In the Library: Resisting Reform, San Francisco Women and Vice in the Progressive Era


Tuesday, March 24, 2020 6:00PM

In the Library: Resisting Reform, San Francisco Women and Vice in the Progressive Era





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In the Library: Resisting Reform, San Francisco Women and Vice in the Progressive Era


Where: California Historical Society Headquarters, 678 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94105

Cost: $15 General Admission, $10 for CHS Members.

The early twentieth century was an energetic period of American history, commonly known as the Progressive Era, when middle-class women across the country agitated for social reforms–from demanding the right to vote to health and sanitation regulations to anti-vice measures. The California Historical Society’s collection from the League of Women Voters provides a remarkable look at these politically active women in San Francisco. But, what do we know about those women who were not as well-educated or not from the “respectable class”? Working class women and those that did not share the same morality as Progressives were often the objects of “reform” and whose ideas were rarely recorded. But, by carefully reading the archival material left behind we can attempt to restore the voices of working women and their responses to this era of reform.

About the Speaker:

Thomas O'Donnell received his Ph.D in history, with a focus on American women and gender history, from the University of California at Davis in 2018. He spent many days at the California Historical Society Library conducting research for his dissertation, Resisting Reform: San Francisco Vice in the Progressive Era. He teaches courses in California History and the History of American Women and is currently a Policy Analyst in the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at UC Davis.

Image Citation: The Barbary Coast, ca. 1913, San Francisco Streets Photography Collection - Pacific Street, San Francisco; CHS2010.223