Don't Disturb the Dead

San Francisco's Lost Cemeteries
Event detail

Image of poster titled Don't Disturb the DeadThis small exhibit explores San Francisco's 19th century cemeteries and the decades-long battle over their removal. San Francisco was once full of cemeteries. Before San Francisco stopped burials within its city limits in 1900, there were at least 30 cemeteries­—in use or abandoned—around San Francisco. Today, there are only two cemeteries left (three if you count the Pet Cemetery in the Presidio): Mission Dolores and the San Francisco National Cemeteries. As city development pushed west and land became more valuable, public support for cemeteries diminished. Proponents of cemeteries wanted to keep historic cemeteries which contained the remains of their loved ones and many noteworthy Californian pioneers.

Related Events:
Learn about Mission Dolores History with curator Andrew Galvan in the 5th floor Learning Studio on Wednesday, October 2nd at 6pm.

Join us for the talk A New Look at Old City Cemetery with historians John Martini and Alex Ryder in the 5th floor Learning Studio, Tuesday, November 12th at 6:30pm.

Thursdays at Noon in the Koret Auditorium 
This month we’ve selected several films that that complement this exhibit, including Harold and Maude, which was filmed at Holy Cross Catholic cemetery in Colma, and Gates of Heaven, a wonderful documentary about two pet cemeteries in Northern California by Errol Morris:

  • Oct. 3 - Harold and Maude (PG, 91 mins., 1971)
  • Oct. 10 - Gates of Heaven* (NR, 85 mins., 1978)
  • Oct. 17 - Pet Sematary (R, 103 mins., 1989)
  • Oct. 24 - Poltergeist (PG, 114 mins., 1982)
  • Oct. 31 - Night of the Living Dead (NR, 96 mins., 1968)

*Funded by Friends of the San Francisco Public Library.

Learn more about History and Genealogy through the wealth of resources available at the Library.

Upcoming Events

Gallery Talk: All That Glitters Is Not Gold
Thursday, November 21, 2019, 6:30 pm
Main Library, Skylight Gallery
Presentation: San Francisco Mime Troupe
Saturday, December 7, 2019, 3:00 pm
Noe Valley, Noe Valley Meeting Room

Upcoming Classes

Presentation: Genealogy and Family History Research
Tuesday, December 10, 2019, 6:15 pm
North Beach, North Beach Meeting Room

Current Exhibits

All That Glitters Is Not Gold:
Through Thursday, January 2, 2020
Main Library, San Francisco History Center
The Native Reclamation of Alcatraz Island, 1969
Through Thursday, January 9, 2020
Main Library, Magazines & Newspapers Center 5th Fl
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