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The Art of Sculptor William Gordon Huff

Sources and supplemental information, Part I

Abbreviations: Tim Huff and the Huff Family Archives, Laytonville, CA HFA; Antonia Huff Rodrigues, Santa Rosa, CA (all photographed by Dave Strauss) AHR; University of California Museum of Paleontology (UCMP) Archives, Berkeley, CA UA; Ray Strong Family Papers, Upper Lake, CA RSFP


1William Gordon Huff's informal autobiography, "Explanation" page, HFA. Huff pulled this document together in late 1981 and early 1982. In William Gordon Huff, letter to Ray Strong, 18 Feb 1982, RSFP: "I have collected a number of newspaper articles, etc. pertaining to my activities over the years and am Xeroxing same for each of our children. The folios are about an inch thick and when I think I have completed them run across more stuff I had forgotten about."

The early years

1William Gordon Huff, interview by Tim Huff (recorded), 12 Jan 1989. Also,

2Huff/Mackintosh Family Tree,

3There were actually nine children but the first two, Chester and Mildred, died in infancy. The other seven were Elinor (Nellie) Elodee Huff (1891-1979), Pearl L. Huff (1894-1986), Mary Deborah Huff (1896-1987), William Gordon Huff (1903-1993), Thomas Edmund Huff Jr. (1898-1971), Olney Lawrence Huff (1905-1977) and Alberta Eunice Huff (1907-1970). Some information from sources and the rest from Tim Huff, "Re: T.E. Huff," email to me, 8 Apr 2018.

4William Gordon Huff's informal autobiography, "Early Beginnings" page, HFA.

5William Gordon Huff's informal autobiography, photocopied page from the 1918 Fresno High School yearbook, The Owl, with Public Speaking Club member photos, HFA.

6William Gordon Huff, interview by Tim Huff (recorded), 12 Jan 1989.

7Influenza info from Tim Huff, "Re: T.E. Huff," email to me, 10 Apr 2018. Oakland address from the 1920 U.S. Federal Census,

8William Gordon Huff's informal autobiography, photocopied pages of the Glee Club and Honor Society from the 1921 Oakland Technical High School yearbook, The Scribe, HFA. Also, conversations with Huff's daughter Antonia.

9William Gordon Huff's informal autobiography, "R.O.T.C. activities" page, HFA. Also, William Gordon Huff, interview by Tim Huff (recorded), 24 Jan 1990, HFA. In the latter interview, Huff recalled that he and his battalion saluted Woodrow Wilson when the President's motorcade drove past the school.

10William Gordon Huff's informal autobiography, "Early Beginnings" page, HFA.

11The California School of Arts and Crafts began the move to its present location on Broadway in Oakland in 1922, the year after Huff attended. Regarding Bufano (1898-1970), several of his sculptures are displayed in San Francisco and up the coast to Sonoma. In the Bay Area, pieces can be found in Chinatown (Sun Yat Sen), Fisherman's Wharf (St. Francis of Assisi) and Golden Gate Park (several of his animal sculptures). Past Jenner on Highway 1 (where the Russian River meets the Pacific), see Bufano's largest piece, a 93-foot Peace obelisk (1969) at Timber Cove Inn. The inn's restaurant/lounge once displayed a torso Bufano gave to the inn after successfully suing the City of San Francisco for $50,000 because they didn't display the piece properly; the inn changed ownership a few years ago and it is unknown whether the torso is still there.

12The sculptor Edgar Walter (1877-1938) studied under Douglas Tilden (see Tilden's Football Players sculpture on the UC Berkeley campus at the southwest corner of the Valley Life Sciences Building) at the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art in San Francisco, then later went to Paris, France, where he was a pupil of Auguste Rodin. One of Walter's best known works is the Columbia pediment on the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium, Washington, DC, that he completed in the early 1930s.

13William Gordon Huff's informal autobiography, photocopy of a newspaper clipping: "S.F. Boy Works on Statues for Euripedes' Play," unknown newspaper, c. May 1923, HFA.

14Ibid. Also William Gordon Huff's informal autobiography, photocopy of another newspaper clipping: "Greek Theater Busy Scene; Perfect Setting Main Aim," unknown newspaper, 31 May 1923, HFA. One of America's foremost stage actresses at the time, Margaret Anglin, staged, directed, and starred in Euripides' tragedy The Hippolytus at the Greek Theater. There was a cast of about 80 in this single-night production. See an article about the upcoming stage play in a May 8, 1923, issue of the The Evening News (San Jose, CA). Read more about Margaret Anglin on Wikipedia or read the book Margaret Anglin, a Stage Life by John LeVay, Anglin's grand-nephew. The book discusses the merits and demerits of the Berkeley production of The Hippolytus and provides comments from local newspaper critics.

15R.A. Bowie (Manager, Artstone Distributing Co., San Francisco, CA), letter to whom it may concern, 3 Oct 1923, HFA. Based on the content, it is clear that Huff asked for the letter thinking that it might help him find work in NYC.

16Louise M. O'Hara, "Boy Scholarship Winner Ready for N.Y. Art School," San Francisco Call and Bulletin, 15 May 1923, HFA.

17"Boy Sculptor Adds to Honors," unknown newspaper, post 15 May 1923, HFA.

To New York

1William Gordon Huff's informal autobiography, handwritten page on Remo Bufano, HFA.

2The block-long Lincoln Arcade Building was torn down in 1959 and the site is now the home of The Juilliard School, but at the time Huff and his friends were there, it was a wonderful place for budding artists. In Samuel Zipp's book, Manhattan Projects: The Rise and Fall of Urban Renewal in Cold War New York, there is this fine description of the building and its artists in residence:

The arcade, a five-story warren of shops, offices, and studios spanning the entire western front of Broadway, housed a motley variety of tenants. Downstairs, there was a bowling alley, a theater, and jewelry, millinery, and dressmakers' shops; upstairs, there were lawyers, dentists, fortune-tellers, detective agencies, and dance studios. A number of prominent artists had studios there as well, from [Raphael] Soyer and his painter friend Joseph Floch to the sculptor Alexander Archipenko and, a few years before, the famed muralist Thomas Hart Benton. In the early twentieth century, the arcade had been a gathering spot for the Ashcan School of realists. George Bellows had a studio there, and John Sloan stopped by frequently. Robert Henri gave classes in his studio, guiding the early efforts of future luminaries Rockwell Kent, Stuart Davis, and Edward Hopper.

It would be interesting to know if any of these noted artists lived in or frequented the building when Huff lived there. See Samuel Zipp, Manhattan Projects: The Rise and Fall of Urban Renewal in Cold War New York (New York: Oxford University Press, New York, 2010),p. 197.

Remo Bufano

1Remo Bufano (1894-1948) and his older brother Beniamino, both born in Italy, were just two of 11 siblings who came to America with their parents in 1897. After seeing a marionette show when he was seven, Remo developed a love of theater. He initially tried to make acting his profession but puppetry began to dominate his time during the 1920s. Remo's reputation as a master of puppetry was on the rise when Huff arrived in New York. Remo worked on Broadway productions and also received a Guggenheim Fellowship to write a book about European marionettes. From 1934 to 1939 he was the director of the New York Marionette Division of the WPA's Federal Theatre Project. While Huff made monumental sculptures for San Francisco's Golden Gate International Exposition in 1939-1940, at the same time, Remo created puppets for the New York World's Fair's Hall of Pharmacy. He was the puppeteer in the MGM Fred Astaire film Yolanda and the Thief in 1945. Remo published four books on puppetry, one posthumously. He died in an airplane crash in 1948 at the age of 54.

2William Gordon Huff's informal autobiography, handwritten page on Remo Bufano, HFA.

3Learn more about Max Reinhardt (1873-1943) on Wikipedia. The Miracle ran for 298 performances at New York's Century Theater from January through November. After New York, the play toured 12 other American cities over a five-year period. The Miracle had an enormous cast — the touring company included 400 performers and in each city another 200 locals were cast as extras. Read more about The Miracle on Wikipedia. An interesting side note: The set designer for the production was Norman Bel Geddes, father of actress Barbara Bel Geddes, best known for her role as Miss Ellie Ewing in the TV show Dallas.

Arthur Lee

1Lee Randolph (Director of the California School of Fine Arts, San Francisco, CA), letter to Arthur Lee, 2 Oct 1923, from the Arthur Lee journals, Robin Lee and the Arthur Lee Foundation. "The purpose of this letter is to introduce to you one of our very good students, William Huff, who has spent several years in the study of sculpture and has everything to recommend him — youth, ability, talent, and a great deal of determination. He is also an expert in casting in plaster and has made his present trip to New York possible by his work in this line."

2William Gordon Huff, interview by Tim Huff (recorded), 12 Jan 1989. Jackson Pollock stayed at 9 MacDougal Alley in early 1950 when it was then owned by abstract expressionist painter Alfonso Ossorio. Today, the property—1,875 square feet in a building built in 1899—is valued at over five million dollars (, accessed 25 Mar 2019).

3Lee's financial struggles are apparent when reading the Arthur Lee journals; a pdf of them was shared with me by Robin Lee, Arthur's grandson and trustee of the Arthur Lee Foundation. William Gordon Huff, letter to his family, 9 Feb 1924, HFA: "Arthur Lee hasn't paid me yet, but he says he will even if he has to steal the money."

4William Gordon Huff, interview by Tim Huff (recorded), 12 Jan 1989. Huff said that he left the Art Students League for the Beaux-Arts Institute because he could "specialize in sculpture." This would suggest that the League made him take non-sculpture classes.

5Paul Ogden's fate from William Gordon Huff, interview by Tim Huff (recorded), 12 Jan 1989.

On to Paris

1Sailing on the SS George Washington from William Gordon Huff, interview by Tim Huff (recorded), 3 Feb 1993, HFA. Huff died about 10 months after the interview at age 90. Read about the SS George Washington's fascinating history on Wikipedia.

2William Gordon Huff, interview by Tim Huff (recorded), 12 Jan 1989.

3"Huff to Exhibit at Manchester," unknown newspaper but probably The Bennington Banner, c. Aug 1931, HFA. "He [Huff] was a student of Arthur Lee in New York and studied with Ariste [sic] Bourdelle while in Paris." The reporter clearly got the Frenchman's name wrong; no doubt he meant Émile Antoine Bourdelle (1861-1929), a French sculptor who did begin teaching at the Académie de la Grande Chaumiere in 1909. Bourdelle would have been 63 years old in 1924. Read more about Bourdelle on Wikipedia.

4William Gordon Huff, letter to Arlen J. Hansen (Professor, Department of English, University of the Pacific, Stockton, CA), 23 Feb 1984, HFA. Basil Marros (1897-1954) was born in Greece but moved to San Francisco in 1913. He became a successful painter, focusing primarily on the abstract and cubist styles. Read a short bio of Marros. Interestingly, Marros had his first California art exhibition in Berkeley, at the daliel bookstore and gallery at 2466 Telegraph Avenue, 1-29 Nov 1947.

5Many of the details of Huff's time in Paris are from two long, handwritten letters to Arlen J. Hansen (see above note), dated 23 Feb 1984 and 26 Feb 1985, HFA. Hansen had inquired about Huff's time in Paris so Huff sat down and wrote out 22-page (1984) and ten-page (1985) letters about his experiences there. Hansen published a book in 1990 called Expatriate Paris: A Cultural and Literary Guide to Paris of the 1920s. It's possible that Huff is mentioned or credited in the book. Italy details are from three letters and two postcards written by Huff between 25 Mar and 25 Apr 1925, HFA.

6Soichi Sunami, whom Huff may have met while attending the Art Students League in NYC, went on to become an important photographer. He was New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art official staff photographer for 38 years (1930-1968). Read more about Sunami on Wikipedia.

7Beniamino Bufano, letter to Huff, 26 Jan 1925, HFA. Written while Huff was still in Paris.

Back in New York City

1William Gordon Huff, interview by Tim Huff (recorded), 12 Jan 1989, HFA. According to Huff, the speakeasy's owner had a brother who was a police captain; the captain would tip off his brother prior to raids to give him time to hide the alcohol.

2It's possible that Huff did not attend the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design until after his return from Paris in 1925. Correspondence in the HFA does not mention the school prior to Huff's heading to Paris but there is a letter addressed to Huff at the Institute dated Nov 1929.

3William Gordon Huff, interview by Tim Huff (recorded), 3 Feb 1993, HFA.

4William Gordon Huff, interview by Tim Huff (recorded), 12 Jan 1989, HFA.

5William Gordon Huff's informal autobiography, handwritten page on "How I got my training to model and draw prehistoric animals," HFA.

6William Gordon Huff, letter to Rodney Rulofson (Curator, Peña Adobe Museum, Vacaville, CA), c. 1970,HFA. "I have made numerous ones [masks] of every size and description. Years ago, when I was living in New York, I designed my first series for a playwrite [sic], the late Em Jo Basshe. They were for his New York production Flutes and Figures. (Otto H. Hahn, the New York financier, who was Basshe's 'angel' bought a couple and what happened to the others I haven't the faintest idea)."

7Arthur Lee, letter to William Gordon Huff c/o Emjo Basshe (Rock Tavern, Orange County, NY), 28 Jun 1925, HFA.

8One specific piece that was definitely of New York origin is mentioned in "Huff to Exhibit at Manchester," unknown newspaper but probably The Bennington Banner, c. Aug 1931, HFA. "He [Huff] will also exhibit a portrait head of Marco Lecatis, which, on being exhibited at the National Academy in New York last year drew highest praise from Metropolitan critics." Huff had another art school friend named Aristides Lecatis who shared rooms with him at some point during his New York years but it is unknown whether Marco Lecatis was related or not.

9One wonders where Huff saw Paul Robeson. It was at this time (1924) that the actor was beginning to make his mark. Robeson was asked to join the Provincetown Players, a Greenwich Village theater group that performed at a playhouse (133 MacDougal Street) just around the corner from Arthur Lee's studio. Another member of the Players was playwright Eugene O'Neill who asked Robeson to star in his plays All God's Chillun Got Wings and The Emperor Jones. Both plays opened in May 1924, three months before Huff left for Paris, so Huff may have seen Robeson in one of these productions. Also, Arthur Lee and his wife were at least acquaintances, if not friends, of the Robesons, but it is unlikely that Huff met Robeson through them. The Lee-Robeson connection is suggested in Eslanda Goode Robeson, letter to Huff, 15 Nov 1927, HFA: "Do tell Arthur Lee and his very nice wife that I am here in the hospital for the best of reasons: my son, Paul Robeson, Jr., was born here at 2 am Nov 2, and he is the very image of his father."

10From conversations with Antonia Huff Rodrigues and Tim Huff.

11Eslanda Goode Robeson, letter to Huff, 15 Nov 1927, HFA. Enclosing a photo of the bronze, Huff had written to Robeson asking for permission to exhibit the piece in San Francisco; Ms. Robeson granted that permission. Ulric H. Ellerhusen (National Sculpture Society, New York, NY), letter to Huff, 3 Jul 1929, HFA. Ellerhusen asked exhibitors at the Palace of the Legion of Honor show for permission to extend the show through 1 Jan 1930.

12The leopard is in the collection of Oregon art historian and dealer Mark Humpal, Portland, OR.

13William Gordon Huff, letter to his parents, 21 Apr 1928, HFA. Written while Huff was in New York City.

14There is a photograph of John C. Fremont on horseback in the HFA and on the back is written "Study for Fremont monument that never got off the ground. Leon Whitsell tried to promote it, but in 1932, the depth of the Great Depression, money was tighter than it had ever been before or since. B." This would suggest that Huff had met Leon Whitsell, a member of E Clampus Vitus, soon after arriving back in Berkeley following his years on the East Coast but I find this hard to believe. It's unlikely that Huff knew any Clampers prior to his meeting Charles Camp in late 1935 so I suspect that Huff incorrectly identified the person trying to promote the Fremont sculpture.

Bennington, Vermont

1William Gordon Huff, interview by Tim Huff (recorded), 3 Feb 1993, HFA.

2John Griffith McCullough was a lawyer and businessman who built his fortune in railroads, banks, and insurance. He served one term as Attorney General of California during the Civil War (1863-1867) and later served as Governor of Vermont for two years (1902-1904). Read more about McCullough on Wikipedia.

3Eliza H. McCullough, letter to Huff (on 270 Park Avenue letterhead), 29 Nov 1930, HFA. It's possible that Mrs. McCullough met with Huff in New York City on occasion because she wrote to Huff from a New York address about some medallions he had made for her. She may have had an apartment at 270 Park Avenue South (the building was built in 1927), but then again, Ms. McCullough may have just been visiting.

4Turner (1865-1919) retired from a successful career as an architect in NYC, studied theology and entered the ministry of the Episcopal Church. At the time of his death, he was rector of St. Peter's Church in Bennington. He also happened to be the son-in-law of Eliza McCullough who commissioned the work. More than one silver-plated bronze medallions were made for the McCulloughs and Huff had one plain bronze one made for himself. See the flip side of the Turner medallion that bore the family crest.
    Collins Millard Graves (1871-1954) was born in Bennington and attended Brown University, class of 1895. He became a lawyer and was admitted to the Vermont bar in 1904. He was appointed by President Roosevelt postmaster at Bennington in 1906 and was reappointed by Taft in 1910. Graves represented Bennington in the Vermont legislature in 1904. Graves' wife commissioned the medallion.
    Huff may have made the Colonel Alonzo N. Clark (1848-1930) medallion simply as a kind gesture. Huff had befriended the fellow while working on his Civil War plaque and was boarding with Clark and his wife at the time of the Colonel's death in July 1930 (from the 1930 U.S. census, Huff wrote an entire page about Clark for his informal autobiography.

5Holland Robert Bacher, letter to Huff, 3 Dec 1930, HFA. The making of medallions is mentioned; based on one envelope and another letter, Huff was corresponding with the Bachers from at least Jul 1929 through Feb 1931. The memory of Mrs. Custer was from William Gordon Huff, interview by Tim Huff (recorded), 24 Jan 1990, HFA. The Bachers' Bronxville home was at 5 Lookout Avenue; Mrs. Custer lived a couple blocks away at 6 Chestnut Avenue.

6Antonia Huff Rodrigues, conversation with me, 29 Jun 2016. According to Ms. Rodrigues, it was Basil Marros who encouraged Huff to move from New York City to Bennington.
    The Cone Building was originally a three-story, yellow-brick building built in 1899. After a fire, it was remodeled in 1924 (five years before Huff moved in) as a two-story, tan-brick Art Deco-style building. "Early occupants of the Cone Building were the Cone Studio, which had also been in the 1899 building, the F.W. Woolworth Store, which had been in the 1899 building since 1915 and remained in the extant building until 1973, the Bennington Chamber of Commerce, Bennington Office Service and Supply, Noveck Studio, Splendid Restaurant, a beauty parlor, and several business services." Information from page 68 of the National Register of Historic Places registration form, Downtown Bennington Historic District (Boundary Increase), 2008, on the website (it is no longer accessible online).

7The first mention of the Civil War memorial plaque is in John Spargo (Battle Monument and Historical Association, Bennington, VT), letter to Huff, 7 Dec 1929, HFA. "Please don't do any work on the Civil War project until further notice from me. … I did not mean my letter to be final. While I am sure it will be all right, I must get the consent of the trustees to use the site." These words suggest that the idea for the memorial was Huff's.
    John Spargo (1876-1966) was the founder of the Bennington Museum and was the president of the Bennington Battle Monument and Historical Association, an offshoot of the Bennington Historical Society. Spargo proved to be a good source of business for Huff. "Names of Bennington Civil War Men To Be Inscribed on Laurel Wreath," The Knickerbocker Press (Albany, NY), 16 Aug 1931, HFA: "Mr Huff is doing other commissions for the Bennington Historical Society also." What those other projects were are unknown.

8"Names of Bennington Civil War Men To Be Inscribed on Laurel Wreath," The Knickerbocker Press (Albany, NY), 16 Aug 1931, HFA. "The memorial will be set upon an elevated piece of ground immediately in front of the Bennington Historical museum and will take the form of a large rough axed granite die, eight feet in length and six and a half feet in height. Recessed into the face of it will be a bronze panel in high relief measuring three feet six inches, by six feet three inches. … The figures of the men are extremely lifelike, and in the opinion of military experts the sculptor has been singularly successful in presenting accurately the details of the uniforms and military style of the Civil War period." This was not only the first historical plaque made by Huff, it was probably the largest.
    The Battle of Bennington was actually fought about ten miles from the town at Walloomsac Heights, New York, on 16 Aug 1777. The memorial was supposed to be dedicated on the anniversary of the battle, but based on newspaper clippings, the dedication actually took place on 15 Aug 1931. The state of New York paid for the granite base.

9The plaque itself measured 4 x 3.24 feet and was placed on a granite shaft. Eugene B. Bowen (Special Commission for the erection of Bennington Battle Monument on Walloomsac Heights Battlefield, Cheshire, MA), letter to Huff, 5 Jun 1931, HFA. Bowen relayed news regarding the Revolutionary War monument to Huff.

10The early date established from Harold Sweet (R.F. Simmons Company, Attleboro, MA), letter to Eugene B. Bowen (Cheshire, MA), 6 Jul 1931, HFA. "Replying to your letter of June 30th, I understand from President Cousens' office that they are doing all they can to get for Mr. Huff a more desirable picture of Dr. Fay."
    The date of the dedication from Eugene B. Bowen (Eugene B. Bowen & Son, Millers and Dealers in General Merchandise, Grain, Mill Feed, Dairy and Poultry Feed, Etc., Finishing and Rough Lumber, Cheshire, MA), letter to Huff, 15 Mar 1934, HFA. "The Chimes bas-relief has arrived and I think it will fit at the College very nicely. I will take it down the next time I go. That may not be until the Commencement in June."

11Eugene B. Bowen (Cheshire, MA), letter to Huff, 13 Feb 1934, HFA.

12Eugene B. Bowen (Cheshire, MA), letter to Huff, 8 Jan 1938, HFA. "I am still working on the Saratoga Battlefield monument. … Senator Plunkett and others interested in the project think there isn't a ghost of a chance of getting a bill through the legislature this year."

Bennington Marionette Theater

1"Marionettes Delight First Bennington Audience," "Puppet Plays Attract Crowd," "To Show Puppets Friday Evening," and "Marionettes Present Two Plays and Skit," newspaper clippings from The Bennington Banner (Bennington, VT), c. 1930, HFA.

Marriage and return to California

1William Gordon Huff, interview by Tim Huff (recorded), 3 Feb 1993, HFA.

2William Gordon Huff, letter to Eugene R. Kosche (Senior Curator, Bennington Museum, Bennington, VT), 9 Nov 1982, Bennington Museums collections.

3The Huff family's residences were tracked with the help of Tim Huff and directories accessed on, as well as the assistance of Nance Espinosa, Librarian, Special Collections/Government Documents Coordinator, Fresno County Public Library.
    Thomas Edmond Huff and his family changed residences fairly often during their time in Fresno, rarely staying in one place for more than three years. During the 15 years that William (or Bill as he was called as an adult) lived with his parents in Fresno, the family moved at least five times [source: Nance Espinosa, Librarian, Special Collections/Government Documents Coordinator, Fresno County Public Library, "Re: T.E. Huff," email to Tim Huff, 6 Apr 2018, then shared with me]. Bill's mother, Celia Gordon Huff, died at the family's last Fresno home at 1327 North Glenn Ave. in March of 1918 [source: Note written by Bill on a slide of the house, taken on a visit to Fresno, 23 Apr 1971, and shared with me by Tim Huff: "House we lived in on Glenn Ave., 1915-1918. Located on W. side of street - 3rd house N. of Park (?). We were living in this house when my mother died." The address was confirmed on].
    Later that year, the Huffs moved to a house in north Oakland at 881 59th Street and lived there through late 1921 or 1922. The family moved again in 1922 but only a couple blocks away to 923 60th Street. The following year, when Bill was in New York City, his sisters Nellie and Mary bought a house at 2706 Fulton Street in Berkeley. This house would remain in the Huff family for the next 50 years or so, serving as a place of refuge and as a reliable mailing address for any Huff [source: Tim Huff, "Re: Huff Residences," email to me, 17 Jun 2016]. Thomas Edmond died in June 1924 while Bill was in New York City. Bill may not have seen the Fulton house until he returned to Berkeley with Doris in 1932. They had their first child, Antonia, while at the Fulton house in 1932. The couple got a place of their own at 216 Stanford Avenue in late 1934 but moved back to 2706 Fulton after only one year. They remained there for four years, moving again to their own place at 1192 Arch Street in spring 1939, thanks to Bill's GGIE windfall. On December 7, 1941, the day Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, Bill and his family moved in to a house at 2603 Fulton, just a block south of his sisters' 2706 house. They remained there until August 1945 when they moved out to Concord, to a house at 2020 Date Street. The Huffs moved back to Berkeley and 2706 Fulton in 1948. Bill's younger brother Olney had purchased two acres of land in Alamo and sold one to Bill in 1942. Olney built a house on his acre and Bill felt somewhat obligated to build on his, so he did and moved the family to Alamo in the summer of 1953. Bill and Doris would live out their lives there [source: From 25 Jan 1993 interview with Bill, just under 11 months before he died, carried out by Bob Allen and Robert R. Smith, HFA]. The 2706 Fulton house was sold sometime after the death of Mary Huff in 1987 [source: Tim Huff, "Re: One more WGH question," email to me, 22 Jan 2019].

4Read more about Francis Marion Smith on Wikipedia. Read more about the Key System on Wikipedia.

5Read the story of the theft in "Public Help Asked in Locating Historical Plaque, Missing in Move to New Offices," Transit Times, vol. 6, no. 1, May 1963, p. 2.

6Mark Humpal, "Huff plaque surfaces," email to me, 18 Nov 2011.

7Harre Demoro, "Buried for 41 Years, 'Borax' Bust Is Found," Oakland Tribune, 30 Dec 1974, p. E11.

Chief Solano and jobs that followed

1Chief Solano information gleaned from newspaper articles and documents in the HFA.

2William Gordon Huff's informal autobiography, "Hearst Avenue Experience" page, HFA.

3From a letter dated May 8, 1935, to Huff from Harr Wagner, Harr Wagner Publishing Company, 609 Mission St., SF, CA. "I have your very interesting letter in regard to 'California's Lane of Fame'. I have written to Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes to send me the names of the persons who should be approached for funds for landmarks, etc. in this section. I will send you any information I may be able to get."

4The only allusion to this project in the HFA is a May 15, 1935, letter to Huff from Charles W. Fisher, Assemblyman 18th District, California Legislature. "I wish to thank you very much indeed for your letter of May 8, in which you mention the fact that my father may be included among the number of former prominent citizens of our East Bay district to whom monuments may be dedicated and placed in our park system. "… I think it would be most fitting to have a sculptor who graduated from my father's school execute the monument."
    Fisher's father was the late Philip M. Fisher (1851-1932), Huff's former principal at Oakland Tech. An obituary in the Meyersdale [Pennsylvania] Republican, August 18, 1932, provided this information: "Prof. Fisher was County Superintendent of Schools of Alameda County, principal of the old Oakland High School and later served as principal of the new Technical High School. In 1925 he was named superintendent of public instruction for Oakland schools."

5William Gordon Huff's informal autobiography, "Hearst Avenue Experience" page, HFA.

6"Schnier Still Ahead in Oakland Annual Voting," Oakland Tribune, 21 Jun 1936 and H.L. Dungan, "Sculptures in Show Mostly Conservative," Oakland Tribune, 11 Apr 1937.

The UCMP connection

1From Huff's preface in Charles L. Camp, Child of the rocks: The story of Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park (Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology, 1981), Special Publication 5, p. 3, Charles Lewis Camp Papers, box 3, UA.

2Charles Camp, letter to Annie Alexander, 18 Feb 1934, UA.

3(1) Ansel F. Hall (Chief, Field Division of Education, National Park Service, 333 Hilgard Hall, UC Berkeley), letter to Huff, 20 Dec 1925, HFA: "We have had some delay in our program under Public Works but we are still hoping that this money will be made available to us. In the meantime you are being carried on our preferred list and shall get in touch with you just as soon as we are able to put anyone to work under the PWA setup." (2) Dorr G. Yeager (Acting Chief Field Division of Education, National Park Service, 333 Hilgard Hall, UC Berkeley), letter to Huff, 21 Jan 1936, HFA: "It seems probable that within a short time considerable money will be made available to us for museum work at these headquarters under an old public works grant. We are hoping it will not be necessary to take our artists and technicians from a list of eligibles. There are some indications, however, that this will be necessary. I am enclosing an application form, which I wish you would fill out and return to me immediately so that I can forward it to Washington with others in order to expedite the establishment of your name on the secretaries list of eligibles."

4William Gordon Huff's informal autobiography, "Hearst Avenue Experience" page, HFA. "Charles Camp needed many plaster casts of fossil bones for the Museum of Paleontology and to fill up the workers' time [six WPA workers] I got permission from headquarters to have them do this work."

5(1) Charles Camp, letter to Ruben Stirton, 25 Feb 1938, UA: "Sam [Welles], Curt [Hesse] and Huff, after working like demons for three nights straight up to twelve o'clock, finally got out a couple of good casts of the Placerias skull. It was the devil's own job and Craig and his gang are now going after it again to make another upper clay mold. I guess we shall get some good casts out of it before we are through." (2) Curtis Hesse, letter to Ruben Stirton, 7 Mar 1938, UA: "We are still in the theros [sic] of casting the big skull and every day seen something more go wrong. Fortunately the WPA men are working at it now so Sam and I are free — it was one hell of a workout at first tho [sic] when Huff came up to get us started."

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