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Research Inquiries
Please direct any research inquiries you may have
to the San Francisco History Center at the Main Public Library.
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2016 meeting dates

January 26
February 23
March 29
April 26
May 31
June 28
July 26
August 30
September 27
October 25
November 29
December no meeting

Low Life in High Heels: Dragging Along Through History 


Tuesday, February 23

guest speaker: Rick Shelton

Female impersonation and drag has changed throughout the course of not only San Francisco’s history, but throughout the world. What role has drag played in San Francisco’s history? In the 1860s the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a law criminalizing the wearing in public of “a dress not belonging to his or her sex.” Historian, tour guide, and performer Rick Shelton will discuss (in drag) how drag shaped the history of San Francisco from the Gold Rush to today, taking you from such colorful venues as the Black Cat Café to Finocchio’s. Shelton will present a lively, visually stimulating, and informative romp through the city’s colorful drag history. Rick Shelton’s alter ego, Countess Lola Montez, leads walking tours of the city’s wilder side. dragmealongtours.com

Visit the meetings page for more details.




Friday, March 4 - Sunday, March 6

 at the Old Mint 


Join the San Francisco History Association along with dozens of other organizations as we celebrate the history of San Francisco!

March 4, 2016
A Day Exclusively for Students

March 5, 2016
11:00 AM to 5:00 PM

March 6, 2016
11:00 AM to 5:00 PM



San Francisco Neon: Survivors and Lost Icons 


Tuesday, March 29

guest speaker: Randall Ann Homan and Al Barna

For decades, an animated neon sign showed donuts falling out of the sky and splashing into a cup of coffee on the corner of Mission and 20th Streets. When it suddenly disappeared, local photographers Randall Ann Homan and Al Barna realized that the best neon signs in the city would not be around forever, and the couple set about documenting the city’s remaining neon signs in all their glory. The resulting book, San Francisco Neon: Survivors and Lost Icons, includes more than 200 signs, including the city’s bright and blinking iconic signs and the weathered, forgotten signs. The authors will talk about the history and appeal of neon signs. Randall and Al will also screen San Francisco home movies from the Prelinger Archive of iconic neon signs from the western neighborhoods to the Ferry Building.

Visit the meetings page for more details.



1906 Earthquake & Fire Remembrance  

The countdown to 5:12 a.m.

Monday, April 18, 2016

4:30 AM


Schedule of Events:

4:30 am: Commemoration of The San Francisco Great Earthquake & Fire at Lotta’s Fountain (Geary, Market & Kearny Streets)

4:45 am: Master of Ceremonies Welcome Remarks
5:00 am: Survivor parade arrives at Lotta’s Fountain
5:00 am  Mayor, Fire Chief, Police Chief introduced. Mayor hangs wreath.
5:11 am: Announce countdown (start countdown just before 5:12)
5:12 am: Sirens
5:13 am: Minute of silence
5:14 am: Sing San Francisco
5:15 am: Announcement/Invitation to 20th and Church Golden Hydrant Painting

5:30 am: 20th and Church Golden Fire Hydrant Painting **SPONSORED BY THE SAN FRANCISCO HISTORY ASSOCIATION**   

6:30 am: Annual Survivor Bloody Mary Breakfast at Lefty O’Doul’s (333 Geary Street) (cost of breakfast approx. $20)



AUTO - plenty of parking downtown near Lotta's Fountain at 4:30 am; parking available near Golden Hydrant - search may take just a moment or a few minutes; parking available in paid lots near Lefty O'Douls

BART & MUNI - visit 511.org to plan your trip; trains may be running from your starting point or may require the all nighter bus service;  all trains will be running after the event


Looking for a tax write off?

Donate to the San Francisco History Association's Research Gift Program