Sutro Library (San Francisco)


  • Once Upon A Time flyerOnce Upon A Time: Writing Your Family History in Narrative Form – Join us for a free genealogical talk on December 4th at 12:15pm. See flyer for more details.
  • SF mapEvent of the Month: International Jewish Genealogy Month – "Documenting the Vilna Ghetto Library" presented by the San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society on November 12th! For more information or to see other upcoming Bay Area events, check out the calendar.
  • Recollected: Photography and the Archive. A collage of the old photographsNew exhibit! "Recollected: Photography and the Archive." This exhibit juxtaposes illustrations from the archives with their photographic cousins.

  • Sutro's Coloring Book In honor of our 100th year of serving the people of California, we invite you to color our collections! Look at our anniversary coloring book online or download a PDF file.
  • California Women's March 2017. Protesters holding signs.The California State Library is mandated to protect and preserve California's rich history and is ideally suited to house this collection of historical and political importance. See our California Women's March Collection.

The Sutro Library (our San Francisco branch) holds the original collection of Adolph Sutro (1830–1898), California businessman and San Francisco mayor. The library has a large collection of publications and items dating from the 13th to the 21st centuries. It also has one of the largest genealogy collections in the U.S.

Some of the outstanding and rare items in the collection are:

  • William Shakespeare's First, Second, Third and Fourth folios (1623–1685);
  • Letters and papers of British explorer and naturalist Joseph Banks (1800s);
  • The Mexican Collection: materials on Mexican culture, religion and politics (1540–1889);
  • Belgian mapmaker Pieter van den Keere's World Map (1611).

Adolph Sutro's heirs donated his collection to the California State Library in 1913 with the requirement that the collection stay within the city of San Francisco. After operating in various locations in the city for almost 100 years, the Sutro Library moved to a permanent home at San Francisco State University in 2012.

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