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Phoebe Hearst

Phoebe Apperson Hearst (3 December 1842 – 13 April 1919) was an American philanthropist and the mother of William Randolph Hearst, feminist, and suffragist.[1]


She was born in Franklin County, Missouri. At the age of 19, she married George Hearst, who later became a U.S. Senator. Soon after their marriage the couple moved to San Francisco, California, where Phoebe gave birth to their only child, William Randolph Hearst, in 1863.

In the 1880s, she became a major benefactor and director of the Golden Gate Kindergarten Association [2] and the first president of the Century Club of California.[3] She was a major benefactor of the University of California, Berkeley and its first woman Regent, serving on the board from 1897 until her death. Also in 1897, she contributed to the establishment of the National Congress of Mothers, which evolved eventually into the National Parent-Teacher Association. In 1900, she co-founded the National Cathedral School in Washington, DC. A public elementary school near the National Cathedral School bears her name.[4]

She was raised a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian faith in the 1840s.[5] In 1898 she converted to the Bahá'í Faith, and helped play a key role in the spread of the religion in the United States. She briefly travelled to Akko and Haifa in Palestine (modern day Israel) on pilgrimage, arriving on December 14, 1889.[6][7][8][9][10][11][12] She later wrote, "Those three days were the most memorable days of my life."[13][14]

She died at her home in Pleasanton, California, aged 76, on April 13, 1919, during the worldwide influenza epidemic of 1918-1919, and was buried at Cypress Lawn Memorial Park, Colma, San Mateo County, California.[15] [16]


  1. ^ Nickliss, Alexandra (November 2002). "Phoebe Apperson Hearst's 'Gospel of Wealth,' 1883-1901". Pacific Historical Review 71: pp. 525-605.  
  2. ^ Edward T. James, ed. (1971). Notable American Women 1607-1950. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. p. 171.  
  3. ^ Century Club of California (1893), Historical Sketch, Century Club of California  
  4. ^
  5. ^ Owens, Billie Louise and Robert James, (1976). Sons of Frontiersmen: History & Genealogy of Rowland, Whitmire and Associated Families. Billie Louise and Robert James Owens. p. 62.  
  6. ^ Keller, Rosemary Skinner; Ruether, Rosemary Radford; Cantlon, Marie (2006), Encyclopedia of Women and Religion in North America, Indiana University Press, pp. 777, ISBN 0253346851  
  7. ^ Browne, Edward Granville (1918), Materials for the Study of the Bab́i ́religion, The University Press, pp. 97–98  
  8. ^ Robinson, Judith (1991), The Hearsts, University of Delaware Press, pp. 311–312, ISBN 0874133831  
  9. ^ Hatcher; Martin, J.D. (1998), The Bahá'í Faith: The Emerging Global Religion, San Francisco: Harper & Row, pp. 52–53, ISBN 0877432643  
  10. ^ Gallagher, Eugene V.; Ashcraft, W. Michael (2006), Introduction to New and Alternative Religions in America, Greenwood Publishing Group, pp. 192–193, ISBN 0275987124  
  11. ^ Van den Hoonaard, Will C. (1996), The Origins of the Bahá'í Community of Canada, 1898-1948, Wilfrid Laurier University Press, pp. 17, 36, 356 pages, ISBN 0889202729  
  12. ^ Etter-Lewis, Gwendolyn; Thomas, Richard Walter (2006), Lights of the Spirit: Historical Portraits of Black Baha'is in North America, 1898-2000, Baha'i Publishing Trust, pp. 23, 176, ISBN 1931847266  
  13. ^ Adams, Isaac (1906), Persia by a Persian: Personal Experiences, Manners, Customs, Habits, Religious and Social Life in Persia, New York Public Library: E. Stock, pp. 489  
  14. ^ Effendi, Shoghi (1974). God Passes By. Wilmette: Bahá'í Pub. Trust. ISBN 0-87743-020-9.  
  15. ^ "Phoebe Apperson Hearst (1842-1919)". Hearst Castle. Retrieved 2007-06-18.  
  16. ^ "Mrs. Phoebe Hearst Dies in California. Her Son, W.R. Hearst, at Her Bedside When the End Came. Lived on the Frontier. Gave Millions to University of California and Cathedral School for Girls. Her Gifts to Art and Education. A Leader in Washington.". New York Times. April 24, 1929. Retrieved 2007-06-21. "Pleasanton, California, April 24, 1929. Mrs. Phoebe Apperson Hearst, widow of George Hearst, who was United States Senator from California, and mother of William Randolph Hearst, the publisher, died at her home here today, after an illness of several weeks."  

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