First Ladies: Jane Stanford, Virginia Knight, Mollie Low, Isabella Gillett, and Jane Waterman First Ladies: Gayle Wilson, Bernice Brown, Anne Gust Brown, Nancy Reagan, and Maria Shriver

First Ladies and First Partners of California

The California State Library dedicates this section to the people who served California as First Ladies and First Partners from the origins of California as a U.S. state in 1850 to present.

The role of First Partner has changed in name but not in importance. The Office of First Partner, previously known as First Lady, has been occupied by leaders committed to serving Californians as role models, champions, philanthropists, and educated professionals. From the beginning of California’s statehood to current day, they have balanced the responsibilities of their public positions and private lives, often while caring for children and enduring hardships and tragedies.

This section provides a glimpse into the lives of these courageous people through photographs along with passages excerpted from “The First Ladies of California.” These Californians played important parts in our state’s history and successes while also making history of their own.

Check back often to learn more – the State Library updates this site regularly as more information about California’s First Partners becomes available.