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Finding Aid to the San Francisco Unified School District records, 1854-2005 (bulk 1874-1978), SFH 3
SFH 3  
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Collection Overview
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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.
148 boxes, 2 file cabinet drawers, 88 scrapbooks (121 cubic feet)
These materials are believed to be in the public domain. There are no restrictions on use of public domain materials.
The collection is available for use during San Francisco History Center hours, with photographs available during Photo Desk hours. Collections that are stored off site should be requested 48 hours in advance.