A Post-Harvey Milk Day Blog Post: We've Got Dairy Milk too

Harvey Milk in front of Castro Camera, 1975, photographed by Mark Cohen. From the Harvey Milk Archives-Scott Smith Collection (GLC 35). Courtesy of the The James C. Hormel Gay and Lesbian Center, San Francisco Public Library.

When most visitors to the San Francisco History Center ask for Milk, they mean the papers of Harvey Milk. (You can find a description of those, along with other Harvey Milk resources, in the post "Condensed Milk"). But a less-requested, more literal sort of milk--dairy milk--is also represented in our collections in the form of ephemera from Christopher Dairy Farms. As Andrea demonstrated last week in her post on book detritus, ephemera may be found in all sorts of places, even mayoral papers.

Former Mayor George Christopher, who served two terms as mayor of San Francisco from 1956-1964,  made his fortune as the entrepreneur of a small dairy business in the 1930s which grew to become Christopher Dairy Farms. Thus, amongst the more usual types of material to be found in mayoral papers, such as speeches and legislative files, one will also find milk cartons, uniform patches, and even a shopping cart placard.

Christopher was convicted in the 1940s of a misdemeanor for a milk price-fixing violation, a conviction which re-surfaced during his political campaigns. His San Francisco political life and legacy, however, far surpassed it.

Christopher Milk images from the George Christopher Papers (SFH 7). Courtesy of the San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library.

Disclaimer: The appearance of Harvey Milk with Christopher Milk in no way reflects an endorsement of any kind; the association is purely linguistic.


  1. Did Christopher ever take a position for or against any of Harvey Milk's campaigns?

  2. Not that we know of, but you could research it. If he did, there might be something in the newspapers (on microfilm in the Magazines & Newspapers dept. on the 5th floor of the Main Library) or in Milk's campaign files in GLC 35 Series 2A.

  3. My best recollection is that Mayor Christopher had pretty completely disappeared from the political scene quite some time before Harvey Milk emerged as an up and comer. But all that is is "recollection" from a Bay Area native. No documentation.

  4. Despite his short career in politics, Milk became an icon in San Francisco and "a martyr for gay rights", according to University of San Francisco professor Peter Novak.[1] In 2002, Milk was called "the most famous and most significantly open LGBT official ever elected in the United States".[2] Anne Kronenberg, his final campaign manager, wrote of him: "What set Harvey apart from you or me was that he was a visionary. He imagined a righteous world inside his head and then he set about to create it for real, for all of us."[3] Milk was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009.

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