Harold Gilliam

Last updated

Harold Gilliam (1918 – December 14, 2016) was a San Francisco-based writer, newspaperman and environmentalist, a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle and Examiner newspapers. The Harold Gilliam Award for Excellence in Environmental Reporting, given by The Bay Institute, is named in his honor.


Early life and education

Gilliam was born in Los Angeles and earned a bachelor's degree in political science from UCLA and a master's in economics from UC Berkeley; he later studied under Wallace Stegner at the Stanford Writing Program. He served in the 11th Armored Division in Europe in World War II. [1] [2]


Gilliam began his career in journalism as a copy boy at the Chronicle, where he was soon made a reporter. In 1954 he became a freelancer, then in 1960 began an environmental column at the Examiner; the following year he returned to the Chronicle, where he continued his column, called "This Land", until retiring in 1995. [1] [2] [3]

San Francisco Bay, his first book, was on The New York Times bestseller list for 19 weeks. [1] It led to his being invited to be a founder member of Save the Bay. [4]

Gilliam was one of the first environmentalist journalists, and helped mobilize public opinion to save many features of the San Francisco Bay Area. [2] [3] [5] In the 1960s, through an article and personal contacts, he helped achieve a Marin County ordinance forestalling the bulldozing of archaeological sites. [6] His article "The Destruction of Mono Lake Is on Schedule", which appeared in the Examiner in March 1979, was one of the first public accounts of the then ongoing destruction of Mono Lake; in 1993 he was the first recipient of the Defender of the Trust award from the Mono Lake Committee. [7] The Bay Institute named its Harold Gilliam Award in his honor. [8] The group also gave him its Bay Education Award in 1995. [9]

Personal life

Gilliam was married to Ann, with whom he co-wrote a book on Carmel, California; she died in 2001. They had one son. Gilliam died in San Francisco in 2016 at the age of 98. [1]


Related Research Articles

Carmel-by-the-Sea, California City in California, United States

Carmel-by-the-Sea, often simply called Carmel, is a city in Monterey County, California, United States, founded in 1902 and incorporated on October 31, 1916. Situated on the Monterey Peninsula, Carmel is known for its natural scenery and rich artistic history. In 1906, the San Francisco Call devoted a full page to the "artists, writers and poets at Carmel-by-the-Sea", and in 1910 it reported that 60 percent of Carmel's houses were built by citizens who were "devoting their lives to work connected to the aesthetic arts." Early City Councils were dominated by artists, and several of the city's mayors have been poets or actors, including Herbert Heron, founder of the Forest Theater, bohemian writer and actor Perry Newberry, and actor-director Clint Eastwood.

<i>San Francisco Chronicle</i> Newspaper serving the San Francisco Bay area

The San Francisco Chronicle is a newspaper serving primarily the San Francisco Bay Area of Northern California. It was founded in 1865 as The Daily Dramatic Chronicle by teenage brothers Charles de Young and Michael H. de Young. The paper is owned by the Hearst Corporation, which bought it from the de Young family in 2000. It is the only major daily paper covering the city and county of San Francisco.

<i>Oakland Tribune</i> weekly newspaper in Oakland, California

The Oakland Tribune is a weekly newspaper published in Oakland, California, by the Bay Area News Group (BANG), a subsidiary of MediaNews Group.

Randy Shilts was an American journalist and author. After studying journalism at the University of Oregon, he began working as a reporter for both The Advocate and the San Francisco Chronicle, as well as for San Francisco Bay Area television stations. In the early 1980s, he was noted for being the first openly-gay reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle. His first book The Mayor of Castro Street: The Life and Times of Harvey Milk was a biography of LGBT activist Harvey Milk.

Malcolm Margolin

Malcolm Margolin is an author, publisher, and former executive director of Heyday Books, an independent nonprofit publisher and cultural institution in Berkeley, California. From his founding of Heyday in 1974 until his retirement at the end of 2015, he oversaw the publication of several hundred books and the creation of two quarterly magazines: News from Native California, devoted to the history and ongoing cultural concerns of California Indians, and Bay Nature, devoted to the natural history of the San Francisco Bay Area. In the fall of 2017, he established a new enterprise, the California Institute for Community, Art, and Nature to continue and expand upon the work that he began more than forty years ago.

Arnold Genthe

Arnold Genthe was a German-American photographer, best known for his photographs of San Francisco's Chinatown, the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, and his portraits of noted people, from politicians and socialites to literary figures and entertainment celebrities.

Joseph Esherick (architect)

Joseph Esherick was an American architect.

Charles Elgin Alverson was an American novelist, editor and screenwriter who sometimes used the byline Chuck Alverson. He co-scripted the film Jabberwocky (1977).

Edgar Wayburn

Edgar Arthur Wayburn was an American environmentalist who was elected president of the Sierra Club five times in the 1960s. He has been described as one of the least-known and yet most successful defenders of America's natural heritage. He is considered instrumental to achievements such as the creation of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, the creation and later expansion of Redwood National Park and Point Reyes National Seashore, and the expansion of Mount Tamalpais State Park.

Doug McConnell

Doug McConnell is a television journalist who has focused on environmental issues, with programs on the air continuously since 1982. He has created, produced and hosted many series, special programs, and news projects for local, national and international distribution. His broadcast awards include multiple Emmys, an Iris, and a Gabriel.

James Preston Delgado is a maritime archaeologist, historian, maritime preservation expert, author, television host, and explorer.

Reber Plan

The Reber Plan was designed and advocated by John Reber, an actor, theatrical producer, and schoolteacher. His plan, in the late 1940s, was to fill in parts of the San Francisco Bay.

Mountain Lake Park

Mountain Lake Park is a 14-acre (5.7 ha) San Francisco park in the Richmond District neighborhood, located north of the intersection of Lake and Funston. It was designed by engineer William Hammond Hall in the late 19th century, circa 1875. Hall also designed Golden Gate Park and was significantly influenced by Frederick Law Olmsted.

Paul Avery was an American journalist, best known for his reporting on the serial killer known as the Zodiac, and later for his work on the Patty Hearst kidnapping.

Phil Bronstein American journalist and editor

Phil Bronstein is an American journalist and editor. He serves as executive chair of the board for the Center for Investigative Reporting in Berkeley, California. He is best known for his work as a war correspondent and investigative journalist. In 1986, he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on the fall of Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Later, he held leadership positions with the San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco Chronicle, and Hearst Newspapers Corporation.

Joel P. Engardio is a local news columnist in San Francisco. He is a journalist, documentary filmmaker and civil liberties advocate. Engardio served as a member of the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee. Engardio's PBS documentary Knocking won the jury award for Best Documentary at the USA Film Festival. At the American Civil Liberties Union, Engardio combined reporting and multimedia storytelling skills to pioneer more effective ways to mount lawsuits and communicate public education efforts. He was the ACLU’s first “story finder” and implemented a process that applied journalism methods to plaintiff-finding. Engardio found plaintiffs who had narratives that played well in both the court of law and public opinion. He also started a video department that produced shorts for online audiences, which prompted mainstream media to cover the same stories.

Roland De Wolk is an American author and print and television journalist from the San Francisco Bay Area. His career has spanned four decades. He contributed to Oakland Tribune coverage of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake that won a 1990 Pulitzer Prize. He has won multiple awards for his journalism, including a lifetime achievement award. He has been described as "a star journalist" and "an ace reporter."

The San Francisco Examiner is a newspaper distributed in and around San Francisco, California, and published since 1863.

Save the Bay

Save The Bay is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving San Francisco Bay and its related estuarine habitat areas. Founded by Catherine Kerr, Sylvia McLaughlin, and Esther Gulick in 1961, the organization grew into a body that not only achieved its namesake but also inspired analogous organizations dedicated to other environmental and other political causes. The organization continues to fight to protect the bay from development and landfill and to oppose redevelopment of salt flats; it instead encourages their restoration to a natural state.

Margaret Wentworth Owings was an American environmentalist, whose notable contributions to the movement include founding and serving as the first president of the Friends of the Sea Otter. Owings earned numerous awards for her inspiring work in conservation, including the National Audubon Society Medal in 1983, the United Nations' Environment Program's Gold Medal Award and the U.S. Department of the Interior's Conservation Service Award. Margaret Owings was named by the Audubon Society as one of 100 individuals who had done the most to shape the environmental movement, in a list that also included Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Lady Bird Johnson.


  1. 1 2 3 4 Carl Nolte (December 19, 2016). "Harold Gilliam, environmental journalist and advocate, dies". San Francisco Chronicle .
  2. 1 2 3 David Kupfer (January 1, 2011). "'Never Give Up!' Harold Gilliam and the Birth of Environmental Journalism". Bay Nature.
  3. 1 2 John King (November 23, 2011). "Of Harold Gilliam and the 'San Francisco psyche'". San Francisco Chronicle.
  4. David Lewis (December 19, 2016). "In Memoriam: Harold Gilliam" (blog). Save the Bay.
  5. David Loeb (December 19, 2016). "Remembering Harold Gilliam". Bay Nature.
  6. Thomas F. King (October 1968). "County Antiquities Legislation, New Hope for Archaeological Preservation". American Antiquity . 33 (4): 505–06. doi:10.2307/278606. JSTOR   278606.
  7. "Defender of the Trust award". Mono Lake Committee. Retrieved December 25, 2016.
  8. "Environment reporter wins Bay Institute Gilliam Award". San Francisco Examiner . October 1, 2000 via San Francisco Chronicle.
  9. "Environmental Group Honors Writer Gilliam". San Francisco Chronicle. September 30, 1995.