Neylan, John Francis, 1885-1960

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John Francis Neylan, lawyer, journalist, political and educational figure, was born in New York City on November 6, 1885. After graduation from Seton Hall College in New Jersey in 1903, he came West. California was his destination, but he stopped off in Arizona and worked there for several years as a teamster, bank teller and reporter. The desire for a newspaper career brought him to San Francisco and, eventually, a job with the Bulletin . One of his first assignments was to cover Hiram Johnson's first gubernatorial campaign. Johnson was impressed with the young reporter, and after he was elected, appointed Neylan Chairman of the newly created State Board of Control. The Board installed an accounting system and drew up the state's first budget, and was so successful in regulating the state's finances, that the $2,000,000 deficit, which was Johnson's inheritance, was converted into an $8,000,000 surplus at the end of six years.

In his spare time in Sacramento, Neylan studied law, and he passed the bar examination in 1916. After Governor Johnson went to Washington as U.S. Senator, Neylan moved to San Francisco to practice law, and he became one of the best known and important lawyers in the state. His talents attracted the attention of William Randolph Hearst, and in 1919 Neylan negotiated Hearst's purchase of the Call newspaper and became its publisher. By 1925 the lawyer was Hearst's trusted advisor and became general counsel for all his enterprises. Although their professional relationship ended in 1937, the two remained good friends.

In 1928 Governor Clement C. Young appointed Neylan to the Board of Regents of the University of California, where he served for 27 years. Neylan was an influential member of the Board's Finance Committee and was in great measure responsible for the University's role in the development of atomic research. In 1949-1950 he was a central figure in the bitter controversy over the loyalty oath. He resigned his regency in October 1955. Shortly thereafter he went into semi-retirement. He removed his law practice from San Francisco to Palo Alto, to be nearer to his ranch, Corte Madera, and planned to write his memoirs. He died on August 19, 1960.

From the guide to the John Francis Neylan papers, circa 1911-1960, (The Bancroft Library)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Bliven, Bruce, 1889-1977. Bruce Bliven papers, 1906-1985. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn California Judges [graphic - portrait]: Photographs from the Papers of J. Edward Johnson, 19-- Bancroft Library
referencedIn George E. Crothers papers, 1905-1957 Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Lissner, Meyer, b. 1871. Meyer Lissner papers, 1903-1923 (bulk 1910-1920). Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Francis Valentine Keesling Papers, 1906-1957 Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Rand, Ellen Emmet, 1875-1941. [Portrait of John Francis Neylan] [graphic]. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Costlow, John D., 1927-. Reminiscences of John D. Costello : San Francisco : oral history transcript / John D. Costello ; tape recorded interview conducted by Robert E. Hennings on October 15, 1960, 1960. UC Berkeley Libraries
creatorOf John Francis Neylan papers, circa 1911-1960 Bancroft Library
referencedIn Benjamin H. Lehman Papers Bancroft Library
referencedIn Keesling, Francis Valentine, b. 1877. Francis V. Keesling papers, 1906-1957. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Lotchin, Roger W. John Francis Neylan : San Francisco Irish Progressive : typescript, [undated]. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Meyer Lissner Papers, 1903-1923 (inclusive), 1910-1920 (bulk) Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Douglas Tilden Papers, 1860-1970 Bancroft Library
creatorOf Neylan, John Francis, 1885-1960. Politics, Law, and the University of California : oral history transcript / John Francis Neylan ; tape recorded interviews conducted by Walton E. Bean and Corinne L. Gilb in April-October, 1954. Regional Cultural History Project, University of California, Berkeley, Calif., 1961 : and related material, 1954-1961. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Hearst, William Randolph, 1863-1951. William Randolph Hearst papers, 1874-1951 (bulk 1927-1947). UC Berkeley Libraries
creatorOf Arlett, Arthur M. Arthur Arlett papers, 1912-1921. UC Berkeley Libraries
creatorOf Neylan, John Francis, 1885-1960. John Francis Neylan papers, circa 1911-1960. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Catalogue I of the Regional Oral History Office, 1954-1979 Bancroft Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Arlett, Arthur M. person
associatedWith Bancroft Library. Regional Oral History Office corporateBody
associatedWith Bean, Walton. person
associatedWith Bliven, Bruce, 1889-1977. person
associatedWith California. State Board of Control. corporateBody
associatedWith Costlow, John D., 1927- person
associatedWith Crothers, George E. (George Edward), 1870-1957 person
associatedWith Francis Valentine Keesling person
associatedWith Gilb, Corinne Lathrop, 1925- person
associatedWith Hearst Corporation. corporateBody
associatedWith Hearst, William Randolph, 1863-1951. person
associatedWith International Monetary Fund. corporateBody
associatedWith Johnson, Hiram, 1866-1945. person
associatedWith Johnson, J. Edward, b. 1890 person
associatedWith Keesling, Francis Valentine, b. 1877. person
associatedWith League of Nations. corporateBody
correspondedWith Lehman, B. H. (Benjamin Harrison), 1889-1977 person
associatedWith Lissner, Meyer, 1871-1930 person
associatedWith Lissner, Meyer, b. 1871. person
associatedWith Lotchin, Roger W. person
associatedWith Online Archive of California. corporateBody
associatedWith Rand, Ellen Emmet, 1875-1941. person
associatedWith Regional Cultural History Project (University of California, Berkeley) corporateBody
associatedWith San Francisco Call (Firm). corporateBody
associatedWith San Francisco Examiner (Firm) corporateBody
associatedWith San Francisco Examiner (Firm). corporateBody
correspondedWith Tilden, Douglas, 1860-1935 person
associatedWith University of California (System). Regents. corporateBody
associatedWith University of California (System). Regents. Committee on Atomic Energy Commission Projects. corporateBody
associatedWith University of California (System). Regents. Finance Committee. corporateBody
associatedWith Whitney, Anita, 1867-1955. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
California
California
California--Berkeley
California--San Francisco
Subject
World War, 1914-1918
History--Study and teaching
Nuclear energy--Research
Journalism
Lawyers
Loyalty oaths
Patriotic societies
Occupation
Activity

Person

Birth 1885-11-06

Death 1960-08-19

Americans

English

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Ark ID: w6543037

SNAC ID: 4555074