Look At What Woman Can Do! & The Legacy of Pheobe Apperson Hearst

Many know that I am working on a new book and I have decided to include the success stories of my relatives because I felt it would be a little bit more interesting, than just sharing my own stories along with the principles I want to share.

Anyone who knows me, knows I love to read. I think that education is important and even though there are a lot of people out there that would oppose education right now, I still see it as something valuable. Sure if you attend a school just to get a job I would think that you may be approaching education from the wrong perspective. I believe the more we learn the greater the capacity we have to live the fullest lives possible because learning teaches you how to learn. Education keeps us from repeating the mistakes of the past and we are able to learn from those before us...not starting where they started, but starting where they left off.

So I am a passionate reader and enjoy reading as many books as possible. I truly believe that anyone can harness the power of reading to lead them into a life of success IF THEY APPLY WHAT THEY READ.

So today I felt like giving some recognition to the woman in my family that have had great success. I think sometimes we hear a lot about the men, but the woman aren’t as well known or spoken of. One of my cousins, was probably just as passionate or more so than I am about education and reading.

Many people have heard of William Randolph Hearst, who is my second cousin. But today I wanted to share some information about his mother, my first cousin, Phoebe Apperson Hearst.

Her father was born into a large family of about 11 siblings, which included one of my grandfathers. She married at the age of 19 to a 41 year old man who was very successful and a millionaire, George Hearst, who owned a lot of land which was pretty typical of most of my ancestor’s in that family so it is not surprising she married him. I think the age difference was sort of a thing in my family because her cousins (my grandparents) were also 20 years apart as well.

She ended up taking William Randolph to Europe visiting a lot of castles and I believe to teach him about history because she did an amazing job tracing our ancestry and I know she was passionate about education. She was the founder of a number of libraries in cities where her husband owned mines (she would build the libraries in the mining towns) and she was the founder of the Parent Teacher Association.

She became a generous philanthropist of various educational endeavors. As early as 1891, she made a large gift to the University of California, Berkeley to endow several scholarships for female students. She also funded an international architectural competition for a master plan for the University of California, Berkeley, endowed a scholarship program for students at the University, and presented the campus with the gift of the Hearst Memorial Mining Building and Hearst Hall.

Later, she financed a school for the training of kindergarten teachers and founded the first free kindergarten in the United States in 1887. She eventually established six more of these free schools. In 1897, she founded the National Congress of Mothers, a forerunner of the National Council of Parents and Teachers, better known today as the PTA.

When William began to construct the Hearst Castle she ended up taking over and assigning Julia Morgan as the Architect, who had worked for her on another project. What an amazing opportunity Julia had for those days and how amazing are the results she produced! And how amazing to know that a woman was the architect on the castle. I have to believe it was her and her son’s love for history and education that inspired the creation of Hearst Castle. It is to me a representation of education and many know that William himself owned a very large library, and was known to read a lot as well.









William Randolph Hearst Personal Library
Architect Julia Morgan


In 1897 Phoebe became the first woman Regent of the University of California.

What can we learn from her life? I believe that she recognized her responsibility, as someone who had access to money and education most did not, to pave the way for others to learn. I believe she understood the power of education and reading. And I believe she understood the power of educating woman.

To me she is an inspiration and someone that I admire for her contributions because it is not enough to just have wealth but an amazing opportunity when we can give back in a way to empower others, and I believe that is what she did.

I hope that we all are challenged to make sure we read and educate ourselves, to challenge ourselves and to grow. In a world where books are now on audio, we have very little excuse not to be educated. And well, I love books and reading. I wish everyone I know learns to love it as much as I do and be inspired by those who have tried to provide the opportunity to as many people as possible.

Look at what woman can do, build and design! Nobody can tell me woman are not good enough to make a difference. 



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