Mary GoldsmithPrag

The mother of the first Jewish congresswoman, Mary Goldsmith Prag was a literal pioneer in her own right as a gold-rush era teacher and the first Jewish member of the San Francisco Board of Education. Prag immigrated to San Francisco at age six with her family, making the journey from New York through Central America by mule, canoe, and steamship. For twenty-eight years, she taught at Temple Emanu-El in San Francisco and also taught in and served as head of the history department of Girls’ High School, where she was appointed vice-principal in 1905. After her retirement in 1921, she joined the school board, where she helped pass both the Teachers’ Pension Bill and a bill to ensure male and female teachers were paid at the same rates. Her unpublished memoirs describe both her childhood in the California gold rush and her four years as a Jewish woman living in Mormon communities in Utah during the early years of her marriage.


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Mary Goldsmith Prag in 1865.

Courtesy of Judah L. Magnes Museum, Berkeley, California.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Mary Goldsmith Prag." (Viewed on February 17, 2020) <>.


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