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Related Resources

Sleeping panda in the zoo, San Diego, California
Sleeping Panda in the Zoo, San Diego, California.
1 photograph.
2009 October 29.
Prints & Photographs Division.
Reproduction Number:

American Folklife Center

Finding Aids to Collections in the Archive of Folk Culture: California Collections

The Archive of Folk Culture holds approximately 2700 collections consisting of more than 150,000 sound recordings and 3 million items. At this time only a portion of them have catalog records and finding aids. Contact the Folklife Reading Room for additional information about collections.

Folklife in Your State: California

The American Folklife Center contains rich and varied materials from California documenting the diversity of the state's traditions. California's Local Legacies Projects, an exploration of local traditions and celebrations, is available on the Center's Web page.

National Sampler: Selections from California Collections

The American Folklife Center's holdings of materials from individual states are so extensive that exploration of them can be challenging. To provide an introductory tour for Library of Congress patrons, educators, researchers, and the general public — and to display some of the wonderful audio and visual treasures amassed over the past eight decades — the Center is undertaking the online National Sampler Project.

America's Library

America's Library is especially designed for elementary and middle school students. The site contains a wide variety of information related to California.

Explore the States

State of California

Jump Back in Time

Gold Discovered in California, January 24, 1848

John C. Frémont Was Found Guilty of Mutiny, January 31, 1848

Pioneer Life in Sacramento, November 25, 1849

The Panic of 1857 Began August 24, 1857

The First Transcontinental Telegraph System Was Completed, October 24, 1861

Yosemite Land Grant Signed, June 30, 1864

John Muir and the Sierra, July 19, 1869

The Great San Francisco Earthquake, April 18, 1906

San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge Was Completed and Opened, May 27, 1937

Attack on the United States, September 11, 2001


American Treasures of the Library of Congress

California as an Island

One of the major geographic misconceptions originating during the discovery and exploration of North America was the depiction of California as an island.

Camp News

Tessaku was a magazine mimeographed in a relocation camp located in a remote and desolate part of northern California, a few miles from the Oregon border. While many of the camps had community newspapers, internees also published magazines.

The Genius of Frank Lloyd Wright

One of the great innovators in the history of architecture, Frank Lloyd Wright experimented with new design vocabularies and building systems. Shown here are three examples of his imaginative genius. In the 1920s Wright designed a number of houses in California using precast "textile" concrete blocks reinforced by an internal system of bars.

Map of California

Williamson's sketch is an authentic treasure map of the California gold regions. He included it in a letter East written August 23, 1849, when he was in the forefront of the 1849 gold rush.

Sacramento City

Sacramento's rise from settlement to state capital began with the discovery of gold in January 1848, some fifty miles northeast at John Sutter's sawmill.

Wagon Train to the West

Daniel Jenks traveled to Yreka, California, twice from his native Pawtucket, Rhode Island. In 1849 he joined thousands of '49ers who poured into California by sailing around Cape Horn.

1492: An Ongoing Voyage

The exhibition 1492: An Ongoing Voyage describes both pre- and post-contact America, as well as the Mediterranean world at the same time. The First Map of California is included in the Inventing America section of the exhibition.

Frank Lloyd Wright: Designs for an American Landscape, 1922-1932

During the 1920s, as the five remarkable projects featured in this exhibition show, Frank Lloyd Wright developed architectural prototypes of far-reaching consequence. Exploring advanced building technologies and untried geometric patterns, he conceived rural and suburban building complexes that effectively restructured their sites in a manner calculated to heighten their natural grandeur. The exhibition includes the following designs for:

A.M. Johnson Desert Compound, Grapevine Canyon, California, 1924

Doheny Ranch Development, Beverly Hills, California, 1923

Lake Tahoe Summer Colony, Emerald Bay, California, 1923

John Bull and Uncle Sam

A joint project of the Library of Congress and The British Library, the John Bull and Uncle Sam exhibition brings together for the first time treasures from the two greatest libraries in the English-speaking world in an exploration of selected time periods and cultural movements that provide unique insights into the relationship of the United States and Great Britain. The Exploration and Settlement section includes the satire A Goodnatured Hint about California by Alfred Crowquill.

Los Angeles Mapped

The historical maps in this exhibition provide a guide to some of the most remarkable stories of the city’s history: its discovery, its growth, and its industries, as seen by explorers, engineers, artists, residents, and boosters.

Rivers, Edens, Empires: Lewis & Clark and the Revealing of America

On April 7, 1805, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark left Fort Mandan for points west, beginning the process of "filling in the canvas" of America. This exhibition features the Library's rich collections of exploration material documenting the quest to connect the East and the West by means of a waterway passage.The Narrative of the Adventures of Zenas Leonard: Native of Clearfield County, Pa., who spent five years in Trapping for furs, Trading with the Indians, &c., &c., of the Rocky Mountains, written by Himself includes information about his amazing adventures with Joseph R. Walker's expedition to California.

Global Gateway

The Atlantic World: America and the Netherlands

The Atlantic World: America and the Netherlands explores the history of the Dutch presence in America and the interactions between the United States and the Netherlands from Henry Hudson's 1609 voyage to the post-World War II period. The project is a cooperative effort between the Library of Congress and the National Library of the Netherlands, which in turn enlisted the participation of other leading Dutch libraries, museums, and archives. Search the project to find items related to California, including the Map of California shown as an island.

France In America

Conceived in partnership with France’s national library, the Bibliothèque nationale de France, France in America /France en Amérique is a bilingual digital library made available by the Library of Congress. It explores the history of the French presence in North America from the first decades of the sixteenth century to the end of the nineteenth century. Search the project to find items related to California, including The Gold Seekers. A Tale of California by Gustave Aimard.

Meeting of Frontiers: Siberia, Alaska, and the American West

Meeting of Frontiers tells the story of the American exploration and settlement of the West, the parallel exploration and settlement of Siberia and the Russian Far East, and the meeting of the Russian-American frontier in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. Project partners include the Library of Congress, the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the Russian State Library, the National Library of Russia, and more than twenty libraries, archives, and museums located in cities in Siberia and the Russian Far East. Search the project to find items related to California, including the Report about a voyage to California.

Parallel Histories: Spain, the United States, and the American Frontier

Parallel Histories: Spain, the United States, and the American Frontier is a bilingual, multi-format English-Spanish digital library site that explores the interactions between Spain and the United States in America from the fifteenth to the early nineteenth centuries. The project presents in digital format books, maps, prints and photographs, manuscripts, and other documents from the collections of the partner libraries. Five main themes related to the history of Spain and the parallel histories between the United States and Spain are illuminated: Exploration and Early Settlement, Colonization and Settlement, Meeting of Cultures and Religious/Evangelical Activities, American Revolution, and Mutual Perceptions. Search the project to find items related to California, including Papers regarding California.

Historic Newspapers

Chronicling America

This site allows you to search and view newspaper pages from 1836-1922 from more than 20 states and the District of Columbia. Search this collection to find selected newspaper articles that mention events in California.

Humanities and Social Sciences Division

Bibliographies and Guides

U.S. State Poets Laureate

This site provides the names of all current state poets laureate of the United States. It also includes a history of the laureateship in each state, as well the District of Columbia, and attempts to provide a comprehensive listing of all prior state poets laureate. Included is information on the position of State Poet Laureate in California.

Law Library of Congress

The Guide to Law Online

Guide to Law Online, prepared by the Law Library of Congress Public Services Division, is an annotated guide to sources of information on government and law available online. It includes selected links to useful and reliable sites for legal information on U.S states and territories, including California.

Prints and Photographs Division

Pictorial Americana: Selected Images from the Collections of the Library of Congress

The image lists includes prints and photographs relating to historical events to 1899; general subjects such as education, daily life, miners and mining; and views of U.S. locations (text and images). It is being prepared for the Internet in stages. Images of California are included.

Prints and Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC)

Search PPOC using the subject heading United States--California to find digital images related to California, such as prints, photographs, and political cartoons. Search in PPOC using the term California or names of cities, towns, and sites to locate additional images.

Teachers Page

Presentations and Activities

American Memory Timeline

A comprehensive look at America's history through primary sources. Below are a few examples of resources pertaining to California.

Adventures of an Overland Journey to California

California: A Trip Across the Plains

California: For Health, Pleasure, and Residence

David L. Phillips: "What California Railroads Have Done"

Maps of California and Oregon, 1846-1876

Mary Cone Describes the Chinaman in California


The feature provides an introduction to the study of immigration to the United States. It is far from the complete story, and focuses only on the immigrant groups that arrived in greatest numbers during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Lyrical Legacy

Lyrical Legacy helps teachers explore eighteen American songs and poems from the digital collections of the Library of Congress. Each song and poem is represented by an original primary source document, along with historical background information and, in many cases, sound recordings and alternate versions. The song "Sunny California" is included in this presentation.

Primary Sources by State

The Library of Congress has rich documents and artifacts from every state, the U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia. Click on California to view historic artifacts and cultural materials from the state.

Lesson Plans

Creating a Primary Source Archive: All History Is Local

Examine the interplay between national, state, local, and personal history. Students produce a digital collection of primary sources from their family or local community based on the collections in American Memory.

Exploring Community Through Local History: Oral Stories, Landmarks and Traditions

Students explore the local history of the community in which they live through written and spoken stories; through landmarks such as buildings, parks, restaurants, or businesses; and through traditions such as food, festivals and other events of the community or of individual families.

Local History: Mapping My Spot

Students create their town’s history for coming generations and place themselves on the map in a literal as well as figurative sense, by producing portions of an updated version of an early twentieth century panoramic map from the American Memory collections.

Veterans History Project

Veterans History Project Home Page

The Veterans History Project (VHP) collects and preserves the remembrances of American war veterans and civilian workers who supported them. Browse the database by state of residence to locate veterans from California.

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  May 23, 2017
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