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Title Oral History of Martin Griffin
Collection Oral History
Scope & Content In this oral history, physician, naturalist, champion of open spaces and bane of developers Martin Griffin recounts with warmth and humor his long and extraordinarily active life. Born in Ogden, Utah, in 1920 to nature-loving parents, Martin moved with his family to Portland, Oregon, when the Great Depression hit, and then down to Los Angeles and finally up to Oakland, where he attended elementary school through high school. Martin recalls some early experiences that shaped his love for the environment, including his involvement with the Boy Scouts, where he met the graduate student entomologist Brighton C. "Bugs" Cain, who profoundly inspired him. It was also as a boy that Martin came over to Mill Valley for the first time, making his way by ferry and train, to go hiking on Mt. Tamalpais. He conjures the beautiful vision he had from the ridge that day of white birds down on Bolinas Lagoon, a vision which made such a powerful impression on him and would, years later, feed the flames of his conservationist passion. Martin recounts being involved in ROTC while an undergraduate at U.C. Berkeley, later attending medical school at Stanford, where he got married, and moving over to Marin to begin his medical practice. He recalls how after the war, developers began to swarm Marin County, and how this instigated his activism to preserve open spaces. Martin describes his work with the Marin Audubon Society and allied groups to save Richardson Bay, Bolinas Lagoon, Tomales Bay, and stop the project to build a coastal freeway that ran from San Francisco over Mt. Tam to Sonoma — the whole history of which is recorded in his book Saving the Marin-Sonoma Coast. Martin also recounts his work in public health and his leadership role in eliminating hepatitis B from state hospitals, for which he received a Governor’s Award. He finishes the narrative of this committed and inspiring life with a brief performance on the accordion.
Audio and Transcript Click here to hear recording.
Click here to read the transcript.
Dates of Creation 2015-10-20
Narrator's name Griffin, Martin
Interviewer Schwartz, Debra
Extent and Medium Transcript: 37pp
Recording: 02:15:24
Search Terms Arrigoni, Pete
Bolinas Lagoon
Cain, Brighton
Conservation of natural resources
Ferguson, Doug
Johnson, Huey
Livermore, Caroline
Marin Audubon Society
Mount Tamalpais
Murray, Mary Lindley
Point Reyes National Seashore
Rebels with a Cause
Richardson Bay
Terwilliger, Elizabeth
Tomales Bay
Object ID 2016.040.001
Object Name Recording
Copyrights Transcript and recording copyright Mill Valley Public Library, 2015. Materials are made available for research purposes only; all rights are reserved to the Mill Valley Public Library. Requests for permission to quote for publication or for any other usage must be obtained from the Library.