California's first legislature, meeting in 1849–50, charged the Secretary of State to receive "…all public records, registered maps, books, papers, rolls, documents and other writings . . . which appertain to or are in any way connected with the political history and past administration of the government of California." The California State Archives, a division of the Office of the Secretary of State, continues to serve in the spirit of those early instructions, providing a repository for the state's permanent governmental records as well as other materials documenting California history.
The California State Archives collects, catalogs, preserves, and provides access to the historic records of state government and some local governments. The Archives collection is primarily composed of records from California state agencies, the governor's office, the state legislature, and the State Supreme Court and Courts of Appeal. The records are organized under the name of the agency or office that transferred the records to the Archives. The collections also include some private papers that have been donated to the Archives.
The California State Archives serves a wide variety of researchers whose interests range from legislative intent and public policy to genealogy and railroad history in California. Reference Desk staff help researchers identify collections that are most relevant to their area of interest and retrieve those records from a secure storage area for researchers to view in the large Research Room.
The State Archives occupies a facility one block south of the State Capitol as part of the Secretary of State office complex. Completed in 1995, the 170,000 square foot building has six floors of environmentally controlled stacks, including a number of specialized vaults, which house the Archives' collections. The building also has facilities for preservation and research use of archival materials.
California State Archives
1020 "O" Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
Visit the California State Archives website
Email the California State Archives
Reference Desk: (916) 653–2246
General Information: (916) 653–7715
Fax: (916) 653–7363