This collection documents the San Francisco Unified School District's history through materials collected by the Teachers
Professional Library beginning in 1854, the fourth year of the Department of Common Schools, as it was then known. While there
are materials from the early years of the district, the bulk of the collection is from 1874 to 1978. Major areas include administrative
documents, curriculum titles, reports produced by the school district, and newspaper clippings. Materials include administrative
circulars, photographs, scrapbooks, books, pamphlets, newsletters, district directories, handbooks, budget documents, salary
surveys and schedules, maps, and newspaper articles.
The first American school in the state was a private institution, established in San Francisco in April, 1847. Later the same
year, the first public schoolhouse was built in 1847 on the southwest corner of the town plaza, now Portsmouth Square. On
Feb. 21, 1848, the first school board was elected, and the school opened on April 3, 1848, led by Thomas Douglas. The Douglas
school charged tuition but was under public auspices with partial public support. Word of gold soon drew citizens away from
San Francisco, and the school was closed; the building was demolished in 1850. In late 1849, Mr. and Mrs. John C. Pelton opened
a school in the First Baptist Church. By a resolution adopted by the Common Council, the Peltons' school became a free public
school in April, 1850. Meanwhile, the Happy Valley School opened in July, 1850, near the corner of Second and Minna streets.
Happy Valley was a private enterprise but free to those who couldn't afford it. The following spring, the Spring Valley School
opened, also private but free to those who couldn't pay.
143 boxes, 2 file cabinet drawers, 88 scrapbooks
(118.2 cubic feet)
All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the City Archivist.