Links ...

to copacetic web sites, groups,  philosophies, direct actions, libraries, etc. ...

The hope was when the world wide web was still in its infancy that the online Digger Archives would help preserve and propagate the memory of that amazing moment in time. Now, more than a decade later, there are signs everywhere that not only the memory but the practice of the Diggers has taken root not just in the counterculture but in the cyberculture which itself grew out of the Sixties. This page will provide evidence of this statement. Also included are sites that have a similar frame of reference in telling the story of that period in world history.

Categories listed here:

Anyone who wants to suggest a site or link not listed here, please use the Feedback Form.

Important Stuff to NOTE

2002-09-28. This page was first started in 1996. By now, many of the sites listed in those early years of the World Wide Web have died. I try to get around to updating this page, but if I have overlooked one (or been perennially occupied with more pressing matters) please understand the reason. In any case, I will leave all the sites below as a record of what was once here.

Digger Traces

In addition to the Digger Archives (the site you are currently reading), there are several projects that have popped up over the past few years to document the San Francisco Diggers and their progeny. Here they are:

The Digger Archives (www.diggers.org) was started in 1993 by the "Digger Archivist" (so named by Peter Berg) after attending a demonstration of HTML by Tom Bruce, the author of the first graphical web browser (himself a protégé of Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web). To follow the history of the hundreds of accretions to this site over the decades, check out the "What's New" page: https://diggers.org/whats_new.htm. The Highlights page is also a starting point for new visitors: https://diggers.org/highlights.htm

Diggers Docs (www.diggersdocs.org) has specialized in oral history interviews of the surviving members of the San Francisco Diggers. Written in blog format, the standard side panel index links the articles and interviews that Jay Babcock has studiously compiled. Here are the interviews he currently has transcribed: Harvey Kornspan, Jane Lapiner and David Simpson, Claude Hayward, Judy Goldhaft, Peter Berg, Vicki Pollack, Siena Riffia, Kent Minault, Chuck Gould, and Phyllis Willner.

Found SF: the San Francisco digital history archive (www.foundsf.org) is an offshoot of Shaping San Francisco (www.shapingsf.org) which describes its mission as "a participatory community history project documenting and archiving overlooked stories and memories of San Francisco." Chris Carlsson and LisaRuth Elliott are the curators of the vast collection of histories and documents that tell the story of San Francisco's past. The Diggers are but one group included. I have found the best approach to locating materials here is their search engine. Some Digger-related articles:

A Digger Family Album (diggers-photo-gallery.com) is a collection of hundreds of photographs by Chuck Gould. These are primarily of the Free City period (with the daily readings on the steps of City Hall in the spring of 1968) and later years when many of the Diggers had moved to country communes after leaving San Francisco following the 1968 Summer Solstice. This album is an incredible treasure that Chuck spent years putting together.

The Socialist Party of Great Britain (SPGB) (https://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/) has inherited the revolutionary spirit of the original English Diggers of the 17th century. One of their primary aims since 1904 has been the creation of a "moneyless, stateless worldwide society of common ownership and democratic control of the means of wealth production and distribution." Compare that to this excerpt from a diatribe the San Francisco Diggers delivered at a New/Old Left conference in 1967:

The ultimate goal of course was an individual and collective autonomy, a spiritual and material autonomy that would eventually lead to the long, hard struggle which would have to be fought to establish a post-competitive, comparative, classless society where all power would be decentralized and given to the people through a form of democratic socialism. [Ringolevio, p. 399]

The SPGB has a long history of publishing and educating. Their website is a vast archive going back decades. They acknowledge the legacy of Winstanley and the Diggers through several key documents:

Digger Dharma Today

The Really Really Free Market [no longer live]

This group holds a monthly bazaar in public spaces to provide for free flow of energy and goods. If anyone wants to get a sense of what the Digger Free Stores were like, just visit your nearest RRFM. Their motto: "No money. No Barter. No trade. Everything is FREE!" Website: http://www.reallyreallyfree.org [no longer active].

Note (2020): Even though no longer active, fortunately the curator saved a copy of their home page. Here's a PDF Snapshot of the RRFM web site in 2010.

Free Software Movement

There are various connections between the Digger and Free Software movements. Early hackers revered Richard Brautigan's poem, All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace. One of the early Silicon Valley groups called themselves Loving Grace Computers. Chester Anderson and Claude Hayward ran the Communication Company presses at the Invisible Circus under the name John Dillinger Computer. Unlike the New Left whose slogan "Do Not Fold Spindle or Mutilate" showed a true Luddite reaction to the potential for computers wreaking destruction on humanity, the Digger and countercultural embrace of computers was in the spirit of what individuals could do with this technology once freed from the control of the few. The marriage of the counter and hacker cultures in the early 1980s gave us the microcomputer revolution. Today, the Free Software Foundation is the purest reverberation of these roots. Their motto:

You deserve to use software that is: free from restriction; free to share and copy; free to learn and adapt; free to work with others -- you deserve free software.

Every student who downloads the latest video or song for free is participating in this underground culture. Here's a PDF of the FSF web site.

Creative Commons

The 17th century English Diggers originated a creative response to the Enclosure movement that had seen the traditional land which had been open to common usage fenced off and deeded to rich and powerful landowners. This impulse to privatize common ownership of resources continues to this day. Corporations are laying claim to the human genome, putting patents on gene sequences that will privatize our very DNA. The movement to reclaim a commonspace for creative works is most definitely in alignment with the impulse that caused Gerrard Winstanley and his fellow Diggers to plant the soil on St. George's hill in 1649, and that caused a group of hippies to lug milk cans of hot stew to the Panhandle in 1966.

Creative Commons invites participation of all artists, musicians, writers and anyone who has produced work to share for the generations. Here's a PDF of the CC web site.

Free Words

It is too easy to suggest that the Free Words project is an offshoot of the Inevitable Gift Economy suggested by the Digger experiment. Perhaps future historians will provide the links of influence. Nevertheless, the forces behind this work need to be included in the pantheon of the descendants of Free.

Black's Beach Diggers

This is the thing about digger energy, it's irrepressible and sprouts wherever officialdom is attempting to block people's energy from solving social problems outside proscribed solutions. Check out the San Diego Black's Beach Diggers, indubitably heirs to an authentic digger tradition [link removed 2004 when the domain name was lost to a commercial rip-off].

From their website:

Welcome to the Black's Beach Diggers front door page.

The largest clothing-optional beach in the western hemisphere is Black's Beach in northern San Diego County. It sits at the base of the 350-foot high cliffs of the Torrey Pines city park. These cliffs are steep and slippery, and climbing down can be dangerous.

For decades, the city of San Diego has neglected to build safe access to the beach, despite the fact that people who climb down the cliffs sometimes fall and get injured, and occasionally die.

So, some regular beachgoers began constructing a trail down the cliff. Over the last twenty years they have placed several tons of brick, hundreds of square feet of blacktop, and thousands of feet of lumber. It is all done by volunteers, who supply all their own tools and materials. This web site is about the trail they have built.

And from another page on their site:

The Legal Bullshit.

The City of San Diego has harassed people who build the trail, citing them for "destruction of plants" under Municipal Code 63.0102(B)(4), and even getting restraining orders which forbid them from setting foot on the Torrey Pines City Park.

One Digger, who was issued a citation, asked the citing lifeguard why he was doing it. The lifeguard, one Mr. T. Cicchetto, said that the city was concerned about liability. He explained that if the city builds nothing, and permits no one else to build, then it is not liable. Then, if you fall and break your leg, it is you vs. Mother Nature.

However, if the city builds even one step, or permits someone to build a step, then the city is liable for any injuries, according to Mr. Cicchetto.

In summary, the city puts bureaucratic concerns ahead of the health and safety of its citizens. That, ultimately, is the reason for this web site.

(added August 2001)

Free Print Shop

The Free Print Shop has been in continuous operation since 1968, when it was inspired into existence by the Diggers in conversation with the communal group that formed around the project. Check out their Free Charts that are so reminiscent in layout and intent of the Free City News resource sheets. They have Free Eats, Free Shelter, Free Medical, Neighborhood Fix-It and Free Pantry charts, all intended for San Francisco audiences.

Planet Drum Foundation  

Planet Drum, which originated the Bioregional Ecology movement, was a continuation of the evolutionary thread that began with guerilla theater of the SFMT and evolved into the street theater of the Diggers. Peter Berg sent a report on the Turtle Island Bioregional Gathering held in Mexico in November, 1996.:  "Without the arguesome baggage of a political ideology, new forces for change in political-cultural consciousness have begun operating in response to present world realities. ...The concept of a bioregion is proving to be a practical tool that can communicate older concerns in contemporary terms. It represents a life-raft for survival and a new basis for alliances between land-based groups to counter a rising tide of global monoculture."

Food Not Bombs

The Food Not Bombs movement is remarkable for its congruence with the Digger ideals, and yet the members profess no prior knowledge of the SF (or English) Diggers. That's what makes social history so exciting some times, the spontaneity and confluence of underground movements that re-create basic forms that are never lost no matter how much repression the State may mete out. Food Not Bombs is alive and well, and growing with over 100 autonomous chapters serving food and social theater at your local park. Food Not Bombs has had a home page at: http://www.webcom.com/~peace. Let me know if there are other pages in their network.

Black Bear Ranch

From the home page of the Black Bear Ranch: Kenoli and Andy are kind of focusing this page, but the intent is that it be available for all of us to use as we would like. Here are some of our intentions, requests and suggestions for the ways we might use it:

We plan to develop this site with the spirit of creative anarchy and self-organization that characterizes our history together.

We would like this to be a site that reflects our common history and experience and respects the spirit and diverse feelings of the Black Bear Family.

We would also like it to be a place where we can get to know ourselves better as a family and to get to know each other as the individuals we have become over the years.

It can be a place where we explore our history together and where we make new plans for the future and discuss future possibilities for the Ranch.

For those of you that have some web development skills or want to take the time to learn them, we would be happy to give you access to the web host site so you can get creative.

We also have plans to include some wiki-wiki pages on this site which will let anyone with any level of skill add new text to the page, insert links or change what is already there.

We will include an area where anyone can say or argue about what they think about any part of the site or anything else. (We can even talk about the goats.)

If you send me (Kenoli) pictures or text, along with ideas of how you might want to see them posted, as I find time I will try to include them in the site.

Send URL address for links to your site or other sites of interest and we will post them on the site.

We welcome your comments, additions, ideas, anything. Feel free to contact us. Send ideas and attached photos and document.

Rainbow Family

"Welcome Home" is the greeting of the Rainbow Family when new arrivals make their way to one of the yearly, roving-location encampments.

pOoTers pSycheDelic shAcK

There are individuals and groups of young people today who have taken up the Digger mantle and are carrying on their interpretation of "digger do". This is one of those manifestations. The statement of purpose on the web site states "pOoTers pSycheDelic shAcK operates a kind of Diggers perspective on stuff. pOoTer likes free stuff and likes to do stuff for people for free so this site is an information sharing project. It's only here to spread the word.........."

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Sixties History Sites

Music of the 1960s is a page of links that cover the broad range of musical styles of the era, including "The British Invasion"; "Folk"; "Rock"; "Pop"; "R&B, Motown, Soul,"; "Country" as well as general Sixties culture links.

[Many thanks to The Technology Education Lab and specifically to one of their volunteers, Ashley, for this recommendation. May 2021]

A beautiful web site devoted to Atlanta's hippie community: The Peachtree Strip Project.

The Hippie Museum site has some useful info but seems incomplete (no mention of the Diggers in their Timeline, for example.)

Infography about Social Movements of the 1960s is a compilation of sources recommended by a librarian whose research specialty is the Sixties and social activism.

A Timeline of San Francisco History, 1950-Present.

Literary Kicks by Levi Asher (Beat history, excellent site).

Summer of Love Web. Curtis and Chet (and a bunch of other rainbow warriors) put together the 30th anniversary celebration of the Summer of Love, October 12, 1997. Check out their web site. Glad to see that the BGP people don't own that domain name!)

The Sixties Project and Vietnam Generation

Free Speech Movement Archives

Old Hip's Groovy Hippie Links. (with a midi version of Dr. John's Band)

Rockument has a page of links, Haight-Ashbury Music and Culture. They also have information on the CD-Rom that Allen Cohen and Tony Bove produced, Haight-Ashbury In The Sixties. There's also an article by Allen, Additional Notes on the S.F. Oracle.

Links no longer active (as of 2021)

[Note: I have kept the original hyperlinks below in the hope that someone will find their new locations if they have simply moved. In which case please send me an update: curator at diggers dot org. Merci!]

Metronews Online's The Sixties page. [no longer active, 2021]

The Flashback Page (very cool page of links) [no longer active, 2021]

Gene Anthony's Photo Archive. The Haight-Ashbury Scene, Alive and Online contains the beginnings of an archive of Gene Anthony's photographic oeuvre covering the minute-to-minute life of the Haight Ashbury from 1965 onward. Well worth a visit to see the 'real deal.' If you want to see what it really looked like, especially recommended are his snapshots of street scenes. Good collection of photos showing the Digger events, including Death of Money/Now! parade. [none of these links are any longer active, 2021]

Wild Bohemian Web. The Wild Bohemian Home Page has many rich and valuable resources for anyone studying the Sixties, and specifically the Haight-Ashbury, including Colin's Haight-Ashbury Archives, Who's Who of the Haight-Ashbury Era, Other Haight-Ashbury sites. [none of these links are any longer active, 2021]

Haight-Ashbury Free Press. The Haight-Ashbury Free Press publishes an eclectic range of articles. They have one page with reminiscences of the Haight, Inside the Haight-Ashbury, and a page of links. [none of these links are any longer active, 2021]

Chicago 1968 [no longer active, 2021]

Links to Open Land Web sites (Morningstar, Wheeler's, Black Bear) [no longer active, 2021]

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Anarchist Movement

Radio For All. Clearly "something's happening" here, what it is ain't exactly clear. The Anarchist movement has grown, seemingly exponentially, with the evolution of the Internet. How strange, considering the philosophical objection to technology that many Anarchists espouse. One of the sites that typifies this dichotomy is Radio 4 All. Read the Digger manifesto, Post Competitive, Comparitive Game of Free City, and you can see the outlines of this techno-friendly anti-corporate landscape that the Diggers envisioned and now seems to be shaping itself in cyberspace. The goal of R4A? Practically a direct read from Post-Competitive: to create a widely distributed, loosely coupled global network of community news to challenge corporate control of the media.

Broadly. The founding members of the San Francisco Diggers were always actors first and foremost. Consequently, they would have acknowledged Artaud or Brecht as their intellectual precursors more than the Anarchist movement. However, clearly to anyone looking at the fully developed ideology and agenda of the diggers, they take an important place in the history of Anarchism. Today, the Internet, in some places and in some ways a working Anarchy itself, has been a catalyst to the growth of anarchist groups worldwide. See Spunk Press, Freedom Press, TAO Site, Anarchives, and the Anarchist FAQ for points of entry into this history.

Anarchist FAQ is a gigantic project akin to the Digger Archives — to compile the outlines and sources to document a social philosophy that has roots hundreds of years old. (A North American mirror is available if the primary location isn't.)

The Land and Freedom Pages

The Provos of Amsterdam. Eventually, there should be a section on the Digger Archives that treats the influence the Provos had on the Diggers and others in America. The Dutch Provos lasted barely two years, just like the San Francisco Diggers, although the time shift was one year. (Provos = 1965-1967; Diggers = 1966-1968.) Just like the Diggers, though, there were many offshoots of the Provos in the subsequent years. The SF Diggers were most definitely in contact with the Provos. (Evidence abounds, more on that later.) The link at the head of this paragraph is to an excellent archive of the materials that have been archived from this joyful anarchist movement. [11 May 2023[

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African American Freedom

Black Panther Party. "The Black Panther Party was a progressive political organization that stood in the vanguard of the most powerful movement for social change in America since the Revolution of 1776 and the Civil War: that dynamic episode generally referred to as The Sixties. It is the sole black organization in the entire history of black struggle against slavery and oppression in the United States that was armed and promoted a revolutionary agenda, and it represents the last great thrust by the mass of black people for equality, justice and freedom." —from the www.blackpanther.org site.

The Panthers and the Diggers had friendly, cooperative relations around the time of the Huey Newton trial. Emmett mentions visits to the Oakland headquarters of the Panthers at several points in Ringolevio. [Search for  "panther" in the Ringolevio pages.] Recently I came across David Hilliard's absolutely engrossing story of his life and the Black Panther Party. There are three passages that clearly show the passing of Digger dharma that helped inspire the Survival Programs that the Panthers made so central to their message of revolutionary change:

Excerpts from: This Side of Glory: The Autobiography of David Hilliard and the Story of the Black Panther Party by David Hilliard and Lewis Cole, Little Brown & Co., 1993.

[page 158]

"Emmett Grogan sticks his head in the office. Emmett is the founder of the Diggers, a tribe — that's what some radicals call their groups — who organize the 'street people' of the Haight into revolutionary activity. A few weeks ago, Emmett left off some bags of food his group distributes to the runaways, draft resisters, and freaks who have flocked to Berkeley, turning the town into the nation's counterculture capital. We told him to put the stuff outside the office: in a few minutes people were flocking by, stocking up on onions and potatoes. Now Emmett donates the food regularly. Like the newspaper, the food serves a double purpose, providing sustenance but also functioning as an organizing tool: people enter the office when they come by, take some leaflets, sit in on an elementary PE class, talk to cadre, and exchange ideas, all part of the revolutionary ferment I have imagined when listening to Huey describe Fidel and Che in Cuba.

"'Potatoes and beans today?' Emmett asks. Nothing of the eager-to-please liberal about Grogan. He dresses out of Rebel Without a Cause: black motorcycle boots, jeans, white T-shirt, a pack of nonfilter Camels tucked into his rolled-up left sleeve. He thinks he can teach me about the streets. 'You want it?'

"'Yeah, sure,' I say, 'leave it by the door.'"

[page 181]

"Bobby's [Bobby Seale, Chairman of the Black Panther Party] gifts for inspiration are invaluable to the Party. A practical visionary, he convinces crowds they can make a revolution, and has the same effect on the cadre. One day he enters the office after Emmett has left off bags of beans and rice.

"'Damn, this is a good idea,' he says. 'We should do this.'

"'We are doing it,' the officer of the day says.

"'No, we should establish it. Every day. A Free Food Program. Get contributions from the local businessmen and put together packages. Help people survive.'

"And the Free Food Program starts."

[page 211]

"One aspect of our strength is that we're starting new programs. We begin a program called Breakfast for Children, collecting donations of food and supplies from local merchants and offering hot meals in St. Augustine's Episcopal Church under the auspices of a Party friend named Father Earl Neil. The program grows naturally from our new lives — Emmett Grogan's free food baskets, the need now to feed our own kids, our desire to show the community we do something more than shoot it out with cops. We call the program a 'survival' program — survival pending revolution — not something to replace revolution or challenge the power relations demanding radical action, but an activity that strengthens us for the coming fight, a lifeboat raft leading us safely to shore. Plus, the program helps organize people into the Party and provides members with something to do other than worrying about when they're going to off a pig. Bobby talks of initiating many free programs, helping the old people cash their checks, giving medical aid, providing education, all the necessities people do without."

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Archives and Libraries

Bureau of Public Secrets is Ken Knabb's monumental attempt to create an archive of Situationist (and Anarchist) documentation. Among the real gems of this site is an expanding Rexroth Archive with many of the Great Poet's essays, articles and poems.

California Historical Society's San Francisco MSS collections. Excerpt from "Collection Descriptions for the Preliminary Listing of the San Francisco Manuscript Collections:"

Title: Haight Street Diggers. PAPERS, 1966-69. 1/2 box. Papers of an organization founded in 1966 to provide free services to the Haight-Ashbury District. The collection consists mainly of xerox copies of flyers, broadsides, poetry, manifestoes, and other printed material that were distributed in the community. There are also several issues of the "Free City News" and the "Free News", a community newsletter. Subjects of the material include the Summer of Love, 1969; Glide Church Be-In; 1% Free Card; Free City Collective; Happening House; KIVA; Chester Anderson; the Communication Co.; Hippies; and Planet Edge. (MS 3159, unprocessed)

Bancroft Library

Bancroft Library at the University of California has several collections relating to the Haight-Ashbury during the Sixties, including a set of Communication Company photocopies that Michael Bowen sold them ca. 1971. There is also the set of Communication Company papers that Chester Anderson was sending to his "archivist" in 1967. And the Bancroft is home of the Richard Brautigan Papers. Click the outline button to see collection information below. 

Bancroft's collections (as well as other major California repositories) are cataloged in the massive Online Archive of California, a gem of a research tool for any historian of the West.

Title: Richard Brautigan Papers, 1958-1984.

Collection Call No. BANC MSS 87/173 c.
Author: Brautigan, Richard 
Title: Richard Brautigan papers, 1958-1984. 
Description: 4 boxes, 9 cartons, 4 oversize folders. 
Copies of prose: carton 4, folders 31-55; carton 5 : 2 microfilm reels : negative (BNEG Boxes 1789-1790) and positive. 
Copies of poetry: cartons 6-7 : 2 microfilm reels : negative BNEG Boxes 1791-1792) and positive. 
Copies of notebooks, miscellaneous fragments: carton 8, box 4 : 2 microfilm reels : negative (BNEG Boxes 1802-1803) and positive. 
Copies of correspondence and miscellaneous personalia, 1965-1984, n.d.: boxes 1-2 : 2 microfilm reels : negative (BNEG Box 1951-1952) and positive. 
Copies of literary miscellany, 1965-1984, n.d. : box 3 : 1 microfilm reel : negative (BNEG Box 1953) and positive. 
Copies of notebooks: carton 9 : 2 microfilm reels : negative (BNEG Box 1954-1955) and positive. 
Notes: Included in the Bancroft Poetry Archive. 
Restrictions: RESTRICTED ORIGINALS. USE MICROFILM COPIES ONLY. Use of originals only by permission of the Curator. 
Contains manuscripts of his writings, notebooks, financial records, correspondence, and other papers and memorabilia concerning his life and career. 
Boxes 1-4, cartons 4-9, oversize folders 2-4 : also on microfilm. 
Original manuscripts, letters, notebooks, and other manuscript materials created by Richard Brautigan may not be photocopied except by written permission of the copyright holder. Requests for such permission will be forwarded by the Curator. All other materials may be photocopied in accordance with standard Bancroft Library procedures. Refer any questions to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library. 
Photographs transferred to the Pictorial Collections of The Bancroft Library (BANC PIC 1987.068--AX) 
2 motion pictures transferred to Microforms Division of The Bancroft Library (Classified as: Motion Picture 455 C & 456 B). 
19 phonotapes transferred to Microforms Division of The Bancroft Library (Classified as: Phonotape 1975). 
American writer (novelist, poet). Born Tacoma, Washington, January 30 1935. Died Bolinas, California, September 1984. For many, Brautigan was a quintessential voice of California in the 1960s. 
Finding aid available in Library. Electronic version available on the Internet. 
Language: English 
Subjects: Authors, American--20th century--California 
Manuscripts (for publication) 
Other entries: Online Archive of California Project 
Bancroft poetry archive 

Title: Chester Anderson Papers, ca. 1963-1980

Collection Call No.: BANC MSS 92/839 c.
Author: Anderson, Chester, 1932- 
Title: Chester Anderson papers, [ca. 1963-1980] 
Description: 1 box (.4 linear ft.) 
Notes: 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). 
Literary figure of the Beat Era and the Haight-Ashbury community of San Francisco, Calif. 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. 
Language: English 
Subjects: Communication Company (San Francisco, Calif.) 
Underground Press Syndicate 
Diggers (Organization : 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 
Psychedelic art--Specimens 
Haight-Ashbury (San Francisco, Calif.) 
Other entries: Weed, Thurlonius Benjamin 
Valentine, John Puppies. 1979 
Anderson, Chester, 1932- Fox & hare. 1980 

SF Library History Center

The San Francisco History Center at the SF Main Library has three boxes that Gladys Hansen (the founder of the Center's predecessor SF History Room in the old Main) used to call "her hippie collection." Still uncataloged and unarranged to this day (I first used this collection in 1972), these boxes contain mostly papers and records from the San Francisco Oracle. They appear to be part of Allen Cohen's papers, though when I mentioned this collection to him in 1996 he didn't remember donating them to the Library. There are a few Communication Company papers, as well as correspondence to/from the Oracle staff. I recently sent Rachel Barrett Martin a copy of a transcript I found in this collection of a taped conversation among several hippie and Hopi representatives. She is researching the connection between the hippies and the American Indian mythology that developed in the counterculture.

University of California at Davis Library

The Department of Special Collections houses manuscripts that are of particular interest in the history of the Diggers.

San Francisco Mime Troupe Archives. Accession Number: D-61. 50 linear feet.  Biography: Founded by Ronald G. Davis in 1959 and later reorganized as a collective, the San Francisco Mime Troupe is one of the oldest surviving radical theatre groups in the United States. Description: Audio-visual materials, business records, correspondence, designs, ephemera, films, financial records, legal documents, photographs, promotional materials, and scripts; extensive documentation of the Troupe's activities during the 1960's and 1970's. Inclusive dates: 1961-1977.

Coyote, Peter (1941- ). Papers. Accession Number: D-121. 8 linear feet. Biography: Writer, director, and performer with an environmental focus; early member of the San Francisco Mime Troupe (1965-1967); founding member of the San Francisco Diggers (1967-1970); member of the California State Arts Council (1975-1983). Recent popular films include The jagged edge, E.T., and A man in love. Description: Correspondence to and from agents, lawyers, directors, actors, friends, and family members relating to Coyote's professional work, political activities, and personal lifestyle. Inclusive dates: 1983-1994

Davis, Ronald G. Papers. Accession Number: D-65.11.4 linear feet. Biography: Actor, director, and founder of the San Francisco Mime Troupe. Description: Audio tapes, photographs, scripts, promotional materials, and ephemera relating the history and productions of the San Francisco Mime Troupe. Inclusive dates: 1959-1970.

Museum of the City of San Francisco

Gladys Hansen started this Museum when she left the Library, where she had curated the San Francisco History Room for many decades. The Museum has continued Gladys' perseverance to the dream of preserving our local history. And, they have no qualms about acknowledging the Counter Culture's place in that history.

Chronology of San Francisco Rock 1965-1969 is a good compilation of the beginnings of what would be called the San Francisco Sound.

University of California Library

Video: Les Diggers de San Francisco, UCB Media Ctr VIDEO/C 7270.

Title: Les Diggers de San Francisco, La Seine et Planete presentent un film de Celine Deransart et Alice Gaillard. 
Publisher: [France] : La Seine/Planete, 1998. 
Description: 1 videocassette (84 min.) : sd., col. with b&w sequences ; 1/2 in. 
Notes: Credit: Escriture, realisation et montage, Alice Gaillard, Celine Deransart ; image, Jean-Pierre Zirn. 
Performers: Commentary: Ron Davis, Peter Coyote, Peter Berg, Judy Goldhaft, David Simpson, Nina Blasenheim, Lenore Kandel, Kent Minault, Freeman House, Michael Doyle, Allen Cohen, Jane Lapiner, Eric Noble, Chuck Gould, Keith McHenry. 
Subject: In 1965, while thousands of young people converged on San Francisco to protest the American way of life, the theater group The Diggers set up the Haight Ashbury free commune by means of guerrilla theater and street performances. Through interviews with members of the group and others this film looks at the evolution and experiences of the Diggers Theater Group, their eventual migration to a commune in Marin County and the impact of their performances. 
Language: In English and French with English and French subtitles. 
Subjects: Diggers (Organization : San Francisco, Calif.)--History. 
Theater--California--San Francisco--History 
Street theater--California--San Francisco--History 
Theater--Political aspects--California--San Francisco 
Popular music--California--San Francisco 
Popular music--Political aspects--California--San Francisco 
Hippies--California--San Francisco 
Beat generation--California--San Francisco 
Communal living--California--San Francisco 
Communal living--California--Marin County 
Haight-Ashbury (San Francisco, Calif.)--History. 
San Francisco (Calif.)--Social conditions. 
Other entries: Gaillard, Alice 
Deransart, Celine 
Davis, Ron 
Coyote, Peter 
Berg, Peter 
Goldhaft, Judy 
Simpson, David 
Blasenheim, Nina 
Minault, Kent 
House, Freeman 
Doyle, Michael 
Cohen, Allen 
Lapiner, Jane 
Noble, Eric 
Gould, Chuck 
McHenry, Keith, 1957- 
Kandel, Lenore 
Diggers (Organization : San Francisco, Calif.) 
La Seine (Firm) 
Planete (Firm) 

Miscellaneous References


  • Michael William Doyle
      Author(s): DOYLE, MICHAEL WILLIAM 
      Degree: PH.D. 
      Year: 1997 
      Institution: CORNELL UNIVERSITY; 0058 
      Advisor: Adviser: MICHAEL KAMMEN 
      Source: DAI, 58, no. 11A, (1997): 4415 
      Abstract: The Diggers were an innovative collective of artist-anarchists who were active primarily in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district between 1966 and 1968. Their name derived from a group of seventeenth-century peasants who had courageously, if unsuccessfully, resisted the enclosure of the English commons. Organized by veteran members of the San Francisco Mime Troupe, the later Diggers adapted the dramatic form known as "guerrilla theater" (originally conceived by the Troupe's founding director, R. G. Davis) as a mode of prefigurative politics in the realm of everyday life. The resulting technique, which they referred to as "life-acting," combined the direct action of anarchism with dramaturgical role playing.

      The Diggers' principal project was to enact 'Free,' a comprehensive utopian program that attempted to function outside the money economy. It included providing no-cost medical and legal services, as well as operating free stores, hostels, farms, communication and transportation networks, among other endeavors. These alternative institutions and practices were swiftly emulated in numerous countercultural enclaves throughout the United States and abroad. Most of these undertakings proved to be shortlived, supported as they were by the donation of surplus goods and cash that proved difficult to sustain with the disappearance of the "post-scarcity economy" beginning in the late 1960s. Similarly, the mutual aid network of volunteers that worked on a neighborhood level did not thrive when extended beyond a face-to-face community, or when overwhelmed by the rapid influx of large numbers of disaffiliated young people who proved unwilling to reciprocate.

      During their last year of existence the Diggers took to calling themselves the Free City Collective. The change in name signalled a shift in their focus to expand the project of 'Free' so that it encompassed all of San Francisco. Although they formally disbanded in mid-1968, several members of the collective have continued the attempt to counteract what they regard as the more destructive aspects of American culture by working through the bioregional movement, which they were instrumental in founding in the early 1970s.

      Descriptor: HISTORY, UNITED STATES 
      Accession No: AAG9813931
  • David Kirschenbaum
    • Title: Dig yourself :
      Emmett Grogan and the diggers
      Author(s): Kirschenbaum, David A. 
      Year: 1992 
      Description: 44 leaves, [2] leaves ; p., 29 cm. 
      Language: English 
      Named Person: Grogan, Emmett. 
      Named Corp: Diggers (San Francisco, Calif.). 
      Note(s): Bibliography: leaves [45]-[46]./ Dissertation: Thesis (M.A.) -- The University at Albany, State University of New York, Dept. of History. 
      Responsibility: Kirschenbaum, David A. 
      More Corp Auth: State University of New York at Albany.; Dept. of History. 
  • Arthur Richard Rizzo
    • Title: The Diggers :
      a study in the development of ideology 
      Author(s): Rizzo, Arthur Richard. 
      Year: 1969 
      Description: iii, 75 leaves ; p., 29 cm. 
      Language: English 
      Descriptor: Social movements. 
      Named Corp: The Diggers. 
      Note(s): Typescript./ Bibliography: leaves 73-75./ Dissertation: Thesis (M.A.)--San Francisco State College. 
      Class Descrpt: LC: AS36 1969 
      Responsibility: by Arthur Richard Rizzo. 
      Document Type: Book 
      Entry: 19800229 
      Update: 19800229 
      Accession No: OCLC: 6037015 
      Document Type: Book 
      Entry: 19930716
      Update: 19950706 
      Accession No: OCLC: 29406654 
  • William George Thiemann
    • Title: Haight-Ashbury :
      birth of the counterculture of the 1960s
      Author(s): Thiemann, William George. 
      Publication: [Ann Arbor, MI : UMI Dissertation Services, 
      Year: 1998 
      Description: iii, 205 p. ; p., 22 cm. 
      Language: English 
      Descriptor: Hippies. 
      Geographic: Haight-Ashbury (San Francisco, Calif.) 
      Note(s): Includes bibliographical references (p. 191-205)./ Dissertation: Thesis (Ph. D.)--Miami University, Dept. of History, 1998. 
      Responsibility: by William George Thiemann. 
      More Corp Auth: Miami University (Oxford, Ohio).; Dept. of History. 
      Document Type: Book 
      Entry: 19990416 
      Update: 19990416 
      Accession No: OCLC: 41184124 

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Beat Foundations

The San Francisco Poetry Renaissance preceded and set the stage for the emergence of the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood in San Francisco as one of the worldwide origin points of the Sixties Counterculture. Thus, it needs to have a place in the history of the Digger movement.

American Dust: Richard Brautigan's life and writing. Excellent resource. http://www.brautigan.net/who.html#diggers

Six Gallery Reading postcard: https://verdantpress.com/checklist/six-gallery/

Photo of jazz at The 6 Gallery 1957: https://www.foundsf.org/index.php?title=The_6_Gallery 

Photo of Kerouac gesticulating. https://www.6sqft.com/the-urban-lens-from-bob-dylan-to-jack-kerouac-see-rare-photos-of-the-villages-beat-generation/]

Kerouac ecstatic: http://www.mundomundo.com/6-poets.html

Ginsberg wearing Uncle Sam tophat: https://bit.ly/30gZWlk 

McClure recollection:  https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2008/may/29/whywestillneedthespirito

Ginsberg on Beat Generation: https://lithub.com/allen-ginsbergs-definition-of-the-beat-generation/

Ferlinghetti on Six Gallery reading: https://voices.revealdigital.org/?a=d&d=BFBJFGD19770916.1.19&srpos=5&e=-------en-20--1-byDA-txt-txIN-%22six+gallery%22+AND+reading--------------1 (Berkeley Barb, Volume 26, issue 10(631), Sept. 16-22, 1977)

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Communal Living (Alive and Well)

The communal movement, with roots much earlier than simply the 60s, is alive and well at the beginning of the 2000s. The Internet has proven a boon for young people (of all ages) who are seeking alternative lifestyles. Our own Digger Guestbook(s) have been a waystation for seekers to leave messages requesting guidance. One of the best links I've found (please send others) is the Intentional Communities magazine web site.

Loki wrote us and requested that we link to Eastwind Community — "a commune that is still working at the dream". 


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