The Summer of Love at the Rare Book Room

This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the “Summer of Love.” But what exactly was the Summer of Love in San Francisco? There continues to be much debate over what this time in history was and the implications of its legacy.

The De Young museum is hosting an exhibit entitled “The Summer of Love Experience: Art, Fashion, and Rock and Roll” to probe this question and to commemorate the confluence of the visual and musical aspects of the time period. This exhibit showcases rock posters, photographs, films, fashion, and light shows to celebrate and remember the way the movement disrupted culture in a time of social and political upheaval. It runs from April 8th to August 20th.

Here in the Rare Book Room we have a facsimile edition of the San Francisco Oracle (issues September 1966 through February 1968), an underground newspaper based out of Haight Ashbury at the height of the Summer of Love. In the preface, editor Allen Cohen describes the SF Oracle as a “psychedelic, multicolored tabloid… [a contemporary] version of the illuminated manuscripts of the Middle Ages.” The Gathering of the Tribes, a.k.a. the Human Be-In, which was  held on January 14th, 1967 at the Polo Fields in Golden Gate Park, is publicized in the fifth issue of the SF Oracle. This event is seen as the kickoff point for the Summer of Love with attendance in the tens of thousands. The Oracle describes the Be-In as a “union of love and activism previously separated by categorical dogma and label mongering.”

We also have the first issues of Rolling Stone Magazine which features news on the prominent musicians of the era and other social events related to the counter culture movement.

Stop by the Rare Book Room Monday – Friday 9am-5pm to check out these awesome sources!

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