Bygone Berkeley: Exploring history with East Bay Yesterday’s Liam O’Donoghue

Flyer with faded historical postcards of Berkeley in the background and a photographic portrait of the presenter, a gentleman wearing glasses and looking directly at the camera.

Berkeley has long prided itself as a hub of creativity and culture. But how did this relatively small city earn its globally recognized reputation as a center of influential experimentation? Who are the people and events that imbued Berkeley with such symbolic power?

Since 2016, Liam O’Donoghue has been exploring these types of questions through his KPFA program and podcast East Bay Yesterday. From the founding of the University of California to the formation of Tilden Park, O’Donoghue has sought to make the most exciting and interesting chapters of local history relevant to contemporary listeners, to use the past as a lens for understanding the current landscape of the Bay Area. “Bygone Berkeley” is a survey of these observations—a collection of some of the proudest achievements and most shameful chapters assembled as a narrative that attempts to make sense of Berkeley’s chaotic history. 

Join us for a special presentation hosted by Berkeley Public Library that will cover a sweeping collection of characters and topics ranging from Dorothea Lange and Byron Rumford to the Berkeley Pier and Telegraph Avenue.

BIO: Liam O’Donoghue is the host and producer of East Bay Yesterday. He also regularly covers the East Bay for SF Gate. His journalism has appeared in outlets such as Berkeleyside, Oaklandside, Mother Jones, Salon, East Bay Express, The Kitchen Sisters, and 99 Percent Invisible. O’Donoghue has given presentations on local history at libraries, schools and bookstores and throughout the Bay Area, as well as at institutions such as The California Historical Society, Oakland Museum of California, Berkeley City Club, and Commonwealth Club. Follow his Substack for local history news, essays, and upcoming events.

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