Letter from the Editor
Thank you for your interest in our “Experience History” curriculum project designedin conjunction with Call of the Sea (COTS). Dominican University of California’s Public History program is proud to showcase the talents of 20 students from our Fall 2020 HIST 3901 course. Public History itself is a growing field, represented in both academia and a variety of professional careers. Despite their diversity in career paths, trained public
historians share a common purpose, to communicate historical content to the public.
Trained public historians can be found working in museums, heritage sites, public parks,
Hollywood, the media, and at every level of government. Beyond this, Public Historians are
also found working as or alongside archaeologists, oral history specialists, genealogical
researchers, online content creators, and in a variety of other career trajectories.
The History Department at Dominican is committed to graduating students with a
diverse set of skills and knowledge that prepares them to live in the globalized 21st century.
Our department, with the creation of History 3901, now requires students to expand their
skillset to include the creation of high quality media content designed for public
consumption. These projects, like the one you are about to enjoy, are based on in-depth
individual research projects based on archival research and oral history taking. Students
were required to network with local historical resources as part of their research, resulting in an overarching effort to showcase the power of collecting and organizing community
knowledge. All of the students represented here developed highly marketable skills;
including leadership, teambuilding, web design, audio/video content creation, editing,
writing, and creative design. The Public History skillset is paired with an equally rigorous
classical historical education at Dominican University, designed in total to best equip our
students with a variety of transferable skills, civil leadership, and historical knowledge for
their future success.
Special thanks to COTS, especially our primary liaison, Deputy Director Dave
Andersen for partnering with Dominican University in this endeavor. This project enjoyed
extensive support from many people at COTS, including Alice Cochran, who first imagined
the partnership between the Dominican History Department and COTS, Captain Adrian
McCollough, Director of Education Steve Kielar, and Executive Director Steven Woodside.
Teaching a course like this in 2020 added additional challenges; in fact, only with
considerable support of some very dedicated people was this project even possible. First
and foremost, the Public History Program’s Public History Fellows contributed directly to
project management: Autymn Condit, Lexi Shumacher, Cynthia Smith, Alex Pollok, and Andy Stenros. High quality research, reference, and archival support came from two specialists: Aaron Richardson and Louis Knecht. Two local historians aided us further with methods and content knowledge, Dewey Livingston and John Martini. We also received a great deal of help from several Bay Area institutions. The National Archives and Records Administration: San Francisco, the California Room and the Marin County Free Library, the San Francisco History Center, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area Park Archives and Records Center, and many others.
A special thanks to: Laurie Thompson, Carol Acquaviva, and again, Dewey Livingston
for their support from the California Room, Katherine Ets-Hokin from the San Francisco
History Center, and Amanda Williford from the GGNRA Archive and Records Center. Other
people and organizations, without whom this project would not exist, includes the
Community Engagement staff at Dominican, the Division of Public Affairs, and countless
other supportive faculty and staff members here at Dominican. Our students further
explored other community resources, including a variety of local museums, veterans groups, and local experts—truly a list too long for a single page!
The content found in this project is designed to show students and the general public
some of the rich history found in the San Francisco Bay Area. We aim to make our shared
history come alive, connecting it to more well-known historical narratives. Perhaps it was
best phrased by Winston Churchill when he commented before parliament,
shortly after the fall of France in World War II, “History with its flickering lamp stumbles
along the trail of the past, trying to reconstruct its scenes, revive its echoes, and kinds with
pale gleams the passion of former days.”
Dr. Jordan Lieser
Dominican University of California, History Department