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Celebrating Psychedelic Berkeley

This 1968 poster map was created to celebrate the centennial of the University of California, Berkeley.

The map has been attributed to famed Berkeley psychologist, writer and collector Eli Leon (1935-2018).

The map features a stylized, fish-eye lens perspective of the campus, giving it a globe-like appearance, centered on the Campanile Esplanade area. The imagery is rendered in monochromatic tones, overlaid on a vibrant blue background, with the university's iconic structures discernible amidst the sprawling layout. The edges of the circular map projection are framed with swirling, ornamental Art Nouveau/Psychedelic-inspired designs in a contrasting orange hue.

The lower half of the composition is dominated by bold, psychedelic lettering, characteristic of the late 1960s design aesthetics, declaring "University of California Berkeley Centennial 1868-1968." The lettering, with its intricate swirls and curves, is a visual echo of the dynamism and cultural shifts of the era.


This is the first time we have ever seen them map (1992-2024).

OCLC locates a single example (reproduction only) of the map (California Historical Society).

Eli Leon Biography

Eli Leon (1935–2018), originally named Robert Stanley Leon, was an American psychologist, writer, and collector with a significant focus on African-American quilts. He was known for his extensive collection and research in the field, particularly highlighting the work of Rosie Lee Tompkins.

Leon was born in the Bronx, New York, to Lithuanian Jewish immigrant parents. His education included time at the High School of Music & Art, Black Mountain College under potter Karen Karnes, Oberlin College, and finally Reed College in Portland, Oregon, where he completed a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology in 1958. He furthered his education with a Master's degree from the University of Chicago, where he trained in Reichian psychotherapy.

Residing in Oakland, California, Leon began collecting African-American quilts, becoming a self-taught expert in the field. His collection grew through extensive travels and research across the United States. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1989 to support his research. Leon's efforts led to several exhibitions and catalogs on African-American quiltmaking, contributing significantly to the field's understanding and appreciation.

Leon passed away in March 2018 in Emeryville, California. He left nearly 3,000 African-American quilts, including over 500 by Rosie Lee Tompkins, to the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA). This bequest represents a substantial portion of the museum's collection. Following his death, BAMPFA organized "Rosie Lee Tompkins: A Retrospective" in 2020 and planned further exhibitions to showcase his collection, ensuring his contributions to the appreciation of African-American quilts continue to be recognized.