California: Collection Strengths

Major Topics

The California collection includes materials on an encyclopedic array of topics. Some of those best represented by our holdings are listed below. All materials are cataloged on UCI Library Search

  • Agriculture
  • Art and architecture
  • City and county histories
  • Early explorations
  • Earthquakes
  • Ethnic minorities
  • Fiction
  • Geology
  • Gold rush
  • Native Americans
  • Irrigation
  • Land titles and grants
  • Labor unions
  • Los Angeles
  • Mining
  • Missions
  • Natural history
  • Native Americans
  • Sierra Nevada
  • Travel to California
  • Water
  • Wine and wine making
  • Yosemite National Park

Selected Archival and Manuscript Materials

Archival and manuscript collections are described in detail in searchable finding aids in the Online Archive of California. Follow the links below to view the complete finding aids.

Historical collections

  • California newspaper collection
    Scattered issues of newspapers printed in California from 1848-1994, primarily in Southern California.
  • California vacation albums
    Early 20th-century vacation albums containing photographic prints and postcards documenting the vacationers and sites visited.
  • Charles F. Lummis papers
    Papers of a Southwest explorer and writer, city editor of the Los Angeles Daily Times, city librarian of the Los Angeles Public Library, advocate of Native American rights, and founder of the Landmarks Club and the Southwest Museum. Contains a portion of Lummis's prolific correspondence to friends and colleagues, documents his tenure as Los Angeles Public Librarian, provides a sample of his photography, and offers a rare glimpse into his college activities.
  • Chase (Alexander W.) overland journal
    Chase’s illustrated, handwritten journal documenting his family’s journey from Iowa to California by covered wagon in 1861.
  • Georgina D. Bremer photographs and California vacation album
    Vacation album documents a trip to Southern California in 1922 with stops at popular tourist locations, including San Juan Capistrano, Tijuana, San Diego, Riverside, Catalina Island, Glendale, and Long Beach.
  • Henry (Oscar) diaries
    Diaries of Oscar M. Henry, a California rancher, farmer and miner. Henry wrote the diaries on his farm in Amador County, California from 1885 to 1915.
  • McPherson postcard collection
    Thousands of postcards illustrating sites throughout California, particularly Southern California. Includes most of the California missions.
  • Meadows (Don) papers
    Correspondence, writings, and research files of historian Don Meadows, documenting numerous cultural, social, political, and economic aspects of Southern California history. Includes an enormous collection of geographically organized California ephemera (fliers, brochures, etc.).
  • Pleasant (Mary Ellen) financial correspondence and notes
    Collection documents the financial affairs of Mary Ellen ("Mammy") Pleasant, an African American woman and entrepreneur known as the Mother of Civil Rights. All items concern a promissory note for $3,000 and a mortgage to a Mrs. Guimaraes.
  • Postcards of Chinatown, San Francisco, California
    Approximately 150 postcards from the early to mid 1900's primarily depicting Chinese men, women and children, city street scenes, and architecture.
  • Railroads in California
    Handwritten railroad survey paper prepared by Acting Chief Engineer of the Central Pacific Railroad, Lewis Metzler Clement. The document includes 20 pages of handwritten materials on the state of California railroads and related matters.
  • Records of the Metropolitan Los Angeles Conference on Employment Problems of the Negro
    Documents a 1940 conference designed to raise employer awareness of the potential of the African American workforce in California.
  • Smith (Esther) scrapbooks of a bus tour of the American West
    Three scrapbooks and a manuscript journal a high school teacher documenting her three-month bus tour of the American West in 1935.

Political Collections

  • Badham (Robert) papers
    Collection documents Robert E. Badham's 25 year political career, including his terms in the California Assembly and in the U.S. House of Representatives. Collection materials include correspondence, photographs, speeches, publications, news clippings, campaign documentation, legislative activity files, press releases, realia, and video cassette tapes.
  • California political publication and ephemera collection
    Political publications and ephemera distributed in California from 1936 to 1989. Materials include newsletters, press releases, campaign pamphlets, newspapers, campaign posters, sample ballots, and campaign buttons.
  • Carpenter (Dennis E.) papers
    Administrative and legislative files of the office of California State Senator Dennis E. Carpenter, including legislative files, correspondence, official press releases, printed material, newsletters and ephemera.
  • Stanley (Judith) subject files on Proposition 13
    Newsletters, clippings, campaign ephemera, memoranda, reports, and other materials gathered by Judith Stanley, a University of California, Irvine, librarian, to document California's Proposition 13.
  • United Farm Workers Information Fair collection
    Fliers, newsletters, photographs, and other ephemera documenting UFW boycotts and strikes, as well as the working and living conditions of migrant laborers.