California State Librarians

California State Library Building

1850 – 1861 California Secretaries of State were
ex-officio State Librarians.

  • 1849–1853 William Van Voorhies
  • 1853–1855 James W. Denver
  • 1855–1857 Charles H. Hempstead
  • 1857–1858 David F. Douglas
  • 1858–1860 Ferris Forman
  • 1860–1862 Johnson Price

March 16, 1861 – Resigned Jan 22, 1870
Jan 24, 1870 – April 5, 1870
April 5, 1870 – April 5, 1882
April 6, 1882 – April 1890
April 6, 1890 – Died Oct 18, 1896
Oct 31, 1896 – Resigned April 20, 1897
April 20, 1897 – April 6, 1898
April 1898 – Resigned April 1, 1899
April 1, 1899 – Died July 27, 1917
*Aug 21, 1917 – Resigned Sep, 1930
Sep 15, 1930 – Retired June 30, 1951
Sep 12, 1951 – Retired July 1, 1972
July 11, 1972 – Retired Aug 11, 1980
Aug 1980 – Resigned Aug 1994
Aug 1994 – Retired 2004
Aug 2, 2004 – Feb 13, 2009
November 19, 2009 – October 17, 2012
March 25, 2014 – current

W. C. Stratton
William Neely Johnson
Robert O. Cravens
Talbot H. Wallis
W. Dana Perkins
William P. Mathews
Edward D. McCabe
Frank L. Coombs
James L. Gillis
Milton J. Ferguson
Mabel R. Gillis (appt. date Oct 1, 1930)
Carma R. Zimmerman Leigh
Ethel S. Crockett
Gary E. Strong
Dr. Kevin Starr
Susan Hildreth
Stacey A. Aldrich
Greg Lucas

Profiles of State Librarians 1850 – Present

* State Librarians up to 1921 were appointed by the State Library Board of Trustees. The Board was abolished in 1921 during a reorganization of state government and the Library was made a division of the Department of Finance. In 1927 Governor C. C. Young placed the Library under the Department of Education. The State Librarian then became an appointee of the governor and Milton Ferguson was reappointed as State Librarian by Governor Young. Mabel Gillis and later State Librarians were appointed by the governor in office.