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California Historical Society Celebrates 40 Years as State’s Official Historical Society During Gala Honoring Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., for a Lifetime of Public Service

/EIN News/ -- SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., May 10, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The California Historical Society celebrated forty years as the State’s official historical society at its annual Gala, with more than 200 guests coming together to honor the person responsible for its official designation, the Honorable Edmond G. Brown, Jr.

The Gala took place exactly 40 years to the day, when on May 9, 1979, then Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 63, authored by Senator Jim Mills, which established the California Historical Society as the official state historical society.  It is just one example of the exemplary leadership, vision and fortitude demonstrated by Governor Brown throughout his more than forty years of public service.

“Time and again, regardless of his title, governor, mayor, or attorney general, Governor Brown demonstrated his unique his ability to work alongside Democrats and Republicans in the legislature to be an important steward of California, its people and policies to build a brighter, lasting future,” said Michael Sangiocomo, Board Chair, California Historical Society.  “We are honored to pay tribute to Governor Brown’s life-long accomplishments and applaud the legacy he has left the Golden State."

The highlight of the evening was an intimate conversation with Governor Brown that was moderated by Professor Bill Deverell, Director, Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West, and Miriam Pawel, Author, The Browns of California: The Family Dynasty that Transformed a State and Shaped a Nation. Professor Deverell and Ms. Pawel engaged the Governor about a myriad of issues, including his insights about his legacy, his favorite California past times, personal reflections and his outlook for the future.

The Governor was given a standing ovation and presented a special gift by the Historical Society: a book of documents describing the life of his maternal grandfather, Aurthur Daniel Layne, including census records and newspaper articles describing his career as a celebrated San Francisco police officer.

“We are here tonight trying to see the relationship between the past and how that past informs the present,” Governor Brown said.  “The past is a very rich source of ideas, values, our whole existence, our whole identity. How do we both begrunge in the past but be open and resilant and ready to the changes that are occurring at a very accelerating rate.”

The Historical Society was presented with a resolution from Assemblymember Phil Ting, Assemblymember David Chiu, and Senator Scott Weiner commending the organization for its outstanding contributions to the State of California since its founding in 1871.

A distinguished group of leaders in business, education, government, and philanthropy came together to plan and support the Gala in honoring the Governor and one of California’s true civic legends, in one of the West’s most significant historic buildings, the Old U.S. Mint.

The Honorary co-chairs for the event were George P. and Charlotte M. Shultz, Mayor London Breed, John Laird, Greg Lucas, Tribal Chairman Greg Sarris, Mayor Libby Schaaf, Mrs. Kevin Starr, Richard C. Blum, the Honorable Dianne Feinstein and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon. The Chair of the Host Committee was CHS Trustee Linda Elliott.

Sponsors of the Gala include Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, Annenberg Foundation, Diane B. Wilsey, Recology, Anthea M. Hartig and Family, AT&T, Ralph Walter and Dorothy Fleisher.  Proceeds from the Gala support California Historical Society programming and youth history education.

The California Historical Society is a non-profit organization with a mission to inspire and empower people to make California's richly diverse past a meaningful part of their contemporary lives – and to promote a more just and informed future. The Society enacts its mission with a wide range of library, exhibition, publication, education, and public outreach programs that explore the complex and continuing history of the State.  Proceeds from the Gala support California Historical Society programming and youth history education.  

In recent years, CHS has established itself as a premier cultural organization in San Francisco and across the state, leading award-winning regional initiatives to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition and the 50th Anniversary of the 1967 Summer of Love; originating major exhibitions like ¡Murales Rebeldes!—L.A. Chicana/o Murals under Siege and Boomtowns: How Photography Shaped Los Angeles and San Francisco; and establishing Teaching California, an expansive set of classroom-ready primary-source based instructional materials designed to engage students in exciting and inspiring investigations of the past.

CHS’s collections continue to grow, with noteworthy additions such as the records of the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, California Tomorrow, League of Women Voters, and Peoples Temple. In 2016, the City of San Francisco and CHS entered into a partnership to assess the viability of restoring the Old US Mint, a national historic landmark located in downtown San Francisco, for use as the Society’s headquarters and to establish a center for California history, culture, and learning.

The Gala overlaps with the organization’s two current exhibition on view through September 8, Mark Ruwedel: Westward the Course of Empire and Overland to California: Commemorating the Transcontinental Railroad.  These exhibitions coinciding with the 150th anniversary of the completion of the first transcontinental railroad and its impact on California. Rare and historic items were on display during the Gala from the exhibition, including a rarely seen gold spike, which was the last to be driven into the railroad connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco to the East Coast.

For more information about the California Historical Society, the Old Mint Restoration Project, current exhibitions and the Gala, its host committee and sponsors, please visit

Governor Jerry Brown Jr. and wife Anne Gust Brown accompanied by their two dogs, Calle (poodle) and Colusa (corgi), are greeted by Michael Sangiocomo, Board Chair of the California Historical Society, prior to the start of the California Historical Society annual Gala at the Old U.S. Mint in San Francisco

Governor Jerry. Brown, Jr. was honored at the annual California Historical Society Gala at the Old U.S. Mint in San Francisco, where he participated in a conversation with by Professor Bill Deverell, Director, Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West and discussed a myriad of issues, including his insights about his legacy, his favorite California past times, personal reflections and his outlook for the future.



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Kevin Herglotz
HPA Strategic Communications