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Collections & Research


CSH is the official archives for the city and county of Sacramento, with public records dating back to 1849. The Center also collects personal collections, photographs, and films pertaining to the social, political, geographic, and cultural history of the Sacramento region.

Archival Collections

Our finding aids are hosted on our Online Archive of California page.

Photographs and Artifacts

Our online catalog is the access point for our photographs, artifacts, and reference material, with more than 65,000 digitized images available. This is only a small sampling of our collection.

Digitized Material

Internet Archive hosts hundreds of our digitized films, audio recordings, oral histories, maps, mug books, jail registers, indexes, and other materials. See audiovisual and textual material collections.


Conducting Research

CSH is open for research by appointment only during the following times:

 Day Hours
Wednesday 4 pm to 7:45 pm

Thursday 8:15 am to 12 pm
Friday 8:15 am to 12 pm

To make an appointment, contact an archivist at or (916) 808-7072.


It is advisable to request your appointment at least a week in advance. Please notify CSH beforehand if special accommodations are needed during your visit. All on-site researchers must register with a photo ID and sign and agree to abide by the Center’s Conditions of Use. The reading room is monitored by security cameras. 

For those unable to visit the reading room, staff will provide one hour of distance reference service at no cost. Any additional time is $50 an hour.

Every reasonable effort will be made to make collections available during your appointment. On occasion, material may not be immediately available for research, including fragile material, unprocessed collections, and items stored off-site. A return visit may be necessary to view material stored off-site.


Reproductions and Fees

CSH staff will provide reproductions of materials as long as duplication does not violate U.S. copyright law’s Fair Use doctrine; is not restricted by prior agreement with a donor; and will not damage or create a substantial risk of damage to the originals. Because the Center’s holdings vary widely in terms of rarity, condition, and format, each request for reproduction will be reviewed by staff.

The following provisions apply to all requests for reproductions:

  • Reproduction is subject to a fee, payable at the time services are rendered (see current fee schedule).
  • Photo and other image duplication orders require a two week turn-around time (not including mailing time). Rush orders can be requested at double the standard fees.
  • No more than 20 percent of a collection / printed item / publication / exhibit will be photocopied or reproduced.
  • Photocopy restrictions may apply to brittle, thin, or fragile paper; books with unstable bindings; unusually large, thick, or heavy volumes; and bound newspapers.
  • Scanners and digital cameras (including your smartphone’s camera) are allowed in the reading room upon staff approval. Reproduction fees may apply. 
  • Photo reproduction orders are subject to a Copyright Understanding Agreement. Payment for commercial orders permits one-time use only. Orders may require a copy negative to be produced, which will be retained by CSH.
  • Moving image orders are subject to a licensing agreement. Payment for orders permits one-time use only. Each order is for a minimum of 15 seconds and 1 market. All preview and master tapes remain the property of CSH and must be returned. 


Permissions and Citations

Copyright has not been assigned to CSH for most private collections. All requests to publish or quote from private manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the City Historian. Permission for publication is given on behalf of CSH as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the patron. No permission is necessary to publish or quote from public documents.


Patrons wishing to use reproductions of CSH holdings for publications, websites, exhibits, displays, moving image productions, advertisements, etc., will be required to complete a Copyright Understanding Agreement and pay all appropriate use fees. Proper citation must be given in each instance of use.


The preferred citation of CSH material is as follows: 
Center for Sacramento History, [Collection Name], [Collection Number]


CSH also requires a copy of the finished product, in all physical formats (print, CD/DVD, etc.), in which a text or image from its collections is reproduced; items should be mailed to the address below: 

Center for Sacramento History
Attn: City Historian
551 Sequoia Pacific Blvd
Sacramento, CA 95811