Passion, Pride and Principle: the first five years of the Mechanics’ Institute of San Francisco | Mechanics' Institute

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Passion, Pride and Principle: the first five years of the Mechanics’ Institute of San Francisco
with Librarian and Historian Taryn Edwards

Though the Mechanics' Institute is currently closed due to the region wide response to the coronavirus we are hosting events virtually.

This event will be conducted via Zoom. Please register (button to the right) to receive the Zoom credentials.

 
On December 11, 2020 Mechanics' Institute will mark its 166th year! Come celebrate and learn about its earliest days.
 
In 1854 San Francisco was going through a crisis. The gold that had brought thousands to its shores was finally drying up and many former miners and new immigrants were out of work. Low wages, onerous taxes, and the lack of services was fueling discontent amongst the population. San Francisco needed a solution. Meanwhile, the newspapers abounded with stories of mechanics’ institutes around the world and how they helped their communities prevail. The working classes of San Francisco began to see the need for such an organization – one that catered to their socio-political needs, their reading interests, and their professional growth. The Mechanics' Institute of San Francisco was founded on December 11, 1854 with four books and a mission to serve the education, information and social needs of the city’s mechanics, artisans, and industrialists. Within a few years the Institute was offering classes in such subjects as mechanical drawing, industrial design, electrical science, and applied mathematics; had started a chess club and had acquired a magnificent library that slaked San Francisco’s voracious appetite for technical and pleasurable reading material.  Come learn about one of the oldest “public” institutions in California that helped pave the way for public libraries and education as we enjoy it today.
 
Taryn Edwards is a Librarian and the Strategic Partnerships Manager for the Mechanics’ Institute of San Francisco. She manages the writers' activities for the Institute, works with other non-profits to achieve mutual goals, 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 working on her first biography of a major San Francisco figure. She is 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 family and two energetic dogs.

Please email Taryn Edwards if you have any questions - [email protected]

 

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