Friends of Marin Center Gallery
Prison Life: Reform Activities at San Quentin, 1910 - 1930
On view January 10 through March 28, 2019
On view will be Prison Life: Reform Activities at San Quentin, 1910-1930, a special context exhibit showcasing historic photographs from the Dr. Leo Stanley Collection of prison life at San Quentin including the annual track and field meet known as the Little Olympics. Dr. Stanley was the prison doctor at San Quentin from 1913-1951. The entire collection belongs to the Anne T. Kent California Room at the Marin County Free Library.
Beginning in 1913, the Little Olympics was held at San Quentin Prison on a holiday such as Thanksgiving Day or Admission Day, under the auspices of the San Francisco Olympic Club. This was a day when prison rules were suspended, and prisoners could participate in athletic and stage events, cheered on by their fellow inmates.
The meet was the brainchild of reformist warden, James A. Johnston, who was a member of the Olympic Club. After Olympic Club sponsorship ended, athletic events and field meets inspired by the Little Olympics continued to form part of prison life. In addition to traditional track and field events, the Little Olympics also included such non-traditional activities as a tug-of-war between teams recruited from the San Quentin mill and shops, a pie-eating contest, sack races, clowns, and musical and stage entertainment.
This exhibit is on display in the Friends of Marin Center Gallery, in the Marin Center Exhibit Hall. The Gallery is open Monday through Friday, 9am - 5pm and select weekends when the room is not reserved. Closed Holidays. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to ensure availability.