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California Library Hall of Fame: Andrew Smith Hallidie
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California Library Hall of Fame

Andrew Smith Hallidie (1834-1900)

Though best known as the creator of the San Francisco cable car, Andrew Smith Hallidie was instrumental in the development of two major California libraries and was co-author of the Rogers Act, the first piece of legislation to fund public libraries. For 40 years, Hallidie was trustee, president and influential advocate of the Mechanics Institute of San Francisco, California’s oldest library designed to serve the public. After visiting public libraries on the east coast in 1875, he returned to San Francisco inspired to form a free public library. But how to fund it? Eventually Hallidie teamed up with state senator George Rogers to draft the Rogers Free Library Act, which, when passed in 1878, provided cities the legal means for creating municipal public libraries through levied property taxes. The Act is considered by many to be one of the most important civilizing events in California history. San Francisco was the first public library to open under the new law.




  Andrew Smith Hallidie was inducted into the California Library Hall of Fame in 2018. For more information, please see:

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