Sutro Library (San Francisco)

A young woman of Otaheite, Hawaii, in circular hooped dress. J. Cook, A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean, 1785. Red and white lily, from A Selection of Hexandrian Plants, R. Havell, 1834. Music manuscript, Mexico, 19th century Painting of Chinese woman in traditional dress, 19th century Tunisian manuscript of the Koran in Arabic Wood engraved book cover, De Sacrorum Hominum Continentia, M. de Medina, 1489-1578

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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