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George Moscone '53

George Moscone, a 1953 Pacific graduate, served in the California Senate (1967-1976) and then mayor of San Francisco until his assassination in November 1978. Moscone's leadership helped move California and San Francisco toward a more tolerant, progressive and inclusive future.

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National Archives grant funds processing of George Moscone collection

Jul 13, 2017

A rich collection of historic documents and other materials spanning George Moscone's time as a University of the Pacific undergraduate, California state senator, and mayor of San Francisco are nearer to being accessible by researchers thanks to a grant from the National Archives.

The $47,232 grant awarded by the Archives' National Historical Publications and Records Commission will pay for a complete archival processing and partial digitization of the George Moscone Collection, which was gifted to Pacific in 2014.  

Housed in the University Library's Holt-Atherton Special Collections, the Moscone papers encompasses some 100 boxes containing the personal letters, political correspondence, draft speeches and other materials that bear witness to one of the most transformational eras in California politics.  

The George Moscone Papers processing project will fund a dedicated archivist to categorize, organize, describe and index these records, making them them more accessible to students and researchers. In addition, about 250 selected significant documents and photos will be digitized for online access.  

Moscone, a 1953 Pacific graduate, served in the California Senate from 1967 to 1976 and then as mayor of San Francisco until his assassination in November 1978. In the Senate and as mayor, Moscone led California and San Francisco toward a more tolerant, progressive and inclusive future.  

As a state senator, 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. He also used his power as state Senate 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, Moscone appointed a record number of women and minorities to offices, commissions and boards, including the first African-American county sheriff. 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, the city's first Chinese-American supervisor, and others from previously marginalized groups. He also actively supported efforts to improve accessibility for people with disabilities.  

In many ways, Moscone's important political legacy has taken a backseat to the horror of the assassinations. But with the gift of his long-lost papers to his alma mater, scholars and others have an unprecedented opportunity to re-examine the significance of his leadership.  

The collection has already been used by author Robert Garratt, an English professor from the University of Puget Sound, who traveled to Pacific to study Moscone's papers while conducting research for his book "Home Team: The Turbulent History of the San Francisco Giants." As mayor, George Moscone prevented the Giants from moving to Toronto in 1976.  

"For people interested in history, that's a real trove," Garratt said of the collection in an April interview with The Record.  

The university also is working on a project to complete a documentary about Moscone's life and legacy. Oral histories recorded for the documentary are also housed in the Library's Special Collections.  

To find out more about George Moscone, including the documentary trailer, visit Pacific's Tribute to George Moscone.

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