Happy Election Day!
We hope you joined the hundreds of thousands of San Franciscans who cast their votes around town to help shape the future of our fair city, state and country. (And we hope you found a little time to celebrate, too.)
To help get us into the spirit, our friends at the San Francisco Public Library's History Center have culled through more than a century of archives to put together a never-before-seen collection of images showing election seasons of SF's past. They've unearthed fascinating photographs of presidents like Franklin D. Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower making campaign rounds through the Fog City, early activists within the League of Women Voters and San Franciscans throughout the decades casting their ballots.
A lot has changed in the past hundred years, but one thing stays the same -- we have, and always will be, a politically-engaged city. If only we could get voters this excited about the supervisor races!
Take a look at the ghosts of election seasons' past below:
President William H. Taft in San Francisco
President Taft arriving for a luncheon reception at the Union League Club. October 1909.
Herbert Hoover in San Francisco
Campaigning for presidency, Hoover with Mayor James “Sunny Jim” Rolph, Jr. 1928.
Mrs. Edward R. Place
Placing her San Francisco vote during election. Circa 1928.
Franklin D. Roosevelt in San Francisco
San Francisco welcomes Franklin D. Roosevelt during his 1932 presidential campaign. Roosevelt gave a speech at the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco. September 1932.
VOTE as you please, but vote!
Mrs. Osborne Schmidt and Mrs. Jerome A. Vernazza, members of the California League of Women Voters. November 4, 1932.
Stella Tackney (daughter of San Francisco Police Department’s Captain Leo Tackney) shows how the voter, having selected any of the four candidates for sheriff, votes for one by pulling down the lever over candidates’ name. She has already voted for candidates for other offices (where levers have been pulled down). For purposes of this demonstration, candidates voted for were selected at random. November 7, 1939. Source: news copy from backside of photograph from the San Francisco News.
San Francisco Polling Place
San Francisco voters. 1948.
Truman – Barkley Pet Watching Service
Replying to a baby-sitting service established for voters tomorrow by Young Republicans, some Young Democrats have come up with a pet-sitting service, and here they are. They’ll guard your pet while you vote, regardless of your choice of candidates. November 1, 1948. Source: news copy from backside of photograph from the San Francisco News.
President Harry S. Truman in San Francisco
President Harry Truman, San Francisco Mayor Elmer Robinson and Vice President Allen Barkley waves to a crowd on their way to the Fairmount Hotel. The President reported that evening to the nation from Memorial Opera House and the speech was broadcasted and televised. October 17, 1950.
How To Vote
Barbara Huffman, Miss San Francisco of 1951, is 21 this year and eligible to vote. Here she gets a lesson in operating the voting machine from Registrar of Voters Thomas A. Toomey. The moral is: Vote for whom you please – but vote. November 3, 1952. Source: news copy from backside of photograph from the San Francisco News.
Voting - A 'Pleasant Task'
Voters who waited their turn to cast a ballot at the polling place in the Fairmont Hotel today had it very nice indeed. The hotel supplied coffee and Danish or French pastries, free of charge, to those who had to wait. November 1952. Source: news copy from backside of photograph from the San Francisco News.
President Eisenhower in San Francisco
President Eisenhower came to San Francisco for a four visit to drum up support for the Republican state ticket. He flew to San Francisco Airport and took a helicopter to the Marina Green. In this image, Ike is on his way to Civic Center to give a speech at the Civic Auditorium. October 21, 1958.
President Eisenhower with San Francisco’s Republican Women
President Eisenhower’s last part of his visit was a televised coffee hour with Republican women. October 21, 1958.
President Lyndon B. Johnson in San Francisco
North Beach welcomes President Johnson on Columbus Day during his 1964 presidential campaign. October 11, 1964.
Votes Are Counted
Staff from Department of Elections shows how the counters record votes. June 1968.
This collection is part of a new partnership with the SF Public Library, "Tales From The City," in which we bring to light hidden gems from San Francisco's past.
The San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection is part of the San Francisco History Center, located in the Main Library in the Civic Center. The San Francisco History Center is the official archives for the City & County of San Francisco. There are approximately two million photographs in the San Francisco Historical Photo Collection, with 40,000 images digitized and searchable in the online database. These selections of past San Francisco elections and presidential visits are not in the library's online database--this is the first public "screening." Please visit the San Francisco History Center in person to view original photographic prints and negatives.