Welcome. We Brought the Big Balloon.
learn the history of your house or neighborhood
discover your local roots
examine themes in the social or political life of the Bay Area
Make an Appointment to Visit.
Appointments are recommended, but not required. To schedule an appointment, please visit our online scheduler, opens a new window (requires an email address) or call (510) 238-3134.
Oakland History Center
Main Library, Second Floor
125 14th Street, Oakland
Monday: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Tuesday: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Wednesday: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Thursday: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Friday: 12 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Sunday: 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Read more about Services at the Oakland History Center.
Sources for the Study of Local History Include:
- A locally generated subject index to articles in books and magazines
- Newspaper clippings files
- Indexes to 19th-century Oakland newspapers and to the Oakland Tribune beginning in 1978
- An index to historic African-American newspapers
- Historic documents and published materials from local government agencies and the Oakland Unified School District
Materials in the Oakland History Center do not circulate.
Images of Oakland, Emeryville, and Piedmont
Selected images from the Oakland History Center photograph and map collections are available in OPL Digital Collections and in the University of California's Online Archive of California.
Sources for Researching Oakland's Houses and Other Buildings Include:
- Tax Assessor's block books for the City of Oakland proper, 1877-1925
- A scattered set of Sanborn fire insurance maps of various periods between 1882 and 1951
- The published portion of the Oakland Cultural Heritage Survey
Biographical and Genealogical Sources
- Oakland city directories, 1869-1943
- Alameda County voter registers, 1867-1944
- California county histories
- Oakland birth and death certificates, 1870-1904
- Biographical files of Oakland and East Bay people
- Obituaries, 1951-1993
Audio and Visual Media
The Oakland History Center maintains a small collection of documentaries, home movies, and recorded oral histories about Oakland. Partnering with California Revealed, a project of the California State Library, the Oakland History Center's diverse collection of rare and original media is now available to view on the Internet Archive. California Revealed strives to preserve all aspects of California on obsolete audio, film, and videotape formats.
OHC's Collection Includes:
special collections curated by the OHC staff