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California Library Hall of Fame: Rue Randall Clifford
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California Library Hall of Fame

Rue Randall Clifford (1887-1964)

Rue Randall Clifford, affectionately known as “Cliffie,” was one of South San Francisco’s first teachers and a committed library supporter. Born in 1887 into a San Francisco dairy-farming family, she entered UC Berkeley in 1905, graduating four years later with a bachelor of letters degree in English. In 1913, she was hired as South San Francisco’s first high school teacher. In addition to teaching several academic subjects, she also launched the school’s first track team, pioneered the girls’ sports program, and created a journalism program. As active as she was in the high school, she was nonetheless dissatisfied with the school library’s meager offerings and so decided to establish South San Francisco’s first public library. Hoping to acquire a Carnegie grant to build the library, Clifford rode her horse through town, gathering signatures on what became known as “Rue’s most famous ride.” She got the grant. The Grand Avenue library was opened in 1916. Eleven years later, Clifford was appointed to the library’s board of trustees, where she served as secretary for 37 years and helped plan for a new main library, which opened in 1967, three years after her death. The new library was dedicated in her honor. In 1986, Clifford was posthumously inducted into San Mateo County’s Women’s Hall of Fame.

  Rue Randall Clifford was inducted into the California Library Hall of Fame in 2018. For more information, please see:

Photo credit
: South San Francisco Library