Click on a First Lady's name to read more about her at the California State Library website.
  • Ruth Perkins
    Ruth Parker’s family moved to Marysville, California, when she was eight years old. Upon arrival in California, Ruth’s father Edward Parker went into business with a young George Perkins, creating the successful firm of Parker and Perkins. Ruth and George eventually married on May 3, 1864, and went on to have seven children. Little information is available regarding Ruth’s role as First Lady. Her poetry was published in various magazines and newspapers.
  • Amelia Irwin
    It''s unclear when Amelia Elizabeth Cassidy emigrated from England to California. She met William Irwin while living in Fort Jones with her mother and stepfather. After they married they moved to Sacramento in 1869 when William was elected to the Senate. Upon becoming Governor in 1875, William and Amelia threw one of the most elaborate and expensive inaugural balls ever held in California. As First Lady, Amelia hosted a tea in the State Capitol Senate Chamber for Mrs. Grant on October 22, 1879, during President Grant’s visit to the State.
  • Mary Pacheco
    February 28, 1875–December 9, 1875
    Mary McIntire came to California in the late 1850s with her widowed mother and two sisters. She married Romualdo on October 31, 1863, in St. Mary's Cathedral in San Francisco while he was State Treasurer. They had two children Maybella (or Mabel) and Romualdo (or Waldo), who died at age seven. Mary was an engaging conversationalist and was known for holding some of the best literary salons in San Francisco and Sacramento. She was also one of the first women writers in California, writing novels as well as plays that had long runs in New York and London. Mary lost a good deal of her husband’s fortune financing theatrical productions.
  • Anna Haight
    Anna Bissell grew up in St. Louis. During the 1820s Anna’s father, Captain Lewis Bissell, built the home in which Anna grew up, which still stands and is considered to be the oldest surviving house in St. Louis. Anna and Henry Haight had five children. No records of her activities as First Lady survive. The Haights were the last family to use the Stanford Mansion as a Governor’s residence.
  • Mollie Low
    The Lows were the second family to use the Stanford Mansion as the Governor’s residence. Mollie was described as a striking woman because her hair had turned white at an early age and contrasted with her youthful face. As First Lady, her sense of fashion was often reported in newspaper society columns. A young Mark Twain wrote a detailed description of the dress Mollie wore to the Lick House Ball held on September 27, 1863. After leaving office, Fredrick Low was appointed minister to China and the Low family sailed to China in February 1870 where they lived for four years. They returned to reside in San Francisco in 1874 and Mollie became an important part of San Francisco society for the remainder of her life.

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California State Capitol Museum
10th and L Streets
State Capitol
Room B-27
1315 10th Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 324-0333
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Weekdays 7:30 am - 6 pm
Weekends 9 am - 5 pm
Admission is free
Tours available hourly 9 am - 4 pm
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