Monthly Programs

Monthly programs are generally held on the second Tuesday evening of each month except for August and December. Programs are free to SFMHS members. Admission for non-members is $10 per person ($5 for seniors, students, K-12 teachers, and persons with disabilities), which may be applied to membership dues within 30 days.

Program dates and topics are subject to change. Please check this page for any last-minute updates.

Unless otherwise noted, it is not necessary to RSVP for a monthly program.

Most programs take place at the Old Mint, located at 88 Fifth Street at Mission. The Old Mint is close to Powell MUNI/BART, and is served my numerous bus lines. Parking is available in the Fifth and Mission/Yerba Buena Center Garage.

Please join us at 7 PM for a reception before each program.

October 2014 Program

Building a Civil Society in San Francisco: The German Contribution, 1850 to World War I
Monica Clyde

Tuesday, October 14 - 7:30 PM

Much has been written about the many ethnic groups that flocked to San Francisco at the time of the Gold Rush: Irish, English, Chinese, French, Italians. What about the Germans? Their story seems to have been largely forgotten, except for that of prominent German Jews. Yet German-speakers were the third largest ethnic group to arrive and stay in San Francisco. Who were those early German-speaking arrivals and what did they contribute to the emerging San Francisco? How did they make a living in the early chaotic and often lawless City by the Bay? What institutions did they found? It is a compelling story that took a dramatic turn with the onset of World War I.

Monica Clyde will focus her presentation on a much-neglected subject: the history of the Germans who arrived in San Francisco at the time of the Gold Rush. Her interest in this subject was sparked by her own family’s history of immigration to the United States after World War II.

November 2014 Program

The Sutro Library
Gary Kurutz

Tuesday, November 11 - 7:30 PM

Formerly the head librarian at Sutro Library, Gary Kurutz will describe the trials and tribulations of this extraordinary rare book and manuscript library, from its inception by Adolph Sutro to its relocation in the newly renovated library at San Francisco State University. This story affected the lives of governors, legislators, attorneys general, state librarians, researchers, and Sutro Library staff. Its long history of searching for a permanent home in San Francisco and the constant threats to its existence is an interesting and compelling story in the annals of California rare book libraries. Gary Kurutz will bring this story to life and convince us that the survival of the Sutro Library serves as a tribute to all who believe in the importance of a publicly financed research library.