Subject Guides

Subject Guides

Local History Resources

Santa Cruz County has a rich and interesting history. In addition to Santa Cruz Public Library, there are many resources in the County for those who are researching local history.

Santa Cruz Public Library

Santa Cruz Public Library has:

Agricultural History Project Center and Museum

2601 East Lake Avenue
Watsonville, CA 95076 (at the Santa Cruz County fairgrounds)

The Center supports the agricultural history of Santa Cruz County, Monterey County, and the Pajaro Valley through exhibits, historical archives, and agricultural research in the Codiga Center and Museum.

The archives include:

  • Henry Washburn Annual Reports 1917-1941, 1953. These reports document activities of the farm advisor, changes in agriculture, erosion control efforts, dairy herd improvement, 4-H Club activities, black & white photos of the county during those years.
  • Henry Washburn photos and films. Most are from the 1930s and 1940s, and are mostly agriculture but include scenes from around the county.
  • Apple and vegetable labels. Approximately 300. Most are local.
  • Tyler Collection. The USDA and UC Extension Service Bulletins on various crops, livestock, poultry, insects, and diseases. Some are from the late 1800s; many are from the 1920s through 1940s. Also, booklets on irrigation and water use, land use, soil surveys and Santa Cruz County studies.
  • Clipping File. Agriculture-related articles. Most are from the last 5-10 years.
  • Regional History Project. 17 agriculture-related oral histories. A UCSC project.
  • Farm equipment identification. Books on plows, tractors, implements and hand tools.
  • California Historical Society Quarterly. Includes indexes.
  • Yearbook of Agriculture. Intermittent from 1884 through the 1970s.

Aptos History Museum

7605-B Old Dominion Court
Aptos, CA 95003

The museum's focus is on the area comprising Aptos Village, Rio Del Mar, Seacliff, Seascape, and the surrounding hills and beaches. Besides exhibition space, the collection includes local artifacts, photographs, and other information.

California State Library - California History Room

900 N Street, Room 200
Sacramento, CA 95814

The State Library has an extensive California history section which includes books, newspapers, periodicals, manuscript collections, maps, and ephemera.

The Sutro Library in San Francisco, which is part of the state library, offers the most extensive genealogy collection west of Salt Lake City, as well as a comprehensive local history collection.

Capitola Historical Museum

410 Capitola Avenue
Capitola, CA 95010

The Capitola Museum maintains extensive collections of photographs, newspaper articles and artifacts related to Capitola's history, and offers changing exhibits on the history and art of the area, as well as on special seasonal and topical themes. Museum grounds now include a reconstructed cottage from the era of the early 20th century beach resort.

Covello & Covello Photography

303 Potrero St. #40-D
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Covello & Covello Photography was founded in 1938 and was well known locally as the news photography service that provided the photos for the Santa Cruz Sentinel. Their photo collection is recognized as one of the most extensive photographic archives of the Santa Cruz area. The Capitola Museum has a searchable database to some of this collection.

Genealogical Society of Santa Cruz County

224 Church Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
PO Box 72
Santa Cruz, CA 95063-0072
831.427.7707 ext. 5794

The Genealogical Society of Santa Cruz County provides a collection at the Downtown Branch of Santa Cruz Public Libraries. There are more than 9,000 books, microfilm, periodicals, CD-ROMS and other items in the collection that cover Santa Cruz County, as well as every state and many countries.

These resources are available to researchers during normal library hours. Volunteers are available to aid beginners, to help locate materials, and to suggest research techniques. Call ahead to verify volunteer hours.

Pajaro Valley Historical Association

332 E. Beach St., P.O. Box 623
Watsonville, CA 95077

The PVHA's major activities are the management of the Bockius-Orr House, and the operation of the Borina Archive and Alzora Snyder and Jane Borg Research Center, and the Volck Museum. The Archive holdings include the following items dealing with the Pajaro Valley:

  • Books, manuscripts, newspapers, directories, and other printed materials
  • Historic posters, photographs, postcards, albums and artifacts
  • Maps, oral histories, genealogies, and Watsonville High School yearbooks
  • Historic materials related to agriculture, business, local schools, organizations, and families
  • Special collections including Betty Lewis, William Weeks, and Charley Parkhurst, and an extensive costume collection

San Lorenzo Valley Historical Society

12547 Highway 9, P.O. Box 576
Boulder Creek, CA 95006

The society's mission is to preserve the history of the San Lorenzo Valley through collecting and exhibiting artifacts, gathering historical information, and providing education through its museum and educational outreach programs. The museum collection includes archives, objects and artifacts, and photographs.

Santa Cruz County Museums Partnership - History Museums

Santa Cruz County has several other museums and historic sites which are described on this website.

Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History Archive/Library

705 Front Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
831.429.1964 x17

The museum's History Gallery has a long-term exhibit, "Where the Redwoods Meet the Sea: a History of Santa Cruz County and Its People." In addition, there are collection guides on the website, and an archive with research materials on all aspects of county history which is open by appointment.

Scotts Valley Historical Society

The Scotts Valley Historical Society has articles and photographs on their website called "Scotts Valley History Web." The society provides assistance to persons interested in researching the history of their homes, neighborhoods, or pioneer families.

Soquel Pioneer and Historical Association

5270 Pringle Lane
Soquel, CA 95073

The Soquel Pioneer and Historical Association is a volunteer organization whose mission is to preserve the history of Soquel. The Pioneers own many artifacts, books, and pictures, some of which are at the Porter Memorial Public Library in Soquel.

University of California, Santa Cruz, Special Collections & Archives

McHenry Library
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95064

The University Library has collections of pre-statehood documents, scrapbooks and clipping files, photographs and photo albums taken and compiled by local residents and professional studio photographers, and publications by local authors and institutions. Highlights include the Porter Family collection, the Hihn-Younger archive, the Leon Rowland Research collection, and the Regional History Project.

The UCSC map collection (part of Special Collections) Historical Maps includes:

  • Historic and Sanborn maps of Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Benito, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties, many available online in the library's Digital Collections.
  • Aerial photography of Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Benito, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties; many are available online in the library's Digital Collections.
  • Geologic and topographic maps covering California, the United States, and the world.

Watsonville Public Library

275 Main Street, Suite 100
Watsonville, CA 95076

Watsonville Public Library has:

  • The California Agricultural Workers' History Center (CAWHC), a developing research center focused on the diverse and multicultural ongoing history of the people who work in California agriculture.
  • Shades of Watsonville, a special photo collection documenting and preserving family photographs.
  • The Watsonville Register-Pajaronian on microfilm.
  • Newspaper clipping file consisting of articles collected from a number of publications and featuring stories of local interest. Articles generally range in date from the early 1900's to the present, with some spotty coverage back to the late 1800's.
  • A Californiana collection, resources and directories for local cemeteries, historic houses, civic organizations, yearbooks, books on local history, and Polk and other city directories.