Sunday, January 31, 2010

52 Weeks of Online American Digital Archives and Databases: California

This is the fifth post in a weekly series of Online American Digital Archives and Databases found for free at state, county, municipal, college and university history, library, and archive websites, as well as public and private library and museum sites, and historical and genealogical society sites.

Talk about your Gold Rush! If you have California ancestors, you'll strike gold with this state's treasure trove of online digital archives, databases, exhibits, and indexes!

Online Archive of California - - a central search portal for a multitude of institutions and repositories of digital and offline collections from around the state

Oviatt Library Digital Collections - - another central search portal aimed at the history of the San Fernando Valley as well as ethnic collections (Chinese, Latino, etc.)

Calisphere - - a searchable listing of digital collections from around the state, arranged by historic themes for the purpose of assisting educators

California State University, Bakersfield - Walter Stiern Library - - Davis Civil War letters, Dust Bowl Migration Digital Archives

California State University, Domingo Hills Digital Collection - - includes South Bay Photograph Collection and the Rancho San Pedro Collection. Subjects in the latter include the city of Compton; houses; agriculture and farming; education; transportation; religious life; oil; early planes; and aviation cartoons. The University's collection includes campus; buildings; students; presidents; commencement, historical publications and yearbooks (1966 - 1977), as well as the history of the university's first twenty-five years.

California Underground Railroad - - "...high quality digital images of letters, journals, photographs, documents, newspapers and more to tell the often overlooked experiences of African-American slaves in California..."

California Views - - "most comprehensive historical photo collection of the Monterey Bay area"

Humboldt State University Special Collections - - county atlas and many photographic collections

Occidental College Library Digital Archive - - online archive of the Japanese American Relocation during World War II; stereographs from the American Civil War, the Cuban and Philippine campaigns of the Spanish American War of 1898,  the Russo-Japanese War of 1904, and the World War of 1914 to 1918; railroad collection; architecture of the Occidental campus buildings

San Diego State University Digital Projects  - - photograph collections, WPA murals, poster collection, trading cards, and more

San Francisco Public Library Digital Images -

Santa Clara University Digital Collections, Projects, and Initiatives - - Holocaust Oral History Project, ClaraVision (images), Silicon Valley History Online, plus virtual exhibits

Simon Wiesenthal Center Digital Archives - - image collections and names database

University of California Berkeley Regional Oral History Office -

University of California Davis Special Collections - - photographs

University of California Irvine Special Collections - - history of UC Irvine; Southeast Asian American collection

University of California San Diego Libraries Online Resources - - photographs of California missions, Dr. Suess collection, Spanish Civil War collection, photos of Baja California

University of California Santa Barbara Digital Collections - - Cylinder Project ("listen to thousands of musical and spoken selections from the late 19th and early 20th centuries") and other audio archives; photograph collections

University of San Francisco Gleeson Library Digital Collections - - printing and graphic arts, manuscript, and  rare books collections; USF yearbooks and historical materials; and more

University of the Pacific Digital Collections - - John Muir Papers, Brubeck Collection, California History (Delia Locke diaries, Spooner stereographs, Japanese-American Internment camp collections), University archives

University of Southern California Digital Library - -includes various photographic, newspaper, rare books, manuscript and postcard collections, bibiliographic database, WPA census cards, employee records and land use survey maps; collections from various groups including the Automobile Club of Southern California, the California Historical Society, and the Chinese Historical Society of Southern California; Japanese American Relocation and Korean American Digital Archives; and much more!

Wells Fargo Corporate Archives - - object and photo archives

Anne T. Kent California Room - - oral histories, photographic collections (including family albums), Frank Lloyd Wright collection, and the 1906 Earthquake collection

Center for Sacramento History -  - transcripts of oral histories

City of Glendale Public Library - histories, photograph collections

Contra Costa Genealogical Society - - searchable index of obituaries, probate records, photographs and maps

Digital Anaheim - - historic Anaheim photos

Digital Storystation - - Escondido Public Library's project of local oral histories

Freedom Archives - - "8000 hours of audio and video recordings documenting social justice movements locally, nationally, and internationally from the 1960s to the present. The Archives features speeches of movement leaders and community activists, protests and demonstrations, cultural currents of rebellion and resistance.

History | San José - - history of the Silicon Valley and Santa Clara County, including online exhibits

Holocaust Center of Northern California - - photograph collections, some oral history excerpts, links to online yizkor books

Japanese Town Archives - - photographs from Japanese Town in San Francisco prior to WWII internment

King Library Digital Collections - - this collection documents "the history of the Santa Clara Valley from its agricultural beginnings to the high-tech boom and formation of the Silicon Valley. The range of subjects covered include local politics, social and cultural traditions, education, local business and industry, and historical events."

Los Angeles Public Library - - many photographic collections as well as databases of indexes of materials in their history and genealogy collections

Mill Valley Historical Society - - local history

Mill Valley Public Library - - historical photographs, digitized maps, and more

Nixon Presidential Library and Museum Virtual Library - - documents, White House tapes, online exhibits, photo gallery, interactive presidential timeline

Oakland History Room of the Oakland Public Library - - photographs, 1906 earthquake photos and reminiscences, and indexes to local newspapers, including African-American ones

Sacramento History Online - - photograph (and postcard) and document (books, manuscripts, maps, etc.) archive on the subjects of transportation and agriculture

Sacramento Collection at the Sacramento Public Library - - photos, postcards, ephemera, maps; also be sure to check out the Local History links

San Diego Historical Society Online Resources - -  photograph collection, selection of documents (books, serials, public records, personal and institutional collections, scrapbooks, ephemera, maps, and architectural plans), and past issues of The Journal of San Diego History

San Joaquin and Sierra Foothills Photo Heritage - - subjects include agriculture, oil, buildings, portraits, street scenes, disasters, railroads, big events, and libraries

Shades of Corona - - part of the "'Shades of California' photo history project which is documenting the daily lives and historical, political, and cultural contributions of the diverse communities of California. 'Shades of California' sponsors Photo Days at public libraries throughout the state where people are invited to bring their family albums and personal photograph collections. Community volunteers and project staff select and document photographs which are then copied on-site by professional photographers. These images are archived by the libraries and will be made available to the public at the host libraries."

Thousand Oaks Library Local History - - photographs

Check out my California Historical Directories and California Historical Newspapers pages.


Charley "Apple" Grabowski said...

Wow! That was a lot of work. Thanks Miriam.

Barbara Poole said...

What a fabulous list. Thanks so much for posting it. I can't wait to check out some links, as my great-grandfather was born in California. Maybe I will find something about his family.

Miriam Robbins said...

Thanks, ladies!

Karen said...

Wow! Lots of potential with these links, thanks for collecting them and posting! No housework today... lol...


Miriam Robbins said...

Housework? What in the world is that? ;-)

Thanks for dropping by!

Kathryn Doyle said...

Too late for the Feb. issue of the CGS eNews but this is my first link for March! Excellent resource - our members are going to love this.

Miriam Robbins said...

Thanks, Kathryn!

Randy Seaver said...


Would you please add the "Archives" tag to this post so that it shows up in your "collection?"

Thanks - great work you're doing with this. Makes my teaching job a lot easier (and yours too, I suspect!).

Cheers -- Randy

Miriam Robbins said...

Will do! Thanks for the heads up, Randy!