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Finding aid to the Donneter Lane papers relating to the Guyana Emergency Relief Committee, MS 3792
MS 3792  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
The collection consists of papers collected by Donneter Lane concerning Peoples Temple and the 1978 Jonestown tragedy, the bulk of which were generated by the Guyana Emergency Relief Committee (GERC) between the years 1978 and 1980 and document the Committee's efforts to transport the unidentified or unclaimed remains of Jonestown victims from Dover Air Base to California for burial. Committee records include press releases, minutes, and memoranda; correspondence between the Committee and various agencies, including the United States Department of State; rosters of Jonestown victims and surviving family members; and records of the San Francisco Superior Court proceedings, Peoples Temple of the Disciples of Christ v. The Attorney General of the State of California. Also included are letters from family members of victims to the Committee indicating family wishes regarding the interment of loved ones or requesting reimbursement for burial expenses; and family survivor contact cards, which document communication between the Committee and family members and provide information about the status of burials.
Background
Donneter Lane was the Executive Director of the San Francisco Council of Churches. With Rabbi Malcolm Sparer and Father John O'Connor, she was one of the principal organizers of the Guyana Emergency Relief Committee, formed on November 28, 1978, to coordinate an interfaith response to the deaths at Jonestown. In 1979, Lane and other Committee members communicated with family members of Jonestown victims concerning the interment of loved ones and reimbursement for burial expenses, maintaining careful records of approximately 200 telephone calls and letters. She continued to maintain the records of the Committee after its dissolution.The Guyana Emergency Relief Committee (GERC) was formed on November 28, 1978, by members of the San Francisco religious community in response to the deaths of over 900 people at Jonestown, Guyana, on November 18, 1978. Composed of representatives of the San Francisco Council of Churches, the Archdiocese of San Francisco, and the Board of Rabbis of Northern California, the Committee had a two-fold purpose: to assist with the expeditious return of over 500 bodies from Dover Air Base, Delaware, to California for proper burial; and to provide counseling, pastoral services, and material assistance to grieving families.
Extent
4 boxes (3.4 linear feet)
Restrictions
All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Director of Library and Archives, North Baker Research Library, California Historical Society, 678 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94105. Consent is given on behalf of the California Historical Society as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission from the copyright owner. Such permission must be obtained from the copyright owner. Restrictions also apply to digital representations of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.
Availability
All researchers must sign the Peoples Temple Collections Access Agreement form. This document is available at the reference desk or can be sent electronically.