Hearst, Phoebe A. (1842–1919)

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Hearst, Phoebe A. (1842–1919)

American philanthropist. Born Phebe Apperson (her given name was spelled Phebe until later years) in Franklin County, Missouri, on December 3, 1842; died of influenza at her home, La Hacienda del Pozo de Verona, near Pleasanton, 30 miles east of San Francisco, California, on April 13, 1919; interred at Cypress Lawn Cemetery in Daly City; eldest of three children of Randolph Walker Apperson and Drucilla (Whitmire) Apperson; married George F. Hearst (U.S. senator from California), on June 15, 1861 (died 1891); children: William Randolph Hearst (b. 1863).

Phoebe Apperson Hearst, who worked for a time as a teacher, married U.S. Senator George F. Hearst of California in 1861, and was the mother of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. Phoebe was active in charitable and philanthropic enterprises and gave extensively, especially to educational institutions. In San Francisco, she established kindergarten classes for children of the poor, as well as a manual training school, and organized a number of working girls' clubs.

At both Lead, South Dakota, and Anaconda, Montana, Phoebe Hearst built and, at first, maintained public libraries, and in Washington, D.C., she built the National Cathedral (Episcopal) School for Girls. She was also a major contributor to the restoration of Mount Vernon. From the early 1890s on, she turned her attention to the University of California at Berkeley, where she erected and equipped the mining building as a memorial to her husband who died on February 28, 1891. She was also responsible for Hearst Hall, an athletic center for women students. Phoebe Hearst became a regent at the university on July 28, 1897.

Her charities were widespread, and hundreds of needy individuals and institutions were in receipt of her bounty at the Christmas season. She also contributed greatly to the causes of archaeology and anthropology, financing expeditions to Italy, Mexico, Russia, and Egypt. Her last years were spent at Pleasanton, California, near San Francisco. During her life, she distributed about $20 million to charity, philanthropies, education and public works.

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Hearst, Phoebe A. (1842–1919)

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