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Full text of "Jewish and community service in San Francisco, and family tradition : oral history transcript / and related material, 1977-1978"

/ 



University of California Berkeley 




All uses of this manuscript are covered by a legal 
agreement between the Regents of the University of 
California and Edgar Sinton dated 22 May 1978. The 
manuscript is thereby made available for research 
purposes. All literary rights in the manuscript, 
including the right to publish, are reserved to The 
Bancroft Library of the University of California 
Berkeley. No part of the manuscript may be quoted 
for publication without the written permission of the 
Director of The Bancroft Library of the University of 
California at Berkeley. 

Requests for permission to quote for publication 
should be addressed to the Regional Oral History Office, 
486 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 Edgar Sinton requires that he be notified 
of the request and allowed thirty days in which to respond, 



Regional Oral History Office University of California 

The Bancroft Library Berkeley, California 

California Jewish Community Series 



Edgar Sin ton 

JEWISH AND COMMUNITY SERVICE IN SAN FRANCISCO, 
A FAMILY TRADITION 



With an introduction by 
Ernest H. Weiner 



An Interview Conducted by 
Eleanor K. Glaser 



Copy No. 



1978 by The Regents of the University of California and 
The Trustees of the Judah L. Magnes Memorial Museum 




Edgar Sinton, ca. 1963 



TABLE OF CONTENTS Edgar Sinton 



PREFACE * 

INTRODUCTION by Ernest H. Weiner i:L1 

INTERVIEW HISTORY vi 

i 

I FAMILY BACKGROUND AND CHILDHOOD 

[Interview 1, May 19, 1977, Tape 1, side 1] 

The Sinsheimers and Koshlands 

[Tape 1, side 2] 

The San Luis Obispo Sinsheimers 

Childhood in San Francisco (Born January 5, 1889) 10 

The 1906 Earthquake 

School Years 1* 

II U.C. BERKELEY AND POST COLLEGE YEARS 20 

[Interview 2, May 26, 1977, Tape 2, side 1] 20 

U.C. Berkeley, 1906-1910 
Family Relationships 
Friendships, Trip to Europe 
[Tape 2, side 2] 

Law Practice, Marriage in 1915 and World War I 

Religious and Charitable Activities 35 

[Tape 3, side 1] 40 

Political Affiliation 46 

III A GROWING FAMILY, THE TWO WORLD WARS 48 

[Interview 3, June 2, 1977, Tape 4, side 1] 48 

The Three Sinton Daughters 48 

Summers at Lake Tahoe 
Daughters' Education 

Mrs. Sinton 's Interest in the Arts 54 

Thoughts on Courtship and Marriage 
[Tape 4, side 2] 
Law Practice, Continued 

Impact of World War I 60 

Longshoremen's Strike, 1934, and Depression 61 

The Bay Bridge and Golden Gate Bridge 66 

World War II 67 

[Tape 5, side 1] 67 

Rationing Executive, Eighth Division, 1942-44 68 

Impact on Family 
Travel and Friends 75 



IV FURTHER REFLECTIONS ON EARLIER YEARS 79 

[Interview 4, July 7, 1977, Tape 6, side 1] 79 

Father's Charitable Activities 79 

Early School Years 81 

Trolley Car Accident, 1896 84 

Playland at the Beach 85 

Swimming Pools and Baseball Games 87 

Music and Language Lessons 89 

[Tape 6, side 2] 90 

Mother's Character, Concluded 92 

Summer Vacations, Part-time Jobs 93 

U.C. Berkeley, Continued 96 

Choosing the Legal Profession 98 

[Tape 7, side 1] 101 

The Big Game 101 

The San Francisco Bank (Director 1930-1964) 102 

V SAN FRANCISCO, A SPECIAL PLACE 109 

[Interview 5, July 14, 1977, Tape 8, side 1] 109 

Jewish Identity 109 

Office of Price Administration, Continued 112 

[Tape 8, side 2] 117 

The Great Baseball Fan 122 

Walter Baas 123 

Earl Warren and Jesse Steinhart 125 

Jewish Community Leaders 126 

[Tape 9, side 1] 129 

The Flavor of San Francisco 129 

U.C. Berkeley and Alumni Support 131 

Jewish Community Center 134 

VI JEWISH CHARITY IN SAN FRANCISCO 137 

[Interview 6, July 21, 1977, Tape 10, side 1] 137 

American Jewish Committee, Continued 137 

Homewood Terrace 145 

[Tape 10, side 2] 146 

Maimonides Health Center for the Chronic Sick 149 

Mount Zion Hospital 150 

Federation of Jewish Charities and Jewish Welfare Federation 152 

Nominating Committee 152 

Women Board Members 154 

Jewish National Welfare Fund 155 

VII COMMUNITY NEEDS, COMMUNITY OBLIGATIONS 157 

[Interview 7, July 28, 1977, Tape 11, side 1] 157 

Garden Hospital 157 

[Tape 11, side 2] 165 

Federation Affiliation with the Community Chest 170 

[Tape 12, side 1] 173 

"The Jewish Bulletin" 374 

Fund Raising 176 



VIII A SUMMING UP 

[Interview 8, August 11, 1977, Tape 13, side 1] 

Jewish Welfare Federation, Continued 

Concordia-Argonaut Club 

Eastern European Jews 

Mrs. Sinton's Interest in the Arts, Continued 

More on Jewish Identity 

[Tape 13, side 2] 
Politics, Law and Order 

APPENDICES : 

A. Koshland Family Tree 
Sinsheimer Family Tree 

Holograph Will of Rosina F. Koshland 201 

Nephew Robert Sinton Continues Family Tradition of 

Community Service 203 

B. "The Garden Hospital, 1890-1955" 205 
Letter from Robert D. Riegg, president, Garden Hospital 

Jerd Sullivan Rehabilitation Center 
Further Mergers by Garden Hospital 
Jewish Family Service Through the Years 215 

INDEX 216 



PREFACE 



The Northern California Jewish Community Series is a collection of 
oral history interviews with persons who have contributed significantly 
to Jewish life and to the wider secular community. Sponsored by the 
Western Jewish History Center of the Judah L. Magnes Memorial Museum, the 
interviews have been produced by the Regional Oral History Office of The 
Bancroft Library. Moses Rischin, professor of history at California State 
University at San Francisco, is advisor to the series, assisted by the 
Center's Advisory Committee, Norman Colliver, chairman, Harold M. Edelstein, 
Seymour Fromer, Mrs. Theodore Geballe, James M. Gerstley, Douglas Goldman, 
Professor James D. Hart, Louis H. Heilbron, Mrs. Leon Mandelson, Robert E. 
Sinton, Frank H. Sloss, Daniel Stone, and Mrs. Matt Wahrhaftig. The series 
was inaugurated in 1967. 

In the oral history process, the interviewer works closely with the 
memoirist in preliminary research and in setting up topics for discussion. 
The interviews are informal conversations which are tape recorded, transcribed, 
edited by the interviewer for continuity and clarity, checked and approved 
by the interviewee, and then final-typed. The resulting manuscripts, indexed 
and bound, are deposited in the Jesse E. Colman Memorial Library of the 
Western Jewish History Center, The Bancroft Library, and the University 
Library at the University of California at Los Angeles. By special arrange 
ment copies may be deposited in other manuscript repositories holding relevant 
collections. Related information may be found in earlier interviews with 
Lawrence Arnstein, Amy Steinhart Braden, Adrien J. Falk, Alice Gerstle Levi- 
son, Jennie Matyas, Walter Clay Lowdermilk, and Mrs. Simon J. Lubin. Untran- 
scribed tapes of interviews with descendants of pioneer California Jews 
conducted by Professor Robert E. Levinson are on deposit at The Bancroft 
Library and the Western Jewish History Center. 

The Regional Oral History Office was established to tape record 
autobiographical interviews with persons prominent in recent California 
history. The Office is under the administrative supervision of Professor 
James D. Hart, the director of The Bancroft Library. 



Willa K. Baum 

Department Head 

Regional Oral History Office 



31 May 1978 

Regional Oral History Office 

486 The Bancroft Library 

University of California at Berkeley 



ii 



CALIFORNIA JEWISH COMMUNITY INTERVIEW SERIES 



Rinder, Rose (Mrs. Reuben R.) Music, Prayer, and Religious Leadership: 
Temple Emanu-El , 1913-1969. 1971 

Koshland, Lucile Heming (Mrs. Daniel E., Sr.), Citizen Participation 
in Government . 1970. 

Koshland, Daniel E. , Sr. , The Principle of Sharing. 1971. 

Hilborn, Walter S. , Reflections on Legal Practice and Jewish Community 
Leadership; New York and Los Angeles, 1907-1973. 1974. 

Magnin, Rabbi Edgar F. , Leader and Personality. 1975. 

Fleishhacker, Mortimer, and Janet Choynski (Mrs. Mortimer), Family , 
Business, and the San Francisco Community. 1975. 

Haas, Walter A., Sr. Civic, Philanthropic, and Business Leadership. 
1975. 

Haas, Elise Stern (Mrs. Walter, Sr.), The Appreciation of Quality. 
1975. 

Salz, Helen Arnstein (Mrs. Ansley), Sketches of An Improbable Ninety 
Years. 1975. 

Sinton, Edgar, Jewish and Community Service in San Francisco, A^ 
Family Tradition. 1978. 

Kuhn, Marshall H., Catalyst & Teacher; San Francisco Community 
Leader. 1934-1977. 1978. 



Related information may be found in other Regional Oral History Office 
interviews with Lawrence Arustein, Amy Steinhart Braden, Adrien J. 
Falk, Alice Gerstle Levison (Mrs. J.B.), Jennie Matyas, Walter Clay 
Lowdermilk, Mrs. Simon J. Lubin, and with Harold Zellerbach whose 
interview is now in process. Untranscribed tapes of interviews with 
descendants of pioneer Cali 'ornia Jews conducted by Professor Robert 
E. Levinson are on deposit at The Bancroft Library and the Western 
Jewish History Center. 



ill 



^ 



INTRODUCTION 



When I first met Edgar Sinton in 1960, the distance that separated us 
was not merely the forty year span in our ages. I was truly in awe of the 
stature he deservedly held as a distinguished community leader. 

For me, a young and untested participant in the councils of the Jewish 
community, the name alone, Edgar Sinton, threw a long shadow across my mental 
landscape of that powerful cluster: San Francisco Jewry's "inner-circle." I 
soon learned, however, that he represented infinitely more than high social 
standing, wide-ranging political connections and a position of eminence solidly 
anchored to the past. 

One always feels a close kinship with one's own people. Most Jews 
acknowledge such experience; this obvious awareness of their firm ties with 
other Jews. It is usually an inner experience but can become a struggle of 
conscience. 

Yet, no matter how secure life is for a man, regardless of the harmony 
that characterizes his relationships with those who are not of his religious 
or ancestral group, a unique bridge exists in the interdependent reactions 
with his own. He discovers a collective promise that serves him and is 
greater than he is and to which, some day, he contributes in his turn, thus 
carrying on a great collective gesture. 

In his early years, Edgar Sinton faced that struggle of conscience. 
Rather than decide to remain apart from the Jewish community and thereby 
free himself of responsibility towards it, he recognized, with an uncompromis 
ing realism, the menacing problems that Jewish lives encounter in the world. 
While still in his twenties he made the firm decision to become actively 
involved in Jewish life and confront those problems. 

I have a personal stake in that decision, since I discovered in Edgar 
Sinton a reservoir of genial, optimistic and bracing co'jisel. I also 
constantly relish the good humor with which he surrounds his challenges to 
others. In meetings of the American Jewish Committee leadership or the 
directors of the Jewish Welfare Federation, Edgar never sat back to allow 
empty rhetoric or a romanticized clarion call to float about, without applying 
his subtle analysis, rigorous thought and precise reasoning. 

In his determination to gain an unfailing grip on the realities of a 
problem, Edgar can be marvelously droll in debating with his peers. He can 
puncture the pomposity of anyone who loves shadow and abjures substance. He 



iv 



does it with mischievous interruptions, swiftly needling in deflating 
footnotes to every self-serving recitation. Or, he will tartly confide to 
the person next to him his skepticism regarding the plan or solution being 
advanced . 

I have often wished I had collected those meticulously tuned "staged 
whispers" and asides as a manual for the unsuspecting. It would have 
spared his pontificating targets their inevitable discomfort and hundreds 
in the Jewish community untold hours of confusion and boredom. 

In the pages that follow, we can trace a long, courageous and responsible 
life. We also unearth the shapes and contours of a highly principled career 
in the law and government service, and a parallel terrain of community 
leadership . 

What may not reveal themselves, however, to the casual reader, are 
those abilities and enthusiasms which I cherish, because they mark every 
aspect of my friendship with him. Edgar Sinton was a founder of the San 
Francisco Chapter of the American Jewish Committee in 1945. Naturally, when 
I became the Executive Director for AJC in San Francisco in 1971, protocol 
insisted that I would come to Edgar for guidance by one of the nation's 
most highly-credentialed leaders in the organization. Meeting with him in 
his unpretentious, stark office, we began by mutually lamenting the decline 
and fall of the San Francisco Giants baseball team. In the course of the 
next few hours, the flavor of a deferential "courtesy-call" on an organiza 
tional patriarch vanished. It was replaced by the first stage of a relaxed 
and mutually- trusting friendship. 

From this friendship, I have extracted much human richness. And, as 
have a legion of younger men and women, I gained confidence as he helped me 
balance my own fears and prudence against the deeper truths and needs of the 
Jewish and general communities. Hr rarely personalizes a judgment. He never 
imposes his conclusions. 

I often think of what a role-maker for the young Edgar would have been, 
if he had chosen an active political career. As one who always credits young 
people with admirable vitality and insights, he stands in sharp contrast to 
his contemporaries who are either amused or offended by youthful impulses. 

Edgar's credibility has never suffered even a minor or transient bruising 
in my eyes. Perhaps, because he freely admits to those few errors in judgment 
made through seventy years of vigorous decision-making and creating. Whether 
the subject is a facet of his immersion in sports, his loyalties to the 
Jewish community or the University of California, or his optimism in American 
life, Edgar is a strong advocate who combines a sense of history with the 
genuine leader's concern for current problems. 

He is an insatiable skeptic, without skepticism towards man's potential. 
He intuitively recognizes intellectual or institutional strait jackets which 
inhibit change, but will not relinquish a view gained form the hard experience 



of life to some trendy caper of fashion. Edgar Sinton has always carried 
the creative power of leadership comfortably; in his personal judgments, in 
his personal style, even in the way he speaks and writes. If for no other 
reason, because he means what he says and he says what he means. 

As a man who never retouches the portraits of others or himself, to 
emphasize certain features or tone down others, Edgar Sinton may consider 
my sketches idealized. They are not. They are, in sum, a portrait of a model 
on which the leaders of the future should form themselves. Then they, if 
inspired with the wisdom to do so, will join me in lashing their wagons to 
his star. 



Ernest H. Weiner 
Bay Area Director, 
American Jewish Committee 



May 4, 1978 
San Francisco 



vi 



INTERVIEW HISTORY 



Edgar Sinton has been a philanthropic activist in his beloved San 
Francisco for almost sixty years. These endeavors began in 1916 and lasted 
until 1974, when he declined any further fund-raising chores after his 
eighty-fifth birthday. 

In assuming community responsibility, Mr. Sinton continued a long- 
established family tradition. Appended to the Koshland family tree (his 
mother was Nettie Koshland) , is the following notation translated from the 
German: "Abraham ben Israel migrated in about the year 1750 from Koschlan in 
Bohemia and arrived in Ichenhausen. He is recorded in the Book of Memories 
there as a very benevolent person, especially has he shown consideration 
toward the poor in the Holy Land." 

When Edgar Sinton's father, Heinrich (Henry) Sinsheimer, emigrated to 
America from Burstadt, Germany, his father counseled him to be decent, wise, 
and charitable. In San Francisco, the elder Sinsheimer served as president 
of the Hebrew Board of Relief for ten years and as president of the Eureka 
Benevolent Society. One of Edgar Sinton's earliest memories is his father 
wearily returning home after allocating funds to the needy. In 1910 Henry 
Sinsheimer was instrumental in the formation of the Federation of Jewish 
Charities. He served as the Federation's second president, an office he 
assumed in 1928. 

Edgar Sinton's involvement with the Federation and with many of its 
constituent agencies began in 1924 and continued for more than forty years . 
In addition, he helped form the Jewish National Welfare Fund and served on 
its board of directors. He was a member of the executive committee of the 
Community Chest, was the first president of the local chapter of the 
American Jewish Committee, and was on the board of directors of Temple 
Emanu-El. Always aware of his responsibilities to the greater community, 
Mr. Sinton served the Garden Hospital as a volunteer for almost sixty years 
as an attorney and as a board member. In addition to these community 
activities, Edgar Sinton served his country in World War II as a dollar-a- 
year man; he was the regional director of rationing for the Office of Price 
Administration. 

In his later years, Mr. Sinton has been an elder statesman to whom 
others turned for advice. Not only did he serve as a model for other 
community leaders, but as chairman of the nominating committee of the 
Jewish Welfare Federation, his acumen and experience were utilized to bring 
along younger men and women into positions of leadership. 

In order to document these worthy activities and contributions, Edgar 
Sinton was invited to be a memoirist in the California Jewish Community 
Series sponsored by the Judah L. Magnes Museum. 



vii 



Eight interviews with Mr. Sinton were conducted in his San Francisco 
law office from mid-May to mid-August, 1977. They began about 10:00 a.m. 
on Thursday mornings and lasted until some time after 12:00 p.m., depending 
on Mr. Sinton's schedule of luncheon meetings. The transcribed, edited 
chapters were reviewed by Mr. Sinton, and he made only minor corrections and 
deletions. We had three editing conferences (the last one just before 
Christmas of 1977) during which we went over his editorial changes of 
previously delivered chapters. 

Despite his age (he was born in San Francisco on January 5, 1889), 
Mr. Sinton goes to his office three or four times a week. He is actively 
engaged in general law as a sole practitioner, assisted by his devoted 
secretary, Mrs. Elinore Flatt, who has been with him for over fifty years. 
The office is on the eleventh floor of a building at the corner of 
Montgomery and Bush streets in the heart of San Francisco's financial 
district. Mr. Sinton took over the premises in 1947 and, aside from a 
Xerox machine, it appears to be unchanged from that time. One could 
scarcely find a more austere place of work. The walls are painted pale 
green and the windows are bare of draperies or curtains. There are five 
etchings and prints on the walls (obtained from Mrs. Sinton's extensive art 
collection), but no personal memorabilia no family pictures, no framed 
letters of commendation or diplomas. Like Mr. Sinton himself, the office is 
modest and unadorned. These impersonal, functional quarters give no clue to 
his endearing qualities of warmth, charm, and wit. 

It was a major, never-ending task to convince Edgar Sinton that his 
memories were worthy of recording. Repeatedly he would say, "You can get 
that better from someone else," or "Now, that really is not important at all, 
if you don't mind my saying so." This occurred even at our final meeting 
when we conferred on the editing of the last four chapters. Mr. Sinton 
mentioned that when young he had traveled into the Yosemite Valley by stage 
coach. I found that very interesting and said I wished he had talked about 
it when we were taping. He replied, "Now, that is common knowledge, and you 
can read about that in any number of books." I was never able to convince 
Mr. Sinton that I wanted his account of events and his reactions and responses, 

In order to obtain background material on Mr. Sinton, persons who 
knew him well were consulted. I talked by telephone with two past presidents 
of the Garden Hospital, Mrs. Franklyn H. Lyons and Mrs. Jack Dohrman. Family 
members with whom I conferred were Mr. Sinton's daughter, Mrs. Ruth Steiner; 
his nephews Stanley and Robert Sinton; and his cousin, Walter Haas. Community 
leaders and administrators interviewed were Marcel Hirsch, John May, Eugene 
Block, Earl Raab, and Sanford Treguboff. 

From the members of the family I was able to form the picture of a warm, 
devoted family man, a concerned, authoritarian father, a man of circumspec 
tion and tradition who "does not give his respect lightly." According to 
his nephews and Mr. Haas, Edgar Sinton's wit and way with words made him an 
outstanding toastmaster and a forceful fund- raiser. The community leaders 



viii 



were unanimous in speaking of Edgar Sinton's intelligence, his sense of 
humor, integrity, courage, and sound judgment. As one leader put it: "The 
community depended upon Edgar Sinton for a hell of a long time." 

Though his "tyranny of modesty" made interviewing Edgar Sinton difficult 
at times (I once told him we were friendly adversaries) , he is a delight to 
talk to. His interests and reading range widely, and he is an astute but 
tactful judge of character. Many times during our sessions he would instruct 
me to turn off the tape recorder lest he make public a derogatory opinion of 
a person or organization. 

One comes away from a meeting with Edgar Sinton aware that this is an 
honorable man, a man of conviction and integrity. He needs no confirmation 
of his ideas, he expects no honors for his good deeds. I am pleased that 
with this volume the Judah L. Magnes Museum is honoring Edgar Sinton and 
acknowledging his many contributions. 



Eleanor K. Glaser 
Interviewer-Editor 



May 4, 1978 

Regional Oral History Office 

486 The Bancroft Library 

University of California at Berkeley 



I FAMILY BACKGROUND AND CHILDHOOD 

[Interview 1: May 19, 1977] 
[begin tape 1, side 1] 



The Sinsheimers and Koshlands 



Glaser: What were you told of the family's history in Europe? 

Sinton: I was told about the family in Europe by my father from the time I 

was four years old, but any really definite knowledge would come from 
the fact that I went there with my father when I was thirteen years 
old. I recall going on the train. As a matter of fact, we went over 
on a German steamship of the North German Lloyd line, "The Deutschland", 
and on the ship was the brother of the Kaiser, Prince Henry of Prussia. 
When we got to Bremen (that was where we landed) , there were thousands 
of people gathered on the dock waiting to greet this prince who had 
been visiting Washington. Not a sound was heard until someone gave a 
signal that they could applaud, then they did. That was my first 
experience with German discipline and the manner in which the country 
was governed. As a young boy just out of grammar school it made quite 
an impression on me. It was a tremendous experience for me, never 
having seen anything like that before, of a disciplined army, perhaps 
you might say. At a certain signal they applauded. 

Glaser: Where did the family come from? 

Sinton: Originally they must have come from Sinsheim and I'll tell you why. 
Because, as I recall from the history, when Napoleon conquered all 
of Europe the Jewish people did not have last names as such. He gave 
them the names of the villages or the towns from which they came. 
Hence, all of the Sinsheimers came from a town called Sinsheim, which 
I think was in Bavaria. 

Then of course, you might say, they distributed themselves 
around Europe. My father's family lived in Burstadt, which was right 
across the Rhine River from Worms. In fact, my father told me that he 
was taught to swim when they threw him in the river when he was four 
years old. 



Glaser: Is this a wine-producing area? 

Sinton: Yes, right in Worms there is (well, you might say it was like a corner 
lot) a small area of maybe two or three acres where Liebfraumilch 
was first made, which is one of the good German white wines. Yes, it 
is a wine area and all of the lands and terraces above the river. 

Glaser: Your grandparents had how many children? 

Sinton: A great many there were two marriages. My father's father, whose 
name was Zachary, was married twice and I don't know what his first 
wife's maiden name was. He had a son Aaron, who later lived at 
San Luis Obispo; he was the oldest one. Then there was a sister, 
Regine, who married a Koshland in Ichenhausen; hence the connection 
we'll come to later. There was another son, Simon, two years younger 
than Aaron, who lived in Worms. His daughter Johanna had two sons and 
one of them is Dr. Frederick Wolff, whom we brought out of Germany in 
1934 and who practiced in San Francisco as an obstetrician and gynecolo 
gist until his retirement about two years ago. 

Zachary 's second wife (my grandmother) was Clara. What her maiden 
name was I'm not sure. She had Bernard, the oldest son; Solomon, a 
second son; my father; and a fourth son called Adolf. My father was 
the next to the youngest. 

Glaser: Was it Aaron who came to the United States first? 

Sinton: Yes, he settled in the Southern states and fought in the Confederate 
Army and then moved out. He married a lady by the name of Nettie; I 
think she came from Albany, New York a very bright woman. You asked 
about San Luis Obispo I have a picture of their whole family with all 
of their children here and I can give you the names. Aaron had seven 
or eight children. Sidney became the president of the Holly Sugar 
Company. He was the only one of any real prominence. Another one, 
Paul, was a newspaperman here and became a vice-president of the 
American Trust Company here in San Francisco. Paul became a staff 
member of the first railroad commission, which later became the Public 
Utility Commission of the State of California. He was a graduate of 
the University of California, the class of 1901. 

Glaser: This is when the railroads had a strong grip on the state. 

Sinton: Oh, tremendous, and that was why the commission was formed. 

Glaser: Did he keep his name Sinsheimer? 

Sinton: Yes, they all did in San Luis. 

Glaser: Did Aaron bring your father over? 



Sinton: I don't think so. I think my father came over he had some relatives 
in New York, I don't remember their names, who had a position for him. 
He was only sixteen years of age when he came to New York in 1870. 

Glaser: Do you know why the emigration to the United States took place? 

Sinton: Yes. You may recall that in 1870 Germany, under Bismark, declared 

war against France. It was the War of 1870-71, so I assume that the 
young fellows who did not believe they had much of a future in Germany 
came over here, not only to avoid a draft but because they felt that 
the prejudice and discrimination that existed didn't promise a very 
good future for them. Of course, a great many came over in the first 
wave in 1845 and '46 and '47 for the very same reasons. 

My grandfather (I can go back that far) on my mother's side, 
Simon Koshland, came to the United States in the middle 1840 's 1842, 
'43, something like that. That's an interesting story in itself but 
you may have that already from other interviews. 

Glaser: I'm not sure of that. Shall we finish your father's family and then 
pick up your mother's family? 

Sinton: All right. My father came to New York without knowing, probably, 

five words of English. I have a letter some place from my grandfather 
to my father, a beautiful letter (I wish I could get ahold of it. I 
may have given it to my nephew) on his coming to this country. It 
was a real sermon on what to do, how to conduct himself to be honest, 
to be decent, to be charitable, and so forth. 

My father got a position through his relative in New York. I 
think he was in some millinery store doing up packages. I know he 
could always do packages; we never could. So he learned how to do 
packaging right away, and he must have learned English immediately 
because everyone who came to New York, or to any other American city, 
was immediately placed in a night school to learn English a truly 
excellent system. I spoke to you before how I felt about these 
bilingual regulations that we have now which are expensive and com 
pletely unnecessary. 

He learned to speak English right away; his handwriting was 
English handwriting. Of course, they had learned to use the German 
script in Germany. There was no Latin script, so-called, or the 
English script as we call it. But he wrote a perfectly good, clear, 
legible letter. 

Two years after he came here, he came to San Francisco. The 
reason for that was the connection I told you of to the Koshlands in 
Ichenhausen. My mother's father was in business here in San Francisco, 
and it was the usual thing for families to take cousins or nephews 



3a 



WESTERN JEWRY 

An Account of the Achievements 
of the Jews and Judaism 
in Californ ia 



I winding 

Eulogies and Biographies 



The Jews in California 

By 
MARTIN A. MKYKR, Ph. D. 




I'rru isiin) MY 

EMANU-KL 

SAN FRANCISCO 

J;\K. \'i\t> 



HENRY SINSHEIMER 

Office. 110 Market street, San Fran 
cisco. Horn in (icrmany in 1854. SI>M 
>f Xacliary Shislietmvr. Married Net 
tie Koshland. daughter of Simon K.-sli- 
land in 1881. Two cliildren. Stanley 
and J ; .ljjar. Fdncated in private 
schools in (icrniany. Alter leaving 
si'luml was oniplnyetl as a clerk until 
1871. when lie moved to Xew York, 
where he clerked in the mercantile 
business until 1874. Moved to San 
l-'raticisco, where he was employed by 
Koshland ISros.. wool merchants, later 
becoming a member of the firm of S. 
Koshland & Co., where he continues at 




Henry S 



the present time. President of the 
Hebrew I'.oard of Relief for o er ten 
years: president Kureka Benevolent 
Societv lor over ten years: member of 
board of governors. Federation ol 
Jewish I harilies, past president and 
past vice-president of that organi/.a- 
tion : trustee and treasurer of Remedial 
Loan Society: vice-president Mer 
chants' Kxchange: member of Temple 
KiiKimi-KI and Concordia Club. 



Sinton: or connections, have them in their houses, bring them up, and put 

them in their businesses. From 1872, my father lived in my mother's 
father's house on Pine Street. The house is still standing, 1848 Pine. 
He lived in that house with all of the seven Koshland children. Joseph, 
the older, was exactly the same age as my father. He lived there for 
eight years before he married my mother, and that's how they met. He 
was working in S. Koshland and Company. 

Glaser: Do you know what his duties were, originally? 

Sinton: He was a bookkeeper, originally. 

Glaser: Did he have any training for that? 

Sinton: None except what he learned himself. 

Glaser: Was he mentally quick? 

Sinton: I don't think the word quick is just what it is. He was very solid. 
He had been very well educated in Germany before he came here. I 
mean his arithmetic was always perfect, and he had a very good vision. 
He was broad minded and, of course, he had learned to be charitable 
at home. The very first five hundred dollars which he saved (and 
that was a tremendous amount of money in those days because they got 
practically nothing) his brother in San Luis Obispo needed the money 
and he sent it to him. 

Glaser: Was this Aaron? 

Sinton: This was Aaron. 

Glaser: When did Bernard come over? 

Sinton: I don't know, before my father did. He went to San Luis Obispo. 

Glaser: He went directly? 

Sinton: Yes. 

Glaser: Why did he go there? 

Sinton: Because they were in business there. They had a store there in 
San Luis Obispo. 

Glaser: Who started it? 

Sinton: I'm sure Aaron started the store. He was more of a visionary than a 
real businessman. He was a fine old gentleman as I knew him, 
patriarchal, you might say, but he wasn't particularly successful in 



Sinton: business. The mother of these children, Aaron's wife, was a very 

cultured person, well educated, intelligent, quick. The family really 
placed a great store on culture, literature, music, art, and so forth. 

Glaser: You say he was not that much of a businessman, but the store 

Sinton: Yes, but the store was helped by the other two brothers. 

Glaser: You mean your father and Bernard? 

Sinton: Yes. 

Glaser: Didn't your father and Bernard live in San Francisco? 

Sinton: He wasn't a partner down there at all. He was a partner with Bernard 
later, but they were in the bean business. Bernard then moved to 
San Francisco. They had acquired land as most of these storekeepers 
did because they would extend credit to the farmers. When the farmers 
couldn't pay, they took over the land. That's how a great many Jewish 
storekeepers acquired so much country land. 

Then Bernard moved to San Francisco, and he and my father were in 
partnership for awhile in the dried bean business, which was a very 
large commodity. But later my father got out of that and became a 
partner in S. Koshland and Company, which was a wool concern. 

Glaser: Where did the wool come from? 

Sinton: All right, if you want to know about that I can tell you exactly. My 
grandfather (this comes to the other side of the family now I'd 
better tell you about that later but enough to say here that the wool 
business was such that the owner of sheep brought his wool once or 
twice a year (they had spring wool and fall wool) into what was called 
a center, in some town. The wool buyers, who were S. Koshland and 
Company and other wool merchants , sent their buyers there to purchase 
the wool. And there was great competition in the purchase of a certain 
type of wool. One man was supposed to have had very good wool. 

I'll explain about wool to you, too, if you want to know. Good 
wool men could take the wool in their hands and tell you how much 
shrinkage there would be. Now, the whole thing was in the shrinkage. 
Wool from a sheep's back, if you've ever seen it, is called "wool in 
the grease." It's very greasy, oily; that was the protection that the 
sheep had. Brush and dust and dirt is cleaned and scoured in the 
mills, and the result of that would be the wool sold to the mills in 
New England. The man who could judge how much that wool would shrink 
was the good wool man. My uncle could take some wool in his hands and 
say, "Well, that will shrink 62 percent," and it would. This was a 
matter of experience. It was a great thing to know how much the wool 



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Sinton: would shrink. And if you made a mistake it was a bad one, because 

there would be three or four hundred thousand pounds of wool at fifty 
or sixty cents a pound. It was shipped to the scouring mills in and 
around Boston Boston was the center. When my uncle Joseph Koshland 
was twenty-one years old, he was sent to open the Boston office because 
that is where the wool was sold to the mills. He was the oldest son 
and by far the most intelligent. 

Glaser: Would you like to tell me about the Koshland family now? 

Sinton: My grandfather, Simon Koshland, came over here when he was perhaps 
eighteen years old. He was born on July 4, 1825 in Germany and he 
came from Ichenhausen. That's where the Koshlands were from. The 
original Koshland came from Bohemia in 1750 as showed in that chart 
that I gave you. 



Glaser: Ichenhausen is in Bavaria? 

Sinton: That's in Bavaria. It's about forty or fifty miles from Munich. I've 
been there; I assure you it's there. He came to New York, obviously, 
where they all landed . Have you ever read the book Our Crowd? 

Glaser: Oh, yes. 

Sinton: Well, many of the German immigrants became immediate peddlers. That's 
all they knew. They went through Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, 
and all around New York, peddling stuff to the farmers and their 
wives. That's how they got their start. I'm not conversant with my 
grandfather's early years, but he came to New York, and they tell the 
story that he bought a mule to carry the merchandise on and the first 
day he took him out he found out he had a blind mule. So he was 
gypped right off the reel, but he learned. 

He came to California in the Gold Rush in 1848 from the East 
Coast. He came around the Horn on a ship. That's how they came around 
South America. He came around the Horn to San Francisco and went to 
Sacramento, because that's where the Gold Rush was, and obviously 
started a store general merchandise, I presume. A year later he 
went back to Philadelphia and married my grandmother. Her name was 
Rosina Frauenthal. (You reminded me of it, but that's correct.) 

They came back to California via the Isthmus of Panama, which 
entailed a trip across the Isthmus on mule back, came up to San 
Francisco and went to Sacramento. I think Joseph Koshland was born 
in Sacramento. They were flooded out twice and their house was 
burned out twice in Sacramento. There were floods there every other 
year, and there were a great many fires because everything was of 
wooden construction. So they moved to San Francisco, probably in 
1854 or '55, along in there. 



Sinton: These stories I have from my grandmother. Unfortunately, we 

haven't any written documents showing where they lived until they 
moved to San Francisco. My uncle Marcus, who was Daniel Koshland's 
father, was born in 1858 here in San Francisco. I'm quite sure of 
that. My grandfather started a store in San Francisco, and the 
sheep men would bring their wool in and store it in a warehouse he 
had established in connection with his store. He would store the 
wool for them, and that's the way he got into the wool business. 

He purchased, through his buyers, California wool and probably 
some Montana wool and Oregon wool. Those were the states that were 
the wool raising states: California, Oregon, and Montana. As his 
son Joseph grew up, he saw that it was necessary to have an office 
in Boston, because they sold to the mills. That's how he happened to 
establish the wool business. 

Glaser: Did he end up owning a lot of land? 

Sinton: No, he personally did not. My father and my father's brother owned 

some land in San Luis Obispo County because of the store that they had 
there. But the only land that S. Koshland Company owned was a lot on 
California and Market on which the Lumberman's Building was built 
immediately after the 1906 fire; there had been another building 
there before. Of course, my grandfather was dead by that time. But 
the family built the Lumberman's Building, which was written up and 
used by Peter Kyne, who wrote stories about the lumber business here. 

Glaser: I read him when I was in high school. 

Sinton: Certainly, and his stories were located in the Lumberman's Building, 
which was owned by my grandfather's family. 

Glaser: Was he Jewish? 

Sinton: No, he was not, so far as I know. His brother was Tom Kyne, who 
really started these race tracks around here. 

Glaser: Your father married Nettie Koshland. 

Sinton: That's right. 

Glaser: They built a home on Pine Street? 

Sinton: No, my grandfather built that home and they moved into it in 1872, I 
think. My father wasn't married until 1881. 

Glaser: He built a home on Van Ness? 

Sinton: No, he didn't. He leased it. He didn't own it. 

Glaser: I think you mentioned that you were born in a home where 



8 



Sinton: Where Orison's Restaurant now is; it was second from the corner. 
Glaser: You were part of a large family. 

Sinton: The Koshland family was rather large, yes, but my immediate family 
was only my brother and myself. 

The San Luis Obispo Sinsheimers 



Glaser: Yes, but you had all the cousins in San Luis Obispo. 

Sinton: Oh, yes. 

Glaser: How often did you go down there? 

Sinton: The first time I went down there was in 1893 or '94. There was a strike 
and we had to come back by steamer. I was five years old, I remember 
that. That's the first time I had seen their place in San Luis, 
although many of them had come up and stopped with us. Everyone 
stopped with everyone else in those days. You never went to a hotel, 
you always went to someone's house. 

[end tape 1, side 1; begin tape 1, side 2] 
Glaser: What was the San Luis Obispo family like? 

Sinton: Yes, now I'll tell you that. They had a house there which originally 
was Bernard Sinsheimer's house. He was the one who was successful. 
As 1 told you, Aaron was a fine old man but he wasn't a businessman, 
so Bernard Sinsheimer really was in charge down there. When Bernard 
left to come to San Francisco to go into the bean business, Aaron took 
over his house. I remember they had a tremendous lemon tree in the 
garden, just full of hundreds and hundreds of lemons. They had half 
an acre, or an acre, right in the middle of San Luis Obispo. 

They had this store, which still retains its Victorian appearance. 
It's known throughout the state as a model of the kind of a store 
that existed in those days. They remodeled it, rebuilt it, but in 
the same fashion that it originally was. The store was famous in 
that area. 

Yes, life was so simple then that the biggest thing they did, 
they went on a picnic. They drove down to Pismo Beach or they drove 
down to Avila Beach, which were beaches near San Luis. Their life was 
a very simple, small town life. Later one of the Sinsheimer boys 
became mayor. Louis was mayor there for twenty-eight years. Now, 
how can I describe the life other than that? It was just the same 
as any other small California town or, I presume, any other small 
town in the United States. 



Glaser: Were you there for a goodly length of time at a stretch? 

Sinton: Just a vacation. 

Glaser: Were you there for more than a few weeks? 

Sinton: No, we weren't there more than three or four weeks, I'm quite sure. 

Glaser: There were all these children. You must have had a marvelous time. 

Sinton: Yes, but they were older than I was. My brother went with me and 
some of them were about his age. Two or three of the boys were 
his age. Some of them were younger, some older, but I was younger 
than all of them. 

Glaser: How much older was your brother Stanley? 

Sinton: Six years older than I was. 

Glaser: Was Bernard married when he lived in San Luis Obispo? 

Sinton: Yes, and he married see, everyone was connected he married the 
daughter of the sister of my grandfather, Simon Koshland. See, 
there are all these connections. It's complicated, but it's very 
simple. He married Fanny, the daughter of my grandfather's sister, 
whose name was Hannah Stone. 

Glaser: How many children did Bernard and his wife have? 

Sinton: They had two children, Silas and Helen. 

Glaser: Are those two still alive? 

Sinton: No, they're all gone. 

Glaser: Did they have children? 

Sinton: Helen had no children. She adopted a child, a boy named Frank. 

Her married name was Lowenthal. Silas had two children, two boys. 

Glaser: What are their names? 
Sinton: Silas, Jr. and Jimmy, James. 
Glaser: Are they still alive? 

Sinton: They live in San Luis Obispo County. They have large ranches, and 
they've been very successful. 

Glaser: When did they go back there? 



10 



Sinton: 

Glaser: 
Sinton: 



Glaser: 
Sinton: 



Glaser: 
Sinton: 



Right after they got out of college, 
business. 

Are they in business together? 



They were in the cattle 



They were until recently. One of them retired and has a ranch in 
Nevada as well as land in San Luis Obispo County, and the other 
one is still in the they were also in the cattle feed business 
too. Very large operators, very successful, which was really due 
to the foresight of their father, Silas. 

He maintained the land that your Uncle Bernard had acquired? 

Yes, and enlarged it. They had two or three ranches of ten and 
sixteen thousand acres apiece. It was a cattle operation. 

What happened to the land that your father accumulated? 

He owned land with his brother, but we later sold it to Silas's 
sons because they wanted it. We have a few scattered pieces that 
don't amount to anything. 



Childhood in San Francisco (Born January 5, 1889) 



Glaser: Did you spend all of your early childhood in the home on Van Ness? 

Sinton: No. I spent my first seven years on Van Ness Avenue. My grandfather 
died in 1896. We then moved from Van Ness Avenue to the old house 
on Pine Street because my grandmother was alone. My mother and 
father and I moved there. 

My brother had graduated from California in 1904, and he 
immediately went to Boston because that was where the wool business 
was. He lived in Boston until the business was dissolved in 1929 
and '30. So he lived in Boston; he wasn't here. But we moved to 
Pine Street in 1896 or early 1897. My brother was living there, too, 
with us until he graduated from college. Of course, he lived in 
Berkeley for the four years he was there, so from 1900 to 1904 he 
was away from home a great amount of the time. 

I went to Pacific Heights School from there. First, when I 
was a little boy, when I was six years old, I went to the Urban 
School for two or three years. Then I went to Pacific Heights 
School, a public school, 'til we went to Europe in 1902. Then 
when I got back I went to Lowell High School, which was a couple 
of blocks down on Sutter Street and Gough. 



11 



Sinton: I lived on Pine Street until 1911 when ray grandmother died. By 
that time I was in law school at Hastings. So then we moved to 
the St. Francis Hotel. 

Glaser: To the St. Francis Hotel? 

Sinton: Yes, we moved there. People lived there in the old days. 

Glaser: Oh, is that right? Was it a residential hotel then? 

Sinton: No, it wasn't, but there were some permanent residents. The only 
one that's left is my aunt. 

Glaser: Which aunt is this? 

Sinton: That's Jesse Koshland's widow. She's the only one who's a 
permanent resident of the St. Francis Hotel. 



The 1906 Earthquake 



Glaser: We've skipped the earthquake. 

Sinton: As you know, the first shock was at 5:12 a.m. on the morning of 

April 18, 1906. We were all in bed, naturally. I was awakened by 
something falling down in the room, a globe, a map of the world 
fell down. Then it shook; it really shook. How long it shook I 
couldn't tell you. It was eight-something on the Richter scale. 
It was one of the biggest that had ever happened. Do you want me 
to tell you all about the fire and earthquake now? 

Glaser: Sure. 

Sinton: All right. From my standpoint: I was seventeen years old, I was 
a senior at Lowell High School. My class was the December class, 
so it was the first part of my senior year. It happened early 
on a Wednesday morning, a clear, warm day. The first shock was, 
I may say, very unusual but not terrifying to us; we had earth 
quakes before. But the thing that frightened me more taan anything 
else, and I think the other people too, were the after-shocks which 
happened on the hour after that until ten or eleven or twelve 
o'clock that day. 

I got up and dressed, naturally. My grandmother was very much 
frightened. She was an elderly lady, and she wasn't very well 
either. My father and my uncle, Marcus Koshland, seeing that the 
town was enveloped in flames from three directions we could see 



12 



Sinton: from our house the fire was burning to the south, to the east, and 
to the north it was circling. All of this was on fire, the down 
town portion of the town was on fire. That happened because some 
of the restaurants and some of the people who lived in the Mission 
had built their fires at five o'clock in the morning to make 
breakfast. They were up early; all the restaurants had started 
their fires. The earthquake itself, the damage that it caused, 
was not a major affair. It was the fire that destroyed the town 
to the point where it was destroyed. 

My father and uncle realized that there was no stop to this 
thing, it was going to envelop us. So they went down to the office, 
as many other people did, and gathered the books. I think my uncle 
was one of the few people in town who had an automobile. I don't 
know if he took the automobile downtown or not, I can't remember 
that. But I do know they got the books from the office and brought 
them to the house. 

Glaser: Was your house badly damaged? 

Sinton: No, that wasn't touched except for the chimney which was cracked. 
No damage to our house at all, but it would have gone up in flames 
had the fire not stopped at Van Ness and Franklin. Those two 
streets stopped the fire. They used dynamite; they dynamited the 
whole Van Ness Avenue and stopped the fire from going west. But 
by Wednesday afternoon everyone could know that the whole town was 
going to go unless some miracle happened. That's when General 
Funsten from the Presidio immediately declared martial law, and 
the army under his direction dynamited part of the city to stop 
the fire. And they stopped it. 

Glaser: It must have been frightening, hearing the blast. 

Sinton: It was strange that no one seemed frightened. There were some 
stories that people were terrified; I did not see any terror 
whatsoever in anyone. We saw the people streaming past our house 
with baby buggies carrying their belongings, or with a wheel barrow, 
or whatever they had that they could take with them streaming out 
toward the Golden Gate Park and the Presidio. It didn't seem that 
people were afraid. They took it, which was quite remarkable. I 
believe some people were killed when the first snock occurred in 
some building downtown. They said four or five hundred people 
were killed. I never believed it; I never saw any of it. 

Glaser: Did you stay right in your house? 

Sinton: We stayed in our house until Wednesday afternoon, and then we saw 

the fire was coming. We got the last carriage to take my grandmother 
out to my uncle's place on Washington Street. You might have seen 



13 



Sinton: it in the papers; they had a big picture of this. It was a copy 
of the Petit Trianon. The Heritage Foundation had a celebration 
there just about a week or two weeks ago. The whole family stayed 
in that house. There were sixty-three people there. 

Glaser: It must be enormous. 

Sinton: We children thought it was great. We were lying on the floor, on 

mattresses, or anything the whole family huddled. Mrs. Koshland's 
family was there, too, I remember. Her brother-in-law had typhoid 
fever and he was upstairs in a room. 

That was Wednesday night we slept there. Thursday night my 
father and I slept in the Presidio, which was close by, to save a 
place if everybody had to evacuate the house. On Friday the fire 
was halted. On Saturday we moved back to our house on Pine Street. 

Glaser: If you felt that you had to go to the Presidio to save a place, 
that meant it was crowded with refugees. 

Sinton: That's right, yes. We got a place on the lawn, or whatever it was, 
and staked it out and we slept there. But the other people stayed 
in the house. 

Glaser: If there were that many people in the house, where did the food 
come from to feed them all? 

Sinton: Well, we had food in the house. We didn't have to get any food 

ourselves from any public place. People started to send things in 
right away to San Francisco. Oakland was all right, San Mateo was 
all right, Berkeley was all right. They could send food in. I 
remember when we moved back home we had some food in our own house. 
I know we didn't want for anything. I didn't seem to bother. On 
Monday morning I went down to the St. Mary's Cathedral on Van Ness 
Avenue and we stood and got a couple of cans of food. That's the 
only time we ever stood in line for food. By Tuesday we were able 
to buy food on Fillmore Street, or wherever. There was no priva 
tion. 

Glaser: Did you have to cook out in the street? 

Sinton: Yes, we had a Chinese cook, as everybody else did, and he took 
what we called the laundry stove we had a stove in the cellar 
which was used to heat the hot water for the laundry. That stove 
was taken out and put on the sidewalk as everyone else did, and 
this Chinaman cooked there. We never wanted for a thing, and the 
food was just as good as if we'd had it inside. 

Glaser: For you it was like one great big picnic, wasn't it, the whole 
thing? 



14 



Sinton: There was only one regret that I had. We were to play Lick High 

School in baseball on Saturday of that week and we never played it. 
That was the regret I had because they had beaten us once, and we 
were going to beat them this time. But we never played them. 

Glaser: So life was okay for you. 
Sinton: It was all right. 



School Years 



Glaser: When did you start back to school? 

Sinton: Lowell High School reopened about six or eight weeks after the 

fire and the earthquake, because it wasn't burnt. It was on Sutter 
between Gough and Octavia. 

Glaser: Then you had this span of time in which you were not going to school? 

Sinton: Now, I'll tell you about that. I had the spare time. At first I 
said to my father, "Well, obviously I can't go to college; I've 
got to go to work. Everything's gone to pieces." 

He said, "No, you don't have to, I don't think that's 
necessary." 

As I was saying, I was in my senior year but I still had eight 
months to go, so I didn't have anything to do. My mathematics was 
very bad in high school. Geometry and algebra were really it was 
completely a strange affair to me. So I reviewed a course with a 
high school teacher who was a great fellow by the name of Elmer 
Rowell. He and I went through geometry and algebra, and I went over 
to Berkeley. I went back to school for a week or two in July and 
then I went over to Berkeley and took all of the entry examinations 
into the University of California. I took thirteen examinations in 
seven days, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, because I 
knew I would never get a recommendation from the math teacher. And 
he would have been right not to give it to me. If you didn't get 
recommended in everything you just didn't get recommended. You had 
to take the ex's anyway, so I took 'em. 

Glaser: These were matriculation tests that you took? 
Sinton: That's right. 

Glaser: You said that you went to school in July. Didn't school stop in 
June the way it does now? 



15 



Sinton: No, they didn't stop that vacation, that summer. They started 
again in July because the schools were closed until then. 

Glaser: I see, this was to make up the time the school was closed. 

Sinton: This was to make up the time. I recall I took the examinations; 

it took me a week. Hundreds of others were taking them too. Then 
I went back to high school until I found out what marks I got. I 
remember going into an English class the first day I was back. The 
English teacher was an excellent teacher by the name of Clement C. 
Young who later became the governor of California. Rather interest 
ing, there's a little story in that. There were four teachers at 
Lowell High School who within six months after that left the high 
school and went into the real estate business in Berkeley. One of 
them was Clement C, Young who later, as I say, was elected governor 
of the State of California. 

I remember him asking me a question and I didn't have the 
answer because I hadn't been in school. He didn't know I took the 
examinations, no one did, you weren't supposed to tell anybody. So 
he let me have it, because as a rule I was good in English and 
didn't have any problem. I remember telling him about it later, 
that I couldn't answer the question because I was taking the 
examinations. So I did get into college a half year ahead of time. 

Glaser: You said you were not supposed to tell anybody that you were 

Sinton: No, because the high school teachers would have been very upset if 
they had known that I had taken the examinations rather than get 
their recommendations. In those days you didn't have to take the 
examination if you got a recommendation from your high school 
teacher, and I knew I wouldn't have gotten it in mathematics. So 
that's why I took the examinations and that's why I didn't tell 
anybody . 

Glaser: I see. It sounded as if nobody ever told, that you're not supposed 
to tell. 

Sinton: That's right. No one said anything until I got the card stating I 
had been admitted. In other words, I made up a half year. 

Glaser: Did you actually finish high school? 

Sinton: No, no. College opened in August and I left the high school. I 
didn't graduate I went right into the university. 

Glaser: But normally you would have finished. 
Sinton: I would have finished, yes. 



16 



Glaser: Was that the summer you went up to the camp the teachers started? 

Sinton: Oh, no, that was when I was a freshman in 1902. In 1902 we went 
on this walking trip to Lake Tahoe. 

Glaser: Was this the first summer camp ever established in the whole 
country? 

Sinton: No, I think they'd gone the year before, so far as I knew, and 

there may have been others. I haven't the slightest idea if that 
was the first one. 

Glaser: Your teacher was Mr. 

Sinton: Koch. Fred Koch and his assistant was Kelly, also a teacher. 

Glaser: Was this a popular thing? 

Sinton: No, it was really something new. It was a novel thing for kids to 
do that in those days. 

Glaser: Did you spend the whole summer at camp? 
Sinton: The whole summer, the whole two months. 
Glaser: How long a walk was this? 

Sinton: We took the train from Stockton. I think it went as far as Angel's 
Camp. We walked up through Placerville through the highway which 
is now called 49. That's how we walked up to Tahoe, up the 
American River. From Placerville up to Myer's Station and then 
down on to Fallen Leaf Lake. That's where we camped. 

Glaser: How long did that walk take you? 

Sinton: We made eight miles the first day, and after that we made anywhere 
from fifteen to twenty miles a day. It took us about ten or twelve 
days. 

Glaser: Did you enjoy that? 

Sinton: Yes, we loved it. The first days were hard because we weren't 
used to it. But we didn't have to carry anything. They had a 
couple of horses to carry the stuff. We were only kids we were 
only thirteen or fourteen years old. 

Glaser: Did you have good comfortable shoes? 
Sinton: Oh, sure, we didn't have any trouble at all. 



17 



Glaser: 
Sinton: 



Glaser: 
Sinton: 

Glaser: 
Sinton: 

Glaser: 
Sinton: 



Glaser: 
Sinton: 
Glaser: 
Sinton: 

Glaser: 
Sinton: 



What did you do at the camp itself? 

We camped there, swam; didn't really do much but swimming. We 
didn't have any curriculum or anything of that nature. There was 
no natural history course given the way they do now and the way 
my children had it, no. But it was a good vacation. Along the 
road we played baseball against the country teams and everything. 

How many were you altogether? 

I think there were about fourteen of us. 1 have a picture of that 
some place. We went up through Plymouth, Jackson, all of that 
country, the southern gold mines. 

Were the mines working then? 

No. This was 1902, the mines weren't working then. They were all 
worked out. 

When you started at Berkeley did you know that you wanted to become 
a lawyer? 

Yes, I think I did, since 1 was a freshman. We took the courses 
that we were supposed to take for that purpose. Lots of kids now 
don't know what they want to do when they get out. Yes, we knew 
what we wanted to do. 

You roomed with your cousin Walter Haas? 
Yes. 



Where did you live? 

It was either Channing or Dwight Way. 
but I don't remember the number. 

How big was the campus at that time? 



I can still see the house , 



Glaser: 



1 think there were about two or three thousand students and our 
freshman class was probably about six hundred. I remember the 
first freshman meeting of boys; there were only a couple hundred 
fellows. The juniors took care of the freshmen and the seniors 
took care of the sophomores. There used to be a rush, which they 
had eliminated by that time. There was no rush but there was 
always a certain little of hazing of freshmen in those days. But 
there were a lot of girls at college too. 

Were there any people in your class who later turned out to be 
famous? 



18 



Sinton: Yes, the only one really famous was Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman who 
became the tennis champion of the United States. She later gave 
the trophy to England. She married a fellow in Boston. The 
Wightman trophy was for the women players against the English 
women players. Her name was Hotchkiss here. But there was not 
anyone real famous, no. I guess Walter Haas is as prominent 
as anyone else. He became the president of Lev! Strauss and all 
that miraculous mercantile affair. 

Glaser: What were the courses you took the first year? 

Sinton: We didn't have much selection in those days. We had to take 

certain required courses. We couldn't just choose courses that we 
wanted. The first year I took math (we had to take mathematics). 

Glaser: How did you do? 

Sinton: I got by, but that's the best I can say I got by. We took math, 
we took English, we took history, we took a science course. We 
had to. I took twenty-one units no one ever took that many units 
before. 

Glaser: Why? 

Sinton: I wanted to get through. I don't know why. I was only seventeen. 
You musn't go to college when you're seventeen. It's too young. 
You probably did too. 

Glaser: But that should have made you less impatient rather than more. 

Sinton: But we didn't have any outside activities to speak of. I played 
a little freshman baseball. 

Glaser: I thought you were a great baseball player. 

Sinton: Great? No, I was not. Just a little above average, that's all. 

Glaser: You were on the college baseball team weren't you? 

Sinton: No, I was not. I was on the freshman team and I was on the squad, 
but I was not on the college baseball team. But I played and I 
had a lot of fun out of it and I liked it. I worked on the Blue 
and Gold. I was the Blue and Gold josh editor, but that was in my 
junior year. That's really the only thing I did that was of any 
note. 

Glaser: The Blue and Gold josh editor? 

Sinton: The junior class (I guess they still do it) get out a book, the 
Blue and Gold. 



19 



Glaser: 
Sinton: 

Glaser: 
Sinton: 

Glaser: 
Sinton: 



What does josh mean? 

That was the fun editor. We wrote a lot of silly stuff and that 
sort of thing. 

What year were you the josh editor? 

That was 1909. It was a 1910 book but the juniors get it out. 
I still have them. 

Is there anything else you want to tell me about the very first 
years? 

No, but I can say this about the four years at Berkeley. I don't 
think that I've ever spent a happier time. In those days it was 
just wonderful. In the first place, it was good for me to get 
away from home. We lived over in Berkeley. We came home weekends, 
and in the next session I'll give you the story of the family 
gatherings on Sunday evening, which you might want to have. It's 
rather an interesting point in the family history. 

[end tape 1, side 2] 



20 



II U.C. BERKELEY AND POST COLLEGE YEARS 

[Interview 2: May 26, 1977] 
[begin tape 2, side 1] 



U.C. Berkeley. 1906-1910 

Sinton: Because you asked me to, I looked up to see how many we graduated. 
There were about four hundred who graduated in our class, half of 
whom were girls. 

Glaser: Was that usual for that period of time? 
Sinton: Yes, it was. 

Glaser: I thought in that particular era young women were more likely to 
go immediately into marriage. 

Sinton: They did, but there were a great many girls who became teachers 

and that sort of thing. The secretary of the class was a teacher 
in the Oakland schools for probably fifty years. There were a 
great many girls. I can get the exact proportion because I have 
the class pictures in my Blue and Gold. 

Glaser: Did you date anybody on campus? 

Sinton: Yes, when I was a freshman and sophomore. Our social activities 
were really mostly in San Francisco because it was so near. We 
came home weekends . 

Glaser: Did you belong to a fraternity? 

Sinton: No, I was asked to join a club at the time but I didn't. 

Glaser: Why? 

Sinton: Well, there were reasons that I can't say. 



21 



Sinton: In my time in college, in the early 1900s 1906 'til 1910, 

fraternities did not take Jewish boys, nor did the sororities 
take Jewish girls. There were very few Jewish girls at college 
in my day. 

Glaser: How was it that you were asked to join? 

Sinton: When my brother and my cousin were at college they had been in 
this club. It wasn't a fraternity. It was a club at the time; 
later it became a fraternity. They did ask me to join, and they 
only did it because of a relationship that had existed with 
previous members. 

Glaser: Was there much anti-Semitism in general on the campus? 

Sinton: None, except there was this unwritten rule, and most of the 

fraternities had it in their constitutions, that there would be 
only Christian members. But otherwise there was practically no 
anti-Semitism except for the fraternity end. Of course, the 
majority of the students were not fraternity or sorority members, 

Glaser: I take it that there were no Jewish fraternities or sororities. 
Sinton: Not at that time. They were organized after my time. 



Family Relationships 



Glaser: You mentioned last week that you wanted to talk about the family 
get togethers on the weekend. 

Sinton: There were four separate Koshland families: my Uncle Marcus 
Koshland, my mother 

Glaser: She was Nettie Koshland Sinsheimer? 

Sinton: Yes. My aunt, Mrs. Abraham Haas; and my aunt, Mrs. Emil Greenebaum. 
The custom was to have a dinner for the entire families at a 
different house each Sunday evening. So all those four families 
got together every Sunday the old ones and the young ones and it 
was an amazingly good thing. It meant a close relationship, and 
no holds were barred anyone said anything he wanted. If a fellow 
went with a girl, that was open conversation. 

Glaser: Did you like that? 

Sinton: We didn't mind at all. We developed a good sense of family loyalty 
and affection and it was a very good thing for the younger people 
too, because you had to have a good sense of humor and you had to 



22 



Sinton: take a lot of joshing and it was a good thing all around. It's a 
very unfortunate thing if you don't have that sort of thing now. 

Glaser: How many people were at these dinners? 

Sinton: I can figure that out for you. Oh, there were approximately twenty 
people involved altogether. 

Glaser: That means the families were small. 

Sinton: The families weren't very large, no. There were three children or 
two children in each family. 

Glaser: The generation before had 

Sinton: The generation before was seven, eight, nine and ten. That was 
different. 

Glaser: All these four families were quite well off, financially, were 
they not? 

Sinton: Comfortably. 

Glaser: They were solid middle class families. 

Sinton: Yes, I would say that. 

Glaser: You had mentioned that you had a Chinese cook. 

Sinton: Everybody in San Francisco, practically, had a Chinese cook. 

Glaser: Other than the cook how many other servants did you have? 

Sinton: Probably one other. Marcus Koshland had built a very large house, 
which is still here, which was a replica of the Petit Trianon. 
They had quite a few servants, I presume. But the rest of us didn't 
have more than one or two or at the most three. When I was a very 
small child we had a cook and a maid, you might call her. She also 
took care of me when I was a baby, I guess. But you must remember 
things cost practically nothing. The cook got probably $25 a month. 
This is not the way it is today. So you didn't have to be wealthy 
or even near wealthy to have a cook. 

Glaser: What were your mother's responsibilities in the house if she had 
someone to do the cooking and the cleaning? 

Sinton: She didn't have really any. We didn't have much refrigeration, so 

my mother went to the market every morning to buy the food the meat, 
the vegetables, the fruit, whatever. She went every morning of her 



23 



Sinton: 

Glaser: 
Sinton: 



Glaser: 



Sinton: 



Glaser: 
Sinton: 

Glaser: 
Sinton: 

Glaser: 
Sinton: 
Glaser: 



life to do that while we lived on Van Ness Avenue, and I presume 
she did it when we went to Pine Street, too. There were deliveries, 
but she had to go and pick it out. 

How did she fill her day? 

Now you're asking me something that's a little difficult for me to 
answer. They all engaged in some form of charity. They would 
belong to the Emanu-El Sisterhood or they did something of that 
nature, but it didn't take very much time. They all belonged to 
the Women's Exchange, too. That was a community organization. 
But they really had a very good life. I don't know if someone made 
the beds or not. I don't think my mother did, and they didn't have 
much money. It was just an ordinary, as you say, a middle class 
status. 

The reason that this existed was the cheap immigrant labor the 
Chinese, the Irish, and the young Germans who came over. Many of 
them started in domestic service. I can give you an example. A 
lawyer who was a member of one of the largest firms, his mother was 
a domestic in the early days. San Francisco, as I told you, was a 
cosmopolitan city all races , all groups came at about the same time 
in the early 1850s. 



Did your mother have any activity other than charity? 
a hobby or was she artistic? 



Did she have 



She was the only musical member of the family. She was the only 
one who could play the piano, as a matter of fact. The rest of 
them had no musical sense whatsoever. She happened to be. But 
they seemed to be very busy. Goodness knows what they did, I don't 
know. 

Did she have somebody come to the house to sew her clothes? 

They all had someone to come in to sew if the maid didn't sew. 
They all knew how to sew themselves, though. 

Did your mother make some of her own clothes? 

No. My daughter does, but my mother didn't. But that : s because 
people like to do those things. I have one child who can make her 
own clothes and does. 

Which child is that? 

That's Ruth. 

Is she the oldest daughter? 



24 



Sinton: No, she's the second. 

Glaser: Did your mother and father entertain outside the family? 

Sinton: Oh, yes, they had a lot of very close friends and they did quite a 
lot of entertaining. They went to their houses for dinner, they 
came to our house for dinner, and the men played cards after dinner. 
I don't know what the women did, sat around and talked. Oh, yes, 
they did a great deal, it was not just family. My father had three 
men with whom he was particularly friendly. Their families came 
to our house, my parents went to their houses, and so on. 

Glaser: Do you remember their names? 

Sinton: There was a Leon Guggenheim, whose daughter later married one of 
my uncles. There were the two Mack brothers, one was Jule Mack 
who became very wealthy because of an oil discovery down in the 
valley. And his brother Adolf Mack was his name and they called 
him Dick Mack. Those four men were very, very close friends. They 
were not related. There were a great many others, too. Their 
brothers-in-law were involved and other people. It was a close 
community. 

Glaser: Were there non-Jewish friends or was this mostly Jewish? 

Sinton: There were non- Jewish friends in business, yes, but not socially. 

Glaser: What kind of woman was your mother? What was her character? 

Sinton: My mother was a very lively woman of great good humor. She was 
straightforward I could tell you stories about that. If anyone 
asked her a question, she would answer forthrightly. She was a 
very entertaining person to be with. 

Glaser: Was she attractive? 

Sinton: She was not particularly good looking, but she was attractive and 
charming because she was very good company. She was a very forth 
right woman. That was her main characteristic. 

If someone had asked her, "Do you think I look well tonight?" 
and if she didn't think so, she'd say, "No, you don't." 

Glaser: People would accept this? 
Sinton: Oh, yes. 

Glaser: I understand that she used to sell you secrets when you were a 
little boy. 



25 



Sinton: 
Glaser: 
Sinton: 



No, I sold them to her. Who told you that? 
I won't tell you who told me. 

All right, it doesn't make any difference. It was just a joke. 
My mother had two sisters, Carrie Greenebaum and Fannie Haas, and, 
of course, they were all great gossips. Now when I was a little 
boy, I was probably ten or eleven when this started, we would make 
up stuff and tell them about what had happened engagements that 
were or weren't, it didn't make any difference and they'd give us 
a dollar or two. So we'd make the things up. [laughter] It was 
just a joke. It wasn't anything you'd want to record. 

Glaser: Did they understand that you were just making this up? 

Sinton: Not always. No, they didn't sell me anything. We didn't have any 
money to pay them with. No, it was a great joke. That was all. 

Glaser: You told me that your father was a solid man. Was he as straight 
forward as your mother? 

Sinton: Oh, no, he wouldn't tell anyone anything he felt the other person 
would not like to hear. He was very charming and good looking and 
he was not the kind of a person who would hurt anyone's feelings 
just the opposite. 

Glaser: He was more tactful? 

Sinton: Oh, much. Oh, yes. Very marvelously even-dispositioned, my father 
was. My mother didn't have as even a disposition. She was more 
explosive, as the Koshlands were. That was a general attribute, 
they were more or less explosive. 

Glaser: Was your father the typical autocratic German man-of-the-house? 

Sinton: No, not in the slightest. He disliked the Germans thoroughly. 

Glaser: But was his word law in the house? 

Sinton: I don't think we ever had anything like that. 

Glaser: You sound as if you had a very happy childhood. 

Sinton: He practically never scolded either of his children. My mother did 
that. If anything, she was explosive and, of course, forgot it 
immediately after. No one took any offense. It didn't have any 
psychiatric effect either, that at one time we were punished or 
scolded or anything. It was a very good household in that my 
mother and father were very much in love with each other. 



26 



Glaser: That's a nice way to be raised. 

Sinton: Yes. That created an atmosphere of good will and affection. 

Glaser: Were you closer to one parent than the other? 

Sinton: Well, I wouldn't say closer, but my father practically never said 

anything to us at all, never scolded us at all. He never disciplined 
us particularly. He didn't really have to because we respected him 
so. And in that way it was easy to get along with my father because 
my mother would tell us what to do and he didn't. 

Glaser: Of the two, which would you confide in more, your father or your 
mother? 

Sinton: That's one thing that I didn't do, to be honest. I don't think my 

brother did either. We just didn't. We were independent and didn't 
really have to confide as a young girl might have. 



go to? 



Glaser: Did you have an uncle you would perhaps 

Sinton: I did have an uncle who was very, very close to me and that was 

Jesse Koshland, but he only came out here at intervals. In fact, he 
took me to the Big Game in 1896 when I was seven years old. That 
was the first Big Game I saw, and I saw all of the others except 
when I couldn't go. I was rather close to him. He was a bachelor 
at that time; he married later in life. When you asked me the 
question of whether we confided in our parents, I think we kept our 
own counsel. We were kind of independent. 

Glaser: Were you close to your brother? 

Sinton: Close, yes, in fact, as normal children, we quarreled quite a bit. 
He was six years older, and he didn't want me to fool around, and 
he told me so. No, I can't say that we confided particularly. I 
don't think we had to. We didn't have any problems, particularly, 
as I recall. Sure, I had a bad report card once and I signed it 
myself. That's one time I didn't go to the Big Game. But we didn't 
find the necessity for confiding as a young girl would. 

Glaser: Sometimes it isn't a matter of problems; sometimes you want to 
confide your dreams to somebody. 

Sinton: No, we were rather independent minded. I guess perhaps we were 
a little shy about it, I don't know. I wouldn't say we confided 
in them. My mother was a very independent woman. She naturally 
cared for her children a great deal and all of that, but even in 
later years she had my father, and if we weren't particularly 
attentive it didn't bother her in the slightest. She was not what 
you might call a Jewish mother. 



27 



Glaser: Were you envious of the closeness between your parents? 
Sinton: Not in the slightest, no, to the contrary. 
Glaser: You give me the sense of great reticence. 

Sinton: No, it wasn't reticence at all. My mother would ask me what was 

happening girls and so forth and I'd tell her. Surely, I didn't 
care, I'd tell her if she asked me. She was inquisitive in a way. 
In fact, I remember I'd get letters from girls and I'd leave them 
in the bureau drawer and I knew she read them. I didn't care. Yes, 
she was interested. Surely. As I say, they were all curious. But 
she had her own life with my father, and she wasn't a doting parent 
or anything like that. She didn't have to be. I've always found 
that women who make a great, great-to-do with their children lack 
something else. 



Friendships, Trip to Europe 



Glaser : 
Sinton: 
Glaser: 
Sinton: 

Glaser: 
Sinton: 

Glaser: 
Sinton: 
Glaser: 
Sinton: 



Who were your childhood friends? 

Now you're going way backl 

You were very close to Walter Haas. 

Yes, we went to college together. He was ahead of me in high school 
because I had been out because of my brother's illness, so really 
we weren't in the same class in high school. 

You didn't mention your brother's illness. What was that? 

At one time he had scarlet fever, and I was out of school for six 
months at one time when I was quite young. 

Was he so ill? 

They quarantined us. 

For six months? 

I was out six months, practically. He was sick for three months 
and I was out, so I had to repeat it. That's why I was six months 
behind . 

But Walter and I did room together in college for four years 
because I had made up the six months and he went to Europe for 
awhile, so we entered at the same time. He was a very bright boy, 
very. 



28 



Glaser: Who else were your friends? 

Slnton: Oh, I had so many friends. We had a group. In fact, when we were 

probably six or seven or eight years old we had a little fraternity. 

Maybe we were nine years old; I don't remember. Omega Phi Alpha, 
I remember it was. 

Glaser: You even picked out a Greek name? 

Sinton: Oh, yes. 

Glaser: That's very precocious. 

Sinton: Maybe we were twelve years old or thirteen years old, I really 

don't remember. But we did have a fraternity. There was Albert 
Schwabacher, there was Walter Haas, there was Jesse Lilienthal, Jr. , 
Philip Lilienthal, and there was Morgan Gunst. That was the very 
close group that we had and we grew up together. 

But there were many others with whom 1 played baseball, a lot 
of people's names who wouldn't mean a thing to anybody. But base 
ball and football are seasonal games. We played football in the 
fall, baseball in the spring. We didn't have anything else. But 
those whom I just mentioned were the close friends. There were 
six of us. Yes, we were very close friends. 

How old were you when you started dating? 

Real dating? 

Yes. 

We all had girls when we were about thirteen or fourteen. 

What would you do on a date when you were in high school? 

No girl went out unchaperoned with a boy in my day. We went out as 
a group together. We'd meet at some girl's house on a Sunday 
afternoon. That sort of thing. But no girl was permitted to go 
out alone with a boy. It just didn't happen. 

Glaser: Did you take a girl to a theater or dinner? 

Sinton: Oh, we didn't take them out to dinner when we were fourteen or 
fifteen years old, of course not. 

Glaser: No, but wouldn't you when you were junior or senior in high school? 

Sinton: No, we wouldn't. We might have gone to their houses someone would 
give a party of some kind but we didn't take them out, no. Not 
before we went to college, and then we didn't either. 



Glaser: 
Sinton: 
Glaser: 
Sinton: 
Glaser: 
Sinton: 



29 






Glaser: Was there any going steady the way there is now? 

Sinton: Yes, we usually always had a girl. After I was fourteen or fifteen 
years old, yes, I guess so. They're all dead don't ask me their 
names. They're all gone. [chuckles] I met one of them on a bus 
once and I didn't even recognize her. 

She said, "Edgar, you don't remember me." 

I looked at her and she was a little old lady. I wasn't that 
old she looked terribly old and I looked and thought, "My goodness." 
1 recognized her then when she said that. I knew her when I was 
fifteen years old, and I hadn't seen her for perhaps twenty-five, 
thirty, or forty years. 

Glaser: She had changed too much? 

Sinton: Yes, she changed completely. It's funny. 

Glaser: Tell me about your trip to Europe. 

Sinton: I had been to Europe with my mother and father when I was thirteen. 
That's when they took me out of school and 1 missed another six 
months then. That's really when I missed a lot of school, which was 
a good thing. I learned German in a way. They left me with rela 
tives in Germany for about four or five weeks and I learned to 
speak German in that time. We traveled to Italy, France, England. 
When they went to Europe in those days they went for six months 
because it took so long to get there. 

Glaser: How did you get to the East Coast? 

Sinton: By train. 

Glaser: Then you boarded the German boat? 

Sinton: We went on a German boat and we got off at Bremen. We went from 

there to my father's home immediately. He wanted to see his mother. 
I was only thirteen years old then. I went to Europe again when we 
graduated Walter Haas and I went to Europe. 

Glaser: Just the two of you? 

Sinton: Just the two of us. 

Glaser: How long were you gone? 

Sinton: About two, two and a-half months maybe. 

Glaser: Were you in Germany again? 



30 



Slnton: Yes, I went to my father's birthplace to see my uncle, and then I 
went to my grandfather's home In Ichenhausen. I think I talked 
about that to you. We went to Vienna, we went to Berlin, we went 
to Switzerland too. We went all over Holland and England. 

Glaser: That must have been a marvelous trip. 

Sinton: Oh, it was a great trip, wonderful. The fact that I did speak 
German and some French made it that much more enjoyable. We met 
two other fellows from here, too, my other cousin, Silas Sinton, 
with whom I was very close. He's the one who has the ranches in 
San Luis Obispo County, Bernard Sinsheimer's son. He was very 
close to me, but he was about three years older than I was. He 
was out of the University by the time I went to Berkeley. But he 
was in Europe at the same time, and Walter Haas and I joined him 
and a friend of his, Alvin Heyman. We traveled around together in 
Germany and Austria. Then Albert Schwabacher joined Walter Haas 
and myself in Ostend, which was the great fun place in Europe at 
that time. It was a marvelous place. We had a wonderful time 
there. We never got to bed before four o'clock in the morning. 
We were there two weeks. We had a marvelous time. 

Glaser: It sounds like a great time for someone of that age. 

Sinton: Oh, at that age it was just marvelous. 

Glaser: Was it good to get away and be without your parents? 

Sinton: Oh, no, I'd been away. I'd been to college for four years and 

that really didn't make such an impression. But it was marvelous to 
be over there and do what we wanted to do complete irresponsibility. 
We just had fun. 

Glaser: You traveled by train from place to place? 

Sinton: That was the only way you could travel. The automobile was not 
developed to the point where you could travel more than forty or 
fifty miles perhaps. We did take an automobile from Munich to go 
up to Ichenhausen, which was probably fifty or sixty miles away. 

Glaser: When you returned home you went into law school. Which law school 
was it? 

Sinton: Hastings here in San Francisco. 
Glaser: Were you living at home at the time? 

Sinton: I was living at home at the time. We were still living at Pine 
Street for a year until my grandmother died, and then we moved 
out of the house. 



31 



Glaser: What had your brother studied? 

Sinton: My brother graduated in chemistry, but he never pursued it. He 

went into the wool business in Boston when he was twenty-one years 
old. He married a girl from Boston, and he lived in Boston until 
1930. He moved back here and went into a brokerage firm with his 
great friend Lawrence Strassberger when the family went out of the 
wool business because the wool business had changed due to 
governmental policy. 

[end tape 2, side 1; begin tape 2, side 2] 
Glaser: What was the name of the brokerage firm? 

Sinton: Strassberger and Company. It later became J. Barth and Company. 
Glaser: Was J. Barth and Company always a San Francisco company? 
Sinton: Oh, yes, a very old long established company. 



Law Practice. Marriage in 1915 and World War I 

Glaser: When did you start dating your wife? 

Sinton: Oh, my goodness. That really wasn't until six months before we 
became engaged 1914. 

Glaser: Had you set up your practice by that time? 

Sinton: I was practicing law in Jesse Lilienthal's law office. I was out of 
law school in 1912 and I started going with my wife in 1914. 

Glaser: What kind of law were you practicing? 

Sinton: I was practicing general civil law probate, corporation law. 

Glaser: How long did you work in that law office? 

Sinton: Until 1917, it might have been 1916. Then I moved out of that 

office down to the Mills Building. There were very good reasons 
for it but I don't need to go into that. 

Glaser: Tell me about your courtship. 

Sinton: When Walter Haas married Elise Stern, I was his best man, my wife 
was her maid of honor, and it developed, really, out of that. 

Glaser: But this is such a close community I'm sure you had known each 
other for a long, long time. 



32 



Sinton: No, she came back from Europe in 1913. I'd only really known her 

for two years. I knew she existed she was a little girl. She was 
five years younger than I was. 

Glaser: But then at the time of the wedding you started to become interested? 
Sinton: It was a little before that, but that's how we became closer. 
Glaser: And six months later you were married? 

Sinton: No. The Haas's were married in October 1914. We married in 
January 1915. 

Glaser: Was it a big wedding? 

Sinton: They always were big weddings, yes. [Laughter] 

Glaser: Were you married at Temple Emanu-El? 

Sinton: No, everybody got married at home. It was not until very recently 
that anyone got married in the temple. 

Glaser: Which rabbi performed the ceremony? 

Sinton: Martin Meyer. 

Glaser: How many attendants did you have? 

Sinton: Good Lord, I don't know, a lot of them. [Laughter] Probably we 
had eight or nine. We had a lot of friends, you see. That was a 
difficult situation whom to have and whom not to have. 

Glaser: I imagine so. Your wife had nine attendants and you had nine? 

Sinton: She didn't have as many as I. Let me see, she had Elise Haas and 
Agnes Brandenstein. No, she only had about five or six, I guess. 
We were married on Franklin Street in her father's house. The 
Hellmans lived right next door, and we had the use of their lawn 
where they put up a tent for the wedding lunch. Then we went to 
Del Monte by train. 

Glaser: Was it the Del Monte Lodge? 

Sinton: It's the old Del Monte Hotel, not the Del Monte Lodge at Pebble 
Beach. 

Glaser: Where was that? 

Sinton: That was right in Monterey. It was one of the large hotels, a string 
of hotels, that existed from San Francisco all the way down to 
San Diego. Hotel Del Monte was very well known; they always had 



33 



Sinton: 



Glaser: 
Sinton: 

Glaser: 
Sinton: 
Glaser: 
Sinton: 



Glaser: 
Sinton: 

Glaser: 
Sinton: 



Glaser: 
Sinton: 



a golf tournament there every year. That's where we went it was 
just the thing to do. Then we came back and we went to the Grand 
Canyon. We went to Palm Beach in Florida, which was wonderful in 
those days. It was lovely. 

Did you stay at the Breakers? 

Yes. How did you know that? There was a bigger hotel that we 
didn't stay at, the Royal Ponciana or something, but the Breakers 
was nicer. 

I stayed there a few weeks ago. 

Was it still there? 

Yes, and it is a beautiful, ornate hotel. 

Yes, it was a nice hotel. We stayed at the Breakers and then we 
came up the coast, went to New York. Then we went over to Boston 
to stay with my brother for two or three days, and then we came 
home. 



That's an extended honeymoon, 
that time. 



I suppose in those days people took 



They took that. Nowadays they take two weeks and that's it. But I 
guess we were gone four or five weeks, all by train. 

Where did you first set up housekeeping? 

We went to my mother-in-law's house until we looked down in 
San Mateo because we wanted to live in the country and because 
there was a golf course there. A golf club had been established 
in 1912. We all played golf and some of my friends had moved down. 
Philip Lilienthal had moved down, Silas Sinton and other people had 
moved down there. We looked around and couldn't find a place which 
we could afford to take. So a friend of mine told me that a fellow 
would build a house for me and lease it to me for the amount we 
wanted. I think it was about $75 a month. While he was building 
it he went bankrupt, so my father helped me and we finished the 
house. It was a very good house. I think I toM you how much it 
cost, didn't I? 

I think you told me $6500. 

$6250. That's where we lived for five years until the end of World 
War I. When I got out of the army we built a bigger house because 
we had two children then. So we've always lived down the Peninsula. 






Glaser: With a large group of young married friends living there, it must 
have been very pleasant. 

Sinton: That's right, it was very nice. 
Glaser: When World War I broke out 

Sinton: World War I broke out, as you remember, in the fall of 1914, but the 
United States did not get into the war until April of 1917. So 
those of us who were able to enlist did. I enlisted in the army in 
June 1917. We already had a child and we were going to have another, 
but nevertheless I was able to enlist. I was practicing law and it 
was a terrible break to go into the service at the time, but we felt 
that I should and I did. I was in the army for a year and a half 
but I never got overseas. 1 was about to go overseas, and I would 
have been in Pershing's headquarters because I knew enough German 
and French, so I got a commission at that time. Then just as I was 
about to go overseas, I got the flu. I got that terrible influenza 
that went right through the service and went through the country. 
Luckily I was able to get home because I was stationed down at Camp 
Fremont, which was in Menlo Park. So my commanding officer let me 
go home. Otherwise I wouldn't be here at all. They were dying by 
the hundreds down there. Then I went back into the service when I 
recovered, but I was out in six weeks in January of 1919. I was 
just lucky. 

Glaser: What kind of training did you receive? 

Sinton: We had the ordinary infantry training, that's all. I was placed in 
charge of the artillery range. I was really doing some legal work 
in the army at the time. 

Glaser: I should think you would be put in charge of a courts martial office. 

Sinton: No, I didn't get into that. I only got a commission later to go 
overseas. 

Glaser: That's a waste of your training. 

Sinton: Oh, it was a complete waste. But then everyone wasted his time in 
the army who didn't get overseas. It was nothing to write home 
about . 

Glaser: Tell me about the family changing its name. 

Sinton: We all did. They did that in Boston more than here. As a matter 
of fact, I was sorry I did it. It was the German thing that they 
changed. My brother did it in Boston, so I did it out here. I 
didn't feel quite right about it, frankly. But my cousin Silas did 
it and I did it here. 



35 



Glaser: This was because of the war? 

Sinton: Because of the war, yes. It was not account of being Jewish or 
anything like that. I was always engaged in Jewish activities. 
But I didn't feel right about doing it. 

Glasez : Was your father alive when this took place? 

Sinton: Yes, he didn't object. He didn't care. 

Glaser: It must take some getting used to suddenly changing names. 

Sinton: Yes, but now the family's been established so long it's just 
forgotten that. 

Glaser: Was there a pull betwen loyalties on your father's part? Not your 
mother, since she was born here. 

Sinton: You mean as far as the Germans were concerned? 
Glaser: Yes. 

Sinton: I told you he hated the Germans. He came over here when he was 
sixteen years old. He was on every bond campaign and everything 
else. Oh, no, he had no loyalty whatsoever about it. He felt 
sorry for his relatives in Germany, yes. But he never expressed 
anything but dislike for the Germans as such. 



Religious and Charitable Activities 



Glaser: One thing I should have asked you sooner and I'm going to ask you 
now were you bar mitzvah? 

Sinton: No, I was confirmed. But I think they took me to Europe when I 
should have been when I was thirteen years old. I never was. 

Glaser: Did you go to temple regularly as a family? 

Sinton: Holidays. I went with my father and my mother when I was single, 
and I'd always go New Year's and the Day of Atonement afterwards. 

Later I was very religious. [Laughter] I was a member of the 
board of directors of Temple Emanu-El. I remember telling Alvin 
Fine when he resigned he was the rabbi of the temple. A lovely 
fellow, just the nicest kind of fellow you ever wanted to meet. 
He finally became frustrated in a sense. He had some heart trouble. 



36 






Sinton: I remember a meeting of the board of directors at the temple. Every 
one of them begged him to reconsider and I didn't. I felt the rabbi 
was a conscientious man. He had considered this for a long time and 
I didn't feel it was right to ask him to reconsider when I knew he 
didn't want to stay. So every one of them (about ten others) begged 
him to reconsider. 

I said finally, "Well, I'm not going to ask you to reconsider 
because I assume that you considered it already. You feel rather 
frustrated because of the lack of attendance on the Sabbath, and I 
don't think you should because I thought that our religion taught 
us to be religious every day. The fact that we do or don't go to 
temple is just unfortunate. But you have no reason to be frustrated 
on account of that, and I for one will not ask you to reconsider." 
And I didn't. 

So you asked me about temple we didn't go to temple. I was on 
the board when Rabbi Alvin Fine resigned from the Temple in 1964, and 
when Rabbi Irving Hauseman was there. He became terribly ill with a 
polio-like disease that crippled him, and it was just a tragedy. In 
1966 I decided I wouldn't serve the next term, for which I was 
eligible. I thought I'd had enough and that a younger fellow should 
be appointed. 

Glaser: You came all the way in from the Peninsula to attend Temple Emanu-El? 
Weren't there temples on the Peninsula? 

Sinton: Yes, two temples had been established in San Mateo and there were 

other temples established down in Redwood City and Atherton. But I 
had always belonged to Temple Emanu-El and I stayed as a member. 

Glaser: Was there a rivalry between Temple Emanu-El and Temple Sherith 
Israel? 

Sinton: I presume you might say that there always was rivalry from the time 
that the other one was established. I never engaged in any contest, 
or rivalry as you say, but there was probably some. However, it 
wasn't particularly evident. 

Glaser: Were there any joint activities between the two temples? 

Sinton: Not while I was on the board. I knew Rabbi Morris Goldstein. A 

fellow who was there for a long time, he has a brother in New York. 
But I knew him very well and was a very good friend of his. He was 
a lovely man, a fine fellow. I had no feeling of rivalry. 

Glaser: Was that the rabbi who was too liberal for the congregation? 

Sinton: That was Weinsteln. I knew him very well too and I was a very good 
friend of his. But he moved to Chicago and then came back here 
after he retired. 



37 



Glaser: What about Rabbi Voorsanger? 
Sinton: Voorsanger was Temple Emanu-El . 
Glaser: He was much earlier, wasn't he? 

Sinton: Yes, I was in his confirmation class. One of his sons was a very 

good friend of mine. He later became a rabbi, Elkan Voorsanger. Yes, 
we went to school together, played football together. 

Glaser: The rabbi that married your parents was Rabbi Bettelheim, wasn't he? 

Sinton: 1 wasn't there. [Laughter] 

Glaser: Did they ever talk about their wedding? 

Sinton: Not the name of the fellow who married them, no. But he could have 
been. 

Glaser: And Rabbi Bettelheim was orthodox. 
Sinton: You can't prove it by me. I don't know. 
Glaser: It seems to me that I read that. 

Sinton: Well, it's probably true. But Voorsanger, of course, was a contem 
porary of my father. He was about the same age, perhaps a little 
older. But he didn't marry them. My father and mother were married 
in 1881. Now whoever was the rabbi then married them. 

Glaser: What were some of your other activities on behalf of the temple? 

Sinton: The only real activity I had in relation to the temple was as a 
member of the board of directors. 

Glaser: What were some of your other charity activities? 

Sinton: There was the Eureka Benevolent Society originally, and then the 

Federation when it was formed. I later became president of the 

Federation as well as Homewood Terrace, the orphanage. And I've 

been active for pretty near sixty years at the Garden hospital, 
which was a nonsectarian hospital. 

Glaser: Why did you choose that activity? 

Sinton: I didn't choose it, it was chosen for me. I was in Clarence 

McKinstry's law office when his sister, Laura McKinstry, was the 
president of Home for Incurables. He sent me out there one day, and 
I became the attorney for the hospital. Later I became a member of 
the board and I was associated with that hospital from 1916 until I 
resigned from the board in 1972. 



38 



Glaser: That's a long span. 


Sinton: Yes. 

(Glaser: Was the Eureka Benevolent Society 
Sinton: It was a relief organization. 
Glaser: You decide how to allocate funds? 

Sinton: That was it, yes. My father had been the president of that, and I 
was only really directly concerned with the Federation, which was 
formed, as I recall, in 1910. That's the time when I got out of 
college. 

Glaser: Did the Federation take over some of the duties 

Sinton: Yes, of the orphan asylum, the old people's home, and the Eureka, 
those were the three original ones. The Federation became the 
fund raising organization so that these organizations didn't indulge 
in separate campaigns. The idea was to have a unitary campaign. 

Glaser: Much like the Crusade? 

Sinton: Exactly. In fact, we were the forerunners of the Community Chest. 

The Jewish Federation really was the example for the Community Chest 
here, which later became the United Way and then the United Bay Area 
Crusade. I was on that executive board, too, of the Community Chest 
in 1928-29, when I was the president of the Federation. 

Glaser: Did you ever have anything to do with the East Bay Jewish community? 

Sinton: Not until I became the first chairman of the American Jewish 

Committee chapter here in 1945. Then we had a very good relationship 
with the chapter over in Oakland. I was the first chairman of the 
chapter here. Jesse Steinhart asked me to take that because he 
didn't want it himself. He happened to have been a vice-president 
in the national office. The American Jewish Committee only 
established chapters after 1945. The Committee itself had been 
established in 1906 in New York by Louis Marshall and other people 
of that group, and it was a New York affair. The Anti-Defamation 
League, the American Jewish Committee, and the American Jewish 
Congress are the three organizations which operate for the defense 
of Jews no matter where they are. 

Glaser: What were some of the activities that you engaged in when you were 
the head of the AJC here? 

Sinton: Now we're going back, way back to 1945 to 1950. 



39 



Glaser: Well, that's not so long ago. 

Sinton: That's what you think. Well, the first thing to do was to get a 
membership here. The American Jewish Committee at that time was 
what you may call an elite organization. Judge Joseph M. Proskauer 
was the national president. I suppose you know that name. He was 
a very famous lawyer, one of the great, great friends of Al Smith. 
He was a delegate to the formation of the United Nations, which 
took place here in San Francisco, as you recall, in 1945. At the 
same time he asked Jesse Steinhart to form a chapter. He told 
Jesse Steinhart, "Now, we don't want everybody in this chapter." 
It was, you may say, a restricted organization. Their chapter 
in New York was restricted. When they formed the chapter in Chicago, 
it wasn't a mass group. They didn't want everybody. 

Jesse Steinhart was a lawyer and about ten years older than I 
was. He was a fine person in the community, became the president 
of the Federation after I got out. He was one of those who formed 
the Welfare Fund, which took care, as I told you, of the organiza 
tions outside of the Federation's constituent organizations. 
So, he asked me to get the membership. I wrote letters and 
got about 250 members in about ten days; that was the first thing 
we did. 

What the American Jewish Committee chapter here did and does 
are practically the same thing because the JCRC was formed later. 
Do you know what the JCRC is? The Jewish Community Relations 
Council. That took care of any local anti-Semitic activity. So 
the American Jewish Committee was helpful to the national 
organization by reason of its membership and its contribution. 
And it established a relationship with other religious groups, for 
one thing. We made surveys of activities and of feeling among 
other groups toward the Jews and why it was. We went into schools 
with people to acquaint them with what the American Jewish Committee 
was and what the Jewish community meant and so on. It was an 
educational effort more than anything else. That's the sort of 
activity in which we engaged. 

Glaser: Is there an overlapping of activities between the AJC and the JCRC? 

Sinton: We were very careful not to. We had an excellent relationship, and 
always did, with Earl Raab and his organization, the JCRC. I 
consider Earl to be one of the finest men in his field in the 
country. He's an outstanding man, and we always had an excellent 
relationship with him. So that's really what we did. We had 
problems which we helped solve here. If there was a newspaper 
article, or if there was an issue or a problem, the American Jewish 
Committee people contacted the editor and saw the publisher and 
talked with him. 



40 



Glaser: You were all substantial men in the community so your word 

Sinton: Right. Now, let me follow that up by saying I realized afterwards 
that we needed membership representative of the whole community. 
And we really had to convince those people in New York that what 
they were doing was just restricting themselves because we didn't 
have everybody's support. So we then enlarged our membership and 
got as many people as we could from different elements in the 
community, particularly the younger people. 

[end tape 2, side 2; begin tape 3, side 1] 

Glaser: When you started the AJC in 1945, virtually the end of World War II, 
did you have any problems with the German-American Bund? 

Sinton: No. That took place in 1938, '39, '40, '41. That was a New York 
affair anyway. 

Glaser: You didn't have any of that here? 

Sinton: No, nothing. 

Glaser: This recent American Nazi party * 

Sinton: This is an outcropping 

Glaser: Like an aberration? 

Sinton: Yes, this is nothing. As I say, San Francisco is a cosmopolitan 
city. We didn't have any bund; we didn't have anything of that 
nature. That was strictly a New York problem. 

Glaser: But obviously there must have been something, some anti-Semitism 
here. Otherwise you wouldn't have felt the need to establish the 
organization. 

Sinton: Of course, there was. Individuals, from their mother's milk, were 
anti-Semitic. It existed in every non-Jew. That is true. But 
there was never any organized anti-Semitism. Jewish people did not 



*In March 1977, the National Socialist White Workers party opened 
the Rudolf Hess bookstore across the street from Congregation B'Nai 
Emunah, which was founded in large part by German Jewish refugees. 
A few days after the bookstore opened, it was ransacked by a crowd, 
in turn the synogogue was vandalized, and the mob returned to burn 
the bookstore. 



41 






Sinton: get into certain clubs here the Bohemian Club, the Pacific Union 

Club. That is true, too. But other than that this was a town which 
you might say was free of any organized anti-Semitism. 

Things would occur for instance, the Elks Lodge wouldn't take 
Jews and so forth. But we worked on that. It was changed. As a 
matter of fact, a fellow in my class, a great friend, became the 
national commander of the Elks and we worked on him. But those were 
individual things. There were always problems and issues, of course. 
I don't want you to think that we didn't have any anti-Semitism in 
San Francisco or in California. It was all-pervasive. Everyone 
had some, and we had to convince them that it was wrong. 

Glaser: Between say 1900 and the start of AJC, were there quotas in the 

universities and in the schools? Did you have to face a quota to 
get into law school? 

Sinton: None whatsoever. I think that you would find that there were quotas 
in the medical schools, yes. 

Glaser: Did you know any young man 

Sinton: I personally didn't know anyone who had been refused admission 
because he was a Jew, ever. But there were quotas all over, 
particularly medical schools were a bad example of quotas. But in 
law school, no; not here in California. We didn't face the same 
sort of thing that you had in the East. I don't know about the 
Middle West. You would know about the Middle West yourself. But 
we didn't face that here at all. The University of California when 
I went there, didn't have a quota of any kind. There was anti- 
Semitism insofar as the fact that no Jew got into a fraternity. But 
other than that, there was no problem. 

Glaser: What about Stanford University? 

Sinton: No quota, none. Three of my very closest friends went to Stanford 
at the same time that I went to Berkeley. 

Glaser: Were they lawyers? 

Sinton: No, they weren't. 

Glaser: Then you found a great acceptance; Just individuals were prejudiced. 

Sinton: Oh, yes. As far as education was concerned there was no problem. 
Now in medical schools, there was a problem. I was informed of 
that. But I know a lot of Jewish doctors were graduated. 

Glaser: Did the AJC ever take any action on behalf of those who weren't 
getting into medical school? 



42 



Sinton: Yes, we did a great deal on the quota aspect. 
Glaser: What did you do? 

Sinton: We used all the influence we could the state legislature, all that 
sort of thing. 

Glaser: Did you talk to individuals? 

Sinton: Individuals; committees were formed. They did it in the executive 
suite. Do you know what that is? 

Glaser: No. 

Sinton: Oh, well, I'll have to educate you. 

Glaser: Yes. 

Sinton: The executive suite was the fact that Jews in corporations were not 
promoted. We worked on that. We had a committee on that from the 
beginning. We talked to the presidents of corporations. As soon 
as they saw the problem, a great many of them cooperated to mend 
that problem. 

Glaser: You didn't have too many large corporations here did you, as 
compared to back East? 

Sinton: Oh, we had a great many, indeed. My goodness, of course we did. 

After all, we had these branches of United States Steel and Bethlehem 
Steel, Standard Oil of California. We had Del Monte Corporation. 
Tremendously large corporations here. Bechtel and Company is located 
here. Kaiser is located across the Bay. Public utilities Pacific 
Gas and Electric, Pacific Telephone. 

Glaser: And after your talking 
Sinton: There was a great change. 

Glaser: Then you must have quite a sense of satisfaction, of having 
accomplished 

Sinton: The American Jewish Committee has done a great job here in that, yes. 
Glaser: Did this take a lot of your time? 

Sinton: We did it by committee, but it took time. Between the Garden 

Hospital and the Federation and the American Jewish Committee, sure, 
it took a lot of time. But we now have very fine young people, and 
I'm not particularly active in it anymore at all. I shouldn't be. 



43 



Glaser: You shouldn't be? 

Sinton: No, I shouldn't be particularly active. I go to the meetings once 
in awhile because I'm the chairman of the advisory board that's 
where they kick you upstairs which is very proper. [Laughter] 

Glaser: Why shouldn't they have the benefit of your experience? 



Sinton: 



Glaser: 



They do. Ernie Weiner talks to me every two or three days. Yes, 
I'm active in that sense, but officially I'm not. You ask Ernie 
Weiner,* he'll tell you. 



Okay, I'll ask him. 
you do anything 



When you were president of the Federation, did 



Sinton: In 1927, '28, '29, along in there, for two years. That's all we 
could serve as president; that was the rule. I failed at some of 
the things I wanted to do. I wanted to cut out the kosher food 
at the Mount Zion Hospital (and I got a big licking on that one) 
because it was costing us too much money. In the ordinary 
administration we had problems with the Community Chest, sure we 
did. We had to convince them that our application was a valid 
one and so forth. We had a lot of those problems. We had 
community problems too. That's so long ago that's pretty nearly 
fifty years ago. 

Glaser: Did you have any problems in raising money from the Jewish 
community? 

Sinton: Never. It was our job that was our main job in the Federation. 
Glaser: Were people responsive? 

Sinton: Jewish people always have been, vis-a-vis the general community. 

I could give you a list of people who I thought were not responsive, 
if you want them. I don't think you want them. We still have those 
fellows. I formed an organization of that kind an organization 
of nonwilling givers. 

Glaser: Did they know they were in the organization? [Laughter] 
Sinton: I don't know. [Laughter] 



*Ernest H. Weiner, director, San Francisco Bay Area chapter, 
American Jewish Committee 



44 



Glaser: You were going to tell me the difference between the Federation 
and the Welfare Fund. 

Sinton: The Federation of Jewish Charities and the Jewish Welfare Fund 
merged in 1954. Now it's called the Jewish Welfare Federation. 
The Federation took care of the local constituent agencies such 
as the orphan asylum, the old people's home, the Eureka, and the 
hospital, and ethers as they joined later. The Welfare Fund had 
to do with the national organizations the American Jewish 
Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, the Jewish Agency, the 
United Jewish Appeal, all of those other groups throughout the 
country. That's why the Welfare Fund was a separate organization 
when it was organized about 1924 or 1925. 

Glaser: I see. So the American Jewish Committee, for instance, did not 
have to engage in any fund raising. The Welfare Fund would 

Sinton: It made an allocation. Yes, that's right. We had two Jewish 
organizations . 

Glaser: Then you didn't have to use your energies raising funds; you could 
just use it for educating and 

Sinton: Well, it was a policy organization, but the Welfare Fund raised 
money, you bet they did. The Federation raised money for its 
local charities; the Welfare Fund for the national organizations. 

Glaser: Where did Zionism fit in? 

Sinton: Zionism itself did not fit in the picture. That was the reason for 
the formation of the American Jewish Council. Did you ever hear 
about that? 



Glaser: Yes. 

Sinton: The Zionists were reaising money themselves before the formation of 
the Jewish state in 1948, and we did give them some money from the 
Welfare Fund. 

Glaser: And the American Council for Judaism? 

Sinton: That was formed because the Zionists were sounding off as if they 
represented all of the Jewish people of the country. The American 
Council for Judaism was formed to combat this within the Jewish 
community that the Zionist organization did not necessarily speak 
for the American Jewish community. As soon as the Jewish state 
was formed, the American Council continued to exist, usually for 
the purpose of preventing a great many of its members from 



45 



Sinton: contributing to the state of Israel. That was when we all resigned 
from the American Council. That's part of the history of it. But 
the Zionists did get their money from the Welfare Fund. 

Glaser: Is the American Council for Judaism still in existence? 

Sinton: It's still in existence, and they really are out of luck because 
they have no problem. 

Glaser: They have no problem? 

Sinton: They have no issue. There's no reason for their existing. There 

isn't one solitary reason for the existence of the American Council 
for Judaism. 

Glaser: You mean because most people want to support Israel? 

Sinton: All of those except those who don't want to give them any money. 

That is the reason for the maintenance of the American Council for 
Judaism. That's my version of the American Council for Judaism. 
It expresses a non-Zionistic view, that's what it does. 

Glaser: I don't think your interpretation is unique. I think most people 

Sinton: Believe that. Well, I'm not going to get in any quarrel with them 
individually in my time, but that's the fact. Oh, I told them that. 
I have told them point blank. I said, "You're existing because you 
don't want to give any money to it, and you don't give money to the 
Federation because the Federation collects money for the UJA, which 
is for Israel. You can't tell me you exist for any other reason. 
You mean to tell me you have a principle of opposing the existence 
of the Jewish state? You were opposed to its formation. Now, you 
might have had some good reasons for that." 

Originally, I was all for a British mandate provided they 
permitted Jews to emigrate to Israel. But when the British stepped 
out and created a vacuum, then I resigned from the Council. I was 
one of those who formed the chapter here. 

Glaser: Aside from the financial aspect of the existence of the Council, 
are its supporters those who wish complete assimilation? 

Sinton: In other words, they don't want to be thought of as Jewish? No, I 
don't believe that. No, purely financial, in my book. 

* 

Glaser: By and large Jews have been very generous in San Francisco, have 
they not? 

i 



46 



Sinton: We're only surpassed by Cleveland as the leader of Jewish 
philanthropy. I think Brian Lurie* told me that. 

Glaser: There seems to be a highly developed community consciousness on 
the part of the Jews here. 

Sinton: There is, yes, that's true. We've always tried to maintain a unity 
so that there was no divisiveness in the community. We paid a 
great deal of attention to that, particularly in the Federation. 



Political Affiliation 

Glaser: Were you involved in politics in any way? 

Sinton: In state politics you mean? 

Glaser: State or national. 

Sinton: Well, I've always been a Republican. 

Glaser: Have you been active within the Republican party? 

Sinton: Only in the sense that I was a member of the Republican county 
committee in San Mateo for awhile. 

Glaser: Did you go to any national conventions? 
Sinton: Only the ones that were here. 
Glaser: Were you a voting delegate? 

Sinton: No, I never was active to that extent in the political party. The 
only affiliation I had was as a member of the Republican county 
committee in San Mateo County. 

Glaser: Were you active as a fund raiser for the Republican party? 
Sinton: No, I never raised any money for politics. I just never did it. 
Glaser: Did you ever have any contact with Earl Warren? 



*Rabbi Brian Lurie, executive director of the Jewish Welfare 
Federation of San Francisco, Marin County, and the Peninsula 



47 



Sinton: Everybody knew him here. Yes, I knew him a fine man in many 
ways. I didn't always agree with him, either. 

Glaser: What things did you disagree on? 

Sinton: I felt that some of the things that he was in favor of I didn't 
agree with. 

Glaser: You don't want to tell me 

Sinton: No, I don't think it's necessary to go into. They were more or 
less socialistic. 

You mean like his health insurance plan? 
Yes, I wasn't always in favor of it. 
Did you know him when he was attorney general? 
The attorney general's office is in Sacramento. 
Didn't he have an office here also? 

They have an attorney general's office here too, yes, but I didn't 
see anything of him particularly. I did when I was in the Office 
of Price Administration. We had contact with him during the war at 
the time he was governor. He was a fine man, a good administrator, 
and that was what he was used for in the Supreme Court, although he 
did write the Brown against the Board of Education decision as I 
recall. 

Glaser: Goodwin Knight was from Southern California, so you probably 
wouldn't have been that close. 

Sinton: He was a Stanford alumnus, but he became a superior court judge in 
Los Angeles. I didn't know him at all. 




48 



III A GROWING FAMILY, THE TWO TWO WORLD WARS 

[Interview 3: June 2, 1977] 
[begin tape 4, side 1] 



The Three Sinton Daughters 



Glaser: Last week we were talking about your marriage and your time in the 
army in World War I. I'd like to pick up with the early years of 
your family, when you settled into a home in San Mateo. 

Sinton: Yes, that was right before the war. That was 1915. 
Glaser: How long after your marriage was the first child born? 

Sinton: Just as soon as possible. We married in January, she was born in 
December 1915. 

Glaser: What is her name? 

Sinton: Jean. 

Glaser: She's married to a doctor? 

Sinton: Dr. Ephraim Engleman. He's the head of the rheumatoid arthritis 
department at the University of California. They have three 
children, two boys and a girl. The two boys are doctors. One 
is E. Philip Engleman, who is a doctor in San Diego. The second 
one is Edgar G., who is a doctor now at Stanford. He's the one 
that went to Harvard and Columbia medical school and he is at 
Stanford at the moment. 

Glaser: Does he have a specialty? 

Sinton: At the present time he's working on a grant that has to do with 

DNA. It has to do with enzymes and all of these things that I am 

not particularly knowledgeable about. But he's working on something 
that's very, very important at the moment immunology. 



49 



Glaser: Then he's a researcher rather than in private practice? 

Sinton: Well, he is at the moment, but he's going into private practice. 

Glaser: Is he an endocrinologist? 

Sinton: No, he's not an endocrinologist. This is biochemistry, really, 

having to do with medical science relating to the DNA project in the 
National Institute of Health. He's a very bright boy. 

Glaser: Your granddaughter? 

Sinton: She is married to a doctor. Her name is Jill Roost. Her husband, 
Kenny, is just about to go into private practice. He has been at 
the University of California. 

Glaser: What is the date of your second daughter's birth? 
Sinton: May 1, 1918. I was in the army when Ruth was born. 
Glaser: What is her husband's name? 

Sinton: Paul Steiner. They have two sons. Peter, the oldest, is the dean 
of students at Olympic College in Washington. 

Glaser: That's a fine position. 

Sinton: Yes, he's a very, very fine fellow, notwithstanding the fact that 
he's a grandson. The other one is David, who is a practicing 
lawyer in Beverly Hills. 

Glaser: Your third daughter? 

Sinton: Marian Aline. She is not married. She lives in Redwood City. 

Glaser: Is she a career woman? 

Sinton: In a sense, in that she's an amateur actress in all these plays 
that are being given by the theaters all around the county Palo 
Alto, Hill Barn. She's also on the board of the San Mateo County 
Museum, which is the historical society. For a long time she was a 
volunteer at Children's Hospital and she became president of the 
Little Jim Club there. But since the gasoline shortage she doesn't 
do that any more. 

Glaser: What is the Little Jim Club? 

Sinton: It's the auxiliary for the Children's Hospital of San Francisco. 



50 



Glaser: What year was she born? 

Sinton: In 1927. 

Glaser: How many great grandchildren do you have? 

Sinton: Four and, as my brother once said, one on second base. [Laughter] 

Glaser: Who's expecting? 

Sinton: That's Edgar, Eddie. 

Glaser: That's a fine family you have. [Pause to look at photographs.] 
Now, about the early years of your family life in San Mateo. 

Sinton: Ruth was born during the war when we had a little house on Poplar 
Avenue. After the war, 1919-20, we built a house and moved there 
and we've been there ever since. 

Glaser: How large a house is it? 

Sinton: Too large. I hate to tell you how large it is. 

Glaser: Well, tell me. I'd really like to know. 

Sinton: What do you mean 'how large'? 

Glaser: You mentioned last week that there were three acres of land. 

Sinton: Two and-half. 

Glaser: Do you know the square footage of the house? 

Sinton: I do. It's about eight thousand square feet. 

Glaser: How many bedrooms do you have? 

Sinton: I don't know. We have sleeping porches. It's a terrible big barn, 
that's what it is. 

Glaser: It sounds like a lovely home, and if you have all these grand 
children and great grandchildren 

Sinton: They all come back to it and they like it. But it's a burden, 

between you and me, nowadays. But that is not of any interest to 
anybody. It is a large house, unfortunately, but you come down 
for lunch and see it yourself. 

Glaser: I would love to. It must be a pleasure to have the room for this 
nice family. 




Mr. $ Mrs. Edgar Sinton, circa 1976 





Mr. and Mrs. Edgar Sinton in 
Hillsborough home with their 
daughters' families. 



thei: 



Peter E. Steiner, Ph.D. and 
Edgar Sinton, U.C. Berkeley 
1973 



51 



Sinton: That is true. It is very good because it's a gathering place and 
they do come back from time to time and they love it very much. 
In fact, they like it better than I do. [Laughter] But they don't 
have to maintain it. 

Glaser: For that reason you stay rather than moving to a smaller place? 

Sinton: My wife has kept everything she's ever had. I don't think we ever 
could move. That's the trouble. _I_ don't keep anything. 

Glaser: What was it like when you were a young father? You were so busy 

with your practice and charity, did you have time for the children? 

Sinton: Oh, yes. We had a great deal of time for the children. In fact, 
every evening as soon as they were able to read at all we read 
with them. Each one of us would read a paragraph. For instance, 
in King Arthur's Tales each one of us would read a paragraph, and 
that's really how they learned to read. Oh, no, a great deal of 
time was devoted to the children. 

Glaser: What kind of activities did you have with the children? Did you 
go on day trips? 

Sinton: Oh, we went on picnics all the time. That was the thing to do. 
Although we really live in the country to a degree, we'd go a 
little further. We'd have picnics and that sort of thing. 



Summers at Lake Tahoe 



Glaser: Did you go to the mountains very much? 
Sinton: Yes, every summer we went to Lake Tahoe. 
Glaser: Where did you stay? 

Sinton: My mother-in-law had a place at Lake Tahoe on the Truckee River. 
It's very interesting: in the old days you didn't drivp from here 
to Tahoe; you went to Sacramento on the riverboac, which was a very, 
very nice experience. They were good boats, they were clean, and 
it was fun. 

Glaser: Where did you board it? 

Sinton: San Francisco. It's a regular river trip that was taken every 
day by these riverboats the "Delta Queen" was one that went to 
Stockton, as a matter of fact, but this went to Sacramento. We'd 
get off the boat at 6:00 or 6:30 in the morning and then it took 
us another five or six hours to drive to Lake Tahoe. 



52 



Glaser : 
Sinton; 



Glaser : 
Sinton: 

Glaser : 
Sinton: 
Glaser : 
Sinton; 

Glaser: 
Sinton; 



Sinton; 



Glaser : 



Sinton; 



Did you rent a car? 

No, we took our own car and it went on the boat. The boat took 
the automobile and us and that's how we went to Lake Tahoe, because 
the roads weren't particularly good. It was an all-day trip if you 
drove. 

How long did it take you by boat? 

It was an overnight trip, and everyone took the riverboat. That 
was the way we went to Lake Tahoe. 

What were the roads like? 

They weren't very good. It was a rough trip. 

Dusty and narrow? 



I'm going now back 



Yes. It was a rough trip before you got there, 
to 1914, '15, and '16. 

Did you ever go up by train? 

Oh, yes. We went up frequently. The train went to Truckee and 
then Southern Pacific ran the train from Truckee to Tahoe Tavern. 
It's the only railroad we had at that time. Western Pacific came 
later Santa Fe, too. But that was the main line of the Southern 
Pacific going east. They switched the car off and took it up to 
the lake. We stayed at the Walter family place, which was two and 
a-half miles down the river from the Tavern. We were within two or 
three miles of Squaw Valley, on the Truckee River. How long did 
you stay at a time? 

I wouldn't stay. I'd come back, perhaps, and then go up again by 
train. But when we took the family up, we went by automobile, as 
I told you. 

Was this the kind of thing women do back East, where they go up to 
the mountains for the whole summer and the husbands come for the 
weekend? 

That is quite the same. Yes, my father and mother did the same 
thing when I was a boy. We'd go up to the Blue Lakes in Lake 
County or to Howell Mountain my father would take us up there, 
stay for a week or so, and then come back and go up again. That 
was the usual thing, yes. These places that we went to when I 
was a little boy were hotels with little cottages. You didn't rent 
a cabin, you just it was like a hotel, but it was a very simple 
country resort where there was swimming and boating and that's 



53 

Sinton: what we did when I was a little boy. Going to Tahoe was different. 

My mother-in-law and my sister-in-law My brother-in-law, Jack Walter 
had a place there on the Truckee River. 

- 

Glaser: Was there skiing before Squaw was developed? 

Sinton: No, there was no skiing in my day. It was a little too difficult to 
get there in the winter. The road was closed for the winter. The 
automobile was in its early days; in its infancy really. The roads 
weren't good. I've driven it many times, but it took a whole day to 
come back. We'd get up and leave there at 8:00 a.m. and we wouldn't 
get to San Francisco until half past five. Now you do it in four 
hours that's something like half the time and comfortably. This 
was a long trip. Once I got up at 8:00 in the morning to drive up 
and broke down across the Bay, about thirty miles from San Francisco, 
and never did get here. It wasn't easy motoring in those days. 

Glaser: What was Sacramento like? 

Sinton: Oh, it was a small town. It was the capital of the state, but it 

was a small town. Some people used to stay overnight in Sacramento, 
if they drove up, to break the trip. Sacramento is ninety miles 
from here and Lake Tahoe is about one hundred fifty miles further, 
and it would break the trip. 

Glaser: Did your children enjoy summering at the lake? 

Sinton: Oh, yes, sure, they had a good time. There were a lot of other 
children there and they swam in the river. It was very nice. 



Daughters' Education 



Glaser: What was their schooling? 

Sinton: They went to a very good public school, the Hillsborough School, 
which was just about half a mile from the house. The third one, 
Marian, did not go to public school. She went to the Country School 
until she went to San Mateo High School. 

Glaser: Where was the Country School? 

Sinton: It was in Hillsborough up on the Alameda de las Pulgas. It wasn't 
far. But the older children went to the Hillsborough School. Then 
Jean went to Castilleja. Ruth went to Castilleja, too, after the 
first six months at San Mateo High School. They both graduated 
from Castilleja, which is in Palo Alto. The two older children went 
to Mills. The younger one went to the University of California after 
going to San Mateo High School. 



Glaser: Did they work after finishing college? 

Sinton: No, they didn't. Ruth was married (unfortunately, I thought at 

the time) before she graduated. She had one year to go and she was 
married before she was about to become a senior. Jean worked at 
Mount Zion Hospital. That's where she met her husband, Dr. Engleman. 

Glaser: What kind of work did she do there? 

Sinton: She did volunteer work. 

Glaser: 1 thought perhaps she might have done social work. 

Sinton: No, she didn't. 

Glaser: Well, you were very active on behalf of Mount Zion weren't you? 

Sinton: Not Mount Zion, no. 

Glaser: 1 thought you had done a lot of fund raising. 

Sinton: Yes, but otherwise I had nothing to do with the operation of the 

hospital. 1 was not on the board of directors. We all engaged in 
raising funds when they had fund-raising campaigns. 

Mrs. Sinton 's Interest in the Arts 



Glaser: Did your wife come into the city very often? 

Sinton: Only to see her mother, who lived in the city. We were there quite 
frequently. Occasionally we stayed overnight for the theater or 
something of that kind. 

Glaser: Did you come in very often to go to the theater? 

Sinton: We'd come in for the theater. It wasn't far from San Mateo. 

Instead of taking 25 minutes, it took 45 minutes in the automobile. 

Glaser: Did you attend the theater frequently? 

Sinton: I would say not too frequently, but we did from time to time. 

Glaser: You didn't share her enthusiasm? 

Sinton: Not as much, no, but I used to go. 

Glaser: Do you share her interest in art? 



55 









Sin ton: As I said, I learned a great deal from her about it. How much 
interest I shared I wouldn't care to say. 

Glaser: I understand she's quite an artist in her own right. 

Sinton: She was. She doesn't do much any more. Her niece, Nell Sinton, 

is a very good artist. She's a professional artist and she teaches. 
My wife hasn't done that. She's just an amateur painter. The whole 
Walter family is very talented. It came down from an old uncle. 

Glaser: Mrs. Sinton spent a lot of time in Europe as 

Sinton: She did as a young person, yes. They took her to Europe three or 
four times, and she studied ballet in Paris. Of course, she is 
fluent in French because she lived in Paris for quite awhile. 

Glaser: Did she study painting as well as ballet? 

Sinton: No, she never studied painting. It's just a natural talent. 

Glaser: Did she study painting when she came back to this country? 

Sinton: Later in life she did, with other women who had a class with a 

Professor Schaefer-Simmern. He lives in Berkeley. He got a lot of 
these people together, many of whom had never painted, and really 
aroused their interest to a point where they became pretty good. 
But my wife was talented in her own way and he didn't do her any 
good. But she was in a class. 

Glaser: Did she go to Berkeley for it? 

Sinton: No, Mrs. Walter Haas had a summer place in Atherton where he taught, 
as well as at the different houses on the Peninsula. 

Glaser: You might be interested to know that in Mr. Haas's oral history 
memoir he contrasted the appearance of his first son at birth to 
the beauty of your first daughter. 

Sinton: That's correct. Jean was born about six weeks before his son Walter, 
Junior was born, and she happened to have been born perfectly formed. 
There were no deformities, there was no stretching of the head or 
anything, and that was the first newborn baby I had ever seen. So 
when this other child was born, I went to see it it was at the 
hospital at the time and it was all out of shape, as some children 
are. I didn't know, so I went home and told my wife, "Now don't 
say anything to Elise or Walter, there's something wrong with this 
kid," because it was the second one I'd ever seen. So that's true. 
That's exactly what happened. Jean was a perfectly-formed child 
and looked somewhat like she does today. 



56 



Glaser: Some children change drastically. 

Sinton: Oh, yes, you can't tell. One fellow made a very good remark. 
Someone said, "Isn't that a pretty baby." 

He said, "Show her to me when she's eighteen." 

Glaser: When the children started to go off to school, your wife had more 
free time. Did she use this time painting? 

Sinton: She did a great deal of painting, yes. I can recall that we met 

these people who had a gallery in New York. Thannhauser he was a 
German who originally came from Berlin, got a great deal of his 
stuff out, went to Paris, and then came to this country at the time 
of the war and established a gallery in New York. The Thannhauser 
Gallery was a very well known gallery. He had a great number of 
Picassos (he was a friend of his) as well as Modiglianis and all of 
the impressionists. Later he gave a great number of his paintings 
to the Guggenheim Museum in New York. He just died within the last 
three or four months. 

My wife became a very good friend of theirs. She bought a 
painting from them and they came out here every summer. This lady 
had a birthday and I remember my wife staying up all night making a 
copy of a Modigliani. She did that she was that good that she 
could make a copy of a Modigliani. All these people gave Mrs. 
Thannhauser something or other and Marian gave her this copy of a 
Modigliani. She stayed up all night painting it and put her back 
out. She was terribly ill on account of it. She would paint late 
at night all the time. She was very much interested in it. 

Glaser: That probably would be a time of peace and quiet and she could be 
undisturbed. 

Sinton: Yes, that's right. She was a night person. 

Glaser: Are you a day person? 

Sinton: Yes. [Laughter] 

Glaser: That's not uncommon in marriages. 



Thoughts on Courtship and Marriage 



Sinton: Oh, yes, it always happens. Someone said something funny in Herb 

Caen's column this morning. He said, "There are no happy marriages. 
There are just enduring ones." 



57 



Sinton: Of course, it isn't true. But people are different. After all 
marriage is an adjustment, a constant adjustment. You give, you 
win some and you lose some. 

Glaser: Even married as long as you are, the adjustments still go on. 
Sinton: Always. Every day, sure. If you don't know that, don't get married. 

Glaser: Well, it isn't very easy with two people with different attitudes 
and backgrounds. 

Sinton: I don't know how well you knew your husband before you married him. 
How well did you know him? 

Glaser: 1 didn't know that he was a day person and I was a night person. 

Sinton: Exactly. You didn't know a lot of things about him, did you? 

Glaser: That's right. 

Sinton: Of course, nowadays they live together first. I know that. 

Glaser: Does that help, do you think? 

Sinton: Well, I wouldn't be prepared to say. I think that there's so much 
against it that it's a matter we shouldn't discuss here. 

Glaser: I'm not going into the moral issue. 
Sinton: No, I'm not either. 

Glaser: I'm wondering whether it is a realistic situation, so that in living 
together you really interact like a married couple. 

Sinton: You don't, and finishing it off, I would say that the old system 
was much better. 

Glaser: But you didn't have a very long courtship. 

Sinton: No, it's true. This is the biggest gamble in the world. Oh, 

there's nothing to doubt about that. I knew my vife, but I didn't 
know her well really, for two years. Yes, I knew her that long. 
But you don't know anybody that way. 

Glaser: But courtships were fairly long in your day, weren't they? 

Sinton: What do you call courtship? We became engaged and were married two 
and a-half months afterward. But that's not courtship. You're 
engaged and then you get married later. 



58 



Glaser ; 
Sinton; 
Glaser : 
Sinton: 

Glaser : 
Sinton; 



Glaser : 
Sinton: 



Glaser : 
Sinton: 

Glaser : 
Sinton: 
Glaser: 
Sinton: 



Wasn't it more common to have a lengthy engagement period? 
Yes, it was. Two and a-half months is a long time. 
Two and a half months is a long time? 

A long engagement, yes, I would say. 

[end tape 4, side 1; begin tape 4, side 2] 

1 thought courtships were long but engagements were long, too. 

In our time and in our day and in our circumstance, people 
married usually within the same social group. It was customary to 
marry within your own social group , so you knew the people very 
well. We knew their families and all that. 

Now your children go to college, they go to school my 
grandchildren all married outside. All except Ruth, she married 
someone in her own group, in a sense. But nowadays they don't. 
Jean didn't at all, and none of my grandchildren married within the 
same family or social group, you might say. That's one of our 
problems. That is our problem in Jewry. 

Are you talking about marrying outside the faith? 

I am talking about inter faith marriages. It's a terrible problem, 
[pause for off-the record comments] The American Jewish Committee 
had a survey made here of out-of-the-faith marriages. Marsha Gould, 
the chairman of this thing, came to the meeting and made a report. 
They interviewed maybe twenty couples where the wife had married 
non-Jewishly or where the husband was Jewish and his wife wasn't. 
There was no answer as to what anyone could do about it. But it 
was a very good survey and this attractive and charming girl had 
devoted six months to it. She made an excellent report. 

But you do find that many times the non-Jewish spouse does convert. 

That was all gone into; Marsha Gould had all that. They become more 
Jewish than the Jews. Yes, that is right. 

How many non-Jewish in-laws are there in your family? 
My two daughters married Jewish fellows. I have none. 
But your grandchildren? 

Peter married a girl who went to high school and college with him. 
He knew her very well, much better than I knew my wife before I 
married her, much better. But not Jewish. Jill married a fellow 



59 



Sinton: that she met in high school. They went through college together, 
too. Eddie married a Jewish girl and David married a Jewish girl. 
He met her at Stanford, but they got divorced. They're the only 
ones who were divorced. It didn't turn out well at all. 



Law Practice, Continued 



Glaser: Tell me about your early years of law practice. You started out 
sharing an office with Albert Michelson? 

Sinton: That's right. After I got out of the army. 
Glaser: Where was your office located then? 

Sinton: The Russ Building on Montgomery and Bush, the big building right 
across the street. It was the best building in town at the time. 
That was in 1928. No, I'm wrong. First we were in the Mills 
Building. 

Glaser: That's Montgomery and Bush also? 

Sinton: Yes, the other corner. A famous old building that had a law library 
in it which was very good. We didn't have to have a big law library 
ourselves. He was an admiralty lawyer. As a matter of fact, he 
represented the maritime unions. 

Glaser: Did you specialize in tax law? 

Sinton: No, general civil law. 

Glaser: When did you start to specialize in tax law? 

Sinton: I didn't. Well, I had a lot of tax law afterwards, but the taxes 
weren't important when we started. That was much later in the 
game. The income tax didn't go into effect until 1913 and it was 
a two percent tax, if you recall, and no one paid much attention to 
it. Taxes didn't become a problem until really the excess profits 
tax went into effect during '18 and '19 so as to draw away profits 
because of the war and all of that. Then it became important really 
not until the 1920s. 

Glaser: So originally you were doing Just general 

Sinton: General, corporate and civil law. 

Glaser: When did you leave the office that you shared with Mr. Michelson? 



60 



Sinton; 



Glaser: 



Sinton: 



We moved to the Russ Building together, he and I and another man by 
the name of Herbert Chamber lin. The three of us had offices 
together and then two other fellows came in Toby Bricca, a famous 
old Italian family here, a very nice fellow, and Mr. Max Margolis, 
who was a bankruptcy lawyer. They moved in and we had shared 
offices for quite a number of years. Then we needed more room and 
we moved over here, Mr. Margolis and I did, with Maurice Harband 
(he's quite prominent around now, too). He was with us for awhile, 
then he moved out and Mr. Margolis and I shared offices together. 
He died a couple of years ago. 

Has your practice remained a general legal practice or did you 
subsequently start to specialize? 

No, it was a general legal practice. But then I really had a 
first coronary in 1952, so I had to lighten up a little bit. But 
then I recovered from it. I don't think we need to go into that. 



Impact of World War I 



Glaser: I wanted to ask what you perceived as the differences in the country 
after World War I. 

Sinton: The differences I perceived in the country? Oh my, World War I. 

Of course, we had the first influx here of people who came out for 
the shipbuilding. In the Second World War, of course, we had a 
great deal of airplane building in Southern California. But after 
the First World War it didn't change so measurably. In neither war 
were we bombed and in neither war was there occupation as other 
countries had. In World War I our lives were interrupted for, 
let's say, eighteen months. We got into the war in April of 1917 
and we were out of the war in November of 1918, probably twenty 
months or something like that. It was a bad interruption of 
people's lives law practice and everything else. But when we came 
back there wasn't much change here after World War I. World War II 
made the difference. 

Glaser: But what about the flapper era? 
Sinton: Well, I was married during that era. 

Glaser: Yes, but you were a young married man and you were young enough to 
be affected by it weren't you? 

Sinton: I wasn't affected at all. The flapper era didn't mean anything. 
It was the initiation of jazz music and that sort of thing what 
they called in those days ragtime music and the Charleston. But 
we were sort of removed from that because we lived down in San Mateo. 
We didn't come to town that often. 



61 



Sinton: As I say, there wasn't much difference in our lives on account of 
World War I, not to any great degree as I recall. It was a very 
secure kind of a life. We grew up in a secure kind of environment. 

Glaser: And you were totally family oriented. 

Sinton: Yes. So I wouldn't say I knew very much about that except when the 
radio came in, you might say. 

Glaser: I suppose that goes also for Prohibition. 

Sinton: Now that was a little different. Prohibition was the start of 
organized crime. It was the first time in our experience that 
people developed a lack of respect for the law. In that, it made 
a great difference. Practically everybody I knew bought some 
liquor from some bootlegger. Right there, there was a breakdown 
in morale and respect for the law. It was an illustration of what 
government should not do interfere with the lives of people any more 
than it has to. It caused the breakdown in the respect for the law, 
and out of that Prohibition came a great deal of our trouble today. 
We got worse and worse and worse. We had no drug problem, we had no 
real alcoholic problem. 

Glaser: Of course, back in the 20s drugs were freely available, weren't 
they, so you didn't have to be a criminal to obtain it? 

Sinton: We never heard of it. When I was growing up I never heard of drug 
addiction, practically. I might have read something about it, if 
someone died of taking too much heroin or something, but it wasn't 
part of our growing up or our lives. As far as alcoholism was 
concerned, there has been always a great deal of that, I presume. 
It didn't affect us at all. So in that way there was a change 
after World War I on account of Prohibition, if I'm correct. 



Longshoremen *s Strike. 1934. and Depression 



Glaser: Can you recall (I'm sure you do) the general strike here 

Sinton: That was 193A, Harry Bridges' strike you mean the longshoremen 
strike. Yes, sure I do. 

Glaser: Can you tell me about that? 

Sinton: Well, I don't know any more than what anyone else knew, except that 
there were riots on the water front. A couple of people were 
killed. The seamen and the longshoremen had a just complaint. 



62 



Sinton: They were underpaid, working conditions were very bed, particularly 
on the ships, and, of course, the radical element took advantage 
of that. Harry Bridges was a communist. There was no question 
about it. He was a good labor leader and he was honest. But the 
trouble with the thing is, of course, when you have a thing like 
that, the radicals take over. Communists get control of the unions 
and so on, and that's exactly what happened. The general strike 
itself didn't affect our lives. Of course, there was a little 
inconvenience but it didn't last too long. 

Glaser: The general strike must have been more than just the waterfront. 

Sinton: The general strike didn't last but a day or two, as I recall. I 

could be wrong about that. It didn't affect the municipal railway; 
it didn't affect the railways, so we came and went as we always 
did. It was down on the waterfront and it was removed from us. 
It could have happened in another state. 

Glaser: San Francisco has always been a very strong union town. 

Sinton: A strong labor union town from long back. At the time of the graft 
prosecution in 1907 we had a union there. It didn't affect us too 
much, but we realized that the longshoremen and the seamen had a 
just complaint because the people who owned the ships and who ran the 
docks were so old fashioned and so rigid that they deserved what 
they got. It has affected our port is the greatest port in the 
world in a sense, the finest harbor in the world, and we've lost it 
all to Oakland. 

Glaser: Then you're saying that the unionization brought about container 
shipping. Is that why we lost it? 

Sinton: Oh, no. The container shipping came much later. 

Glaser: Why did you lose out to Oakland? 

Sinton: Because they were much smarter on their waterfront than we were. 

Glaser : In what way? 

Sinton: The state owned our waterfront, for one thing, end the state didn't 
do a good job. Then they turned it over to the city and the city 
commission did a worse job. The details I can't tell you, but I do 
know that the Harbor Commission did a very poor job. The facts 
will show you that . 

But I went through a period where in 1913 (that was before the 
war) the Workmen's Compensation Act went into effect. That was a 
jolt to every lawyer in San Francisco. Part of that litigation was 



63 



Sinton: 



Glaser: 



Sinton: 






Glaser : 
Sinton: 
Glaser: 
Sinton: 



Glaser: 
Sinton: 



taken out of the courts and put Into a commission. Wisconsin had 
been the first state to do it and I think we were the second. But 
it turned out all right. 



How did it affect lawyers? 
practice was taken away? 



Are you saying that part of their 



Part of their practice was taken away and put into a commission, 
just the same as the tort action should be today. All of these 
negligent cases malpractice and allshould be handled in a 
different fashion because the malpractice insurance, medical and 
legal, is ruining the economy to a degree. The lawyers are getting 
it now just the same as the doctors have had it. This is common 
knowledge. Of course, everyone knows that the lawyers' malpractice 
premiums have gone up four, five, and six times. The lawyers have 
brought it on themselves to a degree for these malpractice suits. 
The automobile came in and made a great negligence practice, but it 
crowds the courts. 

They've changed the family law to the point where you make out 
a form and you can get a divorce. Of course, you shouldn't do it 
because there are property rights and children's rights and other 
people should not try to get a divorce by themselves without having 
a lawyer. That's bad business. But things have changed to that 
extent. Because of the fact divorce is so easy to obtain, The 
Recorder today will have thirty percent of the action as a filer 
of divorce actions. 

Is this a San Francisco paper? 

Yes. 

I've never heard of it. 

Take a look at it. [Shows newspaper] It's the legal paper which 
has all the court calendars and yesterday's proceedings and whatever 
has happened in the legislature that affects the laws. It's all in 
The Recorder. Every county has a paper of that kind. 

What are your memories of the depression? 

There was the stock market crash in 1929 and then the election of 
1932, Roosevelt's election, where he promised to reduce the cost of 
government twenty-five percent. He devalued the dollar and we had 
a lot of trouble on account of it ever since. But during the 
depression years of the 30s (I would say from 1930 to 1937) you got 
so much for your dollar that anyone who had any dollars or had 
anything was not badly affected. Many people lost their jobs, but 
you must remember at that time that most wives did not work. So the 
effect was bad and it resulted in the Republican defeat in 1932. 



64 



Sinton: But so far as my life was concerned, although we were shocked at 
people selling apples on the street and all that sort of thing, 
and I served on committees to take care of people who didn't have 
jobs in San Francisco, we knew what it was but it did not affect 
our lives particularly. In fact, you could buy so much for a dollar 
that, as I say, for those who had a little money it didn't affect 
them in the slightest. 

Glaser: Did you have investments in the stock market? 

Sinton: Yes, but I never borrowed any money on it. The people who lost their 
money in the stock market were not those who owned the stocks out 
right; they were the people who pyramided. For instance, the Bank 
of Italy was the big stock here which had the most terrible crash 
because every time the stock went up people would buy some more 
and borrow some more from the brokers on a twenty or thirty percent 
margin and, of course, they were wiped out. 

Similarly in New York, people were buying stocks as if the 
market would go up forever, and in doing so they borrowed money. 
When their loans were called, their margins were wiped out and they 
lost everything they had. But those people who owned stocks and 
kept them weren't wiped out. On paper they had lost a great deal 
of money, hadn't they? But those stocks came back. 

Glaser: But temporarily they must have felt quite poor. 

Sinton: In a way they felt poor but they weren't really poor at all, the 

people who hadn't borrowed money. They were all paper profits that 
they'd lost, but they hadn't lost any money. 

Glaser: Did this affect your law practice? 

Sinton: No, it didn't. 

Glaser: There was a great need for charity and you were working hard 

Sinton: Oh, a great deal in need for charity. 

Glaser: But how did you raise the funds? 

Sinton: I can tell you a little story about that. In the depth of the 

depression, the Mount Zion Hospital that you mentioned before had to 
raise some $800,000. Now, $800,000 in those days was a lot of money, 
but they had to raise the money to pay off their loans and to 
modernize their hospital. 

I remember the chairman of the advance gifts made a wonderful 
statement in the campaign. He said, "Hard times don't mean hard 
hearts." Now, that was a lot of money to raise in San Francisco 
from the Jewish community in those days, but we raised it. But the 
people hadn't lost their money who hadn't gambled. 



65 



Glaser: That must mean a lot of people did not buy on margin. 

Sinton: That's right. They bought stocks and put them away and paid for 
them. I never owed a nickel in my life for the purchase of any 
stock. 

Glaser: Did you learn that from your father? 

Sinton: I presume I did, without knowing it. We never bought anything 

unless we could pay for it. Now I know the country's economy has 
been built on credit, but we never did it. 

Glaser: Was your wife's family firm affected by the depression the D.N.& E. 
Walter Company? 

Sinton: Not particularly, no. I think their business was affected, to a 

degree, but not to the extent that it caused them any great trouble. 
We were out here on the edge of things. It wasn't like Chicago or 
New York. We did have the Bank of Italy here. That was the main 
thing, every newspaper boy and every bootblack owned Bank of Italy 
stock. 

Glaser: That almost went under? 

Sinton: That did. It crashed, of course. They lost everything they had. 
But the Bank of America came back. A. P. Giannini was a very, very 
wise man. He came back. 

Glaser: Did you know him? 

Sinton: Yes, he served on a committee with me of the Community Chest. 

That's how I know him. He never said a word, just sat there. But 
he was a very smart man. 

Glaser: Was he a generous man? 

Sinton: Not particularly. I don't think so, no. But he was a very good 
banker. Later he had trouble with other people in his bank who 
tried to get control of the bank. But he kept control of it. You 
ought to read the book about him. He was the first banker who sat 
out in the open in his bank. He dragged a great deal of money 
from the Italians and from others who had kept it under their 
mattresses. He was a people's banker, that was his success. Now 
it's the largest bank in the world, situated here in San Francisco, 
that's quite amazing. He was quite a character. 

But the depression didn't grab us as it did a great many other 
people. We didn't have anyone in our family who lost a position 
on account of it, that sort of thing. We didn't have a great deal 
of money or anything of that nature, I don't want you to misunder 
stand that, but we didn't lose any real money. 



66 



The Bay Bridge and Golden Gate Bridge 



Glaser: I suppose the economy must have not been too badly shaken if the 
state was able to build two bridges during that time. 

Sin ton: Of course, it wasn't bad out here. I'm telling you it wasn't as 
bad as it was in New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia. They have 
other troubles now on account of Puerto Ricans and the Lord knows 
what. 

Glaser: What are you referring to? 
Sinton: I'm referring to New York City. 
Glaser: Yes, the bankruptcy problem. 

Sinton: The city's in terrible shape. The unions have done that, too. 

Particularly the teachers' union is more responsible for New York 
City's trouble than the other unions, which is, by the way, headed 
by one of our boys what's his name, Shanker? 

Glaser: Albert Shanker. About the two bridges. 

Sinton: Yes, they were finished in 1936, something like that. I remember 
walking out on the cables of the Bay Bridge. I guess that was in 
1935 or '36. We walked up five hundred feet above the Bay. They 
had these catwalks and they were stringing these cables. They were 
going on wheels, the little wires, millions of wires. I walked up 
half way to Treasure Island. They had one of these great big 
vertical steel towers. We walked up to that steel tower and then 
came down in one of these elevators, got a boat, and came back. 

A group of us, about five or six fellows I know, got permission 
to walk the route. It was quite a sight. 

Glaser: Were you scared? 

Sinton: No, I wasn't. One fellow started and he took two steps and he 
said, "I can't go any further." 

I said, "Well, go back," and he did. 

But a lot of people walked over those cables while they were 
being spun. 

Glaser: I didn't realize they gave permission for people to do this. 



67 



Sinton: Very few people. This fellow knew somebody and we walked over and 
it was quite a sight. We were five hundred feet above the Bay. It 
was just this little catwalk. 

Glaser: Which bridge was started first? 

Sinton: I think it was the Bay Bridge. 

Glaser: It must have been very exciting to watch the bridges being built. 

Sinton: It was in a sense but I talked to one of the bridge men and he 
said, "It's just a regular job." 

I said, "Are there any real problems?" 
He said, "None." 

Glaser: Weren't there quite a few deaths that occurred building the Golden 
Gate Bridge? 

Sinton: I think some, yes. In jobs of that kind they always have fatalities, 
Glaser: I suppose you attended the World's Fair. 

Sinton: Yes, Treasure Island. They filled in a lot of land and they built 
that. It was quite a fair. Yes, that was in 1938-39 as I recall. 
That's right. 



World War II 



Glaser: Unfortunately, that was right before the war. 

Sinton: That was right before the war. Well, we didn't get into the war as 
you recall the war broke out on September 1, 1939, but we didn't 
get into it again until Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941. So that was 
quite a long time in between. They were at war for two years and a 
half before 

[end tape 4, side 2; begin tape 5, side 1] 
Glaser: You were talking about World War II beginning on December 7, 1941. 

Sinton: Yes, we were playing golf. It was on a Sunday, if you recall. We 

came in from the golf course into the caddy house and a fellow said, 
"Pearl Harbor's been bombed." I'll never forget it. Then all this 
blackout business. We thought they were going to attack, when anyone 
would know the Japanese didn't have any planes or any ships to get 
here. But there were blackouts. We had to put all the stuff on our 
windows and everything. 



68 



Rationing Executive, Eighth Division, 1942-44 



Sinton: Then later during World War II, Harry Camp, who became the 

regional administrator of the Eighth Division, asked me to do a job 
for him and I couldn't refuse it. I didn't want to. So I became 
the rationing executive for five Western states. We rationed all 
the commodities that were rationed including gasoline, which was 
the biggest problem. I stayed there for two and a-half years, I 
guess. 

Glaser: Did that involve traveling? 

Sinton: Yes, a great deal, all through Oregon and Washington, from time to 
time. We did have offices in Portland, Seattle, Los Angeles, 
Nevada, and Arizona (Phoenix). 

Glaser: Did you have any problems making decisions allocating various 
commodities to different areas? 

Sinton: We didn't allocate commodities. We rationed them. 
Glaser: But did different areas get differing amounts? 

Sinton: You recall that they had price and rationing boards. Everyone had 
a local board; that was the lowest place where the people went. If 
there was some reason for an exception, they would grant them under 
the regulations. But the regulations, of course, were made in 
Washington. I went to Washington six or eight times, I guess, 
during the two and a-half years. We had conferences where all of 
these matters were discussed and formulated there in Washington. 

Glaser: The policies were made in Washington and it was up to you to imple 
ment them? 

Sinton: Of course they were; we were in the field. Of course, there was 
always the quarrel between the field and the national office. I 
could tell you a lot of stories about that, about Mrs. Roosevelt 

Glaser: I would love to hear them. 
Sinton: Maybe you wouldn't. 
Glaser: Yes, I would. 

Sinton: Mrs. Roosevelt became very friendly with Harry Bridges during the 
war. In fact, I understood they talked to each other nearly every 
day over the telephone I was told that. 



69 



Sinton: We had a problem in our office here where we knew that the communists 
were very active in every government agency, in the Office of Price 
Administration, too. We had a problem particularly with one man who 
was devoting too much time to organizing during the work hours. 
Harry Bridges found out that we were going to discipline this man, 
and he got hold of Mrs. Roosevelt, and she attempted to interfere. 
So I wrote a letter which everybody signed, the head of every 
department the price division, the rationing division, the rental 
division. We had about four or five divisions. We said we would 
brook no interference in our operation, and if the national office 
attempted to do so we would have a complete resignation of everybody 
here. We never heard another word about it. So we had that 
experience during the war. 

I said, "We're here to win a war, not to further the advance 
of communism. " 

It was quite an experience to have all that so-called power. 
I'd sit on the phone with six or seven other people and we'd 
arrange, and the poor people would have to do as we arranged for 
them to do. If there wasn't enough sugar, they just weren't going 
to get it. If there wasn't enough gasoline, which was far more 
important, they weren't going to get it. There was one time the 
fellow from Nevada granted extra gasoline so some men could go deer 
hunting, and I had to revoke the order. 

They said, "If you're coming to Nevada they'll kill you." 
I said, "Maybe, but I'm not going to Nevada right now." 

Nevada was a state in itself. They didn't want to abide by 
any regulations. The director who did it was a nice fellow, but he 
just didn't understand. 

Glaser: How did you happen to hear about that? 

Sinton: I happened to be the acting administrator. The administrator, Harry 
Camp, was away and they wired me. So I wired back and revoked the 
order. We had to do that sort of thing. 

Glaser: You had to keep all of this fair. 

Sinton: Oh, it was ridiculous. Of course, it's just a joke that these 

fellows should get gasoline to go deer shooting. People cared more 
about gasoline than they did about anything else. I made a speech 
once and I said, "All you people like your cars better than you 
like your wives." 

Glaser: How was that received? 



70 



Sinton: They admitted it. [Laughter] 

Glaser: I don't remember gas so much as shoe rationing. 

Sinton: Yes, of course, that's when they made a lot of shoes that weren't 

leather and all that sort of thing substitutes. We never suffered 
a bit from the rationing. Not one little bit. Just the same as you 
were talking about the depression and the effect. We had better 
compliance in the United States overall gasoline alone than 
England did, that had to get it by ship. 

Glaser: Do you think that rationing was really necessary or was this to get 
people emotionally involved? 

Sinton: No, it was necessary, no question about it. We just had so much. I 
think the people who did the figuring always thought that we had a 
shortage that we didn't have. I think that is probably true. But 
remember we were at war and when you're at war you run scared and 
you do everything you can to see that the armies and the navies and 
the air force are supplied. We went on that basis. Now, I never 
had the figures of how much gasoline or how much rubber was 
available or how much sugar or how much butter. But no one suffered 
under rationing, not one solitary soul, either from the food end or 
from the travel end or anything else. 

Glaser: You must have felt that this was an equitable procedure. 

Sinton: It was as fairly done as it could be done. This was done by the 

local boards. People would submit a request to their own rationing 
board. They saw their own neighbors on the board. No, it was as 
fairly done as anything was ever done. No one likes controls. In 
peace time they are no good. People will black market, they'll do 
everything. But our percentage of compliance was excellent. This 
was not only in our region for which I was responsible, but it was 
true in every other one. 

Glaser: You must have seen many changes with the great influx of people 
recruited for shipbuilding. 

Sinton: Oh, yes, that made a difference in our city and in the whole state. 
But the most interesting thing was the atom bomb thing. They were 
making plutonium in the state of Washington at Hanford. Our 
rationing director in Washington came down and he closed the door in 
my office and he said, "I've got to tell you something. We need a 
great allowance of sugar, meat, and other things, more than we're 
entitled to otherwise, because we have a big plant up there. It's 
a top secret thing but I can tell it to you." 

I said, "No, don't tell it to me. What do you need?" He told 
me and we got it for him. That was the atom bomb. 



71 



Glaser: Did you have any clue at all? 



Sinton : 






I did because I knew someone who was working in Chicago, but I 
didn't want to know it. It was the worst thing if I had known it. 
People would have asked me, "Why are you doing this?" 



it. 



I said, "Well, it's necessary" and that's all there is about 
I didn't have to give them any reason. 



Harry Camp, the administrator, didn't know it. I knew more 
about it than he did. But I had the son of a cousin, who's now a 
professor at the University of California. A very bright fellow. 
His name is Dan Koshland, Jr. You interviewed his father he's Dan 
Koshland's son. He was out here once and he said, "We're working 
on something that if the Germans get it first it will be too bad." 
I put those two things together. 



Glaser: Did you understand what an atom bomb would be? 

Sinton: I knew it was something that was a terrible, destructive thing, 
that was my experience with it. 



But 



It was a good experience to be in government. We had a 
terrible lot of power. I could understand how power corrupts. As 
the English prime minister said, "Power corrupts and complete 
power corrupts completely." I haven't stated it exactly but that's 
something of the quotation. You have that power and you have to 
say to yourself, "Now, look, I'm just someone who's doing a job and 
that's all there is about it." You mustn't get tight about it. 

Glaser: Did you have friends coming to you asking for 

Sinton: A few. Finally, they said, "Don't ask him." Oh, yes, sure, we used 
to have that. Not friends. My friends never did, my close friends. 
No, they knew better. But I had a fellow ring me up once and he 
said, "I can't go to the doctor. My gasoline isn't enough." 

I said, "Mr. So-and-So , have you got $1,500?" 
He said, "Of course, I have." 

I said, "Buy yourself another car." Gas was rationed by the 
car, not by the person. But that was one fellow who rang. 

We had one fellow here who was a bad boy. I would have put 
him in jail. That was one thing we didn't do. We didn't jail 
enough people who were violators and we should have. We let John 
L. Lewis get away with a lot of stuff which we never should have 
done. He took an automobile from Washington to Chicago on one of 



72 



Slnton: his trips. He could have gone by train. They let him get away 
with it. It wasn't right. In fact, I suppose we shouldn't 
mention that either. Strike that from the record. 

Glaser: Why? I'm sure if you know it, it must have been written up in 
the newspapers. 

Sinton: Well, it was true, it was. That was the experience I had in the 
OPA. It was quite an experience. 

Glaser: Were you involved in any way when the Japanese were rounded up and 
sent to relocation camps? 

Sinton: No, I wasn't and I'm ashamed of myself that I didn't do more about 
it. We knew all these Japanese people here very well, particularly 
in San Mateo. They were all good people. It was one of the worst 
things this country ever did. It was caused by panic on the part 
of the commander of the Sixth Army here. I was shocked that 
Roosevelt went along with it. 

But placing yourself back in those times, people were fearful. 
The first thing I thought was, "Why don't you put the Germans and 
the Italians in the concentration camp? They're far more danger 
ous than the Japanese." But you tend to go along with authority. 

Glaser: That's frightening, isn't it? 

Sinton: It is a frightening thing. We should have protested much more 
than we did, much more. That's true. Next question. 



Impact on Family 



Glaser: Were any of your sons-in-law in the service? 

Sinton: Yes, they were both in the army. One was a doctor and he happened 
to be at Palm Springs. 

Glaser: Did you have to worry about his being sent overseas? 

Sinton: He could have been. Anyone could have been sent overseas. Sure. 

Glaser: What about the other son-in-law? 

Sinton: He went to an officer's training camp back in I think it was 
Kansas some place. It was hot as the deuce. Then he was sent 
to Japan after the war was over. He was there for a year after 



73 



Sinton: the war but didn't come back until 1947. We had sixteen people 

in our house. All of our family came and lived with us, children 
and everybody. 

Glaser: Talk about rationing problems! 

Sinton: My wife had sixteen coupon books, and we lived quite all right. 
As I say, no one was deprived of anything. 

Glaser: Did you lose any servants who went off to the factories? 
Sinton: Yes, one went into the war. We did all right. 
Glaser: How much of a staff did you have? 

Sinton: Not much. We didn't bother. We had a very nice Filipino fellow 

who went into the army. I guess we had a lady, a cook or something, 
and someone else. We got along all right. 

Glaser: In so many areas, servants went off to work in defense factories 
Sinton: It's true they did. No, we didn't have any of that. 
Glaser: because they could make so much more money. 

Sinton: Of course, they could become a welder and all that I know. 
No, we didn't have any trouble. 

Glaser: Were your daughters involved in USD activities? 
Sinton: Yes, my wife was too. 
Glaser: Was that down the Peninsula? 

Sinton: Yes. My wife was down there. My daughters were with their 

husbands; they weren't home all the time. While they were with 
us they were, yes. Ruth and my wife, Marian, worked at the USO. 

Glaser: I understand that you were involved with the United States Refugee 
Service. Is that correct? 

Sinton: Not to any great degree, no. We made up a lot of affidavits and 
that sort of thing but I didn't do anything in particular. I 
wasn't on that board. That was HI AS? 

Glaser: Yes, Hebrew Immigration Aid Society. You didn't have an official 
position? 

Sinton: No, I did not. Of course, this OPA thing was a full time job, 

completely. I wasn't in my office. That was a terrible break in 
the thing, sure. That was two wars I was in, in a sense. 



74 



Glaser: Did you close your office? 

Sinton: No, but I wasn't there. I came down maybe once a month. 

Glaser: Did Mrs. Flatt maintain 

Sinton: She stayed here, yes. 

Glaser: When did Mrs. Flatt start to work for you? 

Sinton: 1926. Let me see, it's fifty-one years. She came in April. That's 
right. 

Glaser: That's a long, long time. 

Sinton: Yes, a terrible long time. She's grown old in the service. What 
next? 

Glaser: I want to ask you more about World War II. You told me you had 
brought over some relatives. 

Sinton: Oh, yes, everybody did that. 

Glaser: Of course, you had a lot of family in Germany. 

Sinton: We did. We had some. Some wouldn't come out. We got the younger 
ones out. 

Glaser: Did you lose family in concentration camps? 

Sinton: Oh, yes. Two or three I know were lost. That's all that were 
left. The others got out. 

Glaser: Then there's nobody there now? 

Sinton: No. Not a soul in Germany of either side of my family. 

Glaser: Did everybody who got out come to this country? 

Sinton: No, some of them went to Israel and then came here. 

Glaser: Did any go to England or to South America or South Africa? 

Sinton: No, they came here. Some of them are in New York, some of them are 
in Los Angeles and some of them are here. But we got the ones 
out first, as I told you. This is a repetition. In 1934 this 
Dr. Wolf who came we got him out in '34. We didn't wait with him. 
Another girl went to Kansas City, that was in the 1940s. She went 
to Cuba and then got to Kansas City. We got her out. 



75 



Glaser: That was early to perceive the danger 1934. 

Sinton: Oh, I knew of the danger, I knew it in 1934. I wrote to them and I 
said, "Better come out." 

Glaser: A lot of people in Germany did not believe the danger to themselves. 

Sinton: Wouldn't want to, naturally. You wouldn't want to believe a thing 
like this to leave your family, your friends, the place where 
you've lived all your life. 

Glaser: The adjustment to a new country is hard. 

Sinton: Just terribly difficult. He was fortunate, this doctor. He had 
married a South African girl who spoke perfect English. 

Glaser: When did they get married? 

Sinton: They'd been married let's see, how old is he now? He's pretty old 
now. I'd have to figure back but he'd been married four or five 
years, I guess, at the time. 



Travel and Friends 



Glaser: Did you ever go back to Europe with your wife? 

Sinton: Yes, in 1961. 

Glaser: Had you gone before World War II? 

Sinton: No, not with her. 

Glaser: Did you do much traveling when your daughters were at home, before 
they got married? 

Sinton: Yes, we traveled across the continent once. We drove back in 1948. 
We drove back all through the South and back through Texas, New 
Mexico and so forth. That was a good trip. All down the Atlantic 
coast, the Carolinas, Virginia. It was a lovely trip. We did that 
in '48 with our youngest daughter, Marian. She drove half the way I 
drove in the morning and she drove in the afternoon. 

Glaser: That's a long trip by car. 

Sinton: It was very easy because we each drove four hours, that's all. 



76 



Glaser: Did you enjoy Mexico? 

Sinton: We weren't in Mexico. We were only in the United States. I never 
went to Mexico except Tijuana. 

Glaser: Did you gamble there? 

Sinton: Sure, we did that. That was a long time ago. 

Glaser: Did you ever see a bull fight? 

Sinton: No, I never saw a bull fight and I don't want to see one. 

Glaser: Have you ever been to Hawaii? 

Sinton: Yes, we've been there two or three times. 

Glaser: Did you enjoy that? 

Sinton: Yes and no. I don't like hot weather, [stops to answer telephone] 

Glaser: Who was Morgan Gunst? 

Sinton: He was one of my very good friends. 

Glaser: There's an Elkan Gunst building at Geary and Powell. 

Sinton: That was his younger brother. 

Glaser: And there is a Morgan and Aline Gunst Memorial Library at Stanford. 

Sinton: That's correct, Morgan and Aline Gunst. 

Glaser: You mentioned he was a friend and I wondered who he was. 

Sinton: That goes back a long way. I don't know if this is important for 
this sort of thing. His father was M.A. Gunst who had, in the 
early days, a cigar store. In the front was the cigar store and in 
the back they played cards. Now, this is the way M.A. Gunst had his 
start and that's Morgan's father. He married the daughter of the 
rabbi here, a beautiful, charming woman, Morgan's mother. 

Glaser: Which rabbi was this? 

Sinton: I did know, but I don't remember. It goes way, way back because she 
was perhaps thirty years older than I am, so that was back a 
hundred years. But Morgan Gunst was the oldest son, and his father 
was the leader in Jewish charity. For many years he was one of 
the largest donors. He was, you may say, an uneducated man but a 
wonderful man. He was the one who first said, "Give while you live." 



77 



Sinton: Morgan did a great deal for Stanford. He went to Stanford and was 
the one who first raised money for Stanford. I believe he got what 
was called a certificate of merit for what he had done at Stanford 
University. His wife came from New York. She was one of the most 
beautiful women in the city here. A lovely, beautiful woman. 

Glaser: Was he a lawyer? 

Sinton: No. As a matter of fact, he was on the board of the Bank of 

America. General Cigars bought out M.A. Gunst and Company, which 
had cigar distributorship here, and Morgan was a vice-president or 
something with the General Cigars Company. 

Glaser: What is your connection with Mischa Elman? 

Sinton: He was a friend of my wife's. He first came out here as a very 
young violinist, I guess he was about fourteen or fifteen years 
old, and he had a letter to my mother-in-law, Mrs. I.N. Walter. 
He met my wife and they were very good friends all of their lives. 
Whenever they came out we saw them and whenever we were in New York 
we saw them there. They were very, very close friends. 

Did your wife or her family take up musicians or artists as proteges? 

Yes, he was probably one. My mother-in-law helped Mischa Elman when 
he was here. That's how they became friendly. Have you seen the 
new Yehudi Menuhin book? 

No, I haven't read it. 

Sidney Ehrman was the one who was his benefactor. But my mother-in- 
law, as well as some other people here, took up Mischa Elman as I 
recall, but not to the extent that Sidney Ehrman did. 

What is your connection with John May? 

When I went out to the Office of Price Administration as regional 
rationing executive, John May was my assistant until he went into 
the Navy. He was in the Office of Price Administration a short 
time before I came. He was a very fine fellow. I presume that Dan 
Koshland, who got him the position after the war with the San 
Francisco Foundation, knew him through me. That's how 1 knew John 
May. 

Glaser: Who is Sylvain Kauffman? 

Sinton: Why do you ask that? He's a friend of mine and he died last year or 
a few years ago. 



Glaser: 
Sinton: 

Glaser : 
Sinton : 

Glaser : 
Sinton: 



Glaser: These are names I've heard in connection with your activities. 



78 



Sinton: lie was the president of the Federation just before I was. Naturally, 
I was on the board with him and he was a very good friend of mine. 
We traveled together in 1961 in the Greek Isles, he and his wife 
and Marian and I. We were very intimate friends. He was the 
president of H.S. Crocker and Company. 

Glaser: That's the printing company? 

Sinton: That's right. 

[end tape 5, side 1] 



79 



IV FURTHER REFLECTIONS ON EARLIER YEARS 

[Interview 4: July 7, 1977] 
[begin tape 6, side 1] 



Father's Charitable Activities 

Glaser: When your father used to come home very tired 
Sin ton: I was four years old. 

Glaser: Was he allocating charity funds from the Hebrew Free Loan or from 
the Eureka Benevolent Society? 

Sinton: Eureka. 

Glaser: He was the president of that, was he not? 

Sinton: At one time, yes. He was the president of the Eureka and later 
became president of the Federation. 

Glaser: He was the Federation's second president? 

Sinton: I think he was. Judge Sloss was the first one, as I remember. But 
that was just in my college years. My father was the one who first 
thought of the organization of a federation. 

Glaser: I have a copy of articles commemorating the sixtieth anniversary of 
the Federation, giving the history of the constituent organizations. 

Sinton: Yes, I think I was at the anniversary meeting and John Steinhart, 

who at that time was the president of the Federation, alluded to the 
fact that my father was the first one who had broached the matter of 
federation in San Francisco. 

Glaser: And he was involved with the Red Cross. 



79a 



I>ACE T\VO 



FEDERATION JUBILEE 




FEDERATION OF JEWISH 
CHARITIES 

'BOARD OF GOVERNORS 1910 



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CARL RAISS 

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IOSIPII MABIR. JR. 

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I-UKI-KA Hl-NKVOU-NT S(X?/CTY 

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BENJAMIN SrillllSS 



I 



. SOTH-TY 



' JEWISH WRl.FAllE 
FEDERATION 

BOARD OF DIRECTORS, 

1900 

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Generations of 
Leadership 

Among the bequests made to 
the Federation by its earliest lead 
ers was the tradition ' of philan- 
trophy handed down to their, dfr 
scendents. 

Throughout the half century of 
the Federation's service to the com 
munity, there are names which ap- 
>ear on its first roster of leadership 
nd again and again through the 
ears, until now. 

First on the list of Governors of 
he Federation of Jewish Charities 
n its charter year. 1910, is the 
ame of Judge M. C. Sloss. Judge | 
loss was elected president of itsi 
rst Board of Governors, and re-' 
uiiKd honorary president of the 
'ederation throughout his lifetime, 
ilrs. Sloss represented Emanu-EI 
istcrhood on the original Board. 
Jlu-ir sons. Frank H. Sloss and 
\ichard Sloss are both active par- ^ 
kipants in Federation, the former, 

past president of the San Fran- 
isco Jewish Community Center and 

member of the Federation's pres- 
nt Board of Directors. 

Edgar Sinton, son of the First 
Vice-Presidcnt of the 1910 Board 
of Governors, Henry Sinsheimer, 
s a past president of the Federation 
ind a member of its I960 Board 
of Directors. Robert Sinton, Sin- 
jheimcr's grandson, is an officer 
of the Federation and has served 
as president of the Center. 

The son of 1910 Federation Sec 
ond Vice-President J. B. Levison is 
Robert I.cvison, an officer of the 
I960 Federation and former Center 
president. 

Three nephews of 1910 Board 
member H. U. Brandcnstein have 
carried on the family tradition of 
service. Two, William and Joseph 
Bransten, are past presidents of the 
Federation;- while Edward Branston 
is a member of the Federation's , 
Board of Directors. 

Joseph Sloss, Jr. is on the Board 
of Mo'unt Zion Hospital, as Was his 
father in 1910. 

Mortimer Fleishhacker, Jr., son 
of 1910 Board member Mortimer 
Fleishhacker, is a Mount Zion past 
president. 



80 



Sinton: Yes, but everybody was. I did have something here from the Red 
Cross about my father when he died, [looks for item] 

Glaser: How long did he give service to the Federation of Jewish Charities? 

Sinton: The Eureka Benevolent Society was the first one with which he was 
connected, because that was the one that really was the relief 
organization. That's the thing I remember from the time I was 
four years old. That was way back in 1893. But long before that 
he'd been involved in it. That's all I remember about it. 

Glaser: I came across some minutes of meetings which he attended in 1930 
when consideration was given to establishing a Jewish community 
center . 

Sinton: Not specifically or particularly. _!_ was in the establishment of 
the community center because 1 was on the board of trustees with 
Phil Bush and others of that crowd. My father in 1930 was then 
seventy-six years old. He died in 1932. But he was concerned, 
of course, because when anything like that came up he was naturally 
involved . 

Glaser: When did he stop being active in the Federation? 

Sinton: Well, 1 don't think that anyone ever stopped being active, so far 

as the campaigns were concerned and all that sort of thing. 1 don't 
remember the years that he was president, 1 think it was during the 
first years -1910, '11, '12, '13, along in there. 

Of course, in 1917 the war broke out, and he was active in the 
Red Cross activities and in the sale of United States bonds. All of 
us were on those committees. That was a civic matter, a national 
matter. But he was not particularly active in the Federation in 
1930 because 1 was the president of the Federation in 1928, and he 
certainly wasn't on the board or anything of that nature then. 

Glaser: Another activity 1 came across for your father was that he was a 
trustee of the Zionist Bureau of the West Coast. 



Sinton: 1 never knew it. 

Glaser: This is according to a book written by Martin Meyer called Western 
Jewry, printed in 1916. 

Sinton: I never knew anything about it; I have no knowledge of it. They 
used names, of course. They got whatever names they could in 
every community. But he wasn't a particular Zionist at all. 



81 



Early School Years 






Glaser: I wanted to ask you about your schooling. Were the various schools 
located where they are now? 

Sinton: The first school I went to was the Urban School, which was a private 
school, and I went there when I was six years old. That was on 
California (the building's still there) near Buchanan, I guess it 
was. I was only there for two years and then I went to public 
school at Pacific Heights, which I don't think is there anymore. 
In fact, I'm sure it isn't. 

Glaser: Where was it located? 

Sinton: Jackson near Webster. That I know. 

Glaser: You went from there to Lowell High? 

Sinton: Lowell High School. That was on Sutter Street between Gough and 

Octavia; it is not there anymore. It has moved twice. Lowell High 
School moved to Hayes Street, and then it moved out to where it now 
is in the Lake Merced district really, way out. 

Glaser: When you went to the Urban School, did you wear a school uniform? 

Sinton: No, it wasn't a military school or anything like that. 

Glaser: When you went to high school, was there a dress code for the boys? 

Sinton: No, none. 

Glaser: Did you have to wear hats? 

Sinton: We didn't have to, but we did I guess, because everyone wore a 
hat. No, there was no uniform at all. 

Glaser: Did you wear suits? 
Sinton: Regular suits, yes. 
Glaser: The dress was more formal than today? 

Sinton: Yes, it was. Oh, they didn't dress the way they do now. Now they 
go to school with a pair of trousers and a shirt, and the teachers 
do too. No, you had to be dressed and all that, but there was 
no formal rule. But everybody was dressed. Sure, we had shirts 
and ties and everything else. 

Glaser: How did the girls dress? 



82 



Sinton: I'll bring you the picture. It was strange, when I looked at the 

picture now how much older the girls looked than the boys, particu 
larly in high school. They were grown women really. 

Glaser: Usually by high school boys start to catch up, but you found that 
wasn't true? 

Sinton: The girls were really more mature. But I'll bring the picture. 
It's much easier for you to see. 

Glaser: Did you get an allowance when you were going to school? 

Sinton: I think I did, but it was so little as to be something like twenty- 
five cents a week. 

Glaser: What did you use it for buying candy? 
Sinton: Probably to buy an ice cream soda. 

Glaser: Did your parents concern themselves with your homework? Did they 
supervise you? 

Sinton: No. We were supposed to do it and we did it. They weren't concerned 
particularly, because by the time I got to high school I was taking 
Latin and mathematics certainly stuff they hadn't had in their day. 

Glaser: They didn't sit you down and see that you studied? 

Sinton: No, when you went to Lowell High School, I'll tell you, you studied 
or you didn't go there. You studied two to three hours a night 
right from the beginning. 

Glaser: Was there a sense that you had to do well to compete? 
Sinton: It was a very high-standard school and still is. 
Glaser: You were on the debate team? 

Sinton: Just for a short time. It didn't amount to anything because by 

that time the fire came along and closed the school for six weeks 
in 1906, as I recall. 

glaser: You waited until you were a senior to try out? 

Sinton: I think so. I was a junior or a senior. 

Glaser: Because Gene Block 

Sinton: Gene Block. Oh, he always tells that story. 




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83 



Glaser : 
Sin ton: 
Glaser: 

Sinton: 

Glaser: 
Sinton: 



that you beat him when you both tried out for the debating team. 
Yes. 

What other kinds of activities were you involved in, in high 
school? 



I was on the baseball team at Lowell, 
nothing else. 



That's really all 1 did, 
Baseball has been a long time interest of yours, hasn't it? 



Glaser : 
Sinton: 



Glaser: 
Sinton: 
Glaser: 
Sinton : 



Yes, since we were little children because, you see, 1 had an older 
brother. Although he was six years older, he had no one else to 
play catch with. He had to play catch with me from the time I was 
five or six years old. I had an uncle, Monte Koshland, who was a 
great athlete at the University of California but I had never seen 
him. He died. 1 think 1 told you that. But there was sort of a 
tradition in the family that you were athletic. You did something. 
All the boys did. We played football and baseball. But I did play 
on this high school team until the fire came along and stopped 
that, too. 

Was there a park or an empty lot where you played? 

We played at Golden Gate Park. We also played at the Presidio, 
where there was a baseball field which is now the Marina. But we 
learned to play baseball, really, out at the Golden Gate Park. 
They had two big fields: one so-called the Big Rec, as they called 
it, and the Little Rec. For the little kids there was the little 
recreation park, and the other one was big they had three or four 
baseball fields all joining. 

Was the park as developed as it is now? 

Yes it was. 

All the plantings were in? 

The plantings were all in. That was done in the 1870s by John 
McLaren. McLaren Lodge is named after him. He was a Scotch 
gardener and he developed the park. 



84 



Trolley Car Accident, 1896 



Sinton: Did I tell you about the trolley car accident we were in? That's 
interesting, in a sense, because it has to do with the early times 
in this city. Adolph Sutro, who had made a great deal of money in 
the mines in Nevada in the '60s and '70s, came to San Francisco 
and later became the mayor. He owned practically all of the 
property beyond what is now called the Avenues, the so-called 
Richmond district. They were all sand-lots. Of course, there 
always was a Cliff House. My father took me to the Cliff House 
when I was four or five years old. That was the end of the park. 

Sutro built the first electric trolley line out to the beach. 
Previous to that time there was only the California street car, 
which turned into a steam car at Presidio Avenue, I think. It was 
a cable car to Presidio Avenue and then there was a steam train 
that went out to the beach. 

My grandmother, my grandfather, and 1 went out on the second 
week of the establishment of this line. Coming back, right at the 
car house, we went around a turn and the car went off the track 
and threw my grandfather and me out. It threw everybody else out, 
too, but we were on the outside of the car. He broke his leg and I 
just bounced; it didn't bother me at all. He died six months 
afterward really the shock of that thing. My grandmother wasn't 
hurt. I think she was inside of the car. I can remember that as 
if it were yesterday. That happened in 1896. I was seven years 
old. 

That was the first trolley line that went to the beach when 
they had this accident. Some other people were hurt. I don't 
think anyone was killed. I remember him saying, "Attend to the 
women first." I bounced. It didn't hurt me at all. 

Glaser: You were probably more relaxed. 

Sinton: Oh, I was a child. It didn't bother me. 

Glaser: Did that set back the trolley line? Were people afraid to go on it 
after that? 

Sinton: No, I don't think so. This car just went off the track that's all, 
right at the car house. That was around either Thirty-second or 
Thirty-seventh Avenue. All sand-lots out there at that time. 

Later, when I went into a law office, the first thing we 
did they were the attorneys for the Sutro estate and they were 
selling off all of these Richmond area lots, one by one, and each 
sale had to be confirmed in the probate court. I went out there, 



85 






Sinton: probably for two years, to attend to the confirmation of these 
sales of the Sutro property in the probate court. There was a 
strict judge by the name of Coffey. Everyone in his courtroom 
was frightened to death by him. His clerk had the nervous tremors, 
really, because he was so well, he was really a tyrant. We went 
out there at 9:30 every morning. Sometimes we had to come back 
in the afternoon because he made so many speeches, he didn't get 
through his calendar. 

Glaser: Where was the probate court? 

Sinton: Let me see, I don't think the City Hall had been reestablished 
after the earthquake and fire. They had temporary quarters on 
Market Street in what is now the San Franciscan Hotel. That's 
where the City Hall was and where the courts were sitting. But 
that was interesting insofar as the Richmond lots, the Sutro lots, 
were concerned. 



Playland at the Beach 



Glaser: When was the play land established? 
Sinton: Playland at the Beach? 
Glaser : Yes . 

Sinton: The Cliff House was always in my time. It was built some time in 
the '70s, I think, right on the edge. Then it burned down and it 
was rebuilt. There was the Playland at the Beach they always 
had little shops there. The Sutro Baths were built (that's the 
same Sutro) right above the hill from the Cliff House. There was 
always activity there. 

Now the shoots at the beach (it was originally called the 
shoots) we as little children went down the shoots into the water 
on the water sleds. But Playland at the Beach was later established 
by the Whitney Brothers. (I happened to be the lawyer for one of 
the Whitney s.) That was established much, much later. 

That was a story in itself. If you ever make a story about 
that, they will have a story for you. I think one of the Whitneys 
is still alive. But I was the attorney for Leo Whitney, who was one 
of the brothers. 

Glaser: You mean the story of how they established the Playland and the 
rides? 



86 



Slnton: Yes. 

Glaser: Why don't you tell me where you fit into the picture. 

Sinton: I don't, except that it was already established when Leo Whitney 
came to me he and George Whitney, who was the important man in 
the firm. He was the one who had real knowledge of that kind of 
show business, so-called. 1 had met George Whitney, but I was his 
brother Leo's attorney; I wasn't his lawyer. 

Glaser: Did they need a lot of insurance in those days the way they do now, 
in case of accidents? 

Sinton: No, they didn't. It was never an important figure in the matter 
at all. There was not much public liability insurance, that you 
refer to, because of accidents. It didn't amount to anything. 
Don't forget that the dollar was different; the verdicts were 
different. There were very few accidents. The only negligence 
matters in the early days when I first started to practice law 
were the railroads and the street railroads. 

The automobile was not a factor to any great degree. There 
weren't many automobiles. It wasn't until Ford came along to 
build his Model A that the automobiles came in any number. I'll 
wager there weren't twenty automobiles on the street in San 
Francisco in 1906 at one time. There was a stable, Kelly Stable, 
right below where we lived, and my grandmother went out riding 
in the afternoon horses and carriage. 

Glaser: Rented, or did she have her own? 

Sinton: Rented. Some people owned them. The wealthy people owned their 
horses and carriage. Cars weren't really around to any great 
degree until after 1906. So when you asked the question about 
insurance, no, it wasn't a factor. 

Glaser: I thought perhaps you were Leo Whitney's lawyer in order to take 
care of that aspect. 

Sinton: I wasn't the lawyer for the Whitney brothers. I was Leo's personal 
lawyer, and I knew a lot about him. But that wasn't a factor at 
all. Forget the insurance in those days. It didn't amount to 
anything. As I say, the negligence cases were all railroad or 
street car accidents. The automobile came in later. 

Glaser: Were you often out at Playland at the Beach? 
Sinton: Playland, no. We were grown up by that time. 



87 



Swimming Pools and Baseball Games 



Glaser: How about the Sutro Baths? Did you go there? 

Sinton: Yes, we went to the Sutro Baths, surely. Also, there were the 
Lurline Baths. 

Glaser: You mean the same name as the boat line? 

Sinton: Exactly. It was the same people who owned the Mat son line. They 
had a public swimming bathhouse at Bush and Larkin, I think it was. 
1 think there was another one. They had this girl, who was a great 
American swimmer later in the Olympic games; I forget her name 
but she was a local swimmer. She was in those baths that were out 
on Union Street someplace, 1 think. They had these salt water 
pipes coming in from the beach to furnish the water. As a matter 
of fact , the Concordia Club had a swimming pool with salt water in 
it, taking water from this pipe that came down to the Lurline Baths, 
too. 



Glaser: You mean the Concordia was on Van Ness and got salt water? 

Sinton: Yes, that's right. But we did go to the Sutro Baths from time 
to time. They had a tremendous swimming pool and they had a 
little pool for children at the end. It was quite a place. We 
went to the Lurline when I was out of college and was either at 
law school or had graduated. We used to go there early in the 
morning at half past six before going to work, girls and boys 
together. The Lurline Baths were very convenient. 

Glaser: Was this the start of the Matson fortune? 

Sinton: No, their fortune started in the Hawaiian Islands. That's another 
matter; we don't need to go into that. 

Glaser: I was curious because I had never heard of these baths before. 
Sinton: The Lurline Baths were a wonderful thing at the time. 

Glaser: When you went to Golden Gate Park to play baseball, how did you get 
there? 

Sinton: Streetcar. 

Glaser: How young were you when you first started going on the streetcar 
alone? 

Sinton: I think I was seven or eight. My goodness, I told I used to go to 
the baseball games. I had ten cents and I walked from where we 
lived. At that time I lived on Pine and Gough Street at my 



88 



Sin ton: grandmother's house. I would walk down to Market Street, Sixth 
and Market. They called it the Central Ball Park, I think. I'd 
walk back I didn't have enough money to take the streetcar, 
although the streetcars ran that way. The streetcars were running 
all over the city. On Market Street and on Pacific Avenue and on 
other places, there were horse cars before the cable car went in. 
But that was before my time. 

Glaser: What were the teams in your early days? 

Sinton: I remember seeing Frank Chance; you wouldn't know who Frank Chance 
was. Did you ever hear the expression 'from Tinker to Evers to 
Chance 1 ? That was Frank Chance, who came from Fresno, I think, 
originally. I went to see him play in 1897. I can still see it. 
He went to Chicago later. 

Glaser: What team was he on when he was playing here? 

Sinton: I think it was Fresno. The old state league, whatever they called 
it. There were no Seals in those days. 

Glaser: What was the local team? 

Sinton: The local team was San Francisco. It wasn't the Seals. They only 
played on the weekends. They played Saturday afternoon in San 
Francisco, Sunday morning in Oakland, and Sunday afternoon in San 
Francisco. They had two pitchers, a fellow by the name of Ham 
Iberg and a fellow by the name of Jimmy Walen. I remember that. 
Iberg was a slow ball pitcher. I remember that, too when I was 
seven or eight years old. 

Glaser: That's quite a memory you have. They didn't have a special name? 
They were just the San Francisco 

Sinton: They weren't called the Seals until they moved out to the Seal 
Stadium at Sixteenth and Bryant. But that was much, much later. 

When I represented the bank, they had a mortgage on the 
baseball grounds. My goodness, I was then let's see, that was 
1930 something, so I was forty-odd years old thr.n. Some fellow 
on the board of directors said, "We ought to foreclose on that." 1 
remember laughing and he said, "What are you laughing at?" 

I said, "Do you want to gain the enmity of everybody in 
San Francisco and foreclose on a baseball stadium?" So I had to 
go out there. I remember talking to Charlie Graham, who was the 
manager, and we worked it out so that they didn't foreclose on it. 

Glaser: Which bank was that? 



89 



Sin ton: The United California Bank. Then it was the San Francisco Bank. 
Glaser: Has this always been a strong baseball town? 

Sinton: Oh, a very good baseball town. But now you have the two teams, 
one in Oakland and one here, and not a winning team. It's an 
impossible situation. This is the first year I haven't taken 
the season tickets. I used to go quite frequently, four or five 
times a year anyway. But this time 

Glaser: Candlestick Park is a disaster, too, isn't it? 

Sinton: It's a disaster to me as an old-timer because it has this artificial 
turf, which I hate. 

Glaser: And it's so cold! 

Sinton: It isn't too cold. That isn't true, now that it's enclosed it 

isn't so bad. There are worse parks, I understand, in the country. 



Music and Language Lessons 

Glaser: When you were young did you take dancing lessons and music lessons? 

Sinton: I took music lessons for thirty days and they gave up on me. 
[Laughter] 

Glaser: What was this, piano? 

Sinton: Yes. I could tell you terrible stories about that. The teacher 
would come and I'd sneak out and play baseball and wait until she 
left and then go home. 

Glaser: Who was your teacher? 

Sinton: I think it was a cousin of mine who taught piano, and she gave up on 
me in a month. 

Glaser: Was she a Koshland cousin? 

Sinton: No, another one. Her name was May Sinsheimer, and she came from 
San Luis Obispo. No, I was not a good musician. In fact, they 
won't let me sing at home now either, because I'm kind of tone deaf 
I guess. 

Glaser: Well, you've got a lot of company. 



90 



Sinton: No, my children are all musical. They can sing and everything. 

They can sing not great, but they can sing. My mother played 

the piano. She was the only member of the family who had any 
music at all. 

Glaser: Did she do anything to encourage young musicians? 

Sinton: Now you're coming down to Yehudi Menuhin. Yes, we all did that. 
1 was on the Federation board when we first helped him. Sidney 
Ehrman was the man who really did more for him than anybody. But 
everyone helped. Mrs. Koshland did that. 

[end tape 6, side 1; begin tape 6, side 2] 

Glaser: We were talking about assisting musicians and you started to tell 
me about your wife. 

Sinton: That's a story that's in Menuhin 's book. Marian just read the book, 
so I wouldn't talk about that. Sidney Ehrman was the one who 
really took care of Menuhin. He gave him his first violin; they 
collected money for it and so forth. Sidney Ehrman is now dead. 
He lived to be 101 years of age. 

Glaser: 1 think 1 read about his magnificent place up at Lake Tahoe. 

Sinton: That's right. He sold it to the state for eight and a-half million 

dollars. 



Glaser: I remember reading about the auction that brought people from all 
over for his furnishings. 

Sinton: That was exaggerated, but he did have some stuff. 

Glaser: Did you take French lessons? 

Sinton: Yes, and German. 

Glaser: Who taught you? 

Sinton: German? Miss turn Suden, her nephew went through high school and 

college with me Dick turn Suden. The French teacher was a girl by 
the name of Rae Levy. She was a pretty good French teacher, too. 
We all had to do that. That was at home, not in school. They did 
have French in high school but we knew more than the French teacher 
did. 

Glaser: This was something that families felt was very important? 

Sinton: Everybody did it, yes. That, unfortunately, does not take place 

today. The children do, who go out, as your son has gone, to other 
countries and learn the language. They will travel in Europe or 



91 



Slnton: stay there and learn a language that way. Of course, that's much 
better. Any child who has a foundation in a language can learn to 
talk in two weeks if he lives in a country. 

Glaser: Were you good at languages? 

Sinton: Yes, it was easy for me. Math, no. 

Glaser: When you went to Hastings it demanded four years of Latin. 

Sinton: 1 don't think Hastings demanded four years of Latin. The 

University of California demanded two years of Latin. Hastings 
had nothing to do with it. 

Glaser: Where was Hastings located when you went to school? 

Sinton: In the Whittell Building on Geary Street, between Stockton and 
Powell or Kearny. It was right near 450 Sutter, I think. 

Glaser: Now it's near the Civic Center. 

Sinton: Oh, now they have a whole block. They're going to enlarge it. 
I have a letter here about it. [reads from letter] "The new 
Hastings Law Center will establish an entirely different concept of 
the famous law school, with expanded advanced legal education 
programs offering the San Francisco community a meeting point with 
the judicial, legal, academic professions." 

Glaser: When your grandfather died, you moved into Pine Street. Then when 
your grandmother died 

Sinton: We moved to the St. Francis Hotel. 
Glaser: What year was that? 
Sinton: 1911. 

Glaser: What was it like to live in a hotel after you had been in a big 
house? 

Sinton: I didn't like it, but my mother did because she kept house for 
years and she thought she'd had enough. 

Glaser: Could you feel like you were in a home? Did you have an apartment 
or separate rooms? 

Sinton: We had a living room and two bedrooms. 
Glaser: Then you took over a suite? 



92 



Sinton: It was a living room and two bedrooms, that's all. 

Glaser: You took your meals in the hotel? 

Sinton: Yes. 

Glaser: I suppose it was a relief not to be worried about servants. 

Sinton: My mother was tired of keeping house. That's why we went there. 

Glaser: How did your father feel about it? 

Sinton: I don't think he cared one way or the other. 

Glaser: Your brother was back East? 

Sinton: My brother was married by that time and he lived in Boston. I told 
you all about the wool business so you know that. 

Mother's Character, Concluded 

Glaser: You told me that your mother was a very forthright woman, and I 

understand that when she went back East to meet her future daughter- 
in-law 

Sinton: Who told you that story? I did not tell you that story. 

Glaser: No. 

Sinton: Who told you that story? [Laughter] 

Glaser: It was Stanley Sinton. He said that his mother was a beautiful, 
petite, blonde woman, and your mother said 

Sinton: The first thing she said, "Your photographs flatter you." 

[Laughter] Terrible! Don't repeat that. Yes, she was a funny 
woman . 

Glaser: That truly is being forthright, isn't it? 

Sinton: That's a little overboard. It sure is. I'll never forget that. 
That was on the train at Worcester, Massachusetts. 

Glaser: I understand on another visit she caught the nurse, or maid, 

stealing. The woman had been with the family for fifteen years, 
and your mother was the only one sharp enough to perceive that she 
was dishonest. 



93 



Sinton: That was back In Boston, yes. It was a maid. Her name was Smith, 
or something like that. Yes, that's true. He could tell you that 
story better than I. 

Glaser: He cited not only how sharp but what a good student of human nature 
she was. 

Sinton: Yes, she was a very forthright person, very witty and very funny. 
Wonderful company. 

Glaser: I understand that you have her sense of humor. 

Sinton: Yes, I would say that I got it from her. That's right. If I have 
any I don't know but I suppose I have. 



Summer Vacations, Part-time Jobs 



Glaser: You told me last week, when I didn't have the tape recorder, about 
outings to the Fruitvale section of Oakland. Could we record that? 

Sinton: In the old days we would cross the Bay on the ferry. We had to 

take a train out towards Oakland and then from Oakland there was a 
trolley line that ran through the fields, I can remember that 
distinctly. It went out to Fruitvale and San Leandro. There were 
the cherry orchards and we picnicked there. That's all there is 
to that really. There was nothing there at all cherry orchards. 

Then I told you in the summer we went to Alameda. Once, I 
know, we were in Alameda with my brother when I was, I guess, four 
years old. 

Glaser: Were there cottages on the estuary? Is that where you stayed? 

Sinton: I think there were boarding houses. My memory doesn't go that 

deeply or specifically, but I know I was there and it was a good 
climate and that's why they went. They got out of the fog. 

Glaser: A lot of families used to go over to Marin County. 

Sinton: That's true. San Rafael, of course. We did that, too, later. 
That was after Stanley Sinton, Jr. was born that we went to San 
Rafael for the summer. When he first came out, he was a baby. A 
lot of people went to the Hotel Rafael in San Rafael. 

Glaser: Did the husbands commute? 



Sinton: Yes. That was just a ferry boat ride and a train to Sausalito. 
Glaser: Did you have a lot of cousins around? 

Sinton: No, there were a great many people who were well acquainted with 

each other; not necessarily families. They didn't take houses; they 
just went to the hotels. We also went up to Lake County. 

Glaser: When you were at the Hotel Rafael was there a place for you to swim? 

Sinton: I don't think they had a swimming pool, no, not in those days. 

Don't forget this is 1908 and '09. This was when I was in college. 
Yes, I was a junior at college when we went to the Hotel Rafael. 
But there were a lot of people who we knew over there. 

Glaser: When you were going into college did you work in the summertime? 
Did you stay in San Raphael or did you have a summer job? 

Sinton: I worked in my father's office one or two summers. That's the only 
job I had at that time. No, I didn't do any work except in my 
father's office. I remember going to the customs house and bringing 
down the customs duty in gold coin. That's all they'd take. 

Glaser: You mean young people then weren't expected to work in the summer? 

Sinton: No, they didn't in those days. But I did work in my father's office 
a couple of summers . 

Glaser: When you were even younger, when going to high school, did you have 
responsibilities? 

Sinton: None. 

Glaser: Just to be a good student? 

Sinton: I worked one Christmas I remember at the White House. Yes, we did 
that when I was a little boy, over the Christmas season. 

Glaser: What did you do? 

Sinton: We were selling. I was in the toy department, selling. 

Glaser: How old were you? 

Sinton: I was terribly young. I don't think I was more than nine or ten 
years old or eleven. 

Glaser: And they hired you so young? 



95 



Sinton: That's right. I was a very young boy. A couple of us did it. Why 
they let us do it, I don't know. We must have ruined the whole 
system. We were terribly young. I don't know why they did it, 
though. 

We knew Raphael Weill, who owned the White House. He was quite 
a fellow. Oh, he was a famous character, Raphael Weill, a Frenchman. 
He came over here and started the White House. Well, now the White 
House is gone, unfortunately. But that was quite an institution and 
he was a great lover of California. He always closed his store on 
Admission Day and that sort of thing. He was a very nice man. He 
gave me a pin, I still have it Native Son of the Golden West. He 
wasn't a Native Son of the Golden West at all, but they made him an 
honorary member. 

Glaser: Do you think he gave you this job as a favor to the family? 

Sinton: Oh, yes, just as a good person, to be nice. Sure. I look back on 
it and I wonder why he did it. 

Glaser: But you didn't have a part-time job subsequent to that experience? 

Sinton: No, I didn't have to. The dollar went an awfully long way in those 
days. It would have been much better if I had had responsibilities. 
It would have been much, much better. 

Glaser: Nowadays even children of very rich families 

Sinton: Of course, everybody does it, sure. It's much better. But money 
didn't mean anything. As I told you, (of course, this was all 
before my time) you could get a whole meal for fifteen cents. You 
see, you can't imagine that in your generation. In the 1870s and 
early '80s, that's what happened in San Francisco and all over the 
country. The farmers did starve on account of that sort of thing, 
it's true, and labor starved to a greater degree. But really a 
dollar bought a great deal. It was an entirely different situation. 
In other words, you naturally did what convention prescribed. 
People didn't get jobs so you didn't get a job. 

I knew fellows at college who worked their way through. But 
there weren't many. This was a state institution where there was 
no tuition charge. 

Glaser: It wasn't the thing for young people of your station 

Sinton: They didn't do it, no one did. I think seven hundred of us went in, 
in the freshman class. We graduated about 450, and there were very 
few who worked. 



96 



U.C. Berkeley, Continued 



Glaser: Did you have an allowance when you went to Cal? 

Sinton: Yes. 

Glaser: I read the oral history of Amy Steinhart Braden. 

Sinton: Yes, I knew her. 

Glaser: She said, "We had the idea that the best people didn't go to the 

University of California." She did go, I think because her father 
died. Was that your idea at that time? 

Sinton: No, that's not true. Stanford, of course, was already organized in 
1892, and some people did go to Stanford. But there were a great 
many girls who would become school teachers who did go to the 
University of California. But certainly the calibre of students who 
went to California was just as good as any other college. The only 
other college was Stanford when I was here. St. Mary's and Santa 
Clara, Catholic schools, were here. But certainly the fellows who 
went to California were every bit as qualified in every way as the 
ones who went to Stanford. She was talking about women. Very few 
women went to college unless they intended to become school teachers. 

Glaser: I think she wanted to go back East and then her father died. 

Sinton: Yes, some people did go back East. My uncle went to Harvard, but the 
brother after him went to California. In fact, we had people at 
California stretching right through the years from 1884 right on 
down. 

Glaser: Who went in 188A? 

Sinton: Monte Koshland went to California in 1884, graduated in '88. 

No, that's not true, what she said. That referred to women, I 
think, more than anything else. 

Glaser: She said that the Phi Beta Kappa Society started in Berkeley about 
1901. Were you a member of that? 

Sinton: I was not. I wasn't that good; I wasn't Phi Beta. The only one I 
knew who was a Phi Beta in our family was Dan Koshland. It was 
established before I was there. Whether it was established in 1901, 
I don't recall. 

Glaser: Who was the president when you were at Cal? 



97 



Sin ton: 
Glaser: 
Sinton: 
Glaser: 
Sinton: 



Glaser: 
Sinton: 



Glaser: 
Sinton: 



Glaser: 
Sinton: 

Glaser: 
Sinton: 

Glaser: 
Sinton: 
Glaser: 



Benjamin I. Wheeler. 

Did you have much contact with him? 

Very little. 

Did you have any out-of-class contact with any of your teachers? 

Oh, yes. There were two or three of them. One was Henry Morse 
Stephens. He was a great, great history teacher, one of the great 
est in the country of English history particularly, also 
Napoleonic history. There were others. Billy Armes (an English 
teacher) was another we had outside contact with and a few others, 
whose names now escape me. 

Did you go to their homes? 

Once in awhile we went to their homes but very infrequently. There 
wasn't a very great deal of communication between the faculty and 
the students in those days. In fact, I went to a commencement in 
1964 where the senior who made the speech complained about the 
lack of contact between the faculty and the students. Of course, 
it became a great big university by that time. 

What was going on at campus? It was a time of construction. 

There wasn't particularly much construction when I was there. The 
mining building must have been built by Mrs. Hearst. California 
Hall was where we had classes. I think the library was started 
when I was there. 

You graduated in 1909. 

December 1909. I merely had enough credits to get a degree in 
December, that's all. I was a member of the class of 1910. 

I guess it would have been the previous graduation when Rabbi 

Voorsanger was memorialized. He founded the Semitic department at 
Berkeley. 

I had nothing to do with him. I did not graduate in May of '09, I 
graduated in December, you might say, because I had enough credits 
to do it. 

Was there a graduation ceremony, or did they wait until 1910? 
I waited until May of 1910. 

You were on the staff of the Blue and Gold. Was that considered an 
honor? 



98 



Sinton: Not particularly. You just did some work, you did some writing. 

Glaser: Was there a selective process for those on the staff? 

Sinton: The editor chose the people he wanted. 

Glaser: Did you have fun being the josh editor? 

Sinton: Sure. Everything was fun at Berkeley. 

Choosing the Legal Profession 

Glaser: When you decided on law, you chose to go into practice rather than 
to go enter into the family business. You told me your brother 

Sinton: He went into the wool business. Well, I didn't want to go into the 
wool business. I'd always wanted to be a lawyer. I don't know why. 

Glaser: But you didn't use your law degree in the family business. You 
chose to go on your own. 

Sinton: The family business didn't have a house lawyer or anything like 
that. 

Glaser: Your brother had a degree in chemistry and yet he went into 
business. 

Sinton: That's right, but that was just because he was inclined towards 
chemistry and mathematics, as I said. He knew he was going into 
the wool business all the time. In other words, he never intended 
to be a chemist. 

Glaser: After you got your law degree, you entered Jesse Lilienthal's law 
office. How long were you there? 

Sinton: I was there about four or five years. Well, I was there during law 
school days. I guess I was there in the office for a year or so 
while I was in law school. 

Glaser: What were you doing? 

Sinton: Law classes were only in the mornings, really, so I went there in 
the afternoons just to get some experience. 

Glaser: What did you do? Did they have you help prepare briefs? Did you do 
research? 



99 



Sinton: Yes, we did research and all that sort of thing, went out to court. 
I was really a messenger boy, more or less. It was very good 
experience. 

Glaser: In those days did you have to pass the bar the way you do now? 
Sinton: No. We were admitted on motion. 
Glaser: What is that? 

Sinton: If we passed the final examinations at Hastings we were admitted 

on motion. We didn't have the bar examinations as such but our own 
examinations were similar to the bar examinations. In other words, 
in one course on pleading and practice it was an all day examina 
tion, an eight hour examination. I can recall that there were ten 
questions with thirteen parts to each question. That was just in 
pleading and practice. We had an examination in all the other 
subjects and then were admitted on motion. It was similar to a bar 
examination. 

Glaser: There was a period of time when you did not have to go to law 
school, where you could work with a lawyer. 

Sinton: That is correct, in the early days. 
Glaser: When did that cease? 

Sinton: I don't know when you had to be from an accredited law school. 

That's much later in the day. I think it ceased really right after 
World War I, to the best of my recollection. 

Glaser: Was Hastings the only law school in the Bay Area at the time? 

Sinton: California was starting the Boalt School of Law at just about that 
time, but it wasn't really established when I got out of college. 
I think Stanford had a law school at just the same time. 

Glaser: Was Hastings a private school? 

Sinton: No, part of the University of California. 

Glaser: Even back then? 

Sinton: Oh, yes. 

Glaser: Why was Boalt started? 

Sinton: Hastings was established for people who couldn't go to college. It 
was established as a school for poorer boys, originally, who 
couldn't afford to go to college but who wanted to go to law school. 
That's why. It changed later. The standards were just the same as 
at any other school. 



100 



Glaser: You could enter from high school? 

Sinton: You could if you were qualified, yes. I knew fellows who worked in 
law offices from the time they were 14 years old and went to 
Hastings. I know one, Theodore Roche, who never went to a law 
school; but he worked seven days a week in a law office from the 
time he was fourteen years old until he died. 

Glaser: Why did you leave the Lilienthal law office? 

Sinton: At first I really left it because I had to go in the army in 1917 

and that was the break. They had lost a great deal of their clients 
because Jesse Lilienthal, Sr. became the president of the Market 
Street Railways. I don't think this should be in it, really, 
because it's a reflection on their office. They just lost their 
clients when he went into the presidency of the Market Street 
Railways, so I left and went down to the Mills Building. 

Glaser: How did a young lawyer start a practice? 

Sinton: Well, by that time you knew a lot of people. You were just the 

same as anyone else. But now, of course, you go into a large law 
office and there you are, unless you go to a small town. 

Glaser: But even if you know a lot of people, a lot of these already have 
their own law firm. 

Sinton: I know, but you gradually acquired a clientele. 
Glaser: As a young lawyer, what kind of cases did you handle? 

Sinton: We handled defense matters, corporation matters, and probate. 
Those three things. 

Glaser: When you say defense matters 

Sinton: Because I had that experience in Lilienthal 's office, we defended 
against negligence cases which then were coming up. But I didn't 
go to court much in my life. I really didn't. It was mostly office 
practice. So, as I say, it wasn't interesting to anyone. 

Glaser: Did you handle a lot of wills, writing them and later going into 
probate? 

Sinton: A lot of them, yes. 

Glaser: Did this work parallel your activities for charities? 

Sinton: That had nothing to do with the charity. 



101 



Glaser: I would think that if you're writing somebody's will, you could make 
a suggestion 

Sinton: Oh, yes. I got a couple of million dollars for the University of 
California in one will. 

Glaser: How did you do that? 

Sinton: Because the woman had no children. 

Glaser: So you made a suggestion to her? 

Sinton: Sure. She wanted to do something. She wanted to memorialize her 
father and it was simple. 

Glaser: That must have given you a lot of satisfaction. 

Sinton: Yes. Part of it was left in trust for her niece, and when she dies 
it all goes to the University of California altogether about two 
million dollars. That was a lot of money in those days. 

Glaser: Do you call that residual estates? 

Sinton: No. The residuary legatee is the one who gets it after all the 
specific requests are provided for. No, it's just a charitable 
bequest, that's what it is. If it's an educational institution, 
they call it a charitable bequest. 



The Big Game 

Glaser: To go back to your school days, I know that you were very interested 
in attending the Big Games. 

Sinton: Oh, yes, we all did. That was because my brother went to Cal and my 
uncle had gone there. But don't forget that the children in those 
days didn't have all of these diverse things to do. There was no 
television, there was no radio, there was nothing to do except if 
you played in the sports yourself and you were interested in that 
sort of thing, particularly in football more than anything else- 
track, baseball, and football. 

[end tape 6, side 2; begin tape 7, side 1] 
Glaser: I wondered if you had ever done anything like stealing the Axe? 

Sinton: As far as that's concerned, no. The Axe was stolen at a baseball 
game in, I think, 1901. 



102 



Glaser: Baseball? I thought that was connected with the football games. 

Sinton: Later, but it was first stolen at a baseball game between Stanford 
and California. It became the trophy for the big football game 
later the Big Game. 

Glaser: Who had the Axe at the time it was stolen? 

Sinton: Stanford. It was called the Stanford Axe. There was an Axe yell: 

"Give 'em the Axe, give f em the Axe." Stanford had the Axe and they 
stole it and they took it over to Berkeley. That you can read much 
better than I can in the history of the University. But because 
there was such a to-do and Stanford tried to steal it back, and so 
forth, they put it up as a trophy for the Big Game. Have you ever 
been to the Big Game? 

Glaser: Yes. 

Sinton: All right, after the Big Game you will see that if Stanford had the 
Axe and California won the game they would transport the Axe across 
the field to California or vice versa. So it's been a peaceful sort 
of thing in the later years. But before, they'd go down to Stanford 
and try to steal it back. Stanford stole the Axe back from 
California. 

Glaser: In 1901? 

Sinton: No, that was the original theft. Stanford had the Axe originally. 
California stole it in 1901. Subsequent to that time (much, much 
later), Stanford went over to Berkeley and got it. It was in the 
trophy case or something. They did a very good job on it; it was 
really quite a deal. Then California tried to steal it back from 
Stanford and there was such a row about it, property destruction and 
so forth, that they finally agreed that it would become the Big Game 
trophy and transfer peaceably from one to the other. You got that 
now? 

Glaser: Yes. I have some questions that I want to ask you. 



The San Francisco Bank (Director 1930-1964) 



Sinton: You're not going to get to the bank. 

Glaser: I'm glad you remembered; tell me all about that. 

Sinton: In 1930 I was elected a director, which was then supposed to be quite 
an honor. Well, it didn't amount to so much. I was elected director 
of the bank. 



103 



Glaser: This is the San Francisco Bank? 

Sinton: That was the San Francisco Bank, which previous to that time had 
been called the German Savings and Loan and at the time of World 
War I changed its name because of the war. The bank was a simple 
operation. It loaned money on real estate and it owned municipal 
bonds; it was not a commercial bank at the time. 

It was supposed to be quite an honor to be a member of the 
board because there were only very few shares of stock outstanding. 
Each share was supposed to be worth nine or ten thousand dollars 
a piece, and that was supposed to be very fancy which it wasn't. 
It was kind of a closed corporation, and it was obvious that it was 
not the right thing to do. But in 1930 it was a very easy, nice, 
simple operation. 

Along came 1932 and the election of Franklin Roosevelt. All 
the banks were closed; the depression closed the banks. Our bank 
was closed together with all of the others, and we were in a fright 
ful mess. The United States government, as you may recall, got to 
the Supreme Court where they repudiated the contracts to pay 
currency in gold, which was on the face of it. But we had a great 
number of real estate loans, and we were in very bad shape because 
of the fact that the deposit of our money was in another bank which 
was in worse shape than we were. It's not necessary to mention the 
other bank's name. 

It was touch and go for awhile. It was not a very pleasant 
situation. However, the bank worked itself out of trouble with the 
help of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. Through the RFC, 
the government bought preferred stock of the bank to furnish the 
bank with sufficient capital to get through the financial crisis 
that existed. The Bank of America was in a great deal of trouble 
because they had a lot of loans all through the Valley that were not 
very good. It took us a long time to get rid of our bad real estate 
loans. Some people helped us doing it, and we revived and survived. 

The bank went through World War I all right without any 
trouble, (I wasn't in it at that time) and we went through World 
War II without any trouble. We were far removed from the scene of 
action. Nothing really changed here in San Francisco and California. 

We had the impression (and it was true) that the Bank of 
American wanted to get control of our bank. A man by the name of 
Frank Belgrano, who was quite a figure and had been with the Bank of 
America, got a hold of twenty-three branch offices which had been 
connected with the Bank of America and which the government made 
them separate themselves from. He got control of these twenty-three 
branches and merged them with the San Francisco Bank. We then 



104 



Sinton: became a commercial bank under the name of First Western Bank, 
president of the bank died and we employed another man, Henry 
Verdelin. 



The 



Glaser: What was the name of the president who died? 

Sinton: Parker Maddux. This was way back in the '50s. He died in 1952 or 
'53, along in there, so we got another man to come in. 

Walter Buck, one of the members of the board, wanted to be 
president of the bank. He instigated a movement to remove the 
board of directors because in the state of California you can't 
remove one, two or three directors. You've got to remove all of 
the board or none. We had quite a proxy battle and it ended with 
the man losing. He didn't become a director but he did get a 
couple of directors on the board; two or three resigned. 
Subsequent to that time (the stock, mind you, was selling around 
seventeen or eighteen thousand dollars a share) , there was a 
movement on to split that stock, to which some of the directors 
were opposed. Finally, instead of the Bank of America taking us 
over, or some other bank of that nature, the First Western Bank 
merged with the California Bank of Los Angeles (which was a much 
larger bank) and became the United California Bank. This was in 
1958, around in there. 

By that time I'd been a director of the bank for twenty-eight 
or thirty years. The bylaws were amended to provide that no one 
could serve after he was seventy-two or seventy-five years of age, 
and so I got off the board at that time, in January of 1964. So I 
served on that bank for thirty-four years . It was a very pleasant 
association except for the proxy fight we had, and we built quite 
a big bank out of it. 

The stock was split and then later the Western Bank Corpora 
tion, a holding corporation, took over the United California Bank 
as well as some other banks throughout the Western states. All of 
the stock of the bank is owned by the Western Bank Corporation, 
which is quoted on the stock exchange. But it was quite an 
experience to be on the bank, learn about real estate loans and 
other loans. It was a valuable experience. 

Glaser: Does a director pass on big loans? I assume you're not going to be 
bothered with small ones. 

Sinton: All of the loans that were of any size had to be reported. When 

we merged with the California Bank, it was a very careful operation. 
We would meet one month in San Francisco and one month in Los 
Angeles. We did that for four years. 



105 



Glaser: 
Sinton: 



Glaser: 
Sinton: 

Glaser: 

Sinton: 
Glaser: 
Sinton: 



Glaser: 
Sinton: 



Glaser: 
Sinton: 

Glaser: 
Sinton: 



How long did the mechanics of the merger take? 

It didn't take long, as I recall. It took four, five or six 
months, that's all. We had to divest ourselves of some of the 
branches which we had in Northern as well as Southern California. 
The government made us do that. 



Why? 



So that you wouldn't be so large? 



No, because it was a question of the Antitrust Act. We couldn't 
be in all of these places. Another bank bought the branches which 
became the First Western Bank. 

I didn't realize that the government had any control over branch 
banking. When I lived in Illinois, you could not have branch banks 
at all. 

In New York you can't either. That's a state law. 
So the federal government tells you that you 

If you're involving in stifling competition, that comes under the 
interstate commerce rules, and we had to divest ourselves of I 
don't know how many branches, quite a few, at the time that we 
merged with the California Bank. 

Was there any problem in merging two boards of directors? Did 
some have to leave? When you consolidate that way do you 

We didn't have that problem. Always in the merger of any two 
corporations you do have problems with the directors. But at that 
time I think two or three of them did resign. In fact, one of 
them was a woman who was on the board at the time. 

Wasn't that unusual for that period of time? 

It was unusual. We did have a woman on the board, though. She was 
a very good person. 

How was she selected originally? 

She represented a large real estate-owning family. She was very 
good and it was good to have a woman on the board. It was a 
matter of getting depositors and all sorts of things. It was 
excellent. But when they merged the banks they got rid of her. 
There was a little of that, but very little. We had no problem. 



Glaser: What sort of people did you have on your board? 



106 



S intern: 



Glaser: 
Sinton: 



Glaser: 
Sinton: 
Glaser: 

Sinton: 



Glaser: 
Sinton: 



Glaser: 



Sinton: 



They were the presidents or the vice-presidents of big corpora 
tions, that sort of thing. Southern California had many more 
prominent people than we had. We had two lawyers here Duncan 
McLeod and I were the two lawyers on the board plus Will Orrick. 
There were three lawyers on the board from up here. But in 
Los Angeles they had really very prominent corporate people the 
president of the Southern California Edison Company, a fellow by 
the name of Jack Horton I can give you the list of directors. 

What is the function of the board of directors? 

The function of the board of directors of a bank is to make policy, 
of course. But to choose the proper officials is the main function. 
Of course if anything goes wrong with the bank they may be respon 
sible. As a matter of fact, after I got off the board (we were 
made honorary members, which didn't mean anything), Frank King, 
who was an excellent man, a fine banker and a very fine man, got 
a hold of a fellow by the name of Erdman. Do you read Time? 

Yes. 

Did you read the article about Paul Erdman and his books? 



I read one of his books , The Silver Bears . 
was imprisoned in Switzerland? 



This was the man who 



That is correct. King got a hold of Erdman and Erdman really got 
hold of him. Erdman persuaded him to put ten million dollars in a 
Swiss bank and this man Erdman headed the bank. The bank engaged 
in commodity speculation and lost the Time said eighty million it 
was only forty million dollars, I think, which we paid. 

It was your bank that was involved? 

Yes, the United California Bank. I wasn't a director at the time, 
and I wouldn't have felt very good if I had been. I would have 
felt very shaky. There was one suit filed, I believe, but I 
think it was taken care of. But a stockholder could really have 
had an action there. This is what happens. You ask what the 
duties of a director are. That's one of the duties o~ a director 
to see that you employ the right people. 



Then, I suppose, 
employees . 



once you employ them to keep an eye on one's 



Of course, you do. We were so careful when I was a director, 
after the merger, that before the meeting we would spend about 
half to three-quarters of an hour reading over the minutes that 
were to be adopted. All of the activity, all of the actions that 






107 



Sinton: 



Glaser: 
Sinton: 
Glaser : 

Sinton: 



Glaser: 
Sinton: 

Glaser: 
Sinton: 

Glaser: 
Sinton: 



had been taken by the officers in the interim, were set out in 
these pages. There were seventy-five or eighty pages that we had 
to look over quickly before the meeting. Nothing was done that we 
didn't know about. If there was a troubled loan, there were 
committees for that. 1 was on an administrative committee that 
looked at troubled loans in Northern California, and we met once 
a month here to go over those doubtful loans that were of any 
size. So you had to be very, very careful. At the present time 
I wouldn't advise a client to go on the board of a bank. I just 
wouldn' t. 

Because the responsibilities are so great? 
Yes, because they are too great. 

When you were on the board for all those years , was it a problem 
making sure of controls so nobody could possibly embezzle? 

I'll tell you about that. You cannot stop certain small embezzle 
ments in a bank. You can stop big ones very easily by being 
careful. In other words, the president didn't have that authority 
so he could have grabbed a lot of money. He might have made some 
poor loans. That happens. He didn't, but it is a problem to 
that extent. But if you watch it closely that's one way a fellow 
can get money by making loans. A number of years ago, a bank got 
a man here from out of state, and the first thing he did was to 
make loans to some of his own companies. The loans were no good. 
He was fired right away. Six months after he was here he was out. 
That's the sort of thing you have to be careful about. Bad 
judgment is one thing; criminal procedure is another. 

The board of directors did the hiring? 



We hired the president, 
anything. 



We hired everybody who amounted to 



But then you have to watch what's going on, on the level below the 
president to make sure that there's no embezzling. 

Well, we get reports of all loans, of course. The doubtful loans 
are set out and listed. The bank examiners do that. 

Yes, but the embezzlement doesn't necessarily cover the 

We had no embezzlement. The only thing we had the whole time I 
was there, a man in the foreign exchange department lost a half a 
million dollars. He exceeded his authority. He wasn't embezzling. 
He didn't make any money out of it. He wanted to make a showing. 
We were insured against it. So the whole time I was there, thirty- 
four years, there was no problem. 



108 



Glaser: How do you spot who will be a good bank officer? 

Sinton: You get them from another bank or he's trained in your own bank. 

Glaser: What is there about a man that tells you he's going to be good? 

Sinton: That's just like anything else. That's a matter of judgment. 

Glaser: I'm asking what do you look for? 

Sinton: You look for honesty and integrity. You look for everything that 
you want in a bank president, a responsible man. A man has to 
have a certain experience, of course. There were three fellows at 
the bank who thought they were going to be the president. None of 
them was chosen. The ex-president had a habit of saying, "You'll 
be the president, you'll be the president, or you'll be the 
president" none of them was chosen. 

Glaser: Then you run into the problem of disappointed men leaving. 
Sinton: They didn't. 

Glaser: I think my question really meant is there a specific qualification 
needed for 

Sinton: Good Lord, you can say that about anything. Any man in any 

corporation. You have to have a certain qualification, of course, 
for everything. There were banking techniques, personnel problems, 
all of those things. If your bank is in trouble or if your cor 
poration is in trouble, you cannot do it with a man's who's there. 
You have to bring in a man who's going to be very, very tough, who 
hasn't any local affiliation, and who can fire and hire as he 
wishes. That's happened in three banks in San Francisco in recent 
years. 



109 



V SAN FRANCISCO, A SPECIAL PLACE 
[Interview 5: July 14, 1977] 
[begin tape 8, side 1] 



Jewish Identity 



Glaser: 



Sinton: 



Glaser: 
Sinton: 



Glaser: 



Sinton: 



Glaser: 
Sinton: 



When you were living with your parents, did you have Passover 
seders? 

I told you that we did have them in my grandfather's day. When 
my grandfather, Simon Koshland, was alive we did have Passover 
services and he conducted them. After his death, we did not; he 
died in 1896 or 1897. I have been at many Passover services but 
we didn't have them in our own home. 

Did you have a Christmas tree? 

No, my parents did not have a Christmas tree. No, I think I told 
you that my father gave us presents at New Year's. He never would 
give us anything at Christmas. That was the only thing that he 
did that was different. My mother, I think, gave us Christmas 
presents. 



Then you had neither Hanukkah nor Christmas, 
give you Christmas presents? 



But your mother did 



I think so, yes, but my father didn't. That wap the ralic of his 
religious upbringing. They weren't particularly religious as such. 
We didn't have all of the things that I know you probably had at 
Hanukkah or Passover services. I did go to many Passover services 
when I was president of the Federation. 

Did you go to institutional services? 

Yes, institutional. For instance, when I was president of the 
Homewood Terrace, I went, naturally, to the Passover service there. 
That sort of thing. But we didn't have it at home. 



110 



Glaser: 



Sinton: 



Glaser: 
Sinton: 
Glaser: 
Sinton: 

Glaser: 
Sinton: 



Glaser: 
Sinton: 



Glaser: 



Glaser: 



Did you take your children with you when you went to Homewood 
Terrace? 

I don't think so. To be very honest, we were not practitioners of 
the ritual at all. I went to temple. As long as my father lived, 
I went with him two or three times a year. But that was the extent 
of it until I became a member of the board of Temple Emanu-El. 

Then you went more often? 

No, I didn't. I went New Year's and I went on the Day of Atonement. 

When were you on the temple board? 

It was when 1 was quite old. I was quite old when I was asked to 
be on the board by Ernie Rogers, I think, or Sam Jacobs. 

Not 1928? 

Oh, no. My brother was on the board of the temple in the earlier 
days, but that wasn't in '28. He didn't come out here, in fact, 
until 1930 so that he was on the board later, and if ever there 
was a nonreligious fellow it was he. 

I guess I'm confusing 1928 when you were on the 

I was the president of the Federation in 1928. That is quite 
correct. It had nothing to do with the Temple Emanu-El. I think I 
told you the story of my brother. Someone asked him how he could be 
a member of the board of directors at Temple Emanu-el. He says, "I 
represent the absent members." [Laughter] He was absolutely no 
great shakes as far as religion was concerned. Nor was I, really, 
except that I was interested in the charitable activities within 
the Jewish community. But I wasn't particularly interested in the 
temple as such. We all were members and we'd go dutifully on New 
Year's Day and the Day of Atonement or the evening before the Day 
of Atonement. 



But you have a very strong feeling of being Jewish, 
wouldn't partake in all these activities. 



Otherwise you 



Sinton: That's true. I told you the story about Rabbi Fine's resignation. 



I'm very fond of him and always was. 
that explains my feeling of religion. 



I won't tell it again, but 



It is interesting that while you don't feel a religious tie, you 
very much feel a tie to the community, as demonstrated by your 
contributions . 



Sinton: That is true and I think that, to a great deal, came from my father. 




Mrs. Rosina F. Koshland, 
Stanley Sinsheimer (Sinton) , 
Mrs. Nettie K. Sinsheimer 
(Sinton) holding grandson 
Stanley, Jr. - 1909. 





Edgar Sinton with his parents 
and daughters Jean and Ruth, 
Hillsborough, 1921. 



Edgar Sinton, 7 years old 




Fund Raising, Oakland, 1939 

Melvyn Douglas, guest speaker 
Edgar Sinton, chairman 



Ill 



Glaser: You're certainly not an assimilationist. 

Sinton: Well, I wouldn't say I wasn't. After all, look at how many of my 
grandchildren have married out of the faith. Of course, I had 
nothing to do with it. But my two children who got married did 
marry Jewish men. 

Glaser: But you feel if the American Jews should lose their identity 

Sinton: I think it would be a terrible thing. 

Glaser: That's why I say you're not an assimilationist. 

Sinton: Not to that extent, no. It's a very difficult problem as to how far 
you assimilate and how much you should do to retain the strength of 
the Jewish community all over. I've always felt that was primary 
and essential. But you cannot live in this country and be so 
different from other people. You just can't do that. So when you 
use the word 'assimilate' it's a broad term which you can't adhere 
to all the time either against or for. You have to have a fine 
balance there. 

People have asked me for advice relating to their subscription 
to the Federation if they have had financial reverses, and I have 
said that the one thing you do not do is to cut your subscription 
to the Community Chest. That is primary. You are an American 
citizen first, the Welfare Fund comes next. So I can answer you 
that way. Is that clear? I can't express it any better than that. 

Glaser: I had thought that was your feeling, otherwise you wouldn't work as 
hard as you do for the various Jewish organizations. 

Sinton: That's right. I got the list the other day [looks for list] of the 
way the Jewish people give to the United Way in comparison with the 
other people in the community. The amount is way out of proportion 
because they give so much more. That's perfectly proper. I think 
that's all right, because I think it's important that we do more 
than the ordinary citizen. And we do, of course. 

Glaser: Would you explain that, please? Why do you think we should do more? 

Sinton: Because we were brought up to do more. Because we know much more 
about it. Because we had the experience of how necessary it is to 
help the underprivileged, and the other people haven't. In this 
way we have been leaders in organized charity. It's very simple. 
We realize the importance of it and we do it much better. We do 
serve as examples to the rest of the community. Sure we do. All 
right, next. 



112 



The Office of Price Administration. Continued 



Glaser: Next I want to ask you more about the OP A to go into greater detail. 
Why did Harry Camp ask you to become the 

Sinton: The rationing executive. Why he did? 

Glaser: Yes, why did he ask you rather than somebody else? 

Sinton: 1 haven't the slightest idea. He knew me. 

Glaser: What was your relationship? 

Sinton: Not very close. He knew me and I knew him. He was a very fine man. 
Did you know what his business was? It's important to know that. 
Harry Camp had millinery concessions in, I don't know how many, 
retail department stores all over the country. That was his 
business. He was acquainted with every department store owner and 
manager in the United States. He had a wide acquaintanceship in 
that field. He knew organization from that experience. He 
probably was a retail distributor all through the country. If you 
wanted to know someone in Washingotn or Richmond, Virginia, or 
wherever, he knew everybody there. I never knew of a man who knew 
more people than he did. 

He was asked by someone in the government to become the 
regional administrator of the Eighth Region. There were eight 
regions all through the country. The Eighth Region comprised 
California, Oregon, Washingotn, Arizona, and Nevada. 

Glaser: But why did he ask you when you had no administrative experience? 

Sinton: I haven't the slightest idea. I guess he wanted a lawyer, I don't 
know. 

Glaser: But he didn't ask you to head up the legal division. 

Sinton: No, that was headed up by Ben Duniway, who later became a United 
States Court of Appeals justice, just retired. 

Glaser: How close were you with Duniway in administrating your division? 

Sinton: Very close. We all were. There was the price division, the ration 
ing division, the rent division, and then there was the enforcement 
division. Ben Duniway was the head of the enforcement division. 
The head of price was I guess Frank Sloss later became the head of 
it. We had a professor from the university, a fellow by the name of 
Frank L. Kidner. He was in the price division. We all worked very 
closely together. There were cabinet meetings of the heads of the 
departments every other day . 



113 



Glaser: You had to refer to Duniway any infractions that took place? 

Sinton: That's right, that's the way it worked, yes. It was a very close 

office. We had offices out on Market Street. They were all on the 
same floor. 

Glaser: Were many cases referred to him? 

Sinton: No, comparatively few. I told you before the violations were few 
and far between. But you must remember there were state divisions. 
Each state ran its rationing, but we were the regional, overall 
directors, that's all. So any violations were handled on the local 
level. 

Glaser: Then what came to your attention? 

Sinton: Broad policy. 

Glaser: So those who had broken the law would not be referred to you? 

Sinton: Not except on appeal. We had some appellate stuff. I can go into 
that later but I don't think it's too important. I can tell you a 
story about the newspaper people. It was rather amusing because 
the newspapers will print anything that their publisher will tell 
them to print, even if a definite false statement. I'll tell it to 
you if you want. 

We decided to get a man who would take care of all of these 
appeals that came up to us from the state districts. So that the 
public would realize that we were not a bureaucracy without an 
appeal, we had a special man. We first tried to get a circuit 
court of appeals Judge, but they told us their calendar was too 
heavy, they couldn't release anybody to the service. So we finally 
got down to a man by the name of McKeage who had been a superior 
court judge. We finally determined that he was an honest, capable 
man and we appointed him to this position. 

The San Francisco Examiner came out with a story that I was a 
friend of his and got that position for him. But I had never met 
him. So when the story came out, I sent for the reporter and I 
said, "Where did you get this story? Do you know that I don't 
know Judge McKeage?" 

He said, "No." 

I said, "Why'd you write it?" 

He said, "I was told to write it, so I wrote it." 



114 



Sinton: I said, "Don't you think that's the wrong thing to do? You've 
written something that's absolutely untrue." 

He said, "I suppose it is, but that's my job." 
I said, "I may ask you to retract it." 

He said, "Let me give you a piece of advice. No one will 
look at the retraction at all. Forget it." 

He was right. But that's what happened. I was the fellow who 
was supposed to have gotten this job for this fellow and I had 
never even met him. 

Glaser: They were attempting to discredit you. 

Sinton: Of course. There was a great deal of that, discrediting of any 
bureaucracy, even in wartime. 

Glaser: Because of resentment of the laws? 

Sinton: We were taking things away from people. We were telling them, "You 
can't have that much gasoline, you can't have that much sugar, you 
have to have coupons for meat, and you have to do this sort of 
thing." We were the rationing division, the one that was unpopular. 

Glaser: You were affecting them more than any other division. 

Sinton: Exactly. We realized that. But as I told you before, the viola 
tions were very, very few and far between. 

Glaser: How many people did you have under you? 

Sinton: Oh, I thought you might ask me. I'd have to look at the table 

again to see how many. We didn't have so many. I had a fellow in 
the sugar thing, a fellow in the meat thing, I had a fellow in the 
gasoline thing about four, five, or six different departments 
under me. 

If you recall, there were the local rationing boards composed 
of citizens throughout the city and the county. That was the first 
place where a person went. In other words, if a man needed extra 
coupons for gasoline he'd go to the local board. We had nothing to 
do with that. We merely set policy and saw that the regulations 
were adhered to. 

Glaser: Is it possible for you to come up with some figure as to how many 
people were involved in all the states in your region? 

Sinton: Oh, thousands, literally thousands of people, down to the level of 
rationing boards, similar to draft boards. 



115 



Glaser: There 'd be one In every community? 

Sinton: Oh, there ? d be many more. In San Francisco we probably had five or 
six, as I recall. There were quite a number. We wouldn't have 
direct communication with them; that went through their state 
offices. As a matter of fact, the Northern California state office 
was right below us. A lawyer by the name of Francis Carroll was 
the head of it. He's a lawyer here. We had a state office in Los 
Angeles run by Neil Petree. He was the president of the Chamber of 
Commerce down there at one time a very prominent man in Los 
Angeles. But we had jurisdiction over all the five states. The 
regional office was what you might call the highest division of the 
Office of Price Administration in this area. 

Glaser: Then the chain of command would be that you would get your orders 

from Washington, you would issue them to the men under you, and they 
would administer through the heads of state offices. 

Sinton: That's correct. Down at the bottom were the boards. 

Glaser: Who picked the state heads? 

Sinton: 1 assume that was political, one way or another. 

Glaser: The state governors would have done that? 

Sinton: No, they were chosen by the War Production Board was the original 

thing in Washington. But the thing was political. They got someone 
to organize it. I guess Harry Camp had a great deal to do with the 
appointment of these state people. We had one in Oregon, we had two 
in the state of California, one in Phoenix, Arizona; Portland, as I 
said, in Oregon; Seattle, Washington; and in Reno, Nevada. 

Glaser: You picked the men that were directly beneath you who were 
administrative 

Sinton: As a matter of fact, some of them were there before I got there. 
Glaser: How did you choose those you did? 

Sinton: In fact, I had a man who had been with General Motors in a 

dealership here to head the gasoline and the tire division; his 
name is Amos Crowell. You mentioned John May. Before I was 
appointed, John May was the acting rationing executive. He was 
there a short time before I got there, and he worked right under 
me until he enlisted in the navy. 

Glaser: How did you select the personnel you did choose? 



116 



Sinton: People through the different Industries. 

Glaser: Did you know them or did you talk to people for suggestions? 

Sinton: Thinking back, how did we get those fellows? I know I got the 

food man, Guy somebody I knew someone who knew him. He was a man 
who'd been in the industry. We got the people from 
industries involved. Of course, there were some people in the 
regional offices who were government civil service employees. The 
assistant administrator, Frank Marsh, had been in the government 
for a short time; he wasn't an old time government employee. A 
man by the name of Gentry was an old time government employee. 
There were some who were civil service people. But how I got them 
some of them were there already and some of them we got from 
industry. 

Glaser: What did you do about the black market on stamps and counterfeiting? 

Sinton: That was part of the enforcement division's job. We'd report 

anything, of course. That would be handled at the lower levels 
first. We didn't have much of an organized crime thing in it or 
anything of that nature. That didn't happen all through the 
country. They had a method of detecting counterfeit stamps. 

Glaser: But you did have the enforcement branch? 

Sinton: Oh, yes, we did which, between you and me, didn't do very much. 
There were very few prosecutions. 

Glaser: I understand that there was a whole ring of counterfeiters printing 
gasoline coupons. 

Sinton: There were, but we got them right away. They were stopped right 
away. It wasn't in this area. 

Glaser: I thought it was nationwide. 

Sinton: It was but it wasn't particularly in this area at all. But they 
did have a method. You know how they counted the coupons? They 
never counted, them, you couldn't count them there were too many. 
They weighed them. It was startling to me the way they did it. 

Glaser: That's far more efficient. 

Sinton: Oh, much. I learned a lot of little things like that. 

Glaser: What would you do if somebody made an appeal on allocations? 

Sinton: On an allocation of coupons? 



117 



Glaser: Yes. 

Sinton: After it had gone through the state it came up to us and if the 
record was straight, we usually affirmed it. We had very few 
appeals, practically none. It didn't amount to anything. 

Glaser: What if a candy manufacturer said, "You're driving me out of 
business. I need more sugar." 

Sinton: That's all right. He went before his board first and then he went 
to the state director. It was decided mostly on the lower levels. 
He was granted it or wasn't granted it in accordance with the 
amount of sugar that we had or the amount of gasoline that we had. 

I remember one instance particularly that came up to me 
because the newspapers wanted more gasoline for the delivery of 
papers and Washington refused to do it. When I went back there to 
a conference, I explained that it was very little gasoline that 
they wanted but they were very cooperative in seeing to it that our 
programs were communicated to the public. And I got it for them. 
That was just a small instance. But we didn't have much of that 
nature. Individual things were settled at the lower level. We were 
in the regional office. Of course, we did have quarrels with the 
Washington office. Everyone always does. The field offices always 
have quarrels with the national offices. 

Glaser: Did you have any problem in that one office or one region or one 
state might interpret rules differently? 

Sinton: Yes, we had the problem with Nevada; I told you that story. But 
other regions we met every three or four months in Washington. 
We'd have a conference of all the regional rationing executives, 
eight of them together with the national office people, and we'd sit 
there in those summer months in those World War I buildings and it 
was no pleasure. 

Glaser: I imagine traveling back to Washington was no pleasure. 

Sinton: That wasn't so bad. It wasn't as bad as staying in those buildings 

which had no air conditioning or anything of that nature in '42, '43, 
and '44. 

Glaser: But wasn't it true that some states seemed to make a great deal of 
meat available whereas other states did not? Wasn't Oregon a state 
where you could get steaks? 

[end tape 8, side 1; begin tape 8, side 2] 

Sinton: Oh some fellow got a lot of meat or some fellow got a lot of 

gasoline, but they were very few and far between. The only people 
who got more gasoline than they really needed were the farmers. A 



118 



Sinton: lot of their gasoline was supposed to be used in tractors, but they 
used it for running around the country. That is true; they did 
that. But it wasn't to any degree that our military effort was 
affected. 

Of course, there was a great feeling in the country that we 
had much more gasoline it was the most important thing to people, 
more important than food or sugar or anything of that nature. 
Gasoline was dearer to their hearts than anything. But overall the 
military never lacked for one gallon of gasoline because of the 
consumption by the general public. We didn't know how much gasoline 
was available or how much oil was available. We merely carried out 
the policies that were made in Washington the War Production Board 
and the Office of Price Administration there. 

But it was a very good operation notwithstanding the fact 
that we naturally were targets for criticism because we were 
depriving people of things. That's true. 

Glaser: You mentioned that it was important that the newspapers have 
gasoline because they helped explain your regulations. 

Sinton: They had the diagrams of the meat. They explained any new 

regulation that came out. That was the way we got the information 
to the general public. 

Glaser: Did you do any public speaking at this time? 
Sinton: Oh, yes, over the radio a great deal. We all did. 
Glaser: Did you appear regularly? 

Sinton: Not regularly, no. For instance, I went to a football game at 

Berkeley. There were about fifty thousand people there. In the 
intermission they gave us five minutes. I went up to the press box 
and made a speech about rationing and the necessity for sacrifice 
and all that sort of thing. Yes, we did that from time to time. 

Glaser: Did you have a public relations officer who arranged this? 

Sinton: Yes and I'll tell you who she was. Her name was Bernice Woodard 
Behrens. She is the present state department representative here 
in San Francisco. A very lovely girl. 

Glaser: Earl Behrens 's wife? 

Sinton: That's right. But she's out now because of the change in admini 
stration. She's going to lose her position, which I regret very 
much. She's a smart girl, a Stanford graduate. She was a very 



119 



Sinton: bright girl, attractive. When Charles L. McNary, the Senator from 
Oregon, ran for vice-president under Wendell L. Willkie, she wrote 
a lot of his speeches for him. At the time I knew her she was 
about in her mid or early thirties. Now she's an older lady. 

Glaser: What did she do aside from radio spots? 

Sinton: Oh, that was the least she did. She made a great many speeches 

herself, to different groups of women and others, relating to the 
OPA policy. She was a smart girl. 

Glaser: I would think it was important to keep the public informed. 

Sinton: It was very important. We had to have the cooperation of the public 
or we wouldn't have been able to have a successful operation. 

Glaser: Did she do a lot of traveling? 

Sinton: We all did a great deal of traveling. We all went to see our state 
offices. We went to Arizona, went to Oregon, we went to all of the 
different places, just to keep our people in line. 

Glaser: Did she arrange for radio spots for you in the other states 
Sinton: No, the state people did that themselves. 
Glaser: She was your local PR rather than 

Sinton: No, she was the regional. I think she and John May must have gone 
to Stanford at about the same time. 

Glaser: Did you come across any instances of bribery? Was that a problem? 

Sinto-: As far as that's concerned a man (whose name I will not mention) 

telephoned to me one day on behalf of a restaurant. He wanted more 
meat coupons. I said, "I have no influence in that direction, and 
I wouldn't use it if I did. You go to the local level. If you 
prove to them that you have a right to it, that's all." I said, 
"You won't get any help from me." These things happen. 

Glaser: Do you know if bribery was widespread throughout your region? 

Sinton: No, it was not widespread. I do know that some meat people and 

others did violate the law. I knew who they were from my contacts 
outside of the Office of Price Administration. I knew that some 
of them (I would say a great many of them) did that in a way meat 
coupons and that sort of thing. But as a matter of fact, in our 
own household we were very careful not to violate one little section 
'of the code. Naturally, we were in a position that we couldn't. 
But we got along fine. 



120 

Glaser: Well, you had sixteen coupon books. That helped. 

Sinton: We had sixteen people. 

Glaser: It helps, though, if you have a lot of coupon books. 

Sinton: No, I don't think so. But we did very well with it. 

Glaser: I understand how you felt that you had to lead the way. 

Sinton: Oh, it was perfectly natural. We leaned over backwards. We had to 
do that, gasoline-wise and everything else. 

Glaser: What kinds of penalties were there for violators? 

Sinton: Well, there were the usual penalties of fines and jail sentences. 
But I don't know of anyone who went to jail. We never ran into 
much of it. The worst thing we ran into was some of the Communists 
who were involved in our regional office. That was something 
different. 

Glaser: They were organizing? 
Sinton: They were organizing. 
Glaser: You told me how they got to Mrs. Roosevelt. 

Sinton: That's true. They did. It was a matter of appointment of people 
more than anything else. It had nothing to do with the operation 
itself. It was the jobs that they wanted. 

Glaser: Could you explain that? 

Sinton: I think that they were more interested in getting people in the 

organization than doing anything to hurt the war effort or anything 
like that. After all, Russia was our ally. 

Glaser: I thought that you meant they were spending time on the job 
organizing. 

Sinton: They were. 

Glaser: Was this fairly open? 

Sinton: It was to me. It was to everybody in the organization, and we 

controlled it quite well. But they were there and I know the names 
of the people and all of it. 

Glaser: In someone's oral history, this person (a politically active woman) 
mentioned that Barbara Nachtrieb Armstrong 



121 



Sinton: University of California, yes. 

Glaser: was a member of the OPA in San Francisco and was going to be 
fired. 

Sinton: She was in the state office then. It had nothing to do with us. I 
knew who she was, yes. A very, very fine person. You couldn't 
have had a person of higher integrity. She might have been in 
Alameda County, she wasn't over here as far as I recall. A very 
superior person. If there was any charge against her, we didn't 
know it. 

Glaser: Mr. Duniway went to Washington D.C. at one point, didn't he, to 
work on the national board of the OPA? 

Sinton: If he did, it was after I was out. 
Glaser: How long were you in, actually? 

Sinton: About two and a-half years, as I recall, '42, all of '43, and part 
of '44. 

Glaser: Why did you resign? 

Sinton: Because I wasn't well. I couldn't travel anymore at the time. That 
was all. I had to get out. As a matter of fact, I think Harry Camp 
resigned before I did. He told me, "I'm going to resign and now I'm 
going back to Washington to tell these fellows what I think of 
them. " 

I said, "If you don't mind, go to Washington first and then 
resign. You won't have influence once you resign." 

Glaser: I'm surprised you had to bring that to his attention. 

Sinton: I was too. He was a very naive person as obvious from the story I 
told you about the fellow from Nevada the man who granted some 
extra gasoline to go deer hunting when the season opened. 

Glaser: You mean Mr. Camp had approved this? Was he involved in this? 

Sinton: Not at all. We had the fellow down here to discipline him and 

Harry Camp told me, "When he comes down here I'll drink his blood." 
So he came here and all Harry Camp said to him was, "You know, Leo, 
you shouldn't have done that." He was that kind of a nice fellow, 
Harry Camp was. Not tough. 

Glaser: Did you have anything to do with Adrian Falk? 



122 



Sinton: I knew Adrian Falk very well. 

Glaser: He worked on the OPA codes representing industry. 

Sinton: He probably did. That was the price division, I think. But he 

wasn't official. He was representing industry; he was the head of 
S & W. That's right. But he was a very fine fellow. I knew him. 
As a matter of fact, he was on the Jewish Bulletin with me, on the 
board. I served on that too. I suppose I forgot to tell you that 
one. [Tape recorder turned off] 



The Great Baseball Fan 



Glaser: When did you stop playing baseball? 

Sinton: I guess we were a little childish about it. I think after 1 was 
married 1 played baseball down in San Mateo (what we used to call 
bush league) two or three times, that's all. But we really stopped 
when I got out of college. I did it maybe three or five years after 
I was married, until I was probably twenty-eight, until World War I 
broke out. 

Glaser: I heard an anecdote 

Sinton: Probably apocryphal. 

Glaser: Do you think you know already what it is? 

Sinton: Well, go ahead. You can tell the story. I'll tell you if it's true. 
You told one story which wasn't true about me. 

Glaser: Which was that? 

Sinton: That was the one that I refused to go down to an office to see my 
uncle. 

Glaser: One of your nephews gave me that. 

Sinton: I know. It was not true. It absolutely is not true. Go ahead, 
tell the baseball story. 

Glaser: After the birth of your third daughter you either threw away your 
baseball mitt or you sent it to your brother. 

Sinton: That you heard from Stanley or from Bobby. 



123 



Glaser: Right. 

Slnton: Well, the story is this: we had two girls first and then nine years 
later Marian got pregnant and I was telling my brother Stanley, 
"Well, by golly, if this is a girl I'll send you the glove," 
because he had all boys. Have you ever seen an old player's 
baseball glove? 

Glaser: My sons have them. 

Sinton: Oh, now they're tremendous things. We had a little thing that had 

no padding whatsoever. It was a horrible looking thing, really. It 
was a mixture of saliva well, I didn't smoke and tobacco juice. 
But that's what it was. The old expression, "You smell like a 
motorman's glove," that's the way this was. [Laughter] So I said, 
"I'll send it to you, believe me, if this is a girl." He and his 
wife were in Europe with my father and I wired him that a girl had 
been born, that Marian was all right, and everything was fine. He 
sent me back a two word cable: "Send glove." That's the story. 

Glaser: So he had your sense of humor. 
Sinton: Yes. 



Walter Haas 



Glaser: I think Walter Haas told me that anecdote too. 
Sinton: He might have. 

Glaser: He also told me that you and he have a "clearing house." He said 
that you and he decided some years ago not to exchange birthday 
gifts. 

Sinton: That's right. I think from the beginning we said it was ridiculous 
for grown men to send birthday presents to each other. We never did. 
We had that agreement, yes. 

I thought you were talking about something else which was 
more amusing. He's a great worrier about affairs national, inter 
national he worries about these things. So one day I said, "Look, 
you worry about international affairs and I'll worry about national 
affairs and it will save you a lot of trouble." So we always kid 
each other. I'll say, "That's not within my jurisdiction. If 
you're worried about the Middle East, that's your business. I'll 
worry about the domestic economy." So we divide it up. [Laughter] 



124 



Glaser: Do you share his love of fishing? 

Sinton: No, he's a good fisherman but I'm not. I don't like it. 

Glaser: Is the Mackenzie River where he fishes? 

Sinton: Yes, the Mackenzie River. He went up there. Oh, he's a good 

fisherman still. Yes. His son's supposed to be one of the best 
fishermen around. 

Glaser: Isn't there another anecdote that has to do with his fiftieth 
wedding anniversary where he took a whole load of 

Sinton: His seventieth birthday. He took us all up to the Mackenzie River. 

Glaser: You did something with the game warden? 

Sinton: Not I. 

Glaser: When you dropped a small fish into his creel and 

Sinton: Not I. I didn't fish with him. It wasn't I. 

Glaser: I thought because of your sense of humor you had arranged for the 
game warden to come along to pretend to arrest him. 

Sinton: Not I. I'm not a fisherman, and I had nothing to do with playing 
any jokes on the river with him. 

Glaser: Whoever the person was said to him, "Don't worry Walter, I'll defend 
you." 

Sinton: Not I. 

Glaser: Did you share your brother's love of hunting? 

Sinton: No, he was a duck hunter. He took me a couple of times. I wasn't 
good at it at all because I hadn't done it. 

Glaser: Was this in Massachusetts? 
Sinton: No, here. 
Glaser: After he moved? 

Sinton: Oh, yes. He came back here in 1929 or '30. Yes, he was a member of 
the duck club across the Bay. He took me a couple of times and I 
went with someone else once. But I never was crazy about shooting a 
bird. 



125 



Glaser: You felt sorry for the bird? 
Sinton: I always felt sorry for the bird. 

A deer came into our place and I told Marian, "I'll shoot him." 

She said, "Don't you dare." 

Well, of course, you couldn't shoot a deer, but we've got eight 
deer eating all the string beans and everything. But I always 
thought hunting was I was always kind of against it. Of course, 
when you get logical you can't eat meat then. 

Glaser: Do you have a vegetable garden? 

Sinton: We did have until the deer got in it. Well, we have some. We have 
some Italian squash zucchini. They're very good. We have a few 
things like beets. We have some peas, too. But they got the string 
beans . 

Glaser: They are a problem. 

Sinton: They come down from the hills looking for food and water and they 
really should do something about it. Well, I'm not going to go 
into that now. That has nothing to do with anything. 



Earl Warren and Jesse Steinhart 



Glaser: You mentioned that you did have some contact with Earl Warren 
during the period of the OPA. 

Sinton: Yes, Earl Warren came down and sat in on a couple of conferences we 
had. I'm trying to think what it was about, I don't remember. He 
was very patient. Now the man was a very busy man and he sat there 
for a day or so on these day-long conferences. He was a very nice 
man, very conscientious. 

Glaser: He was the governor at this point, was he not? 

Sinton: He was the governor at the time, yes. But I didn't know him well at 
all. I'll tell you who knew him well Earl Warren was his protege 
and that was Jesse Steinhart. He was the man who had more influence 
on Earl Warren in this community than anybody else. 

Glaser: How did that come about? 



126 



Sinton: I really don't know. Earl Warren was at the University in 1912, 

I think, and Steinhart was 1900 and 1901, so there was at least ten 
years difference in their ages. Jesse Steinhart was a lawyer here 
and when Earl Warren got out of Cal I suppose it was through Jesse 
Steinhart having been a regent of the University. But I'm not sure 
about that. 

He had a great, great influence on Warren's life and he did a 
great deal for him. On appointments, particularly judicial appoint 
ments, Earl Warren always asked Jesse Steinhart. He never would 
recommend anybody, but Earl Warren would ask him and then he would 
give him his advice. 

Glaser: But their relationship began a little earlier because Steinhart is 
referred to as a kingmaker in relationship to Earl Warren. 

Sinton: Well, I suppose it did. He was a politically wise man. In fact, 
Jesse Steinhart was a very wise fellow all around, and he probably 
did have a great deal to do with the election of Earl Warren as 
attorney general and later as governor, no questions about that. 



Jewish Community Leaders 



Glaser: In community affairs, your name comes up a great deal along with 
Jesse Steinhart and Judge M.C. Sloss. 

Sinton: That's true, because they were the seniors to me. Jesse Steinhart 
is the one who should have been the first chairman of the American 
Jewish Committee chapter here. But he was a national officer at 
the time. He had been in it prior to the time that we got into it 
here, and he was the one who asked me to become the first chairman. 
Otherwise, I never would have been in it. 

Jesse Steinhart was a good leader because he got younger people 
involved in these different organizations. Now that had nothing to 
do with the Federation, because he succeeded me as president of the 
Federation. I was in it perhaps before he was, although he was, as 
I say, about eight or nine years older than I. 

Glaser: But these two names keep popping up all the time in community 
affairs 

Sinton: Yes, that's right. He had a great influence in the Jewish community, 
Jesse Steinhart did. 

Glaser: Did you look up to him as someone to emulate? Of course, you had 
your father for a model. 



127 



Sinton: Long before him, yes. That had nothing to do with my involvement 
in charitable organizations. But Jesse was a great leader. 

Glaser: In the 1920 's was there one person who was the leader of the 
Jewish community? 

Sinton: 1920's. Now you're going back, and I'm trying to figure whether 

Moses Gunst was alive in 1920. I think he still was; he was a leader. 
Judge Sloss was definitely the most representative leader at that 
time Max Sloss. 

Glaser: The reason I pick that particular period is Mr. Koshland in his 
oral history says that the Jewish involvement with the greater 
community began in the 1920s. 

Sinton: It began long before that because it began when the Community Chest 
was organized and it was before 1920. 

Glaser: No, it was 1922. 

Sinton: Then I'm wrong. You're talking about 55 years ago now. I was on 

the executive committee of the Chest in 1928 when I was the president 
of the Federation, but I thought it was formed before that. Our 
Federation was formed in 1910. Is that correct? 

Glaser: That's right and your father was the first vice-president. 

Sinton: That's correct. He had a great deal to do with it. I told you 

that story. But if you want to know who the head of our community 
was it was Judge Sloss. 

Glaser: For many years? 

Sinton: Don't forget there were different organizations. A great many 

people had things to do. You asked for the most representative man. 
I would tell you Judge Max Sloss. 

Glaser: Was this also true in the thirties? 
Sinton: It was true in the thirties. 
Glaser: And into the forties? 

Sinton: Then you're coming to the forties and younger men such as Jesse 
Steinhart came in, of course. 

Glaser: Has there usually been one person? 

Sinton: No, not necessarily, but he was an outstanding figure, Judge Sloss. 
You talked to Frank Sloss didn't you? 



128 



Glaser: 



Sinton: 



Glaser: 



Our office has done a five-volume Bay Area Foundation History Series. 
Frank Sloss was interviewed for that. 

Dan Koshland knows more about that than all of the rest of them put 
together. He knows much more than Frank Sloss does about the San 
Francisco Foundation. Dan Koshland was one of the organizers of the 
Foundation. I was at the first lunch with him, and I think that's 
how we got ahold of John May because I had known him first. I'm not 
sure about it, but I think so. 



Are you a member? 
this town? 



Have you been active in any of the foundations in 



Sinton: No. 



Glaser: Subsequent to Judge Sloss and Mr. Steinhart 

Sinton: Now Moses Gunst was the one who really, I would say, was responsible 
for the volume of giving of the Jewish community in San Francisco. 
He was a leader before Judge Sloss. He was an uneducated man but 
he was a great fellow, a wonderful person. He was the man who said, 
"Give while you live," and he did it. He was a generous, charitable 
man. As I say, I don't think he ever got through grammar school. 
His history alone is a fascinating one from the 1880s on. 

Morgan Gunst was his son and a very, very intimate friend of 
mine. He was the fellow who really started the collection of money 
for Stanford University. Morgan Gunst was responsible for that 
himself in the beginning. I think he got a certificate of merit 
from the university for what he did. But his father owned a cigar 
store. I don't know if you've ever seen one of these little cigar 
stores with a counter. In the back he had a card room where they 
played poker in the early days, and that's how he got his start. 
He was quite a sport, interested in boxing and that sort of thing, 
and he was one of the men who helped put on the famous Corbett- 
Choynski fight on a barge in the middle of the Bay. 

Glaser: That's Mrs. Fleishhacker's father? 

Sinton: No, that Mrs. Fleishhacker's uncle. Her father was Herbert Choynski, 
who was a lawyer. His brother was Joe, who was the prize fighter. 
But this was way back in the early '90s or the late '80s I'm talking 
about now. 

Glaser: Was Mr. Gunst a promoter? 

Sinton: He helped stage that fight on the barge. What connection he had I 
don't know, but he was one of the ones involved because it was 
illegal in a way. You didn't have prize fighting here in certain 
places, so they got out on a barge in the middle of the Bay. 



129 



Glaser: That was the reason it was on the barge! 

Sinton: That was the reason. It's fascinating these early stories of San 

Francisco. But he was a great fellow, Moses Gunst. He sold out his 
cigar business to the General Cigar Company and received stock in 
General Cigars. He was quite a figure. He'd sit at the St. Francis 
Hotel after he was old and crippled and hold court there in the 
St. Francis Hotel lobby. Every politician, everybody knew Moses 
Gunst. You can't envision the man unless you've had the good 
fortune to see him. Ungrammatical in a way, but he was just a great 
fellow and an amazing leader in the Jewish community insofar as 
charitable giving was concerned. He led the way. 

Glaser: What was the period of his leadership? 

Sinton: That was after the Federation was formed, I think, 
[end tape 8, side 2] 



The Flavor of San Francisco 
[begin tape 9, side 1] 



Sinton: Oh, San Francisco was a great place to live. You have no idea of 
the different feeling that was here; different than any other city 
in the country. New Orleans was characteristic of certain things, 
yes. Of course, New York was great; it was the national financial 
center, the theatrical center and all that. But San Francisco had 
a flavor all its own. We realized how fortunate we were. We didn't 
have any extremes in climate. We could play baseball pretty nearly 
every day in the year. People would come just people still do 
come out from the Middle West in the middle of summer with seer 
sucker suits and all those light, white clothes and they freeze to 
death. 

This is a different city. It was a cool city and it was an 
intimate city. It had a tradition of cosmopolitanism from the 
beginning because all of the people came here at once in the early 
days. Of course, I'm sure that when you grew up you didn't have any 
trouble walking around the streets at night did you? 

Glaser: No. 

Sinton: Well, we didn't either. We'd walk all over. We never even took a 
streetcar if we didn't have to when I was young. We never thought 
of getting on a streetcar if we could walk it. I went to Pacific 
Heights School which was out on I think it was at Jackson near 
Webster and we'd come home to lunch which was at Pine and Gough. 



130 



Glaser: 
Sin ton: 
Glaser: 
Sinton: 



Sinton: It was about a mile or a mile and a-quarter and we'd go back after 
lunch: twenty minutes to walk home, twenty minutes for lunch, and 
twenty minutes to get back to school. And we did that every day 
while I was in grammar school. Now a child wouldn't do that. He'd 
either go to a cafeteria or something else. 

We're exchanging our feet for wheels. 

Yes, we walked all over. We thought nothing of it. 

Was sailing a sport when you were growing up? 

Oh, yes. I didn't have anything to do with it, but there were 
sailboats on the Bay, of course. My brother-in-law, Jack Walter, 
was in the yacht club, I think, across the Bay. Oh, yes, there 
were a lot. After all, we had all these Italian fishermen and 
everything else. But there was sailing in the Bay, of course, a 
good windy bay. 

Glaser: I didn't know if there were pleasure boats. 

Sinton: Yes. We didn't have anything much to do with it. We didn't own 
any sailing boats or anything. A great many people did. 

Glaser: Was there sculling? 

Sinton: Yes, across the Bay there was. But the crew at the University of 
California started when I was at Berkeley about 1908 I think was 
the first crew. They rowed on the estuary over in Oakland, and 
then they rowed over at Sausalito. They had the crew races there 
when I was in college. That still remains the one amateur sport 
that there is. The only one that's truly amateur. No one ever got 
a nickel for being on the crew. 

Glaser: It's considered a gentleman's sport, isn't it? 

Sinton: It's the only amateur sport. Track and field was somewhat the same, 
but now they get paid just the same as anyone else. 

Glaser: You mean they're subsidized? 

Sinton: Yes, they get scholarships. They get a track scholarship or some 
thing of the kind or they get a tennis scholarship, sure. It's 
become a little disgusting. 



Glaser: When do you think that happened? 



131 



U.C. Berkeley and Alumni Support 



SInton: A friend of mine who came from across the Bay told me that way back 
in 1898 or '99 someone was paid something to go to the University 
for playing football. But that was an isolated instance. It 
probably came into being after the close of World War I. That was 
the first indication of it. 

We had a great, great football team in California in 1920, '21, 
'22, and '23, where the whole San Diego high school football team 
came out. That was Brick Muller. You've heard of Brick Muller, I 
suppose. If you didn't hear of Brick Muller, you can leave the 
room. 

Glaser: I'll have to leave! [Laughter] 

Sinton: Gosh, he was the great Ail-American from the University of 

California, really the first one that Walter Camp ever picked. 
Walter Camp picked all the All-Americans and no one west of Chicago 
was ever thought of. But he was a great, great athlete. He was an 
end and he was the one that made that fifty-five yard pass in the 
Ohio State Rose Bowl game. We beat them twenty-eight to nothing. 

Glaser: What year was that? 

Sinton: January '21. Ohio State was supposed to have the best football 
team in the country, and we licked them twenty-eight to nothing. 
Then we were recognized. Brick Muller threw a fifty-five yard pass 
to a fellow by the name of Brodie Stephens who later became a 
doctor here. Everyone in California knows about that. You don't 
need to put that down. There is a Brick Muller room at the 
Memorial Stadium. A lot of people who belong to the Bear Backers 
and that sort of thing meet before every game in the Brick Muller 
room, which has all of his pictures and trophies. It's right across 
from the training quarters. 

Glaser: Are you active in that group? 

Sinton: No, I'm just a member of it. There are many alumni members. This 
is one group we're in, one that goes to that room, too, where 
the Bear Backers are. [Holds up brochure] 

Glaser: "Robert Gordon Sproul Associates." [Reading title of brochure] 
Sinton: That's the scholarship thing. The other is the Bear Backers thing. 
Glaser: What is Robert Gordon Sproul Associates? 



132 







Sinton: It's a fund that really came out of the Alumni Fund Foundation. It's 
really part of the Alumni Foundation. 

You give money for scholarships? 

It's for scholarly purposes, whatever they use it for, scholarships 
and professorships. It's used for the benefit of the University. 
Who were the Bear Backers? You can see the number of people who 
belonged to it. Look at this. [Flips pages to show extensive 
listing. ] 

Glaser: Have you raised funds for the University? 

Sinton: I have raised money for the University for an art project. It 

didn't amount to anything. It was just to raise enough money to 
send some sculptor to the biennial exhibition in Venice. They have 
one every other year, and we send some things and I had to raise 
money for it. The chancellor asked me to do it, Ed Strong. He 
was the one who was involved later in the '64 revolt, the Free 
Speech Movement. He was the chancellor at the time. Kerr was the 
president. 

Glaser: Did you have any involvement in the loyalty oath at the University? 

Sinton: That was when Warren was the governor. No, I really didn't have 
much to do with that. 

Glaser: Did you have anything to do with the Centennial Fund? 

Sinton: Merely that I gave to it. Dan Koshland was, I think, the chairman 
of the Northern California area. This is extraneous, really, and 
superfluous and irrelevant, but I think the alumni of the University 
of California does the least for its University than any other group 
that I know of, as a group. We get a lot of tax money, we know that. 
It's supported by the state, and the federal government supports the 
activities in which it is interested the Livermore thing and a lot 
of money is given to the Lawrence Laboratory and all of that. But 
the alumni, as the Alumni Association and its members, do the 
minimum so far as contributing money to the University. I think 
alumni are terribly at fault, culpable for their lack of support. 

Glaser: Does a graduate of a private university somehow develop a stronger 
feeling 

Sinton: Yes. We're a tax-supported institution and the notion has been that 
the state supports it. So the alumni have gotten into the habit of 
not supporting it. We get some alumni, yes sure, Walter Haas, Dan 
Koshland, some people from Southern California. But look what the 
Hewletts and Packards have done for Stanford, really $100 million. 



133 



Glaser: 
Sinton: 

Glaser: 
Sinton: 



Glaser: 



Sinton: 




Glaser: 



Sinton: 



Glaser: 
Sinton: 

Glaser: 
Sinton: 



That much? 

At least. I think they gave them fifteen million in the last 
drive. They raised $304 million for Stanford University. 

Is Stanford better able to arouse school spirit than Cal? 

It's not school spirit. It's the fact that we get tax money from 
the state and Stanford doesn't. It's a private university, the 
same as Princeton, Yale, and Harvard. They raise, comparatively 
speaking, enormous amounts of money. We don't. 

Do you mean the graduates of those schools perceive the need more 
clearly? 

Yes, they realize it's a private university, and they're in the 
habit of giving. This Sproul Associates is just one thing. Each 
member gives a thousand dollars a year. I figure that we have over 
200,000 alumni, maybe more. If I take 10 percent, that would be 
twenty thousand people, and if each of them gave a thousand dollars 
a year, figure how much that would be. How much is twenty thousand 
times one thousand, twenty million isn't it? 



What is the response of foreign students? 
as alumni? 



Do they have any feeling 



It's very interesting that some of the foreign students who have 
graduated from the University of California come back on Charter 
Day. Of course, they've become prominent people in their own 
country, politically particularly, and they come back and have a 
very close feeling for the University which has given them an 
education. Yes, they do. Walter and Elise Haas have a fund and 
each year a distinguished foreign student, an alumnus, gets an 
award. They all come back here and talk for Charter Day. It's 
one of the fine things that they have done. 

There seems to be a great number of foreign students here. 

Yes, it's a great thing that we do. We have influence in every 
foreign country in the world for that reason. 

I think one of the men who graduated from Berkeley was the prime 
minister of Pakistan. [Z.A. Bhutto] 

Yes, I think he was and they just deposed him didn't they? But 
there is a great number of them. Alumni are very prominent in the 
oil industry and in other things, particularly mining. We always 
had a great mining college; we graduated mining engineers and that 
sort of thing. In recent years we've produced very prominent 
foreign alumni. 



134 



Glaser: Both in mining and in agriculture 

Sinton: Oh, it's made the agriculture of the state. Of course, Davis has 
now taken over a great deal of that; Davis is a great, great 
college. But the University of California Agriculture Department 
has really been the saviour of agriculture, the one that made 
agriculture possible in the state of California, particularly the 
fruit industry. They do a wonderful job. It's a great university, 
the University of California. 

Glaser: Do we have to worry about time, about your appointment? 
Sinton: No, I just won't go today. 



Jewish Community Center 



Glaser: 
Sinton: 



Glaser: 

Sinton: 
Glaser: 



Then let's talk about the Jewish Community Center. 

The Community Center's first building was out at Presidio and 
California Streets. I was on the committee to arrange for its 
construction. Phil Bush was the moving figure in that. His widow 
is living, Lucille Bush. She knows much more than I do about the 
Center. She's a very lovely person; I guess she is as old as I 
am. She's fine and she can tell you all about Phil Bush and about 
the Community Center better than I. We were on the committee that 
formed it, laid out the plans for the organizations which would use 
it, and we helped raise the money for the construction of it. Then 
I was on the trust committee, so-called, of which Sidney Ehrman was 
the chairman for many, many years. It really was the holding 
company, not the operating company for the Community Center. 

As far as the operation of the Community Center is concerned 
the other centers that came after were organized from the original 
one. I had very little to do with them, only as a member of the 
holding company. So all I did was help in founding it and in 
being a member of the board of directors of the holding company. 
Bobby Sinton was the president of the Community Center. He knows 
more about it than I do. 

In 1929, when you were president of the Federation of Jewish 
Charities, you sent a check to the YMHA from the Alper estate. 

That is correct. 



Can you tell me about the Alpers? 



135 



Sinton: I can't know anymore except that they left some money to the YMHA 
through the Federation. 

Glaser: There was an Aaron A. Alper bequest that was to be used to buy 
property for the Jewish Community Center. 

Sinton: I think that's correct. 

Glaser: The money that you gave to the YMHA was "accrued income from the 

bequest of Aaron A. Alper, who provided principal and interest to be 
used for erecting the JCC building within five years of the decree 
dated September 1, 1925." [Reading from notes] Who was Mr. Alper? 

Sinton: I don't know anything about him. 

Glaser: Was the JCC an outgrowth, or a development, from the YMHA? 

Sinton: Yes, I would say so. 

Glaser: I think the YMHA at that time was downtown here at Post and Mason. 

Sinton: That is correct, but I was never in it. The Community Center came 
out of the YMHA, yes. 

Glaser: You were a member of the finance committee for the Jewish Community 
Center in 1930. 

Sinton: When was it built? 

Glaser: 1 don't know the actual building date. The purchase of the property 
was in 1930. 

Sinton: That's about it, yes. They constructed it right away. It only 

cost a quarter of a million dollars, as I recall, and some of that 
money came from the Alper estate, that's quite true. I think the 
property of the YMHA was sold and probably that money went into it 
too. 

Glaser: Lloyd Dinkelspiel was the president of the YMHA at that time. 

Sinton: Yes, I guess he was. 

Glaser: Why was the property held in the name of the board? 

Sinton: There was a holding company. It didn't operate it. Why that was, 
frankly I've thought of that myself. I don't know why it was 
combined with the other but we finally dissolved the thing. 

Glaser: How long did it exist? 

Sinton: It existed until just a few years ago. 



136 



Glaser: So the board of trustees was the holding company for the property. 
Sinton: Yes and we doled the money out to the operating company. 
Glaser: Would that be for tax purposes? 

Sinton: No, I don't think so. I don't think it was for any tax exempt 

purpose or anything of the kind. I don't know why it was done that 
way. 

Glaser: Were any of the other Jewish institutions formed that way? 

Sinton: Mount Zion did the same sort of thing. They have a foundation as 
well as their operating company, yes, they did. It could be so 
that the money could be held by them for awhile and then not used 
all the time. It was a financial reason, I guess. I don't know 
why. I really couldn't answer that. 

Glaser: Who was Irving Lipsitch? 

Sinton: Mr. Lipsitch was the paid executive of the Federation or of the 
Welfare Fund I think of the Federation before Hyman Kaplan came. 
We had to get a new administrator. It could have been when Lipsitch 
quit. Jesse Steinhart was in the East and we asked him to find out 
what the recommendations there were for a man for here. He came 
back with two names. One was Hyman Kaplan and one was the head of 
the Philadelphia Jewish Federation who was a leader in the field, 
an older man, and I forget his name. He was a very well-known 
social welfare professional. Very good. Jesse Steinhart inter 
viewed both of them. The question was whether we should take an 
established man in the field or take a very bright, upcoming young 
man. We made the policy that it would be better for us to take the 
younger man and that's how we happened to choose Hyman Kaplan. 
So now you've got that much. 

Sinton: Talking about the fact that you didn't know Brick Muller or Ernie 

Nevers, I remember in the days when Ernie Nevers played at Stanford. 
He was the biggest name in football around here. One of the young 
girls said, "Who's Ernie Nevers?" and they practically beat her to 
death. So that's all there is to the story. 



137 



VI JEWISH CHARITY IN SAN FRANCISCO 
[Interview 6: July 21, 1977] 
[begin tape 10, side 1] 



American Jewish Committee, Continued 



Glaser: I want to start out this interview by asking you more about the 

American Jewish Committee. Were you involved with the B'nai B'rith 
Survey Committee in the 1930s? 

Sinton: No. I don't belong to the B'nai B'rith. I subscribe a certain 
amount every year, but I'm not a member. 

Glaser: I understand the B'nai B'rith preceded the Jewish Community 
Relations Council. 

Sinton: It probably did. I don't know when the JCRC was formed, but I was 
not a member of that either. 

Glaser: Who was the first executive director of the local American Jewish 
Committee? 

Sinton: I think it was Harry Winton, but check with Ernie Weiner. He has 
a list of all those directors. One fellow was from New York, and 
his brother was Bloomgarten or Bloomgarden. But you can check that 
with Ernie Weiner at the AJC office. They have all the records. 

Glaser: How was it funded in the early days? 

Sinton: By dues from the members. We immediately got two hundred fifty or 
three hundred members, and they paid their dues. I think the 
national office did help out with the chapter with the payment of 
the executive director. 

Glaser: Today it does get some funds from the Welfare Federation, does it 
not? 



138 



Sinton: Oh, we always got funds from the Welfare Federation. 

Glaser: In the early days too? 

Sinton: Oh, yes. Jesse Steinhart and I got the money originally. 

Glaser: So that was part of the funding. 

Sinton: Yes. 

Glaser: What were your early activities, how did you choose people to be 
on the committees, and who were the people on committees? 

Sinton: How we did it? We asked them to serve. I wrote a letter to get 
the members, as I remember. This was a long time ago. This was 
1945, thirty-two years ago. But they have all of those records in 
the files of the American Jewish Committee. I haven't got them. 
I don't even know how long I served as chairman. I think it was 
four or five years, but I don't remember, so you can find out how 
long I served.* 

Glaser: Did you have any difficulty in getting people to be on committees? 

Sinton: No, not at all. We didn't have any difficulty. There weren't many 
committees in the early days. There were more committees later. 

Glaser: What were your early activities? 

Sinton: They were merely a formation to support the national committee, 
really. That was the main thrust, to require members to support 
the national committee and to support local problems before the 
Jewish Community Relations Council was formed. The JCRC took over 
our domestic problems after it was formed. Was the JCRC in 1930 
did you say? I don't want to get my dates mixed. 

Glaser: In 1930 it was the B'nai B'rith. 

Sinton: The JCRC was formed about thirty years ago, and when the JCRC 
became active it took over our local activities. We didn't 
interfere; we helped them. We really were formed, generally 
speaking, to back up the national organization of the American 
Jewish Committee, which is based in New York. A chapter was formed 
in Chicago and later in Cleveland and in other places. 



*The files of the local AJC office are sent to the national office 
in New York after five years, so this information was not available. 



139 



Glaser: 

Sinton: 
Glaser: 

Sinton: 
Glaser: 
Sinton: 



Glaser: 
Sinton: 



Glaser: 
Sinton: 
Glaser: 
Sinton: 

Glaser: 
Sinton: 



But you were active here and you told me about the executive suite 
and education 

That was much later. 

Is that the kind of activity that you ceased to do once the JCRC 
was formed? 

No. We continued to do the executive suite. We still do. 
What's the break down between your activities and the JCRC? 

That is something we do with big national corporations. They're 
not only local. For instance, the PG&E is located here but has 
activities all through the state. Standard Oil Company of 
California, to whom we speak through these committees, has 
activities all over the world. So in that we did the executive 
suite work, yes, by committee. 

How do you break down between 

Well, it's very simple. The JCRC handles local activities relating 
to anti-Semitism generally, small incidents and that sort of thing. 
As a matter of fact, we get advice from Earl Raab on pretty nearly 
anything that happens, any occurrence that happens such as this 
book store thing with the Nazi party and that sort of thing. Earl 
Raab really runs it. 

When I spoke to Marcel Hirsch he told me that the AJC has had 
closer relationships with the Catholic church 



In their religious relationships, yes, they have, 
a very good job on this, long after my time. 



They have done 



Why was it possible to have a closer relationship with the Catholic 
church than with the Protestant churches? 

It always has been easier. Through the history you will find that 
the Catholics (in San Francisco particularly) were more friendly 
than the Protestant group. That's true in San Francisco. 

Was there a reason for this? 

I wouldn't know. It just happened. The so-called WASP is not as 
easy to deal with as the Catholic. Don't forget that since 
John XXIII issued that encyclical relieving the Jews of guilt of 
the crucifixion, it's been much easier with the Catholics than the 
Protestants for some reason. It made a much better relationship. 
But previous to that, in San Francisco politically it was easier 
to deal with. The Irish Catholic ran San Francisco, City Hall, and 
we always got along very well with them. They were the political 
factor that really governed the city and county. 



140 



Glaser: Then after the Irish there were the Italians. 

Sinton: That is right. Now we have the blacks and the Chicanes. 

Glaser: Does the AJC do anything with minority groups such as blacks and 
Chicanes? 

Sinton: I can't say that we did a great deal. We've always been sympathetic 
to their problems. At one time the blacks became very much pro- 
Arab, and we had a lot of trouble all through the United States. 
But generally speaking we did more for the blacks in the beginning 
of human relations than anyone else. The American Jewish Committee 
did as well as others. 




Glaser: 
Sinotn: 

Glaser: 
Sinton: 



Glaser: 
Sinton: 



What did the American Jewish Committee do on behalf of the blacks? 

We helped the NAACP. We did all sorts of things. You can find that 
out from their office better than I, because I was not as active in 
those later years as I was in the formation of the chapter. 

Was it in terms of funding that it was helpful? 

Not necessarily. No, it wasn't. The general public did that. We 
did that as individuals. No, the American Jewish Committee didn't 
have any money to give to them. 

They would help in consulting with them? 

We always helped in consulting with them. Oh, yes, they did a lot 
of that for the blacks. They can tell you that. For instance, when 
Edith Coliver was the chairperson of the committee, she did a great 
deal in interrelations with religious groups. She was the one who 
really did more with the Catholics, I think, than anyone else. She's 
now a national vice-president. I told you how we insisted on her 
becoming the chairperson? 

No, you did not. [Tape recorder turned off] 

I just addressed her as "my darling chairlady" at this meeting 
where I introduced Morris Abrams, because at that time it was the 
beginning of this Women's Liberation Movement and she was the first 
chairlady of the chapter. She was the first woman who became the 
head of it. I will say this now, that it was through the efforts 
of two other members of the board and myself that she did become 
the chairlady. There was some opposition and we had to do some 
politics to convince we did convince the nominating committee 
without any trouble. 



Glaser: You previously mentioned the AJC activity on education in schools. 



141 



Sinton: Yes, we were involved in education in the schools, not particularly 
in the bussing end of it. As far as I know, they didn't interfere 
in the bussing end of it. There was a great deal of opposition to 
bussing from many quarters. But we did help. 

As a matter of fact, we gave some assistance to the admini 
strators, a great many of whom were Jewish, in the San Francisco 
school system. They were going to lose their positions because the 
board of education had decided to employ only blacks as administra 
tors for awhile. These Jewish administrators, of whom there were 
quite a number, came to us for help. I'll tell you who can tell 
you all about that more than I can, and that's the present AJC 
chairman who was the attorney for them Reynold Colvin. But that 
was just contra the blacks at that time. We had to take the 
position. 

Glaser: That was contra the blacks? 

Sinton: Well, of course, because they were going to employ blacks and these 
other people were going to lose their jobs or their seniority and 
he beat them in a law case. He beat them. 

Glaser: Were you active in it at all? 

Sinton: Personally, no, the chapter was. 

Glaser: Were you active in the chapter at that time? 

Sinton: More or less. 

Glaser: What year would that be? 

Sinton: I would say that was six years ago. 

Glaser: I thought there was something else the chapter did about education. 

Sinton: Yes, we did. We were very much involved in the educational process 
and one of our members, Lucille Abrahams on, was the chairman of our 
education committee. That was the stepping stone to her being 
elected to the board of education. [Tape recorder turned off] 

Glaser: I mentioned education in schools because at a previous meeting we 

talked about it and I was a little uncertain as to what it actually 
meant. 

Sinton: My dear child, I'm uncertain too. That's all. 

Glaser: This was just one of the programs carried out by the AJC? 



142 



Sinton: That's right. 

Glaser: Let's talk about opening up social clubs. You said that you knew 
the man who was the national president of Elks and that he helped. 
Was that Louie (Fayette) Lewis? 

Sinton: That's right. 

Glaser: You knew him from college days? 

Sinton: Yes, he was a very intimate friend of mine at college. I suppose 
the closest friend I had over there except Walter Haas. We were 
very close. 

Glaser: He was a baseball player? 

Sinton: He was a baseball captain. 

Glaser: Was he from Los Angeles? 

Sinton: He was from Whittier or Anaheim. 

Glaser: So when the AJC got started Mr. Lewis was then 

Sinton: You're asking me dates again and I'm trying to place when Louie 

became the national Exalted Ruler of the Elks very big. The local 
chapter of the Elks didn't take Jewish people in San Mateo, and we 
went after them about it. He told us at the time that they were all 
autonomous, he had nothing to do with it. Of course, we didn't take 
it without a grain of salt. But that was all we had to do with the 
Elks. 

Glaser: But it was through his efforts that 

Sinton: I don't think he made particular efforts. It later changed, I 
believe. They did take some later, but I'm not sure. I don't 
think he did anything about it. He said he couldn't, as a matter 
of fact, and I guess it partly was true. In some locales they have 
Jewish members and in others they don't. 

Glaser: You said to me that you convinced him that it was wrong 

Sinton: Oh, he knew it was wrong, but he said that he had no authority. 
He had no power. 

Glaser: Do you want to add to the executive suite material? 

Sinton: I know that the committee was very active in talking to all of the 
main offices of national corporations that were here such as PC&E, 
the banks, Standard Oil of California. I was not on that AJC 



143 



Sinton: committee so I'm not trying to withhold any information that I have 
myself. But they did a great deal of work in that connection, not 
only for the employment of Jewish people but for their promotion. 

Out of that came the matter of the social clubs. It was the 
same sort of thing. The restrictions that local social clubs had 
against taking in Jewish people. I would say that the change in 
that principle has been made largely by the work of the executive 
suite committee here and the people who worked on that talking to 
the presidents of the clubs, such as the University Club and the 
Pacific Union Club and the Bohemian Club. That was done through 
our committees, a great deal of it, because it was essential that 
the Jewish community be represented in these clubs because economic 
policy and political policy were made in these clubs. They were 
most influential. We did, I think, a pretty good job because now 
the Pacific Union Club has three or four or five Jewish members. 
The Bohemian Club also has Jewish members now. 

Glaser: So by and large all of the social clubs have opened up? 

Sinton: The University Club opened up for one or two of them. They've 

opened up to the extent that they have taken a few, if you call that 
opening up. 

Glaser: If there are just token members, then it's not really effective, is 
it? 

Sinton: It's very effective because the only way you get other members in 
is by working from the inside. You don't do it by remaining out. 
And once you have two or three in there, gradually over the years 
that will change. These things don't change overnight. You have 
the same old membership in these clubs, and unless they become 
inactive by one way or another, you will find that the liberal 
members of the clubs are the ones whom you talk to. They are the 
ones who are going to prevail in the clubs, and they are the ones 
who are going to enlarge the scope of their membership. But it's 
an evolutionary thing. It doesn't happen overnight. 

Glaser* Would you be comfortable if you were one of the token members? 

Sinton: Probably not, but I would join, if I were younger, for the purpose 
of convincing them that their attitude's been wrong. 

Glaser: But I would think that's an uncomfortable position to be in. 
Sinton: It is, but you have to do it. 

Glaser: For about ten years or so the American Jewish Committee withdrew 

its membership from the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory 
Council. 



144 



Sinton: That's the NJCRAC. That's right, I believe it did. 

Glaser: Evidently there was a move on the part of the NJCRAC to limit the 
activities of the American Jewish Committee. 

Sinton: They did with everyone. The AJC had a great deal of quarreling 
with them and a great deal of differences with them in New York 
at the national level. We did not have that here. It had nothing 
to do with the local chapter. 

Glaser: Had you gone back East for this meeting that was at Atlantic City 
where the AJC withdrew? 

Sinton: What year was it? 

Glaser: I think it was 1951 or '52. 

Sinton: No, I wasn't at that meeting. It was handled at the New York level. 

Glaser: Did you go back East for national meetings? 

Sinton: I think maybe three or four, maybe five. The last one I went to 
was in 1956 in Cleveland. That's where I met Morris Abrams. 

Glaser: What was his position? 

Sinton: I don't think he'd moved to New York yet; he was an attorney in 

Atlanta, Georgia. But he was a young man and I thought that he had 
made such a good impression. He spoke about the work that he had 
done in the Atlanta chapter. I had him come out here a few months 
later to talk to us at our annual meeting. Later he became the 
president of AJC, and he also became the president of Brandeis 
University. He also ran for senator in New York, which he never 
should have done. He's a very bright, bright man. He's been out 
here frequently since then. He ran for Congress and got beaten. 
He was a very courageous, tremendously bright young man. He's a 
lawyer, and I don't know if he still is a partner in Rifkind's firm. 
Simon Rifkind is a judge of the federal court and later was the 
head of the same firm to which Adlai Stevenson was connected in 
Chicago. He had two offices. 

Glaser: Is the AJC involved in the Bakke case other than the fact Reynold 
Colvin handled that and is the chapter president? 

Sinton: I think we may have asked to file a brief amicus curlae. It was 

discussed at the meeting. But this is very recent, and I don't go 
to all the meetings anymore. 

Glaser: Does the organization do any lobbying on behalf of Israel? 



145 



Sinton: I don't like to say lobbying and I wouldn't use the word. We're a 
tax-exempt organization. The lobbying organization for the state 
of Israel is the American -Israel Public Affairs Committee and the 
payments to it are not deductible for tax purposes. That's why you 
have to separate the word lobbying. But we have a great influence 
in Washington, and we work very closely with this lobbying organiza 
tion for the state of Israel. 

We got a letter from Hy Bookbinder, who was present at the last 
conference President Carter had with all the Jewish leaders. You 
saw that last week, before Begin came here? President Carter met 
with fifty members of the Jewish community. Bookbinder was invited 
specially to be there by the President and he made a report on it. 
[Looks for letter] I did have it here and it was a whole long two- 
pages type-written letter about the meeting with the President. So 
we do have a great deal of influence with the State Department. 
We've kept a very close relationship with them. 



Homewood Terrace 



Glaser: Let's talk again about your activities in the Jewish community. 
First of all, I want to ask you about the Homewood Terrace. 

Sinton: Yes, I was the president of it. I forget what year. 
Glaser: How long were you on the board of Homewood Terrace? 

Sinton: I was on the board when Ben Lilienthal was president and when 

Dr. Langer left. I presume I was on the board for probably six or 
seven years. I wanted to get young women involved and had to ask 
my aunt to resign. I said, "Mrs. Koshland, you've served too long." 
She served twenty-seven years and I told her to get out. She was 
quite angry at me. 

Glaser: Which Mrs. Koshland was that? 

Sinton: That's Mrs. Marcus Koshland. I said, "You have to get off. You've 
served too long. The young people don't get anywhere." 

Glaser: Didn't that take a lot of courage? 

Sinton: Not at all. She was a lovely, sweet woman. 

Glaser: Did you have anything to do with changing it from an orphanage to 
a home for disturbed children? 



146 



Sinton: Well, I had nothing to do with it when it became the foster home 
affair. Then they sold the property and it didn't exist anymore 
as a home. The children are parceled out to different foster homes 
now. 

Glaser: Don't they still have Homewood Terrace? 

Sinton: No, it has been sold. They have an organization which takes care of 
children, but they don't have it in an institution. Homewood 
Terrace on Ocean Avenue was sold long after I was president. But 
Dr. Langer was the one who made it the cottage system rather than a 
building. Originally they had a building and then they later bought 
Homewood Terrace where they initiated the cottage system care of 
children. It was like a family. Each cottage was a family and the 
children were brought up under more normal conditions than they 
would have in an institution, that's all. Dr. Samuel Langer was 
responsible for that. He was superintendent before I was on the 
board, before I became the president. Then he resigned and a man by 
the name of Benjamin Bonaparte, in my day, became the superintendent. 

Glaser: When you were on the board did you have anything to do with the 
supervision of the staff? 

Sinton: Oh, yes. I think we employed Bonaparte. I think he was the 

assistant as I recall; I wouldn't say that it's absolutely true, 
but my best recollection is that he was there before he became the 
superintendent . 

Glaser: Why did Langer leave? 

Sinton: He went to Los Angeles. 

[end tape 10, side 1; begin tape 10, side 2] 

Sinton: I was the vice-president at the time. Ben Lilienthal, who was a 
lovely man, a bachelor, was the president. He was a very slow- 
talking man, a nice fellow. I knew him very well. They were giving 
a lunch for Dr. Langer on his departure, and I got there a little 
late because I was coming from across the Bay. I was sitting there 
next to my aunt, Mrs. Haas, a very absent-minded lady, terribly 
absent-minded. 

Glaser: Was that Mrs. William Haas? 

Sinton: No, Mrs. Abraham Haas. That was Walter Haas's mother. I remember 
sitting next to her and toward the end of the lunch, Ben Lilienthal 
came up to me and he said, "Edgar, you have to make the speech." 

I said, "I can't do that Ben. You're the president. It would 
be ridiculous for me to make the speech. I won't do it." 



147 



Sinton: He said, "You have to. I won't do it." 



So 



Glaser: 
Sinton: 

Glaser: 
Sinton : 



I said, "Well, someone has to do it.' 



He said, "Yes, you'll have to do it." I don't imitate his 
voice it was really kind of funny. He said [speaks slowly to 
imitate Lilienthal], "You'll have to do it." 

So he left and went back. I turned to my aunt and said, "Now, 
Aunt Fanny, don't talk to me for about five minutes. I've got to 
collect my thoughts to what I'm going to say." That lasted exactly 
thirty seconds, and she kept on talking to me, and I laughed myself 
because she wouldn't let me think at all. [Laughter] I had to go 
make this speech about Langer and she was talking every minute. 
Now, you can use it or not use it as you like. It's funny. I'll 
never forget when he came up to me and said, "Edgar, you'll have to 
do it." [Laughter] A funny guy. 

Were you related to him? 

No. My wife was related to him. Way back there was an inter 
relationship but not close. But I was a very good friend of his. 
A nice fellow. 

How was the education for the children arranged when it was the 
cottage system? 

They went to schools in the vicinity just the same as any other 
child. It was as near the normal family life as could be made. 
Each cottage had a committee. My aunt was the head of one committee 
of women who saw to it that the little child got his birthday 
present when his birthday occurred, who came to the cottage once 
or twice a week to talk to the children. It was a very nice method 
for children who were deprived of their parents. 

Glaser: There was a couple in each cottage? 

Sinton: There was a mistress in each cottage, it wasn't a couple necessarily. 

Glaser: What about the religious education for the children? 

Sinton: They went to Sunday school. 

Glaser: Did they have a chapel on the grounds? 

Sinton: They had an auditorium and they used it. I know I had to go there 
three or four different times for the children Passover services 
and that sort of thing. 



148 



Glaser: How about later when they gave up the actual institution 

Sinton: After my time, thank you very much. [Laughter] 

Glaser: All right, we'll move on to the Eureka Benevolent Society. 

Sinton: My father was the president, and I was not a member of the Eureka 
Benevolent Society. 

Glaser: How about when it became the Jewish Family Service? 

Sinton: Never was. 

Glaser: Then we'll move on to the Emanu-El Residence. 

Sinton: That was nothing. I was on an advisory committee. 

Glaser: What did you do as an adviser? 

Sinton: I went to three or four meetings, I think, lunch meetings. I didn't 
do very much. I gave them some legal advice at the time they sold 
their building. I helped Willy Lowenberg in selling it a very 
nice fellow. He was a refugee, too. He's a real estate man, and 
he sold the building. I helped him in that and a few other matters 
of that kind. I had a few conferences with the president of the 
Emanu-El Sisterhood. My mother-in-law, as a matter of fact, was at 
one time the president of the Emanu-El Sisterhood. 

Glaser: How long had the home been in existence? 

Sinton: Oh, way back. 

Glaser: This was a home for girls who could not live at home? 

Sinton: It was a home for working girls. They lived there and they had 
their jobs downtown and they came back and lived there. 

Glaser: Was there any counseling if they had emotional problems? 

Sinton: The board of directors did that in the old days. Then they had 

very good superintendents. Wonderful woman, the last one. Now her 
name escapes me too. I remember I had to speak when she retired. 
She was a marvelous woman. 

Glaser: Were you ever a member of the Committee for Personal Service the 
committee that gave service to those in prisons and in mental 
institutions? 



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Sinton: I think we all subscribed to it. I was not active in it. I knew 
about it. It did wonderful work. Of course, we had comparatively 
few Jewish convicts. But the committee did very, very good work. 

Glaser: How about the U.S. Refugee Service? You told me you were not on 

that committee, yet Dan Koshland in his memoirs said that you were, 
together with Walter Haas and Sam Ladar. 

Sinton: Maybe I did something, but I don't really remember it. We were 
active in getting people out of Germany and that sort of thing. 
That was a family affair. I directed the family fund. I 
collected funds from all of the family to get people out. It had 
nothing to do with this organization. 



Maimonides Health Center for the Chronic Sick 



Glaser: How about the Maimonides Health Center for the Chronic Sick? 
Sinton: Sylvain Lisburger was the fellow who really ran that. 

Glaser: Did Hyman Kaplan involve you in the studies and plans that led to 
the decision that the conmunity needed a chronic care facility? 

Sinton: I don't think so, I don't think I was on that committee. I knew a 
, great deal about Maimonides at one time, but I don't remember 
being on that committee that was appointed by him. I know that 
was the same sort of thing that we did for the community 
center. I was on that committee to study the needs and the 
organizations that would use it. In this case the needs were 
chronic care. A German architect by the name of Mendelsohn built 
the building, and it wasn't very well built either. But that 
doesn't need to go in the record. 

Glaser: It folded, didn't it, not too long ago? 

Sinton: Yes, they sold the building and now they bought it back. Mount 
Zion bought it back and owns it today. 

Glaser: Are they using it for chronic care? 

Sinton: I don't know what they're using it for, but they're using it for 
part of their hospital operation. 

Glaser: Was this facility something that wasn't really needed originally? 



150 



Sinton: Well, I don't think they would have built it. They did make a 

survey and they did say that they needed it. I don't think it was 
only used for chronic care you mean terminal cases, that sort of 
thing? 

Glaser: Yes. 

Sinton: I don't think they needed it for that. They did other things 
besides that. 

Glaser: Were you involved in the fund raising? 
Sinton: Yes. I'm sure I was. 



Mount Zion Hospital 



Glaser: Mount Zion Hospital had a number of fund raising 

Sinton: We were all involved in the fund raising efforts, but I never was on 
the board. 

Glaser: No, but you were involved with it as a member of the Federation 
and as the president of the Federation. 

Sinton: That is correct. 

Glaser: I wanted to ask you about the financial responsibility of the Jewish 
community to the hospital. Most of its patients are non-Jewish 
today. 

Sinton: We do give them four hundred and some odd thousand dollars is that 
right? 

Glaser: Yes. 

Sinton: But their budget is in the millions. They receive aid directly from 
the United Way 

Glaser: I thought they did not. 

Sinton: If they didn't, I don't know it. 

Glaser: It seems to me that within the last five years the United Way 
ceased to subvent hospitals. 



151 






Sinton: On account of Medicare and that sort of thing I guess. I told you 
there was a capital funds campaign for the Mount Zion and the 
community centers within the last three years. I did not raise 
money for that. I tried to stop raising money after I was eighty- 
odd years old. I thought I shouldn't solicit anymore. But, yes, 
I was on the committee to raise some money for the capital fund for 
the Mount Zion Hospital within the last two or three years. It's 
true, I did raise some money for them. Not an awful lot. We did 
subscribe to it. Then there was one campaign way back in the '30s 
where we raised $800,000, and I think I was the chairman of one of 
the committees for the fund raising. But I never was on the board. 

Glaser: How do you regard the financial burden of the hospital when most 
of the patients are non- Jewish? 

Sinton: That is a question that we have talked about but with which I was 
not directly concerned because I wasn't on either board anymore. 
But as a Jewish community affair we've always discussed that, 
because it's in an area where the blacks are served more than 
anybody else. Hospitals now are area hospitals. They take care of 
the district in which they're situated. There 've been many com 
plaints that why should we support a hospital that isn't Jewish, 
but I think we should support it. My idea is that we should have 
a Jewish hospital. 

Originally, it was absolutely essential that we have a Jewish 
hospital because we had to get a place with Jewish interns and 
residents when it was a little difficult to get in the other teach 
ing hospitals. Not that is not a present issue, but it was in those 
days. But I think we should have a Jewish hospital even if we pay 
more toward it or support it more. I think it's one of the things 
in which the Jewish community has always been a leader, and I 
think it should not resign that position. I think we need a 
hospital. Every city in the country has a Jewish hsopital. 

Glaser: Is this needed to help contribute to the whole community or is it 
needed as a separate Jewish hospital? 

Sinton: It's needed for the community. 
Glaser: But no longer only for Jews? 

Sinton: No, people go to Children's, they go to UC when my eyes were 

operated I went to UC because that's where the surgeon was. You 
go where your doctor goes to a hospital, particularly for surgery. 

Glaser: When were your eyes operated on? 



152 



Sinton: A long time ago. The first one in the end of '61 or the beginning 
of '62 and the other one in '63. Now that is hardly an important 
item, if you don't mind me telling you. 

Glaser: This is not a good day. [Laughter] 

Sinton: Oh, yes it is. Out of controversy comes judgment. 



Federation of Jewish Charities and Jewish Welfare Federation 



Glaser: How long were you on the Federation of Jewish Charities? 

Sinton: Oh, I'm trying to think when I got on it. I became the president 
in 1928; how long I was on before, I just couldn't tell you. They 
wouldn't have made me president right away. I wasn't that bright. 
[Laughter] I must have been there for awhile. Sylvain Kauffman was 
president before I was, that would be 1926 to '28. I didn't get 
out of the army until 1919 so I probably was on the board some time 
in the early '20s, '24, somewhere along in there, until I quit, 
whenever that was. I was either from '26 to '28 or '28 and '29. 

Glaser: How many different committees did you serve on? Weren't you on the 
budget committee? 

Sinton: I was on a budget committee, yes. We were all on a budget study 

committee, and then the regular budget came before the whole board 
and we sat up all night with it. But I must have been on that 
board for an awful long time. 



Nominating Committee 



Glaser: You were on the nominating committee? 

Sinton: Yes, that's right, I was the chairman of the nominating committee. 
When you get old, that's the job you get. 

Glaser: Who placed you on that? 

Sinton: I guess the president and the board of directors. That was an 

evolution. I think I succeeded Sam Lilienthal on the nominating 
committee. I was on for quite awhile. 

Glaser: That's an important committee. 



153 



Sinton: It was, because we got a lot of younger members on. 
thing we did. 



That's one 



Glaser: How do you go about getting younger members? 

Sinton: We get recommendations. I'm not on it anymore, goodness knows. 

Glaser: Yes, but that is key, to bring in other people, new people. 

Sinton: We made a different change when I was on the nominating committee 
to get some younger members. That's one thing I did. 

Glaser: Did you go around talking to people for suggestions? 

Sinton: We got some recommendations from the different younger people we 

knew who were prominent in the work of the Federation and the young 
adult division (I think it is called the YAD) . George Frankenstein, 
I think, was one of them. 

Glaser: When you're on a nominating committee, how do you get people who 
are really interested in the work not in self-aggrandizement? 

Sinton: You get people who have served on committees. Now, much of the 
work is done by committees. Let me preface it by saying first 
that the main purpose of the Federation is to collect money. 
You understand the social planning committee is an adjunct, but 
it's not as important as the fund-raising end because that is what 
they are supposed to do raise the money for these institutions, 
for their agencies. You get people who have been concerned, 
number one, in the campaigns. They're working on the advance 
gifts, or they're working on the younger people, or they're 
working on certain trade groups. And you get the young leaders 
of that group to serve on the board as well as on other committees. 
That's how they work their way up. 

Glaser: But there are always people who want their name to appear 

Sinton: Now you're talking about the principle of workers and givers and 
donors. It is true and it's a fact of life that you do appoint 
some members to the board who are large donors. Those are the 
people to which you refer, right? 

Glaser: Well, you finish and then I'll enlarge on my question. 

Sinton: All right. It is true in any organization. It's true even on the 
Garden Hospital. We appointed some ladies (it was mostly a ladies 
board) who would not only give of their time but give it their 
names. It's true in every organization. As I stated, it's a 
fund-raising organization primarily. You have to have people on 



154 






Sinton: that board who are supporters of it financially not only with 

their work, because once you get them interested they'll work too. 
But you do appoint some people who are donors, that's right. Now 
you go ahead. 

Glaser: I was thinking not of a division between those who work and those 
who give money but of those who want to be on a committee only to 
get the publicity. 

Sinton: Let me tell you something. I have known and do know, I suppose, a 
great many people in this community. I certainly don't know the 
younger ones coming up at all. But over the long period of years 
I have known of say four or five people who thought it was an 
honor to be on a board and who wanted the prestige or the honor to 
be a member of that board. I never felt it as such and I always 
used to laugh at them. 

People have told me, "Why don't they appoint me?" 

I say, "You either don't give enough money or you don't work." 
That's all. 

Glaser: But those who want to be honored were they willing to work? 

Sinton: They didn't get appointed unless they worked in the end, no, not 
on the Federation. We did appoint some members, but they were 
older people, perhaps. I know a fellow who came out from Detroit. 
They appointed him on the board and he gave a large contribution. 
It was all right. 

Glaser: You are supposed to be very good at spotting phonies. 

Sinton: Well, anyone could do that. [Laughter] That wasn't very difficult. 
As I say, we knew the community so well no one who was a phony got 
on that board, I'll tell you that. 



Women Board Members 



Glaser: What was the early attitude toward women on the board? 

Sinton: I would say we always had women on the board. It went way back, 
and I think you could check with the Federation as to when the 
women first came on the board. There never was any objection. 



Glaser: Were they listened to? 



155 



Sinton: Oh, yes indeed. Mrs. Hattie Sloss was a member of the board when I 
was the president. Now that's way back in the 20s. Hattie Sloss 
was a member of the board of the Federation before I was president. 
So it goes back that far. 

Glaser: Did each agency have a representative on the board of the 
Federation from its own board? 

Sinton: Yes. 

Glaser: Was there also a membership-at-large representation? 

Sinton: That is correct. The nominating committee nominated those people 
from at large, not the ones from the constituent agencies. It 
appointed each of its delegates to the Federation Mount Zion did, 
the Homewood Terrace did, the Eureka did, the orphan asylum, and 
the old people's home. They all had their representatives on the 
Federation board. 



Jewish National Welfare Fund 



Glaser: Were you involved in establishing the Jewish National Welfare Fund 
in 1925? 

Sinton: Yes, I was on the board of the Federation. That's where the 

survey came from. We made the survey in 1924 and '25 as to whether 
that sort of a thing should be established. 

Glaser: Who were the other leaders besides yourself who decided this? 

Sinton: I think Jesse Steinhart was one. He was the one really who knew 
more about it than anyone because he was on the board of the 
American Jewish Committee and he was more nationally concerned. 
He knew more about it. But he was older and a very smart fellow, 
as I told you. All of us were concerned with the fact that we had 
to have a separate organization for the national institutions. 

Glaser: Were there any problems involved in getting it established? 

Sinton: No, it was very well done, as I recall. We didn't have any 
problems. 

Glaser: Then you had to get a separate executive director for it. 
Sinton: That's right. The first one was a woman. 



156 



Glaser: Once it was established did you have anything to do with it? 
Sinton: I was on the board. 



Glaser: 



Sinton: 



Glaser: 



Sinton; 



What functions did you have with the board? 
had to be made by your board? 



What kind of decisions 



There was a budgeting problem, too, you see. We gave to the state 
of Israel; the Zionist organization we gave to. We gave to the 
national organizations. The local ones were the Federation agencies 
until they merged in 1954. But I was on the board of both of them 
all through those years. 

Did your budget committee have any problems in apportioning the 
funds that were raised? 

Oh, everyone has problems in apportioning funds. You never have 
enough. That's why they had budget study committees. I went before 
those budget study committees for years for both the B'nai B'rith 
and the AJC because they were joined in the Joint Defense Appeal. 
They combined for the purpose of getting money from the Federation 
here, and I appeared many, many times representing not only the 
AJC but the B'nai B'rith too. I tried to get members of the B'nai 
B'rith. Sometimes they didn't show up and we had to do it for them. 



157 



VII COMMUNITY NEEDS, COMMUNITY OBLIGATIONS 

[Interview 7: July 28, 1977] 
[begin tape 11, side 1] 



Garden Hospital 



Sinton: In 1916 I was twenty-seven years old. I'd been out of law school for 
about three or four years I guess. I was in McKinstry's office, and 
he sent me out there because his sister asked someone. 

Glaser: Were you both in the Lilienthal 

Sinton: Lilienthal, McKinstry, and Raymond was the name of the firm. He was 
a brother, a bachelor, and he didn't want to pay much attention to 
it. So I went out there with all these old ladies, of which one of 
them was my aunt, Mrs. Marcus Koshland. She was one of the old 
ladies, though she wouldn't have liked at that time to have it 
said she was old lady. But some of these ladies were really old. 

It was amazing how they ran it. They had really terminal 
patients, and the cost per patient was less than four dollars a day, 
and the nursing care was just marvelous. They took care of patients 
who were not poor enough to go to the county hospital and not wealthy 
enough to pay for ordinary hospital care. We supplied that need. 
In other words, a secretary who had a sick mother probably at that 
time got a $150 a month or $200 a month at the most. We were a 
constituent agency of the Community Chest. It supplied us with a 
great amount of the funds that we needed. 

Glaser: Where did the funds come from before the Community Chest was 
established? 

Sinton: From donations from people. We got some money from the Henry Miller 
estate I remember (a very wealthy rancher) , and they collected some 
money from the patients, whatever they could afford to pay. And, 



158 



Sinton: of course, it was done so efficiently and so inexpensively. The 

cost today is perhaps fifty dollars a day per patient. Then it was 
$3.96, as I recall. 

They really did an amazingly good job. They had a very good 
superintendent, a Miss Tautphas. She was a good superintendent 
for years. But Laura McKinstry really ran it. I was the attorney 
for the hospital, and later I became a member of the board, and 
that's really all there is to that. 

We changed later; we became a rehabilitation institution. 
People were there for years and years and years seven years, six 
years, five years paralyzed, unable to move, all this sort of 
thing. Now it's a much more progressive and a much more pleasant 
institution. 

Glaser: What were the funding methods in early years before the Community 
Chest was started? 

Sinton: They raised money from the public, from their supporters. There 
weren't very many. 

Glaser: When did alcoholism become part of the program? 

Sinton: That was within the last two or three years. 

Glaser: Was this when it merged with the Jerd Sullivan Hospital? 

Sinton: No, it had merged, I merged them, back in the early seventies. I 
can get that out of the papers on the merger. I'll give you that 
date later. 

Glaser: Originally the hospital was a home for incurables? 
Sinton: It was called the San Francisco Home for Incurables. 

Glaser: Originally it had no endowment fund. They were using money on hand 
for expenses. 

Sinton: They also had an allotment from the Community Chest. 

Glaser: But that was later. I'm talking about when, as a result of the 
earthquake , they found 

Sinton: You ascertained that by your 

Glaser: By reading the official history of the hospital. 

Sinton: Well, that was before my time because it begins in 1890. 



159 



Glaser: In 1916, when you entered the picture, did they have an endowment 
fund set up? 

Sinton: They had very little money. 

Glaser: Did you help them set up an endowment fund? 

Sinton: That came along much later. As the years went on (after 1916, I'm 
speaking of) we did get a bequest from the Henry Miller estate, as 
I told you. That was put in the endowment fund, and then from time 
to time people did give them lifetime gifts. They got bequests 
from some estates, but the biggest one they had at that time was 
from the estate of Henry Miller. 

Glaser: Was this the start of an endowment fund? 

Sinton: I would say that as far as I know it was the beginning. I think 

the history will show that there were some funds given to the hospital 
at its inception, [tape recorder turned off] How they received 
that money or from whom I can't remember. But there was some money 
there, enough to operate the institution. The building was built, 
as I recall, from the proceeds of the sale of another building which 
they had occupied long before my time. [Tape recorder turned off] 

When I went out to that board meeting as an attorney, they 
were all ladies from the president down to the superintendent. They 
were originally the King's Daughters. They were all ladies and it 
remained that way for quite a long time before we reorganized the 
board and got men on it. That was really, I think, in the thirties. 
They ran it very efficiently and well because Laura McKinstry was a 
very energetic and efficient woman. She practically ran the 
hospital single-handed. 

Glaser: She was both administrator and president? 

Sinton: No, she was the president. They did have an administrator, or 

superintendent as they called them in those days. But she was the 
driving force and she really ran that institution. That was in 1916. 

Glaser: You helped them organize their financial situation, didn't you? 

Sinton: I wouldn't say that I did at that time, no. I went there as a very 
young lawyer. I wasn't organizing any financial situation. I 
didn't know enough to do that at that time. But as the years went 
on, the medical service became better and more complicated too. And 
the nurses, of course, were at the foundation of the operation of 
this hospital. The success of the hospital depended, and still 
does to a great degree, on the type of nursing that they have. They 
always have been very, very fortunate in that regard. What I did 



160 



Sinton: was to tend to whatever legal work they had. After Miss McKinstry 
died, she was succeeded by Sarah Collier, who was a very lovely 
woman who didn't have the drive that Miss McKinstry had, and she 
depended on me a great deal in running the institution. When we 
had personnel trouble, I had to help her in making new arrangements 
of either dismissing somebody or hiring somebody. I helped Miss 
Collier to that extent and that's really what I was doing. 

Glaser: How long was she president? 

Sinton: She was there for quite awhile. When she quit, Mrs. Warren Perry 
became president. The same kind of relationship existed between 
her and me as did exist with Miss Collier. She was a lovely person, 
a lovely, charming woman. In Mrs. Perry's administration we took 
the first two or three men on to the board, as I recall. We changed 
the name of the institution from the San Francisco Home for Incura 
bles to another name and from that, finally, we got to the Garden 
Hospital which was a more attractive name. 

I believe in the 1930s or the later 1940s we received some 
money under the Hill-Burton Act for hospitals from the federal 
government. Also, we had a fund raising campaign to rehabilitate 
the building and to add to it, and we raised about $100,000, maybe 
a little more. 

Glaser: Did you have anything to do with getting the Hill-Burton funds? 

Sinton: I personally did not, except for drawing some papers for them. That 
was in the ordinary course of business. But I didn't get the money. 
I think they got the money, but I did help them in the campaign. 
But everybody helped them in the campaign; I didn't do any more than 
anybody else. They had a professional fund raiser at the time and 
he was very good and we raised about $100,000 or $130,000. That 
was quite a lot of money then. 

We originally had permanent patients, what you might call 
terminal cases, really nothing else. It was a terminal case 
hospital. We changed that, which was all to the good and to the 
good of the community. It gradually got into the business of 
rehabilitation, or trying to help these people go back home, which 
had never been done before. We finally developed the institution 
as a place for people who were not poor, not eligible for state or 
county assistance, and who were not too wealthy. It was for that 
middle class of people, the mothers or the fathers of working 
people. They were substantial people who didn't have the means to 
take care of their own family. And that was what we did; we supplied 
the gap between what they could afford and the care that the person 
was entitled to. 

Glaser: Was there a psychiatric unit attached to the hospital? 



161 



Sinton: Not at that time. 
Glaser: At any time later? 

Sinton: There are psychiatrists on the staff, yes, I'm sure they have that 
now. They have a great deal of therapy, not only physical therapy 
but occupational therapy, and they have psychiatric help in that 
regard. They've acquired quite a large staff of doctors who give of 
their time to the institution. 

Glaser: Short-Doyle funds were available to general hospitals that gave 
psychiatric care and I wondered if 

Sinton: No, no. 

Glaser: In 1922 a new cancer annex was built, and furniture stores gave 

furnishings. I wondered whether D.N.&E. Walter made any donation 
at that time? 

Sinton: It is possible carpets and stuff, that sort of thing. They probably 
did if I was on the board and I asked them to, but I couldn't declare 
that that is the fact. 

Glaser : How much time were you giving to the hospital each month? 

Sinton: I attended all the board meetings; they were monthly meetings. 

Sometimes they met twice. Sometimes the executive committee would 
meet, too, and I attended those meetings. Otherwise, I would do 
things over the telephone. 

Glaser: How long were the meetings? 

Sinton: Oh, it would take a half a day. 

Glaser: Were you able to do this while you were with the OPA during the war? 

Sinton: I don't believe I did; not for the two and one-half years. I might 
have gone to a meeting or two but very few, because that was a full 
time piece of work and I was traveling quite a bit at the time. 

Glaser: They had to get along without you. Did they get a substitute? 
Sinton: No. They probably talked to me on the telephone. 

Glaser: I want to ask you about the recent merger with the Jerd Sullivan 
Hospital. 

Sinton: I can tell you all about that. The Jerd Sullivan Rehabilitation 
Center was located at the Presbyterian Hospital, Pacific Medical 
Center. Originally it was the May Morrison Clinic, and the name was 



162 



Sinton: changed to Jerd Sullivan by his friends who gave twenty thousand 
or so dollars to the clinic when Jerd Sullivan died. They did 
occupational therapy there more than anything else. An arrangement 
was made so that the two institutions merged. We took a great 
number of their board on the merged board. We enlarged the board 
and took them as members because we were doing the same sort of 
work. They would furnish us with patients for our hospital so that 
our beds would be occupied, which was the advantage to us, and at 
the same time I think we saved quite a bit of money in the admini 
stration. Our administrator took care of their institution also. 

Glaser: Was Robert Riegg your administrator at the time? 

Sinton: No, another fellow was there. 

Glaser: When you say that the Jerd Sullivan Hospital 

Sinton: It wasn't a hospital. They were Just an organization which had a 
part of the premises at the Pacific Medical Center. It was not a 
special hospital. 

Glaser: Was it outpatient care? 

Sinton: Yes, it was outpatient care. 

Glaser: That's why they gave you patients? 

Sinton: Yes, who had to have bed care. 

Glaser: What brought the merger about? 

Sinton: We were doing the same sort of rehabilitation work at that time, and 
I presume that these ladies got together. I didn't have anything to 
do about that. The people who were on the Jerd Sullivan board were 
friendly with the people who were on our board. A great number of 
ladies were on it. There were only a few men on our board. It was 
the ladies, I think, who got together. Mrs. Jerd Sullivan was one 
from their board. I think she just got off of our board. There 
were others Dr. Hochwald was involved and a Dr. Edgar Wayburn, who 
by the way is the grandson of Rabbi Voorsanger. His mother was 
Rabbi Voorsanger 's daughter. He came from Baltimore. He was also 
I think on the Pacific Medical Center Board. There were many of 
those who were on that board too, as well as the Jerd Sullivan 
board. 

There's been talk now recently of a Garden Hospital merger 
with Pacific Medical, but nothing has come of it. 

Glaser: What were the legal aspects of the merger? 



163 



Sinton: That was a simple merger of two charitable institutions and it 
became then the Garden Sullivan Rehabilitation Hospital. 

Glaser: But as their legal advisor, didn't this entail a lot of work for you? 

Sinton: It was a lot of work doing the merger, yes. 

Glaser: You say it was a simple merger, but then there was a lot of work. 

Sinton: Well, there was some legal work connected it merely was the drawing 
of articles of merger which are according to the statute. It's no 
great shakes . 

Glaser: Mrs. Franklyn Lyons told me that you did a great deal of research 
prior to the merger. 

Sinton: Well, you always do that. Whenever you do anything you research it, 
of course. You do what you have to do. There wasn't anything out 
of the way. 

Glaser: What needed to be researched? 

Sinton: There wasn't any real research. You have to draw new articles, and 
you have to draw an agreement of merger, and you have to have all 
the meetings that are required by the corporation code. 

Glaser: But I thought you had to look into what options were possible other 
than the merger. 

Sinton: There weren't any other options. It was a question of which was the 
surviving corporation. We were the surviving corporation; we were 
the larger institution. We had the funds. They didn't have much 
money, strictly speaking. 

Glaser: I thought that there were options other than the merger, that you 
had the option of establishing a foundation or perhaps closing. 

Sinton: Not that I recall. 

Glaser: Mrs. Lyons suggested that there was a possible explosive situation 
in merging the two boards. 

Sinton: What she's referring to is the usual thing that you have when you 
merge two institutions as to who's going to survive on the board 
and who was going to be the moving factor and who was going to be 
the "majority stockholder." That's all. But that was arranged, 
there was no problem. We didn't have any personal problems so far 
as I knew. I merely did the legal work. In other words, the 
president of the Garden became the president of the surviving 



164 



Sinton: corporation, and one of their people became a vice-president and 

so on down the line. That's the way everything happens in a merger. 
You rearrange your people and there are always some bitter feelings 
of people who feel that they haven't been sufficiently recognized. 
But I don't think we had too much of a problem; people were very 
cooperative. 

Glaser: Prior to that, in 1950, the Garden Hospital received full accredita 
tion from the Joint Committee of Accreditation of Hospitals. Was 
that a difficult process? 

Sinton: Yes, a very difficult process, but I didn't have anything to do with 
it except as a member of the board. The accreditation group, which 
is centered in Chicago, sends people out to each institution to see 
that they are obeying the rules of operating a hospital. In other 
words, they have to keep certain minutes, they have to keep certain 
records, the medical staff has to meet so and so often, and all of 
these things. It's just a tremendous thing to arrange so that you 
are cooperating with them and doing exactly what they tell you to 
do, because if you don't do it they'll take away your accreditation. 
Sometimes we've been put on what you might say notice and given 
accreditation for a year instead of two years. We always had the 
problem of meeting their requirements. Every hospital has the 
same problem. If you don't dot the 'i' just as they want it, they'll 
hold you up on it. 

Glaser: Did you feel that they were excessively strict? 

Sinton: I did at times, yes, but everyone felt the same way. That's nothing 
out of the way. 

We had the kind of an operation which was not a general 
hospital. We do belong to the hospital association here in San 
Francisco, but our form of operation was a little different. We 
are a special hospital. Even our labor relations are a little 
different than the ordinary general hospitals here. In the matter 
of labor relations with Local 250, we always had the advantage of 
their leadership. We had to go along. In other words, our 
engineers had to be paid the same, our janitors had to be paid the 
same, our laundrymen had to be paid the same, and so on down the 
line. 

Glaser: In what way were your labor relations different? 

Sinton: We didn't have the same structure as a general hospital has at all, 
because a general hospital does surgery, it does maternity work, 
it does everything. We didn't do anything like that. 

Glaser: How did this affect your labor relations? 



165 



Slnton: Well, it did. It was an entirely different setup. The unions 

could tell you more about that than I could. We were not particu 
larly involved in the negotiations , but we went along after the 
settlement was made. 

Glaser: Did you ever face strikes? 

Sinton: We had threats of strikes, but I don't remember having a real strike. 
We might have had it for a day or so, but we never closed the 
hospital. 

Glaser: There was a nurses' strike here a number of years past. Was your 
hospital affected? 

Sinton: The nurses were affected. Yes, I think so. 

Glaser: Can you tell me about personnel problems? 

[end tape 11, side 1; begin tape 11, side 2] 

Sinton: We had a lady superintendent who was quite efficient, but she got 
involved in an affair with one of the engineers, and it came about 
that we had to discharge her. I had to do the discharging because 
Miss Collier didn't want to do it. I had to be involved with the 
discharge and tell her how to do it and it was really more amusing 
than anything else. That's all that sort of thing. 

Glaser: Was this when you wrote the administrator a glowing letter of 
recommendation so she would resign? 

Sinton: It probably was. I don't know where you got that. 
Glaser: I think it was Mrs. Lyons who told me that. 

Sinton: I don't know if it was that lady or someone later. Yes, I said, 
"Give them a good send-off." I think it was someone else. 

Glaser: Were you active in getting a replacement for this administrator? 

Sinton: No, by that time they had a very efficient board and Mrs. Lyons 

was the president. She was a very smart girl. She was all right. 
She didn't need me. 

Glaser: On page 13 of the History of the Garden Hospital it says, "In Miss 

Collier's annual report she states that when she took the presidency, 
'I had no training and less confidence in my judgment. 1 Her regime 
belies her words. Miss Collier pays tribute to Mr. Edgar Sinton, 
'our long suffering attorney upon whom I lean very heavily for 
advice. 1 " 

Sinton: Now that you call my attention to it, I remember that. 



166 



Glaser: Mrs. Dohrman [Mrs. Jack Dohnnan] told me that there was a bequest 
she thought the name of it was the Marino Estate in Monterey. 

Sinton: No, Molera. This was really recent. Do you want me to get the 
files? You wouldn't be able to carry them. 

Glaser: Why don't you summarize them for me? 

Sinton: I will. Her name was Frances Molera. [Tape recorder turned off] 

The decedent was a spinster lady of an old Spanish family who owned 
a great deal of property in Monterey County, particularly along the 
Big Sur. That's the property that stretches from south of Carmel 
down the coast beautiful, scenic property. She also owned part 
of the best artichoke property in the state of California. Of 
course, you know the state of California produces practically all 
of the artichokes that are used in the United States near 
Castroville. She owned that property, too. She also owned an old 
adobe place in Monterey, which is now an historic place. She 
bequeathed that to the government . She owned a house in San 
Francisco on Sacramento Street. 

She was an old Calif ornian, a spinster, and had no real close 
relatives. She had some cousins, probably second or third degree. 
She made some specific bequests, some to friends of hers and one 
bequest of a small amount (less than two or three per cent of her 
estate) to the family of her former attorney. 



Glaser: That was Judge Zook? 

Sinton: The children of Judge Zook and some others. She died in 1968. 

That's nine years ago. The estate has been finally distributed. 
Now, this is just a calendar of things that have happened in the 
estate. [Displays file] 

Glaser: My goodness. How many pages are there altogether? 

Sinton: You can see all that happened. I didn't probate the estate, I 
represented one of the hospitals. 

Glaser: Was it that complicated? 

Sinton: It was an eight million dollar estate. 

Glaser: Was it complicated in terms of land titles? 

Sinton: No, there was a contest to the will. The estate was distributed in 
May of 1974, and she died in September in 1968, so it took six years. 



167 



Glaser: What do you call what you have in your hand, the calendar of probate? 

Sinton: These are all of the motions, the petitions, the applications, sales 
of property, and all that was done in that estate. I only repre 
sented the Garden Hospital in this estate. She left a very nice 
will, a lovely will, as I told you before, with the residue of the 
estate (that means everything that is left after the specific and 
cash bequests had been paid) to four hospitals: three Catholic 
hospitals Mary's Help, St. Mary's, St. Joseph's and the Garden 
Hospital, which was non-sectarian. Those are the four hospitals who 
received the residue of the estate. 



A contest was filed by some cousins who lived down in Fresno. 
They dug up some cousins who were not mentioned in the will, and 
they filed a contest on the ground that she was subject to undue 
influence on the part of the lawyer, on the part of Judge Zook, 
who previously died. We went through this contest, which went up 
to the district court of appeals. The will was sustained and the 
contestants lost, but it took that much time to distribute this 
estate. Then, of course, we had to sell off the property to pay 
the different cash legacies and that took time. So this estate was 
in probate for six years. 

Glaser: Were you able to find out why she chose the Garden Hospital as the 
one non-Catholic hospital? 

Sinton: I could tell you now, but I couldn't tell you while the contest was 
on. She became interested in the hospital her original attorney 
was Judge Charles Slack, who was a very prominent lawyer here. His 
wife was on the board His daughter Ruth married Edgar Zook, who 
later became a partner of Judge Slack in the practice of the law and 
after Judge Slack's death took care of Miss Molera's affairs. 

As a matter of fact, I would say that Judge Zook saved her from 
bankruptcy. She was land poor, and he so managed her affairs that 
she came out in very good shape. When she died she left eight and 
a-half million dollars. That's why she left Judge Zook's children 
a very, very small percentage of her estate less than three per 
cent. It was on that ground that the contest really was brought. 
Well, they got a sound beating. They didn't have much of a case 
because she'd never been in touch with her relatives. 

Glaser: Where does the Garden Hospital come into the picture? 

Sinton: I'll tell you how. Mrs. Slack was a member of the board of 

directors of the Garden Hospital. That's how Miss Molera got to 
know what the Garden Hospital was and the work that it was doing. 
In my estimation, that's the reason the Garden Hospital was named 
as one of the residuary legates. 



168 



Glaser: 



Sinton: 



Glaser: 
Sinton: 



Glaser: 
Sinton: 



Glaser: 
Sinton: 
Glaser: 
Sinton: 



There must have been then some personal contacts between Mrs. Slack 
and Miss Molera. 

There was contact with Mrs. Slack, obviously, long before I knew 
Mrs. Slack. She was on the board a very short time when I attended 
their meetings. I believe Mrs. Slack must have died in the early 
1920s or even before that. 

Then Miss Molera kept that in the back of her mind 

She was interested, because after all Judge Zook took care of her 
affairs and was part of the family that was interested in the 
hospital. But the people didn't know that at the time of the contest, 
I'd never heard of Miss Molera until her death, and no one on the 
board had ever heard of Miss Molera. 

This is the biggest bequest they ever received. In the final 
analysis, they received about $1,750,000, which was to be used for 
specific purposes, not for building purposes. It was to be used to 
help needy patients, to supply equipment which they didn't have, and 
to pay some extra compensation to nurses where it was required. That 
was the bequest to each of these hospitals. It was all the same. 

Have you had to go to court for other bequests to the hospital? 

No more than make an appearance the normal probate. No, we didn't 
have any other contests. This was the only one we had a contest in, 
and this was the one that really amounted to something. This was 
an eight and a-half million dollar estate. You know, you don't run 
into those every day. That was because the lady was a spinster, she 
never married. She was descended from a Captain Cook, who was one 
of the first captains who came around the Horn to visit the Port of 
Monterey in California. She was a granddaughter of his, I think. 
Her history is rather interesting. I think his name was Captain 
Cook. I wouldn't swear to that name, but I knew her grandfather was 
captain of a ship that came around the Horn and landed in the Port 
of Monterey before California became a state. He acquired this land 
down there. We had a lot of trouble with that land, too, later. We 
sold the land and we had trouble with it. 

In 1955 the hospital got money from the Bothin Helping Fund 

We got $25,000, as I recall. 

What fund is this? I've never heard of it. 

This is an old California family that has a very wealthy foundation, 
The Bothin Foundation. I mentioned the name Alice Griffith she was 
an aunt of Loyall McLaren. Loyall McLaren had a great deal to do 



169 



Sinton: with the Bothin Fund and we got Bothin money through him because of 
his knowledge of the work that we were doing. I met the Bothin 
daughter, Genevieve de Limur, at the hospital. We'd given a lunch 
or something or other and she was there. They were interested, 
really, through Loyall McLaren, and that's how they got that. 

Glaser: You also got Ford Foundation money at the same time for building 
the Wood Street addition. 

Sinton: That's what I told you. I think we got money through the Hill- 
Burton Act at that time. We also got it from the Ford Foundation. 
That was part of that building campaign of which I spoke. 

Glaser: Did you have anything to do with getting the Ford Foundation money? 
Sinton: No, I did not. I think they just made an application. 

Glaser: I understand a nice contribution was made in your name for your 
birthday. 

Sinton: People did that. I suppose so. 
Glaser: Was it your seventieth? 
Sinton: No, I think it was eightieth? 

Glaser: Mrs. Lyon told me that you were very generous in giving seed money 
to the junior auxiliary. 

Sinton: Everybody did that. 

Glaser: Can you tell me what kind of projects it started? 

Sinton: The auxiliary took the patients out and they furnished some rooms 
what an auxiliary usually does. 

Glaser: I was interested in the kinds of projects your seed money helped 
start. 

Sinton: It didn't amount to anything, I assure you. It wasn't much, as I 
recall. 

Glaser: We started by talking about the endowment fund and that originally, 
before your time, there was no fund. I wondered if you gave the 
hospital advice as to how to invest 

Sinton: No, by the time we received bequests and other gifts, lifetime gifts, 
men were on the board, and they had a finance committee which did the 
investing. I was not on the finance committee. 



170 



Sinton: There's a very funny story about that, too. There was a fellow by 

the name of Fay Brown, a very nice fellow, an insurance man, who was 
the chairman of the finance committee. Unbeknown to me or to anyone 
else he and the finance committee invested some of the funds in 
speculative stocks. This was really nothing for a trustee to do, but 
he made a great deal of money for the hospital in them. Fortunately, 
or otherwise, when we found out that these were speculative stocks, 
we sold them and really developed about $400,000. That was a lot of 
money in those days. He was the big hero because he had done this. 
It could have gone the other way, too, and as I say, fortunately or 
unfortunately, he passed away right after that before anything else 
could happen. He was a very nice fellow. It was really a funny 
story. 

Glaser: Was he upset that the stocks were sold off? 

Sinton: I think they sold them after he died. He was a great hero, I'll 

tell you. It was one of those things that went right. [Laughter] 



Federation Affiliation with the Community Chest 



Glaser: Next on our list of topics is the affiliation of the Federation of 
Jewish Charities with the Community Chest in 1922. Morgan A. Gunst 
was then the president and I wondered 

Sinton: Yes, we became one of the constituent agencies and really that came 

about because we were a Federation before the Community Chest existed. 
The Community Chest organization was influenced by the Federation as 
a fund raising organization. 

Glaser: Why did the decision come about how did it come about to stop 

raising funds yourself and give this function over to the Community 
Chest? That must have been a difficult decision to arrive at. 

Sinton: It wasn't. We never stopped raising money. We raised money for 
our own particular Jewish operations. 

Glaser: Those which were not subvented by the 
Sinton: By the Community Chest, yes. 

Glaser: But in reading the minutes of the Federation, by and large most of 
the agencies that made up the Federation received their allotment 
from the Community Chest. 

Sinton: That is correct. 



171 



Glaser: There was a great deal of controversy because of a gentleman's 

agreement that the funds would come from the Community Chest to the 
Federation 

Sinton: Then we allotted them, that's correct. 

Glaser: But they stopped doing that and started giving funds directly to the 
separate agencies. In 1926, just before you were on the board, 
Sylvain Kauffman said that unless the Federation controls the 
policies and programs of the welfare work of the Jewish community, 
the Federation might go out of existence. 

Sinton: That's correct. Yes, that's right. 

Glaser: You explained his statement that that meant the Federation would 
become a stand-by service being kept alive only as a skeleton 
organization to await future developments . 

Sinton: Yes. 

Glaser: You stated that when you were chairman of the Federation's budget 

committee, representatives of the constituent societies demanded the 
right to submit individual budgets to the Community Chest instead of 
having them scrutinized by the Federation budget committee and that 
this caused the Federation to lose control. Evidently the problem 
of separate requests for allotments originated with the constituent 
agencies rather than with the Community Chest. 

Sinton: That's right, I remember when I became president of the Federation I 
was a member of the executive committee of the Community Chest, too, 
at the time. But we did settle our differences. We didn't have any 
trouble afterwards. 

Glaser: Were you on the Community Chest automatically as the president of the 
Federation? 

Sinton: No, I don't think it was automatic. 

Glaser: From the minutes of the Federation there was quite a bit of diffi 
culty in getting sufficient allotment from the Community Chest. 

Sinton: That's correct. Everybody had that. We were contributing more than 
we were getting. That's right. 

Glaser: There was the feeling on one hand of 'this is unfair,' and on the 
other hand 'let's not make waves, let's not be too aggressive, and 
let's not make the Jewish organizations appear pushy.' 

Sinton: That's right, I remember that. 



172 



Glaser: It sounded as if how to handle this was quite a serious problem. 

Sintcn: Well, it was a question of public relations more than anything else. 
It was handled. We didn't do badly, I'll tell you that. 

Glaser: There was a meeting in 1931 in Mr. Fleishhacker ' s office called by 
yourself and Charles de Young Elkus about arguments used as threats 
to the Community Chest. 

Sinton: That's right. 

Glaser: You stated that there was a feeling in the Community Chest that the 
Federation is constantly threatening to withdraw. 

Sinton: We let them believe that, probably, but that was just one of the 
things we faced. It was purely a question of staying on a steady 
keel so far as public relations were concerned. We were never going 
to withdraw. 

Glaser: It was the threat that bothered you and the other gentleman. 
Sinton: Yes, that's right. We didn't make any threat. We really didn't. 

Glaser: It was believed that the Jewish community was keeping itself apart 

from the rest of the community when it stressed Jewish needs and the 
standards, which were much higher. 

Sinton: Our standards were much higher than theirs. As a matter of fact, it 

was a very good thing that we did have the high standards because then 
the community standards were raised. 

Glaser: Yes, but I think there was a feeling on the part of some that this 
should not be stressed because then you stressed the difference. 

Sinton: Yes, we did. We led the way, standards wise and otherwise. Of 
course, I wasn't president at that time. 

Glaser: No, but you were involved in this controversy, and there was a 

statement made that, "We are San Franciscans first and should care 
for communal obligations before our own." 

Sinton: That's correct, generally speaking. 

Glaser: Is that how you felt? 

Sinton: I did and I still feel that way. 

Glaser: The reason I am going into this in such detail is that Dan Koshland 
in his oral history made the statement that the loss of Jewish 
identity comes not only through intermarriage but as Jews become 
interested in the wider community. 



173 



Sinton: There's no question that that's true. We have to preserve as well 
as assimilate. We've discussed that before. 

Glaser: But it really came into focus with the Community Chest matter. 

Sinton: It did, but I always felt that it was essential not only for the 

community itself but for the Jewish community to place the require 
ments of the whole community first. I still feel that way. Never 
theless, we have to keep our standards high, and we have kept them 
high. You go to any of our institutions and you'll find that they 
are much better run, more efficiently run, and with better service 
than the other institutions, generally speaking. 

Glaser: How were the allocations determined when you were on the Community 
Chest executive board? 

Sinton: They had budget study committees and the institutions went before 
the budget study committees just as they do today. 

Glaser: How were the allocations determined? 

Sinton: A budget was submitted. We had to sustain it. 

Glaser: But when you were on the Community Chest-- 

Sinton: When I was on the executive committee I did not have anything 
to do with that in the Community Chest. 

Glaser: You were not on the budget committee? 

Sinton: No, I was not on the budget committee, and I wasn't on the budget 
study committee. 

Glaser: But you were on the social planning committee. 

Sinton: That is correct. 

Glaser: What functions did that have? 

Sinton: That was general policy of handling social welfare for the whole 

community. That was a committee of the Community Chest. 1 was on 
the social planning committee. Louis Lundborg was the chairman of 
It and later became the vice-president of the Bank of America. 

Glaser: I was curious as to the functions of this committee. 

Sinton: Really it was just the over-all policy of social planning, 
[end tape 11, side 2; begin tape 12, side 1] 



174 



Sinton: 



Glaser: 
Sinton: 

Glaser: 
Sinton: 



Glaser: 
Sinton: 



You may have something come up out in the Mission district assume 
that you do have a problem. You may have to form a committee to 
take care of this problem out there. You may have a problem in the 
Fillmore district where you have to have a special committee or a 
professional institution set up for it. You may have a poverty 
program somewhere else how this should be taken care of. Social 
planning is social welfare. 



How was it that you got on the board of the Community Chest? 
said it was not automatic. 



You 



1 really don't remember whether it was because I was the president 
or because I was just a representative on the executive committee. 

Can you recall any problems that faced the Community Chest? 

We had Depression problems in the thirties. We had itinerants 
coming and we had to find places for them to sleep we had buildings 
on Mission Street. We had to feed them. We had terrible problems in 
the Depression of unemployment, and really the people didn't have 
enough to eat. We had to get money from the city to do it. I went 
up to the mayor's office together with the committee I was part of 
the committee that went out there to see if we couldnt 1 get some 
funds from the city and county to take care of these people. 

Were you able to get funds? 

Yes, by a wonderful man by the name of Charles Wollenberg, who was 
the father of Judge Albert Wollenberg. He was the one who really 
knew more about the situation than anyone else in town. He was the 
head of Laguna Honda Home at the time. He was a great social 
welfare man, really a very competent, knowledgeable, fine man. 



"The Jewish Bulletin" 



Glaser: 



Sinton: 



Glaser: 



1 think that takes care of my questions on the affiliation. 1 want 
to ask you about the Bulletin, the Jewish community newspaper. 



Oh, yes, I served as treasurer of the Bulletin. 
of political trouble there, too. 



1 had a great deal 



But Marcel Hirsch can give you 
more about the Bulletin than anything that I could; he was the 
president. 

Why did Dan Koshland and Phil Lilienthal and Walter Haas buy the 
paper when it was the Emanu-El? 



175 



Sinton: They bought it to take it out of the hands of other people who were 
going to make a personal use of it. They had to do it for the sake 
of the Jewish community, to have the Bulletin in good hands. 

Glaser: Would it have been so bad if this had 

Sinton: It would have been very bad if the people who wanted to get control 
of it had succeeded in doing so. 

Glaser: How would the Jewish community have suffered? 

Sinton: Because it was the Jewish paper and they would have used it for their 
own selfish purposes and not for community purposes, that's all. 
It's very simple. We all bought stock in it. 

Glaser: Then it became the Jewish Community Publication, Inc.? 
Sinton: I suppose so. 

Glaser: Mr. Hirsch, as president, headed the board of directors for thirty 
years, following Abe Schragge. 

Sinton: That's right. He's not president anymore. 

Glaser: What were the policies that the paper promulagted when it became 
The Bulletin and owned by the corporation? 

Sinton: Well, it really became an agency of the Federation, to disseminate 
Federation news policies and information. 

Glaser: Did you have anything to do with getting Gene Block as the editor 
for it? 

Sinton: I think Jesse Steinhart got him. 

Glaser: Did you have anything to do with dissolving this corporation when it 
appeared that the board of directors were moving in a direction 
that was not acceptable? Mr. Hirsch told me there was a member on 
the board who, together with several other directors, was doing 
things that were displeasing to the rest of you. 

Sinton: I know what he means. We had a political quarrel in the Bulletin. 
Glaser: At that time the corporation was dissolved, is that right? 

Sinton: Not while I was treasurer. It wasn't dissolved because it still 
is a separate corporation. 

But we did have trouble with some of our directors who wanted 
to get control of the board. That is true, if that's what Marcel 
Hirsch is referring to. We had a group there of two or three people 



176 



Sinton: 

Glaser: 
Sinton: 






Glaser: 
Sinton: 
Glaser: 
Sinton: 



who wanted to get control of the board of directors. I will not 
mention names I can't do that. They would have been a very bad 
group tc have control of that paper, and we had to take measures to 
stop them, which Marcel Hirsch and some of the rest of us did. 

Can you tell me the measures that were taken? 

Yes, we elected some other people on the board so that we had a 
majority of the board. 

Did you have to pass a motion that the board would be enlarged? 

No, there were vacancies. 

Are you happy with the way the paper is being run now? 

I think it's run as well as a paper of that kind can be run, yes. 
I don't know anything about the editorial policy. I haven't been 
on the board for quite a few years. 



Fund-Raising 



Glaser: 1 have some questions about fund-raising. 

Sinton: I have been raising funds for the Federation ever since I was 

twenty- three years old. I don't want to do it anymore. They give 
me a card once in awhile, but I've told them I don't like to do it. 
I've had sixty-odd years of fund-raising and I'm frankly tired. 

Glaser: What is the most effective way to raise money? 

Sinton: The only way to raise money is to raise money from the top. If you 
have a fund-raising campaign, you must get five or ten large sub 
scriptions. From there you work down. If you don't have leadership, 
you don't raise any money. That is all there is to fund-raising. In 
other words, you won't find money unless it's there, and to do that 
you have to have leaders who are men of means and who are desirous of 
doing good. In the old days we used to figure that 85 percent of the 
money was raised from 15 percent of the people, and that's your 
answer. 

Now, don't misunderstand me, you must have young people involved. 
You must have all sections of the community involved in fund-raising, 
because then they become interested. The young people, who don't 
have much money in the beginning, attain wealth later. But you do 
get money from the top. You must never forget the people all the 






177 






Sinton: people should be represented on the boards of directors, all groups 
of the community. We've done a pretty good job of that in San 
Francisco. We've had, in the main, very little divisiveness in the 
Jewish community. Any other questions? 

Glaser: What are advance gifts? 

Sinton: Just exactly what I'm speaking of. Advance gifts are the large 
gifts. 

Glaser: What does it mean to take cards? At one time you said to me you 
would take cards. 

Sinton: That means merely names, names of prospective donors. In other words, 
you have a meeting, you sit around a table, six or eight, and the 
chairman reads off the cards. Everyone will take some "I know him, 
I'll take him" or "give him to somebody else." It's merely a 
distribution of prospects. 

Glaser: Would these prospects be contacted by yourself in person or over the 
phone? 

Sinton: Oh, if you don't raise money in person, you don't raise money. You 
and someone else, two people, should go together and see the man 
personally. 

Glaser: Has it been by experience that you arrived at this method? 

Sinton: That is the only way to collect money. 

Glaser: How do you feel about dinners in which 

Sinton: I'm sorry you asked me this question. Testimonial dinners? 

Glaser: No, I mean where it's announced what people have given. 

Sinton: There's a great controversy over that sort of thing. In some 

communities New York, Chicago, Los Angeles particularly they're 
very, very successful. We've had them here, and in some cases where 
you have a good speaker for instance, if you have a person like 
Golda Meir come out here, it's wonderful to have her sitting around 
at a cocktail party or at a meeting of thirty-five to fifty people, 
you raise a lot of money. Generally speaking, it's embarrassing 
sometimes to raise money that way for people. I don't like to 
embarrass anybody. But in some cases it's necessary. 

Glaser: Where you announce what each person has given? 

Sinton: They still do it. We raise a lot of money by having separate 

dinners. The Federation does it. I don't like it particularly. I 
don't know if anyone likes it, but it's a way of raising money and 
you probably have to do it. 



178 



Glaser: Tell me what you were going to say about testimonial dinners. 

Sinton: They, to me, are a disaster. They do it well in other places. They 
don't do it very well in San Francisco. Personally, now that I'm 
very old, I wouldn't go to a testimonial dinner because it's a 
colossal bore. I don't think it's a wise thing to raise money that 
way, to use a man's name to raise money and then his friends are 
asked to come. It's very difficult to refuse to come to a friend's 
dinner. It's the sort of blackmail that I don't like. 

Glaser: I think your nephew Robert 

Sinton: I know, he had one and I had to go. It was very successful. It 
happened to be a good one, for Brandeis University. 

Glaser: Were you active in raising funds for Brandeis? 
Sinton: Not particularly. 

Glaser: Were you involved with the emergency appeal for Israel in 1967, 
when Robert Sinton was president of the Federation? 

Sinton: I was involved but I was in the hospital. 
Glaser: What was wrong? 

Sinton: I had a heart attack. I was there for a month. During the Six 

Day War, that's when this went on. We were all involved, whether we 
were in the hospital or out. 

Glaser: But you could be only emotionally involved, if you were in the 
hospital. 

Sinton: No, we subscribed to it, naturally, right away. The first day of 

the war I rang up and told Bobby, "Here, we've got to do something." 

He said, "We're going to have a meeting." 

I told him what to say at the meeting. That was all I could do 
from where I was. But that came very easy. There was no problem in 
raising money at that time. That was a special event that in ten 
days they raised all the money they wanted all through the country. 
That was the Six Day War from June 1st to June 6th or June 6th to 
whenever it was. 

Glaser: I wondered if you had any feeling about the needs of the private 

institutions or organizations versus a public institution. Do you 
have a feeling that one's charity funds go primarily to a private 



179 



Glaser: institution? There are a lot of organizations raising funds (I think 
this is probably more in the field of health) while the government is 
already giving a lot of money. 

Sinton: Are you talking about hospitals? 

Glaser: I think now it's more in terms of research rather than in institu 
tions . 

Sinton: There are so many appeals made, hundreds come over the desk. You 
not only get them at home, you get them at the office, don't you? 
And it's become so troublesome to separate the wheat from the chaff 
in this instance, just the same as anything. Most of these things 
do good. 

You can't say that the City of Hope that is a hospital in Los 
Angeles. We have hospitals here in San Francisco that do exactly 
the same work. I don't feel that they should come into San Francisco 
and raise money. This is just an illustration of what you ask about. 
They'll take a judge on the bench, or they'll take some figure here 
in San Francisco, and they'll have a dinner or a campaign in his 
honor. This is simply absurd on the face of it, because the Mount 
Zion Hospital does everything that the City of Hope does. 

They will go to Dallas, Texas, for Instance, and they'll have 
a patient from Dallas. They'll publicize that patient: "We gave 
this man free service and cured him of cancer" or whatever. This is 
ridiculous. Dallas has its own hospitals that do the same sort of 
thing. 

So you ask me about that sort of thing, you have to be very 
careful what you do and what you support. The most vicious thing 
in raising money is sometimes the administration of the funds amount 
to 60, 70, or 80 percent of it, and that's what you have to be 
terribly careful of not to support. Does that answer your question? 

Glaser: Yes. It was a badly-worded question. I was thinking of the private 
sector versus the tax dollar for philanthropy and research. 

Sinton: That's right, and now we have the suggestion that the deductions for 
charitable giving be removed, which will constitute a terrible 
problem for every charitable institution in the country. Then it's 
the question as to whether you want the government to run all of 
these things, and the government doesn't run these things very well 
vide the post office. I think our hospitals are run, notwithstanding 
they are terribly expensive, much better than the government. I 
wouldn't like to get the government into anything more than it is 
now. No, I would rather support a private institution. 

[end tape 12, side l] 



180 



VIII A SUMMING UP 

[Interview 8: August 11, 1977] 
[begin tape 13, side 1] 



Jewish Welfare Federation, Concluded 



Glaser: Did you have any regret that the Federation joined the Community 

Chest in the twenties, when there was the subsequent difficulty of- 

Sinton: Have you the date of the establishment of the Community Chest? 

Glaser: Yes, in 1922, and in 1930 Jesse Steinhart said, "The sacrifice we 
have made is more than we can bear." 

Sinton: Well, he may have said that, but we did it with the knowledge that 
we would sacrifice some funds, that the contributions of the 
Jewish community would be far in excess of its quota, so-called. 
But we realized that it was a good thing for the community and 
that it was a better thing for the Jewish community. 



Glaser: So you had no regret about that? 

Sinton: I personally have never had any regret about it because the 

Community Chest was the one unifying effort In this city, and it 
was essential that the Jewish community Join it. It would have 
been disaster if we hadn't. Surely, our organizations did 
sacrifice somewhat, but their deficits were always made up by the 
Jewish community wherever it was necessary. 

Glaser: I believe that there was a feeling that they were not getting 
enough of their budget back. 

Sinton: That is quite correct, but there was never any doubt in my mind, 
or in the minds of the majority of the members of the board of 
directors, that it was the right, proper thing to do. You always 
have that; joining you always make sacrifices. Probably some of 
the Catholics made sacrifices, although I don't know. 



181 



Glaser: I understand that there's a recent move on the part of the 

Federation's administrators to have representation at individual 
agency meetings. 

Sinton: I have heard of that. That's a staff recommendation, isn't it? 

Now this is something of which I have no direct knowledge because, 
as you know, I haven't been on the board for many years. I have 
expressed an opinion on it (not publicly), and I don't go along 
with it. 

I don't think they have any right to have any representation. 
These are autonomous agencies. They have representatives of their 
own on the Federation board. They can bring back anything that's 
necessary to their own agencies , and they can bring from their 
agencies any information or knowledge or suggestion that their 
agencies may have to the Federation. I see no necessity for the 
cross-representation on the part of the Federation. 

Glaser: Then your feeling is that the Federation's activities should be 
limited to social planning and fund raising. 

Sinton: Yes, budgeting and fund raising and general policy, which in turn 
would be communicated to the agencies. After all, they do have 
their representatives on the board. That's the purpose of it. 

Glaser: Were you involved in the construction of the present Temple Emanu-El 
building in 1925? 

Sinton: Not particularly. My father was still alive at that time, and I 

didn't have too much to do in it, as I recall. I wasn't a member of 
the board until much, much later. 

Glaser: Were you involved in raising funds for the new building? 
Sinton: I don't recall that I was. 



Concordia-Argonaut Club 



Glaser: I'd like you to tell me about the Concordia-Argonaut Club. Were 
they at one time separate clubs? 

Sinton: Yes, they were separate clubs. The Argonaut Club was located at 

Post and Powell; it was a very convenient location for lunch. The 
Concordia Club was at its present location at Van Ness Avenue and 



182 



Sin ton: 



Glaser: 



Sinton: 



Glaser: 
Sinton: 

Glaser: 
Sinton: 

Glaser: 
Sinton: 



Glaser: 



Sinton: 



Post Street which was, of course, ten minutes from downtown, whereas 
the Argomaut was right in the middle of downtown. It was a most 
convenient place, for luncheon particularly. 



When they merged why did they go to the farther building? 
better building? 



Was it a 



The Argomaut Club had lost some membership, I believe, and the 
Concordia Club had advantages insofar as it had a swimming pool, it 
had a gymnasium, it had all these things that the Argonaut Club did 
not have. I think the Concordia Club's membership was greater in 
number than the Argonaut Club. I didn't have anything to do direct 
ly with it. My brother, as a matter of fact, was the president of 
the Argomaut Club when they merged. 

That must have been in the thirties because he came back in 1930. 
Is that right? 



He came here in 1930. No, it was long after that, 
awhile after he came back. 

How far back do both clubs go? 



It was quite 



The Concordia and the Argomaut both go back very, very far. The 
Concordia Club certainly goes way back could be the seventies 
and probably the 1860s; my father was a member. 

From the very beginning were they both Jewish clubs? 

Yes, but I think the Concordia had some Christian members 
originally. It was a German organization. One of them was called 
the Verein which means merely a 'club.' I think I told you that 
my mother and father became engaged at a Washington birthday ball at 
the Concordia Club in 1881. 

What is the story about opening up the Concordia-Argonaut to 
non- Jews ? 

That was brought up quite a number of years ago. In fact, Daniel 
Stone was the one who he's dead now, a fine fellow. I think it 
was his idea. He knew some friends who wanted to join, and it was 
a very good thing to do because one of the troubles (and we saw that 
in the American Jewish Committee) was the fact that Jews were not 
eligible for membership in the Pacific Union or the Bohemian Club. 
It made a great deal of difference because those were the centers 
of the political and economic power in the town, particularly 
economic power (the Pacific Union) . So we could not logically and 
consistently complain of that if we didn't permit Christians to 
belong to our clubs. That was the real, underlying reason that 
some of them wanted to join. 



183 



Glaser: I understand that Willie Mays Is a member. 

i 

Sinton: Was a member. It became publicized that his name was up for 

membership. As soon as it became public, there was no chance of 
any objection. He was admitted to membership. He had no friends 
there. His membership did not last for a long period of time. Not 
that other blacks are not eligible for membership. Now they are. 
It could be that there are some, I don't know. There was no 
objection to them nothing in the constitution or the by-laws. 



Eastern European Jews 



Glaser: Do you have any recollection of the McAllister-Fillmore district 
in San Francisco where the East European Jews settled around the 
turn of the century and into the twenties? 

Sinton: The only real knowledge that I had of that was when I was president 
of the Federation and that was really not in the McAllister district. 
Where was it located? It was more in the Fillmore district. The 
Hebrew Free Loan Society and the Burial Society built a building. 
I think they had a building together. As the president, I parti 
cipated in the dedication of the building and that was back in the 
late twenties 1928 or '29. There I had some contact with that 
group. That was Mr. Sugar-man and the Spiegelmans and people like 
that, very good people. But the McAllister area and the gathering 
there together of East European Jews, no, I didn't know anything 
about it. 

Glaser: What was the attitude of the San Franciscan German Jewish families 
toward the East European families? There was quite a difference 
in social status. 

Sinton: Completely different in the early, early days, yes. It took a long 
time for that to be obliterated, but as I told you before, the San 
Francisco Jewish community has been a particularly well-organized, 
unified community. We've had, I would say, as little divisiveness 
as any Jewish community in the country. 



Mrs. Sinton' s Interest in the Arts, Concluded 



Glaser: I have some family questions to ask you. 
Sinton: Go ahead. That's easy. 



184 



Glaser: Mrs. Sinton was a member of the board of the Legion of Honor before 
the merger of the museums as I understand it. 

Sinton: Oh, yes, for a long time. Yes, she was on the board of the Legion 
of Honor. That's an art museum. 

Glaser: How active was she as a board member? 

Sinton: Quite active. She's very much interested in art and artists, so 
she was very active in it. 

Glaser: How long was she a member on the board? 

Sinton: I think she was a member eight or ten years at least. 

Glaser: Are you and Mrs. Sinton involved with the Emanuel Walter Gallery 
of the San Francisco Art Institute? 

Sinton: Only insofar as she Her uncle, Emanuel Walter, established it. 
He left a bequest to establish the gallery. 

Glaser: I understand that Mrs. Sinton is fond of ballroom dancing. 

Sinton: [Laughter] No, Mrs. Sinton took ballet in Paris when she was a 

young girl of seventeen or eighteen. She did some ballet dancing, 
and she did some dancing at what they call these so-called benefit 
teas and so forth with Morgan Gunst. He was a dancer, too, and they 
did a lot of dancing. 

Glaser: You mean like Irene and Vernon Castle? 

Sinton: Exactly. When she was a young girl. 

Glaser: Did you share her love for dancing? 

Sinton: I had to go and see it, that was all. 

Glaser: But as far as social dancing yourself? 

Sinton: Not very good at it. 

Glaser: Do you enjoy it? 

Sinton: Anymore? [Laughter] I couldn't get around anymore, no. 

Glaser: But when you were a younger man? 

Sinton: No, I never danced very well. She did. She was a very good dancer. 
She took ballet in Paris for a year or two. It was during the 
Pavlova period when everybody was crazy about dancing. 



185 



Glaser: I understand that you had a reputation of being very attractive to 
women; you were called "the Sultan." 

Sinton: That I don't think we need to it was Just a joke. That's 
ridiculous . 

Glaser: One of your nephews said that when he visited from Boston the young 
women would come around ostensibly to see him but really to see you. 

Sinton: Oh, that was when he was a baby. 1 wouldn't mention that. For 
God's sake, no, that's ridiculous. That was all a Joke. 

Glaser: You don't take pride in being attractive to women? 
Sinton: Not particularly. 

Glaser: When I talked to your daughter Ruth, she told me about a trip she 
and Jean took to Europe in the thirties. 

Sinton: In 1936. That's right. 

Glaser: You sent them tourist class, why didn't you let them go first class? 

Sinton: That's not true. They went with a woman who was a teacher. We 
didn't send them tourist class at all. That's not true. 

Glaser: She said that Judge and Mrs. Sloss were traveling first class, and 
that they would visit with them and felt quite resentful that they 
had to travel tourist class. 

Sinton: They were second class probably, but they weren't tourist. There 
were three classes. I don't remember it, but they went with this 
teacher who made all of the arrangements. [Laughter] Ruth's full 
of stories partly true, only partly true. 

Glaser: She told me that I don't know whether it was she or one of your 
nephews who said that you take your daughter, Marian Aline, along 
to baseball games. 

Sinton: Yes, she went with me to the ballgames. 

Glaser: She shares your love for baseball? 

Sinton: She did, she liked it, yes; she was the one who did. 

Glaser: Do you still go to the baseball games? 

Sinton: No, I didn't go last year. 



186 



Glaser: Ruth said that you're still in touch with the Japanese couple 
who were 

Sinton: Yes, we did have a Japanese couple called the Nakaos who went to 

Japan, probably fifteen years ago I guess it is now. They were very 
fine people. He was a very nice man, particularly. She was nice, 
too. My wife, Marian, really is the one who keeps in touch with 
them more than I do. I write them once in awhile, and they write 
on our birthdays and wedding days. They always remember them. 
Marian remembers them at Christmas and all that sort of thing. Yes. 
They live in Hiroshima. 

Glaser: Were they interned during the war when they were with you? 
Sinton: They weren't with us during the war, it was after the war. 



Glaser: 
Sinton: 



Glaser: 
Sinton: 

Glaser: 
Sinton: 



What was the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition like? 

We were just married then and my brother-in-law, Edgar Walter, did 
some of the sculpture in that exposition. It was really a wonderful 
exposition. It was convenient, it was pleasant. Marian was 
pregnant at the time so when we went out there she didn't look 
particularly as if she should be there. 

Did you return many times? 

Oh, we went very often, yes. It was a beautiful exposition. The 
buildings particularly the Palace of Fine Arts were very nice. 
It was a good exposition. 



It must have been a time of great civic pride, 
rebuilt after the earthquake 



The city had been 



Yes, that was what it was for really. Of course, the war in Europe 
had commenced and there was doubt as to whether it was going to be 
held. But they decided to go ahead anyway. You may recall the 
war broke out in August, 1914, and this was in '15. But we went 
ahead with it anyway and it was very successful. 



More on Jewish Identity 



Glaser: Dan Koshland in his memoirs says that the Jewish lack of identity 
is not only through intermarriage but as Jews become interested 
in the wider community. 



187 



Sinton: Well, don't you think that that is true? Of course, it's true. 
We're citizens, we have obligations to the community. There are 
business relationships, there are social relationships and this is 
true all over the United States insofar as Jews , or anyone else is 
concerned. 

Glaser: But do you believe that this leads to a loss of Jewish identity? 

Sinton: You go back to Emerson's essay: you don't get anything for nothing. 
There's a law of compensation. Of course, we lose something, but 
we gain something. You can't help it. It's inherent in American 
life. You can't be an Hasidic (or whatever they call them) in 
San Francisco today and not do anything else. It's not like New 
York. When I read what was the name of that fellow who wrote 
the book about the Hasidic Jews? It was a very popular book. He 
was a rabbi. It was an eye opener to all of us. We didn't know 
anything about studying the Talmud to that extent and all of that. 

Glaser: Oh yes, I know who you mean Chaim Potak. 



Sinton: That's right. I remember it starts with a baseball game. A fellow 
gets hurt that's the opening chapter. This was an education for 
us. We do lose some of that deep feeling that these people have 
for their religion and for their past. We lose something. Sure we 
do. Haven't you? 

Glaser: Yes. 

Sinton: All right. Why ask me? 

Glaser: My question really was whether you agreed with Mr. Koshland. 

Sinton: I don't think you can help it. I mean this is a fact, and I know 
in the back of every Jew's mind is, "Look what happened in Germany. 
They became part of the community and look what happened to them." 
But nevertheless you can't live in this country unless you're a 
part of it. 

Glaser: These questions are skipping around a bit because I'm tying up 

loose ends. I wondered about your change in life style due to your 
heart attack. 

Sinton: Of course, there was a great change. If you had what I had, you 

just immediately know you're going to go two-thirds speed and that's 
all there is about it. You do change. I could not be so active as 
before. I did play golf until 1967. 

Glaser: What was the year of your heart attack? 



188 



Sinton: 

Glaser: 
Sinton: 
Glaser: 
Sinton: 
Glaser: 

Sinton: 



Glaser: 



Sinton: 



Glaser: 
Sinton: 

Glaser: 
Sinton: 

Glaser: 
Sinton: 



The first one was 1952. The first bad one. I had a warning attack 
but that didn't amount to anything. Yes, I did, but what's the 
good of talking about that? 

Did you cut back on your community activities? 
No, I did not. 

Did you cut back on your law practice? 
Somewhat , yes . 

When talking to Ruth, she told me that you were always home in the 
evenings. I would have thought meetings would have kept you from 
home, but she said no. 

We did go to meetings in town when it was necessary. She wouldn't 
remember. But most of the time we were at home. That's true. 
Living down outside of San Francisco, it was a handicap so far as 
that was concerned. I couldn't go to all of the meetings. I went 
to the ones I had to go to. No, she didn't remember. I can tell 
you, just take Ruth cum granu salis. 

I'd like to hear about your daughters' weddings. Ruth said that 
hers was a very large wedding and half of the people there were 
relatives. 

We can do that easily. Any time you want we can gather up eighty 
or ninety of them. At that time there were more living. Yes, 
Ruth's wedding was the first one. It was a garden wedding. It 
was very nice. 

What time of year was it? 

In the summer. We had about three hundred fifty or four hundred 
people there. It was nothing in those days. It didn't mean 
anything. Everything was so relatively inexpensive. 

This was the early days of the war? 

No, it was before the war. She was married in 1938. No, we 
wouldn't have done it during the war. 

When was Jean married? 

Jean was married in 1940, two years later. That was before we were 
in the war. 






Glaser: Did she have a similar wedding? 



( 



189 



Sinton: 



Glaser: 
Sinton: 






Glaser: 
Sinton: 
Glaser: 

Sinton: 

Glaser: 
Sinton: 
Glaser: 
Sinton: 

Glaser: 
Sinton: 



Sinton: 



No, hers was in March. There were only about half as many people 
there because we weren't so sure of the weather we had to build a 
tent- like affair out on the terrace to hold the people and Ruth's 
was out on the lawn. 

You were afraid of the rain? 

It did rain. It rained like anything that morning and the canvas 
started to fall down on the tables that were set and everything. 
We had a terrible time for Jean's wedding. We had a fellow cut a 
hole in the canvas and let the water run out and the sun cane out 
later. He saved the day. 

Who conducted the wedding? 

I think it was Rabbi Irving Reichert. 

That's a good lead into further questions about the American Council 
for Judaism. Was Rabbi Reichert the founder of the chapter here in 
San Francisco? 



I don't think he was the founder, 
members. I was one of them too. 



I think he was one of the founding 



Did the entire organization start here in San Francisco? 
Oh, no, it started in the East. 
When was it founded here? 

Probably around in '46, '47, or '48, somewhere around in there to 
my best recollection. It was after the war. 

How long were you a member? 

I don't remember; a very short time. The idea was that the 
Zionists were speaking for all of the Jews in the country. We 
didn't feel that they should. As a matter of fact, I personally 
thought that the British should retain the mandate over the state 
of Israel. Well, the British moved out, and it was absolutely 
essential that Israel be formed as a state so as to be sovereign to 
acquire the people who wanted to go there. Otherwise, they 
couldn't have existed. So that's the time when these people those 
who were opposed to the establishment of the state were really the 
Council for Judaism. That's when we immediately got out. 

[end tape 13, side 1; begin tape 13, side 2] 

I would say that at that time the Welfare Fund was in existence, 
and the Zionists were very aggressive. They wanted allocations, 
and we gave them to them. We had that argument at the time. We had 



190 



Sinton: that difference of opinion as to what should happen to the state 
of Israel. But it was never a very serious divisiveness at all. 
Leo Rabinowitz was the head of the Zionist organization here. He 
was a member of the board of the Welfare Fund and he represented 
them very well. We were very, very good friends. We never had any 
trouble about it. They always thought they were not getting enough 
money, but every constituent agency thought that. No problem. 



Politics, Law and Order 

Glaser: What was the first election in which you voted? 
Sinton: As I recall, 1910. 

Glaser: Jesse Steinhart was campaigning for Hiram Johnson that year. Did 
you work with him on that? 

Sinton: No, I didn't work with him on it. After all, I was in law school. 
Glaser: You could have been a volunteer. 

Sinton: Yes, but I didn't. I think we did do something, but nothing to 
speak of. I voted for him. 

Glaser: Mr. Steinhart was also a Bullmooser. Did you vote for Teddy 
Roosevelt? 

Sinton: No, I did not vote for Teddy Roosevelt in the campaign where he 
split the Republican party. No, I voted for Taft. 

Glaser: Were you active in any way when your former teacher ran for governor? 

Sinton: His name was C.C. Young. Yes, I was somewhat active in his election. 
I wouldn't say much, but I was somewhat active. 

Glaser: He was considered a good governor was he not? 

Sinton: An excellent governor, an excellent teacher, ve^ unpopular per 
sonally, and I never understood how he got elected. He was a 
marvelous English teacher at Lowell High School. I never thought 
he could be elected to office but he was. He was a very good 
governor. But he was not re-elected; he only had one term. 
Clement C. Young was his name. 

Glaser: What is your view of the current controversy of the death penalty? 



191 



Sinton: I have a very strong feeling about that. I think it's a deterrent. 
I think it's an absurd thing, a ridiculous thing, to have a man 
who's convicted of first degree murder, pre-meditated crime, and 
have him supported by the wife, or the husband, or the father, or 
the daughter, of the person who was murdered. Primarily my belief 
in the death penalty is the protection of the public. If one life 
is saved by eliminating that man, I want it saved. 

When they say that the state commits a murder and that it 
is morally wrong, it's a war against crime, isn't it? We kill 
people in war, don't we? Is there any worse enemy than the 
criminal? The Japanese or the Germans were they worse enemies 
than the criminal who lies in wait and murders In cold blood? I 
don't think so. 

I don't think every homicide should be punishable by death, 
but I think certain crimes should be. There's no question in my 
mind that it's a deterrent. I'm borne out by justices of the 
superior court who told me time and again their experience with the 
criminal is that he wouldn't have done it had there been a death 
penalty. Chiefs of police will tell you the same thing. I cannot 
understand how people want to support a murderer all his life, 
a real vicious, cruel murderer. 

We had a case in San Mateo County of a doctor, a man who was 
a Hungarian Geza de Kaplany was his name. Someone told him his 
wife was untrue to him. He hadn't been married a long time. She 
was a beautiful girl. He tortured her for two weeks by cutting 
her and injecting poison into the wounds. The jury in San Mateo 
County found him guilty of first degree murder with a life sentence 
rather than the death penalty. He was released last year and is as 
free as a bird. He tortured this girl for two weeks before she 
died. Why should he have ever been permitted to go out and murder 
someone else? It's a classical case. 

The average term that is served by a murderer is something 
like seven years. He's a good boy in jail so they let him out, 
and then he commits another murder. I'm for protecting the man 
who's out or the girl who's out. 

Glaser: Is there any possibility of rehabilitation? 

Sinton: I think that in some cases there might be. But I weigh that 
against the protection of the general public, the millions of 
people who live in the United States. To rehabilitate a vicious 
murderer, it's possible. I wouldn't say that it isn't. But do you 
want more people killed to rehabilitate one murderer? I'm talking 
about the general public. This is something I feel very strongly 
about. I don't think you'll get anything else out of me. 



Glaser: 
Sin ton: 
Glaser: 

Sinton: 
Glaser: 
Sinton: 



Glaser: 
Sinton: 

Glaser: 
Sinton: 

Glaser: 
Sinton: 



192 



At the time of the strife on the Berkeley campus- 
1964? 



Right, the Free Speech Movement, 
to that. 



I wondered about your reaction 



I thought it should have been put down. 
In what way? 

With whatever force was necessary. It should have been put down 
immediately, and I said so at the time. Everyone knows about the 
First Amendment you can talk and you can do it without violence. 
They overturned a police car, they interfered with the educational 
process. There were probably twenty or twenty-five thousand people 
on that campus at Berkeley at the time. Out of that twenty or 
twenty-five thousand students, probably one or two thousand were 
involved in this violent protest. 

Now, I have no objection to free assemblage, free speech, at 
the proper time and the proper place, under the proper authoriza 
tion. Otherwise, I would put it down just as strongly as I could, 
and I don't think President Kerr did it. I think he hurt the 
University. It's been hurt ever since. 

But wasn't there previous damage done to the University when the 
professors were forced to sign a loyalty oath? 



That was another matter, yes. 
no violence. 



There was protest at that time but 



No violence, but you had professors leaving. 

Yes, we did; it was a bad thing, of course. I think that loyalty 
oath was absurd. Everyone thought so. I don't blame them for 
leaving . 

You didn't finish what you wanted to say about the Free Speech 
Movement, I interrupted you. 

No, I don't think so. I know that it was handled very well up at 
Davis, I'll tell you that. The man who was the president at Davis, 
he told them if they came 



Glaser: Was that Emil Mrak? 






193 



Sin ton: 



Glaser: 
Sinton: 



Glaser: 

Sinton: 
Glaser: 
Sinton: 



Glaser: 



Sinton: 




Mrak, yes, I knew him. His father was a cook in a hotel here in 
San Francisco. A great man, Mrak. One of the finest soil experts 
in the country. When they came to see him, they wanted certain 
things done and they said, "If you don't do it, we'll do what 
happened in Berkeley." 

He said, "If you do, you'll be arrested." 
They said, "Well, we'll go limp." 

He said, "I'll tell them to break your arms." That's the story 
I heard. There was no protest at Davis. They didn't do it. 

. 

It sounds a mite violent. 

They were being violent. They were interfering with the educational 
process of 90 percent of the students. They had no right here. 
Now, you could say anything you want that it's cruel but if they 
don't obey the regulations of the law what do they expect? Some 



of them are looking for it. 
this is hearsay. 



But that's what I heard he told them; 



What was your reaction to the Supreme Court's decision regarding 
desegregation of the schools? 

You mean the Brown against Board of Education case? 
Yes. 

Well, it's brought a great deal of good; it's brought a great deal 
of trouble. What did I think of the decision at the time? It 
was obviously a philosophical decision, and it was correct in 
principle and in justice. But the implementation of that has 
caused a terrible lot of trouble, and I'm frank to say I haven't 
got the answer for it. Bussing if I were the father of a child 
eight years old, I wouldn't want her bussed all over the country. 
I'll admit it. So I haven't an answer for that. It was a proper, 
philosophical, just decision. I don't know how to implement it. 

In an early session you said that the family got out of the wool 
business in 1930 because of government politics. 

It was not politics policy. I really couldn't give you the 
technical reasons, but one of the government agencies purchased all 
the wool as I remember (now this is just vague on ray part) so that 
their business as the middle men was really eliminated. They were 
forced out of the business by the different way in which the wool 
was handled, that's all. 






194 



Glaser: Did you have anything to do with turning the DN&E Walter Company 
into a family investment company? 

Sinton: Only insofar as they sold out their carpet mill in Los Angeles, 
and sold out their drapery inventory and their window shade 
inventory, and there was nothing left for them to do but to become 
a personal holding company. 

Glaser: Did you have a role in the 

Sinton: Yes, the sale of the mill was accomplished in the East by an 
Eastern firm of lawyers, because an Eastern firm, the Ludlow 
Company, bought the mill in Los Angeles. 

Glaser: I'm trying to find out what your role was in all of this. 
Sinton: Well, I was the attorney for the corporation here. 
Glaser: Did you have a part in the decision to stop being a 

Sinton: As a member of the board of directors I did, of course. Yes. But 
this much I can tell you. Practically half of the stock was owned 
by a man and his son and the other half was distributed among another 
family so it was really sort of a cut and dried affair. He was the 
chairman of the board 

Glaser: You're talking about the Walter family? 

Sinton: Yes. One of them was chairman of the board, and it was the only 
thing they could do anyway. I mean there was no other out but to 
go out of the carpet business because if they stayed in it they 
would have had to supply capital to the extent where it was pretty 
nearly impractical for them to do. So they had to. 

Glaser: Do you do any estate planning or management for clients? 
Sinton: I did, yes, but I don't do as much now. 
Glaser: Every time I come here you have phone calls. 

Sinton: Well, I know but that's just the remains of something. Yes, I did 
quite a lot of estate planning. 

Glaser: You said you wanted to tell me about the Knowland campaign. 

Sinton: Oh, that was just funny. That was the Bill Knowland campaign. 

You wouldn't recall, but Governor Knight was a Republican governor 
of California. Knowland was the next man to Taft in the Senate. 
He came out here with the ambition to become the President of the 






195 



Sinton: United States. To do that, he thought he had to be elected governor 
of California. Governor Knight should have been re-elected, but 
Knowland made a split in the Republican party in California and Pat 
Brown became the governor. Knowland ruined the Republican party. 
He practically extinguished it, you might say, in California until 
Reagan became elected. It was just the most terrible example of 
personal ambition against the public good. I was involved in 
Knowland 's campaign. Someone asked me to do something and I 
foolishly did it. And when I heard him speak, I knew I'd made a 
mistake. I didn't do much after that. 

Glaser: What had you been doing? 

Sinton: We were planning television programs the usual planning that goes 

on with the finance committee and another committee of raising funds 
and all that. But I stopped. 

Glaser: I would have thought you would be a George Christopher man from 
the beginning. 

Sinton: Well, that wasn't the time that Christopher ran. I was but that was 
in a later campaign. That wasn't the Knowland campaign. Christopher 
had nothing to do with the Knowland campaign. He ran when a Democrat 
was elected. 

Glaser: Was it the second Pat Brown campaign? 

Sinton: Yes, surely. Christopher was not involved in the Knowland campaign, 
not a bit. 

Glaser: But you were a supporter of Mr. Christopher. 

Sinton: Yes. 

Glaser: Was he a good man? 

Sinton: Excellent. The only mistake he made was Candlestick Park. He was 
a very fine man and a very good mayor. 

Glaser: But he tried to come back again to run for something not too long 
ago, didn't he? 

Sinton: He was running for governor, but he got beaten in the primary. I 

remember telling the people in Los Angeles who I knew, "For goodness 
sakes, change your registration from Democratic to Republican so 
that Christopher will be nominated." I said, "You're going to have 
a terrible fellow if you don't." 

Glaser: Didn't he run against Reagan in the primary when Reagan won? 



196 



Sinton: I think that's it, yes. Reagan beat him in the primary and I 

begged these people in Los Angeles to change their registration 
(they were all Democrats, a lot of people I knew) from Democrat 
to Republican so that Christopher could win in the primary. I 
said, "Otherwise, you're going to have Reagan and you'll regret it." 

Glaser: It seems to me that Governor Brown made a mistake. He felt that 
Christopher was harder to beat than Reagan and so he concentrated 
on Christopher. 

Sinton: He could have. He got a bad beating by Reagan. 
Glaser: So you were not a Reagan man at all. 

Sinton: No, I was not. I voted for Reagan in the final election because 
I'm a Republican and I believe in the two party system, and I'll 
keep on voting that way until something changes. 

Glaser: How do you assess Mr. Reagan as a governor? 

Sinton: Well, he hurt the University of California his campaign was based 
on that, of hurting the University of California he injured it. 
He kept some good people from coming there. Brown, on the other 
hand, was a great friend of the University. But I voted Republican. 
Forgive me. 

Glaser: Why do you say 'forgive me'? 
Sinton: [Laughter] Go ahead. 
Glaser: That's it we're finished. 



Transcriber: Michelle Stafford 
Final typist: Teresa Allen 



197 



APPENDIX A 

Koshland Family Tree 

Sinsheimer Family Tree 

Holograph Will of Rosina F. Koshland 

Nephew Robert Sinton Continues Family Tradition of Community Service 



198 
KOSHLAND FAMILY TREE 



& r ff h ff * &n / s- r a > 1 mBderte etsta -la Jahre 1750 eus 

'-:* .'';*. . V ;''* '- :; ':.':.'-"; ','".''* v ' p -' 1 ' * '' v . '. " ' " '" 

in BSlmen tn Jc&sr&ausen eln+Sr tst in dorttgen Jf^aor* 
alzsgetragen &%3 se&r Qhlth8tl0 p tnsbesondere hat er slch d 

'",- i ' J? v V '"'. 

JLnsan Im Selltffen Lends angenomme^ 

r htntsrllcss sschs SVhne von dsnen die nactetelienden 

- . .' ' 
Ltnlen abstamsien+ ..; " 



Abraham ben Israel migrated about in the 
year 1?50 from KOSCHLAN in Boheinia and arrived 
in Ichenhausen. He is recorded in the book of 
Memories there, as a very benevolent person, . 
especially has he shown consideration toward the 
poor in the Holy Land. 

He left six sons, from which the following 
six lines in lineage start. 



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SINSHEIMER FAMILY TREE 



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201 



Holograph will of Edgar Sinton's grandmother, 

Rosina F. Koshland, dated San Francisco, November 13, 1901 




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203 



Nephew Robert Sinton Continues Family Tradition 
of Community Service 



San Francisco Jewish Bulletin Dec . 9 , 1977 

COMMUNITY SER VICE A WA RD 

Brandeis U. To Honor Rabbi Alvin I. Fine 



Abram L. Sachar, firsl 
president and now chancellor of 
Brandeis University, will be the 
principal speaker at the Brandeis 
dinner Tuesday, Dec. 13 in the 
Fairmont Hotel. 

Dr. Sachar, nationally known 
historian who guided Brandeis 
from its start in 1948 until 
becoming chancellor in 1968, will 
speak at a dinner honoring Rabbi 
Alvin I. Fine, professor of 
humanities at San Francisco State 
University. 

Rabbi Fine will be presented the 
Brandeis Distinguished Com 
munity Service Award during the 
evening. He has been on the San 
Francisco State faculty since 1965 
and previously served for 17 years 
as senior rabbi of Congregation 
Emanu-El here. 

Chairman of the dinner is 
longtime Brandeis friend Ben 
jamin H. Swig, trustee emeritus of 
Brandeis and chairman of the 
board of the Fairmount Hotel Co. 
in San Francisco. 

Associate chairman of the 
dinner is Robert E. Sinton, 
executive vice-president of the San 
Francisco brokerage firm of Dean 
Witter & Co., who received a 
similar Brandeis honor a year ago 
in San Francisco. 

A highlight of the event will be 
the hooding of Sinton as a Fellow 
of Brandeis. The ceremony will be 
officiated in by Dr. Sachar. 

Rabbi Fine, active in many civic 
and communal endeavors, has 
been a member of the Human 
Rights Commission of the City and 
County of San Francisco since its 
inception in 1964-65. He also is a 
member of the National Advisory 
Council, American Civil Liberties 
Union, and has served on White 
House conferences on aging and 
children and youth. 

His honors include the 
American Jewish Congress 
Humanitarian Award. San 




Rabbi Alvin I. HIM 
Francisco Bar Association Liberty 
Bell Award, Jewish National Fund 
John F. Kennedy Award, and the 
San Francisco Council of Church- 



Robert E. Sinton 



es Ecumenical Award. 

Planning the event are Brandeis. 
Trustees Madeleine H. Russell 
and MetvinM. Swig. 



204 



APPENDIX B 

"The Garden Hospital, 1890-1955" 

Letter from Robert D. Riegg, president, Garden Hospital Jerd Sullivan 
Rehabilitation Center 

Further Mergers by Garden Hospital 
Jewish Family Service Through the Years 



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213 



GARDEN SULLIVAN 



July 20, 1977 



Ms. Eleanor Glaser 
Regional Oral History Office 
Bancroft Library, Rm. 486 
University of California 

at Berkeley 
Berkeley, California 94720 

Dear Ms. Glaser: 

A former, and remarkable member of our Board, Mrs. Marion Dohrmann, re 
quested that I send you a copy of "The Garden Hospital - 1890-1955", 
which is a partial history of the organization. This is in regard to 
the role that Mr. Edgar Sinton prominently played in the development of 
the hospital over a period of some 54 years (since 1916, approximately). 
He was on our Board of Directors from 1947-1970. 

Mr. Sinton's contributions were significant, not only in legal advice 
to the Board of Directors, but also in encouraging benefactors for the 
organization. 

His specific contributions in fundraising are not indicated in the history 
as he preferred working "behind the scenes". 

Mrs. Dohrmann also requested that the date of officially beginning our 
Alcoholism Program be transmitted to you. It was on March 1, 1973. 

I am also taking the liberty of including a copy of the overview of our 
organization and an abstracted history of the significant dates in the 
hospital 's history. 

Yours sincerely, 




Robert D. Riegg 
President 



RDR/cog 
enclosures (3) 

cc: Mrs. Jack F. Dohrmann 



GARDEN HOSPITAL JERD SULLIVAN REHABILITATION CENTER 



IOSPITAL & ADMINISTRATION 
!750 GEARY BOULEVARD 
>AN FRANCISCO, CA 94118 
415)921-6171 



OUTPATIENT REHABILITATION 

2360 CLAY STREET 

SAN FRANCISCO. CA 941 1 6 

(415)931-1613 



SOCIAL SETTING DETOXIFICATION 
1335 GUERRERO STREET 
SAN FRANCISCO. CA 94110 
(4151648-5321 



214 



FURTHER MERGKRS I5Y GARDEN HOSPITAL 



4 9,111 4fcinri(o (|)r<mirlf 



Fri., Jan. 13, 1978 



Pacific Medical Center 
Acquires Garden Hospital 



My Waitlimil /.<im- 

Pacific Medical Tenter, the 
expanding Pacific Heights health 
care institution acquired another 
subsidiary yesterday Garden 

Hospital Jerd Sullivan Medical Cen 
ter. 

The center's latest acquisition 
could prove to be the firsi of 
several 1978 mergers of hospitals in 
San Francisco because of un over- 
supply of beds, spiraling costs and 
tougher federal regulations. 

Jaquelin 11 Hume, chairman of 
the trustees of Pacific Medical 
Center, told staff members that his 
board also is "very interested" in 
merging with Mt. /ion Hospital, 
Children's Hospital or both. 

Speculation about such merg 
ers has gone on for years, and 
"talks are continuing." said Jo 
Bryant, spokeswoman for Pacific 
Medical Center. 

One person familar with the 
negotiations said that meetings 
among the three hospitals occurred 
almost weekly for five months 
ending in November, at which time 
'Pacific Medical C'enter and Ml. 
/ion were very interested and 
ready to sit down and negotiate the 
details." 

Children's, however, was re 
portedly less willing to go ahead 
with the merger, which could 
eventually produce a common 
board of directors and manage 
ment for the hospitals. 

The talks, broken off m No 
vember, are reportedly set to re 
sume later this month .1 Hock 
Tonkel, a<!nm;iMiH!.>r of Children's, 
said that his hospital's acreeijieul to 
discuss a possible merger 'has 




JAQUELIN HUME 
Chairman of Pacific 



definitely not been dissolved and 
we are continuing in good faith to 
discuss the concept." 

Hume, a prominent Republican 
businessman, said the plan is to 
concentrate treatment of the acute 
ly ill at Pacific and to focus on 
rehabilitation at (iarden. at 'J.7M 
Geary boulevard. 

Dr Bruce E. Spivey. president 
of Pacific, said the merger should 
result in "increased flexibility," less 
duplication of effort, possibly even 
a reduction of cost to patients. 

Pacific Medical Center has un 
annual budget of $; million and 
about 1100 employei*. while (Jar 
den has alxxil '> employees and a 
$5 million budget. 

Mental health facilities will lie 
expanded, Spivey said, and Garden 



Hospital will continue to offer care 
to alcoholics, in the acute detoxifi 
cation stage and in later rehabilila 
tion. 

Spivey said he is optimistic 
about Pacific's role as an expanding 
medical facility in the Gay-Buchan 
an streets neighborhood. 

He acknowledged there is con 
siderable "neighborhood concern" 
over the hospital's plans to turn a 
vacant lot at Clay and Webster 
streets into a medical office build 
ing. 

Hut he said relations are better 
than they are between 1 1C Medical 
Center and its neighbors on Parnas 
sus Heights 

"We and our neighbors hope to 
go together to the Planning Com 
mission." Spivey said. 

Since 1971, Pacific Medical 
('enter and Garden Hospital have 
been affiliated, with an outpatient 
clinic of Garden near Clay and 
Webster streets. 

Under the merger, seven trust 
ees of the Garden board of direc 
tors will be added to Pacific's 
trustees, Garden's assets will be 
transferred to Pacific, and Rolx-rl 
Kiegg, president of Garden, will 
become a vice president of Pacific 
Medical Center. 

Pacific Medical Center's com 
ponents, in addition to Garden 
Hospital, include Presbyterian llos 
pital, the Institutes of Medical 
Science, a mental health facility, a 
huge medical library, and the liiii 
versity of the Pacific IH'iital School 
all located in the neighborhood 

Some years ago the Pacific 
center took over care of patients of 
the old Callison Hospital on Pine 
street and the Darkness Hospital un 
I'VII street once run by the South 
ern Pacific Kailwav. 



.Tev'ish l : aTiiily Sei-vicc Throu.ch the- Yonrs 



S a n F r _?nc_i _s c o . I ew i s h Bulletin Dec. 2, I 1 .' 7 7 
PROGRAMS FROM INFANCY TO OLD AGE 

Pioneer Agencies Merged Here 
Provide Family, Children Service 



By Peggy A. Isaak 

(Jewiih Bulletin Women s Editor) 

Two pioneer Jewish agencies 
Jewish Family Service Agency and 
Homewood Terrace have 
merged their services to form the 
Jewish Family and Children's 
Services, it was jointly announced 
by the agencies' boards of direc 
tors. 

Both agencies, which have 
provided services for both children 
and families, were founded here 
during the Gold Rush era, ac 
cording to Dr. David Crystal, 
acting director of the new agency. 

JFSA, founded as the Eureka 
Benevolent Society in 1850. was 
formed by 1.1 men who, as August 
Helbing, one of those members 
wrote, would meet arriving ships 
in Yerba Buena harbor here to 
care for the "Israelites" who were 
sick or destitute. "It was a God 
send blessing," he wrote, "to the 
sick Israelite to be taken from the 
overcrowded ship and be met by 
his brothers in the faith and cared 
for." 

Eureka Benevolent Society was 
to represent the start of the first 
Jewish charity on the West Coast. 
"By choosing to include the name 
'Eureka 1 in its title," Dr. Crystal 
said, "its founders were not only 
i tinning their Jewishness, but 
t> > that they were an integral part 
the general community as 
hurcka' also became California's 
stale slogan." 

He said that the Society's 
services over the years has paraded 
the growth of social services in 
America. "Its origin*! purpose 
was not only to fight poverty, but 
also to identify the needs of im 
migrants from abroad, something 
that continues today with Russian 
emigres to the area. 

"But what has been added are 
the ingrediants for a changing, 
complex society, broadened to 
anything that will help people 
adjust." Dr. Crystal added. 



JFSA offers a comprehensive 
program of mental health care 
from child guidance to problems 
of refugees and aged, including 
groups for mothers and newborn 
infants, a parent-toddler guidance 
group, consultation programs at 
Jewish Community Center nursery 
schools and local Jewish day 
schools, group therapy, marital 
counseling, individual adolescent 
problems, counseling for the aged, 
the widow-widower support 
program and a sheltered workshop 
for the elderly. 

The Pacific Hebrew Orphan 
Asylum and Home Society, which 
became Homewood Terrace, 
named after the street off Ocean 
Avenue where it was located, had 
its pioneer roots within the Eureka 
Benevolent Society. In the early 
1850s, a Jewish widower, living in 
Marvsville. Calif., was bringing 
his infant son to San Francisco to 
be cared for when the boilers of the 
steamship that carried them 
exploded, killing the man. The 
child was cared for by the Society, 
which then adopted a 25 cent 
membership dues increase, set 
aside specifically for the care of 
orphans and widows. 

Homewood Terrace changed its 
scope of services over the yean 
from the care of orphans to the 
treatment of emotionally disturbed 
adolescents. "They pioneered in 
social services with its residence 
program whkh is a blend of 
psychiatric, psychological and 
educational services," Dr. Crystal 
said. 

"Homrwood Terrace it I MI ax a 
separate agency reflected the 
double thrust of JFSA." he 
continued, "with mental health 
programs, including a child 
development program for infants 
and mothers and toddlers and 
mothers." 

He explained that "because the 
two agencies had the same 
philosophy and became in 



terchangable, the boards of 
directors of the two agencies 
decided that a 'unity' of services 
would be better," adding that 
many cities this size have already 
merged similar services. 

"In the future, we envision 
complete coverage of all social 
service needs of the Jewish 
community on a highly qualitative 
basis," Dr. Crystal said. "Our 
program is now comprehensive at 
every level of life, from infancy to 
old age." 

The new agency will be con 
ducting a pilot research project on 
joint custody of children of divorce 
in collaboration with the National 
Women's Lawyers' Assn. Its 
Widow- Widower Outreach 
Program has been nationally 
recognized by the American Assn. 
of Retired Persons. The agency 
will also continue its program on 
behalf of isolated elderly persons 
with its "Landlord Project," which 

teams up three people in an 
apartment house and provides its 
social services for them. Jewish 
Family and Children's Services 
will also continue its support for 
the Kosher Nutrition Project, 
which provides a hot lunch daily 
for seniors at two local synagogues 
and the Jewish Community 
Center. 

Helene Cohen, past president of 
the JFSA, will be president of the 
new agency. David Mishel and 
Mortimer Flcishhacker will be 
vice-presidents. Serving as 
secretary will be James Self and 
Mauley MiT/slcin will be 
treasurer. Sol Posiyn. foiim-r 
president of Homeumxl Terrace, 
will be chairman of its executive 
committee. 

"The enthusiasm by the new 
board is overwhelming," Dr. 
Crystal concluded, "as they are 
building a future on the solid base 
of the past." 




Helene Cohen 



216 



INDEX Edgar Sinton 

- 



Abrahamson, Lucille, 141 

Abrams, Morris, 140, 144 

Alpers, Aaron A., 134-135 

American Council for Judaism, 44-45, 189 

American- Israel Public Affairs Committee, 145 

American Jewish Committee, 38-43, 58, 137-145, 155-156 

American Jewish Congress, 38-43 

Armstrong, Barbara Nachtrieb, 120-121 

Anti-Defamation League, 38, 137-138, 156 

Anti-Semitism, 3, 21, 39-41, 139 

atom bomb, 70-71 



Bakke case, 144 
banks: 

Bank of America, 103-104 

Bank of Italy, 64-65 

California Bank of Los Angeles, 104-105 

First Western Bank, 104-105 

San Francisco, 102-107 

United California, 104-107 

Western Bank Corporation, 104 
Earth, J. and Company, 31 
baseball, 14, 17-18, 28, 83, 87-89, 185 
baths (Lurline and Sutro) , 87 
Behrens, Bernice Woodard (Mrs. Earl), 118-119 
Belgrano, Frank, 103 
Bettleheim, Rabbi Albert S., 37 
Bhutto, Z.A. , 133 
blacks, relations with, 140-141 
Block, Eugene, 82, 175 

B'nal B'rith. See Anti-Defamation League 
Bonaparte, Benjamin, 146 
Bookbinder, Hyman, 145 
Bothin Helping Fund, 168-169 
Brandenstein, Agnes, 32 
Brandeis University, 144, 178 
Brlcca, Toby, 60 
Bridges, Harry, 62, 69 
Brown, Edmund G. , Sr. (Pat), 195 
Brown, Fay, 170 
Buck, Walter, 104 
Bush, Lucille (Mrs. Philip), 134 
Bush, Philip, 80, 134 



217 



Camp, Harry, 68, 71, 112, 115, 121 

Camp, Walter, 131 

Carroll, Francis, 115 

Catholic Church, relations with, 139-140 

Chance, Frank, 88 

Choynski, Herbert, 128 

Choynski, Joseph, 128 

Christopher, George, 195 

City of Hope, 179 

Colliver, Edith, 140 

Collier, Sarah, 160, 165 

Colvin, Reynold, 141, 144 

Committee for Personal Service, 148-149 

Concordia-Argonaut Club, 87, 181-183 

Corbett-Choynski fight, 128 

Crowell, Amos, 115 



death penalty, 190-191 

de Kaplany, Geza, 191 

de Limur, Genevieve, 169 

depression, 1930s, 63, 65, 174 

Dinkelspiel, Lloyd, 135 

discrimination against Jews, 41-42, 142-143, 182 

Dohrman, Mrs. Jack, 166 

Duniway, Ben C., 112-113, 121 



Ehrman, Sidney, 77, 90 

Elks Club, 41, 142 

Elkus, Charles de Young, 172 

Elman, Mischa, 77 

Emanu-El. See Jewish Canmunity Bulletin 

Emanu-El Residence, 148 

Engleman, Edgar G. , 48, 50, 59 

Engleman, E. Philip, 48 

Engleman, Ephraim, 48, 72 

Engleman, Jean Sinton (Mrs. Ephraim), 48, 55 

Erdman, Paul, 106 

Eureka Benevolent Society, 37-38, 79-80, 148 



Falk, Adrien, 121-122 

Federation of Jewish Charities. See Jewish Welfare Federation 

Fine, Alvin, 35-36 

Flatt, Elinore, 74 

Fleishhacker , Janet C. (Mrs. Mortimer), 128 

Fleishhacker , Mortimer, 172 

Frankenstein, George, 153 

Free Speech Movement, 192 

fund raising, 38, 43, 64, 111, 150-151, 153-154, 176 



218 



Garden Hospital, 37, 153, 157-170 

German discipline, 1 

Germany: 

Bavaria, 1, 6 

Burstadt, 1, 29-20 

Ichenhausen, 2-3, 6, 30 
Giannini, A. P., 65 
gold rush, 6 
Goldstein, Morris, 36 
Gould, Marsha, 58 

Greenebaum, Carrie Koshland (Mrs. Emil) , 21, 25 
Griffith, Alice, 168 
Gunst, M.A. , 76-77, 127, 129, 184 
Gunst, Morgan, 28, 76-77, 127, 170 

Haas, Elise Stern (Mrs. Walter), 31-32, 55 

Haas, Fannie Koshland (Mrs. Abraham), 21, 25, 27, 146-147 

Haas, Walter and Elise Fund, 133 

Haas, Walter, Jr., 55 

Haas, Walter, Sr., 17-18, 30-32, 123-124, 149, 174 

Harband, Maurice, 60 

Hastings Law School. See Edgar Sinton, education 

Hauseman, Irving, 36 

Heyman, Albert, 30 

Hirsch, Marcel, 139, 174-176 

Hochwald, (Dr.), 162 

Home for Incurables. See Garden Hospital 
Homewood Terrace, 37, 145-147 
Horton, Jack, 106 

Iberg, "Ham", 88 
intermarriage, 58-59, 111 
Israel, 44-45, 144, 156, 178, 189 

* 

Jacobs, Sam, 110 

Japanese relocation, 72 

Jewish Community Bulletin, 174-176 

Jewish Community Center, 80, 134-136 

Jewish Community Relations Council, 39, 137-138, 143-144 

Jewish Welfare Federation, 37-39, 43-44, 79, 127-129, 145-156, 170-183, 189 

Jewish Welfare Fund, 39, 155-156. See also Jewish Welfare Federation 

Joint Committee of Accreditation of Hospitals, 164 



219 



Kauffman, Sylvain, 77-78, 152, 171 
Kerr, Clark, 192 
Kidner, Frank L., 112 
King, Frank, 106 
Knowland, William, 194-195 
Koshland, S. and Company, 4-7, 10 
Koshland family: 

Carrie. See Greenebaum, Carrie Koshland 

Cora Schweitzer (Mrs. Marcus Koshland), 12-13, 90, 145, 157 

Daniel, Jr., 71 

Daniel, Sr. , 7, 77, 96, 128, 132, 149, 172, 174, 186 

Fannie. See Haas, Fannie Koshland 

Jesse, 26 

Joseph, 4, 6-7 

Marcus, 7, 11-12, 21-23 

Monte, 83, 96 

Nettie. See Sinsheimer, Nettie Koshland 

Regine, 2, 84 

Rosina Frauenthal (Mrs. Simon), 6, 10-11 

Simon, 3-4, 6, 10, 84 
Kyne, Peter B., 7 
Kyne, Tom, 7 



labor unrest, 61 

Ladar, Sam, 149 

Langer, Samuel, 145-147 

Legion of Honor, San Francisco, 184 

Lewis, Fayette ("Louie"), 142 

Lewis, John L. , 71 

Lilienthal, Ben, 145-147 

Lilienthal, Jesse, Jr., 28 

Lilienthal, Jesse, Sr. , 31, 98-100 

Lilienthal, McKinstry, and Raymond, 157 

Lilienthal, Philip, 28, 33, 174 

Lilienthal, Sam, 152 

Lipsitch, Irving, 136 

I.is burger, Sylvain, 149 

Lowenberg, William J., 148 

Lowenthal, Frank, 9 

Lowenthal, Helen Sinsheimer, 9 

Lundborg, Louis, 173 

Lurie, Brian, 46 

Lyons, Mrs. Franklyn, 163, 165 



Mack, Adolph (Dick), 24 

Mack, Jule, 24 

McKeage, (Judge), 113 



220 



McKinstry, Clarence, 37, 157 

McKinstry, Laura, 37, 158-159 

McLaren, Loyall, 168-169 

McLeod, Duncan, 106 

McNary, Charles L., 119 

Maddux, Peter, 104 

Maimonides Health Center for the Chronic Sick, 149 

Margolis, Max, 60 

Marsh, Frank, 116 

May, John, 77, 115, 119 

Mays, Willie, 183 

Meyer, Martin, 32, 80 

Michelson, Albert, 59-60 

Miller, Henry, estate of, 157 

Molera, Frances, 166-168 

Morrison, May Clinic. See Jerd Sullivan Rehabilitation Hospital 

Mount Zion Hospital, 43, 54, 64, 149, 151, 179 

Mrak, Emil, 192 

Muller, Harold P. ("Brick"), 131. 136 



Nakaos, Mr. and Mrs. , 186 

National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council, 143-144 
Nevers, Ernie, 88, 136 



Office of Price Administration, 68-70, 77, 112-122, 161 
Orrick, Will, 106 



Pacific Medical Center, 161-162 

Panama Pacific International Exposition, 186 

Perry, Mrs. Warren, 160 

Petree, Neil, 115 

Play land at the Beach, 85-86 

Potok, Chaim, 187 

Prohibition, 61 

Proskauer, Joseph M. , 39 



Raab, Earl, 39, 139 

Rabinowitz, Leo, 190 

Reagan, Ronald, 195-196 

The Recorder. 63 

Reichert, Irving, 189 

Riegg, Robert, 162 

Rogers, Ernest, 110 

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 68-69 

Roost, Jill Engleman (Mrs. Kenneth), 48, 58 

Roost, Kenneth, 48 

Rowell, Elmer, 14 



221 



St. Francis Hotel, 11, 91-92, 129 

San Francisco Art Institute, 184 

San Francisco earthquake and fire, 11-14, and passim 

San Francisco Examiner, 113 

San Francisco Foundation, 128 

San Francisco "Seals", 88 

Schaefer-Simmern, Henry, 55 

school desegregation, 193 

Schragge, Abe, 175 

Schwabacher, Albert, 28, 30 

Sinsheimer. See Sinton 

Sinton (Sinsheimer), Edgar: 

Childhood and Youth, 10-31, 81-84, 87, 89-90 
Education: 

elementary and high school, 10-11, 14, 81, 129-130 

University of California, Berkeley, 14, 17-22, 26-27, 96-102, 130-134 
Hastings Law School, 11, 30, 91, 99-100 
Family: 

brother: Stanley, Sr. , 8-10, 26-27, 31, 33-34, 83, 98, 123, 182 
daughters : 

Jean Sinton Engleman (Mrs. Ephralm), 48, 185, 188 
Marian Aline Sinton, 49, 53, 123, 185 
Ruth Sinton Steiner (Mrs. Paul), 23, 49-50, 185, 188 

father: Henry (Heinrich) , 2-5, 11-13, 24-27, 35, 38, 79-80, 110, 148, 182 
grandparents and forebears: 1-2, 84. See also Koshland family 
mother: Nettie Koshland Sinton, 4, 7, 22-27, 92 
nephews : 

Robert Sinton, 122, 134, 178 
Stanley Sinton, Jr., 92-93, 122 
wife: Marian Walter Sinton, 31, 54-56, 184-185 
other relatives: 1-10, 30, 33, 55, 58, 59, 72 
See also Koshland family 
Professional activities : 

legal, 59-60, 63, 86, 98-101 
See also banks; Office of Price Administration 

Philanthropy and community leadership. See; American Jewish Committee, 
Community Chest, Fund Raising, Garden Hospital, Jewish Community 
Center, Jewish Community Relations Council, Jewish Bulletin, Jewish 
Welfare Federation 

Religious observance, 35-36, 109-110 

Travel and vacations, 1, 8-9, 16-17, 29-30, 51, 75, 93-95 
See also Table of Contents for specific subject titles 
Slack, Charles, 167 
Slack, Ruth (Mrs. Charles), 167-168 
Sloss, Frank, 112, 127-128 
Sloss, Hattie (Mrs. M.C.), 155, 185 
Sloss, M.C., 79, 126-127, 185 
Stanford University 

Big Game, 101-102, and passim 



222 



Steiner, David, 49, 59 

Steiner, Paul, 49, 72 

Steiner, Peter, 58 

Steinhart, Jesse, 38-39, 125-127, 136, 155, 175, 180, 190 

Steinhart, John, 79 

Stephens, Howard A. ("Brodle"), 131 

Stone, Daniel, 182 

Strassberger, Lawrence, 31 

Strong, Edward W. , 132 

Sullivan, Jerd Rehabilitation Hospital, 158, 161 

.' 

Tautphas, Miss , 158 

Temple Emanu-El, 32, 35-36, 110, 181 
Temple Emanu-El Sisterhood, 23, 148 
Temple Sherith Israel, 36 
transportation: 

aut omobi les , 86 

cable cars, 88 

ferry, 93 

horse cars, 88 

Market Street Railways, 100 

Southern Pacific Railroad, 52 

streetcars, 84, 87 

trolley cars, 84 

United Bay Area Crusade, 38, 43, 111, 127, 157-158, 170-174, 180 

United Jewish Appeal, 45 

United Way. See United Bay Area Crusade 

University of California. See Edgar Sinton, education 

Verdelin, Henry, 104 
Voorsanger, Elkan, 37 
Voorsanger, Jacob, 37, 99, 162 

Walter, D.N. & E. Company, 65, 161, 194 
Walter family: 

Edgar, 186 

Emmanuel , 184 

Mrs. Isaac N., 52, 77, 148 

Jack, 52 
War Production Board, 115. See also Office of Price Administration 

Warren, Earl, 46-47, 125-126 
Wayburn, Edgar, 162 
Weiner, Ernest H., 42, 137 



223 



Weinstein, Jacob, 36 

Whalen, "Jimmy", 88 

Whitney, George, 85-86 

Whitney, Leo, 85-86 

Winton, "Jimmy", 137 

Wolff, Frederick, 2, 74 

Wolff, Johanna Sinsheimer, 2 

Wollenberg, Charles, 174 

wool business, 5-6, 193. See also S. Koshland and Company 

Workmen's Compensation Act, 62-63 

World War I, 34, 60 

World War II, 67-75 

Wrightman, Hazel Hotchkiss, 18 



Young, Clement C., 15, 190 

Young Men's Hebrew Association, 134-135 



Zionist Organization of America, 44, 156, 189 
Zook, Edgar, 166-168 



224 



Eleanor K. Glaser 



Raised and educated in the Middle West. During World 
War II, spent two years in the U.S. Marine Corps Women's 
Reserve. 

Senior year of college was taken in New Zealand, consequently 
A.B. degree in sociology from University of Michigan was 
granted in absentia. Study in New Zealand was followed by a 
year in Sydney, Australia, working for Caltex Oil Company. 

Work experience includes such non-profit organizations as 
Community Service Society, New York City; National Society 
for Crippled Children and Adults and National Congress of 
Parents and Teachers in Chicago. 

After moving to California in 1966, joined the staff of a 
local weekly newspaper, did volunteer publicity for the 
Judah Magnes Museum and the Moraga Historical Society, and 
was the Bay Area correspondent for a national weekly newspaper. 
Also served as a history decent for the Oakland Museum. 

Additional travel includes Great Britain, Europe, Israel, 
Mexico, and the Far East. 



1107 5