Oakland History

Oakland History

History Is Made Every Day, All Around Us.

Blog posts

Illustrations of costumes for various toy characters in Oakland's Christmas Pageant

The Ghost of Christmas Pageants Past

Oakland's Christmas Pageant was performed annually from 1919 to 1987, with thousands of Oakland children and teenagers participating.

The Oakland History Center and African American Museum and Library at Oakland (AAMLO) staff work to learn and share Oakland's diverse and complex history to the community. On this page, you'll find original articles, archival collections, photographs, and sound and film recordings. 

Read About Oakland History

Original articles on Oakland history from OHC and AAMLO staff.


Learn About Oakland of the Past.

Archival collections bring researchers closer to the people who made history. They offer access to primary documents. These include letters, postcards, personal items, and photographs.

Digitized OPL Collections

Explore pictures, videos, interviews, songs, and more from the collections of Oakland History Center and the African American Museum and Library at Oakland.

Digitized collections

Check Your Shelf Podcast: Oakland History Series

Check Your Shelf Oakland History: Archiving the Pandemic

Dorothy is the interview subject in this final episode of the Oakland History Miniseries.

Check Your Shelf Oakland History: William Wong

Dorothy Lazard interviews Oakland journalist William Wong. His books Oakland's Chinatown and Yellow Journalist.

Check Your Shelf Oakland History: Cheryl Fabio

Dorothy Lazard interviews Oakland filmmaker Cheryl Fabio, whose works include Evolutionary Blues: West Oakland's Music Legacy.

Check Your Shelf Oakland History: Oakland Heritage Alliance

Dorothy Lazard interviews the editorial crew of the Oakland Heritage Alliance (OHA).

Watch Oakland History Programs

Recorded programs from the Oakland Public Library.

Recorded Programs

Research The Town

Oakland Tribune

Looking for past Oakland Tribune articles can be tricky. You may need to look in multiple sources, and some years are not currently available online. Here, we'll break it down for you:

  • Newspapers.com - current coverage dates for the Oakland Tribune are 1874-1976
  • NewspaperArchive.com - current coverage dates for the Oakland Tribune are 1874-1977
  • Oakland Tribune Archive - Full-text of articles since September 14, 2001.
  • East Bay Times Collection - Oakland Tribune was re-branded as the East Bay Times in 2016.
  • Oakland Newspaper & Magazine Index - Produced by OPL staff, this index tracks Oakland and East Bay articles appearing in local newspapers and magazines.



Source has a large online catalog of newspapers from California. Issues of the Oakland Tribune between 1874 and 1977 are in this collection.



The world's largest collection of online newspapers. Includes issues of the Oakland Tribune between 1874 and 1977. Available on site only.

Oakland Tribune

Oakland Tribune Archive

Full-text of articles since September 14, 2001.

East Bay Times Collection

East Bay Times Collection

Access full-color newspaper pages, full-text articles and content only published online from The East Bay Times (2016- current).

Newspaper and Magazine Index

Oakland Newspaper & Magazine Index

This index--produced by OPL staff--tracks Oakland and East Bay articles appearing in local newspapers and magazines.

Other Local Newspaper Sources

Oakland is frequently covered in papers in San Francisco and throughout the state. These two resources are likely to feature coverage of events in Oakland and the East Bay. 

California Digital Newspaper Collection includes:

  • San Francisco Call (San Francisco, 1890-1913)
  • California Star (San Francisco, 1847-1848)
  • Elevator (San Francisco, 1865-1898)
  • Pacific Appeal (San Francisco, 1862-1880)
  • Pacific Rural Press (San Francisco, 1871-1922)
  • Weekly Alta California (San Francisco, 1849)
  • Wide West (San Francisco, 1854-1858)

California Digital Newspaper Collection

A free source of digitized California newspapers (1846 to present).

San Francisco Chronicle Collection

San Francisco Chronicle Collection

This source gives you access to current and archived issues (1985-current).

Oakland City Directories

Oakland city directories are a great source of information about people and businesses in Oakland from the late 19th century to the mid 20th century.

The list to the right shows directories that are available in the Oakland History Center. Links will lead you to digitized versions of these directories, which you can browse on the Internet Archive.

No city directories were printed in 1919, 1920, 1929, 1931, 1932, 1936, 1942, 1944-1966, or 1968.

The Oakland History Center’s collection also includes Oakland reverse directories for the years 1936, 1953, 1961, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, and 1995. Unlike city directories, which are searchable by name, reverse directories are searchable by address or phone number. These are also called criss-cross or street address directories. Additional reverse directories for Oakland are available online for the years 1938, opens a new window, 1940, opens a new window, and 1944, opens a new window. Later years are available in the Main Library's Magazine & Newspaper Room.

Our collection also includes telephone directories, business directories, society directories, and more.




















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