and I think 
they were good arguments. But the Division of High 
ways always ignored them and refused to do anything 
about it. I think it was partly because they felt 
that the needs for highway construction had first 
priority, and they never were able to meet the mi 
nimum needs of the state in any given year; probably 
also they felt that it was just another distracting 
activity that they'd just as soon not be bothered 

I spent innumerable hours trying to persuade 
the highway authorities that they, rather than the 
Division of Beaches and Parks, should administer the 
system of roadside rests. Yfe made a study, and la 
ter a legislative committee made a more exhaustive 
study of the roadside rest systems in practically 
every state in the Union. They reported that Cali 
fornia was the only one where putting the roadside 
rests under the jurisdiction of the Division of 


Beaches and Parks had even been considered. In all 
other cases, they were administered by the highways. 

Pry: The administration and maintenance, it seems to me, 
would fit in better under the highway system, be 
cause it's so decentralized compared to the parks. 

Drury: Well, we put in several rests on an experimental ba 
sis down in San Bernardino County, where the local 
legislators at least professed to want them, until 
the going got a little rough, and where we had estab 
lished no state parks, largely because of the lack 
of matching funds, although there were some fine 
opportunities there. Anyhow, down around Needles, 
we established one unit of three roadside rests at 
a distance of fifty miles apart. The general plan 
of the state was to have these at intervals of about 
fifty miles, which under normal freeway conditions 
is about an hour's travel. 

We found first of all, that the construction 
costs were considerably greater than anyone imagined. 
People think of those rests as something very simple, 
but with tens of thousands of people a day passing 
a given point, you have a terrific impact on the fa 
cilities. The possibilities of vandalism and theft 
are very great, and we found that unless we built 
of very substantial materials and anchored them to 
the ground, the tables and benches would be torn up; 
even the guards that we put down for the parking 
areas would be pulled and broken up for firewood 
for campfires. We finally got to the point where 
our planners felt that the prudent thing was to 
put in very substantial construction of concrete and 


metal, and the costs went up to a point where the 
program became criticized. It cost us $15,000 or 
$20,000 per unit for these. 

The next great problem, which added to costs 
that no one had anticipated, was the maintenance. 
Under the forty hour week for this unit of three 
roadside rests, we had to have three men and two 
inspections a day, which even at that time was not 
adequate. We had to have a pickup truck and all 
the equipment necessary for keeping things sani 
tary. One of the problems, frankly, was that they 
thought they could economize by not having sani 
tary facilities at these areas, but they very soon 
found [laughing] it was worth the investment. What 
the proponents of the roadside rests didn't recog 
nize and what, frankly, we didn't fully recognize 
either, was the terrific impact of traffic on these 
fenced desert roads, which runs into tens of thou 
sands per day, and the great amount of patronage that 
these rests would have, and their rapid deteriora 

Anyhow, to make a long story short, when we 
brought our costs to the legislature, there was 
something of an outcry, which to the uninitiated 
might seem reasonable. In the Assembly, Mrs. Pauline 
Davis, who was not one of my heroines, and who had 
in a sense sponsored the legislation herself, I guess 
in desperation turned on the Division of Beaches and 
Parks and said that in making these large estimates 
we were trying to sabotage the program. Well, we 
weren't doing that. We had always contended, and 
I know that Mr. DeTurk still contends, that roadside 


rests are a function of the highways. But since the 
legislature put them under our administration, we 
honestly tried to do a good job with them. The pro 
gram was held up for several years because the legis 
lature wouldn't appropriate money on anything like 
the scale that we felt was necessary. My position 
was that the great state of California surely couldn't 
afford to do a sloppy job on that or any other phase 
of the park program, especially on a phase that we 
would just as soon have seen the Division of High 
ways handle. 

In the mountain counties, where the traffic 
count is much less, some simpler rests were put in, 
consisting simply of a table and benches and with 
out facilities of any kind. These perhaps would 
have about one-one hundredth of the use that the 
desert areas and the populated sections of the state 
would have. They have maintenance from people near 
by on a part-time basis. Down in the desert, be 
lieve it or not, you hear a lot about "desert rats," 
but we couldn't find anybody who would take employ 
ment on that basis. We had to use civil servants 
on a full-time basis. You'd think there would be 
retired people who would be glad to spend a couple 
of hours a day. There weren't. But that was one 
of the many reasons why the program did not progress 
more rapidly in California and why it wasn't supremely 
popular in the legislature. I'm sure, however, that 
we were right in building substantially and maintain 
ing on an adequate basis rather than allowing them 
to be like some of the rests that I've examined in 


states like Arizona, where the environment ia not 
many levels above that of a garbage dump. Most peo 
ple don't realize the importance of the mechanics 
of park administration when you invite people to use 
park facilities on a mass basis. It's a very diffi 
cult problem. 

Individual Legislators 

Fry: Would you like to name some legislators who stand 
out rather fondly in your memory during this time? 
Perhaps Arthur H. Breed, Jr.? 

Drury: Well, Arthur H. Breed, 3r., was for many years a 

senator; he introduced the original state park acts, 
and just as he had also been the primary advocate 
of the state highway system, he was a splendid con 
servationist and an able legislator. We owe a great 
deal to him in starting the state park system. In 
latter years, his son, Arthur H. Breed Jr., who was 
also senator from Alameda County, was very promi 
nent in the Natural Resources Committee of the Se 
nate, as v/ell as on the Finance Committee, and was 
probably the leading advocate of the parks in the 

Toward the end of my time, and the end of Se 
nator Breed Jr.'s also, because he retired at about 
the same time, he became a little disaffected, for 
reasons that I never quite understood. I believe 
it was because his constituents criticized him be 
cause none of our money had gone into Alameda Coun 
ty. I know Mr. Knowland finally felt a little self- 


conscious about this, but as a guage of Mr. Know- 
land's fairness of mind, he was for forty years on 
the commission and about thirty years its chairman, 
and never at any time did he press for any special 
projects in his own home county. It happened with 
Alameda County just as with the interior counties, 
that there was no available matching money, and worse 
than that, there weren't along the coastline any 
opportunities to speek of for state park develop 
ment; it had all been pre-empted for industrial uses. 

Pry: What about the Knowland Arboretum in Oakland? 

Drury: The city of Oakland had this property which they'd 
acquired from the museum association; it was a 
zoological park originally. I think it's about a 
thousand acres; 600 to 1,000 acres in the vicinity 
of Mills College, a wonderful piece of rolling land 
quite typical of the coast range. Through Mr. Know- 
land's help, they were able to make some kind of an 
arrangement with the museum association and the Bank 
of America, who had the mortgage on it, whereby they 
were able to spend state park funds on a 50 per cent 
basis to acquire it. It was good for everyone all 
around. The city of Oakland had administered it 
under contract and now is doing very well with it, 
I had misgivings originally, but Mr. Y/illiam Penn 
Mott, Jr., who was the head of the Oakland city parks, 
a very able man, had worked out a fine plan for a 
botanical and zoological park, and the city of Oak 
land is putting quite a little money into it, doing 
very well with it. 

Pry: I guess that's the only one in Alameda County, isn't it? 


Drury: Yes. We had another project on the tidelands of 
the city of Alameda and money was appropriated or 
allocated for it out of park funds; I believe they've 
acquired some land I'm not up on a lot of the 
more recent acquisitions, but there was a property 
down there that during World War II was used by the 
Maritime Academy of the federal government, for in 
structing the merchant marine. That became sur 
plus and parts of it have been acquired since my 
time as an ocean front park in Alameda. At least 
it's in the process. 

Ery: What about Senatpr Louis G-. Sutton? 

Drury: Senator Sutton was very assiduous in his efforts for 
state parks generally and particularly for the up 
per Sacramento Valley, which for reasons I've al 
ready mentioned was more or less neglected. In the 
early days, we established a very fine park at Cas 
tle Crags, near Dunsmuir, but with the exception of 
that and the William Brown Ide Adobe historical mo 
nument near Red Bluff, there were no adequate repre 
sentations in the system. 

One of the great disappointments was that we 
were never able to establish river parks on the Sac 
ramento Hiver. There are some beautiful stretches 
of the river in the northern counties, and some of 
them are still available for park purposes, but un 
der the then existing law, money could not be ex 
pended without matching. Since that time, there 
have been one or two state parks established on the 
upper Sacramento ^iver. 

Fry: He was chairman of the senate interim committee which 


made a long report on the parks v This involved a 
great deal of investigation. 
Drury: And he was very assiduous on that. I remember 

Louis Sutton when he was a young man and I was just 
a stripling, right after V/orld Y/ar I; as one of my 
public relations jobs, I represented the organiza 
tion which later developed into Galifornians Incor 
porated, and I made a survey of the state and com 
bined that with a sort of a speaking tour to generate 
enthusiasm for this state advertising program. They 
called it the Better Business Corps, but that was 
the direct forerunner of Calif ornians Incorporated, 
of which my friend John Cuddy is now the manager. 
Anyhow, I remember going up to Maxwell near Red Bluff, 
in the Sacramento Valley, -and this young farmer named 
Sutton was presiding officer and most eloquent in 
calling for an adequate recreation program in the 
state of California. That was in 1919. Twenty 
years later, he was elected to the State Senate and 
he had still maintained that interest. He finally 
retired to private life; I met him just before his 
last election and I asked him what he was doing, and 
he said, "Well, I'm trying to find enough Republicans 
in the county." Evidently he didn't find enough. 

I remember Senator Biggar, of Mendocino County, 

Senate of the State of California, California's State 
Park Program. Two Studies of Current and Selected 
State Park Problems. Senate Committee Preliminary 
Report, Senate Resolution 125-1955, Delbert Sarber, 
Consultant. Also see Fourth Partial Report of Senate 
Interim Committee on Recreation. State Benches and 
Parks, 1957, J. Delbert Sarber, Consultant, published 
by Senate of the State of California. 


who introduced a good many of our park bills and al 
so was quite active in presenting the bills that re 
lated to forestry natters. 

Pry: Was this in the early days of the fifties? 

Drury: No; this was in the late thirties and early forties. 
Mrs. Mggar was quite prominent in the California 
Federation of Women's Clubs, and I always attributed 
some of his enthusiasm to hers, because she was' quite 
an effective person. I think it's all to the good 
to have a man in the legislature whose wife knows 
which end is up; we're just that much better off. 

?ry: Can you think of any others whose wives' interests 
might have 

Drury: Y/ell, I think our friend Assemblyman Belotti in Hum- 
boldt County, who has not always been with us but 
mostly has supported our major program, was partly 
induced to do so because Mrs. Belotti was a very un 
derstanding person. I don't doubt that the ladies 
that she associates with and their interests had 
some influence on her, which was transmitted to Frank 
Belotti. But in his own right he would be effective. 

One of the most militant now of the park con 
servationists in the legislature is Senator Fred Farr 
of Monterey County. He was successful in getting 
the Big Sur road taken out of the major freeway pro 
gram of the state. It could be restored, or course, 
at any time; but as long as Senator Farr is there, 
I don't think they will. 

Acquisitions; Case Histories 
Policy Questions 

Pry: Before you talk about acquisitions for specific parks, 


could you lay down a few general tendencies that you've 
noticed in the development of acquisition policy to 

Drury: The legislature has been quite generous in appropri 
ating money for the acquisition of lands for state 
parks. However, as you know, there has recently been 
announced the governor's intention to put before the 
legislature, and if they approve, before the voters, 
a 3100,000,000 bond issuef which will be none too 
much for rounding out the state park system. There 
are two somewhat dangerous amendments being proposed 
to this bill. The governor and the director of fi 
nance I'm sure believe that bond issues should be 
used only for capital investment in lands and the 
establishment of parks and for rounding out those 
already in existence. In the legislature, however, 
there's grov/ing pressure to spend some of the money 
on development, putting in improvements which all 
of the state administrations I know of have felt should 
be done on a pay-as-you-go basis. That's the first 
thing that probably will happen in the legislature, 
judging from the indications. The second is the 
probability that of this $100 million, $25 million 
will be set aside for grants-in-aid to the counties 
and cities for their park projects, either on a match- 


The voters failed to approve this bond issue at the 

November 6, 1962 election, although the amount re 
quested had been cut to $75,000,000. 


ing basis or on a 100 per cent basis. Personally, 
I feel that this is apt to lead to a sort of pork 
barrel type of development. 

Pry: Didn't you have to face this decision once before, 
about whether to use state money on local projects? 

Drury: Yes; and always before, the money in the main was 

invested in lands, and the appropriations from year 
to year out of tax monies took care of the improve 
ments and developments. 

Pry: There seems to be a growing tendency to emphasize 

development. Some people seem to feel that the ac 
quisition era is about over. 

Drury: Yes. Perhaps that's only natural because with our 

growing population, the facilities for such special 
ized uses as camping, picnicking, swimming, hiking, 
boating, and other important outdoor recreational 
activities of necessity are limited, and are not 
adequate to take care of all who want to use them. 
That's particularly true at the peak of the season. 
One of my personal beliefs is that you never are 
going to be able to develop soundly and at the same 
time fully take care of the peak load of public use, 
on days like the Fourth of July. If you do, it seems 
to me that you're not wisely investing the money, 
because for an exceptional one- or two-day use, 
you're making a capital investment which to some 
extent lies idle through the rest of the year. 

Of course, being one who has felt the impact 
of the highway program as far as parks are concerned, 
I also am of the belief that there's a fallacious 
idea as to highway building, that many unnecessary 

Newton B. Drury 

Photograph by Harris & Ewing 


superhighways and freeways are built largely to meet 
the peak load at the rush hour. 

Transfers and Trades 

Fry: What about different processes of acquisition? Du 
ring the period when matching money was required, 
did you do much transferring of excess Hedwood League 
funds from one acquisition to a less fortunate but 
hoped for transaction, as in the case of Point Lo- 

Drury: There was quite a little juggling. The Sonoma Coast 
State Park we acquired through the county of Sonoma 
giving the Armstrong Woods County Park to the state, 
appraising it and matching it for that amount to 
buy the land along the Sonoma coast. And in the 
beach program, I'd say that 50 per cent of the ac 
quisitions were on that basis all of those in 
Los Angeles County and quite a few south of there, 
where the city or county owned beach frontage which 
was appraised and then given to the state and that, 
under the law, qualified for the expenditure of match- 
ing state money. Some people questioned it, but 
when you think how much was accomplished and how many, 
many times the price we paid on those properties 
you'd have to pay today, it was one case where the 
ends justified the means. The Save-the-Redwoods 
League also put money into preservation of the shore 
line of Lake Tahoe, on the ground that its articles 
of incorporation included the preservation of fo 
rests generally. They put some money into the recent 


purchase of Emerald I&y from Mr. Harvey West. And 
it was possible to get a much better deal on some 
of the land up at Rubicon Point on Lake Tahoe be 
cause the Save-the-Redwoods League had enough money 
in its treasury to buy a certain holding and then 
reshuffle it and change the boundaries and trade 
off a portion of what they held so as to give the 
state more lake frontage. That couldn't have been 
done by the state; the law wouldn't have allowed 
it; so the Save-the-Redwoods League has acted as a 
sort of an intermediary on transactions of that sort. 
I can't think of others offhand, but there probab 
ly were some. In some cases, the Redwoods League 
actually put the money into them, and in others it 
acted as a sort of an agent. Heedless to say, it 
made no profit on the transaction. 

Pry: Did the alternate-section lands owned by railroads 
pose much of an acquisition problem? 

Drury: In general, the railroads were cooperative, or at 
least willing to negotiate on an agreed value. In 
the Anaa-Borrega Desert State Park, Mount San Ja- 
cinto, and to some extent up around Shasta and Castle 
Crags and one or two other state parks, we had ex 
tensive dealings with the Southern Pacific and the 
Santa Pe railroads with respect to incorporating 
railroad lands into the state parks. I think that, 
by and large, they were about the easiest people to 
deal with. 

One very good friend of mine, with whom I had 
interminable dealings, Mr. Impey, was the land agent 
of the Southern Pacific Company. Ve v/ere rounding 


out the Mount San Jacinto State Park, which is a mag 
nificent area. 'There were three kinds of lands there: 
private lands that belonged to the Southern Califor 
nia Edison Company, and some individual private own 
ers; Southern Pacific lands, which were grants from 
the federal government; and national forest lands. 
Mr. Lou Barrett of the U.S. forest Service and Mr. 
John Impey and I spent many, many hours in long con 
ferences on these lands. I thlnl: finally we acquired 
something like 20,000 acres, maybe more. 

I remember one incident where we reached an im 
passe because we couldn't agree upon the exchange 
value. The state was putting money into it and the 
Forest Service was contributing its lands, and we 
were buying the Southern California Edison lands. 
The Mount San Jacinto Association down in Riverside 
County had raised money to match the state. 

It was a problem first of all of outlining the 
boundaries, a typical land-planning problem. That 
we did by exploration and getting expert opinion. 
Then in some cases, we had to survey the land. TCe 
had half a dozen men working on the survey. A ra 
ther tragic phase of that was that one of these men 
who was an old-timer in the Forest Service had co 
vered 10,000 acres of this land in the high upper 
region, where in some places there was just a nar 
row trail where he would have to edge his way around 
holding to the cliff by his fingertips; but he cane 
down safe from all that and he was killed by an au 
tomobile on the street in Paver side, which shows 
that the park business is perilous, but there are 


other perils in more civilized centers. 

Mr. Impey was a fine gentleman, but the prob 
lem was that he was holding out for a higher price. 
We finally reached the point where we decided the 
only thing to do was to furnish the Forest Service 
representative and the Southern Pacific representa 
tive and myself v/ith horses, and make a pack trip 
into that high country (which I had done earlier) 
all together to look over the lands. I could see 
that Mr. Impey was not particularly anxious to do 
it, so Barrett and I put up a sort of a job on him. 
We started at breakfast talking about what a peri 
lous trip it was going to be and how sore everybo 
dy would be after two days of hard riding and how 
unreliable the horses were, how we would have to 
eat our meals from a mantelpiece when we came back. 
About nine o'clock that night, Mr. Impey asked me 
to come and see him. He said, "You know, I've been 
thinking about this trip up there. I think we can 
get together all right. I think we'll take your 
figures." [Laughing] Which is one of the many 
anecdotes as to the modus operandi of land trading. 

Installment Buying 

Fry: When you were short of funds, was it ever feasible 
to arrange a sort of installment buying system in 
which you bought only a small portion of the land 
at a time? 

Drury: It was almost impossible to buy any land on the in 
stallment plan, though we did work out some purchases, 


Primarily, they were for the benefit of the seller 
for tax purposes, under which we paid so much a year. 
I remember making a deal on Mount Diablo under which 
a lump sum was to be paid over a period of five years 
to spread out the incidence of the tax. We were a- 
ble to take up all of those installments as they 
came due, matching the state money with some pri 
vate gifts and some money contributed by the county 
of Contra Costa, in general making it as painless 
as possible to all concerned. I remember when we 
reached the last installment of our contract with 
Mr. Walter Prick on Mount Diablo, one of the park 
commissioners who'd recently come in raised the 
point that the way we had divided it up, the last 
parcel wasn't worth the amount of x the final install 
ment. I had quite a time convincing them that it 
would be in extreme bad faith if, having on the ba 
sis of appraisals and negotiation reached an over 
all value, we backed out on the purchase of the last 
unit. We finally did put it through. Of course, 
looking back from today's values, anything that we 
purchased in those early days was almost a steal. 
Another case of acquisition on installments 
was the property from the Del Norte Lumber Company 
in the Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. About 
the time that I left California for Washington, we 
had succeeded in making a deal with the Del ilorte 
Lumber Company for the purchase of several thousand 
acres and for an option on about an equal acreage 
on a ten-year basis. The installments that we had 
to pay were about $50,000 a year. That was where 


my "brother Aubrey came into the acquisition picture, 
Aubrey was the one who, every year for ten years, had 
to get together enough Redwoods League money to re 
lease an equal amount of state park money so that 
we could take up a unit of that option. And he suc 
ceeded in doing it. One of the devices that he found 
most effective was the establishment of the National 
Tribute Grove, which was a memorial to those who lost 
their lives in World War II, I think they broadened 
it to include both world wars. There were over 4,000 
separate contributions. 

Butano Redwoods 

Regarding acquisitions, I thought that we might talk 
about the Butano redv/oods, the Pueblo de Los Angeles, 
Calaveras Big Trees, Hearst Castle, Point L - b OS> g^a 
others. Could you give us some stories on how you 
brought those parks about? 

Well, they v/ere brought about by the efforts of many 
people, and some of them were pending for thirty or 
forty years. The Butano redwoods was a wonderful 
tract of about 5,000 acres in San Mateo County, which 
was in our early program and which unfortunately we 
never were able to get enough money to buy. The cost 
of the entire tract would have been in the neighbor 
hood of half a million dollars, whereas much less 
than two -fifths of that was finally acquired for a 
million dollars. It was in 1956 that we took title 
to nearly 2,000 acres, but of that, 2,000 acres more 
than half was land on the edge of the redwood forest. 


The really dense forest v/as on the North Butano, 
There's no use deploring what might have been, "but 
to me, what we got in the Butano redwoods is just 
a pathetic fragment of the wonderful virgin forest 
that we should have acquired years before. The main 
problem was one of getting matching money under the 
state park bond issue. We had in the state park bond 
issue of 1928 money allocated sufficient to acquire 
the Butano redwoods in their entirety, had it not 
been for the lack of matching money. The Save-the- 
Hedwoods League was so busy on the northern redwoods 
that they couldn't put any money into it. They never 
did seem to get enough money in Santa Cruz and San 
Mateo counties to match the state, so that although 
there were appropriations in the budget at various 
times, we didn't buy at Butano Creek until twenty- 
five years after the first attempts. 

Fry: What happened to the other 3,000 acres? 

Drury: The timber was logged. The property originally be 
longed to the West Shore Lumber Company, in which 
the dominant interest was owned by Timothy Hopkins. 
Under Timothy Hopkins' will it was left in trust to 
Stanford University, the proceeds from its sale to 
go to the endowment of the university. I made a 
trip with ex-President Hoover right after he left 
office, and Ray Lyman Wilbur, who had resumed the 
presidency of Stanford, having been Secretary of the 
Interior during the Hoover administration. V/e went 
all over this property, and the trustees of Stanford 
University were very eager to sell it to us at the 
then very low price of about half a million dollars. 


We had $250,000 in the atate park bond issue, but 
there was no place from which we could get another 
quarter million in private monies for matching. 

Later on, the counties surrounding the Butano 
put up almost that amount of money, but it was too 
late then. We'd had our chance at it and lost it. 
The Pacific Lumber Company had bought it to har 
vest the timber, and they were reasonably coopera 
tive in trying to work out a deal with us, but of 
course at a price about ten times what originally 
we would have paid for it. That's only typical of 
some of the lost opportunities in the state park 

Santa Cruz Redwoods and Point Loboa 

Pry: You were more successful in the other redwood parks 
around there, weren't you? 

Drury: You're referring to the Butano Redwoods (in San Ma- 
teo County also), the Big Basin Redwoods, the Hen 
ry Cowell Redwoods, and Portola, all of which are 
in Santa Cruz County? 

Fry: Yes. 

Drury: The Cowell Redwoods, established in 1954, were largely 
the gift of the Cowell estate left by Henry Cowell. 
They were important cement people, the Cowell Cement 
Company, and they still ov/n lands all up and down 
the coast and in the interior, too. Anyhow, thia 
Cowell property lay south of a grove known as the 
Santa Cruz Big Trees, probably the earliest known 
of the coast redv/ood groves back in the 1850 's. It 


was famous, and a point of interest to travelers, 
many of whom went by train and some by horse team, 
to view these marvelous "big trees," They belonged 
to a family named Welch, who for a small admission 
charge allowed people to see them. I think they 
did a great public service. The Welch family finally 
sold this property at a very moderate price to San 
ta Cruz County, which for many years called it the 
Santa Cruz Big Trees. When we got the chance to 
acquire the Henry Cowell Redwoods, which they gave 
to us, the county of Santa Cruz also agreed to con 
vey the Welch property to the state of California 
and make it a state park. Under the matching prin 
ciple, we matched that gift and bought a considera 
ble acreage of land in San Lorenzo Canyon that the 
Cowell interests were willing to sell at a reasonable 
price, so that of the 1,737 acres now in the park, 
probably over 1,000 acres were acquired by matching 
the state funds, the gift from Santa Cruz County, 
and the redwood grove given by Cowell. It was quite 
a complicated deal. The whole thing is known now 
as Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. 

Pry: How did Henry Cowell first get interested in giving 
this to the state? 

Drury: He was very benevolent and either in hia will he in 
dicated that it should be made public property, or 
he established a very large trust, of which the U- 
niversity of California has been the great benefi 
ciary, under which public causes were served. The 
trustees felt that this was a worthy one. 

I like to dwell on our successes, such as Point 


Lobes, where we "bought for $1,500 an acre land that 
would probably cost $25,000 an acre today. But there 
v/e were able to get matching funds, through credits 
on the contributions that had been made to the Save- 
the-Redwoods League.""' Just this morning I had a call 
from Mrs. Robert Hunter, who is now in her eighties 
and not very well; she was one of the moving spi 
rits in establishing the Point Lobos Reserve. Many 
years before it was made a state park, she was in 
terested in it. She and her husband, Robert Hunter, 
lived in Santa Barbara, and later lived on the Se 
venteen Mile Drive in Monterey. She was president 
for a long time of the Point Lobos Association, of 
which Aubrey Drury was secretary. Recently, they 
tried in vain to raise enough money to buy the last 
segment of land to the north of Point Lobos, which 
really is necessary to complete the picture. When 
I left for Washington, we had obtained an option of 
$1,000 an acre on it, but because of the competing 
demands of the redwoods in the raising of funds, and 
because no public money from the counties or any o- 
ther agencies could be obtained to match state park 
bond money, we never got this part of the Point Lo 
bos property. Today you couldn't buy it for $10,000 
an acre; it's gone up in value at least tenfold. 

Mrs. Hunter is a great lover of natural beauty, 
a person of considerable means, and has been very 
generous with the Save-the-Redwoods League and with 
Point Lobos, and she still worries about v/hether the 
state is going to do the right thing by Point Lobos - 
and also by a redwood grove that she and some of her 

K-See Point Lobos Reserve A Study of a Primitive 
Landscape, by Aubrey Drury. 


friends established called the "Children's Forest" 
up in Humboldt County. There were a great many peo 
ple who had a part in inspiring the preservation of 
Point Lobos. The community of Carmel is sort of an 
art colony, and from a park standpoint was one of 
the most favorable environments in v/hich to promote 
the protection of a natural area with the minimum 
of disturbing development or adverse use. We had 
the support right along of the people of Carmel and 
pretty well of Monterey County, in keeping Point 
Lobos in its natural state. 

For many years, there was an attempt to raise 
a fund and buy Point Lobos from A. M. Allan, who had 
held it for thirty or forty years. Fortunately, Mr. 
Allan found that the most profitable use for that 
property was not to subdivide or farm it, but to charge 
visitors 50 cents per car for entering the reserve. 
While some people talked of that as commercializa 
tion, those who knew the facts felt it was a bles 
sing. He had three daughters, and all of them really 
loved the beauty of the place and wanted to see it 
preserved, but they drove a hard bargain when we wanted 
to buy it and they stipulated that a portion of it 
should be named as a memorial to A. M. Allan, which 
I think was all right anyhow. I handled the trans 
action and we paid a good stiff price. We bought 
about 400 acres for about $600,000 C$1,500 an acre]; 
everybody thought that v/as a scandalous price, but 
you couldn't buy those acres now for &20,000 an acre. 
In fact, my brother's estate sold a lot on the sea- 
coast comparable to that for about $25,000 an acre 


just last year. Our appraisal for Point Lobos ran 
around $400,000, which still was pretty high. Any 
how, by special dispensation we were able to buy it 
and it was a very fortunate thing. 

There was plenty of state money from the bond 
issue of 1927, but that act provided that every dol 
lar of state money would have to be matched by a 
gift of some sort. Well, there just wasn't enough 
private money or local money down in that county to 
put up half of $600,000. We were more or less sty 
mied. It just occurred to me late one night, that 
the state hadn't matched all the private money the 
Save-the-Redwoods League had given for the northern 
redwoods; there was a balance of about $100,000 there 
(the Redwoods League had put up $500,000, but very 
properly the Park Commission felt they couldn't con 
tinue matching only redwood money) . So lo and be 
hold, we got the attorney general to rule that that 
could be matched down there, and the Redwoods League 
put up another $50,000 out of its treasury and the 
thing was done. 

Pry: In Point Lobos, did you have very much pressure from 
anybody who wanted more recreation or camping there? 

Drury: V/ell, the climate, intellectually and artistically, 
in Carmel was favorable to preserving Point Lobos 
for what some of us considered its highest use, as 
a landscape of great beauty and natural interest. 
To enforce that idea, we established a Point Lobos 
Advisory Committee, of which Dr. Ray Lyman Wilbur 
was chairman and I was the secretary. This commit 
tee engaged Frederick Law Olmsted and his assistant 


George Vaughn to make a master plan for Point Lobes, 
indicating what degree of development should take 
place roads, trails, and so forth and estab 
lishing a general policy which the State Park Com 
mission then adopted. It was quite the reverse of 
the usual local pressure, which usually is for more 
intensive recreational utilization whether the place 
will stand it or not. 

Calaveras Sequoias 

Fry: The state has only one park of Sierra "Big Trees," 
as I understand it the Calaveras north grove and 
south grove. Did the south grove negotiations get 
underway in the twenties? 

Drury: Well, the south grove negotiations in a sense have 
been going on ever since the two groves were dis 
covered in the 1850 's. An interesting sidelight is 
the interest of James C. Sperry, one of the founders 
of the Save-the-Redwoods League. Mr. Sperry was the 
son of a pioneer named Jim Sperry, who among other 
things, had owned both groves and was the proprietor 
of the old hotel at Murphys, then called Sperry f s 
Hotel. Now it is Murphys Hotel, a rather ancient 
stone building that still stands, and while I guess 
people do rent rooms there, it's mainly for the at 
mosphere though they apparently still have the 
best restaurant in town. For many years, the pio 
neer Jim Sperry also operated the North Grove Hotel, 
which burned down in the 1940 's. It was a very in 
teresting typical old white New England structure; 


it had a formal garden in front with an antique foun 

The North Grove 

Drury: J. C. Sperry as a boy was familiar with both of the 
groves because they belonged to his father, Jim, who 
probably either took them up under the Homestead Act 
or bought them from homesteaders. At any event, at 
an early date, Jim Sperry sold the north grove to 
the Whiteside interests. 

From the acquisition standpoint, the negotia 
tions for the purchase of the north grove from the 
Whiteside interests were relatively simple. There 
wasn't the demand for the various species like yel 
low and sugar pine that there is today, and the se 
quoias had only a nominal value. While there had 
been some lumbering in the Sequoia gigantea, there 
was no great market for them, because of the massive 
size of the trees and the difficulty of handling them 
and also because of the fact that the Sequoia gigan 
tea is very brittle and shatters much more readily 
than the coast redwood. 

When v/e came to a showdown on the purchase, we 
finally paid, I think, perhaps a hundred dollars a 
tree some nominal sum for the big trees. But 
the commercial going rate, -which was around $4.50 a 
thousand board feet for yellow pine and six to seven 
dollars for sugar pine, was paid for the rest of the 
stumpage in the Calaveras north grove. 

That was consumated in the thirties. The state 


put in half the money and the Save-the-Kedwoods 
League put the other half into the purchase. My 
recollection is that we paid $463,000 for it. The 
interesting thing is that the south grove, which 
we bought twenty years later, cost many times that 
amount, $2,975,000, or almost $3 million. 

The South Grove 

Drury: There was a long period during which we tried to 

raise the funds to buy the south grove, which mean 
while had been purchased from Whiteside by the Pick 
ering Lumber Company. I remember having sustained 
dealings with Prank Solinsky, who acted as agent for 
quite a few owners of property that was sold to the 
state for park purposes. He was primarily a lumber 
man, but he was also a good negotiator and a good 
salesman. My dealings with him were very satisfac 
tory. Por instance, we bought the Frick property 
on the summit of Mount Diablo from Mr. George Prick, 
and Mr. Solinsky acted as his agent. In general, 
I found he was very reasonable to deal with, and he 
was in the case of the south Calaveras grove. But 
somehow or other we never got together, although the 
state at various times had money in the treasury to 
meet one half of the cost of it. We never were able 
to get enough money at any one time in the treasury 
of the Redwoods League that could be diverted from 
other purposes to match the state and buy the south 
grove. The consequence was that when we finally did 
buy it, we paid about ten times as much for it as 


we would have if we could have done it in the thir 

Pry: Did you continue to help with negotiations even af 
ter you joined the National Park Service? 

Drury: Yes. Later on when the league got more money, the 
prices began to go up and the negotiations became 
more and more difficult. When I was with the Na 
tional Park Service in Chicago, I spent quite a lit 
tle time with the representative of the Pickering 
Lumber Company, Mr. George Cronewald. One of the 
reasons that we didn't get along so well with the 
south grove was that for a long time, the owners 
insisted that they would sell only the basin, pos 
sibly a thousand acres, within which the large trees 
were located, but not the surrounding slopes, which 
were mostly the more valuable commercial species 
like yellow and sugar pine. It took a lot of doing, 
I was able at least to persuade these brokers in 
Chicago that the Save-the-Hedwoods League and the 
state would never be satisfied with simply this lit 
tle restricted area. 

But it came about that when finally I got back 
to California in 1951, we were still negotiating with 
the Pickering Company. Prank Solinsky, v/ho had been 
our mainstay in those dealings, had died. We had 
considerable difficulty in getting first of all an 
acceptable cruise giving the quantity of stumpage 
in each sr>ecies, and next in getting an acceptable 
appraisal of the property. The management of the 
company was absentee management except Mr. George 
Rassenfoss, who since has passed away; he was the 


president of the company, a local man and very agree 
able to deal with. 

Inflation had made the dollar values seem re 
latively greater than they really were. Also, the 
general depletion particularly of sugar pine stump- 
age had made its market value soar. I think it ran 
around, sixty dollars a thousand board feet on the 
south grove, whereas in the purchase of the north 
grove twenty years "before, we acquired sugar pine 
for around six or seven dollars a thousand, which 
in that case was a ten-fold increase. 

Anyhow, after about two years of final nego 
tiations, we did arrive at a value. I asked my 
classmate, Governor Earl Warren, if he wouldn't 
write a letter to another classmate, Horace M. Al 
bright in New York, asking Mr. Albright to appraise 
Mr. John D. Rockefeller, Jr. of the fact that at 
last we had arrived at a definite asking price and 
that we had some hundreds of thousands of dollars, 
but we lacked just about a million dollars to com 
plete the deal. And Mr. Rockefeller, after some cor 
respondence, sent word that he would pledge a mil 
lion dollars toward it. So then we gathered toge 
ther the state funds, which were not bond issue funds, 
but funds appropriated in the 1945 state park act, 
which also required matching. The Save-the-Redwoods 
League put in some hundreds of thousands of dollars, 
both in money and land, and the total purchase was 
consumated. I think we might put in our appendix 
a little table that I have showing the sources of 
all of this revenue from gifts and from Mr. Rockefeller 


and from smaller donors, and the amount put in by 
the state. One of the incentives to contribution 
toward the portion other than Mr. Rockefeller's 
gift was the establishment of memorial groves. 
There have been fifteen or more memorial groves es 
tablished in the Calaveras south grove, among which 
is one contributed to by Mr. Walter A. Starr of the 
Redwoods League. And a very substantial area con 
tributed, too, by Duncan and Jean McDuffie. 

Pry: Didn't a local organization help raise funds, too? 

Drury: The Calaveras Grove Association has existed for a 

great many years, but the Save- the -Redwoods League, 
while it was not diverted from its primary project 
of coastal redwoods, was able to raise a considera 
ble sum of money so that the matching of state funds 
came from combined contributions of the Save-the-Red- 
woods League and the Calaveras Grove Association. 

Fry: Could you name some of the leading citizens who 
helped with the local association? 

Drury: Mrs. Helen Jackson of Stockton, Mr. Elmer Reynolds 
of Stockton, who was editor of the Stockton Record; 
both were very prominent in the early days. ]?or 
the south grove activities years later, I'l have to 
give you the names of the president and the secre 
tary of the Calaveras Grove Association, both of whom 
were very fine, active people and who raised con 
siderable money for it. 

Pry: I would like to put a closeup camera on the business 
in Chicago, where the brokers v/ere somehow convinced 
that you did need more than just the basin where the 
redwoods grew. 


Drury: At that time, I had quite a little dealings with in 
dividuals in Washington and New York on behalf of 
the Redwoods League. It was all in a good cause, 
you see. Well, it was just a matter of telling them 
that we needed more. These were seasoned men; they 
understood what we were driving at. Mr. Cronewall 
was an unusually high type of gentleman, as most of 
the people we dealt with were. Of course they rep 
resented their own interests, and had a right to 
represent them good and hard. Frankly, we waited 
too long in the negotiations and the prices went up, 
but we did get the property and that's the main thing. 
The cardinal sin, it always seems to me in any deal 
ings in land for public purposes, is not to get the 
land. Everything else pales into insignificance 
beside that. It's fine if you can make a good deal, 
but it's even finer when the smoke blows away if 
you have title to the property. 

Corridor Land 

Fry: Later on, you managed to get the corridor land in 
between these two groves, didn't you? 

Drury: Well, there was a certain amount of that corridor 

land that belonged to Pickering Lumber Company that 
was included in our deal. Unfortunately, we didn't 
have enough money to buy all of the stumpage on the 
Pickering land, so we had to agree to selective cut 
ting of some of the timber. But our forester in the 
state parks, Mr. Fred Meyer, went over the area out 
side the Sequoia grove (where there was to be rela- 


tively little lumbering), and designated one area 
that was to be used primarily for headquarters and 
for picnicking and camping and mo on, . In other 
places, it was logged so as to leave a certain num 
ber of seed trees per acre, with the slash cleared 
up in a certain way so that even today, just about 
ten years from the time we got title to the south 
grove and less than ten years from the time when 
Pickering finished their cutting, we're all through 
with it. The land's been cleared up. The parks 
had a work camp there from the state prisons which 
did excellent work, and they've gotten that land in 
shape so that it's beginning to reforest. This was 
primarily the pines on the fringe of the Calaveras 
grove and lying between. 

There is still a portion of the corridor which 
is in the ownership of the U.S. Forest Service. We 
had an understanding with the national Forest Ser 
vice that ultimately that would be deeded to the 
state. But when I left Sacramento tv/o and a half 
years ago, that hadn't been done. As far as I know, 
it has not yet been done. Although there was a fe 
deral act 

Pry: Was this Hiram Johnson's act? 

Drury: It was in Hiram Johnson's time, 1929. It authorizes 
the Secretary of Agriculture to convey the land be 
tween the south and north groves to the state of Ca 
lifornia whenever one or the other was acquired. 
The Secretary of Agriculture, because the act was 
only permissive, chose not to exercise the authority 
that he had to convey these Forest Service lands, 


possibly for a justifiable reason, that we would 
work harder to raise funds for the south grove ha 
ving already bought the north grove, if there was 
the additional incentive of getting federal lands. 
Now it's true that in the early days I never urged 
that they carry out the intent of that act even though 
we had acquired the north grove. At that time, the 
state of California was in no position to protect 
the land surrounding the south grove; they couldn't 
very well establish a park staff there until they 
bought the south grove, you see. 

Pry: Was there ever any attempt to trade national forest 

land for stumpage in the Calaveras groves themseltes? 

Drury: One of our early attempts to acquire the Calaveras 
groves was an approach to the U.S. Forest Service 
in the hope that they would, as a matter of public 
welfare, trade pine stumpage in some of the nearby 
national forests, which was destined to be cut in 
any event, for this stumpage in the Calaveras north 
and south groves. In the twenties, I had correspon 
dence with William Greeley, then the Chief Forester 
of the United States, and while he seemed sympathe 
tic to this idea, we never were able to work it out. 
Of course, much later on when I became enmeshed in 
the bureaucracy, I understood better than I did in 
those early days just how hard it is to pry anything 
loose from the government, whether it be the Forest 
Service o* the Indian Service or any other. But it 
is interesting to note that today Secretary Udall 
of the Department of the Interior at least believes 
that he can accomplish quite a little preservation 


of property in national park status and perhaps 
even in st.".te park status through this device of 
trading government property that would otherwise be 
utilized commercially, as it could "be particularly 
in Public Lands under the Bureau of Land Manage 
ment. The U.S. Forest Service has always resisted 
such proposals, and they resist them today. They 
are very aggressive in their resistence to the in 
corporation of national forest lands in national 

Pry: Anyhow, you do have the corridor lands now, don't 

Drury: We now have obtained most of the Forest Service 
lands and have joined up the two groves. 

Fry: Oh, of them? 

Drury: Yes. There are some Forest Service lands that 

have been held in a later authorized reservation, 
which was also authorized by Congress. But I ne 
ver was much concerned about the jurisdiction over 
public land, so long as it was protected. And the 
Forest Service, as far as the Sequoias are concerned, 
has always been meticulous in assuring that they 
should not be cut, although they are primarily an 
agency for the economic utilization of forests. 
They recognize in the Big Trees one of the wonders 
of the world which should be protected inviolate. 

Fry: Is there a road planned to enable motorists to tra 
vel from one grove to the other? 

Drury: There is a park road now not a boulevard, but a 
very acceptable park road, from the north grove to 
the Stanislaus River. And the clearing has been 


done through to the service area, perhaps a quarter 
of a mile or less by trail from the South Galaveras 

The thing that we were able to accomplish in 
the South Grove was the establishment of the poli 
cy that there would be no intrusion of development 
into the Sequoia grove proper. It would be simply, 
so to speak, a museum piece which people could vi 
sit on foot. No automobile roads through it. They 
could enjoy the trails and the beauty of the place 
and marvel at the Big Trees. But any activities 
such as camping, picnicking, and others would take 
place on lands of lesser caliber adjoining the pri 
mary exhibit in the Sequoia groves. That principle 
is well established. 

We also established the principle that there 
wasn't to be an arterial highway from the north to 
the south grove. At one time, because money was so 
hard to get, there had been a move to get the fe 
deral government and the California State Highway 
Commission to put up the money to build this corri 
dor highway between the two groves. That would 
have been ruinous because it would have made it a 
public thoroughfare and a part of the state high 
way system, whereas the road ^fchat we did finally 
build with state appropriations is a park road on 
lesser standards and with much less artificiality 
than you find on a conventional highway. By and 
large, I think that despite the large cost of the 
Calaveras south grove, it's one of our really suc 
cessful adventures in the field of park conservation, 


Pueblo de Los Angeles 

Pry: The Pueblo de Los Angeles had some prominent local 
people organized for its preservation too, didn't 

Drury: Yes. As you know, the Pueblo de Los Angeles was 
the site of the original city of Los Angeles, and 
we had a fine cooperative arrangement with the city, 
which owned some properties down there, and with 
the corporation The Pueblo de Los Angeles Associa 
tion, headed by Mrs. Christine Sterling, a wonder 
ful woman who, with the aid of Mr. Harry Chandler 
and others in the early days, bought up this old 
slum that was known as Olvera Street. It was ter 
ribly rundown, but realizing that this was the birth 
place of the city and that some of the old buildings 
if restored would have charm and interest, Mrs. 
Sterling battled for almost a generation to get 
recognition of this and finally got the city of Los 
Angeles to take part in acquiring some of this pro 
perty. The association finally interested the state 
in it. We were able to get over a million dollars 
in state appropriations to buy land that was pri 
vately owned along Olvera Street. The street itself 
was dedicated to the city. 

Fry: Was this a slum at the time? 

Drury: It was very much of a slum, yes. It was a blighted 

Pry: It was the slum owners who were reluctant to sell? 

Drury: Well, they were probably mostly absentee owners. 

But when we got a little money, most of the people 


were eager to sell at their price, of course. 
Anyhow, we acquired a very sizeable area there, in 
cluding the Avila House, which is the prize adobe 
there and was owned previously by the Pueblo de Los 
Angeles Association. From the Methodist Church we 
acquired a very interesting structure which, strange 
ly enough, has a protestant church meeting room in 
the midst of a Catholic community. And right ac 
ross, but not part of the reservation, is the Catho 
lic mission where many of the celebrations are held. 
This is, I think, a project that rather satisfacto 
rily recaptures somthing of the color and flavor of 
early California, and a great deal of the credit is 
due to Mrs. Christine Sterling and her supporters 
in the association. There were plans to restore the 
old Pico Theater, the Pico Hotel, and the Masonic 
Theater adjoining it, which at one time were owned 
by Pio Pico, the last Mexican governor of Califor 
nia, and when I retired, we were working with the 
Sheraton Hotel people to have them furnish the old 
hotel in the early California manner although they 
would have some modern conveniences that Governor 
Pico lacked. [Laughing] 

Hearst Castle 

Pry: The Hearst Castle seems to have had less than una 
nimous backing in the Park Commission. 

Drury: Yes. The Hearst Castle was a gift by the Hearst fa 
mily to the state of California.* It took a great 

This portion of the interview is preserved on tape 
at the Regional Cultural History Project off ice, "Main 
Library, University of California at Berkeley 


deal of maneuvering to bring it about; there's a very 
good Saturday Evening Post article on it. 

Pry: Would you say that account is accurate? 

Drury: In the main, yes. I'll try to dig up a letter I wrote 
to the author, Ralph Taylor of Palo Alto, who writes 
many articles for the Post. He was very kind in at 
tributing to me qualities of salesmanship that I am 
not sure that I displayed. But it is partly true, 
as he says, that the idea of making the Hearst Castle 
a state historical exhibit had to be "sold" to each 
one of the members of the State Park Commission, 
some of whom were rather hostile to the idea. One 
by one, as they saw its unique character and the as 
tounding overextravagant opulence of the place and 
its furnishings, they reached the conclusion that 
it was a worthwhile object of public interest, and 
now the history of its administration shows that it 
is one of the few areas that is capable of paying 
for itself. 

Pry: At the time, was it the expense of maintenance that 
most of the park commissioners were afraid of? 

Drury: That was one of their thoughts, yes; and there was 
a certain hostility, frankly, to William Randolph 
Hearst. But anyone who approaches the thing ob 
jectively I think will admit that this was a crea 
tion that represented a strong mind, to say the 
least. It represented imagination and a considera 
ble ability to fuse into a unified whole a lot of 
divergent elements of art and architecture and land 
scaping. It was also historic in the sense that it 
would never occur again, because it was built in the 


days of the lavish fortunes and low income tax or 
no income tax. It just happened that a man with 
William Randolph Hearst's penchant for antiquities 
and his tendency as a collector and his desire to 
build a monument to himself and his times all coin 

There are so many acquisition projects, and 
each one represents a story of very painstaking ef 
fort sometimes in buying properties as a whole, 
sometimes in building them up piece by piece the 
way over forty years we've built up the Humboldt 
Redwood State Park, just battling our way as rapid 
ly as we could and trying to keep ahead of the lum 
ber mills. 


Angel Island 

Pry: Do you see any other properties on this list whose 
acquisition story you would especially like to com 
ment on? 

Drury: As I go down the list, I see many, like Angel Is 
land. This was a project that the State Park Com 
mission more or less looked askance at, because there 
was about a million dollars' worth of decrepit struc 
tures on it, abandoned army structures, and they felt 
it was too great a responsibility. Some of us had 
to speak as eloquently as we could in the Park Com 
mission meetings to get them to agree to take title 
even when the property was given by the government, 


but we finally were able to get that approval, and 
now, as you know, the government being in a position 
to abandon the entire island, there's a large plan 
to develop it as a sort of a natural reserve. We 
hope it will be accessible only by water, because 
it's an ideal area if it can be kept in its present 
state and not, as the people are alv/ays saying, "de 
veloped," It has great recreational value in a quiet 
way, but it is not to be developed into another Co 
ney Island, I hope. 

Golden Gate Headlands 

Fry: In your administration, didn't the idea of using all 
of the hee.dlands around the Golden Gate for a park 

Drury: Yes; and the man who really sparked that was Ansel 
Adams, the very talented photographic artist. A 
great many people felt that the Golden Gate was one 
of the great landmarks of the world. As you know, 
the north shore of the Golden Gate is federal pro 
perty, containing several forts that are more or 
less falling into disuse. There had been legisla 
tion pending for Port Cronkhite and the other forts 
to be conveyed by the federal government to the state, 
and on the south shore, the city of San Francisco 
already has a considerable holding. But it was An 
sel Adams who first painted the broad picture of a 
majestic reserve preserving for all time the beauty 
of this landmaxk, and holding it free as much as pos 
sible from adverse development, such as subdivisions 
and commercial use. He wrote to the Park Commission 


and wrote articles and made speeches about it. 0- 
thers have followed it up, and I was glad to see 
that Mr. Charles A. DeTurk, who followed me as chief 
of the division, felt that it was something that he 
should press for. Apparently now they are making 
progress in the negotiations to take over the entire 

Monterey Sites 

Drury: I notice on the list so many of these historic Iruil- 
dings in Monterey, like the Pacific Building, which 
was given to the state by Miss Margaret Jacks, and 
the Thomas Oliver Larkin House, which was given by 
Mrs. Harry Toulmin, and the Soberanes adobe, which 
was given by Mrs. Mayo O 1 Bonn ell. 

Fry: Were all of these people convinced by somebody at 
one time or another to give these sites? It looks 
quite laborious, because these acquisitions are 
spread out in time. 

Drury: We had a plan right from the beginning at Monterey 
to try to keep something of the early flavor and 
atmosphere, just as we are trying to restore it at 
Pueblo de Los Angeles. Mr. Joseph R. Knowland over 
fifty years ago was active in the Native Sons. The 
Native Sons had a landmark committee, of which in 
cidentally William Randolph Hearst was a verysetive 
member, and he and Mr. Knowland collaborated in ac 
quiring the Monterey Custom House (which in some ways 
is the number one historic site in California) and 
the Sonoma Mission, the site of the gold discovery 


at Coloma, and several other properties. Now a mas 
ter plan for Monterey, which we worked on for many 
years, has evolved. We've one by one acquired these 
buildings, and it's to be- hoped that there will be 
a reasonable restoration of the early day atmosphere. 
In fact, it's very attractive now, and I think will 
be more so when the plans are carried out. 

Pry: Is this about the same type of procedure that you're 
having to follow in Columbia? 

Drury: Yes. In fact, the way many of these parks were put 
together, you might say is comparable to assembling 
a jigsaw puzzle. You get one piece and lay it down 
and then you've got to get the next piece and some 
how or other put it in the right place. It involves 
hundreds and sometimes thousands of transactions to 
get the whole fabric of the park or historic site 
complete. One of the points that I think is impor 
tant at Monterey and also in other places, is that 
the Division of Beaches and Parks, through painsta 
king efforts and through keeping its faith with con 
tributors and with the local people, inspired enough 
confidence so that people like Mrs. Toulmin and Mrs. 
O'Donnell and the Jacks family gave these various 
buildings to the state. It took a little time to 
build up that confidence. That's true of practically 
all of the projects, and in greater degree people 
are now making contributions. 

Emerald Bay 
Drury: I think one of the outstanding acquisitions we made, 


in which I was proud to have a part, was the estab 
lishment of Emerald Bay State Park, where the gene 
rosity of the Bliss family, who were pioneers of 
the Tahoe region and incidentally were lumbermen, 
led to the establishment of the park. We had first 
established a park at Rubicon Point. The first lands 
were given to the state by Miss Hope Bliss, and that 
was the nucleus of the Bliss liubicon Point State 
Park. Then we matched those lands and used the state 
money to buy other properties, including an excel 
lent bathing beach. The Save-the-Redwoods League 
had a part in that, because Mr. Bliss, one of our 
councillors, was more or less inspired by the league 
to make his later gift to the state of the point at 
Emerald Bay. There was a very benevolent woman, Mrs. 
Laura J. Knight, who owned the heart of the Emerald 
Bay properties and was minded to give them to the 
federal government, which never acted on the propo 
sal. Unfortunately, she passed away before the i- 
dea of giving them to the state was brought to her 
attention adequately, although we tried. She was 
the one who built that spectacular replica of a Nor 
wegian castle, called sometimes the Emerald Bay Vi- 
kingsholm. The property was sold to various people 
and finally to Mr. Harvey West, also in the lumber 
business in Stockton, a man who had done quite a few 
public-spirited things in his own community and also 
for the state. He gave half of the value of that 
property and enabled the state to match it, so that 
this heart of the Emerald Bay holdings was acquired. 
We got out of our 1955-56 appropriations enough mo- 


ney to buy the south shore of Emerald Bay, so that 
ultimately a stretch of six miles of the west shore 
of Lake Tahoe, including iiaerald Bay, was pre 
served in its natural condition in a state park. 
How if we can fend off the highway builders who want 
to bridge the bay and deface the slopes for miles 
along the shore with cuts and fills of a freeway, 
we can at least have the satisfaction of having this 
one primitive area relatively unspoiled on the shores 
of Lake Tahoe. And as you know, there isn't very 
much of that commodity left in Tahoe. How that the 
country has been blighted by unplanned and ill-ad 
vised development, they're all strong for planning. 
The planning should have started a generation ago. 

Practically each one of these parks represents 
a battle, and a worthwhile battle, that enabled us 
to add to the state's store of natural and recrea 
tional areas, properties which, although many of them 
are inadequate, at least are representative. 

Men and Parks 

Pry: There is quite an impressive list of men here who 
have helped in the state park movement. Perhaps 
you could begin your comments with a rundown on what 
Dr. Robert G. Sproul has done. 

Drury: It would be pretty hard to exhaust the list of Dr. 
Sproul 's contributions. I'm glad that Dr. Sproul 
is still in his prime, although emeritus; everywhere 
we go, people come up to him and tell him what class 
they were in. [Laughing] Some of them second genera- 


tion, with their own children in college now. He's 
a great symbol of the influence of the University 
of California and it's been to us in the Save-the- 
Redwoods League a gre:it asset to have him as trea 
surer for the last forty-three years. In fact, he 
remarked in the early days of his presidency here 
that he found when he went east he was better known 
as treasurer of the Save-the-Redwoods League than 
he was as president of the University of Califor 
nia. [Laughter] 

Fry: There are always two attributes that are given Sproul, 
One is his booming voice and the other his fabulous 
memory, for people and for speeches, and so forth. 
Is this true? Does he really remember people when 
you go out with him? 

Drury: Remarkably well; although, both of us being about 
the same age, we exchanged confidences yesterday 
as to the increasing difficulty of calling everybody 
by his first name, even though you've known them 
for a great many years. 

This conservation committee of the state Cham 
ber of Commerce, of which he's been chairman for 
fifteen or twenty years, is one of the hundreds of 
things that he devotes himself to very thoroughly. 
He is also on the East Bay Regional Park Com 
mission, and I had the pleasure of circulating a 
petition when he had to stand for election last year, 
and he was re-elected over whelmingly. In that ca 
pacity, he has been mainly responsible, I think, for 
bringing to the headship of the regional parks a 
splendid operator, William Penn Mott, who was the 


superintendent of parks in Oakland and has just re 
cently been appointed head of the East Bay Regional 
Parks. I was in on the original reconnaissance for 
that park system too, in the twenties. Just the o- 
ther day, I ran across a publication that was issued 
by Olmsted brothers, with whom I worked informally, 
outlining the possibilities of the East Bay Parks. 
It was with George Gibbs of Olmsted Brothers and 
Harry S. Shepherd of the University of California 
school of landscape architecture. A good deal of 
the area, particularly here in the Berkeley hills, 
consisted of surplus land of the East Bay Y/ater Com 
pany, which instead of turning over to subdividers, 
they managed to get into a wonderful regional park 
system. And there are others, such as the Joaquin 
Miller Park in the Oakland Hills, where they have 
a little patch of redv/oods. Lake Temescal is ano 
ther. It's a very creditable system; as a matter 
of fact, it's referred to in Laurance Rockefeller's 
report and it's also referred to in the state rec 
reational survey that we made some years ago. The 
future of mass recreation in metropolitan centers 
unquestionably should be taken care of by regional 
parks or local parks, rather than putting the v/hole 
burden on the state or the federal government. We're 
tending all the time toward the welfare state concept, 
and particularly toward federalizing all doing of 
good; but I am still an unreconstructed rebel as far 
as that's concerned. This regional park district 
to which Dr. Sproul has contributed a great deal is 
an important factor in meeting the recreational needs 


of the East Bay and of the whole San Francisco met 
ropolitan area. These people that you list here, 
most of them, are very interesting personalities. 
Stanley Arnold was an attorney-at-law and a very 
fine character. He was one of our early councillors 
of the Save-the-Redwoods L ea g Ue , son-in-law of Wil 
liam Kent. Both of them did a great deal to help 
in the early days. Albert W. Atwood was a special 
writer on the Saturday 3J?vening Post, sent out here 
by George Horace Lorimer. I made a rather exten 
sive tour of the redwoods with Mr. Atwood, which re 
sulted in publication of three articles by him. 
These articles, together with an article by Samuel 
G. Blythe under the title of "The L ast Stand of the 
Giants," and an article by Joseph Hergesheimer all 
in the Saturday Evening Post, really constituted the 
kickoff of our campaign to save the redwoods. That 
was what first gave us national attention. Atv/ood 
was with me when we had our now-historic meeting in 
the courthouse in Eureka, where we v/ere able to per 
suade the board of the county supervisors to file 
a condemnation suit on the lands at North Dyerville 
Flat that were being cut by the Pacific Lumber Com 

Edward E. Ayer was a Chicago millionaire. When 
I knew him he was in his eighties, but he and his 
wife used to tour through the redwoods and they were 
generous toward the program. Among other things, 
they initiated the idea of establishing a grove in 
honor of Franklin K. Lane, who was the first presi 
dent of the Save-the-Hedwoods League. Incidentally, 


Mr. Ayer, like quite a few of our supporters, was 
a lumberman. He made his money in the tie busi 

Dr. William Frederick Bade was on the facul 
ty of the Pacific School of Religion, and was also 
president of the Sierra Club, a great friend of 
Duncan McDuffie. He was a wonderful man; a con 
fidant and biographer of John Muir, and to him we 
owe a great deal for the early inspiration of the 
Save-the -Redwoods League. 

They all are interesting personalities. Dr, 
David P. Barrows, who for a while was president of 
the University, was a gallant figure. He was one 
of the early people in the Save-the-Redwoods League, 
Major Frederick Russell Burnham, a very interesting 
man, was in his early days a scout and an explorer 
whose companion during the Boer War was the founder 
of the Rhodes scholarships, Cecil Rhodes. Arthur 
E. Connick became interested when he was a young 
bank president up in Eureka, and later moved to 
San Francisco as a vice-president of the Bank of 
America. On the death of Duncan McDuffie, Arthur 
Connick was about ten years president of the Save- 
the-Redwoods League. 

Fry: Did these men who were presidents of the Save-the- 
Redwoods League have a great deal to do with state 
legislation? They frequently pitched in, didn't 
they, and helped with testimony and lobbying? 

Drury: Yes, on occasion. Of course, the man who was par 
ticularly helpful there was Joseph R. Knowland, who 
for about forty years was either on the State Park 


Commission or chairman of it, and who was most help 
ful in going with us to various hearings. Sometimes 
I felt sorry that I'd taken him because of the con 
duct of some of the antagonistic members of the le 
gislature, but Mr. Knowland was always equal to all 
of them. He has always been interested in the red 
woods. Of course, his primary concern is the his 
tory of the state. That really was his dominating 
interest even on the State Park Commission. 

Pry: He must have worked closely with Aubrey on this. 

Drury: He did, very closely. In fact, I think it was Au 
brey who induced Mr. Knowland to take the presidency 
of the California Historical Society. 

Well, all of these men made their contribution. 
I've already spoken of Madison Grant as one of the 
founders of the Save-the-Redwoods League, and of 
Deforest Grant, his brother, who contributed, and 
of Joseph D. Grant (a close friend but not related 
to the Grant brothers), who because of his standing 
as an oldtinier in San Francisco unquestionably gave 
the Save-the-Redwoods program a great impetus, n ot 
only in California, but also in the East. 

Henry S. Graves was dean of the School of Fo 
restry at Yale University and for a time Chief Fo 
rester of the United Stc-.tes. He v/as one of the very 
early supporters of the Save-the-Redwoods program 
and spent a good deal of his time in studying the 
problems, particularly the Bull Creek project. I've 
already spoken of Mrs. Robert Hunter, and I believe 
that I've mentioned Willis L. Jepson, the botanist, 
who tv/enty years before the Save-the-Redwoods L eague 


was formed h.?.d written in his books of the desira 
bility of saving the redwood groves along the south 
fork of Eel River. You'll note in his Silva of Ca 
lifornia t quite an eloquent plea for the preserva 
tion of the redwoods. He knew the redv/ood region 
probably better than most. The Save-the-Redwoods 
League has published a pamphlet of his on the trees, 
shrubs, and flowers of the redv/ood region. I made 
a number of tours with him and had the pleasure of 
botanizing with him, and as I told you the other day 
I took great comfort in the fact that occasionally when 
we asked him to identify a plant, he would have to refer 
to his own book to identify it. [Laughter] 

Pry: How was he at working with problems of conservation? 
Was he strictly the scientific botanist? 

Drury: No; he was quite a campaigner. He was a wonderful 

gentleman, beloved by those who knew him, but a lit 
tle irascible at times, and he particularly shunned 
enthusiasts who tried to crowd upon him and take up 
his time. He liked to work by himself. 

Of course, William Kent, whom you list here, 
is the pioneer, you might say, in public life be 
cause it was Congressman Kent who introduced and car 
ried through the bill that established the National 
Park Service and who gave Muir Woods to the country, 
and all through the second generation William 
Kent, Jr., and Tom Kent, whom I know best, and Roger 
Kent, who is now a very prominent Democrat in Cali 
fornia to this day Bill and Tom and Roger are most 
helpful. They were even helpful when they were sel 
ling us land, because in a number of cases when they 


didn't give the land outright to the state -- this 
was after William Kent's death they would usually 
contribute one-half of the anpraised valuation so 
that we were able to release state bond money to ac 
quire properties. V, r e added to Mount Taraalpais State 
Park that way. It adjoins Muir Woods. 

Itichard M. Leonard started in conservation as 
a very young attorney, but he's now one of the lead 
ing attorneys in San Francisco and we lean on him 
for legal and fiscal advice probably more than on 
anyone else. He's very active in the Sierra Club, 
a former president. Mrs. Hi chard Leonard is also 
most active. She is assistant director of a new 
organization called Conservation Associates, Incor 
porated. This group has been particularly active 
in promoting the international conference on na 
tional parks, which is to be held at the world's 
fair up in the Northwest [summer, 1962]. In an un 
guarded moment, I agreed to preside at one of the 

As far as I'm concerned, John C. Merriam is the 
man to v/hom I owe most in giving me what few con 
cepts I have as to park conservation. Walter Mul- 
ford was dean of the University of California School 
of Forestry and in the movement practically from 
the beginning. Frederick Law Olmsted v/as the out 
standing landscape architect of his time, and per 
haps of all time. V/e all of us owe a great de?.l to 
him for his -- I don't like the word but for his 
"methodology." He I think more or less originated 
what we now call land planning in national and state 


parks. Henry Fairfield Osborn is mentioned as one 
of the founders of the Redwoods League. 

James C. Sperry was a wonderful character who 
in the very early days of the league really assumed 
responsibility for its operation and particularly 
its fiscal affairs. Aubrey and I learned a great 
deal from him. He was very active in the negotia 
tions to acquire the Pacific Lumber Company lands 
at Bull Greek, and unquestionably our success in 
dealing with them is largely due to his acumen, 
business sense (he was a successful businessman), 
and to his willingness to donate his time and ef 
fort. He was particularly interested in the Cala- 
veras groves and helped us acquire the north grove, 
because his father had been the original owner of 
the two Galaveras groves. Mr. Sperry died before 
we acquired the south grove. However, he knew we 
were working on it. 

Walter Starr has been a tower of strength to 
the Save-the-Redwoodu League. He sort of gives us 
a certain respectability with the lumber fraternity 
because he himself, although not so active now, has 
been a member of the board of directors of the Sound- 
view Pulp Company, and he has a v/ide acquaintance 
in financial and industrial circles as well aa being 
very prominent in the Sierra Club and the Califor 
nia Historical Society. All has been very helpful 
to us. Frank V/. Wentworth, who died several years 
ago, was another man like Mr. Sperry, who gave of 
his business experience to the support and guidance 
of the program of the league. Unquestionably, we 


wouldn't have gotten along as well financially if 
it hadn't been for his help. 

Dr. Hay lyman Wilbur, for a long time presi 
dent of Stanford and for four years Secretary of the 
Interior under Herbert Hoover, was also an origi 
nal member of the State Park Commission, and he took 
a prominent part in every phase of conservation. 
There was no question that many of the state park 
projects other than those in the redwoods wouldn't 
have been carried out if it hadn't been for the co 
operation that we got from the Department O.L Inter 
ior during his administration. ?or instance, the 
great Ansa-Borrega Desert State ?ark, which in my 
opinion is one of the outstanding reservations of 
its type in the world almost half a million ac 
res is based very largely on unpatented federal 
lands that through the influence of Dr. V/ilbur were 
conveyed to the state of California for the payment 
of the filing fees which amounted to about seven- 
tenths of one cent per acre. Now they're selling 
land down there for four and five hundred dollars 
an acre; it's of the same type as what we got through 
the good offices of Dr. Wilbur just for the amount 
of the filing fees. He saw to it that the legis 
lation went through that made this possible, and 
also legislation that enabled us to acquire govern 
ment lands to round out dozens of the state parks. 

Pry: Did he enjoy conservation more than university pre- 

Drury: Well, he was much of the type of Dr. Sproul; he did 
everything with zest. i*e was a tall man, very si- 


milar to Dr. Sproul in his characteristics, a very 
able man, and he also was quite a pioneer in medi 
cal affairs like the C.P.S. and Blue Cross. Before 
he was president of Stanford, he was dean of the 
Stanford medical school. He's the one who's given, 
I think, the principal credit for the origination 
of the California Physicians Service, which affects 
medical insurance. He was a pioneer in a great many 
ways, but when through good fortune he was made Se 
cretary of the Anterior, we were able to make quite 
a little hay during that brief four years. 

Charles B. Wing was another member of the fa 
culty of Stanford, who when he retired as dean of 
civil engineering was for several years chief of the 
Division of Beaches and Parks. His forte was con 
struction and development, and also he was a great 
lover of nature and a fine conservationist. Colonel 
^'ing contributed a great deal in planning and what 
little development v/e did with the rather meager 
appropriations that we then received. 

Fry: He was chief when you were on the Park Commission? 

Drury: He was chief when I was the land acquisition offi 
cer of the commission. He was the first chief of 
the Division of Beaches and Parks, and he served al 
most ten years. 

Pry: Did he run too far in this direction of construction 
and development in the parks? 

Drury: Well, I wouldn't say that. He had a fine sense of 
the beauty of natural areas. He was, as I say, a 
civil engineer and a construction man and he took 
great pride in road building and in the erection of 


structures, but he had very good taste in his appli 
cation of engineering principles. I remember once 
his speaking of a park road to the effect that it 
should "nestle lovingly into the landscape," which 
is rather poetic for a civil engineer. [Laughing] 

Pry: He did have a concept then of tlie total landscape, 
didn't he? 

Drury: Yes. I was a great admirer of Colonel Charles B. 

7-y\ Y\ <U**ta-+- ""> ^^A*, 

Newton B. Drury Grove Dedication and Semi-Centennial ceremony of Save-the- 
Redwoods League, June 15, 1968. Mr. and Mrs. Newton B. Drury and children, 
Mr. and Mrs. Austin Edwards and Mr. and Mrs. Newton Drury, Jr., and grand 

January 10, 1969 

Dedication of Stephen Mather Home as a National Historic Landmark, July 17, 1964. Left to right: Newton B. Drury, 
Horace M. Albright, George B. Hartzog, Jr., and Conrad L. Wirth. Photograph by National Park Service. 



"The Team" Aubrey and Newton 

Pry: I was talking with Mr. Walter Starr the other day 

and he mentioned what an effective team you and Au 
brey made in the 1950 ! s when you were chief of the 
division and Aubrey was head of Save-the-Redwoods 

Drury: Yes. That applied all through the forty-odd years 
that we worked together on many enterprises, not 
just on the redwoods, but things like the state 
park bond issue and the Point Lobos acquisition and 
a whole series of historical projects. Even during 
the forties, when I spent my ten years in Washing 
ton, Aubrey and I were very close in our operations 
and I remember several things that we were working 
on. One of them was the Calaveras grove. There are 
so many angles to these things, you know, that have 
to be ironed out. Some of them head up in Washing 
ton. You're almost helpeless unless you have some 
body on the ground who can talk face-to-face with 
the key people. 

Another episode that's brought to my mind is 
pertinent right now because we're trying to promote 
a memorial grove to the late Secretary General Dag 
Hammarskjold of the United Nations. It's of great 
advantage to us to show that Hammarskjold was him 
self an ardent botanist and was entranced by the 
redwood forests at Muir Woods. When the United Na 
tions was formed in 1945, a session of the United 
Nations v/as held in Muir Woods. In the old files 


are found photographs of this assemblage. It was 
Aubrey who suggested to the United Nations that they 
meet in Muir Woods and, happening to be in Washing 
ton, I was able to help persuade the State Depart 
ment that it would be an appropriate thing. It was 
very enthusiastically received, and now the relation 
ship of that to this Dag Hammarskjold memorial gives 
us quite a little support. 

Pry: Do you remember with whom you talked in the State 

Drury: Mr. Joseph C. Grew was the very active man there; 
I think he was Undersecretary of State. It was he 
also who was induced to act as chairman of a com 
mittee sponsoring the so-called National Tribute 
Grove, and from the Washington end I helped sign him 
up. Another idea of Aubrey's was a grove that was 
really the heart of the Jedediah Smith Redwood State 
Park, and was financed with state matching by monies 
raised all over the United States through Aubrey's 
efforts, to commemorate those who had lost their 
lives in both of the world wars. Being on the ground 
in Washington, I was able to meet with Mr. Grew and 
persuade him to head up this enterprise. 

And there were many things like that. Aubrey 
was very much like my classmate and lifelong friend 
Horace Albright; he was intellectually omnivorous. 
He was interested in everything. My procedure has 
been somewhat different. I've tried to narrow my 
interests so as to do better in a few selected things. 
I couldn't help thinking when I rode up to Sacramento 
yesterday with Dr. Robert G. Sproul, of what a wide 


net he draws atill in his many interests. He's in 
terested in all phases of conservation, as well as 
in all phases of education, government, and most e- 
verything else. Well, Aubrey was the same way, and 
everything we did in the National Park Service and 
in the State Division of Beaches and Parks was of 
interest to him, and he was able to help in many 
ways, particularly when it came to obtaining factual 
data. I think Aubrey and I worked together pretty 

When I went to Washington, I was a little lost 
because in San Francisco our offices were adjoining; 
if I wanted to get any factual information such as 
how many wives did Henry the Eighth have and in what 
succession, Aubrey could answer the question. If 
my life depended on it, I couldn't remember things 
like that, and it was a great help in his histori 
cal writing and his campaigning for the Save-the- 
Redwoods League that he had such a wide knowledge 
of the history of the state -- and of the United 
States, for that matter and of the personalities 
that were so-called prospects for support for the 
movement . 

Pry: He had a good enough memory to remember all these 
people. . . 

Drury: He enjoyed remembering things, quite different from 
me. My memory runs more to abstract concepts than 
to concrete facts. There are different kinds of 
memory, I suppose. 

Pry: How was Aubrey in seeing the overarching abstract 


Drury: Oh, he was a planner. He knew how to lay a project 
out in all of its succeeding phases. For instance, 
we worked very closely together in 1927 and '28 on 
the state park bonds, which really were the founda 
tion of the state park system. 

Pry: One thing Mr. Starr said was that Aubrey, being a 

bachelor, was able to eat, drink, and sleep conser 

Drury: That's right. That's about the only advantage of 
being a bachelor, I'd say, although he was a very 
warm personality and was very fond of all of hia 
nieces and nephews and his grand-nieces and -nephews, 
and was very generous toward them. As they got a 
little older and they had problems in homework, we'd 
ask them to call Aubrey on the phone and get the 
facts. But unless they had lots of time, they would 
demur because, they said, "The trouble with Aubrey 
is he knows too many facts." [Laughing] 

Fry: When you returned to Sacramento as chief of the state 
parks, was Aubrey also there? Were his offices close 
to yours again? 

Drury: Not in Sacramento, no. He was in San Francisco. 

He had diversified interests right to the end. For 
a while, he was president of the California Histo 
rical Society, and as a labor of love he did a good 
deal to help build up the membership of that society. 
Sight now I'm trying to get the Historical Society 
interested in taking over the annual affair of ano 
ther group of oldtimers from San Francisco who meet 
to exchange reminiscences on April 18 of each year, 
which was the date of the San Francisco earthquake 


and fire. Aubrey organized them. Then Aubrey did 
a great deal on Point Lobos, of course. 

Pry: Was Aubrey able to help you very much with the le 

Drury: Well, Aubrey spent quite a little time in the le 
gislature before legislative committees; when I was 
back in V/ashington of course, he carried the ball 
entirely on the legislation that affected the red 
woods in the state parks. 

As one of the assignments of the Drury Company 
in the early days, Aubrey was quite active in the 
campaign that the University was waging at that time 
to prevent the diluting of University standards aid 
the dissipating of their energies through the estab 
lishment of branch universities, and for a long time 
the policy of the Regents was to maintain the Uni 
versity at Berkeley as the sole institution of hi 
gher learning in that category. In connection with 
that, Aubrey was quite effective as a so-called lob 
byist up at the legislature when certain bills were 
up. At that time, these would have sapped the re 
sources of the primary University at Berkeley. Of 
course, we've gotten greatly over that now and the 
policy is quite the opposite. 

Fry: You mean the University contracted with your adver 
tising agency? 

Drury: I don't remember just how it was arranged. I think 
that Aubrey as an individual was sort of an agent 
for the University. The Drury Company, both Aubrey 
and I, performed various tasks in publicity and 
public relations for the benefit of the University. 


At times, private funds were contributed for this 
purpose. At one time, we helped publish the presi 
dent's annual report, illustrating it and toning 
it up a bit, so that it had a little more reader 
interest than just a dry-as-dust report. 

Fry: In other words, they could farm out these things to 
you to do. 

Drury: Probably just the way you'd engage an attorney or 
an architect or any other professional person. 

Most of Aubrey's work for the University, though, 
was purely on a voluntary basis. He was on the exec 
utive committee of the Associated Students for quite 
a while, gave a good deal of attention to that. 

Wife -- Elizabeth Frances Schilling --and Family 

Fry: How many children do you have, Mr. Drury? 

Drury: I have three children. 

Fry: We should run this down: when were you married? 

Drury: Let me refer to my files [laughing], or call up my 
wife. I was married during World War I, 1919. 

Fry: Where did you meet your wife? 

Drury: In the University. I met her after I'd graduated. 

She was the daughter of Professor Hugo K. Schilling, 
who was the head of the department of Germanic lan 
guages, a very wonderful gentleman and a very loyal 
American. He came to America by choice as a young 
man and at once became an American citizen. 

Fry: Was he one of those who had some troubles around 
World War I because of his German name? 

Drury: He had no troubles, except, you might say, psycholo- 


gical troubles. World War I was quite different 
from World War II; there was a good deal of hysteria. 
Whereas in World War II we couldn't have won it if 
we hadn't had people with Germanic names and of Ger 
manic ancestry, like Eisenhov/er and Nimitz and Spatz 
and a whole list of them, in Y/orld War I anything 
that savored of the Germanic for a while was more 
or less taboo. 

Pry: He suffered no actual displacement in the faculty? 

Drury: No; it's just that he felt hurt because of his own 
free will he had come to America and had become na 
turalized immediately, and had a long and honorable 
career at a little college in Ohio where he started 
and then at Harvard University for a good many years 
that's where my wife was born, in Cambridge and 
then was called here to the University of California 
by Benjamin Ide Wheeler to head up the German de 
partment. He was a fine cultured gentleman, spoke 
many languages, and we were all very proud of him 
and felt sorry that he suffered a little embarrass 
ment because of what the Kaiser had done, for which 
some benighted people held anyone who had a German 
name partly responsible. But that all blew over. 
Of course, Benjamin Ide Wheeler was the most tragic 
victim of that, because he, who of all people was 
an outstanding American, had been honored by being 
the Theodore Roosevelt professor at the University 
of Berlin. There he had met the Kaiser and exchanged 
views with him and had carried on a certain amount 
of correspondence. That for a while rose to plague 


him that and the fact that to the end, he insisted 
that the Kaiser didn't want the war any more than 
we wanted it in America. It came as a result of a 
great many factors, one of which I remember his 
speaking of as the concept of nationalism. That's 
a long and intricate subject to discuss, but he main 
tained his views as an independent thinker, and that 
offended some people. So that toward the end, he 
didn't have as happy a time as he was entitled to. 

Pry: You had met the daughter of Hugo K. Schilling 

Drury: We were married in Berkeley, and then, after two 
days 1 furlough, we went down to the army balloon 
school where I was stationed in California and spent 
the rest of the war there, in Arcadia, Los Angeles 
County. Except for the ten years in the Bast, we've 
spent most of our life here, and we had three chil 
dren: my daughter Betty, who is Mrs. Austin L. Ed 
wards; and my son Newton B. Drury, Jr., who is with 
the sales department of the Standard Oil Company and 
is now stationed in Eureka; and Hugh Wells Drury, 
a year and a half younger, who is in the construc 
tion business in Southern California. 

Pry: Isn't it true that Mrs. Drury has been interested 
in conservation also? 

Drury: Yes; and it's also true that she hasn't universally 
agreed with my theories on some phases of conserva 
tion. [Laughing] 

Pry: Is she more of a wilderness partisan? 

Drury: Somewhat more, although she also has her mental re 
servations about our policy of accommodations for 
the public. She feels that there's undue emphasis 


placed upon providing campgrounds and not enough em 
phasis upon providing motels and resort-type cabins 
and that sort of thing in the parks. In pursuing 
the policy that I believe in, every time we elimi 
nated a resort from one of the parks, I had to go 
home and try to explain why I did it, with indif 
ferent success. I remember that the old broken-down 
resort up there at Emerald Bay, which was delightful 
to stay in, got to the point where it was condemned 
by the State Board of Health and the wiring had to 
be replaced, and people were falling through the 
floors on the porches that had rotted away -- and 
furthermore, it was in an area that couldn't be 
reached without building a first-class road with 
tremendous destruction. It was a delightful little 
place, but it was decadent, and we had to face a 
prospect of spending a half a million or more dollars 
or allowing somebody to invest that much money in 
resort developments, or eliminating it and return 
ing the area to a state of nature. Of course, if 
my wife were here, that would be my story as to why 
we eliminated Emerald Bay Lodge. 

Fry: And returned it to a state of nature. Is that what 
you did? 

Drury: Yes. In general, I agree with the Outdoor Recrea 
tional Resources Review Commission Report, of which 
Laurance Rockefeller is the head, which points out 
the desirability of relying on private enterprise 
wherever possible for certain types of recreational 
facilities. I for one believe that the government 
should not go too heavily into providing overnight 


accommodations, except where areas are so remote that 
it isn't possible to induce private enterprise to 
provide the housing facilities and where there are 
possibilities of making areas available that couldn't 
be visited unless you did have overnight accommoda 

Fry: Could you list what your wife's other interests are? 
For instance, is she interested in music or does she 
have any hobbies? 

Drury: To be honest, she's much more of an outdoor person 
than I am. Her early youth was spent in Maine when 
they were at Harvard, and the f family had a great 
deal of outdoor life -- boating and swimming, par 
ticularly. They went to Bar Harbor that was a 
sort of a colony headed by President Eliot of Har 
vard. Then when they v/ere out here, they spent a 
good deal of their time at Inverness on Tomales Bay, 
within the Point Heyes National Recreational Area 
that apparently is going to materialize. Professor 
Schilling was commodore of the Inverness Yacht Club. 
And fortunately for our children, their mother en 
couraged them in outdoor activities, somewhat more 
than their father did. My relation to the outdoors 
is somewhat theoretical and abstract, although I've 
done a lot of hiking in my time. But I'm glad to 
say that both my children and my grand children are 
all of them very active in outdoor activities. My 
daughter Betty's two sons, Kirk and Mark, are both 
close to being championship swimmers. They have won 
derful instruction at the Y.M.C.A. here in Berkeley, 


and they've got to the point now where they're as 
far as they can go in their rating, until they reach 
a certain age. I think that Mrs. Drury, who has ex 
tensive intellectual interests, better combines the 
mental and physical aspects of life than her better 
half does. [Laughing] I've had some mountain climb- 
ing and all of that, but most of it's been 3n connec 
tion with hunting for corners when we were buying