Unique Indexes and Files

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Unique Indexes and Files California History Section staff members have, over time, created a number of unique and important indexes and files, drawing together various sources of information that researchers might not otherwise find.

California Information File (1846-present)

The California Information File is regarded as one of the most important research tools for California history and biography. The original card file was begun in the early 1900's. It contains over 720,000 cards with some 1.4 million references to information in California newspapers, periodicals, county histories, and biographical encyclopedias, as well as the California Section's manuscript collections and vertical files. Material cited dates from the 1840's to 1985. The card file was closed in 1985, and the citation cards were reproduced on microfiche, which is available for research at other libraries.

The California Information File has been continued as an online database of over 50,000 records. References are added regularly from newspapers, periodicals, books, manuscript collections, vertical files, and other parts of the collection.

San Francisco Newspapers Index (1904-1949)

The San Francisco Newspapers Index consists of approximately 918,000 cards providing an estimated 1.8 million citations. The citations are from the Call (1/1/1904-8/31/1913), the Examiner (9/1/1913-9/23/1928), and the Chronicle (9/1/1913-12/31/1949). Prior to 1928, any story of high general interest might have been indexed, regardless of its California content. But beginning in 1928, entries were made only for stories with marked California interest or those that were unique to California. The San Francisco Newspapers Index is available only on microfiche, and it can be accessed in the California History Room, as well as several other libraries.

San Francisco Chronicle Index (1950-1980)

The San Francisco Newspapers Index is continued by the San Francisco Chronicle Index. Approximately 363,000 cards provide an estimated 720,000 citations. The focus is on people, events, and places unique to California. Like the San Francisco Newspapers Index , the Chronicle Index is available only on microfiche, accessible in the California History Room, as well as several other libraries.

Biographical Files

These files contain information about or contributed by California artists, authors, actors, musicians, state officials, World War I soldiers, and other notables. Newspaper article clippings and personal letters may also be included. The files are indexed in the California Information File.

Pioneer Card File

This file consists of biographical information on Californians who arrived before 1860. The information was contributed by the pioneers themselves or by their direct descendants. The cards are indexed in the California Information File.