This collection is primarily visual documentation of the programmatic activities of the San Francisco Recreation Department.
Subjects pertain to administrative units of the department and include materials related to: music, dance, drama, costuming,
holiday celebrations, pageants, doll shows and puppetry. In addition to photographs the range of ephemera includes: newspaper
and magazine clippings, holiday plays and skit scripts, music and dance scores, scrapbooks, puppets, flyers, play bills, instructional
material, press releases and background research material.
The history of the San Francisco Recreation Department can be traced to the 1860s, when the Department of Streets, Sewers,
and Squares began publishing Municipal Reports including expenditures on park improvements. A Park Commission under the jurisdiction
of the State of California was established in 1871, in part to oversee the development of Golden Gate Park. By 1900 the City
took over the Park Commission under the Home Rule Charter. In 1907 a separate Playground Commission was approved by voters.
The Playground Commission became the Recreation Commission in 1932, to support the establishment of the San Francisco Recreation
Department, which had become a municipal department in 1926. The history of services in San Francisco can be divided into
three periods: 1) 1907-1911 when the Playground Commission was established and the first playgrounds were built; 2) 1911-1926
when budgetary imperatives and uneven growth could not meet the demand for sports and other recreation programming at city
facilities; and 3) 1926-1950 when the city had a dedicated Recreation Department. In 1950 the Parks Department and Recreation
5 cartons, 1 flat box
(6.0 linear feet)
All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the City Archivist. Permission
for publication is given on behalf of the San Francisco Public Library as the owner of the physical items.
The collection is available for use during San Francisco History Center hours, with photographs available during Photo Desk
hours. Collections that are stored offsite should be requested 48 hours in advance.