Print Collections

Architectural Drawings
Plans, elevations, and other drawings for more than 50 significant San Francisco structures. A card catalog and guide (Sutro Baths) are available.
Biography Files
The San Francisco Biography Files consists of a wide variety of materials relating to people widely known and relatively unknown in San Francisco, the greater Bay Area, and California. Includes materials pertaining to: prominent historical San Franciscans such as past mayors, railroad and mining barons and their heirs, early explorers and Gold Rush and Victorian era figures; police and fire chiefs; local and state politicians and judges; architects; religious figures; labor leaders; artists, artisans, poets, writers, and composers; business owners, and unique San Francisco personalities such as Emperor Norton and Mary Ellen Pleasant. View complete list.
Maps and Views
These items, dating 1695 to 2005, include US Coast and Geodetic Survey maps, USGS topographic maps, city engineer’s maps, tourist and street maps, as well as early lithographic representations of the City, and number over 500 items. Map catalog available at reference desk.
From Adolph’s to Zuni, these San Francisco and California restaurant menus date from the mid-19th century to the present day. A card catalog indexes by date and restaurant name.
News Clippings
The Center holds the newspaper morgue of the San Francisco Examiner, 1915-2000, as well as newspaper articles clipped by SFPL staff (see Vertical Files, below.)
San Francisco and California scenes are represented in approximately 10,000 postcards.
Posters and Broadsides
Over 600 posters cover political, cultural and social events in San Francisco; printed guide available at reference desk.
Sheet Music
San Francisco and California imprints, as well as local themes, are represented in over 500 scores dating from 1847. Card catalog index available (subject and title); early pieces are also represented in WorldCat. Researchers are also directed to the Art, Music & Recreation Center (4th Floor) for sheet music.
Trade Cards
These 19th century advertising pieces, representing San Francisco and California businesses, are arranged by subject or industry, and some are additionally arranged in scrapbooks.
Vertical Files / Ephemera Collection
The San Francisco History Center’s extensive "subject files" include ephemera, news clippings, journal articles and reports. There are extensive files on individuals, associations, bridges, buildings and businesses, city departments, districts, earthquakes, elections, fairs and expositions, parks, transportation; printed guide available at the reference desk. View complete list.
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