Saturday, September 26, 2015

Exploring Poet Ina Coolbrith's Petticoat Rule as Librarian at the Mechanics' Institute

In 1898 poet Ina Coolbrith applied for a job as librarian at San Francisco's Mercantile Library (which later merged with the Mechanics' Institute). Several board members grumbled about "petticoat rule." One said it was nothing against Miss Coolbrith but a "mere question of sex and the weaker is in disfavor."
This injustice came despite the fact that for nearly 20 years Coolbrith had managed budgets, staff, acquisitions, and catalogues at the Oakland Public Library.

Coolbrith got the job and 116 years later was inducted into the California Library Hall of Fame.

Join me on Friday, October 2, at noon at the Mechanic's Institute Library and Chess Room in San Francisco for a talk on poet Ina Coolbrith as librarian. It's free to members and the non-members. Registration requested.

For more on petticoat rule check out my blog on the San Francisco History Center's "What's on the 6th Floor."