California's first legislature, meeting in 1849–50, charged the Secretary of State to receive "…all public records, registered maps, books, papers, rolls, documents and other writings…which appertain to or are in any way connected with the political history and past administration of the government of California…" The California State Archives, a division of the Office of the Secretary of State, continues to serve in the spirit of those early instructions, providing a repository for the state's permanent governmental records as well as other materials documenting California history. The California State Archives serves a wide variety of researchers whose interests range from legislative intent and public policy to genealogy and railroad history in California.
Archives staff continually organize and describe the records we receive to provide easier and faster access for researchers. A listing of our recently processed records at the California State Archives is now available for researchers to review.
Due to an infrastructure improvement project, some records will be intermittently unavailable February 24-June 1. Please email the Archives or call 916-653-7715 prior to your visit.
PHASE 1 - FEBRUARY 24 - APRIL 17 (dates are estimated)
REVISED END DATE FOR PHASE 1 - MAY 7
Find out more about Tours, Research Room Hours, Services and Fees, Research Room Policies and Procedures, and the California Originals newsletter.
Information about the California State Archives' collections, which document the broad scope of California government and its impact on the people of the state. Over 105,000 cubic feet of records of all types are represented including millions of documents and bound volumes, 20,000 maps and architectural drawings, 250,000 photographs, 7,500 video and audio tapes, as well as hundreds of artifacts.
Learn about the Local Government Records Program, State Records Appraisal Program, Oral History Program, and Graduate Internship Program for the Archives Division.
In partnership with the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), the California Historical Records Advisory Board works to serve the needs of California constituencies involved in the management and preservation of historical records. Click below to find information on the Archival Award of Excellence, Board Meeting Minutes, and the Records Management Clearinghouse.
The California State Records and Information Management Program (CalRIM), the state records program within the State Archives, assists state agencies in achieving these efficient records management programs. CalRIM establishes guidelines, including those for the management of electronic records; provides consultation; evaluates the effectiveness of existing records management programs; and assists in the establishment of new records programs.
Minerva provides access to summary descriptions of the vast documentary treasures maintained by the California State Archives.
Athena provides access to many state agency records retention schedules. State Archives staff review each schedule to determine whether any of the records state agencies are proposing to discard have potential archival value and should be transferred to the State Archives.