Diggers, "Dig It" (multiple responses)

SIXTIES-L (SIXTIES-L@jefferson.village.virginia.edu)
Sat, 1 Mar 1997 18:59:39 -0500


From: Steve Haas <Steveh@worldnet.att.net>
Subject: Re: Dig it; Diggers

Suzaan Boettger wrote:
> For my research/writing on the environmental sculpture "earthworks" viewed
> in relation to '60s culture, I'm seeking information re the sources of '50s
> slang term of understanding/approbation, to "dig" it. Any ideas or
> references to publications that might explain this?
> For same project, what is a good publication for information/history on the
> utoptian group, started San Francisco early '60s (?), the Diggers?

I can't answer the first question, but if you can find Abbie Hoffman's
first book (believe it or not, the name escapes me), he wrote an awful
lot about the Diggers...I don't believe some of what he wrote (he had a
tendency to exaggerate for effect), but most of the information in the
book that I know from personal experience is true...

Steve Haas


From: Anne Marie Ellison <ellisona@umich.edu>
Subject: Re: Dig it; Diggers

I'm not sure about books, but there's a great (albeit perhaps one-sided)
website devoted entirely to the Diggers, writings about them, info on how
to contact people who were involved, scanned copies of fliers, leaflets,
etc. It's actually how I found out about this list-serv -- I think it's a
link from the 60s page at UVA. This might be of interest, but I too would
love to hear about published books/articles on them...

-Anne Marie Ellison


From: jwood@mail.sdsu.edu (James L. Wood)
Subject: Re: Dig it; Diggers

Read Ringolivio about the founder and activities of the Diggers.


From: Eric Noble <enoble@crl.com>
Subject: Re: Dig it; Diggers

Regarding the Diggers, I have a Web site devoted to the San Francisco
Diggers (1966-68) and you're welcome to stop by. For the past 25 years,
I've been known as the "digger archivist" so if you have specific
questions, please feel free to contact me. There are several people who
are currently researching and writing about the Diggers, as well.

Eric Noble
(digger archives)


From: Tom Condit <tomcondit@igc.apc.org>
Subject: Re: Dig it; Diggers

1. "Dig it" is well older than the 60s. It was in common use in jazz
circles at least as early as the 1940s.

2. There's a book on the diggers by Emmet Grogan, one of the
founders. The title has some reference to a New York street game
called ringoleleo, or sumpin' like that. You can probably find it in a
bibliographic search. If not, drop me a note. I think one of my
friends has a copy or at least can give you fuller information.

The Diggers, by the way, were very heavily inspired the Provos of the
Netherlands and you might try tracking references to that movement.


From: mheider@execpc.com
Subject: Re: Dig it; Diggers

One of the main figures in the Diggers was a man by the name of Emmet
Grogan. He wrote a book called I believe "Ringaleveo". Probably not the
correct spelling but you get the idea I hope. He was instrumental in the
free food giveaway in the panhandle of Golden Gate Park in '66 and '67
and the Free Store that the Diggers started around the same time. He
also was involved in the Digger "headquarters" know as the Free Frame of
Reference.It was in a garage just off of Haight Street. I helped him
clean it out.

Try finding the book. It will probably explain a lot.

Michael Heider


From: "Patrick Julian" <Landlawyer@msn.com>
Subject: RE: Dig it; Diggers

One book with a lot of info on the Diggers and the San Francisco scene
is Charles Perry's "The Haight Ashbury, A History" (Rolling Stone
Press - 1984). The book indicates that the "Diggers" were names after
a 17th century English sect of religious communists. They were
certainly aroung in 1967 but I'm not sure if they were "formed" in
1966 or early in 1967 (I would be surprised if they were around in


From: "Rachel Barrett Martin" <mart0167@gold.tc.umn.edu>
Subject: Re: Dig it; Diggers

Dear Suzaan:

Start with Eric Noble's wonderful website, The Digger Archives:


Michael William Doyle of Ball State University wrote his dissertation
on the Diggers/SF Utopianism. He's on this list and may post in as
well, but perhaps the diss. (Cornell 1996) is available by now
(i.e. UMD microfilm or ILL).

Eric's page has The Diggers Papers from Ramparts, which would actually
be the first text source to look at, I suppose. But he and Michael
would know better. Good luck.

Rachel Barrett Martin
Department of History/Program in Composition
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities


From: Tom Condit <tomcondit@igc.apc.org>
Subject: Diggers

The UC Berkeley catalog subject index refers one to Chester Anderson's
papers in the Bancroft Library for material on the Diggers. Anderson was a
friend of mine, and I don't think his connection with the Diggers was
sufficient to warrant a search through his papers for information, unless
one happened to be in Berkeley anyway and had little else to do. They might
be interesting in many other respects.

As a total digression, younger people who'd like to get a feel for at least
one of the many subcultures of the 1960s might have a look at Anderson's
fiction. _The Butterfly Kid_ was a "cult classic", as they say in mercantile


From: RADMAN <radman@netcom.com>
Subject: Re: Dig it; Diggers

A few titles come immediately to mind:

Grogan, Emmett. Ringolevio: A Life Played For Keeps.
Gips, Elizabeth. Scrapbook of a Haight-Ashbury Pilgrim.
Perry, Charles. Haight-Ashbury: A History.

Good luck!