Monday, March 26, 2018

Donald Glaser (1926-2013): Nobel Prize Laureate

Donald Glaser
Donald Glaser was born on September 21, 1926, in Cleveland, Ohio, to Russian Jewish immigrants, Lena and William J. Glaser.. He enjoyed music and played the piano, violin, and viola. He went to Cleveland Heights High School, where he became interested in physics as a means to understand the physical world.

Glaser completed his Bachelor of Science degree in physics and mathematics from Case School of Applied Science in 1946. He completed his Ph.D. in physics from the California Institute of Technology in 1949. Glaser accepted a position as an instructor at the University of Michigan in 1949, and was promoted to professor in 1957. He joined the faculty of the University of California at Berkeley, in 1959, as a Professor of Physics. 

While teaching at Michigan, Glaser began to work on experiments that led to the creation of the bubble chamber, an apparatus designed to make the tracks of ionizing particles visible as a row of bubbles in a liquid. The bubble chamber enabled him to observe the paths and lifetimes of particles. He was awarded the 1960 Nobel Prize for Physics for his invention, The bubble chamber allowed scientists to observe what happens to high-energy beams from an accelerator, thus paving the way for many important discoveries.

Starting in 1962, Glaser changed his field of research to molecular biology, starting with a project on ultraviolet-induced cancer. In 1964, he was given the additional title of Professor of Molecular Biology.

Fermilab's Bubble Chamber
Glaser received many honors in addition to the Nobel Prize, including the Henry Russell Award for distinction and promise in teaching and research, the Charles Vernon Boys Prize of the Physical Society for distinction in experimental physics, the American Physical Society Prize for his contributions to experimental physics, and an honorary degree of Doctor of Science by the Case Institute of Technology.

In 1971, with two others, he helped found one of the first biotechnology companies, the Cetus Corporation, which developed the cancer therapies interleukin-2 and interferon. The company was sold in 1991 to Chiron Corporation.

He died in his sleep at the age of 86 on February 28, 2013 in Berkeley, California.

SOURCE: Berkeley Lab, Nobel Prize website, Wikipedia, NY Times

John Coghlan (1835-1879): U.S. Congressman

John Coghlan
John Maxwell Coghlan was born in Louisville, Kentucky and moved with his parents to Illinois in 1847, and then to California in 1850 during the California Gold Rush. The family settled in Suisun City, where he went later practiced law.

He was a member of the California State Assembly from 1865-67, representing the 18th District. He was subsequently elected as a Republican to represent California's 3rd District in the 42nd Congress, serving from 1871-73.

He was the United States Attorney for the Northern District of California from 1876 to 1878, and was appointed Chief Justice of the Territorial Utah Supreme Court by President Ulysses S. Grant, but declined to serve. Coghlan said he refused the position, because he preferred San Francisco to Salt Lake City.

He practiced law in Oakland, California until his death at his home in Alameda at the age of 43.

SOURCES: Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, Los Angeles Herald, History of San Francisco (Clarke Publishing, 1931)

Warren Bechtel (1872-1933): Founder of engineering firm Bechtel Corporation

Burial site of Warren Bechtel
Warren Abraham Bechtel was born on September 12, 1872 and raised on a farm in Freeport, Illinois, which is 25 miles east of the Mississippi River.  He was a restless, energetic teenager who found time for school, farm and store chores, and the slide trombone. After graduation, he had a brief fling as a traveling musician, but realized that he couldn’t make a living with his trombone.

He went on to found the Bechtel Corporation, one of the world's largest engineering and construction services firms.

He worked as an employee of the burgeoning United States railroad industry in 1898 after his Oklahoma cattle ranch failed.

Over the next 20 years, Bechtel built a sizable contracting business that specialized in railroad and highway building. One of Bechtel's earliest major contracts was grading the site of the Oroville, California depot for the Western Pacific Railroad, then under construction.

In 1919, Warren Bechtel and his partners (including his brother Arthur) built the Klamath Highway in California, and in 1921 Warren Bechtel partners won a contract to build the water tunnels for the Caribou Hydroelectric Facility in that state. In 1925, Warren A. Bechtel's sons Warren Jr., Stephen, and Ken joined him and incorporated as W.A. Bechtel Company. In 1926, the new company won its first major contract, the Bowman Lake dam in California. The firm would later help engineer the famous Hoover Dam over the Colorado River, still considered the largest civil engineering project in U.S. history.
 
Bechtel died of an accidental insulin overdose while visiting Moscow in 1933. His son, Stephen D. Bechtel Sr., took over the firm upon his father's death.

Sources: Bechtel Corporation; Wikipedia

Sunday, March 25, 2018

John Glascock (1845-1913):Oakland Mayor; Congressman

John Raglan Glascock
John Raglan Glascock was a mayor, district attorney and member of Congress.

He was born in Panola County, Mississippi on August 25, 1845 and moved to San Francisco in 1856 with his parents. He attended local public schools before graduating from the second class of the University of California at Berkeley in 1865. He went back East to study law at the University of Virginia at Charlottesville, returning to California to practice law after graduating.

In 1875, he was elected to a single term as District Attorney of Alameda County. He went on to serve a single term in Congress as a Democrat from 1883-1885, losing his reelection race.

However, two years later he was selected to serve as mayor of Oakland on the Citizen's ticket and served from 1887-1890. After leaving City Hall, he returned to his private law practice, Glascock & Howard. He also served as President of the Alameda County Bar Association.

He died at his country home in Woodside, California on November 10, 1913, where he had moved from Berkeley to be closer to his brother-in-law Alexander Baldwin. Glascock suffered from heart disease and asthma at the end of his life, missing his only Cal-Stanford game before dying.

Oakland Tribune, The Roots of Justice: Crime and Punishment in Alameda County, Annals of the Congress of the United States

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Frank Ogawa (1917-1994): First Japanese-American on Oakland City Council

Frank Ogawa
Outside Garden Mausoleum II, Wall #299 #4

Frank Hirao Ogawa was a civil rights leader and the first Japanese American to serve on the Oakland City Council, where he served from 1966 until his death in 1994. Ogawa was a Republican, but never held any partisan office.

Upon his death, the Oakland City Council voted unanimously to rename City Hall Plaza in his honor as Frank H. Ogawa Plaza. The plaza displays a bronze bust of Ogawa. 

A Nisei, Ogawa was born in Lodi, California and never lived in Japan. Nevertheless, as Japanese Americans, Ogawa's family members were involuntarily relocated by the U.S. government to the Topaz War Relocation Center in Millard County, Utah; they were detained there for the duration of World War II. Ogawa married Grace Ogawa (née Hiruma) prior to their wartime detention and they had two children, Alan and Nancy. Nancy was born in the Topaz War Relocation Center but died at age 2.

Burial site of Ogawa family
After the war, Ogawa returned to Oakland where he found work as a gardener. Eventually, he borrowed and saved enough money to open his own nursery.

Ogawa was a member of the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) from 1972 to 1988, having been appointed to the Commission by the Association of Bay Area Governments. Ogawa served on the Bay Area Air Quality Management District Board of Directors from 1979 until 1992 when he had to retire from the Board because of health issues. He served as Chairman of the Board during most of 1987 and served as Chair and Vice-Chair of the Board's Executive Committee and Personnel Committee.

More than 600 people, including a representative of Oakland's sister city of Fukuoka, Japan, attended Ogawa's memorial service. 

[Reprinted from Wikipedia - edited]


Friday, December 22, 2017

Frank Devello Stringham (1872–1931): Mayor of Berkeley

Garber family plot (photo: Michael Colbruno)
PLOT 35
LOT 31

Frank D. Stringham (1872–1931) was Mayor of Berkeley, California from 1923 to 1927. Mayor Stringham was notable for leading the effort to adopt the city manager form of government. Prior to his becoming Mayor, Stringham served as Berkeley's City Attorney and as a Planning Commissioner. It was during his term as Mayor that the 1923 Berkeley Fire occurred. 

Stringham was born on December 9, 1872 in Topeka, Kansas. He attended the University of California where his uncle, W. Irving Stringham was a professor of mathematics. He graduated in 1895. He was admitted to the California Bar in 1897 after receiving his Law Degree from Toland Law College in San Francisco.

After law school, he taught night school in San Francisco for eight years and served as chief clerk of the City of San Francisco and the County Attorney. He served two terms as City Attorney of Berkeley, from 1909-11 and again from 1915-18. He resigned in 1918 to become the enforcement director of the United States Food Administration.

While serving as City Attorney in 1911, he had a kidney removed, which led to health problems for the remainder of his life.  He served as City Attorney under his friend Mayor Beverly Hodghead, who would also become his business partner in their law firm. 

In 1928, Stringham was appointed to serve as a director on the board of the East Bay Municipal Utility District.

Stringham married his wife Juliet Garber in 1895. She was the daughter of John Garber, a prominent attorney and member of the Nevada Supreme Court, who owned much of the land upon which the Claremont District was developed. Frank Stringham and his wife donated part of the property to the City of Berkeley for a park which was named John Garber Park.

Stringham was a also a huge champion of the arts and big tennis fan, having served as a referee at a tournament and welcoming tennis legend Helen Willis. 

Stringham died at his Berkeley home of uremic poisoning on December 7, 1931 after having lapsed into a coma. He is buried in the Garber family plot.

Sources: Berkeley Daily Gazette, Ancestry.com, San Francisco Call, Oakland Tribune, Mountain View Cemetery archives

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Oscar Shafter (1812-1873): Oakland Councilman and California Supreme Court Justice

Oscar Shafter's Supreme Court portrait and family burial plot
PLOT 2

Judge Oscar Lovell Shafter (October 19, 1812 - January 23, 1873) served on the  Oakland City Council, Vermont Legislature, and was an associate justice on the California Supreme Court.

Born in Athens, Vermont, Shafter was the son of William Shafter, a farmer who was also a member of the Vermont Constitutional Convention of 1836, County Judge and State Legislative member, and Mary Lovell Shafter.  Judge Shafter was also the grandson of James Shafter, who fought in the battles of Bunker Hill, Bennington and Saratoga, followed by 25 years in the Vermont Legislature.

After attending Wilbraham Academy in Massachusetts, Shafter graduated in 1834 from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, and in 1836 graduated from Harvard Law School.  He practiced law in Wilmington, Vermont, and with his political star rapidly on the rise, Shafter was elected to the Vermont State Legislature and although he did not want to run for Congress, was the chosen candidate of the Liberty party, with which he was affiliated.

Sarah Riddle Shafter and three of their 11 children
Oscar Shafter married Sarah Riddle in 1840 and together the couple had eleven children, ten daughters and one son.

The prominent law offices of Halleck, Peachy, Billings & Park in San Francisco heard of Shafter's successful New England law practice from his friend Trenor W. Park, a junior member at the firm.  They recruited him to join their firm and after accepting their offer, Shafter moved with his family to San Francisco in 1854.  Although the firm dissolved shortly after he arrived, Shafter formed a partnership with his friend, starting the law practice of Shafter & Park.  Over the years the firm continued to grow and change with the addition and departure of various partners.

In 1863, Shafter served on the Oakland City Council, serving the city where he had built his home.  He spoke fondly of Oakland in his letters, and saw it as growing faster than San Francisco and quite fertile.  In a letter to his wife Sarah on April 30, 1855, Shafter wrote "I went with a friend to Oakland on the opposite side of the bay. There are thousands of acres of level land there and exceedingly fertile, lying between the bay and the mountains, and it is covered with ancient and gigantic oaks standing from 40 to 60 feet apart, and the sward beneath is covered with a luxuriant growth of grass and flowers. Among these trees the town is built. Every variety of fruit and flower, including many tropical exotics, grow here in the greatest perfection, and as to the climate, it is an unending June. Children here do not die young - at least rarely."

Oscar Shafter's gravestone
Shafter also had a role in the current location of Mountain View Cemetery, having mentioned the site which adjoined some property that he owned, to Rev. Isaac Brayton. The idea was brought to the trustees who were looking for a new location for Oakland Cemetery, which sat too close to downtown and had outgrown its usefulness.

In 1863, a constitutional amendment meant all of the seats of the Supreme Court of California were open for election. In October 1863, Oscar Shafter was elected as a justice on the Republican Party ticket, and begin his term in January 1864. The justices drew lots for term length and Shafter was assigned the long, 10-year term as an Associate Justice. According to court records, he was very slow and meticulous in preparing his cases.

He penned numerous cases, including the oft-cited and legally questioned Bourland vs Hildreth, which claimed that an action of the Legislature should be deemed Constitutional, unless an obvious error occurred. A number of the land use cases that he ruled on have defined certain geographic boundaries in Oakland and San Francisco to this day.

Shafter had a great fondness for Point Reyes, where he owned a ranch, Punta de los Reyes, and he had plans to build a home in Olema and take up the life of a farmer following his retirement from the legal profession and serving on the bench. A lone Sequoia gigantea was planted on the building site of his planned for home. He acquired large tracts of land in order to preserve its natural beauty and pass the land on to his descendants for their future homes.

After traveling to Florence, Italy in an effort to regain his health, Shafter died there on January 23, 1873. His funeral was conducted at the home of his son-in-law Charles Webb Howard. As the funeral cortege continued to the First Congregational Church at the corner of 10th and Washington Streets, many leaders of Oakland were in attendance, including numerous judges.

There is a memorial window commemorating Shafter in the First Unitarian Church in Oakland of a farmer sowing his fields. On September 4, 1892 Rev. Charles W. Wendte delivered the discourse at the dedication of the stained glass window placed in the church in memory of Shafter by his daughters.

Life, Diary and Letters of Oscar Lovell Shafter
He was the subject of a biography, the Life, Diary and Letters of Oscar Lovell Shafter, written by his daughter Emma Shafter-Howard and edited by Flora Haines Loughead and published in 1915.  

His nephew William Rufus Shafter was a general in the American Civil War, recipient of the Medal of Honor and had Shafter Avenue in Oakland named in his honor. His family on the Lovell side was related to President William Howard Taft.

Sources: Wikipedia, OaklandWiki, California Supreme Court archives, "Lives of the Dead" by Dennis Evanosky and Michael Colbruno, "Life, Diary and Letters of Oscar Shafter"

Friday, November 24, 2017

Helen Ekin Starrett (1840-1920): Iconic figure in Suffragette movement

Helen Ekin Starrett
MAIN MAUSOLEUM

Helen Ekin Starrett was a renowned author, editor, publisher, inventor, educator, reporter,  business woman and popular leader of the Women's Suffrage movement.

Before she passed away, she was one of only two original delegates still living to attend both the first Suffrage Convention and the Victory Convention in Chicago, 1920. She died three months after the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution, which guaranteed women the right to vote, something she had long fought for. She was also a close friend of Susan B. Anthony.
 
Helen Starrett and a women's suffrage convention

Her presence at the Victory Convention reportedly made her somewhat of a superstar in that she had become an idol and mentor to thousands of women. The New York Sun reported that you could always tell where she was at the Victory Convention because she was constantly surrounded by mobs of women of all ages who wanted to meet her. 

In February 1864, she married her childhood sweetheart Rev. William Starrett and moved to Lawrence, Kansas, taking on the role of pastor’s wife in the pioneer community. Not content in that role, Helen quickly turned to teaching music, served as a newspaper editor, assisting her husband in his school superintendent duties, and becoming one of the state’s leading speakers and lecturers on the Suffrage Movement.  


After her husband passed the bar in 1880, her family relocated to Chicago where she founded Western Magazine. After three years, the magazine closed and Helen once again returned to teaching. She was founder and principal for nine years of the Kenwood Institute, a classical school for girls and later founded and incorporated the Starrett School for Girls, both located in the Kenwood Community of Chicago. Founded in 1883, the Starrett School was one of the city’s oldest private schools, a large day school with accommodations for resident pupils providing classes from kindergarten to college preparation. 

Starrett became the second elected president of the Illinois Woman’s Press Association in 1893 and served the Association during the year of the World’s Columbian Exposition also known as Chicago’s World’s Fair.

A NY Sun feature Starrett's sons
At the age of 47, Starrett was left a widow and single mother of their seven children, her youngest was only ten years old when his father died. Her five sons would go on to become some of the most famous and influential builders of their time, with résumés boasting landmark feats of American engineering, including the Empire State Building, Pennsylvania Station, the Woolworth Building, the Biltmore Hotel, the Bellevue Stratford Hotel, the Plaza Hotel and the iconic Flatiron buildings. Both of her daughters married builders—her daughter Helen married William Stewart Dinwiddie, founder of the Dinwiddie Construction Company, the firm who built the mausoleum in which her cremains are interred.

When Helen “retired” to Portland, Oregon in 1916, The Oregon Daily Journal printed a story about her role as the new president of the Ainsworth Parent-Teacher Association. She remained active in education and social matters, and attributed these things to be the secret to her youth. Her children built her a beautiful house in Portland where she would spend her final years. 
 
Helen Ekin Starrett and one of her many books

In addition to having patented improvements to women's shoes, she published several books, including Letters to a Daughter (1882), The Future of Educated Women (1880) , The Charm of Fine Manners, (1885) Pete, The Story of a Chicken (1886), Letters to a Little Girl (1886), A Little Sermon to School Girls (1886), Letters to Elder Daughters; Charm of a Well-Mannered Home (1888), Let Her Stand Alone (1890), Crocus and Wintergreen (1907), The Future of Our Daughters, After College; Now What? (1885), many poems and song lyrics, and countless other written works.

Sources: Ancestry.com, Find-a-Grave, Oakland Tribune, Illinois Woman’s Press Association, NY Tribune, NY Sun, Amazon.com

Monday, November 13, 2017

Leandro Campanari (1859-1939) Italian violinist, conductor, composer, teacher

Leandro Campanari
Plot MM Lawn Terrace, 225, T1 

Leandro Campanari (October 20, 1859 - April 22, 1939) was an Italian violinist, conductor, composer and music teacher, brother of cellist and baritone Giuseppe Campanari.

Campanari was born in Rovigo, Italy on 20 October 1859. He began studying at a very early age and was sent by the city of Venice to the Musical Institute of Padua when nine years old. At 12 he toured Italy as a violinist prodigy, and to London where he played under Julius Benedict. Later he was associated with Franco Faccio and Antonio Bazzini. At fifteen, he entered the Conservatory of Music in Milan and studied the violin, harmony, counterpoint and conducting with the most eminent teachers of that institution. He graduated at nineteen and travled to England, where he performed successfully with an orchestra. He then toured Italy and France as a virtuoso before establishing himself as a conductor.

He also taught privately and one of his pupils was the New York violinist Persis Bell, whom he married in 1880.

In 1881, he moved to America as a soloist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and was featured in many concerts throughout the United States. He returned to Europe, but then returned to America, where he remained for three years as the head of the Violin School at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. He also assumed the direction of the music at the Church of the Immaculate Conception and performed important sacred works for the first time in that city.

January 1910 issue of The Etude, with a feature on Verdi by Leandro Campanari
After his service in Boston, Campanari returned to Italy in 1886 and formed the Campanari String Quartet, which toured with great success for two years. During that time many notable composers, including Puccini, Catalani, Sgambati, Bazzini, Arturo Vanbianchi, Frugatta, Bossi and Andreoli composed music especially for the Campanari Quartet. 

He returned to the United States in 1890 to become professor of violin at the Cincinnati College of Music and remained there for six years. 

Returning to Italy in 1896, he divided his time between Milan, Paris and London. He gave a series of symphony concerts at La Scala, and a cycle of Beethoven symphonies at the Lyric Theatre in Milan. The orchestra then embarked on a highly successul tour. The next important engagement of Campanari and his orchestra was in London, at the Imperial Institute, which lasted nearly four months. In Milan he introduced several first performances in Italy of now-famous orchestral works. He also conducted opera in Milan, Venice and Genoa. While in Genoa, he was given the opportunity to play Paganini's violin, Il Cannone Guarnerius. He played Gounod's Ave Maria and Liszt's Campanella.

In 1907, he appeared in New York City as one of the opera conductors of Hammerstein's Opera Company. He also conducted the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra for a short time. With the same organization he appeared in Reading, Trenton, Wilmington, Washington and Baltimore for performances of Beethoven's 9th Symphony. He also conducted in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Campanari's friendship with Verdi extended over a period of many years. As a youth he played in an orchestra conducted by the composer, and Verdi's last work, the Stabat Mater, was first given under the direction of Campanari. The conductor's brother, Umberto Campanari, a lawyer, was one of the executors of the estate of Verdi. Leandro wrote an intimate piece about his relationship with the master for The Etude (January 1910).

When his wife fell ill, Campanari moved to San Francisco and eventually resumed his work as a virtuoso and a conductor after her recovery. He became director of the California Conservatory of Music where he taught both violin and voice, and composed many English songs, as well as three text-books for violin playing. 

He died in San Francisco in 1939.

Biography from Wikipedia


Herbert Alexander Collins, Sr. (1865–1937) Canadian-born American artist

Artist Herbert Collins
Herbert Alexander Collins, Sr., (1865–1937) was a Canadian-born American artist known for his portraits and landscapes.

While still in his teens, he apprenticed with John Wycliffe Forster of Toronto, one of the foremost portrait painters in Canada. He was so talented that before he completed his first year of his apprenticeship, he was asked to paint a portrait of Albion Rawlings, a member of the Ontario Parliament.

He emigrated to Nebraska in 1884 and opened an artist shop in Omaha with his brother James, who was also an artist. While in Nebraska, he painted portraits of leading entertainers, military figures and prominent politicians.

In 1890, he moved to Chicago where he successfully worked as a portrait artist. In 1893, he went to London for six months and studied at the Royal Academy. While there he met Henry Charles Heath, the noted miniature painter, who inspired his work of painting miniature portraits with watercolor on ivory.

Devils Tower Bear Legend by Herbert Collins
In 1921, after a brief stint in Los Angeles, he moved to Berkeley, California. He went into semi-retirement from 1928-34 and lived in Los Gatos with his second wife. When he re-emerged after traveling the world with his wife, he spent the next three years as Artist-Preparator in the Western Museum Laboratories at the National Park Service in Berkeley. He called this the happiest time of his life. His painting of the legend of Mato the Bear hangs over the fireplace in the visitors center at Devils Tower National Monument.

Herbert made several significant portraits of naturalist John Muir. The Sierra Club uses one of his portraits in their biographical materials about Muir.

He died at his home of a heart attack on December 5, 1937 in Berkeley.