Monthly Programs

Most months a member will give a presentation, discussing a current work in progress, the research and writing process, or an area of personal interest and expertise. A collegial Q&A ensues, and the speaker can, if they wish, ask for suggestions for improvement in case they will be giving the talk at other venues. These programs are usually held at 2:00 PM on the third Sunday of the month, except for December; exceptions can be made as necessary. A digital projector and screen are available. Another member volunteers to take notes and write a report for the newsletter, or the speaker may provide a synopsis instead.

We try to have a speaker each month, though this is not always possible. Ideally, we schedule the programs as far in advance as possible. Members who are interested in giving a talk or other program (such as a film or exhibit tour) should email


Next Monthly Program

Sunday, September 19,  2:00 pm, Monthly Program, via Zoom.
Taryn Edwards will present

Out of the Fog: The Surprising Origin Story of the Cable Cars

San Francisco's historic cable cars have reopened! Beloved by tourists and locals alike, the cable cars are integral to the development, character, and culture of San Francisco. Join Taryn Edwards for a peek into her research about the cable car's surprising origins and an update on the life of Andrew Smith Hallidie, the father of the cable car. Taryn Edwards is an historian and librarian for the Mechanics' Institute of San Francisco. In addition to her professional duties she spends a lot of private time digging up history of the place and people associated with it. She is working on the life of Andrew Smith Hallidie and her research interests include San Francisco's early libraries (there were lots!), industrial exhibitions and fairs, mechanics' institutes worldwide, and the technological innovations that were born in the Bay Area. Find out more at We are always looking for speakers for Monthly Programs; please consider sharing your interests, research and writing with your colleagues, promoting discussion and, perhaps, getting their feedback on your work. Also, consider hosting a meeting; contact: Louis Trager,