The Louis E. Stocklmeir Regional History Library and Archives


The Louis E. Stocklmeir LibraryTuesday-Thursday
9:00 a.m.-noon, 1:00-4:00 p.m.
(Closed July and August)

Contact Us

Phone: 408.864.8987

Yes, we are about history. But because today and tomorrow turn into history before our eyes, we call our focus California Studies. Alongside 19th century county histories, gold rush diaries, and mission period critiques are books on Sierra Nevada geology, studies of Los Angeles urban design, and the future of California’s people.

What We Offer

From its beginnings in the 1970s as a clearinghouse for student local history projects, the library of the California History Center has participated in a vigorous expansion of awareness of Santa Clara Valley’s and California’s past, present, and future. Research papers, taped oral histories, clippings and photograph archives form the core of a collection now enlarged by donations of fine books, periodicals and archival materials on regional and state history and issues.

All materials are to be used on the premises except the California's Gold PBS videotape series produced by Huell Howser, which may be checked out.

Library Use

Use of the Stocklmeir Library is free to students and California History Center Foundation members. There is a daily use fee for all other patrons. Photocopy and photo reproduction services are available for a charge.

Today’s Stocklmeir Library patrons include architects, authors, advertisers, business people, genealogists, journalists, historians and historic preservationists, park rangers, producers of media programming and exhibits, sociologists and parents, teachers and students of all ages. Especially welcome is the valley resident – newcomer or long-time community member – eager to see for the first time, or recall, how the landscape once looked.

The Collection

Peninsula Railway Blossom Line Student research papers, currently numbering over 2,000, constitute a unique resource for the local historian and genealogist. Written using primary sources such as site visits, official records and interviews, these papers have been retained and cataloged throughout the history center’s 30-year existence.

Oral histories on audio and video tape capture experience, inflection and emotion for future generations. Over 400 audio tapes focus on personal and family history, the valley’s agricultural and viticultural heritage and its transition to "Silicon Valley." Among our special oral history collections are 40 interviews devoted to Santa Clara Valley labor history and 80 interviews covering the 25-year history of De Anza College.

Video oral histories include discussions with champions of the open space movement and interviews with valley cannery workers and some of the last local farmers. Our collection also features "California’s Gold", the PBS series from producer, writer, and host Huell Howser. The "California’s Gold" collection is accompanied by teacher's manuals and is available for checkout.

Photographs in the collection number approximately 10,000 with subject concentrations in agriculture, local families, historic buildings, public works, and the history of Moffett Field Naval Air Base. Over 5,000 slides depict California Indian artifacts, the missions, Gold Rush country, and both historic and modern scenes from Santa Clara County as well as other California counties. A special collection of slides highlights the work of 19th century painters. Many of our original photographs are featured on the web site of Silicon Valley History Online, a collaboration of Santa Clara County History collections.

Postcards Maps, prints, postcards and ephemera form a collection numbering over 2,000 items, describing and promoting California and the Bay region.

The clipping/pamphlet files cover 150 major subject headings, including all California counties. The file’s tens of thousands of items reflect more than 30 years of collecting.

Periodical collections include journals of California and Western history, historic preservation, and museum studies. A large collection of historical society newsletters gives the patron a library chair tour of California local history from Del Norte County to San Diego County.

Periodical A book collection featuring 19th and early 20th century California county histories complements the Stocklmeir Library’s diverse archival holdings. Standard works of state history, rare and fine print books, and recently published material on current and historic issues fill out the collection of over 2,000 volumes. The titles in our book collection are available through the De Anza College Library Website in the Library Catalog. Finding aids for other materials are available at the Center.

Special Collections

  • The Michelle Ann Jacobson Collection, documenting Santa Clara Valley’s history of family farming, includes the papers of Mildred Worswick, whose family was among the valley’s first cherry growers;
  • Carroll Pursell Collection of Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) descriptions – with photographic record – of bridges and other public works for most California counties;
  • Castro Family Collection, mementos and documents of the early Mountain View settlers;
  • Laura Thane Whipple Collection, papers and clipping file from the real estate agent who brought the Naval Air Station to Sunnyvale.
  • Palo Alto Times/Peninsula Times Tribune, 1908-1991, on microfilm.
  • Tinsley Case case records, named for Margaret Tinsley, who, in 1976, with other parents, filed suit to reduce social isolation and educational disparity in Palo Alto and East Palo Alto school districts.
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