New Biography on Bay Area Environmental Champion
October 11, 2010


Dorothy Erskine: Graceful Crusader for the Environment doesn't exactly relay the magnitude of impact that one woman had on the entire Bay Area some 50 years ago. Janet Thiessen's brief biography delves into the life of a one-woman powerhouse whose influence is on par with other, more well-known civic leaders, like Dianne Feinstein, Willy Brown, Jr. and Harvey Milk.

UC Berkeley geography professor Dick Walker recently reviewed Thiessen's story of "a pivotal figure in the history of Bay Area environmentalism." As Walker puts it, "[Erskine] was at work behind the scenes on almost all the defining moments of regional open space from the 1950s to 1970s," but even that hardly sums up her level of involvement in planning, good government, transportation, environmentalism and equity issues during the course of her life.

Get a copy of the book here
to read the story for yourself. Also, see this fascinating conversation between John Jacobs (executive director of SPUR in the early 1970s) and Erskine from 1971. SPUR was lucky enough to get a hold of the interview, part of the Regional Oral History project at UC Berkeley's Bancroft Library.

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