I currently have columns running in 3 newspapers;
- Tri-Valley Herald : Looking Back
- Valley Times : Do You Remember?
- The Independent : Do You Remember?
The Articles appear in the Herald and Independent on Thursdays,
and the Times on Sundays.
They will also be found on this page each week as well.
If you've missed any please follow the links on the dates to catch up.
Barbara Bunshah-The Ultimate Reference Librarian
By Barry Schrader.................................April
Can you imagine 12,000 pages of historical research contained in 28
binders, all done by one person? Then imagine what Barbara Bunshah has accomplished
the last 20 years in her spare time.
Barbara just retired as curator of the Livermore Heritage Guild and the
Livermore History Center and was honored by the Guild with a reception earlier
this month. She will continue doing newspaper indexing in her spare time
however and showing up at the History Center on occasion.
In recognizing her, Guild chairman Larry Mauch explained that Barbara began
indexing stories from Livermore newspapers dating from 1875 when the Livermore
Enterprise existed. She used 3x5 notecards to handwrite the information,
then later an electric typewriter to compile the notes. She also indexed
the Livermore Echo, the Livermore Herald, the Livermore News, and the Livermore
Independent up to 2003. That is an amazing 128 years of newspapers, some
of them overlapping each other by many years.
Larry explained that in his research he has found no other newspaper index
as comprehensive as the one created by Barbara. "She literally read
every newspaper to create the index. Even in this day of modern technology
it still will take someone reading every newspaper to create such an index,
so it still remains a monumental task that may never be equaled by others."
What seems most valuable is that every obituary ever to appear in the local
press has been listed so family descendants and genealogy researchers in
the future will save hundreds of hours by referring to her index.
But here is some more good news. Realizing the value of her work, the Livermore
Library obtained a grant for $100,000 to convert the index into a CD using
Adobe Acrobat so it is completely searchable on the computer. Copies of
that CD are available from the library for a nominal fee. Unfortunately
the lack of additional funding has not allowed the project to be completed,
so another grant or donor will have to be found to bring it up to date.
A little background on Barbara: She moved to Livermore from back East in
1960, first getting involved in the community by joining the Cask &
Mask little theater group that produced plays in the old May School north
of Livermore. Earlier she had gone to college and majored in Voice with
the intention of becoming an opera singer. Then she got into the library
field, working for libraries in Pittsburgh, Pa. and Mt. Vernon, NY. In July
1961 then-Livermore Library Director Don Nolte hired Barbara as reference
librarian, where she stayed until retiring in 1980. After retirement she
devoted much of her time to volunteering for the Heritage Guild, becoming
secretary of the board in 1981 and then curator at the History Center in
1990. As they say, the rest is history!
* * *
The League of Women Voters of the Livermore-Amador Valley is getting
ready for its 50th anniversary by preparing a memory book of longtime members.
Bernice Oakley is trying to locate some of the earliest members and is searching
nationwide for them. If you can be of help, call her at (925) 846-4038.
Members wishing to share anecdotes or thoughts about the League can also
send them via email to Jane Staehle at jtstaehle@ comcast.net or by mail
to LWV, Box 702, Livermore, CA. 94551. If you remember belonging when Rosy
Colgate, Janet Newton or Miriam Miller headed the group, you're much older
* * *
So the history mystery question for this week: Who was the first man
in California to join the League when the national organization first allowed
male members back in the 1970s?
The columnist can be reached via email at :
or by snailmail at:
PO Box 446
Livermore, CA. 94551