Visualizing History: Mapping the 1915 San Francisco World’s Fair

Last week, The Bancroft Library, in partnership with Historypin, held a “pinathon” at UC Berkeley’s lovely 1920’s Morrison Library, to help improve the information associated with the Bancroft’s recently uploaded PPIE albums to Historypin’s online project. The event, at which PPIE author Laura Ackley lent her expertise, also gave participants the opportunity to add new information to a portion of the Bancroft’s Jesse Brown Cook collection, in preparation for their upload to Historypin. ... Read More >

On this day – A Day for San Francisco at the 1915 World’s Fair

Organizers of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition (PPIE)—nicknamed the Jewel City—designated November 2, 1915 as San Francisco Day. The following account was written by fair historian Laura A. Ackley and is excerpted from her book San Francisco’s Jewel City: The Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915 (Berkeley/San Francisco: Heyday/California Historical Society, 2014), the companion publication to the California Historical Society’s exhibition City Rising: San Francisco and the 1915 World’s Fair and winner of the California Book Award, Gold Medal for Californiana. The accompanying photographs are from the San Francisco History Room, San Francisco Public Library.

Special Days

Panama-Pacific International Exposition management packed the Fair’s calendar with parades, pageants, sporting events, drills, demonstrations, and “special days.” No day was without something extra—a speech, a parade, a competition, or a ceremony.

Organizers wanted to maintain interest, especially among locals, by offering fresh experiences throughout the Fair. “Not only must there be ‘something doing every minute,’ but something doing in a hundred different places,” said Sunset magazine. Each of the 288 days of the Fair was designated a “special day” in recognition of something—in fact, usually several somethings. To accommodate the requisite honors and activities, every day had to do double, triple, quadruple duty or ... Read More >

My grandfather & the Liberty Bell at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition

By Rose Marie Cleese,

I’m a third-generation San Franciscan with more than one Gold Rush ancestor on my family tree. I grew up on Union Street near Scott in Cow Hollow and our view out the back was the Marina district anchored by the Palace of Fine Arts. My mother, Rosamond Rossi (Cleese), grew up in that very same house and, in 1915 when she was 6 years old, she would walk down Scott Street every day with her maternal grandmother to spend hours in “the Zone” at the PPIE. ... Read More >

Historypin – A new PPIE100 project

The California Historical Society is proud to announce a new project with Historypin: MAPPING SAN FRANCISCO’S 1915 WORLD’S FAIR. The innovative Historypin platform enables a global community of people, groups and institutions to gather and share the history of the places that matter to them, using collections of photographs, documents, sounds and moving images to start conversations and trigger memories. ... Read More >