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Jordan (Frank (Francis) M.) Papers
SFH 389  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Provenance
  • Related Material
  • Processing Information
  • Conservation Note
  • Materials Transferred
  • Biography
  • Scope and Contents
  • Arrangement

  • Title: Frank (Francis) M. Jordan Papers
    Date (inclusive): 1989-1995
    Date (bulk): 1992-1995
    Identifier/Call Number: SFH 389
    Creator: Jordan, Frank M.
    Physical Description: 32 boxes (30.2 cubic feet)
    Contributing Institution: San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library
    100 Larkin Street
    San Francisco, CA 94102
    (415) 557-4567
    Abstract: This collection documents the mayoral career of Frank Jordan who served as the 40th Mayor of San Francisco, from 1992 to 1996.
    Physical Location: The collection is stored on site.
    Language of Materials: Collection materials are in English

    Conditions Governing Access

    The collection is available for use during San Francisco History Center hours, with photographs available during Photo Desk hours. Collections that are stored offiste 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], Frank (Francis) M. Jordan Papers, (SFH 389), San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library.


    Transferred from City Hall in 1996, following Jordan's mayoral term. Additional accession, of campaign ephemera, received from Quentin Kopp in 2012.

    Related Material

    Researchers are encouraged to see also the History Center's Historical Photograph collection as well as biographical, subject, and card files, and the library catalog. There are also several collections of newspaper clippings and campaign ephemera of mayoral candidates of elections of 1991, 1995, and 1999, at the University of California, Berkeley, Institute of Governmental Studies Library: collection numbers f 91 00155, f 91 00156, f 97 00305, f 97 00268, and f 99 00787.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Tami J. Suzuki with preliminary container listing prepared by Daniel T. McGarry.

    Conservation Note

    During processing, the entire collection was re-foldered and re-housed in acid-free folders and boxes.

    Materials Transferred

    Photographs have been transferred to the San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection.


    Frank Jordan (1935- ) is a foundation executive and former San Francisco Mayor and Chief of Police.
    Francis Michael ("Frank") Jordan was born in San Francisco in 1935, to Irish immigrant parents, Frank and Margaret Jordan. His father was a painter and brewery foreman. They had two sons and a daughter; Frances was the middle child. The family lived in the outskirts of the Mission District. His mother died when he was 10, and the three children lived with family friends until the family was reunited five years later.
    Frank graduated from Sacred Heart High School (founded by the Christian Brothers of the Catholic Church) in 1953, served in the U.S. Army for in Germany for two years, then joined the Police force in 1957. He earned his bachelor's degree in government from the University of San Francisco in 1975, after years of attending night school while a member of the Police Department.
    Jordan rose through the department ranks, establishing the Senior Escort Outreach Program, and running the neighborhood safety awareness program, along the way. In 1986, Mayor Dianne Feinstein appointed Jordan Chief of Police. He had a reputation as a trouble-shooter, and after two years on the job, he said, "If you're looking at compassion and courtesy, I think that's a strength. Sure, I'll make the tough decisions, and I'm not afraid to make them." He retired four years later, in 1990.
    He joined the 1991 race for mayor, pledging to be a "citizen mayor," and to clean the streets and fight aggressive panhandling. He was elected with a 52-to-48 percent margin in his first run for elected office, a political upset over one-term mayor Art Agnos.
    Jordan had three sons with his first wife, Breda; they were married from 1965 to 1989. He married investment banker Wendy Paskin in his City Hall office in 1992.
    When he took office in 1992, he faced the worst budget troubles in the city's history and the possible departure of the San Francisco Giants. Other issues included the AIDS epidemic, a newspaper strike (in 1994), the conversion of the Presidio to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and the extension of BART to the San Francisco Airport. He lost in his 1995 re-election bid to Willie L. Brown.
    In remarks before the Municipal Executives Association in 1995, Jordan said his single proudest accomplishment as mayor was to balance the budget for the prior three years while maintaining essential city services.

    Scope and Contents

    This collection documents the mayoral career of Frank Jordan who served as the 40th Mayor of San Francisco, from 1992 to 1996. Materials include correspondence, reports, briefing papers, speeches, photographs, and press releases. Subjects include budget difficulties from 1992 to 1994, and significant layoffs in 1993. Other topics include the 1992 shooting massacre at 101 California Street; the mayor's support of the proposed federal Brady Bill (handgun violence prevention); efforts to keep the San Francisco Giants in the city; extension of the 1988 Fire Department consent decree covering department hiring; the airport master plan and BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) to the airport; and Treasure Island and Presidio reuse.
    There is also coverage of the homelessness problem, as well as the Mayor's response. In October of 1993, the Mayor instituted his controversial Matrix program, initially targeting crime in specific police districts. Police resources were reallocated to address "quality of life" crimes including aggressive panhandling, trespassing, public intoxication, and sleeping in public parks. Officers were to clear the streets of homeless camps and aggressive panhandlers, and steer them into housing and counseling programs.
    There is some coverage of the AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) health crisis, and the City's needle exchange program. In 1992, the Mayor created legislation to stem the spread of AIDS through a needle exchange program; then-Governor Pete Wilson vetoed the legislation. The next year, Mayor Jordan declared a public health emergency and moved forward with the program, the first city to publicly fund such a program, defying state law in the process.
    Other subjects include the airport master plan and BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) to the airport; San Francisco Giants' sale and a downtown stadium; and Treasure Island and Presidio reuse.
    There is no campaign series. However, some materials documenting Jordan's Mayoral runs can be found throughout the collection. There is ephemera and a speech from his 1991 run, in the Chief of Operations subseries (of the Legislative and Administrative Files series) and Speeches series, respectively. 1995 reelection campaign files are included in the Subject and Administrative subseries of the Legislative and Administrative Files series; Mayor's Office of Business and Community Services series; Speeches series; and Public Relations Special Assistant subseries.
    Photographs mainly consist of swearing-in ceremonies of appointees.


    The collection is organized into five series: Series 1: Legislative and Administrative Files; Series 2: Mayor's Office of Business and Community Services; Series 3: Speeches; Series 4: Public Relations; and Series 5: Photographs. Series 1 is organized into four subseries: Subseries 1A: Mayor's Files; Subseries 1B: Subject and Administrative Files; Subseries 1C: Chief of Operations; and Subseries 1D: Clean City Program. is organized into two subseries: Subseries A: Special Assistant; and Subseries B: Press Releases.
    Within series and subseries, arrangement is alphabetical by subject, except for Press Releases, which are in chronological order.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Jordan, Frank M. -- Archives
    City planning -- California -- San Francisco.
    Mayors -- California -- San Francisco.
    San Francisco (Calif.) -- Politics and government -- 20th century.
    Urban policy -- California -- San Francisco.
    Homelessness -- Government policy -- California -- San Francisco.
    Homeless persons -- Services for -- California -- San Francisco.