California Digital Archives

Welcome to the California Digital Archives! Here you will find multiple digital resources (both collections and exhibits) and experience this dramatic step forward for the California State Archives. While just a portion of the State Archives' collection will be available online, our goal is to digitize more material and share it with the people of California and the world. Amazing photographs, colorful trademark specimens, and other original documents reveal past events. Some may shed an unflattering light on past actions but our goal is to present an accurate reflection of history. This will allow us to learn from the past and understand how it evolved into the realities of the present. We hope you enjoy these glimpses into California's history.

Allensworth: Realization and Resurrection of an African American Dream

Approximately 30 miles north of Bakersfield lies the town of Allensworth, now an official state park. Founded in 1908 by Allen Allensworth, the town was an exclusively African American community. Marked by its tree-lined streets and grassy vistas, and its avenues named after prominent African Americans, the town of Allensworth flourished for 40 years until its sharp decline and eventual dissolution. This exhibit sheds a light on the now vanished town, revealing incorporation documents filed by its founders, hand-printed sketches of the city’s streets, and the official map issued by the California Railroad Commission of the railway that ultimately led to the city’s decline. Today, Allensworth is a part of the California State Park System. The park hosts Black History Month activities, an Old-Time Jubilee, and Juneteenth celebrations, with an annual attendance of over 5,000 visitors. Images used in this exhibit were also provided by the California Department of Parks and Recreation and African American Museum & Library at Oakland.

Decoration Image

Banner for Allensworth Exhibit

Decoration image

California Audio Visual Preservation Program (CAVPP)

In partnership with 108 libraries, archives and museums, the California Preservation Program provides digitization, preservation and access services for historic California audiovisual recordings. The "California Light and Sound" collection of recordings provides "glimpses and whispers" of our state's rich audiovisual heritage.  The Project gathers best archival practices for moving image and sound preservation and establishes low-cost, practical, standards to help collecting organizations move from the analog age to the digital age. Access is provided by the Internet Archive for teaching, research and study. Storage of files for long-term preservation is provided by the California Audiovisual Preservation Project.  Click on the link below to view the 118 items from the California State Archives’ collection that the California Preservation Program has digitized as part of the CAVPP.

Online Exhibits

Civil War image in red white and blue of a soldier holding the American flag.

Civil War image in red white and blue of a soldier holding the American flag.

Online Collections

Banner for Alfred Eichler Collection