Document:California HPC Report 9 February 2019

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Libertarian Party of California
Historical Preservation Committee

Report for Executive Committee meeting of 9 February 2019

by Joe Dehn

COMMITTEE MEMBERSHIP

The current members of this committee are Joe Dehn, Bill Hajdu, Gail Lightfoot, Kenneth Brent Olsen, and Jon Prosser.

COMMITTEE MEETINGS

The LPC HPC held its first meeting (via Zoom) 12 January 2019. Joe Dehn was selected to be committee chair, and Gail Lightfoot committee secretary.

The next meeting is scheduled for 23 February.

In addition to these meetings, the committee is conducting work via e-mail and using LPedia (see below).

PLAN OF WORK

At its first meeting, the committee discussed an outline of work to be done, organized in several ways: tasks/projects, subjects of interest, and potential sources of information/material. This plan is being continually updated as committee members come up with additional ideas. Please consider this plan incorporated into this report by reference. (See end of next section for where to find the latest version.)

USE OF LPEDIA

We plan to use LPedia as the primary vehicle for organizing and making available the historical information that we are collecting and preserving.

For anyone who may not already be familiar with LPedia, it is a web site consisting of a large collection of articles about the LP, along with associated documents and other files, to which activists across the country can contribute. On a technical level it is very much in the style of Wikipedia. (It is based on the same software that is used to run Wikipedia.)

Although it was originally created about ten years earlier, management and support of LPedia was taken over by the national LP's Historical Preservation Committee two years ago. While the national HPC is working primarily on preservation of material relating to the national LP, LPedia is available as a repository for material relating to LP organizations and activities at the state and local levels as well.

Making use of LPedia in this way has several very important advantages for us: (1) by using a common platform, our material can be interlinked and cross-referenced with the work being done by the national HPC and by people working on documenting the histories of other state parties; (2) with activists in many states using the same facility, they can easily help each other without having to learn about different software and procedures; (3) all of the support for this web site (administration, web hosting, regular backups) is already being taken care of by the national LP.

In addition to making use of LPedia for presenting historical material, we will be making use of it for managing our own work. Specifically, anybody interested in seeing the current version of our work plan can find it on the LPC HPC page at:

http://lpedia.org/Libertarian_Party_of_California_Historical_Preservation_Committee

NEWSLETTER PROJECT

Some of the most important tasks identified in the work plan relate to newsletters. Not only are the various newsletters published by the LPC (and the ones published by county/region organizations) interesting in their own right, but they are also an extremely important source of information about campaigns, committees, projects, and individual activists.

So, one of our first goals was to identify all past state newsletters and when they were published. The next goal is to find copies of the actual newsletters. Finally, we will be making the content of these newsletters available to everybody via LPedia.

We have already made some progress on all of these goals. The LPC page on LPedia has been updated to include what we believe to be a fairly complete list of state newsletters since the beginning of the LPC. Individual LPedia "articles" have been created for each series, where we will be keeping notes on things like when they were published and who were the editors.

And we have begun the process of posting the actual content of several of them. For LPC Monthly and California Freedom, more than half of the issues that were published are now online. (Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say they are now online _again_. These are issues for which PDFs had been made available previously through various past LPC web sites.) The national HPC was able to provide PDFs of some issues of various newsletters that had been scanned along with other material that had been stored in the national office -- thanks to this source, several issues of the Liberty Bell tabloid from 1993 are also already online.

Obviously there is a lot of work still to be done on this. But we are already aware of collections that likely contain, in combination, paper copies of most issues of most of the state newsletters. As we are able to scan them, the online collection will grow correspondingly.

At the same time we will be on the lookout for people who have collections of county/region newsletters, with the goal of repeating the process with as many of them as possible. Note, however, that because of the open structure of LPedia, any county group that wants to contribute to this effort by gathering, scanning, and posting their own newsletters can easily do so -- in fact a few counties have already started doing this.

EARLY HISTORY

Questions often come up about the early history of the LPC. Fortunately, some of the activists from the early days are still with us, and we hope that with their help we will be able to compile additional information about that period. And as noted above, we expect to be able to find many of the basic facts through a review of various newsletters, once we have assembled a reasonably complete set.

But as it turns out, people actually started working on this almost from the beginning. Back in 1974, less than two years after the LPC's founding, somebody had already written an article about the history of the LPC. (And where might this have been published? In an issue of the state newsletter!)

For anyone who may be curious, you can now find this article here:

https://lpedia.org/Document:CaLiber_1974_History_of_the_LPC:_The_First_Two_Years  

STATE CONVENTION

The committee is considering ideas for a display at the upcoming state convention. We hope to be able to use a table either in the vendor area or some other visible location for this display. One of the purposes of the committee is to make historical information available, and displaying historical information at special events like the state convention is one way we can do that, complementing the ongoing process of making material available online through LPedia.

But such a display at the state convention will serve another very important purpose -- to let activists know what kind of work we are doing and what kind of material we are seeking. Our work will go faster if we can identify additional volunteers willing to help. Just as important, this could be a way to help us get in touch with activists who have personal collections of historical material that would be useful in filling gaps in what we already know.