Photo Collections

**Important information about access to archival collections

We are undergoing a major collection move to offsite storage through 2024. Access to materials may be limited. Most of the archival collections will be delayed when retrieving from April 2024 to November 2024. If you are planning a research visit, please contact San Francisco History Center to determine availability and options.


The San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection consists of approximately 2 million photographs within various collections. There are over 60 processed photograph collections and photograph albums with finding guides available on the Online Archive of California (OAC).  

Search the processed photograph collections on Online Archive of California:

A few photograph collections have their guides listed below. Finally, there are unprocessed photograph collections; please contact the Photo Curator for more information and access. 

Looking for a photograph of a building? Use the guide: How to Find Photographs of a San Francisco Building

Interested in what’s been digitized? Explore DigitalSF.

Please note that viewing original photographs is limited to Tuesday and Thursday from 1-5pm; and Saturday from 10-noon and 1-5pm. 

Call-Bulletin Morgue

San Francisco News-Call Bulletin Photo Morgue
This collection consists of over 1,200 cartons of photographs from news agencies and wire services filed with local photo studios and staff photographers documenting local, state, national and international events and locations.

Assessors negatives thumb

San Francisco Office of Assessor-Recorder Photographs
This collection was given to the History Center by the San Francisco Assessor's Office.

Shades of San Francisco thumb

Shades of San Francisco

Shades of San Francisco is a community history photography project of the San Francisco History Center.

SF History Panoramic Collection

San Francisco History Center Panorama Collection
The collection consists of over 200 panoramas of mostly 20th century San Francisco views