Research Library and Archives

Open to the public by appointment

Contact us at to schedule an appointment, submit a research request, or ask questions. You should receive a response within 24 hours. Appointments are available Monday-Friday.

What is available at the Research Library?

In addition to our library of several thousand volumes documenting the history of San José and Santa Clara County, we offer a rich collection of personal papers, government and organizational records, maps, ephemera, architectural records, photographs and audiovisual material dating from the 1780s to the present.
History San Jose Music Collection
Guide to Property Research at History San Jose
Biographical Research Resource Guide

What is an archive? How is it different from a library?

You may have questions about how to do research in archives, and what the difference is between a library and an archive. The Society of American Archivists has prepared a Guide to Effective Research for both first-time archives users and scholars who have already conducted research in archives.

Research Fees, Image Rights & Reproductions

Please visit our Research Fees page for details.

Search our Collection

Indexes & Directories

PastPerfect Online

Search our online catalog, which includes detailed descriptions and many scanned images of library, archives, and photographic material:

Audiovisual Materials & Historic Images

Visit History San Jose’s YouTube page and our Internet Archive collection for digitized audiovisual content, including KNTV Channel 11 news footage (1965-1980).

Looking for historic images for publication, personal or commercial use? Search our online catalog or our Zenfolio gallery.

Online Archive of California

Search the Online Archive of California for guides to archival collections.

Other Resources

Photographers and Photographers Studios in the San Jose Area (circa 1856-1927)
San Jose and Santa Clara Valley Selected Bibliography (through 2011) (PDF)

Santa Clara County Historical & Genealogical Society

The SCCHGS is located at the City of Santa Clara Central Park Library, and has a large collection of genealogy resources along with a great historical collection available for the public’s use. Their website provides access to online indexes and genealogical research help.

Santa Clara County Recorder’s Office

If you are looking for vital records, real estate history and maps, please start at the Santa Clara County Recorder’s Office, as they also hold documents from 1851 onward.

Santa Clara County Archives

The County Archives collection complements History San Jose’s holdings. Many of their databases are searchable online.

Search California Newspapers

The California Digital Newspaper Collection is a project of the Center for Bibliographical Studies and Research (CBSR) at the University of California, Riverside, providing keyword search of 72,729 digitized issues.

California Room at King Library

The San Jose Public Library’s California Room is a source for California and local San Jose history. Their website provides a guide to researching your old house, and access to other records including digitized Sanborn maps.

California State Archives

The State Archives holds many local government records as well as family history information such as probate, deeds, and naturalization records, military records, and mental health records from Agnews. See also The Historical Records of County Government in California.

California Department of Public Health – Vital Records

California birth, death, fetal death, still birth, marriage and divorce records are maintained by the California Department of Public Health Vital Records.