Arthur is proud to present scans of essential documents produced by and about the San Francisco Diggers, who were in many ways the epicentral actors in the Haight-Ashbury during the epic, wildly imaginative period from late ’66 through ’67. The Diggers’ ideas and activities are essential counter-cultural history, sure, but they are also especially relevant to the current era, for reasons that should be obvious to the gentle Arthur reader.
Most of the documents that we are presenting here are broadsides originally published on a Gestetner machine owned and operated in the Haight by the novelist Chester Anderson and his protege/sidekick Claude Hayward, used the name “Communication Company,” or more commonly, “ComCo.” In this first broadsheet, probably distributed sometime in January, 1967 along the Haight on telephone polls, walls, and in windows, ComCo announces its presence, and its mission. Click on the image below to see it at full-size…
A part of the underground press movement Rags was published for a year, 1970-71. It covered the worlds of counter-culture fashion with street fashion reports, groovy adverts and a very liberated sense of style. As far as I can tell its print run was all b/w on rag paper.
The December 1970 issue includes “Revolution” (with models acting out scenes from peoples history),”Life Amongst the Amazon Today” (on body modification in Amazonian tribes), “If God Hadn’t Wanted You To Wear a Bra He Wouldn’t Have Invented the Contour Council” (all about “the bra” with super hip writing!!) and “Raggedy Robin Raggedy Jane” (a profile of a Haight Ashbury clown couple).
The SF Diggers went to bat against the hip capitalists in SF but the innocence, creativity and DIY styles displayed in this publication, which seems to have been distributed primarily in underground boutiques, is charming nonetheless. A mystery in its masthead is the listing of “commidify your dissent” artist Barbara Kruger. That name appears as one of two art directors.
Cassandro Tondro has a blog uploading pdf’s of her collection of Rags. Check it out!