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July 13, 2023

How to Access California Historical Society Materials Online

The California Historical Society’s (CHS) research library and archive contain extensive collections of rare books, manuscripts, newspapers, ephemera, maps, and photographs documenting the history of California and its peoples. Many items in our holdings are available online. Read on to learn more about the CHS materials available online and where to find them.

Blog, Collections,

How to Access California Historical Society Materials Online

As of September 30, 2023, the North Baker Research Library closed for staff to focus on long-overdue collections management maintenance.  We are no longer taking appointments at this time. The information here will help you find CHS materials online. For general San Francisco and/or California history inquiries we recommend contacting the San Francisco History Center at the San Francisco Public Library, or the California History Room at the California State Library.

 

California Historical Society Digital Library
More than 6,000 images, and growing, of primary sources from the archives, including Minor White photographs of postwar Bay Area and Northern California, 1946–1953; Anton Wagner’s photographs of Los Angeles, 1932–1933; photographic portraits of Modoc Indians of the Modoc War; William J. Mountin material relating to forced removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans; certificates of residence for Chinese laborers, 1894–1897; full runs of the ACLU of Northern California News, the newsletter of the ACLU of Northern California; and Open Forum, the newsletter of the ACLU of Southern California. Go to the site

Calisphere
An online collection of digitized primary sources contributed by libraries and other cultural heritage institutions throughout the state, maintained by the University of California. CHS images and texts from dozens of collections, including the 1906 Earthquake and Fire, Chinese in California, and Peoples Temple, can be accessed here. Go to the site

California Historical Society at the University of Southern California
An online archive of digitized images from CHS’s Title Insurance and Trust (TICOR) and Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce photograph collections, maintained by the University of Southern California. Go to the site

California Revealed
CHS is a contributing organization to California Revealed, a California State Library initiative that helps public libraries, archives, museums, historical societies, and other heritage groups digitize, preserve, and provide online archival materials documenting the state’s history, art, and cultures. Go to the site

Bridgeman Art Library
An online collection of digitized art works contributed by museums, libraries, and other cultural heritage institutions throughout the world. Digitized fine art from CHS’s collections are available here. Go to the site

Internet Archive
An online archive of digitized and born-digital primary sources, including texts, audio, moving images, and web pages. Digitized audio and film footage from CHS’s collections are available here, including thirty-eight film and video recordings from the Peoples Temple Collection. Go to the site

Flickr Commons
An online portal that aims to increase access to publicly held photography collections. There are twenty-two albums of CHS photos and ephemera available here. Go to the site

California Historical Society Blog
Many of our materials have also been digitized and written about in blog posts that are available on our website. Go to the blog

 

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