California Room Collections

The California Room collects materials on California history with emphasis on the history of San José and Santa Clara Valley. Some topics covered are California ethnic groups, Gold Rush, indigenous people, missions, railroads, earthquakes of 1906 and 1989, famous Californians, overland journeys, and Spanish and Mexican California. Books and journals can be found by searching the San José Library Catalog. Please keep in mind that the California Room collection is non-circulating. Please observe our Use & Handling Rules when visiting.

Our Digital Collections Database is available 24/7 and will allow you to search and view historic images.

California Room Index: This source indexes materials not found in the library catalog including maps, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, and research collections that pertain to people, places, and events in California, San Jose, and Santa Clara County history. The A-Z index is helpful if you are not sure of spelling.

Aerial Photography

Aerial Photography

The aerial collection includes aerial and street level photographs from the City of San Jose Planning Division (1931, 1948, 1960, 1968, 1981) from Fairchild Aerial Photography and the U.S. Geological Survey. more details...

Bernal Research Files

Bernal Research Files

The Bernal Files are a collection of notes and materials gathered by Dr. James P. Delgado in the 1970s. These files include information on the history of Rancho Santa Teresa and Santa Clara County pioneers, with an emphasis on the Bernal family.

Historic Books and Journals Collection

Books and Journals Collection

This collection contains rare books and journals dating from 1767 to 1910. Some are available in digitized format.

Building Permits

Building Permits

San Jose building permits in print, digitized, and on microfilm. more details...

Caltrans Right of Way Assessments 1960 - 1970

Caltrans Right of Way Assessments 1960 - 1970

This collection includes Right of Way Assessments for the County of Santa Clara from 1938 through 1979, with the bulk of materials being from the 1960s and 1970s. The assessments include descriptions of property, maps and photographs. more details...

Clyde Arbuckle Research Collection

Clyde Arbuckle Research Collection

This collection represents the regional history of San José and Santa Clara County, and includes materials collected in the research for Clyde Arbuckle's "History of San José".

Directories, City of San Jose and Vicinity

Directories, City of San Jose and Vicinity

This collection includes city directories for San José, San Francisco, and other cities in print, on microfilm, or online as well as Haines Criss Cross directories and phone books. more details...

Edith Harvey Heron

Edith Harvey Heron

This collection includes watercolors by local artist and art therapist, Edith Harvey Heron. more details...

Edmonia Lewis

Edmonia Lewis

The California Room features three sculptures created by Edmonia Lewis; Asleep (marble, 1871), Awake (marble, 1872), and a bust of Abraham Lincoln (marble, 1871). An earlier version of Asleep, called Night (marble, 1870), is held at the Baltimore Museum of Art. more details...

Ephemera

Ephemera

This collection includes printed paper materials including brochures, handbills, memorabilia, pamphlets, tickets, and timetables. more details...

Fiesta de las Rosas Collection

Fiesta de las Rosas Collection

This collection was compiled by the Fiesta de las Rosas Committee, and consists of correspondence, fiesta guidelines, entry forms, tickets, pamphlets, and more. The Fiesta de las Rosas was an annual festival and parade designed to highlight San Jose as a “garden city” and attract tourists. more details...

Frontier Village Collection

Frontier Village Collection

The collection comprises administrative records, employee manuals, photographs, clippings, various printed matter, plans and drawings, and scrapbooks. The majority of the photographs are of costumed characters, amusement rides, stunt shows, mock gunfights, and promotional activities. more details...

Los Lupeños de San José Records

Los Lupeños de San José Records

This collection comprises administrative records, organizational papers, correspondence, clippings, ephemera, photographs, and audiovisual material related to Los Lupeños de San José. Los Lupeños de San José was a study and performance group of Mexican dance and culture founded in 1969.

Map and Atlas Collection

Map and Atlas Collection

This collection comprises over 1,000 maps from the 1860s - 1980s, including Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, geological surveys, street maps, planning and land use maps for San Jose, Santa Clara County and other cities and counties throughout California. more details...

Music Collections

Music Collections

The California Room houses a choral music collection, sheet music collection, and stock music collection including the work of many local musicians. The initial collection was donated to the library by David Earl McDaniel in 1946, followed by a donation by the widow of Charles M. Richards in 1957.

Newspapers and Clippings

Newspapers and Clippings

This collection includes clipping files, scrapbooks and microfilm of area newspapers including the San Jose Mercury News. more details...

Historic Photographs

Photographs

The Historic Photograph Collection includes over 2,500 contact prints, negatives, transparencies, and 35mm slides comprising diverse subjects including schools, churches, businesses, parades, valley views, theaters, street scenes, hotels, the 1906 earthquake, the Winchester House, and residents. more details...

Historic Postcards

Postcards

The collection includes approximately 3500 pictorial and photographic postcards of California. Of these, 600 are of San Jose. The collection spans from the year 1900 to the 1960s. more details...

Pueblo of San Jose 1841 - 1850

Pueblo of San Jose 1841 - 1850

This collection includes documents pertaining to the Pueblo de San José de Guadalupe and its adjacent mission, Santa Clara de Asis, 1841 - 1850. more details...

San José City Records 1850 - 1950

San José City Records 1850 - 1950

This collection includes City of San José Council Minutes, Ordinance and Resolution Records from 1850-1950, and photographs and records from the Office of the City Clerk. more details...

San José Planning Division & Code Enforcement

San José Planning Division & Code Enforcement

This collection includes records from the City of San José's Planning Division and Code Enforcement Departments (PCBE) from 1931 - 1975. Subjects include maps, plans, and photographs of historic structures, aerials views, and documents. more details...

San José Public Library

San José Public Library

This collection chronicles more than a century of San José library history beginning in 1880. more details...

San José Redevelopment Agency Photograph Collection

San José Redevelopment Agency Photograph Collection

This collection includes research materials and photographs from sundry projects undertaken by the San José Redevelopment Agency (SJRA). more details...

School Yearbooks

School Yearbooks

This collection includes yearbooks from high schools, middle schools and universities within Santa Clara County. View a list of all yearbooks available: more details...

Silicon Valley Company Archive (1986-1993)

Silicon Valley Company Archive (1986-1993)

This collection comprises over 700 boxes of materials donated by over 600 early Silicon Valley tech companies, documenting the evolution of the Silicon Valley’s tech industry from 1986 through 1993. more details...

Tax Rolls

Tax Rolls

Our collection of Santa Clara County Tax Assessor Rolls ranges from 1979 -2007 on microfilm. More are available at the Tax Assessor's Office and also online.

Townsend Family Papers (1826-1914)

Townsend Family Papers (1826-1914)

This collection contains the personal and professional documents of Dr. John Townsend, his wife Elizabeth Townsend, and their son John Henry Moses Townsend. more details...

Weather Records

Weather Records

This collection includes United States Weather Bureau weather logs for 1906-1962, with entries recorded by hand. more details...

Willow Glen Annexation

Willow Glen Annexation

This collection includes documents pertaining to the annexation of Willow Glen. more details...

Willows Reading and Study Club Records

Willows Reading and Study Club Records

This collection includes membership rosters, agendas, and other materials pertaining to the Willows Reading and Study Club. more details...