Click on a First Lady's name to read more about her at the California State Library website.
- Lyla Young
When Lyla was a student at Stanford University she met Clement Young and a romance began. As First Lady, Lyla established the custom of Thursday afternoon "at home," informally receiving friends and visitors at the Governor's Mansion. The Young family left their mark on the mansion's history by being the first family to add a radio to the mansion.
Sometime around 1900, Friend and Augusta Richardson and their family moved to Berkeley where Friend purchased the Berkeley Daily Gazette. Although Augusta was not a writer, she was actively involved in her husband's business and attended every convention of the California Press Association for forty years. Little is known about Augusta's activities as First Lady. She had a reputation for being an extremely tidy woman and required all the members of the First Family to clean the Governor's Mansion.
When Flora was seven years old she moved to Poway, California, where she finished her education and taught school. She married William Stephens on June 17, 1891, and had one daughter. Little is known about Flora's activities as First Lady, however, in 1921 Flora and William hosted their daughter's wedding – the first time a governor's daughter was married in the Governor's Mansion. Flora was active in charity groups, particularly the Los Angeles Friday Morning Club of which she was a lifetime member.
While attending Mills College in Oakland, Minnie McNeal met Hiram Johnson. They married in 1886 and had two sons. Minnie was known as "the boss" by her husband and her friends because of her forceful personality. She was devoted to her family and constantly encouraged her husband's political ambitions. While First Lady, Minnie hosted former President Theodore Roosevelt on numerous occasions. In fact, Roosevelt visited the Johnsons so many times that the third floor bedroom of the Governor's Mansion became known as the "Teddy Room."
Isabella Erzgraber, a San Francisco socialite, was a talented pianist, musical composer, and poet. She raised four children with James Gillett, one son of their own, plus three children from James’ first marriage. Although a socialite before marriage, Isabella preferred to live simply while First Lady. It was said that Isabella was happiest in the Governor’s Mansion when in the company of her husband, son, close friends, and their books.