BELLE COOLEDGE WAS A WOMAN OF FIRSTS. She served as Sacramento’s first woman mayor in 1948 and 1949, after coming in first at the polls when she ran for a seat on the City Council. By the ’40s, she already had a wealth of experience, having been a founder of Sacramento City College (then Sacramento Junior College) in 1916, serving for a time as the school’s only administrator, and eventually being named its vice president and dean of women. Her dedication to education and the city resulted in a library being named after her. Belle Cooledge Library, serving the Land Park area, was established in 1958.
In this circa 1950 photo, Cooledge (seated) converses with delegates to California Girls State, an American Legion Auxiliary Department of California program that teaches about about the ideals and principles of government.