Discover Fanny Bixby Spencer: Long Beach’s Inspirational Firebrand

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Fanny Bixby Spencer

Fanny Bixby Spencer: Long Beach’s Inspiration Firebrand by Marcia Lee Harris

Every city has it’s local legends and Long Beach is no exception. The Bixby name is woven into the fabric of Long Beach history, and few names have the unique color of Fanny Spencer Bixby. In Fanny Bixby Spencer: Long Beach’s Inspirational Firebrand released this week by History Press, author Marcia Lee Harris sheds a spotlight on a daring woman who lived a life of privilege and personality.

The last daughter born to Jotham Bixby, the “Father of Long Beach,” Fanny Bixby Spencer (1879–1930) carved her own singular and eccentric path across California history. Born to wealth and power, she chose a boldly independent, egalitarian lifestyle in an age when women’s lives were largely confined to domesticity. Fanny served with the Long Beach Police Department as America’s first policewoman. She was a founder of the city of Costa Mesa in Orange County. 

Her humanitarian efforts reached across ethnicities and social standing. Yet beyond her civic accomplishments, Fanny was provocative as a poet, artist, pacifist, suffragist, child advocate, foster mother and humanitarian.

In Fanny Bixby Spencer: Long Beach’s Inspirational Firebrand, Marcia Lee Harris captures this fascinating woman’s remarkable life, enhanced by Fanny’s own poetry and soulful reflections.

Marcia Lee Harris graduated from Long Beach State University and received her Master’s Degree in Speech and Language from La Verne University, La Verne, California. She is a National Boards Certified teacher and taught for over 39 years, sharing California history and the Rancho life. Marcia was also a coordinator for the National Assessment of Educational Progress, Center for Civic Education representative and on the California State Department – History Literature List Committee. In 2008, she was awarded the Presidential Lifetime Volunteer Service Award.

She has walked in Fanny’s shoes for more than ten years, as well as researched and collected information on Fanny Bixby. The author often portrays Fanny Bixby Spencer in special presentations at various California historic sites.

Fanny Bixby Spencer: Long Beach’s Inspirational Firebrand is available at local stores, the History Press website and through

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