Collection Scope and Content Summary
Title: Ray E. Williams files on Newport Bay environmental issues
Identifier/Call Number: MS.R.108
Special Collections and Archives, University of California, Irvine Libraries
Language of Material:
3.3 linear feet
(8 boxes and one XOS folder)
Date (bulk): Bulk, 1968-1988
Date (inclusive): 1942-2003
This collection comprises the papers of Ray E. Williams, an environmental and political activist in Newport Beach, California.
The collection documents Williams's efforts as president of the board of Friends of Newport Bay (1973-1976), as well as his
work as a member of the Newport Beach City Council (1976-1980), to preserve the Upper Newport Bay's wildlife and natural environment.
The collection includes correspondence, reports, maps, meeting minutes, newsletters, clippings, analyses, speeches, and teaching
Williams, Ray E.
The collection is open for research.
Property rights reside with the University of California. Literary rights are retained by the creators of the records and
their heirs. For permissions to reproduce or to publish, please contact the Head of Special Collections and Archives.
Ray E. Williams Files on Newport Bay Environmental Issues. MS-R108. Special Collections and Archives, The UC Irvine Libraries,
Gift of Ray E. Williams, 2003.
Processed by Christine Kim, 2010.
Ray E. Williams is an environmental activist in Newport Beach, a city in Orange County, California. He was a member of the
Friends of Newport Bay, serving as president from 1973 to 1976, and was a member of the Newport Beach City Council from 1976
to 1980. He also taught at California High School in Whittier for 12 years and then joined the faculty at Rio Hondo College
as an environmental biologist. He worked to preserve Upper Newport Bay's wildlife and natural environment, eventually becoming
involved in the creation of the Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve, which was established in 1975.
Williams was born in Los Angeles, California in 1933. His father was the librarian at Whittier High School and the family
relocated to Newport Beach each summer, living in a tent camp on 19th Street for a few weeks up to two months from about 1938
to 1942. He lived in Newport Beach as an adult from 1969 to 1981.
Williams took an evening class at UC Irvine in 1969 after he had started teaching at Rio Hondo College. The class, aimed at
teachers, was about Orange County environmental problems and issues. Williams worked with a group on a class project that
focused on the Upper Newport Bay, also known as the Back Bay. He attended a tour of the Back Bay with Bob Fry, a Newport Harbor
High School teacher, as tour leader. Williams got involved after the tour and was heavily involved with the organization for
the next 10 years.
Williams' main involvement in Friends of Newport Bay began in 1973, following successful efforts by local activists to save
the Upper Newport Bay from development by halting a land exchange between Orange County and the Irvine Company. The organization
was asked what they wanted for the future of the Back Bay, and environmental activists Frank and Frances Robinson led a group
of about a dozen citizens to prepare a plan for a park reserve, for which Williams was a spokesperson. The Friends of Newport
Bay was founded in 1967, later renamed Newport Bay Naturalists and Friends after merging with the Upper Newport Bay Naturalists
in 2000, then the Newport Bay Conservancy in 2010.
Williams got involved in Newport Beach politics through an appointment to the Newport Beach Planning Commission, after which
he was elected to the Newport Beach City Council. The major issues during his years on the city council were a senior citizens
center and efforts to slow growth. From 1978 to 1980, Williams and other environmentalists led the Newport Beach City Council
with a five to two majority. Williams served as mayor pro tem from 1978 to 1980. In the 1980 election, Williams and Mayor
Paul Ryckoff, the two incumbents, were defeated by a three to one margin.
Williams retired from full-time teaching at Rio Honda College in May 2006, continuing to teach part-time thereafter. He retired
as a guide for monthly Back Bay tours in 2006. He was elected to the Board of Directors of the Newport Bay Conservancy in
Collection Scope and Content Summary
This collection comprises the files of Ray E. Williams, an environmental and political activist in Newport Beach, California.
Materials were largely created and compiled while Williams was president of Friends of Newport Bay (1973-1976) and while he
was a member of the Newport Beach City Council (1976-1980). These files reflect his involvement in the preservation of the
Upper Newport Bay's wildlife and natural environment, including his efforts toward the creation of the Upper Newport Bay Ecological
Reserve. Forms of materials include correspondence, reports, maps, meeting minutes, newsletters, clippings, analyses, speeches,
and teaching materials.
This collection is arranged in 3 series:
- Series 1. Friends of Newport Bay files, 1942-2003, 1.2 linear feet
- Series 2. Newport Beach City Council files, 1973-1981, 1.5 linear feet
- Series 3. Reports and other materials, 1971-2003, 0.6 linear feet
Related materials can be found in the following collection: Collection on Upper Newport Bay. MS-R94. Special Collections and
Archives, The UC Irvine Libraries, Irvine, California.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Friends of Newport Bay. -- Archives
Newport Bay Naturalists & Friends. -- Archives
Newport Beach (Calif.). City Council.
Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve (Calif.) -- Archives. .
Williams, Ray E. -- Archives
Activists -- California -- Orange County.
Ecological reserves -- California -- Upper Newport Bay
Land use -- California -- Upper Newport Bay
Land use -- Environmental aspects -- California -- Orange County
Newport Bay (Calif.) -- Archives.
Newport Bay (Calif.) -- Environmental conditions -- 20th century
Newport Beach (Calif.) -- History -- 20th century -- Sources
Public lands -- California -- Upper Newport Bay -- History -- Sources
Wetland conservation -- California -- Upper Newport Bay