Bancroft Roundtable: The Mechanics’ Institute and the Development of San Francisco’s ‘Fair Culture’

"Palace of Fine Arts and the Lagoon" by en:Edwin Deakin - Photograph by Mark James Miller, Wikimedia Commons contributor, User:Amadscientist. Photo from full size original painting.. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons -

The rich history of San Francisco’s fair culture is the subject of the next Bancroft Rountable. Taryn Edwards,Librarian/Historian, Mechanics’ Institute Library and Chess Room will explore this topic with a lecture and slides.

The Mechanics’ Institute hosted thirty-one industrial expositions that displayed and promoted the products of local entrepreneurs and inventors, between the years of 1857 and 1899.

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, its members 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 Festival of 1909, and the Panama Pacific International Exposition in 1915.

When: Noon, October 15, 2015

Where: Lewis-Latimer Room, The Faculty Club

Free and open to the public.

Post contributed by

Kathryn M. Neal

Associate University Archivist

University Archives

The Bancroft Library