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Guide to the John W. Geary School PTA Records, 1930-1974
MS 3595  
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • History
  • Scope and Contents
  • Added Entries
  • Materials Transferred

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: John W. Geary School PTA Records,
    Date (inclusive): 1930-1974
    Collection number: MS 3595
    Creator: John W. Geary School
    Extent: 2 linear feet
    Repository: California Historical Society, North Baker Library
    San Francisco, California 94105-4014
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to The North Baker Research Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Library Director. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The North Baker Research Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], John W. Geary School PTA Records. MS 3595, California Historical Society, North Baker Research Library.


    The John W. Geary School, a small elementary school (200-300 students) located on Cook and Geary Streets in San Francisco, opened on March 31, 1930. It was named for the last Alcalde of San Francisco, who was also the City's first mayor.
    The J.W. Geary School PTA was organized in February, 1930. Before World War II, the PTA's activities included clothing, newspaper and tinfoil collections, card and sewing parties, and creation of school holiday festivals and festivities. In 1940, members went to the convention of the California Congress of Parents and Teachers in Los Angeles. During and after the War, changes occurred in the way in which the PTA mothers related to their children's school. There was an apparent decline in the importance of the PTA, perhaps relative to the opening of other choices of activity and work for women. Also, the mothers appear to have entered into a more equal partnership with school personnel. For example, while there were still luncheons, fund-raising food sales and festivals, a bookfair was added, and the mothers evidently assumed much responsibility for its contents. Programs show increased awareness of health, safety and racial issues.
    Fathers had only the most peripheral of roles in relationship to this PTA. Rather, the records reflect the changing role of women between 1930 and 1974. This is shown both by the decline of interest in recording minute details of small events, and by the improved intellectual content of the programs. However, it should be noted that, throughout the entire history of this organization, it exists almost entirely apart from major community and world concerns.
    In 1974-75, the J.W. Geary School was expected to close because of the need to earthquake proof the building, which would have necessitated evacuation while the repairs were being made. The repairs were not made, the last class was graduated on June 11, 1977, and the school was subsequently demolished.

    Scope and Contents

    The records of the John W. Geary School PTA begin in April 1930. Included are correspondence, minutes, flyers, programs, newsletters, and scrapbooks. The most revealing and complete materials from the early days of the school are the publicity scrapbooks which were, for the most part, meticulously kept. During and after World War II, the record-keeping became more fragmentary, and there are no records after 1974.

    Added Entries

    • California Congress of Parents & Teachers
    • John W. Geary School
    • Education-San Francisco
    • Public Schools
    • San Francisco Public Schools
    • San Francisco--Social Life & Customs
    • Schools
    • Women in California
    • Community Organizations

    Materials Transferred

    A few photographs and pamphlets have been transferred to the photography and ephemera collections.