Historical San Francisco

The World of the Victorian San Francisco Mystery Series

Once upon a time I wrote a dissertation entitled “Like a Machine or an Animal: Working Women of the Far West in the Late Nineteenth Century.” For that monograph, I read books, articles, newspapers, diaries, memoirs, novels, and I did a thorough data analysis of the 1880 manuscript census for San Francisco, Portland, and Los Angeles, looking specifically at women who worked. The origins of my Victorian San Francisco mystery series can be found in that academic work and in my desire to illustrate, through fiction, what life was like for women who worked in the late 19th century.

My novels, novellas, and short stories draw heavily on my academic expertise. However, there is, of course, much of the historical background that I have to leave out when writing my stories. As a result, I have used my blog posts on Victorian San Francisco to fill in some of the blanks; providing links, photographs, and additional information on Victorian San Francisco.

What follows is a table of contents of these blog pieces and I will add to these topics from time to time through new blog posts, so if you want to be alerted when this happens, please subscribe to my blog.

M. Louisa Locke

Table of Contents:


San Francisco in the 1880s

Economic Structure
Social Structure

Places of Interest

Golden Gate Park
Woodward’s Gardens
The Palace Hotel

Women’s Occupations

Domestic Service
Boarding House Keeping

San Francisco Teachers: Part One
San Francisco Teachers: Part Two
San Francisco Teachers: Part Three
San Francisco Printing Industry
Women in the Medical Profession

Women and Education

Women in 19th century Co-education
Women at UC: Berkeley


The Irish and Halloween Traditions
A Victorian San Francisco Christmas
Victorian Valentines
Victorian Shoplifters
19th Century Police Techniques
19th century Fraternities and Hazing