The Library preserves Monterey’s history through its California History Room Collection, which houses and preserves materials about or related to the greater Monterey region. Many of the items in the collection are made available to the public in our California History Room, while rarer and more delicate items are stored in the California History Room Archive, and are available to view by appointment.
California History Room
The California History Room is a quiet study space dedicated to the research, reading and viewing of materials from the California History Room Collection. The room contains books, manuscripts, periodicals, newspaper clippings and audiovisual material - all of which can be accessed, photocopied and photographed. Items from the collection are available for reference inside the California History Room, and are not available for check out.
To access the California History Room, visit the Information Desk inside the Library. Guests must fill out a short form and provide a current and valid Identification Card. For assistance or research inquiries, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday - Saturday: 10am - 6pm
The California History Room Archive contains rare, delicate and invaluable items, which are housed in secure, climate-controlled rooms, and made accessible to the public for research purposes. Archival materials are resources of enduring historical value, and are often unpublished materials in a variety of formats. Some formats include maps, photographs, ephemera, typescripts, handwritten documents, scrapbooks, news clippings and printed materials.
Archival collections may be found in the Library Catalog.
Note: Search results in the Library Catalog will also include items from Colton Hall Museum, Mayo Hayes O'Donnell Library and Pacific Grove Public Library's Historical Collection.
To search a specific collection in the Library Catalog, click one of the links below:
The Archive's photograph collections include beautiful and historically significant photographs, as well as other documents. The collections include work by local photographers Julian P. Graham, William Morgan, J.K. Oliver, C.W.J. Johnson, Rey Ruppel and others.
Reproduction and Use of California History Room Images
Reproduction and use of all images and documents in the Archives are subject to copyright law and Monterey Public Library Policy. Use does not grant exclusive publication or exhibit rights. Exhibit or publication permission is for one-time use only.
NEWSPAPER CLIPPING FILE
One of the highlights of the California History Room is the Historic Newspaper Clipping File, which contains clippings from local newspapers that are organized by subject. To access the Historic Newspaper Clipping File, visit the Information Desk inside the Library. Guests must fill out a short form and provide a current and valid Identification Card.
The California History Room’s collection of Monterey newspapers from 1846 – June 1964 is accessible online. Visit our Historical Newspaper Page for more information.
MONTEREY'S MAGICAL HISTORY TOUR WITH TIM THOMAS
Curious about Monterey's history? Join local historian Tim Thomas each month on Zoom as he explores Monterey’s rich past. Every month Tim covers a new topic or invites occasional guests for conversation. Visit our Calendar for information on the next Magical History Tour.
CANNERY ROW DAYS
Cannery Row Days is an annual celebration of author John Steinbeck and his lasting impact on Monterey. Each year the Library, in collaboration with local organizations, hosts a month-long series of lectures and programs for all ages, which use Steinbeck’s life and work as a way to spark interest in and curiosity about the community’s history, as well as art, literature and science.
In partnership with local organizations, the Library invites historians and history buffs alike to share their knowledge, insights and findings in short presentations. The event features 10-15 minute talks on the rich, hidden histories of Monterey. Hear about the porthole in Robinson Jeffers’ Hawk Tower; Joseph Campbell’s connection to Monterey and Star Wars; Ed Ricketts; the ecology of Monterey Bay; local artists--as well as fresh perspectives on Flora Woods, the legendary Cannery Row Madame; the Chinese Village at Point Alones; local Japanese American flower growers; and Tiburcio Vasquez: The Musical!
Watch past History Slams
FAQs about the California History Room
- Enter your search criteria
- In the Shelving location tab, select any or all of the following locations:
- California History Room
- California History Room (Locked Case)
- Colton Hall Museum
- Mayo Hayes O'Donnell Library
- MHO Library - Amelie Elkinton Collection
- Click the Search button
A card catalog is also available in the California History Room. The card catalog provides a finding aid to the Historic Clipping File, Game & Gossip magazine, Monterey Life magazine, and Californiana (early California) sources.
The Library staff will be happy to answer questions regarding collections or holdings on a specific subject. Call (831) 646-3933 or email email@example.com.
Staff will photocopy or arrange for the reproduction of archival materials and rare books. Reproduction may be limited if the materials are too fragile. A fee is charged for staff reproduction of archival materials (See Fee Schedule for details). For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are books and other materials about Monterey and California history in the circulating collection. For more information, search the catalog or contact the Library Help Desk (email@example.com).