“The Great Chums” on the Joy Zone, 1915 California Historical Society, PC-PA 190_001

“Bravely Useful Part”: Five Women and San Francisco’s 1915 World’s Fair

In the foreword to her book Problems Women Solved, Anna Pratt Simpson credited the “bravely useful part California’s women have played in the dreaming and the making of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition.”

On December 3, we recognize the birthday anniversary of one such woman: Phoebe Apperson Hearst, one of California’s and the nation’s most prominent philanthropists. In addition to her wide-ranging support of education across the state, we recall her contributions—and those of four other women—to the Panama-Pacific International Exposition.

Their participation in the fair—Hearst, twelve-year-old African American student Virginia Stephens, artist model Audrey Munson, fairgoer Alice Sue Fun, and African American journalist Delilah Beasley—and the issues they faced are the subject of a presentation by Erin Garcia, curator of CHS’s exhibition “City Rising: San Francisco and the 1915 World’s Fair,” on December 3, 2015, at the California Historical Society. We offer this preview: ... Read More >

Phoebe Hearst at the PPIE

By Eva Ulz, curator of the History Center of San Luis Obispo County. Ulz is co-curator of a new exhibition, Phoebe Apperson Hearst: California’s Grande Dame, on display at the History Center’s museum through October 2015.

Phoebe Apperson Hearst, honorary president of the Woman’s Board, exerted a quiet yet pervasive influence on the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. Widow of Senator George Hearst and mother of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, Phoebe was one of the wealthiest women in America, an internationally renowned philanthropist, and honored by her fellow Woman’s Board members as “the most distinguished woman of California and second to none in the country.”1 Her work for the exposition encompassed everything from entertaining visiting dignitaries at her hacienda in Pleasanton to decorating the California Building and organizing—and substantially funding—the Traveler’s Aid Society. ... Read More >

San Francisco Palace of Fine Arts. Photographer: Jesse B. Cook. Courtesy California Historical Society.

The Temple

This essay is excerpted with permission from Gary Kamiya’s excellent book Cool Gray City of Love: 49 Views of San Francisco (Bloomsbury, 2013). To learn more about the architectural legacy of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, visit the California Historical Society on Wednesday, April 22 for Inventiveness and Innovation: Contemporary Architects and the Influence and Impacts of Architecture and Architects of the 1915 World’s Faira panel discussion with Hans Baldauf of BCV Architects, Marc L’Italien of EHDD, and Jay Turnbull of Page Turnbull, moderated by John King, urban design critic at the San Francisco Chronicle. ... Read More >

Year-long Citywide Centennial Celebration of 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition (PPIE) Officially Kicks Off February 21st with Free, Fun-Filled Community Day Festivities

San Francisco, Calif. (February 9, 2015) – Get Ready San Francisco Bay Area! The centennial celebration of the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition (PPIE) officially kicks off the weekend of February 20th with three days filled with spectacular events, activities, exhibitions, historic light displays and entertainment for history buffs, innovators and families that will bring to life the spirit and innovation of the 1915 World’s Fair. ... Read More >

Mayor Lee Announces Year-Long Exhibits & Programs at Palace of Fine Arts to Commemorate the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition

Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Contact: Mayor’s Office of Communications, 415-554-6131
Recreation and Park Department, 415-831-2796


California Historical Society, Maybeck Foundation & Innovation Hangar to Partner to Offer Exhibits & Programs Focusing on Then, Now & Tomorrow ... Read More >