Image - Phoebe Apperson Hearst


Phoebe Apperson Hearst: A Life of Power and Politics

This program is part of our Good Lit series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation.

Phoebe Apperson Hearst was one of the Gilded Age’s most prominent and powerful women in the Bay Area. She was a financial manager, businesswoman, reformer and philanthropist. She was born into a middle-class, rural Missouri family in 1842, and she died a powerful member of society’s urban elite in 1919. Most people know her as the mother of William Randolph Hearst, the newspaper mogul, and as the wife of George Hearst, the mining tycoon and U.S. senator. But from age 48 until her own death, Phoebe Apperson Hearst shepherded the family fortune, demonstrating intelligence and skill as a financial manager. She supported significant campaigns for children, health reform, women’s rights, higher education, municipal policy formation, progressive voluntary associations, and urban architecture and design. She contributed ideas and funds to the burgeoning Progressive movement, and she was the first female regent of the University of California. 

Alexandra Nickliss renders a penetrating portrait of this powerful and often contradictory woman, examining the opportunities and challenges she faced as she navigated local, national and international corridors of influence. 

MLF Organizer Name
George Hammond

MLF: Humanities

Photos from the Library of Congress

August 6, 2018

The Commonwealth Club
110 The Embarcadero
Toni Rembe Rock Auditorium
San Francisco, 94105
United States

Image - Nickliss
Alexandra Nickliss
Instructor of History, City College of San Francisco; Author, Phoebe Apperson Hearst: A Life of Power and Politics