Finding Aid to the Friedel Klussmann San Francisco Beautiful Records 1955-1992

Finding aid prepared by Jennifer Greenwood, San Jose State University Intern
San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library
100 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA, 94102
(415) 557-4567
info@sfpl.org
2012


Title: Friedel Klussmann San Francisco Beautiful Records
Date (inclusive): 1955-1992
Date (bulk): 1971-1981
Collection Identifier: SFH 65
Creator: Klussmann, Friedel
Physical Description: 1 carton, 1 box (1.17 cubic feet)
Contributing Institution: San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library
100 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 557-4567
info@sfpl.org
Abstract: The Friedel Klussmann San Francisco Beautiful Records contain documents related to the activities of San Francisco Beautiful between 1955 and 1992. The material was collected by Klussmann in her role as president and retained by San Francisco Beautiful after her death. The collection contains minutes, correspondence, scrapbooks, clippings, and material related to events and the administration of San Francisco Beautiful. It does not include by-laws or other governance documentation for the organization. The collection includes materials from campaigns to save the cable cars in the 1970s and 1980s; Save the Cable Cars/Proposition Q, Save the Cable Cars, and Cable Car Friends are heavily represented.
Physical Location: The collection is stored onsite.
Language of Materials: Collection materials are in English.

Access

The collection is available for use during San Francisco History Center hours, with photographs available during Photo Desk hours. Collections that are stored offsite should be requested 48 hours in advance.

Publication Rights

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the City Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the San Francisco Public Library as the owner of the physical items.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Friedel Klussmann San Francisco Beautiful Records (SFH 65), San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library.

Provenance

San Francisco Beautiful donated the materials to the San Francisco Public Library in 2011.

Related Materials

Researchers are encouraged to see also the Subject Files (Transportation—Cable Cars) and the San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection. The library has the San Francisco Beautiful newsletter (renamed The Cable in 2002). Related materials at other libraries include cable car campaign literature of the Citizens Committee to Save the Cable Cars (1954, at the Bancroft Library) and the Bohemian Club (“Resolved That It is Better to Save the Cable Cars…” 1964, at Yale University Library).

Conservation Note

During processing, scrapbooks were dismantled and put into file folders. Photographs and negatives require special handling.

Organizational History

San Francisco Beautiful was formed in 1947 in response to changes in the urban landscape. Ordinary citizens and neighbors banded together to take their concerns about neighborhood blight, tree-planting, cable car service, and freeway construction to local government. Since then, San Francisco Beautiful has worked to enhance the livability of the city and keep it one of the most splendid urban settings in the world.
In later years San Francisco Beautiful sought solutions to problems caused by newsracks, advertising “wallscapes,” illuminated billboards, streetlight glare and light pollution, motorized cable cars, and utility boxes. The organization also opposed corporate sponsorship of the Golden Gate Bridge. More recently, San Francisco Beautiful spawned Friends of the Urban Forest, an organization that plants trees throughout the city and partners with residents to maintain them.
Friedel Klussmann, a longtime Telegraph Hill resident, was the president of San Francisco Beautiful from 1947 until her death in 1986. Prior to founding San Francisco Beautiful, Klussmann studied at the California School of Fine Arts (now the San Francisco Art Institute). She was active in the San Francisco area art community, showing at the Oakland Art Gallery in 1932 and holding membership in San Francisco Women Artists from 1933-46 and the San Francisco Artists Association in 1936 and 1944.
In addition to her artistic pursuits, Klussmann was cultured and well travelled. She wrote about the late-1950s adventure she enjoyed with her husband, Hans, in “So This Is a Safari!” Her globe-trotting proved to her the value of the uniqueness of her city.
Believing that beauty is good business, Klussmann used her charm and persuasive abilities to lead a variety of efforts to maintain the character and aesthetics of San Francisco. Above all, she is most famous for her repeated campaigns against plans to replace the city’s cable cars with buses. Klussmann is credited with saving the cable cars in the 1940s and 1950s, and then again in 1971 and 1980. Despite her private nature, Klussmann led two “Save the Cable Cars” efforts and united neighbors, politicians, philanthropists, and San Francisco fans from around the world to convince voters and local officials to keep the cable cars.
In the early 1970s, the cable car system was rife with problems. The community, including Klussmann, was frustrated with the poor maintenance of the system. Accidents were common and many cars were out of service while waiting for repairs, which led to delays and cuts in service. In 1972 Klussmann founded Cable Car Friends, an organization of citizens dedicated to ensuring that the cable cars were maintained and operated safely and efficiently. Cable Car Friends was a watchdog group that monitored service and kept San Franciscans informed about the system’s problems and improvements.
Klussmann died on October 22, 1986, at the age of 90. Mayor Joseph Alioto called her “the queen, the grandmother of the cable cars.” Mayor Dianne Feinstein said she was “one of San Francisco’s truly modern heroines.” The Hyde Street cable-car turnaround, near San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf, was renamed the Friedel Klussmann Memorial Turnaround in 1997.

Scope and Contents

The Friedel Klussmann San Francisco Beautiful Records contain documents related to the activities of San Francisco Beautiful between 1955 and 1992. The material was collected by Klussmann in her role as president and retained by San Francisco Beautiful after her death. The collection contains minutes, correspondence, scrapbooks, clippings, and material related to events and the administration of San Francisco Beautiful. It does not include by-laws or other governance documentation for the organization. The collection includes materials from campaigns to save the cable cars in the 1970s and 1980s; Save the Cable Cars/Proposition Q, Save the Cable Cars, and Cable Car Friends are heavily represented.
The minutes from San Francisco Beautiful meetings between 1960 and 1979 are significant because of their level of detail and the number of meetings that were recorded. Also of note are letters Klussmann received from San Francisco Mayors Joseph Alioto and Dianne Feinstein, and from Supervisor Harvey Milk.

Arrangement

The collection has been organized into two series: Series 1: Organizational Files and Series 2: Cable Cars. Within Series 1, the folders are arranged chronologically. The folders in Series 2 are arranged by campaign, with related materials at the end.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

San Francisco Beautiful.
San Francisco Beautiful--Archives
Cable cars (Streetcars)--California--San Francisco
Civic improvement--California--San Francisco
Railroads, cable--California--San Francisco
Urban beautification--Citizen participation--California--San Francisco

 

Series 1 Organizational Files, 1960-1992

Physical Description: 0.33 cubic feet

Arrangement

Arranged chronologically.

Scope and Contents

The records in this series include those collected by Klussmann in the course of San Francisco Beautiful business. The series contains meeting minutes (1960-1979), newsletters (1970-1982), various photographs and negatives, clippings, and a scrapbook about the organization.
The meeting minutes are particularly notable because they cover almost the entire time period from 1960 to 1979. Photographs and negatives include many unidentified subjects. The clippings pertain to the teardown of the Embarcadero Freeway, which was damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. The scrapbook materials were collected by Klussmann and document the events and business of San Francisco Beautiful in which she was particularly involved.
Box 1, Folders 1-4

Minutes, 1960-1979

Box 1, Folder 5

Newsletters, 1970-1982

Box 1, Folder 6

Photographs,

Box 1, Folder 7

Clippings. Embarcadero Freeway, 1990

Box 1, Folder 8

Scrapbooks. San Francisco Beautiful, 1960-1992

 

Series 2 Cable Cars, 1955-1991

Physical Description: 0.84 cubic feet

Arrangement note

Arranged by campaign.

Scope and Contents

Much of the work of San Francisco Beautiful and Klussmann between 1955 and 1990 pertained to San Francisco’s famous cable cars. This series includes records compiled by Klussmann in the course of her work on campaigns to save the cable cars.
Klussmann's community organization and get-out-the-vote effort is documented through records of her administration of the campaigns, her correspondence, and meetings. Notable items include letters from Mayor Joseph Alioto, Mayor Dianne Feinstein, and Supervisor Harvey Milk. Save the Cable Cars/Proposition Q—Clippings contains original hand-drawn, hand-colored political cartoons intended for publication in the San Francisco Chronicle. The Cable Car Stories file includes an unpublished autobiographical account of Klussmann’s work to save San Francisco’s cable cars.
Box 1, Folder 9

Save the Cable Cars/Proposition Q Administration, 1971

Box 1, Folder 10

Save the Cable Cars/Proposition Q Correspondence, 1955-1971

Box 1, Folder 11

Save the Cable Cars/Proposition Q Clippings 1971-1973

Box 1, Folder 12

Cable Car Friends Administration, 1972-1973

Box 1, Folder 13

Cable Car Friends Correspondence, 1972-1979

Box 1, Folder 14

Cable Car Friends Meetings, 1972-1978

Box 1, Folder 15

Cable Car Friends Clippings, 1955-1976

Box 1, Folder 16

Cable Car Friends Proposals, 1976-1977

Box 1, Folder 17

Save the Cable Cars Administration, 1980-1981

Box 1, Folder 18

Save the Cable Cars Correspondence, 1978-1981

Box 1, Folder 19

Save the Cable Cars Meetings, 1979-1980

Box 1, Folder 20

Save the Cable Cars Clippings, 1977-1981

Box 1, Folder 21

Scrapbooks. Cable Cars, 1973

Box 1, Folder 22

Centennials. Clay Street Cable Car Line, 1973

Box 1, Folder 23

Centennials. California Street Cable Car Line, 1988

Box 1, Folder 24

Cable Car #16 Festival, 1990

Box 1, Folder 25

Cable Car Barn. Chin & Hensolt, Architects, 1977-1979

Box 2, Folders 1-2

Cable Car Stories, 1981-[1991?]

Box 2, Folder 3

Cable Car Instruction Manual, [1980?]