We lost our beloved volunteer, Shelley Rideout, who was hit by a car on January 12, 2018. We miss her every day and are still processing this tragic loss.
Shelley was raised in Port Kent on Lake Champlain, New York. She had an M.A. in Museum Studies from San Francisco State. She loved collecting and designing vintage clothing and worked as a costumer for ACT and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
She was a buyer and textile expert at Samuel Scheuer Linens in San Francisco. She was as knowledgeable about their collection as she was of the Berkeley Historical Society’s collection. She was a member of the Art Deco Society and was board president for the Costume Society of America. Shelley was an assistant archivist for the Berkeley Historical Society at the time of her death. She was on the BHS Board from 2002 to 2006 and served as First Vice President from 2003 to 2005.
Remembrances from Berkeley Historical Society volunteers
Shelley was quiet, yet reassuring, gentle and respectful. Underneath this gentleness was a strong backbone. She could steady the boat in a crisis. She would support what she believed in, but usually not from center stage. However, she could take the microphone when needed to launch an event that she had created.
Beneath this reserve was a passion—a passion for the causes and culture of the ’60s and ’70s, a passion for clothing design, vintage textiles, objects, posters, music, and the history of Berkeley. Her passion led her to work with Country Joe McDonald and Alec Palao to organize concerts and exhibits, including the current one, the popular Soundtrack to the Sixties. She was also working on the family life in Berkeley section for our upcoming exhibit. We will all miss her gentle light.
— Linda Rosen
Shelley was such a gracious and decent person. It was always reassuring to be in her presence: every interaction with her left a lingering feeling of things being good in this world…
— Tonya Staros
It was with disbelief that I heard the news about Shelley. We were old and good friends and I enjoyed many things with her… theatre, movies, meals, books, gardens and talks covering just about everything. We went on the Women’s March together and to Kaiser Hospital together. She had many sides to her that sometimes took a while to access and appreciate. She was also my mentor at the museum teaching me most of what I know about archiving. We had vintage in common and she knew so much about so many things… I will always remember this lovely, gracious and generous person.
— Judy Wilkes
Shelley was an avid historian, textile conservationist/restoration and passionate collector of all things textile, theatrical costume, period pieces, linen, etc.
I also want to remember that Shelley was one of the researchers/ authors of Berkeley Bohemia, so she was four crucial things for BHS—exhibit and event curator, archives volunteer, docent, and researcher/ author.
— Steve Finacom
As you all must know during the past several years I worked with Shelley and we put together several events for the BHS and the community. Without her these events, including the current one, would have never happened… She was a pleasure to work with and her death I am sure leaves a large hole in the community of BHS…
— Joe McDonald, Country Joe and the Fish
I must concur with Joe here. As a relative outsider to the BHS world, it was very clear to me that Shelley was the one who made the current exhibit happen. Her professional attitude, and attention to detail in the face of subject matter that was rather unwieldy, was appreciated more than she ever knew. And she seemed like a genuinely nice, caring person…
— Alec Palao, West Coast Consultant for Ace Records
Since I have been at BHS Shelley has become a friend with whom I had good conversations about books, among other things, and I relied on her excellent memory of knowledge of collections that she had accessioned, studied, and most importantly remembered. She was impressive as a docent to our patrons, always helpful and thoughtful. This is a great loss personally and professionally; we are poorer for losing her in this tragic way.
— Bill Roberts, Archivist
Co-curator of Exhibitions for Berkeley Historical Society:
“From the Attic: Preserving and Sharing Our Past,” 2002
“Berkeley Bohemia: 1895-1925,” 2004
“Soundtrack to the Sixties,” our current exhibit, runs through March 31, 2018.
Berkeley Bohemia:Artists and Visionaries of the Early 20th Century with Katie Waddell and Ed Herny, 2008.
Articles and research for the Art Deco Society and the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco.
Photo by John Aronovici