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Finding aid to the George M. Healy Papers 1913-1971 SFH 367
SFH 367  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Provenance
  • Materials Transferred
  • Biographical/Historical note
  • Scope and Contents
  • Arrangement

  • Title: George M. Healy Papers
    Date: 1913-1971
    Collection Identifier: SFH 367
    Creator: Healy, George M., 1891-1971
    Physical Description: 4 flat boxes (3.0 linear feet)
    Contributing Institution: San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library
    100 Larkin Street
    San Francisco, CA 94102
    (415) 557-4567
    Abstract: Photographs, scrapbooks, and a small amount of personal papers (police-related correspondence, ephemera, periodicals, and a few loose newsclippings) documenting Healy's SFPD career, from patrolman to Acting Chief of Police; and, to a lesser extent, his personal life. The collection reflects Healy's interests in crime and police news.
    Language of Materials: Collection materials are in English.


    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.

    Publication Rights

    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.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], George Healy Papers (SFH 367), San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library.


    Gift of Albert Lawson, son-in-law of George Healy, received Dec. 2000 and June 2001, Accession number 2000-58.

    Materials Transferred

    Photographs have been transferred to the San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection. Night stick, badges, and uniform have been tranfserred to the Realia Collection.

    Biographical/Historical note

    George M. Healy served in the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) for 43 years, from 1913-1955. He began as a beat officer in the Central District, joined the Bureau of Inspectors in 1924, then rose through the ranks to become Deputy Chief of Police in 1953. He was appointed Acting Chief of Police in Nov. 1955 when Chief Michael Gaffey retired. Healy retired after 2-and-a-half months, on Feb. 1, and was replaced by Chief Frank Ahern. Healy was a member of the Police Widows and Orphans Association, the Veteran Police Officers Association, the South End Rowing Club, and Castro Parlor 232 of the Native Sons of the Golden West.
    He was Irish-Catholic, married with daughters, and had a brother, William Healy, a police captain who died in 1938.

    Scope and Contents

    Photographs, scrapbooks, and a small amount of personal papers (police-related correspondence, ephemera, periodicals, and a few loose newsclippings) documenting Healy's SFPD career and, to a lesser extent, his personal life.
    Photographs are mostly 8" x 10" black-and-white prints, with a handful of snapshots and 11"x17" prints depicting Healy in his various positions as cadet, Detective, Lieutenant, and Acting Chief of Police, both singly and in group portraits with colleagues, officials, and members of the public; a file of photos for the television show "The Line Up", including shots of Healy with cast members; and a file of photo postcards of San Inigo Jesuit Retreat in Los Altos in the 1930s-1950s, which depict group shots of participants. Other occasions and groups represented include Opening Day of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, a baseball game between the Police and Fire departments, a Policeman's Ball, the South End Rowing Club, and a group portrait of officers outside the County Jail, probably in the 1920s.
    There are four scrapbooks, probably compiled by Healy, from the 1910s to the 1940s, containing newspaper and magazine clippings and a lesser amount of documents, correspondence, and ephemera. The earliest (1913-1930s) contains articles about Healy’s career in the SFPD and the department in general, crime, and a 1922 convention of the International Assoc. of Chiefs of Police. Many clips are from Douglas 20 Police Journal. Healy hand-copied the city Health, Fire, Police, and Jitney ordinances. Included are a few of his documents from the Civil Service Commission and Selective Service. Also, this volume was originally used as the minutes book for Court Washington #37, Foresters of America, c. 1911-1915.
    The second scrapbook is devoted to the Nov. 2, 1920 election and charter Amendment 23, a campaign for a salary increase for policemen. It includes signed endorsements of the proposed amendment, a 9 p. typescript (copy) of a speech/article, campaign advertisements, and a sampling of print material generated by the campaign. The third scrapbook contains clippings from the 1920s relating to individual crimes and a national crime wave; youth crime; laws and law enforcement; the death penalty; auto deaths; and the San Francisco Police Department. Many clippings are from out-of-town/out-of-state newspapers.
    The fourth scrapbook contains clippings (which are indexed) relating to crime and law enforcement in the San Francisco, Oakland and Los Angeles; and the death of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Several stories deal with wartime black-outs and other emergency measures. Includes Healy’s long-hand notes taken from the vehicle code.


    Materials are arranged by type: photographs, personal papers, scrapbooks.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Healy, George M., 1891-1971 -- Archives.
    San Francisco (Calif.). Police Dept.--Photographs.
    San Francisco (Calif.). Police Dept.