Oakland History Center

Oakland History Center

Welcome. We Brought the Big Balloon.

The Oakland History Center's mission is to collect, maintain and provide materials that tell the story of Oakland and the East Bay.
 
We offer reference services, lectures, educational programs, tours, and exhibits.
 
With the Oakland History Center, you can:
  • learn the history of your house or neighborhood
  • discover your local roots
  • examine themes in the social or political life of the Bay Area
and much more.
a person is receiving research assistance while handling archives at the Main Library's Oakland History Room
tags:
library services, OHC, librarian

Make an Appointment to Visit.

Appointments are recommended, but not required. Make an appointment.

Oakland History Center
Main Library, Second Floor
125 14th Street, Oakland

Hours:

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
hot air balloon over oakland
The "City of Oakland" balloon prepares for ascension at 14th and Franklin, with Professor Van der Naillen and Captain Park A. Van Tassell at the helm. August 14, 1909.

Want More Oakland History?Want More Oakland History?

We've got original content, articles, videos, photos, and more on our Oakland History page.
We've got original content, articles, videos, photos, and more on our Oakland History page.
oakland high school basketball players

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:

  • books
  • journals
  • maps
  • photographs
  • community newsletters
  • manuscripts
  • oral histories
  • DVDs
  • scrapbooks
  • special collections curated by the OHC staff
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