Background & Physical Collection
The Historic Photograph Collection includes over 2,500 contact prints, negatives, transparencies, and 35mm slides that document California and the American West. The images come from two primary photograph collections within the California Room. One is a small collection which has been acquired through donations to the California Room over the years. The second is photographs which were part of the Clyde Arbuckle Research Collection purchased several years ago. Clyde Arbuckle was the City of San José’s official Historian for over 50 years. His books, magazine articles, lectures and history classes have educated and inspired thousands over the years. The Clyde Arbuckle Collection was purchased from the heirs of the late Clyde Arbuckle after he passed away in 1998.
The bulk of both collections centers on the history of the Bay area, particularly San José and the Santa Clara Valley from 1870 to the 1970s. The collection contains a diverse range of subject areas, including schools, churches, businesses, parades, valley views, theatres, street scenes, hotels, images from the 1906 quake in San José’s, the Winchester House, and many portraits of local individuals.
The Digital Collection
The Historic Photograph Collection currently includes a representative selection of historic photographs from the California Room Collection. This is our largest digitized collection. New images are added to the collection as they are digitized. If you are interested in keeping up to date with the latest additions, you can sign up for the collection RSS Feed.
Do you recognize someone in the photographs? Do you know about one of the locations? Can you identify a piece of equipment? If you have information that you would like to share about any of the images in the San Jose Public Library Collection, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
For additional information about using images in this collection, contact the SJPL California Room.