Permission to Use

The vast majority of the images contained in the California State Library collections that were produced or published prior to 1923 are public domain images. The library does not research each image in its collection to determine or guarantee freedom from copyright. The library can claim only physical ownership of the material. Materials may be protected by copyright, trademark, or related interests, including possible rights of privacy. All responsibility for questions of copyright liability and release violations that may arise in the use made of reproduced material is assumed by the user.

  • an explanation of how the materials will be used,
  • the publisher or sponsor,
  • the print run and/or production numbers,
  • a circulation estimate,
  • whether the material is being used for non-profit purposes.

In lieu of an e-mail, you may send a letter to:

California History Room
California State Library
P.O. Box 942837
Sacramento, CA 94237-0001

Materials obtained from the California State Library must be published unaltered and in their entirety unless the alterations are approved in advance and in writing by the library. The library gives no exclusive rights for the use of its materials. Permission is granted for a one-time use only.

The California State Library reserves the right to refuse permission to publish or exhibit materials if, in its judgment, publication or exhibition would involve violation of copyright law, would cause irreparable damage to valuable and fragile originals, or for any other reason.

At present, we charge no commercial usage fees for use of our materials. In lieu of usage fees, however, we request that a donation be made to the California State Library Foundation. This donation amount is not a copyright fee. Donations help to ensure that the library is able to continue to acquire, preserve, and provide access to the materials in its collection. Donation amounts are determined by the curator of special collections at the time of the permission request. Information on how the credit line should appear, the California State Library Foundation address, and tax ID information will be provided in the letter granting permission to publish.

The library requests and gratefully accepts donations of publications or media containing materials from its collections.

For more information, contact the California History Section.