Rebel Girls From Bay Area HistoryRebel Girls From Bay Area History

Celebrating the unsung women who helped shape today’s Bay Area.

The Woman Who Became ‘Mother India’ to Generations of South Asian Immigrants

A turn-of-the-century portrait of a middle-aged woman with dark but greying wavy hair, wearing a frilled white collar under a black dress, plus large hooped earrings.

The Single Mom Who Preserved Mexican American History in the 1800s

A beautiful blond woman with shoulder-length hair reveals a naked shoulder, arm and side, sandwiched between two large white feathers concealing the rest of her body.

The Burlesque Pioneer Who Fought Censorship and Multiple Arrests

A Chinese American woman in her twenties sits behind the steering wheel of a vintage car, wearing a smart hat and grey suit, a small bow tied at her neck.

The Chinese-American Doctor Who Raised Hell—and 1,500 WW2 Servicemen

A grainy photograph lifted from a newspaper in 1907 shows Mary Kelly, frowning slightly, wearing round spectacles, hair pulled back roughly, and holding a small American flag.

The 1906 Earthquake Survivor Who Fought For San Francisco’s Homeless Population

A Japanese woman, deep in concentration and wearing a white short-sleeved blouse and dark skirt, positions her cue on the edge of a billiards table to take a shot.

The ‘First Lady of Billiards’ Wowed 1950s San Francisco—and the Rest of the World

A woman with dark, wavy, shoulder-length hair stands in front of heavy, draped curtains. She looks down and reaches back to unhook her bra.

The Woman Who Humanized San Francisco Sex Workers and Exposed Misogyny in 1913

A dainty Latina wearing a black shirt and grey suit sits with two of her sons either side of her. They are wearing decorated military uniforms.

The Sacramento Activist Who Honored Mexican American World War Veterans

A sepia-toned photograph of Black men and women, 22 standing, and 14 sitting along with 3 children, all looking directly into the camera.

The Formerly Enslaved Cook Who Became a Celebrity Chef in San Francisco