Santa Cruz County History - People

Tom Jefferson Scribner, 1899--1982

On the 1500 block of Pacific Avenue sits a bronze sculpture of an elderly man wearing a Derby hat and playing the musical saw. The man is Tom Jefferson Scribner. During the 1970's and until his death in 1982, Scribner was a common sight on the Pacific Garden Mall where he played his musical saw for passersby. He was something of a counter culture celebrity, for he was a man of many talents: vaudevillian, editor, humorist, philosopher, educator, logger, and a labor organizer with the Industrial Workers of the World (the "Wobblies").

Photo of the Sculpture of Tom 
Photo of the Sculpture of
Tom Scribner

The "Wobblies" were prevalent from 1905 to World War I, when they traveled from coast to coast. With 'Solidarity' as their slogan, their goal was to organize unskilled workers into 'One Big Union'. Scribner's life as a logger and labor organizer was retold in the acclaimed 1979 documentary, "The Wobblies."

The sculpture was created in 1978 by artist, Marghe McMahon, who donated $1500 of her own money toward the the cost. Funding also came from the Santa Cruz Arts Commission, California State Arts Council, UCSC, and other community groups. The total cost: $4000.


For more information see:

  • The Santa Cruz Sentinel, 10-12-1977, 11-1-1978, 11-12-1978, 11-13-1978
  • The San Francisco Examiner 11-12-1978, Sec.A, p.3.
  • Bird, Stewart. Solidarity Forever. Chicago: Lake View Press, c.1985.

Photo Credit: Bob Holmes

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downtown, musicians


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