Skip to content
FOR THE MEDIA

Media Contact: Claudia Morain
cmorain@pacific.edu
209.479.9894 (cell)
209.946.2313 (office)

Video for download

Photos gallery

George R. Moscone's personal letters, correspondence and more will be housed at University of the Pacific and available to the public.

  • Print

Moscone's papers, video archive to be housed at University of the Pacific

Mar 26, 2015

Forty years after George R. Moscone '53 was elected mayor of San Francisco, his long-lost papers have found a permanent home at his alma mater, University of the Pacific, where scholars and the general public will have access to personal letters, political correspondence, draft speeches and other materials that bear witness to one of the most transformational eras in California politics. 

The gift of the papers, together with a vast collection of video interviews recorded for a forthcoming documentary of Moscone's life, will be announced this evening, March 26, at the university’s San Francisco campus. The tribute will include an announcement by Pacific President Pamela A. Eibeck of a new George R. Moscone Endowed Scholarship. A trailer of a nearly completed documentary of Moscone’s life will be screened as well.

“George Moscone was a gifted public servant and a leader who was ahead of his time, especially in advocating for the rights of the LGBT community and other minorities,” said U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, honorary event chair. “I am delighted to join with University of the Pacific and many others to honor George and his contributions to San Francisco and California. By archiving his papers and making them available to the public, his legacy can be preserved for generations to come.”

The tribute is hosted by University of the Pacific with Moscone’s family and the George R. Moscone Center for Public Service.

“My dad loved Pacific. He would be pleased that his papers are going to his alma mater, proud that a scholarship in his name will give other deserving students a chance to study at such a special place, and deeply moved by this tribute,” said son Chris Moscone, founding partner at the Moscone Emblidge & Otis law firm in San Francisco.

The event will conclude with a discussion moderated by California State Librarian Greg Lucas and featuring four people who knew Moscone well:

  • Willie L. Brown Jr., former speaker of the California Assembly and former mayor of San Francisco
  • John L. Burton, chairman of the California Democratic Party and a former California assemblyman and U.S. congressman
  • Belva Davis, journalist and longtime host of “This Week in Northern California” on KQED, San Francisco’s PBS affiliate
  • Jonathan Moscone, artistic director for the California Shakespeare Theater and son of the late mayor

The discussion will be streamed live and archived at http://go.pacific.edu/moscone. The documentary trailer will be posted there as well.

Moscone served in the California Senate, where his colleagues elected him majority leader, from 1967 until becoming mayor. In addition to Brown and Burton, a roster of other prominent current and former elected officials are expected to attend the tribute, among them current San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee.

Feinstein and U.S. Sen. Jackie Speier recorded video tributes that will be shown at the event. The tribute was made possible by AT&T California and alumni including Pacific Regent Virginia Chan, her daughter, Megan Chan, and former Regent Connie Callahan. Corporate sponsors also include Kaiser Permanente, Chase Bank, Dignity Health, PG&E and Eventbrite.

George R. Moscone Endowed Scholarship

Pacific alumni and friends stepped forward to establish the George R. Moscone scholarship with an endowment that has exceeded $50,000. Their gifts will be matched by the university’s Powell Fund, bringing the total endowment to more than $100,000. Future gifts to the scholarship are also eligible for Powell matching funds.

Annual distributions from the endowment will fund yearly scholarships in perpetuity, helping to make a Pacific education possible for generations of students. The scholarship will be reserved for students who demonstrate an interest in the values Moscone embodied: civic leadership, social justice, human rights, equality and diversity.

"Pacific's commitment to diversity and inclusion is why I wanted to contribute to this scholarship,” said lead donor Eric Dingler, a Deloitte director in Los Angeles and a 1987 graduate of Pacific’s Eberhardt School of Business. “As recent events remind us, changing hearts and minds takes time, effort and attention. I hope this brings more attention to diversity and inclusion."

University President Eibeck said that the scholarship will help to ensure Moscone’s legacy is remembered and honored. 

“We are grateful for the outpouring of support for the George R. Moscone Endowed Scholarship,” she said. “Through the scholarship and as the steward of his papers, Pacific is proud to share and celebrate Moscone’s profound commitment to justice, fairness, inclusion and equality.”

Papers, videos

Moscone’s papers span his years in the Senate and mayor’s office. A selection of letters, speeches and other documents from the yet-to-be-processed papers will be displayed in the lobby of Pacific’s San Francisco campus, 155 Fifth St., during the tribute. A slideshow of selected documents and photos is at http://go.pacific.edu/moscone.

For more than 30 years after his Nov. 27, 1978, assassination, Moscone’s family believed the papers had been lost. Then about 18 months ago, they turned up in a storage facility rented by a family member decades earlier.

Filling more than 90 boxes, the papers were stored at the old Mint Building in San Francisco until February, when they were trucked to Pacific’s Holt-Atherton Special Collections in the university library in Stockton. Videos recorded for the documentary film, along with a collection of photos, fill a hard drive and also will be archived.

Pacific's library houses the world's largest collection of John Muir journals, correspondence and drawings; the papers of jazz legend and Pacific alumnus Dave Brubeck; and nearly 400 other collections.

It will be at least a year before Moscone’s papers are processed and available for scholars to study and interpret. But selections featured at the tribute speak volumes.

“I believe that we need not accept the inevitability of ugliness and evil,” Moscone wrote in one 1971 speech. “I believe that we can give life to a new spirit; a spirit of love, understanding, peace, and the worth of human dignity.”   

Moscone’s years at Pacific

Like 19 percent of Pacific students today, Moscone was a first-generation college student. He served a stint in the Navy after high school and in 1950 transferred from Santa Rosa Community College to Pacific on a basketball scholarship.

“Visiting the campus, I was impressed by the beauty, the people and the general atmosphere,” he said in a 1977 Pacific Review alumni magazine article. “The school was small enough to eliminate my fears of becoming just a number at a large university.”

At Pacific, Moscone was president of Rho Lambda Phi fraternity, chair of the Rally Committee, a member of the student senate and a point guard on the men’s basketball team. He graduated in 1953 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology, returning in 1976 to receive an honorary Doctor of Laws. He was inducted posthumously into the 1986-87 Pacific Athletics Hall of Fame.

“Everybody who knew him recognized him as a person of considerable ability,” the late Harold Jacoby, one of Moscone’s Pacific professors, remembered in the alumni magazine. “He was an able student and very affable person.” 

Public service

In the Senate, Moscone authored bills that established California’s school lunch program, mandated bilingual education in public schools and reduced penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use. Presaging the era of big data, he supported a Right to Privacy ballot initiative. And he used his power as majority leader to win passage of a Consenting Adult Sex Bill overturning a statute that made gay sex a crime.

As San Francisco’s 37th mayor, he appointed record numbers of women and minorities to offices, commissions and boards, among them the first African-American county sheriff, Eugene A. Brown. He fought for a citywide ballot initiative that created district elections to the Board of Supervisors, opening the doors for the election of the nation’s first gay elected public official, Harvey Milk, the city’s first Chinese American supervisor, Gordon Lau, and other representatives of previously marginalized groups. 

And he prevented the Giants from leaving San Francisco. 

“It’s important that people understand Moscone’s profound legacy,” said Larry Simi, board chair of the George R. Moscone Center for Public Service, the group that is producing the documentary film of Moscone’s life. “The values he brought to the Senate and mayor’s office, and the political coalitions he was able to stitch together, gave rise to the progressive politics that still characterize San Francisco today. He was instrumental in changing the face of the Democratic party in California, and establishing public policy that presaged so many of the most important issues that California would face.”

The documentary trailer is available at http://go.pacific.edu/moscone. Oral histories recorded for the documentary also will be housed in the Pacific library.

About University of the Pacific

Established in 1851 as the first chartered institution of higher education in California, University of the Pacific prepares students for professional and personal success through rigorous academics, small classes, and a supportive and engaging culture. Widely recognized as one of the most beautiful private university campuses in the West, the Stockton campus offers more than 80 majors in seven schools. The university’s distinctive Northern California footprint also includes a campus in San Francisco, home to the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry, and in Sacramento, home to the Pacific McGeorge School of Law. For more information, visit www.pacific.edu.

Media contact:
Claudia Morain | cmorain@pacific.edu | 209.946.2313 (office) | 209.479.9894 (cell)

Tags for this article: