Who Owns the Earth? New exhibit examines 1800’s masterpiece on societal inequality

For Immediate Release
Media Contacts:

Mary Rose Kaczorowski, Curator
510-459-9448

Jaime Wong, San Francisco Public Library
(415) 557-4295; Jaime.Wong@sfpl.org

Who Owns the Earth?

New exhibit examines 1800’s masterpiece on societal inequality

San Francisco,CA – In partnership with the California Chapter of Common Ground USA, the Henry George School of New York City, the Henry George School of San Francisco, the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation and Shaping San Francisco, the San Francisco Public Library announces the launch of an exhibition and programming for “Who Owns the Earth?: Henry George’s Progress and Poverty 140 Years Later.”

Mary Rose Kaczorowski, President of the California Chapter of Common Ground USA states, “The paradox that Henry George saw is still with us. Who has the right to exploit the earth and who profits? Why is there so much poverty amid so much wealth?” This exhibit highlights the life and work of Henry George, the social theorist and economist, who observed this paradox 140 years ago while living and working in San Francisco. His book Progress and Poverty (1879) stirred his generation to question social inequities during the Gilded Age as the pockets of land barons and railroad monopolists fattened off the natural wealth in land. George’s keen analyses offered a simple solution—reinvest the economic value of land back into the society that created it.

While living in his rented house at the foot of San Francisco Bay, George wrote Progress and Poverty. At first self-published in 1879 with the help of friends and fellow typesetters in San Francisco, his book was hailed for its logic and genius at solving societal inequality. Millions of copies sold worldwide in multiple languages.

In addition, George, a contemporary of Mark Twain, was one of the founders of the San Francisco Public Library and the Bohemian Club. He worked as a writer and editor for the Daily Times and was later the editor of the San Francisco Daily Evening Post.

The exhibition will be on view in the San Francisco History Center,located on the 6th Floor of the San Francisco Public Library between October 12and December 28, 2019.

Exhibit: Who Owns the Earth? Henry George’s Progress and Poverty 140 Years LaterOct. 12 – Dec. 28, 2019, Main Library, 6th floor

Related Events:

Meet Henry George

Historian and actor David Giesen takes on the role of Henry George in a Chautauqua performance set in 1890. Addressing the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library, for whom George had been the founding secretary, George reminisces about his San Francisco days during the 1860s and 1870s. Thursday, Nov. 7, 6 p.m., Main Library, Koret Auditorium

Progress to Poverty: Land and Rents-Free Public Talk

On the 140th anniversary of Henry George’s Progress and Poverty, his land tax and radical reform of land use are worth a critical re-examination. Geographers Francesca Manning and Richard Walker, along with Ted Gwartney of the California chapter of Common Ground USA, untangle what George proposed, what happened as a result of his ideas, and what the future holds.

Wednesday, Nov. 13, 7:30 p.m., Eric Quezada Center for Culture and Politics, 518 Valencia Street, co-sponsored by Shaping San Francisco

About San Francisco Public Library 

San Francisco Public Library is dedicated to free and equal access to information, knowledge, independent learning and the joys of reading for our diverse community. The library system is made up of 27 neighborhood branches, the San Francisco Main Library at Civic Center and four bookmobiles.