In April 2020, the California Historical Society initiated Tell Your Story—California in the Time of COVID-19, an online project to document the personal experiences of people across the state as they face a historic crisis.
Since its inception in 1871, the archives of the California Historical Society have attested to the power of ordinary people’s diaries, letters, scrapbooks, and oral histories to inform understandings of the past. We believe the stories we collect today will be valuable to future generations studying this extraordinary moment.
Our gratitude goes out to the hundreds of people who have shared stories and pictures from the north of the state to the deserts in Southern California, and from coastal communities to the Central Valley. They speak of hardship, self-reflection, joy, resilience, humor, and uncertainty. The selections presented here have been lightly edited for concision and space constraints. We hope they inspire you to share your story as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve.