California History Collections

Are you researching a California history topic? Come see us! Our huge collection of Californiana includes first hand-resources, such as personal papers, newspapers, images, maps and ephemeral items like sheet music and menus, as well as numerous books, magazines and directories, phonebooks and indexes, from every single county in California and a few from outside the state. Whether you're interested in 1960s protest movements, environmental history, California's involvement in World War I, the Gold Rush or even pre-1849 California, we'll have a resource for you.

Close-up image of three books.

Books

Histories, Memoirs, Diaries, Cookbooks, Textbooks, Business Ledgers, and so much more.

Three handwritten documents, the uppermost bears an image of a sailing ship.

Manuscripts

Personal papers, Business Records, Research notes, Legal documents and more.

Two stacks of newspapers.

Newspapers

Historic newspapers from each of California’s counties. Most are on microfilm.

Several issues of California Magazine, three of them have a cover image showing trees and mountains.

Periodicals

Back-issues of California’s scholarly journals, club newsletters, and industry magazines.

A close-up of a poster advertising a speech given by Gutierrez De Lara.

Ephemera

Receipts, Tickets, Posters, Pamphlets, Menus, Campaign Ads and other historic “throw-away” items.

A close-up of a map depicting Reclamation District 1500.

Maps

Land claims, Road Maps, Plat maps, Sanborns and even informal sketches.

Collage of four images depicting Theodore Judah, three unknown miners and a woman posed around a long-tom, the Yolo Bypass, and a portrait of an unknown man, possibly Abraham Lincoln, seated at a desk.

Images

Paintings, photographs, cartoons, lithographs, illustrated stationary, postcards and more.

Close-up of Marshall’s hand drawn Gold discovery map, showing several cartoon figures.

Unique Indexes

Homegrown card files with millions of references, as well as published genealogy, periodical and newspaper indexes.

Close-up of the San Francisco directory for 1852-1853.

Directories

Phone Books, City Directories, Business Directories, and Who’s Who books.

  More California Materials

Can't find what you're looking for on our books, ephemera, images, manuscripts, maps, newspapers, and periodicals pages? Try searching our library databases or consulting our research guides! If those don’t help you, please consider contacting us or visiting the library to consult our analog indexes like the California Information File.

  Borrowing

We are thrilled that you want to borrow our items! We loan our circulating books and periodicals directly to current state employees and indirectly to the general public via interlibrary loan. If you have any questions about borrowing our materials, please feel free to contact us.

  Remote Access

Even if you can't make it into Sacramento, you can still use many of our materials. Depending on what you're interested in, you may be able to use our items by placing interlibrary loans at your local library, placing copy orders and even viewing some of our materials online, via Calisphere, the California Information File II, our online exhibits, or Internet Archive.

  Reproduction

We are happy to offer a variety of reproduction options including copying services and digital reproductions. We also permit no-flash photography and make self-serve copying and scanning equipment available to our visitors. If you have any questions or you would like to place an order, please contact us.