About 2017-08-14T06:01:03+00:00


The San Francisco Museum and Historical Society’s mission is to preserve, interpret, present, and disseminate historical data, information, and knowledge relating to the City and County of San Francisco so as to enhance the experience of living in or visiting San Francisco.


Kevin Pursglove, President

Kevin Pursglove is the former senior director of corporate communications at eBay. He has also served as director of communications for former San Jose mayor Susan Hammer. For many years he was a well-known voice on the radio: from 1979 through 1992, he was a reporter, program host, and public affairs director at KQED radio. Pursglove holds a B.A. in political science from San Francisco State University. He has served on the SFMHS board of directors since 2012 and has extensive volunteer experience with the World Affairs Council of Northern California, Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, San Francisco State University, Commonwealth Club of California, and more.

Craig Corbitt, Vice President

Edith L. Piness, Ph.D., Secretary

Edith Piness has served on the board since 2002. Prior to that she was a director of the San Francisco Historical Society. Piness is a retired historian with a specialty in British Administration in South and Southeast Asia. She served on the California Postsecondary Education Commission and chaired the California Student Aid Commission. She is a Life Trustee of Pitzer College and President Emerita of the California Historical Society. Piness also serves as Secretary of the California Missions Foundation Board and is a member of the Institute Nominating Committee of the Institute for Historical Study in the Bay Area.

Brent Johnson, Treasurer

Charles A. Fracchia, Founder and President Emeritus

Charles Fracchia, a renowned San Francisco historian founded the San Francisco Historical Society in 1988. He was the Society’s president prior to the merger with the Museum of the City of San Francisco, and served as the president of the San Francisco Museum and Historical Society through February 2005. Fracchia continues to serve on the Board of Directors, chairs the Council of Advisors, and manages the Society’s publications. He is a native San Franciscan who attended local schools and received his B.A. in history from the University of San Francisco. He did graduate work at the University of San Francisco Law School; University of California, Berkeley; San Francisco State University; and the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley.

Fracchia has taught at City College of San Francisco and the University of San Francisco, lectures extensively throughout the Bay Area, and has been an investment banker for over 30 years. He has written several books including Fire and Gold: The San Francisco Story, City by the Bay: A History of San Francisco 1945 to the Present, and When the Water Came Up to Montgomery Street: San Francisco During the Gold Rush. He has been a trustee of the California Historical Society, and is a member of the Leadership San Francisco Advisory Board of the Chamber of Commerce.

Rodger Birt, Director

Rodger Birt is Professor Emeritus at San Francisco State University. Before his retirement he taught American Studies courses in the Humanities Department. Professor Birt’s research areas are the history of American photography and American visual studies. He currently is a lecturer at the Fromm Institute at the University of San Francisco. He recently finished a memoir dealing with photography and its relationship to autobiography. He received his B.A. and M.A. in history from Indiana University and his Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale University.

John Briscoe, Director

San Francisco poet, author, lawyer, and UC scholar John Briscoe is a founding partner of the law firm Briscoe Ivester & Bazel LLP in San Francisco. He has written extensively on history, international environmental law, and law of the sea. He has tried and argued cases in The Hague, the U.S. Supreme Court, and scores of other courts. His book, Crush: Wine and California from the Padres to Paris, was a finalist for the California Historical Society Book Award and will be published by University of Nevada Press in 2017. His book, The Lost Poems of Cang Jie, was published by Risk Press in late 2016. He is a trustee of the San Francisco Maritime National Park Association; a board member of the Historical Society of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California and a Distinguished Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley.

Mike Fitzgerald, Director

Mike Fitzgerald served as the Senior Vice President, Global Human Resources of ZELTIQ Aesthetics until 2017. Prior to joining ZELTIQ, Fitzgerald was the Executive Vice President, Global Human Resources for Cepheid 2012–17, where he was responsible for devising and implementing the company’s human capital strategy and associated programs. Before joining Cepheid, he served as the Senior Vice President of Global Human Resources at Verigy 2010–12. Fitzgerald was Vice President of Human Resources at Varian 2007–10, and before that, he became the Global Director of HR Strategy and Planning for Vodafone Group 1995–2006. Fitzgerald earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from UC Berkeley, a master’s degree from the London School of Economics, a master’s at McGill University in Montreal, and a postgraduate diploma at Trinity College, Dublin. He is a current participant in the inaugural master’s degree program in Social Innovation at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School.

James Haas, Director

A descendant of Joaquin Gruenhagen who arrived in San Francisco in 1850, James Haas has lived most of his life in the city. After graduating from Stanford University, he served as the Assistant Director of the National HeadStart program. Graduating from Columbia Law School in 1969, he practiced law for nearly 40 years. He was also engaged in civic projects including committees demolishing the Embarcadero Freeway, rewriting the City Charter, and developing the new South Beach neighborhood. His major effort for the past 30 years has been the restoration and completion of the Civic Center starting with the New Main Library in 1984. In recent years, he has written about San Francisco including a biography of the long forgotten Mayor Edward Robeson Taylor which appeared in the Argonaut in 2007 and a book-length history of the Civic Center, chapters of which appeared in the Argonaut in 2012, 2015 and 2016.

Richard Johns, Director

Richard Johns served as SFMHS President from October 2006 through June 2010. He has been a member of the board of directors since 2002. Prior to the merger creating the SFMHS, Johns was a Director and Vice-President of the Museum of the City of San Francisco. Johns occupies the Historian’s Seat on the San Francisco Historic Preservation Commission, and is a major collector of San Francisco music.

Justin Jones, Director

Bruce Lubarsky, Director

Bruce Lubarsky is a fifth generation San Franciscan. He attended Lawton School, Presidio Junior High School, and Lincoln High School and graduated from UC Berkeley in 1959 and Hastings College of Law in 1962. He was admitted to the State Bar of California in 1963 and the United States Supreme Court in 1971. Lubarsky is a member of the World Jurist Association, the American Bar Association, the San Francisco Bar Association, and the Lawyers Club of San Francisco. He worked in the office of the San Francisco district attorney 1962–63 and served as a first lieutenant in the US Army Reserve 1963–68. Lubarsky has been a judge pro-tem in the San Mateo Superior Court since 1972 and judge pro-tem in the San Francisco Superior Court since 1982. He has been a member of civic and charitable organizations, including the Blum Foundation, the Thomas A. Dooley Foundation, and the Edward J. Whelan, SJ Society.

James Marchetti, Director

Chris O’Sullivan, Director

Chris O’Sullivan teaches history at the University of San Francisco where he is a recent recipient of the Innovations in Teaching Award, as well as a Distinguished Teaching Award. He also lectures at USF’s Fromm Institute and was a recent Fulbright Visiting Professor at the University of Jordan in Amman. He is the author of six books, including the forthcoming Agent of Manifest Destiny: Thomas Oliver Larkin and the American Conquest of California. His book, Sumner Welles (Columbia University Press, 2008), won the American Historical Association’s Gutenberg Prize. He currently serves on the board of directors of the U.S. District Court for Northern California Historical Society, is a regional vice president for the Society of California Pioneers, and has previously served on the board of directors of the United Nations Association and the civil rights organization, Sojourn to the Past. He received his B.A. in history from UC Berkeley and his Ph.D. from the London School of Economics.

David Parry, Director

David Parry has been a full-time San Francisco real estate broker since 1986. He served as President of the San Francisco Association of Realtors in 2002. He is currently a Director of the California Association of Realtors representing San Francisco’s 5,000 members. Parry is a collector of San Francisco historical material and writes articles on the architects who shaped San Francisco. He was a board member of both the San Francisco Historical Society and the Museum of the City of San Francisco prior to their merger in 2002.

Miguel Pendás, Director

For nearly 20 years, Miguel Pendás was the creative director of the San Francisco Film Society and historian of the San Francisco International Film Festival. He graduated from San Francisco State University with a degree in cinema. In addition to being on the SFMHS board, he is also a member of the SFMHS program committee.

Ken Sproul, Director

Ken Sproul went to Lick Wilmerding High School and later to Stanford to complete his formal education; life brought the rest. Sproul has specialized in the sale and leasing of office properties in San Francisco with a focus on older, unique properties such as China Basin, Harkness (Southern Pacific) Hospital, and Hills Bros. He served on the board of San Francisco Architectural Heritage for many years. He has a bucket list of travels that needs to be emptied.

John Tregenza, Director