Communication Company Archives

Chester Anderson Papers

[Click here to view the virtual archive (best viewed in Mozilla Firefox)]

Chester Anderson, along with Claude Hayward, founded the Communication Company after attending and being inspired by the 1967 New Year's Wail party that the Hells Angels had thrown for the Diggers in San Francisco's Panhandle Park. From January, 1967, until September, 1967, the Communication Company printed news and opinion and announcements and advertisements and poetry and editorials and artwork and pleas and screeds and everything else that caught Chester's eye. The equipment they used was unique for the time. The Gestetner company produced a duplicating machine that made its antecedent, the mimeograph, seem primitive in comparison. Over the span of nine months in 1967, the Communication Company output roughly 900 items. Most of these were 8-1/2" x 11" single sheets, occasionally printed on the reverse side, occasionally stapled together in leaflet format. Communication Company volunteers distributed these broadsides in the Haight-Ashbury: stapled on bulletin boards, telephone polls, taped to doors and windows, handed out on the street. Thus the term "street sheets" which together present an important resource for understanding this point in time and space that was an epicenter of the Sixties Counterculture.

In 1992, the Bancroft Library acquired the Chester Anderson Papers which comprises around 400 items. Although this amounts to less than half of the probable output of Communication Company, this virtual archive will help the community of scholars who are working to re-create as nearly as possible a complete archive of this important contributor to the underground press movement. From 1995 to 1999, I spent spare moments creating a first-line index and item description of the Chester Anderson Papers on visits to the Bancroft Library. Recently, an anonymous angel sent the scanned images of each of these items. Now, we have the capability to combine the item-by-item index with the item-by-item scanned images.

Click here to view the virtual archive of the Chester Anderson Papers.

At this point, I only have the first 100 items in the virtual archive. Eventually, all 419 sheets should be available. There are several house-cleaning details that need to happen before this virtual archive can be announced to the public. The filenames will be realigned to the exact appearance in the file folders. Right now, the images are a little out of order.

A note on the scan quality: The scans for the Chester Anderson Papers appear to be taken off the microfilm images which were all shot monochrome. So, we are missing colorfor oneand high quality high resolutionfor another. My ultimate goal is to replace these low-res images with full color versions. Think of this like a stamp collecting album. As I scan originals from my collection (or from others) the place-holder will be replaced by the better version.

Please send feedback with suggestions, ideas, criticisms, etc.

The official Bancroft catalog entry lists this collection as follows:


Chester Anderson papers, circa 1963-1980


Anderson, Chester, 1932-1991*, creator
Weed, Thurlonius Benjamin, correspondent.
Communication Company


Records (Jan.-Sept. 1967) of the Communication Company (San Francisco, Calif.), a member of the Undergound Press Syndicate, including broadsides, flyers, and handbills printed for the Diggers, San Francisco Mime Troupe, and the Haight-Ashbury Neighborhood Council, among other organizations, individuals, and events, including Human Be-In and the Invisible Circus at Glide Church. Also includes copy of a letter, 9 Feb. 1967, written by Chester Anderson to his friend, Thurlonius Benjamin Weed in Florida, discussing his move to San Francisco, his work, and his involvement in the Haight-Ashbury community. Also, includes edited typescripts of "Puppies" (Entwhistle Books, 1979) and "Fox & Hare" (Entwhistle Books, 1980).


1963 (issued)


Anderson, Chester -- 1932-1991* -- Archives
Communication Company -- Archives
Underground Press Syndicate.
Diggers (San Francisco, Calif.)
San Francisco Mime Troupe.
Haight-Ashbury Neighborhood Council.
Human Be-In (San Francisco, Calif.)
Invisible Circus (San Francisco, Calif.)
Beat generation -- California -- San Francisco
Hippies -- California -- San Francisco
Psychedelic art -- Specimens
Haight-Ashbury (San Francisco, Calif.)


Copy of box 1, folders 1-7, the Communication Company (San Francisco California) January-September 1967: also available on microfilm with call number BANC FILM 2825.

Preferred citation:

Chester Anderson papers, BANC MSS 92/839 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

Chester Anderson was a literary figure of the Beat generation and the Haight-Ashbury community of San Francisco, California in the 1960s. Founded the Communication Company, an innovative news service in 1967. Published works under his own name and a pseudonym, John Valentine. Anderson died in April 1991 in Homer, Ga., where he lived with relatives.



Physical Description:

1 box (.4 linear ft.)
1 microfilm reel.




BANC MSS 92/839 c box 1

Virtual Index of the Chester Anderson Papers (Communication Company Archives.)

For more information on the Bancroft Library at University of California, Berkeley, please visit their website.

*The catalog entry (as of Sept 2012) does not record Chester's year of death, which I have added to update the author data.

The Communication Company Archives

This page is a work-in-progress to bring together different compilations of the total output of Communication Company from January, 1967, to September, 1967.

Chester Anderson Papers. Held at the Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, California. Consists of 400+ items in 11 file folders contained in one archive box. The following links to a virtual display of each folder. Chester was sending copies of ComCo sheets to his archivist friend on a monthly basis. Each folder is labeled by month as follows.

CAP-Folder-01-January-1967. Items 01-001 to 01-020.


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