Before the PPIE – The Mechanics’ Institute and the Development of San Francisco’s “Fair Culture” (1857–1909) | Mechanics' Institute

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Before the PPIE – The Mechanics’ Institute and the Development of San Francisco’s “Fair Culture” (1857–1909)
With Mechanics' Institute librarian Taryn Edwards

Between the years of 1857 and 1899 the Mechanics' Institute hosted thirty one Industrial Expositions that displayed and promoted the products of local entrepreneurs and inventors. These Expositions bolstered California's infant economy, encouraged the demand for local goods, and whetted the public's appetite for elaborate, multi-attraction fairs. Given the Mechanics' Institute's vast experience with putting on such spectacles they were involved as consultants on larger state-wide fairs including the California Midwinter Fair of 1894, the Golden Jubilee Mining Fair of 1898, the Portola Exposition of 1909, and the Panama Pacific Exposition in 1915.

Taryn Edwards works as a Librarian and Member Relations and Marketing Specialist for the Mechanics’ Institute of San Francisco. She manages the Authors’ Carnival series of events for the Library, leads the tours for the Institute, and spends a lot of private time digging up history of the place and people associated with it. In addition to her professional duties, she is embarking upon a major research project associated with the Mechanics’ Institute. She is also fascinated by the “mechanics” of writing in the digital age: how authors and historians manage their research, design their project’s structure, and use technology to supplement their workflow. She lives in the beautiful East Bay with her husband, daughter, and two energetic dogs.


Members & Public Free
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4th Floor Meeting Room
Taryn Edwards - 415-393-0103
Register now by using the form below or calling 415-393-0101.

Future Activities

Dec 15 - 12:00pm

Writers’ Lunch End of Year Celebration & Book Bazaar
with the MI Independent Publishers Working Group and the National Writers Union

Jan 19 - 12:00pm

Writers’ Lunch: Authors as Activists
How to Be an Agent of Change with Brenda Knight, Reiko Remonde, Lyzette Wanzer, and Charlotte Ashlock