To help our researchers, we have created several one-of-a-kind files that contain information on people and events in California history. Many of our important files are listed below. If you have questions about these resources, please feel free to ask us a question.

  California Information File (1846–1985)

With over 1.4 million references to newspaper, periodical, book, ephemera and manuscript collections the California Information File is one of the most important California history resources in the world. If you cannot visit the State Library to use it, you might be able to borrow microfiche copies of it from other libraries. For information about which libraries have copies, please check our Vital Statistics and Indexes Research Guide or Worldcat.

  California Information File II (1986–Present)

This database continues the California Information File, which was closed and microfiched in 1985. We update this resource monthly with citations from our newspaper, periodical, book, ephemera and manuscript collections.

  San Francisco Newspapers Index (1904–1949)

The San Francisco Newspapers Index provides approximately 1.8 million citations to the following titles in our newspaper collection:

If you cannot visit the State Library to use the index, you might be able to borrow microfiche copies of it from other libraries. For information about which libraries have copies, please check our Vital Statistics and Indexes Research Guide or Worldcat.

  San Francisco Chronicle Index (1950–1980)

This file continues the San Francisco Newspapers Index and provides approximately 720,000 citations to California-related articles in the San Francisco Chronicle. As with our other indexes, if you cannot visit the State Library, you might be able to borrow microfiche copies of it from other libraries. For information about which libraries have copies, please check our Vital Statistics and Indexes Research Guide or Worldcat.

Biographical Files

If you are researching a California artist, early resident, author, actor, musician, state official, World War I soldier, or other notable this is a good resource to check. Our biographical files usually contain basic information, newspaper articles and sometimes personal letters. To see for whom we have files, please check the California Information File and the California Information File II.

Pioneer Card File

Listing California pioneers who arrived before 1860 or their direct descendants, this file contains biographical information and vital statistics on many early Californians. To see for whom we have cards, please check the California Information File and the California Information File II. If you cannot visit the library to view this collection, you might be able to borrow a microfilm copy of it from other libraries listed on Worldcat or even view it online. For information, please check our Vital Statistics and Indexes Research Guide.

Other Indexes

We also house a number of other, third-party specialized publications including newspaper indexes, genealogy indexes, and a variety of other resources, some of which can be accessed remotely. Please consult our Vital Statistics and Indexes Research Guide for more information. If you aren't finding what you need, please ask us a question.