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California History: Primary Sources
California Digital Newspaper Collection
The California Digital Newspaper Collection contains over 600,000 pages of significant historical California newspapers published from 1846-1922, including the first California newspaper, the Californian, and the first daily California newspaper, the Daily Alta California.
Chronicling America: Historical American Newspapers (Library of Congress)
Limit your search to California and specific time period (drop-down menus) when searching America's historic newspaper pages from 1836-1922 or using the "U.S. Newspaper Directory 1690-present".
Calisphere is the University of California's free public gateway to a world of primary sources. More than 200,000 digitized items — including photographs, documents, newspaper pages, political cartoons, works of art, diaries, transcribed oral histories, advertising, and other unique cultural artifacts — reveal the diverse history and culture of California and its role in national and world history
California Heritage Collection (Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley)
The California Heritage Collection is an online archive of more than 30,000 images illustrating California's history and culture, from the collections of the Bancroft Library. Note that the collections are sorted alphabetically.
(Available through Online Archive of California)
California as I Saw It: First-Person Narratives of California’s Early Years, 1849–1900
Part of the American Memory
project, these 190 works presented on this site—approximately 40,000 written pages and more than 3,000 illustrations—provide eyewitness accounts covering California history from the Gold Rush through the end of the 19th century. Most authors represented are white, educated, male Americans, including reporters detailing Gold Rush incidents and visitors from the 1880s attracted to a highly-publicized romantic vision of California life.
From the Library of Congress. Browse by time period or geography to find items related to California.
The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire (The Bancroft Library Presents)
Thousands of digital images and text files. A project by Bancroft Library (UC Berkeley) presenting resources from Stanford University Libraries, California State Library, The Society of California Pioneers, California Historical Society and Huntington Library.
Shaping San Francisco/FoundSF
Bits of History: Exploring San Mateo County Historical Photographs:
Historical photos from collections at South San Francisco Public Library, Redwood City Public Library and the San Mateo County Historical Society.
Online Archive of California
Listing of materials such as manuscripts, photographs, and works of art held in libraries, museums, archives, and other institutions across California. Look for links to "online items" for direct access to digital materials.
California History: Overviews
California History: Ethnicity and Race
For more information about history of ethnic groups see the California History: Ethnic Minorities and Immigration guide
California Ethnic Minorites
Sourisseau Academy for California State and Local History. This is a compilation of papers presented at a symposium held in 1978.
African Americans in California
Bibliographies, a historical narrative of African Americans in California, and a chronological story of the influence of African Americans in California.
The Chinese in California, 1850-1925
About 8,000 images and pages of primary source materials that describe the experiences of Chinese immigrants in California. Materials include photographs, original art, cartoons and other illustrations; letters, excerpts from diaries, business records, and legal documents; as well as pamphlets, broadsides, speeches, sheet music, and other printed matter. Part of the Library of Congress American Memory Project.
Key Dates and Landmarks in United States Immigration History
Immigration to the United States, 1789-1930, is a web-based collection of historical materials from Harvard's libraries, archives, and museums. The collection includes contextual information on voluntary immigration and quantitative data. By incorporating diaries, biographies, and other writings capturing diverse experiences, the collected material provides a window into the lives of ordinary immigrants.
Five Views: An Ethnic Historic Site Survey for California
To "help people more fully recognize and appreciate the accomplishments and contributions of California's varied communities," the California Office of Historic Preservation recruited experts to write narrative histories and identify one hundred recorded historic property sites for each of five ethnic minorities in California: California Indians, Black Americans, Chinese Americans, Japanese Americans, and Mexican Americans. Especially useful are the lists of historic sites, some with photographs and links to more detailed reports.
California History: Places to visit online and in person
For more local resources, see "California & Bay Area" in our "History Reseach" guide. sid=3780821
National Archives of San Francisco
This is a link to the "Records for the Study of of Ethnic History in the National Archives at San Francisco",
Reference Information Paper 83, National Archives and Records Administration, 1994.
Access the National Archives of San Francisco main page
California Historical Society
Gallery, library, exhibitions..
Brief, illustrated history of the San Francisco landmark. Includes information on Adolph Sutro, the Camera Obscura, & the Musée Mécanique. From the Western Neighborhoods Project.
Chinese Historical Society of America
Located at 965 Clay Street, San Francisco, (Phone: 415-391-1188), the Society is one of the oldest and largest organizations dedicated to the study, documentation, and dissemination of Chinese American history.
The Fillmore Museum
A history of a San Francisco neighborhood and some of the people who have lived or visited there. Includes a report of Allen Ginsberg's first public reading of his poem "Howl" and information about the district's role in the post-World War II jazz scene. There are also accounts of the changing ethnic makeup of the area and of the businesses that lined the street at various times.
Gold Rush! California's Untold Stories
Virtual tour of the Oakland Museum of California's Gold Rush exhibition, including sections on art, Natives and Immigrants, a quiz, links to "tales from the mines," and curriculum materials for educators. The exhibit includes photographs, artifacts, primary documents, audio files (some in Chinese), maps, and much more.
San Mateo County Historical Association and Museum
Books, archives, goods and wares from 1880s on display..