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Local History Resources

Local History Resources
The following is a list of Monterey-area history resources:

Big Sur Gazette: A Big Sur-based monthly periodical that ran from August 1978 to March 1981

Bruce Ariss Was Here: And Had the Time of His Life: A short article on the life of artist, Bruce Ariss, and his time in Monterey

California History Index: Published since 1922, California History contains scholarly, illustrated essays focusing on California and the West from pre-Columbian to recent times. The quarterly journal also features California Historical Society collection highlights, pictorial essays, book reviews, a full-page photographic feature, and an editor's column. Articles in California History are based on solid research and critical thinking and connect California to the region, nation, and world. 

California State Archives: The collection consists of textual records by the millions (in boxes and bound volumes) and graphic records by the thousands (maps, architectural drawings, photographs). In addition to these paper-based records, the collection contains audio and visual materials, both analog and digital, and electronic records in a variety of formats. Descriptions of the records can be found on Minerva, their online descriptive catalog, as well as the Online Archive of California.

City of Monterey Museums: The City of Monterey's museums share stories and serve as spaces for learning, inspiring and engaging with history and heritage. Their museums include: Colton Hall MuseumPresidio of Monterey Museum and Pacific Biological Laboratories.

Guide for Southern Pacific Railroad's Del Monte Express: This guide provides first-hand observations, as well as historical photos and additional resources on the Del Monte Express,  a passenger train, which was operated by Southern Pacific Railroad and ran between San Francisco and Monterey, California from 1889 to 1971.

Harrison Memorial Library Local History Department: The Local History Department is the archives for Carmel-by-the-Sea, and is devoted to acquiring, preserving, and making available historically significant items concerning the history of Carmel. Their collections include: photographs, books, letters, diaries, programs, manuscripts, maps, scrapbooks, and works of art. 

Heritage Society of Pacific Grove: A nonprofit organization that seeks to foster an appreciation of the Pacific Grove's historical and architectural resources through preservation and public education. The Heritage Society maintains a collection of photographs, maps, ephemera and newspapers - all of which are searchable from their website.

Historic Timeline of Monterey (PDF): View a historic timeline of the major events that shaped Monterey.

Mayo Hayes O'Donnell Library: A non-circulating research library providing an extensive collection of books, photographs, scrap books, and other historical artifacts pertaining to Monterey, Monterey County and surrounding counties.

Monterey County Free Libraries Local History Digital Archive: Gain access to digital images and documents from Monterey County Free Libraries local history collection documenting the history and life of Monterey County. 

Monterey County Herald: Search articles from the Monterey County Herald from 2002 to the present.

Monterey County Herald Obituary Index: This index includes obituaries from January 1, 1995 to November 22, 2019, as well as local news articles from January 1, 1995 to June 30, 2003.

Monterey County Historical Society: A non-profit organization with a large collection of archival materials related to Monterey County. Scholars, authors, students, attorneys and the public are welcome to use their resources for research purposes.

Monterey County Weekly Archives:  The Monterey-based print weekly has digitized versions of their publication going back to 2012. For older issues, email California History Room staff at

Monterey State Historic Parks: A collection of significant historic houses and buildings interspersed throughout Old Monterey. Their history tours are a great way to start your discovery of Monterey, and hour long guided tours are led regularly.

Tracing the History of Your House (PDF): A  guide developed by California History Room staff, which provides a list of resources to help you find out more about your house in Monterey. The list includes resources available in the California History Room Collection and elsewhere.

Genealogy Resources
Want to research your family? Where do you start? What do you look for? Who do you talk to? We can help. View a variety of Genealogy Resources compiled by our staff.