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.

Show Only Collections Containing:

Aerial Photography

The aerial collection includes oblique and flyover aerials.

Bernal Research Files

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

Books and Journals Collection

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

Building Permits

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

Caltrans Right of Way Assessments 1960 - 1970

This collection includes Right of Way Assessments for the County of Santa Clara from 1938 through 1979.

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

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.

Edith Harvey Heron

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

Edmonia Lewis

The California Room features three marble sculptures created by Edmonia Lewis: Asleep, Awake and a bust of Abraham Lincoln.

Ephemera

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

Fiesta de las Rosas Collection

This collection consists of correspondence, fiesta guidelines, entry forms, tickets, pamphlets, and more.

Frank & Mary Andrade Latino Bilingual Newspaper and Achievements Collection

This collection includes full issues of La Oferta newspaper, as well as photographs and related publications.

Frontier Village Collection

The collection comprises administrative records, photos and ephemera from San Jose's local theme park, Frontier Village.

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

This collection includes over 1,000 maps of various kinds from the 1860s - 1980s for San Jose, Santa Clara County and other areas throughout California.

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

This collection includes clipping files, scrapbooks and microfilm of area newspapers.

Photographs

The Historic Photograph Collection includes over 2,500 historical images focused on San Jose and Santa Clara County.

Postcards

The collection includes approximately 3500 California postcards from 1900 to the 1960s.

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.

San José City Records, 1850-1950

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

San José Planning Division & Code Enforcement

This collection includes records from the City of San José's Planning Division and Code Enforcement Departments (PCBE).

San José Public Library

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

San José Redevelopment Agency Photograph Collection

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

School Yearbooks

This collection includes yearbooks from high schools, middle schools and universities within Santa Clara County.

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.

Tax Rolls

Our collection of Santa Clara County Tax Assessor Rolls ranges from 1979 -2007 on microfilm. The 1990-2007 tax rolls include assessor's parcel maps. More tax rolls are available at the Tax Assessor's Office and also online.

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.

Weather Records

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

Willow Glen Annexation

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

Willows Reading and Study Club Records

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