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Title Oral History of Ruth Lescohier
Collection Oral History
Scope & Content In this oral history interview, Ruth Lescohier recounts a long career steeped in local history and political activism. Ruth first moved to Mill Valley with her husband after his naval service during World War II. The couple eventually built a home in Blithedale Canyon with two decks and a "beautiful view" of the Bay. Ruth was teaching elementary school in Marin City when a credentialing requirement led to a serendipitous discovery of her passion for local history. Mentored early on by formidable local historians Lucretia Hanson Little and Helen Van Cleave Park, Ruth researched, wrote and self-published books on early Marin County, including the popular The Coast Miwok People, and the more divisive The Search for Samuel Throckmorton. In this interview, Ruth shares her opinions on the lives and personalities of early Mill Valley pioneers Samuel Throckmorton and William Reed, gleaned from her familiarity with both primary and secondary sources. Ruth further discusses her large range of community involvement, including membership in the local chapters of the League of Women Voters and the Independent Progressive Party, church participation and the founding of the Redwoods Retirement Community. She speaks candidly about some of the attitudes that emerged in Mill Valley during the McCarthy Era and, later, the Vietnam War, as well as her understanding of racial tension at Tamalpais High School as viewed through the lens of her daughter's experiences. Ruth also touches upon the compassionate - if not entirely successful - efforts of the Community Church to respond to the emerging counterculture of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Ruth's observations extend to the changes in Mill Valley over the years, but she maintains that the spontaneity and "good-heartedness" of the town's population has remained the same.

Editor's note: This oral history interview contains a transcript, but no audio recording. The transcript was reviewed by the interviewee, whose changes and additions appear in brackets [...].
Audio and Transcript Click here to read the transcript.
Dates of Creation 2002-05-05
Narrator's name Lescohier, Ruth
Interviewer Geary, Marilyn
Extent and Medium Transcript: 22pp
Search Terms 1960s
1970s
Bjornstrom, Cora
Business - Mill Valley
Coast Miwok Indians
Community Church
Downing, Ruth
Dreyfus, Benjamin
Dreyfus, Helen "Babs"
Drugs
Early Days & Pioneers
Hippies
Historians
Historical studies
League of Women Voters
Little, Lucretia Hanson
Marin City
McCarthyism
Park, Helen Van Cleave
Race relations
Richardson, William Anthony
Tamalpais High School
Teaching
The Redwoods Retirement Community
Throckmorton, Samuel R.
Object ID 2002.028.001
Object Name Recording
Copyrights Transcript and recording copyright Mill Valley Public Library, 2002 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.