Our Collections


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
  • A locally generated index of personal names

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

Audio and Visual Media:

The Oakland History Center maintains a small collection of documentaries, home movies, and recorded oral histories about Oakland. Partnering with the 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 Californiana on obsolete audio, film, and videotape formats. 

Sources for researching Oakland's houses and other buildings, including:

  • 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

Sources for the study of local history, including:

  • 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

Please check the library's online catalog for holdings of books and periodicals in the Oakland History Center collection. Materials in the Oakland History Center do not circulate.